Building Resilience on the “Surf-Board” of Life

Building Resilience on the “Surf-Board” of Life

If there is one skill that most of the people on this planet have been compelled to nurture, since March 2020, it is arguably RESILIENCE amidst change. True – there may be many different shades of color to this skill. While some of us have bid goodbye to loved ones, others have said a farewell to their old jobs and searched for newer avenues of work. If some have learned to push back at the panic of dwindling finances, others have welcomed new arrivals in their families – masks, vaccine shots and sanitizer in place. We’ve given up old habits and acquired new friends, stopped old routines and begun new hobbies, questioned old priorities and acquired guilt-free joy in the little pleasures of life! Amidst all these changes, we’ve learned to bend our knees and balance on the “surf-board” of life. Sometimes gracefully, and sometimes reluctantly. But there has been no escape from the learning!

While reflecting on my own journey of learning, I realized that there was a convergence of “A-ha” moments, drawn from several roles that I play – that of a daughter, a mother, a wife, and also that of a professional, an educator, a life-coach and a teacher-trainer. If the year 2021 could speak, what would it tell me? So, here’s a little list of what 2021 “spoke” – maybe you might find resonance with some of them? ????

  • Identify your “Circle of control” versus “Circle of influence” versus “Circle of no influence, no control”. The first refers to everything that is in your hands – your efforts, choices, emotions, thoughts, etc. The second refers to all those things that you can try and impact, but cannot fully control. This includes the actions and choices of your loved ones, workplace colleagues, friends etc. The third refers to the national or global events that impact you, but which are not controlled by you. These can be many!
  • Train your mind to consciously link your emotions to only those things which are in the first circle. Learn to gradually de-link your emotions from the second and third circles. This is tough! But possible…
  • When unpleasant and unexpected things happen, respond to them ethically, with the best of your efforts, without wasting time and energy in asking “Why me?”.
  • In any situation, ask, “What is the best I can do in the given circumstances?” Then do it!
  • Surrender the final outcomes to the universe. 
  • Let prayer and humility mark your efforts.
  • Understand that not all efforts bring immediate outcomes – but every effort definitely brings the commensurate outcome at some time, in some way. Therefore, drop the stress.
  • Instead of getting distracted by people and situations, ask yourself “How do I give value to those around me?” Then proceed to do that.
  • Make your peace with all the things you do NOT control and cannot predict! This is truly difficult. Yet, logic tells us that there is no alternative to this, if you want your mind to be calm. Then, that calm mind can generate creative solutions for any problem.
  • Remind yourself of these regularly, as intellectual understanding doesn’t easily translate into emotional acceptance. The mind is like a little child that has to be coaxed into learning. ????
  • Track your growth and see how the uncertainties and challenges of your life have made you a stronger, wiser, more compassionate person!
  • Breathe deep, smile at yourself in the mirror and pat yourself for every step of the journey you have walked on – only YOU know your battles, and you deserve to be appreciated for your endeavors.

May all of us learn the art of bringing the smiles back to our faces and our hearts, via the beautiful skill of resilience!

Photo credit: Piya Mukherjee

USA: Selfish Self – Finding the Balance

USA: Selfish Self – Finding the Balance



A life coach (LC) once told me it is important to be selfish sometimes. She had to explain what she meant because for as long as I could remember, the word ‘selfish’ was synonymous with not caring about anyone other than yourself. Well, LC was one of the sweetest people I have met, yet she did not strike me as one who would accept being pushed around, or would accept becoming a doormat. Usually, really sweet people are considered people on whom you can ‘get over’, right?

When I had this conversation with her I was already mother to by firstborn. However, I did not come to really contemplate the meaning of being selfish while being a mother, until after having my second child.

What LC was conveying to me is that although I am a mother, I am a person. Separate from all the titles I gather in life I have myself and I have to take care of self. You’ve probably heard it or read it somewhere…’If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else’. I have heard people reference it to when an aircraft loses oxygen and you are to put an oxygen mask on yourself before helping someone else, even your own child, put on her mask. Still, the word ‘selfish’ isn’t used here, even though it may be more concise and cost less to print. I do understand why: it just doesn’t sound good.

Nonetheless, being selfish (to an extent) is necessary for sanity, self-esteem, creativity, and a dynamic life.

I don’t know about other mothers, but I tend to analyze a lot. It used to be that before I left the house (children and husband in it), I would think of all I could do to make sure everything for the kids was where it was supposed to be so my husband could easily find it. It was as if the time I was going to be away had to be excused in my own mind, and that I was negatively selfish for not being there to care for them myself. I know this is absurd because we are both their parents and my husband hasn’t indicated, in any way, that he thinks or feels any of the things I am explaining here.

I realized I was hindering my own self from taking a break. From clocking out from my Stay At Home career. From taking care of me. From figuring out how to take care of me beyond taking a shower and maybe putting on some make up.

