Reader Appreciation Award

Reena who writes the blog YogawithMaheshwari nominated me over the weekend for my first blog award so I truly appreciate it. Her blog was one of the first I found when I entered this brave new world three months ago. And it remains amongst my favorites for her simplicity and honest sharing.

Recipients of the award are asked to:

  1. Identify the awards and who gave them to you.
  2. Post the Logo on your blog.
  3. Share 7 items about yourself.
  4. Nominate 5-10 other bloggers to receive this award, and notify them on their blogs.

Here’s some of my favourite blogs, ones that inspire me, and change my early perception that blogging was about lonely people writing about their shopping trips.

  1. Serene Reflection – by Sangeeta Bhagwat, a friend of GD and one of the people who kicked me off the corporate-life plateau.
  2. Jillian Kermani – her humor has a serious depth, her poems have a wry humor.
  3. Our Eternal Consciousness – Deepti G Gujar’s sharing of wisdom and processes. I like.
  4. Awareness – Paul doesn’t accept awards. But I would still like to introduce anyone reading this to his awesome advaita blog.
  5. Transition to Balance – lovely little life hacks and wisdom by the beautiful Yuliya
  6. Coevolve With Kiran – another beautiful therapist and friend of GD.
  7. Luxeternele – inspired creative writing and poems

Here’s 7 things about myself:

  1. I am “directionally-challenged” in real life: my wife jokes that if she takes me down a one-way street and spins me around three times, I won’t be able to find my way out.
  2. I started my career drawing newspaper editorial cartoons for Rs 25 (50 cents) when I was in college. My last full-time job was as Creative and Production head for 20th Century Fox India. How I got there I have no idea.
  3. At one point in the ’80s, I break-danced professionally for weddings.
  4. In my 20s, I quit my career and left the city to become a full-time sannyasi. A few years later, my guru sent me back saying I still had a lot of karma to complete!
  5. My father is a national-award winning author, painter and cartoonist. He created India’s first comic superhero in the ’70s. He is also a superhero in real life.
  6. My wife and I got married wearing matching Superman t-shirts. Just for the fun of it.
  7. When my son Nirvaan was born in 2009, my wife and I felt it would be nice if he did not have any ‘religion’ on his birth certificate. We took it up with the municipal authorities and succeeded in having it that way. Possibly the first in India.

Thank you all who have read my blog so far. Even more than I reader’s appreciation award, I would like to offer a heartfelt writer’s appreciation award to all of you who have spent precious internet-time on something without sex or violence. I truly hope this blog can fulfill its intention of being an honest and fun sharing of the ideas and creations that are life-changing for me.

The Crossroads Chronicles

Do You Want Another Band Aid?

Often the simplest questions are the most difficult to answer. This innocent-looking question by my spiritual teacher GD stuck with me through a difficult phase in my life. And unlike what it sounds, he wasn’t offering to dress up my emotional wounds and soothe me with feel-good platitudes. He was offering me a choice: ‘do you want another band-aid or do you want to heal the wound?’

I don’t recall the exact conversation but I cannot forget the essence. GD was discussing with a bunch of us how we use jobs and relationships like band-aids to cover our wounds, and how our entire struggle in life is to keep them intact. Beneath clinging to an unfulfilling job, he was explaining, was often the fear of facing a deep-rooted sense of uselessness. Couples cling to unhappy relationships and marriages to avoid loneliness. Some become chronic people-pleasers to avoid the fear of abandonment. Others take up social service with a vengeance to not face their own issues…

It was intriguing and even a bit scary to consider my life through this lens. In normal life, I think I do a pretty good job of keeping all this hidden behind a wall of busyness. And like me, I guess for most people these wounds are exposed only one is either forced to be alone for some time, or when some situation opens the wound with a ripping sound – like being fired or dumped. And when one is at the crossroads, where the uncertainty and sense of being lost (which was temporarily covered up by the job or relationship) comes to the surface again. Like I was at that point.

The joke, GD continued, is that even in the best of times, these band-aids do not work. No amount of money helps a person with a core wound of worthlessness feel rich inside. If a woman believes she is ugly or fat, she just won’t believe any external compliment about her beauty. And the terror of losing these band-aids often runs our life. We believe that the only solution is to hold the band-aid tighter – keep the job or the relationship at any cost – to avoid surfacing this wound. But why not face it and move towards real healing and wholeness?

And if you still want to put on a new band-aid, GD said, then just acknowledge it consciously as your choice. Acknowledging the band-aid as your choice empowers you at some level. But your soul or higher self knows that you are free and infinite, and it will keep creating situations for you where this question will reappear: do you still want another band-aid?

See Also: The 10 Mind-Strategies for Avoiding Change

The Crossroads Chronicles

10 Mind Strategies for Avoiding Change – which one is yours?


“I don’t need clarity!” a friend of mine argued. “I already know where I am stuck and what I need to do, I only wish I had the willpower.”

I smiled, remembering how often I had said the same thing to my spiritual teacher GD. And he had gently reminded me that if I could clearly see where the door was, I didn’t need courage or will power to find the way out.

And when GD began identifying the hidden mind-strategies which keep us stuck at crossroads, all I could say was ‘wow, that’s me!’ with every one of them. Knowing these strategies helped me to ease out of my stuck situation without struggling against myself. Knowing them took away their power.

When GD switched on these lights, the terrible giant shadow cast on the wall turned out to be a small rat. Without this clarity, I could have spent a lifetime shadow-boxing and proving to myself and others how impossible it was to change one’s life.

Click here for the downloadable PDF of GD’s 10 MIND STRATEGIES FOR AVOIDING CHANGE. I am sure many of them will resonate for you as well. And feel free to share it with whoever you think would be helped by these insights.

