Self-care and You…

Are you a primary care giver to an elderly parent or a relative?  Are you a parent? Are you smack-in-the-middle of both generations where you find yourself as a primary care giver to a parent/s and your children? Are you a workaholic?  Is your partner a workaholic? Do you hold a demanding professional position where you are devoting so much of yourself and your time to nurture the role, or the organisation?

Whichever role you play, it’s challenging to say the least, especially if you have not struck a balance between looking after them and looking after yourself.

You can get so caught up in the ‘importance’ of the role as a care giver and forget that you are your primary care giver as well.

Society and our respective cultures have conditioned us to believe that looking after oneself is being selfish.  As individuals we all need looking after and by this I don’t mean financially or even physically.  Our inner-self needs love, nurturing, development, spirituality, space, peace.  However we tend to put ourselves in the back seat in this area as we feel that our sole responsibility is to give love, to nurture, to care, to assist another in their growth.

To be in a position to give unselfishly, unconditionally and with pure joy as opposed to performing a ‘duty’, you need to ensure that ‘YOU’ are being well looked after, that your cup is full and over-flowing.  As a care-giver you never want to feel resentful of your role or stagnant no matter how pure it is, e.g. as a parent or as a child.  But… it’s only natural to feel that way and by recognising that you are a person, an individual in a very, very important role, you also need to care for yourself.  No-one but you can do this for you.

So what are the ways in which you can take care of yourself other than the obvious grooming (hair, nails, clothes, etc)? All these are great and the first things we go-to to feel better and up-lifted, but they have a temporary affect.  My personal recommendations for long-term fulfillment and constant feeling of being abundant are:

  1.  Self-development:  Is there something you desire to learn or be other than what you already know and do?  e.g. a particular dance, an instrument, and book you’ve been wanting to read, a subject you are curious about but have no time to research and learn, an exhibition that will enhance you, visiting a new place to experience a new culture, a course.  Making new friends, a new hobby, or a one-time experience of sorts.  I love to listen to podcasts.  There are many that are educational and/or uplifting.  My current favourites are ‘So Money‘ by Farnoush,  ‘Magic Lessons‘ by Elizabeth Gilbert and ‘Make it Happen’ by Swamini Supriyananda.
  2. Keeping physically fit:  not necessarily with a goal of loosing weight or gaining weight.  Just staying active, healthy & fit.  Challenge yourself and try a new activity, have a routine/regime that works for you.  A 30 minute walk 2-3 times a week, a yoga session, zumba, weights, pilates, bootcamp…
  3. Meditation:  start with 5 minutes in a day, either in the morning or at night; at lunch time if you’re lucky.  Try different meditation techniques to see what jives with you, that makes you want to spend that time in the day to do it.  At the moment for me it’s just watching my breathing to see how deep I can breathe in to my core and let out then to breathe in to my 3rd eye.  Meditation can sound very daunting, and I am still working on it myself.  When you do sit still so many thoughts cross your mind and all the things you need to accomplish.  Smile at these thoughts, people, tasks, etc and say – ‘I’ll come back to you’ and let them pass.
  4. Spirituality:  follow your heart and your instincts and let it lead you to a path that resonates with you.
  5. Community Service:  Okay – so now you think I’ve lost the plot.  I’m asking you to ‘give’ again!  Yes I am.  I’m asking you to be a part of a community at large and be part of a bigger picture.  Connect with other people around you and share in something beautiful together.  Being a care-give can be quite lonely.  Community service is a group effort.

So how do you find the time for any of this?  How do you deal with the sense of ‘guilt’ that may arise?

Juggle your schedule and routine.   Wake up a little earlier;  assess your schedule to see if there is something you can let go off, or something that can be delegated.

Explain to your ‘dependents’ that you need some ‘you’ time and you will be back with more to give and with more positive energy to share. Children need to learn from example.  They need to also learn that self-care is important so that they don’t grow up forgetting themselves as well.

Wishing you loads of guilt-less fun on this journey… 🙂





I found 6 hours…. and then lost it again!


I found my missing 6 hours in a week and then I lost it again.
So I have to say that I’m pretty good at making lemonade when life hands me lemons.
In fact I get a real high from the process of squeezing these darned lemons to get every bit of juice that I can.

Towards the end of December I started to get this rash all over my torso. I ignored it for a while and just hoped it would disappear back to where it came from. It was a busy Christmas especially entertaining the boys and trying to recover from the very busy quarter.

