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Stories to warm your heart

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These stories are from my recent visit to what seemed to me & my hubby a magical place.

We were visiting India to see my parents & his. I have been nursing a desire to go to Rajasthan. A place we have never visited during our 35 years living in India. It holds a promise of romance. I don’t know quite why I think that way.

I want a month or so to truly explore Rajasthan and know it is going to be a while before I am able to do that. So I decided to sneak in a couple of days to see Jodhpur.

We stayed at Bal Samand Palace Hotel that is owned by Hh Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji Jodhpur

My cousin runs a travel business GeTS India so we knew we were in good hands! We were received at the Railway Station by his team and taken to the hotel. We were escorted to our room and in a few moments eagerly opened the door that led into the garden. My hubby visibly sighed as he sank into the chair on the verandah. “Wow” he said. We both sat there quietly soaking in the tranquillity. It is as though we were transported into a different world and everything slowed right down.

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Our driver was Prem Singh, a very well informed and philosophical guy. He was our self appointed guide and had many stories. These stories warmed my heart and is the reason for this blog. I would like to share them.

I hear that Maharaja Gaj Singh is a very generous man. In the days when kings ruled, villagers were required to pay “lagan” – a form of tax. This tax was intended to work as a social security; i.e., in times of drought, the money would be distributed to the farmers that would help when the income was not enough to sustain their families. Lagan obviously no longer exists. However in a recent drought, a bunch of farmers got together and approached the Maharaja. He spent his own money and got 40 water pumps installed so the farmers could water their fields and save the crops.

Today, this beautiful palace has been converted into a hotel. It truly is a magnificent creation that has been built with a lot of respect for the surrounding land.

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This is only one of the properties that has been converted into a hotel. The Maharaja is committed to develop tourism as a way to create opportunities for income generation for the people of Rajasthan. Jodhpur in particular, seems to stand apart. I did not notice any beggars on the street. I shared this observation with our driver. I had some left overs packed from our breakfast that I thought I may have been able to give to someone on the streets. There was none!!! It appears as though no one goes hungry in Jodhpur. People who have plenty to eat, will go and feed the few who don’t … they sit by the wall of the Railway Station. There is no need for them to go begging. They get fed!!!

We visited the Mehrangarh Fort which has a stunning collection of artefacts, paintings & collectibles from a long time ago. We enjoyed roaming the rooms and equally, loved the vibe. This gorgeous woman is a police constable. We met a few women – a couple of them were studying for a promotion. It was such a delight to see women who were ambitious for themselves. And other women, employed at the Palace Hotel, who were on a small wage and talked about their ambitions for their daughters, wanting to give them the best education.

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We left Jodhpur in a couple days. Our hearts full of hope. And joy. I am a dreamer, after all! I feel privileged to have met some other people who are too!

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Inspiration, LIfe, Social Agenda

Happiness is overrated. Want to know why?

What would you say if a child came up to you looking sad?

You will reach out to comfort them. Instinctively, we know it is “not ok” to feel sad. It is kinda hardwired. I bet most of us have been conditioned to believe that feelings such as anger, sadness, and frustration are “not ok”.

And I will admit that I have been quite taken by “The Power of Positive Thinking”.

For a long time.

And this is what I have learnt.

Fear is a faithful friend. It is always with us. It is what keeps us safe. It will never go away. It is also the reason we may get angry, sad or frustrated. So if I am really mad, I know that something important to me has been taken away from me and I fear that I will not get it back.

Fear serves another purpose that is hugely powerful. I believe fear is omnipresent so we can fly.

Remember when you got that really BIG WILD idea?  Fear was probably right beside you, saying…

“Oh, now that is stupid.”

“You will never be able to pull that off”

“People will laugh at you.”

Know that thought? And I am sure you would have learnt/ read that we could just replace that with “I can do it”.

There is another way. Which is to say, “yeah, it does sound stupid. I may not be able to pull it off. And yes, I may fall flat on my face.” So who can I talk to about this idea? How can I take this forward?

And the most important question to ask yourself is “Why is this idea important to me?” “What about this idea is getting me so excited?”

The answer to that question is the secret held deep inside you that drives everything you do, the choices you make and is that light that guides you telling you what “feels” right and what “feels” wrong.

It is your closest friend. The one you sit beside when they are sad. Just sit. Listen. Hold hands. Treat your fears as your friend. They are.

When you feel sad, mad or just plain frustrated, imagine your friend has arrived. Do what you would do with a friend. Sit with them. Listen. Let go of your judgment for a bit. Go outdoors. And wait until your heart opens up and you understand why it is.

On the Beach 1

On the Beach 2

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Inspiration, LIfe, Natural, Social Agenda

Shopping, Farmers, Local, Artisans… crazy foolish people striving for a better world

To live with an open heart… like a child. Unfettered. Simply curious. Innocent. And compassionate.

Well that bit, maybe not always 🙂

We are a crazy bunch. Some of us that is.

As a HR Director, I was constantly tracking for what is out there…. tripping with excitement about some of the wonderful stuff people were experimenting with to help people live life large. Be in tune with what they value. And partner with leaders and teams to do stuff that will create the environment for people to do their best work.

I loved it. I was also restless. Wondering what else was out there.

I fell into making soap a year or so ago…. and I think I keep falling deeper because it allows me to be curious. It makes me think about what I buy, from whom and when.

So if I was to Get off the dance floor for a bit, and be an observer, what would I see?

I would see me getting a bit tired of large organisations like J&J, P&G, Unilever seduce us into buying stuff with the promise of whatever it is that was seductive.

I would look at the guy standing at his stall in my local markets. Like, I would slow down, and linger. Appreciate the work that went into getting up early in the morning loading the car and putting their soul into making their space look inviting. They are just plants. These are the ones though that even I cannot kill.

This I know to be true.

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I would watch myself spending a bit more time with stall holders; getting to know them. Just curious. How do you make this. What is it about and then get pulled into their world for just a bit… Like Lindy Lawler who makes these beautiful pieces and tells a beautiful story that I can never say the same way. All I know is that there is a sense of abundance that is celebrated through her work.

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Sometimes though, I have to get a few things from a far away land. Ghana is where my Shea Butter comes from. Kwabena, who is the Managing Director of the company based in Adelaide, works with women’s co-operatives that work in the Zabzugu – Tatale district in Tamale located in the Northern part of Ghana. Traditionally it has been the women who go and pluck or gather the shea nuts. The women sometimes have to travel as far as 17 kilometres on foot and carry bags in excess of 40kgs on the heads whilst carrying their children on their backs.

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It is the same story with Neem Oil, where my dear friend introduced me to Agrocel, an organisation that works with the farmers to get us beautiful cold pressed Neem.

So here I am. Grateful to be surrounded by many many people who love me. Doing stuff that I am not ashamed of saying that I am not an expert in the domain. That I am learning. Having fun. And maybe, bringing some abundance into a few moments when people read the stuff I write or buy something to pamper themselves or a dear one.

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