“Life is what happens when you’re making other plans”

John Lennon said those famous words and did he ever get it right. Sometimes you can plan and act and set off on a certain path that you believe to be the “right” one and then boom – something come’s along and turns everything upside down! That’s what happened with me recently and it’s also the reason I’ve been MIA for so long.

Firstly, thank you all for your comments and for following my blog, it’s very heartening and has helped me immensely to know that I’ve been able to help you come to an “Aha”, no matter how small. Secondly, sorry for being under the radar for so long, believe me when I say I’ve been otherwise occupied! I feel an explanation is due so I’ll make it brief and also share some experiences that may resonate.

I am writing this from India, where I have been since November last year. I had to unexpectedly drop everything overnight and hasten to Delhi to attend to a family crisis, which thankfully has been largely resolved now. As is sometimes the way, one crisis led to another, followed by the sudden death of a family member, which has resulted in my being here for a while now and the likelihood is I will be here a while longer. So – I am dealing with Change – big time!

Being my own best client and practicing what I preach has been challenging sometimes – Delhi is not my favourite city for a variety of reasons, I miss London, I want my own bed & would practically kill to go to my local and have a nice glass of wine with undemanding companions! Ram Dass once said (and I’m paraphrasing horribly I’m sure),  “if you think you’re enlightened and mature, go spend a week with your parents”. Now I love my family very much of course, but I think he may have been onto something there.

Enough griping though, despite feeling like I’m trying to swim through concrete anytime I want to get anything done, the constant heat and total lack of personal space, I am here because I choose to be. There are times when choice-making becomes incredibly easy, when nothing is more important than being there for the people you love. So while I miss “my life” in London, my friends, my clients, my rituals, my gym, my bed, my pub, my books….this is my life too. I figure I may as well enjoy it.

So here’s what’s helped me to stay centred and relatively sane in the past 4 months, when everything went topsy turvy, I’m hoping you may glean a nugget or two as well.

1. Deciding to focus on what’s good about the whole situation.

Since I am here, I’m going to do my best to enjoy being here. What’s great about it is that I get to spend time with my Mum, my dogs, eat lots of great food, hang out with some amazing friends, escape the bitter winter in Europe… And the Cricket World Cup is on.

2. Meditating

It’s a peculiar thing, but it’s a lot easier to meditate in London rather than India, where it’s supposed to have begun. Taking those 15 minutes to be with myself has been the biggest gift I have given myself and the biggest reason I am OK. I’m a huge believer – it kept me sane when I worked in FX and carnage hit the dealing room and it’s keeping me sane now. (It’s funny how many traders and bankers have told me they meditate BTW!!)

3. Buddies

Quality over quantity every time when it comes to the people I choose to spend my time with and I am luckier than most. I’m blest to have great friends all over the world and in Delhi, who’ve been absolute lifesavers. Do your friends uplift you, make you feel fabulous and make you laugh? If so hold on to them and tell them how much you appreciate them! If not, why not?

4. Focusing on the Prize

When the crap’s hitting the fan, it’s easy to get distracted with all the goo on the ceilings, walls, floor, the stink etc etc etc. It’s critical to stay focused on the end goal – the Big Prize and not let the other stuff shake your focus. I’m reminding myself every day of what I want to achieve and why. Sometimes the how is not too clear but the What and why are, which makes it a lot easier to stay on path.

5. Humour & Perspective

Perspective first – no matter how big my so called “problems” are – there are people who are a lot worse off and I am incredibly fortunate to be me. Nowhere is this brought home as much as in India with it’s contrasts of wealth and poverty; that said, there have been people all over the world living with natural disasters, massive loss of life, liberty and possessions, frankly, when I think of it all I feel like a bit of a drama queen to whinge. No matter how badly off I am, there are many who are far worse off.

Humour – Am I the dancer or am I being danced by a greater force? I just have to laugh sometimes at how life works out! Being a “change expert”, I know how to deal with massive change right?!? Uh yeah, right, some of the time. The rest of the time I just laugh at myself, the situation and also make time to play with the dogs, watch the funnies on telly and make time to read, listen to music, go for walks and constantly remind myself that we’re all human after all – we’re all doing the best we can and being the best we can be. Me included.

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11 Responses to “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans”
  1. Tessa Hood
    March 21, 2011 | 7:54 pm

    Hi Piya, sounds like you’ve been having a hard time, but being the person you are you’re turning it to your advantage and will soon be out on the other side looking back and being hugely relieved that you did what you did , when you did.

    Calmness is what you’ve got in shedloads, take this for one of life’s sideswipes, and look forward and plan for the rest of life’s surprises, you called it ‘Life’s what happens to you….. ‘ and it sure is!
    Keep on keeping on, lots of love

  2. tim awan
    March 21, 2011 | 8:45 pm

    welcome back. its been ages. great article.

  3. Michelle O'Neil
    March 21, 2011 | 11:38 pm

    She hit a boulder at 100mph, but she’s back in the boat! Go Piya!

  4. Angie
    March 22, 2011 | 12:14 am

    Nice post Piya, all the best and see you when you are back to London… no rush though, as you say sometimes in life is incredibly easy to chose what is the right thing to do.

  5. Isabel
    March 22, 2011 | 10:03 am

    Hi Piya! I loved your article and having news from you again! Your article resonated with my current state so I appreciate that you shared it with us. I send you a big hug.

  6. Piya Khanna
    March 23, 2011 | 1:14 pm

    Thank you all for your comments! Best wishes, Piya

  7. Giulio
    March 23, 2011 | 5:19 pm

    Dear Piya – so nice to hear from you again, sounds like you have been through a lot lately, I wish you strength and happiness. We miss you here in London, hopefully we will see you back soon!

  8. Linda
    March 24, 2011 | 5:39 pm

    Hi Piya — I can relate! My mom’s unexpected death four months ago has sent me into a tailspin. When you say you feel like you are “swimming through concrete” those are nearly the same words I use to describe this state of not getting anything done. Thanks for the great reminders of what helps us stay centered in the middle of the storm, and of the wisdom in choosing rather than resisting. I wish you courage and peace for the journey.

  9. Aída Araujo
    March 24, 2011 | 6:33 pm

    I’ve been reading & sitting in front of your article for some long minutes…it´s a great one!What you said expresses that feeling of having ” presence in the present”,actually.The peculiar thing is the commitment you searched for and did with yourself,indeed.Thanks a lot for sharing it.
    My regards from Venezuela…

  10. Flore
    March 25, 2011 | 1:57 pm

    I agree with you and its amazing how many people take a lifetime to realise, that this is just the way life is or can be and gripe all the time. There can, surprisingly, be something positive about obstacles when you look closely and you can use them to your advantage.

    It is unfortunate that the reality of life has intervened and that you have lost someone, but by the sounds of it you are baring all very well…My condolences.


  11. Arantxa
    April 2, 2011 | 6:37 pm

    Little angel, so long without any news from you!!! I wish you strength to keep your humour and perspective long enough. I’m sure your smile will cheer up those around you (like it did to me).
    Un beso muy fuerte.

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