So about a month and a half ago my husband and I had a conversation. We acknowledged that we both feel the difference in our lives from how it was pre two small children and a teenager, to post two small children and a teenager. We agreed that we both need time to be ourselves individually and together. At the end of that conversation it was decided that I was going to begin taking scheduled ‘Me Time’.

The first time I had no clue what to do with myself. I was happy to leave the house and go do something. I didn’t want to waste my time. I didn’t want to do something as mundane as go window-shopping or take a nap in my car…like I have done a few times in the past. Then I realized I could do anything I wanted and I would be doing it by myself! 

When I returned home I felt energized and didn’t feel like I needed to clock out again for a while. The second time I felt kind of guilty, leaving everyone again, so as it was already hard to schedule something with holiday travel, I just let that one go. Today was my third scheduled Me Time and I knew exactly what I was going to do. I was going to take my selfish self to the forest and hike! Yes, I was going to take a hike!


My hike was phenomenal. It was something I needed more than I thought. I wished for my husband and my children to be with me. I kept envisioning them there, but I knew I needed to be by myself. I needed to not worry about what they might need… if they are hungry, thirsty, or need a diaper change. Or if the 15-month old had eaten a crayon or is putting his finger in his mouth and maybe is now interested in sticking it in an electrical socket.

That’s the thing, you know? Being a Stay at Home Parent means that as long as your children are awake, you have to be aware while you’re cooking or cleaning, or doing whatever else you may need to do, Additionally, you have to be present for the myriad learning moments young humans have. I personally think that is tiring. I feel like I am wrong for feeling this way. That, as a parent, but more so as a mother, I should want to be with my children all the time and I should only get a tiny bit tired just as any human would from being awake and doing regular things.

To continue, my hike was what I needed. I focused on thinking of nothing. I took deep breaths as I walked briskly onward in the chilly air. Every time I thought to meditate I would first repeat a prayer I know, and then somehow ended up seeing Purnima Ramakrishnan’s face as if she was leading a meditation session. It was so strange and SO funny! Then I kept thinking about how I should have asked if there are wild animals to be concerned about on the trails. Black bears and cougars would have to just let me have my Me Time, you know?

After the hike I watched a R-rated movie (The Big Short) and ate a cookie.

I got home to two little babes wanting to be tickled and wanting to use me as an obstacle they had to demolish. It was a lot of fun and I knew I was better for them since I went and had some time with my own self.

Do you take time to do things on your own? Do you ever feel like you could be better for your children? When you do take time away, are there specific things you do that bring you back to center? What do you think about the word ‘selfish’?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Sophia. You can find her blogging at Think Say Be and on twitter @ThinkSayBeSNJ.


Photo credits to the author.


I am a mom amongst some other titles life has fortunately given me. I love photography & the reward of someone being really happy about a photo I took of her/him. I work, I study, I try to pay attention to life. I like writing. I don't understand many things...especially why humans treat each other & other living & inanimate things so vilely sometimes. I like to be an idealist, but when most fails, I do my best to not be a pessimist: Life itself is entirely too beautiful, amazing & inspiring to forget that it is!

More Posts

Follow Me:

ISRAEL: We Walk A Fine Line

ISRAEL: We Walk A Fine Line

tightrope walker

I feel like a tightrope artist struggling to walk the fine line of life.

Not just a lone tightrope artist finding her balance without an audience but one who is trying to navigate in between a myriad of other tightrope artists, each of us attempting not to fall down. Life really is a balancing act, and not just because of all the daily tasks we each have loaded on our plates.

Life is a gentle precarious balance between right and wrong, love and hate, acceptable and unacceptable, pleasure and pain, righteousness and irreverence, wants and needs.

Every single thing we say and do has the potential to hurt someone or to make them feel happy. The potential to be viewed as right or wrong. The potential to be hailed and brilliant or to be regarded as dumb. The tricky part is that you can perceive something or mean something one way and it can be perceived in a totally opposite way.

And when then happens you get blindsided and knocked down, yet somehow you have to find the strength to get back up on that fine line of life and regain your composure and balance. It’s not an easy feat since it can happen quite often and each time you fall or get pushed over, you are left with invisible scars that leave you more afraid and more vulnerable.

I think of all the times I have caused others pain and all the times I have been hurt. I worry about the scars I’m inadvertently inflicting on my children because I’m not skilled enough to stay balanced on that fine line and because I stray from that fine line time and time again. But I’m human and need to learn to forgive myself.

Walking that fine line is scary.

How often do you fall down?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our contributor, Susie Newday in Israel. You can find her on her blog New Day New Lesson.

Photo Credit:  Tauno Tõhk / 陶诺 ? Flickr Creative Commons

Susie Newday (Israel)

Susie Newday is a happily-married American-born Israeli mother of five. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and avid amateur photographer.