The rash just kept growing and spreading so as soon as the boys went back to school I booked in to see my GP.  At first glance I was told I had folliculitis and was put on a course of penicillin.
A week later after completing the dose I saw more rash and now massive red scaly patches.
Back to the GP and to hear that it is actually *psoriasis.  I had heard the term before but had no idea what it meant.

I was then referred to a dermatologist who prescribed 25-30 UVB Light treatments!
The first question my GP as well as my dermatologist asked me was ‘Are you stressed?’
Aren’t we all to some degree? I said perhaps I over did it last quarter balancing work, home and the boys’ activities but I don’t feel stressed. It’s life, I’m handling it.

While I was relieved to not have to take any medication, I was a bit annoyed that I needed to go 3 times a week for this light treatment to a clinic that was 45 mins away from home.  Which mother of toddlers has the time to get an annoying ‘condition’ to deal with for crying out loud!?!  Was I stressed then??   Yes! I did not have 1.5 hours + treatment time ranging from 2-15 minutes each x 3 times a week!
How could I possibly de-stress myself now??

A good friend heard me whining one day after a couple of weeks of treatment. I was whining about how I now have to spend 6 hours a week on treatment – 6 hours I already didn’t have. And she said, ‘you have just found 6 hours you didn’t have!’
I wasn’t sure what that meant initially.

I chose to take the bus (no driving and parking stress involved) to my treatments – 45 minutes each way. I caught up on work calls, social messages, coordinated my boys’ birthday parties, listened to inspiring podcasts and even began my first audio book on being a ‘conscious parent ‘ . This was ‘MY‘ time! I had found 6 hours I didn’t have and it was for me. Forced as it may have been but I would not have had that opportunity otherwise.

Now for regular commuters this may not seem special but I hope you get my drift on making the best of a situation.

During my treatments I also had a chat with an Ayurvedic doctor who also had to hear me moan about how I was ‘loosing‘ time I already didn’t have when he advised me to ‘de-stress!’
He just said to me, ‘embrace it‘.
And I did. And I enjoyed that ‘me‘ time.
7 weeks later, treatments done, psoriasis healed for now and I have just lost my lovely 6 hours that I had found in that time. I’m back to the pressure of making every minute be productive getting caught back up in the rat race of life. The treatments had slowed me down to take a breath.
My take-aways  from this incident: embrace the situation & look at the bright side.
Just with these two learnings I experienced a ‘shift‘ in my perception of the situation and was more in control of it where I made it work for me.
* As for the psoriasis please feel free to ask anything you would like to know. I will also be sharing some experiences with it in due time. 



The Conscious Way Summit – an approach to conscious parenting

#Evolve 2015 – The Conscious Way Summit
Mindfulness, awareness, presence & consciousness were words frequently used in our home on a daily basis. In efforts to instill these traits in our children, my husband and I exchanged many a dialogue amongst ourselves using these terms so that our pre-teens would osmotically pick up on our “oh so intelligent” cues. But, it wasn’t until I sat through Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s Conscious Summit, Evolve, in December 2015, that I started resonating with what these terms “actually” meant on so many different levels.
A 3 day summit, beginning with 3 hours on a Friday night, a full Saturday and a conclusive Sunday morning, was to be my “self-care” getaway after I became an avid fan of Dr. Shefali from reading her books and watching her on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.
The very first day I sat amongst so many enlightened souls with messages of oneness and consciousness, all gathered in one room with an energetic vibration so high that all “agendas” went out the door. I was excited to dive into the knowledge these amazing authors were going to share and was fixated on the messages I was going to leave with. I had my notepad out, ready to take notes, to share with my friends and family and as I soaked in the first hour of day 1, I was submerged with emotion, vulnerability & a fierce desire to be the best parent I was meant to be!!! Like most parents, I carried the guilt of juggling agendas, not having enough quality time, not being able to give enough individual attention and I often questioned my own responses to my children’s behaviours.
As Dr. Shefali brilliantly conveyed the message of oneness, equality and changing the parenting paradigm, I began to realize that my parenting style was instinctually more traditional & dualistic. Traditional, as in that we view ourselves as the “greater than” and our children as the “lesser than,” all based upon a hierarchal & ego centric parenting pattern. Her underlying message to parents, to obtain freedom from disciplining and create the space to connect with and enjoy your children, is so empowering. To detach from the outcome and create the connection from your heart space vs. your mind space is the preface of her message, allowing us parents to let go of control and our egos. Dr. Shefali’s strong words and direct approach, “Parenting is narcissistic and not a noble act, you did it for you! So liberate yourself from the delusion that you are raising anyone. It is a partnership that allows you to raise your level of consciousness, if you are tuned in. Raise yourself before you raise another human being!” — What a powerful reminder!!
The workshop consisted of real life examples, with profound role playing and reenacting daily situations in homes with children and these visuals brought the audience to their knees. The message that the responses we give to our children are merely a mirror of our own “baggage,” insecurities & fear, not allowing us to parent from a place of love, but rather from a place of lack, was so real! Coming to realize that what we are doing with our children “unconsciously,” from our predisposed “mind space,” expecting perfectionism and fulfilling OUR agendas was such a rude awakening. As I related this to myself, I realized that in this daily hustle with the innate desire of conforming my children to what I believed was, a perfect adult, I was losing the true connection with my children!

