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This blog post originally appeared on iReikiNow and is reprinted with permission. Declutter your mind – practical and soulful tips

iReikiNow is a Reiki/ meditation/ spiritual practice that has been established by Nidhi Idnani.Nidhi is a Certified Reiki Master and Teacher of Usui/Tibetan Reiki, following the teachings of Mikao Usui (founder of the Usui System of Reiki) through the International Center for Reiki Training (ICRT), a Chakra Wellness Expert and a Meditation coach.

To all my writer friends out there – the pointers given in this post are beneficial when you as a writer have too many thoughts germinating in your brain and they are killing each other or when you need to toss out your  ‘darlings’ (choicest sentences/paras etc.), or when you need that calm demeanor to provide your character with more dimension. Read on:

Declutter your mind – practical and soulful tips – By Nidhi Idnani of iReikiNow

We all suffer from mental chatter, the rush of words, the supersonic speed of thoughts, which lead to hastened reactions. This is precisely the time when we need to put our thought breaks on. Give yourself permission to stop for a moment,  and create some mental space by following these tips below. Just BREATHE…

 

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  • Be present: Breathe deeply and be present in the moment. Do whatever it takes to clear your head and calm yourself – whether it is breathing exercises, meditation or staying in silence.
  • Rest: Sleep is imperative. It will sharpen your attention, improve your memory, improve your health, reduce stress and help your overall well being.
  • Exercise: Whether it’s a walk in the park, yoga or a sport you enjoy, get up and move your body. Let those endorphins release in your body, boost your immune system, take control of your health, and enjoy the positivity it brings along.
  • Attention on one thing – Stop multi-tasking. Embrace single-tasking. Adopt actionable goals. It will help you focus better, and it will boost your time management skills. Completing one task at a time builds your confidence, which will only help you to achieve success and will raise your happiness quotient.
  • Thankful – Remember the good times and and count your blessings. Maintain a gratitude journal. Very soon you will realize that you have much to be thankful for.
  • Have a to do list: Use an app/ tool to save your list. Save your appointments (and the reminders) on your calendar. Fewer ideas will slip away and you will tend to get a lot done. Finally, organizing and recording your tasks helps you to prioritize what is most important to you.
  • Eliminate the non-essentials: This can be a blog post in itself J but let’s list the most important –
  • The materialistic: Often we clutter our closets with unnecessary purchases or with products we don’t need anymore. Donate items you don’t need and organize your house.
  • The thought: Waste thoughts and negative thoughts creep up in our minds and take up a lot of space. Let go of the worries, anxieties, fears and all that does not serve you. The past is over and fretting about the future does not help. Take ownership of your thoughts. You have the power to choose positive thoughts.
  • Social media/ TV/ Phone: While there are many benefits to social media/ TV and the phone, we have become a culture where countless hours are spent on the same. External noise is inversely related to inner peace. So go ahead and put your phone away for a certain period everyday.  Find joy in the quiet.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to detox your mind.

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We are women, hence the strength to go on….

Way back in 1949, Simone de Beauvoir wrote, “I hesitated a long time before writing a book on woman,” De Beauvoir begins. “The subject is irritating, especially for women; and it is not new. Enough ink has flowed over the quarrel about feminism; it is now almost over: let’s not talk about it anymore.”

Six decades or so later, acts of feminism still make the news.  Women continue  to fight to prove their individuality. Discrimination, stereotyping, objectification (especially sexual objectification), oppression and patriarchy still prevail.  Granted, countless paths of equality have been traversed and thousands of rights have been attained, yet this ‘ism’ hasn’t crossed the finish line victoriously.

How does the dictionary defines Feminism?

Feminism is  the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities or feminism is organized activity in support of women’s rights and interest.  

 

As the Jennifer Lawrences and malala yousafzais  of the world continue to speak up  about gender pay inequality and women’s rights  respectively, we as women need to learn from these highly accomplished women that feminism is about leading  by examples and not by mere talk.  For women’s sake, I want all women who are entering the feminist space or are considering  taking up arms against men in the name of feminism, to realize a few things.