The Crossroads Chronicles

The Crossroads Chronicles / A New Series

Of all the subjects I write about, there is no subject more real for me and more urgent for others than mastering of work. Real for me because it has been the most challenging arena for applying spiritual insight all my life. And urgent for others because millions around the globe, and many of my friends, are finding themselves at the same place where I found myself last year: at a major crossroad between continuing what they were doing and stepping into the unknown to perhaps discover something else. What that something else in life is, I did not know at the time, and my friends today don’t know either.

Dark Knight of the Soul…


Another thing I did not see at the time, was that what was happening to me was not personal – I was part of a bigger planetary shift towards more consciousness in every area of life. As are you, if you are still reading this.

Right now, this is what this shift probably feels like: you are not sure what to do in life anymore, there may be anger at others and yourself because you are not certain who to blame for this predicament, you wonder why you are not excited about the very work that gave you a high in the past, there are moments of intense panic when you think about finances, there is a desire to explore alternative ways of eating, exercising and living. Right now, it doesn’t feel like you are part of what psychics and channels call ‘the greatest transition in the history of mankind’ – right now, it feels like being a confused shit.

That is also the real reason why this blog came into existence in the first place – to be able to talk about things which are relevant and sometimes painful. As they were for me. But fortunately, I had my brother, a psychic empath we call GD, to talk to.

For the next few weeks, I will be focusing on this subject which GD calls ‘The New Paradigm of Work’. I will be writing about all the things he and I have spoken about in the last one year. I will be sharing the insights which got me out of the stuck places, the processes which cleared the past issues and the vision which showed me where we are heading. (Hint: it’s not a place, it’s a state)

As I struggled with my own transition, we spoke about the clues to know when it’s really time to make a change, how to get through the dreaded transition phase, and the building blocks of your new life. I got to learn some really cool things like finding your personal frequency and tuning into the frequency of miracles, finding exactly where you stand at every point using the Universal Feedback Mechanism, and how to stay in the Flow where work (and life) becomes effortless joy, ease and fun.

I have been compiling these conversations and processes for a year now. GD informed me that the time has come for it to be shared immediately. As a spiritual therapist, he is getting more and more clients with the same complaint, the same symptoms, and no clear remedy in sight. So I am truly excited to share this with whoever needs it.

So here’s the plan:  

Every Weekend for 11 WEEKS, I will put up a new blog post about a Major Insight. It will contain tips, tricks and processes for dealing with some aspect of this transition with an irreverent original cartoon thrown in. In later weeks, GD will be sharing some guided meditation audios specially created for transforming the quality of work. You can download them FREE from here.

During the week, if you have any questions, I will request GD to speak especially about those subjects – which may help others as well. I plan to also share my anecdotes around the major insight of the week and look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences.

Lastly, please pass this on to any friends whom you see standing at the same crossroads – this is a good time for them to subscribe by email for an easy weekend read if they feel inspired to do so. And this is a good time to begin to change one’s life.


Don’t Be Practical!

Life is Mysterious! © Aalif Surti 2012

“BE PRACTICAL!” is the terrifying warning the mind gives me during any major life-transition. It means: pay heed to the failures of others, see how unhappy the world is on the news, and spice it up with the doomsday prophecies of my own. My mind creates hypothetical worst-case scenarios and hypothetical solutions to those hypothetical scenarios. And I plan my next steps from a starting point of scarcity, worthlessness and panic.

Listening to a friend a few days ago who is feeling confused going through a career transition, I realized the vice-like grip this word ‘practical’ has on us all – supported by a proud lineage of parental admonition.

But when I look back at my life, I realize that the reality of it has been anything but practical.

Had it been practical, a promising journalism career would not give way to pursue a full-time spiritual life at 23. Practically speaking, what were the odds that this person would then get a call out of the blue from the biggest movie star in the country to join his company as a creative head? And then, without any effort, be made head of the second-largest TV channel in India’s biggest television network? Could his mind have predicted that he would get then selected without an interview to join as head of creative and production as part of a global film studio?

It was not a linear progression – there were ups and downs. And when the tide ebbs, it is painful for many reasons. But the conversation with my friend helped me to see how ‘practical’ is such a loaded word.

When I shared my story, my friend’s face lit up: she could suddenly see her own life had been filled with similar synchronistic situations — she is doing something today far beyond what she could have imagined doing five years ago. With the 20/20 vision of hindsight, the perfection, the synchronicities, the unexpected opportunities — the whole intricate pattern that makes up the tapestry of our life  — is so obvious. And we can see how even the temporary wrongs contributed to the bigger rights. Practical thinking has neither created the greatest inventions nor the happiest humans. Yet, when it’s time to take a big decision, the mind comes up with its favorite strategy to put itself in centre-stage: ‘Be practical!’

I apologized to my friend for being the wrong person to give her ‘practical advice’ on the jobs market scenario. Jobs seem to have appeared out of the blue when I was clear and excited to work. And at other times, when I listen to my mind only because it’s the right thing to do, no matter how much effort I make, nothing works out.

Slowly, slowly, I am learning through trial and terror to not follow my mind, but to follow my energy. I still find that I follow the mind’s fearful logic at times. I still give a lot of value to the ‘should do’ and ‘must do’ over the ‘love to do’ and ‘feels right to do’. It rarely works out right – and when it does, it never brings joy. Following the energy on the other hand feels like wind-surfing through the crests and troughs of Life.

It was so amazing to talk to my friend that day – it helped to remember once again that the most practical thing you can do is to not be practical.

If there was a confused Me from 20 years ago that was to ask for advice today, I would not tell him to be practical, to weigh the pros and cons, to worry about what would come… I would probably say, knowing what has happened in the last 20 years, exactly what Osho once said — Be realistic: plan for a miracle.

Now if only I could fully embrace this advice today!