As I continued to dive deeper within, I questioned how “unconscious” I was to expect these spirits, born with total equanimity, to give up their inborn fire to accommodate my shortcomings as a parent? What an intelligent reminder that this generation is not our generation, I cannot replicate my upbringing and conform their being. It was then when I made the decision to become a conscious parent and release from the patterns & scripts I inherited, to be present with life and not make it about changing them, but rather nurturing their inborn spirit. I decided that I will not raise my children from a place of judgment, expectations and lack, but rather from a place of abundance, trust and connection.
Once that decision was made, there was another layer of inner work, to recognize that our inner reality is a measure of our outer reality. How was I to discover this new space of “is-ness” and surrender? How was I to be a mom with presence, a mom with love & a mom with pride? As I decided to enter this place of partnership with my children, I was reminded that to unconditionally love, that love has got to begin from inside me and that shift cannot happen until I riseand the route to my children’s authentic power lies in my awakening.
Today, I continue to work towards “neutralizing my ego,” undoing my projection and entering “essence.” I continue to face the daily challenges and remind myself that I am ready to enter the soul to soul relationship   with my child. I am here to stay connected to the grand essence of everything, to hose down every element in me where I am triggered, where my ego is activated. I choose now to sit with the emotion and not allow it to go into projection. I let my children feel they are enough; I do not impose, but model what I believe & I aim to provide free mental space for my children to come to their own conclusions. My spirited children have been my invitation to enter a non-conditional relationship and I choose to teach them to awaken and not follow!!!

The End of An Era – Sari Boutique/Cottage Art


The End of An Era…at Mum’s Mecca…
In June of 1984, Manu & Jyoti Nagrani (Mum & Dad) opened the very first Desi designer boutique on Pioneer Blvd., Artesia (Little India), California called Sari Boutique.
Sari Boutique was opened 2 months after mum and dad migrated to America and boy was it opened with panache & grandeur. Dad built a fine boutique with the help of a decorator (Dusyant) from London and my brothers (Banu & Jack), all hands on. Jack just sent me a message saying, ‘amazing learning experience for Dusyant and I, creating and building the interior display canopies (21 of them) and the warehouse storage……life experience that cannot be taught :-)’.   Mum picked & created the finest of silks and fashions and displayed them in unique ways which were so different at the time for a Desi textiles shop. The then Mayor of Artesia was invited to cut the ribbon and all the known Desi (mainly Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) personalities and families graced the occasion.
Through the years, mum and dad fondly came to be known as ‘Aunty’ & ‘Uncle’ on the ‘Street’ by staff, clients and fellow business owners. ‘Aunty’ started to collect many titles by her clients and by the local media, some being ‘stylist to the stars’, ‘designer with elegant taste’ while she charmed everyone in their native tongue (Hindi, Gujarati, Kachhi, Punjabi, Swahili & obviously English).
My brothers and I are very fortunate recipients of the beautiful relationships created in these years as a result of this business. Sari Boutique sponsored many local Charity Galas, Bridal Expos and Beauty Pageants while coordinating and participating in fashion shows – a journey through which we have made some amazing friends.   I worked in Sari Boutique in between college and working in the garment Industry and in between degrees.  Later, I was part of the team which launched and ran ‘Cottage Art’.  Moving to America as a teenager and being part of the stereotypical ‘mom & pop’ business definitely had it’s poignant & positive lessons for me for which I will ever be grateful.
Along with our Desi clientele, we started to see and serve Hollywood celebrities from behind as well as on screen, musicians and fashion designers using saris and Indian fabric on western fashion. Thank you for the education and the opportunity to put my fashion degree and Industry experience to good use!
At the turn of the Millennium, Sari Boutique changed name and business to Cottage Art – a handicraft shop carrying furniture and soft furnishings from Bali, India, China and Thailand. ‘Uncle’ travelled to exotic cities (Nepal, Bali, Chiang Mai) in Asia (some not so exotic) to source and mostly to design amazing home furnishings with a blend of vintage fabrics and contemporary design.