Men are not benchmarks for women –  Yes, women should speak up when it comes to equal opportunities as a human being and equal pay for equal work  but  women don’t need to  aspire to be like men in all respects. Men and women will have different likes and  dislikes, different coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and different reactions at jubilant times. There will always be natural  differences between the two sexes and those differences are to be celebrated.Feminist women don’t need to bare their chests like men or wear feminism like a brand. The only competition each woman or rather each human being should have is with herself or himself.

Revel in your own strength as women.

Feminism is not a brand –  As I go through the countless feminist paraphernalia sites, and read about the many events where  mobs of females say or do everything that falls under the category of mob mentality, I wonder how we can brand something that stemmed from thousands of years of  being treated as inferior to men? The collective pain of countless women can’t be poured into the molds to make mugs, or stamped onto T-shirts, or blasted through  microphones in rallies.

Feminism needs action.

Be a woman in essenceWomen who are feminist are sensitive towards other women.  They empathize with the ones who are unable to make good choices either due to lack of awareness or due to circumstances.  So work on bringing out  the ‘true woman’ in you. Try doing the hard task of not frowning  upon the choices other women make. Instead, in your lifetime, help out at least one woman to boost her morale, lift her up, and encourage her to pass on the baton. Lead by example  against injustice and gender divide and  DON’T EVER practice it.

 Do what real feminist women do – GIVE!

Feminism is not a ritual that every modern woman should followThe want of feminism is to find  what you want to do in life.The key phrase  here is whatever you want to do and not what you are made to do. It is not a ritual that every woman has to follow, it is a mindset, an understanding that every woman and every man should have. It could very well  mean sitting at home and cooking for your family.  Trust me, if you as a woman loves doing so, then you are a feminist at heart. That doesn’t mean you won’t have or express countless opinions on the world political scenario, the economy or how your son or daughter should be raised.  

It is important for every woman to know what she wants in life.

 

Women need women – Through the last decade or so,  I have been relearning the meaning of feminism. From the dictionary meaning to the screaming “I am a feminist” t-shirt to the meaning taught by Sheryl Sandberg in her book  Lean In –  each one has shaped and reshaped my opinion of gender equality and feminism.  Recently I concluded  that my 86 year old grandma is truly a feminist. She never worked outside of her home, did not get the equal opportunities as her male siblings did, was taught to follow through her father’s and husband’s decisions made for her, but she always pushed her daughters to pursue higher education and never thrust her decisions on them.

Be a mentor to someone.

Men and women as allies –  Historically, women have been subjugated, looked down upon, and expected to remain mute on all financial decisions. Basically women have been on the back bench for centuries. But that doesn’t mean, feminist women have to have their horns out when it comes to men. One can’t expect to get a friendly handshake while one is looking away. Men and women can and should work together.

 Feminist Women do not mind an equal compromise – just don’t ask her to take a step back because she is a woman.  

 

‘Palace of Illusions’ by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Mahabharata retold through Draupadi’s eyes. It would be good to have some knowledge of the epic story  before reading this boo…

Source: I am currently hovering over the pages of . . .

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Photo Credit: Maroon Oak

As a writer and a mother, my writing career has taken numerous twists and turns from writing children’s stories to creating content for small business owners, but I am fortunate that every day I get to do what I love.

 

If you aspire for a Career with words, there are limitless paths that a writer can take. The list below explores some of them, but is by no means exhaustive.

To read the full article, please visit  Maroon Oak where this article was originally published.

 

 

 

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I’ve been asked more than once when my book was getting published.

“I am not writing a book,” I said.

Yet, I am a writer.

There are many stereotypes attached to writers and the craft of writing. Not all writers are novelists and not all writers have an epiphany from heaven to create memorable pieces. Well, if they do, I haven’t heard of any. While writing, they also do not revel in silks and stroke a furry feline and neither are they constantly mired in their own thoughts and removed from the society. But we will let these ideas coexist with the fact that writing is one of the most versatile of professions.

If you are considering writing as a comeback career option, make a candid evaluation of your writing and storytelling skills first.

Do you have what it takes?

Are you a natural at this? Do friends praise you for your witty or insightful updates? Are you the default communicator for the PTO ? Do you always have a story running in your head while doing chores?

Facts for the aspiring writer:

The good news first – you do not need a formal education in communication or journalism to get a job as a writer, though it helps. A flair for writing, good grammar skills and the default ingredient called passion are good enough.