Most importantly, Susie is a happily married mother of five amazing kids from age 8-24 and soon to be a mother in law. (Which also makes her a chef, maid, tutor, chauffeur, launderer...) Susie's blog, New Day, New Lesson, is her attempt to help others and herself view the lessons life hands all of us in a positive light. She will also be the first to admit that blogging is great free therapy as well. Susie's hope for the world? Increasing kindness, tolerance and love.

You can also follow her Facebook page New Day, New Lesson where she posts her unique photos with quotes as well as gift ideas.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookPinterestGoogle PlusYouTube

Saudia Arabia: Losing Balance

Saudia Arabia: Losing Balance

Losing Balance

I never really had a paying job. In fact, I still don’t.

I started a new business and as anyone who has taken the leap and started a business knows, that doesn’t mean you’re getting paid or will get paid any time soon. For the first time in my life I have “job job”. And to tell you the truth, this is not how I imagined it would be.

This was my plan: Have a dream (check),  work really hard to achieve it (check), be happy…

Now, I’m proud. I’m excited. I’m feeling engaged and doing something I love. The problem is that I’m having trouble finding the happy. I find myself with a full time job that seeps into my thoughts at nights, on weekends, on family vacations and during school plays.

To put things in perspective here is what my life was before this: I had a husband who I saw often. I had time to sit with him, talk to him and watch TV together. I used to be available for him. I also have 4 children for whom I was always available for as well. I played with them, picked them up from school and did homework with them. In fact, if I wasn’t home in the morning I was most probably at their school on the PTA or volunteering in the library (yes) and enjoying it. I volunteered at Saut Down Syndrome School. I was very good at staying in touch with my extended family. I was so good that I was at every family thing we had. Always!

When I started properly working on making my vision a reality, I worked all the time with the “excuse” of it being the beginning. I kept telling myself that it takes this much effort to make it happen. Then it didn’t let up. In fact it got worse.

I have always formed my opinions of working mothers from the cushiness of my ‘stay at home but work when I want to’ life. My opinion was that it was totally valid for a woman to stay home with her children and that it was, if not impossible, then unbelievably difficult to be fully available to your children and husband while working. Why men don’t have to think of being fully available to their wives and children is beyond me but we are being honest and this is what goes through my mind. It may be because while I don’t have to work for us to live he does, so the least I can do is be available when he does come home from work.

I never actually thought about this issue from the point of view of the working mother. Does every working mother constantly feel like she is failing her family because of her work? I do. Always. Every day. It’s gotten to a point that it puts a damper on any success I have in my work life because I know it came at the cost of time spent with my family.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed by my family either. They are missing me and feeling the difference in their day to day life. The upside is that I guess I know I’m wanted and needed.  It does however makes the vision I had for my professional life blurry and a little less important every day.

What kills me more is that I don’t have to do this. I just want to. I am very proud of what I have accomplished and grateful for all the help that seems to have walked into my life to aid me in making this all work. At times I take it as a sign that I have to do this because of all the doors that opened up to me when I seriously started working on it.

It’s a strange feeling to be so proud of something I have accomplished but at the same time feel ashamed of the sacrifices I have made to get there.

It has been 6 months since this change in my life began and now I’m finding it harder and harder to come to terms with how much of my life it has taken up. I have a business I have committed time and money to, AND a family I feel I ‘m letting down daily.

So here’s my plan: Hire people who can take a load off of, so I can pick my kids up from school and see my husband while I still have enough energy to engage with them! It may be easier said than done but I will try and find a balance.

Is there such a thing as a balance between working and being a mother?

Does one have to suffer in order for the other to prosper?

Mostly, is it fair for me to do this at the expense of time spent with my children and husband, especially since I don’t have to, I just want to?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mama B from Saudi Arabia. She can be found writing at her blog, Ya Maamaa.

Photo Credit to Lauren Sachs.

Mama B (Saudi Arabia)

Mama B’s a young mother of four beautiful children who leave her speechless in both, good ways and bad. She has been married for 9 years and has lived in London twice in her life. The first time was before marriage (for 4 years) and then again after marriage and kid number 2 (for almost 2 years). She is settled now in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (or as settled as one can be while renovating a house).

Mama B loves writing and has been doing it since she could pick up a crayon. Then, for reasons beyond her comprehension, she did not study to become a writer, but instead took graphic design courses. Mama B writes about the challenges of raising children in this world, as it is, who are happy, confident, self reliant and productive without driving them (or herself) insane in the process.

Mama B also sheds some light on the life of Saudi, Muslim children but does not claim to be the voice of all mothers or children in Saudi. Just her little "tribe." She has a huge, beautiful, loving family of brothers and sisters that make her feel like she wants to give her kids a huge, loving family of brothers and sisters, but then is snapped out of it by one of her three monkeys screaming “Ya Maamaa” (Ya being the arabic word for ‘hey’). You can find Mama B writing at her blog, Ya Maamaa . She's also on Twitter @YaMaamaa.

More Posts