This new phase brought about a whole new zest to the business and our lives as we interacted with a very eclectic range of visitors many of whom have become our very dear friends. (Some of these beautiful people actually flew to Goa for my wedding!).
30 years on… ‘Aunty & Uncle’ Nagrani & Family would like to thank every single person who walked in those doors, who we had the opportunity to speak with and to serve, who have enriched our lives in Los Angeles through your knowledge & experience you shared, your friendship and your loyalty to us and our business. We would like to thank especially all our neighbours, fellow businesses owners on Pioneer Blvd. and the members of the City Council.  I personally would like to thank all the designers, ‘karigars’ (embroiderers), and our exporters who took the time to teach me during my few years in the business.   It’s been magical, it’s been enlightening, it’s been growth in the most amazing of ways including spiritual, it’s been humbling but most of all, it’s been an amazing ride.

‘Aunty’ & ‘Uncle’ now embark on a new journey to build new memories with their family and friends.

From our heart to yours… ‘Shukriya’ (Thank You) & ‘Namaste’ (The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you).


Diesel vs. Unleaded

I have been certified now officially as a  ‘Creature of Habit’.

With a background in wedding planning and then being a twin mum I just have to be organised, or at least pretend to be.  I have schedules and time tables.  I need everything to run like clock-work because there is a lot I would like to do and be.  And then there’s reality.  There’s Plan B.  There’s loss of memory.  There are children falling ill.  There’s unforeseen circumstances.  AND THEN there’s diesel and unleaded!

I was running a very tight schedule this weekend, we had swimming, birthday parties, a dinner guest, a pub lunch, etc.  I had it all down and delegated between hubby & nanny while I fit in a run to the supermarket on an almost empty tank of fuel.

Hubby taking boys to the birthday party while I shopped, prepared for dinner then was meant to join him at the birthday party.  I get to the shop and realise I have his car which does not have the trolley token.  Not a big deal, I buy another one and attach it to his key bunch.  Shopping done and loaded, I’m so bang on schedule, and head to the petrol/gas station.  I agree to get my  4p off a litre from the Tesco Club points and fill away.  I put the nozzle back in the pump and s*!%… I filled Unleaded instead of Diesel!  Still calm, I messaged hubby, then proceed to sit in the car and start the engine.  I get a panic call from hubby… ‘put the engine off! don’t drive the car! call RAC ASAP!’.

Now I panic.  I have potentially damaged his E-Class MB which could be grounds for divorce or a very unhappy few months.  RAC reassure me that it should all be okay and they will send a ‘specialist recovery vehicle’ which will ‘drain the incorrect petrol and re-fill the correct one and see if any damage has been done’… BUT after 2 hours!!!  So here I am, sitting in my car at the petrol pump with a dying mobile battery and can not charge the phone since I can not turn on the engine.  Thank God for the last Evening Standard at the kiosk… which I read from end to end.

RAC shows up an hour and half later thankfully, tells me to go have a cup of coffee while they do what they need to for 1/2 an hour.  Unleaded drained, few litres of diesel filled, no immediate damage done but a chance of a future one cropping up.  Almost 3 hours later I’m home… missed the birthday party and no time to prepare dinner. BUT a car that works right now.

What I learned:

1.  Go slow.  The world is not coming to an immediate end.

2.  Engage human pilot and put auto-pilot on hold.

3.  Always ensure you have a good team – hubby and nanny – in my case – so I did not need to worry about the children.

4.  READ the cap on the gas tank.  It clearly said ‘diesel‘ but I was so running on a schedule I clearly missed it.


6.  Once you have had the tank ‘cleaned off the contamination’, fill the tank up full with the ‘correct’ petrol.  When it is half-empty, refill till the top and then run it down empty.  This should help ensure that any ‘contamination’ in the tank does not mess up the fuel system.

7.  The incorrect petrol can potentially severely damage the fuel system in the car, which would need to be replaced for some mega money.

8.  Schedules are schedules.  Stay calm, stay safe. READ.

9.  Be in the present moment. Be aware.  Take it in.  Take in that I am not in MY car.  READ.

10.  When you do something silly… share it with everyone to educate and save them from committing silliness themselves.


Mums' Days