Content that counts – Start with writing about what you know best to build your writing repository, whether it’s food, politics, health or parenting tips.

Options, options – Understand  your style of writing and then determine which industry it fits best. If you have a science background and the ability to write a clean copy, you might consider the field of medical writing. An aptitude for descriptive renditions could open doors to real estate writing. There are numerous options in PR, Digital as well as Marketing, like ad copy and printed materials.

Showing it off – Should you have a portfolio? Yes, but you don’t have to be intimidated by the thought of putting one together. Web links to your published work, or samples of unpublished pieces as attachments to your resume would do very well. Build writing credits one piece at a time.

Check out some of the best web-based portfolio sites for writers here.

How can you hone your craft?

Write! There is no other way to learn this other than to JUST write.

Drop everything and make notes when you get your ‘aha’ moment, and believe me, you will! At places and times you might never imagine the muse will visit you. Grocery receipts have come in handy many times for me. Phrases, memories, visuals, jingles, anything could lead to a full- fledged story.  Just remember to jot them down the old fashioned way, using a pen and paper (believe me, this works), or send a recorded message to yourself in their absence.The Notes App on most Smartphones is also a great tool. Do remember to file away all your divine or otherwise revelations later.

Read! You can’t be a good writer without being an avid reader.

Set deadlines and stick to them. Oftentimes the longer you fuss over a writing piece, the worse it gets.

Identify a mentor, partner to inspire you or co-write with and use Apps like Google Docs for shared work. For a free tutorial click here.

Refine! Keep the piece aside and revisit after a day or so with a fresh set of eyes.

Kill  your darlings! Don’t fall in ‘forever love’ with a phrase, paragraph or a character. Every word in a short piece should serve a purpose. If not, delete it.

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone….”—Stephen King, WD

The true mark of a good writer is a commitment to the craft, perseverance, and the ability to read, revise and polish until it reads just right.

Ernest Hemingway said it best, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

So go ahead, tell that story. And remember – the worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t!

Watch out for Part-2  on the How-to’s and Job Prospects for the aspiring writer.

You can also read this and other insightful articles pertaining to your ‘return to work place’ at Maroon Oak

 

Anaphora

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       The first crack in the wood sends shivers of excitement down the spine of the wood cutter. The periodic and consistent chopping thereafter yields a cadence that fills the inner ear with inexplicable pleasure.   Humans have been notorious for not only desiring patterns in music and language but also for getting agitated when it is lacking.

Literary devices like assonance, consonance, alliteration, and anaphora work on the fact that we like repetition.   Anaphora is one  figure of speech that uses a specific clause at the beginning of each sentence or point to make a statement.

Pretty sure Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s use of anaphora won her the love of Robert Browning. See how she woos her lover in this famous sonnet:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

Sonnet 43 from the Sonnets From the Portuguese

Anaphora, possibly the oldest literary device, has its roots in religious songs and discourses used to emphasize certain words or phrases. Gradually, writers brought this device into practice.

From poets to writers to politicians, the use of anaphora is as widespread today as it was in the earlier times.

photo Barack Obama uses anaphora effectively in this  2008 speech after winning the Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina. “I did not travel around this state over the last year and see a white South Carolina or a black South Carolina. I saw South Carolina.”

The more it is used, the more emotions it invokes in the audience.

Who can forget the moving speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, “I have a dream….”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Speech

 

The rhetorical quality of anaphora helps in fostering a connection, increases the impetus, drills the point across faster and helps in etching it in the listeners’ minds.  

Winston Churchill “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be….”

Other examples of the usage of anaphora are:

  • No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important.
  • We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity.
  •  “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England, This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings [. . .]

The 21st century social media uses anaphora as a tool to drill its message in its users’ psyche. Repeat, repeat and repeat. Sometimes the rhetoric do not have a musical quality and falls in the category of nonsense but it sure works.

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“Good night and good luck”

Raising a child is filled with challenges – sleepless nights, tantrums, tending to a sick child, the endless scheduling and deadlines, remembering to fill out numerous forms for doctor visits, schools, games etc.Women are built to take on these motherhood challenges and overcome them. The go-getter executives, the office secretaries, the nurses and the scientists, the […]

via Motherhood – And its Skill Amassing Side Effects — prachi jain