Building faith is like building blocks with Lego.
Lay the foundation.
Be in the present moment.
Focus on what is in front.
Slowly keep building upwards reaching for the sky.

Many have said that faith is a giant wave that engulfs everything in a sudden movement. While for some it is an ocean trapped within their hearts. For my husband it is like dew drops that remains hidden in his consciousness at all times.

As for me I am realizing, it’s about rebuilding my life and soul bit by bit every day. It is learning to let go everything that is old, shedding my skin like a snake and re-emerging. It is challenging and uncomfortable. But then who said Lego of Life was easy?

My struggles these days are mundane, and average compared to many. Write my book, lose weight, be more active, avoid sugar, earn money, and how can I forget – rescue cats. My life is palatable on most days and simmering with anxiety on other days. The arrival of silver strands has bought in a certain amount of liberation. I don’t wish to wear makeup or Jewellery unless I have to for a big meeting or a function. I am ok to look like I am wearing same clothes on most days. I have a newfound love for colourful sneakers. The comfort of walking on cloud of foam is as good as eating caramel ice cream with whipped cream by the seashore.

In all these moving pieces of my life, I have now found Swamiji. I listen to him often wondering what Ashram library might look like and if I can escape there for a month to write. I have moved a few pieces in my morning routine to do one round of Gayatri Mantra chanting. Some days I am thinking of Aamir Khan movies, cats and cooking while chanting. And some days I find it bland like a khichadi served in a hospital. But today for a few seconds I saw faint strokes of orange at my forehead. A flash is all it took to make me sit up and take notice. All I can say is that it felt different.

I am someone who normally has a million things going on; mainly rescued sick cats that need attention, writing at my desk, shouting match with my gardener, early morning call with my best friend, chats with my sister. All this while cooking and listening to RD Burman in my lovely kitchen. I am a chronic multitasker. I possess a racing mind that is fit to win the Formula One. But I am trying to do better and be better. I falter and I try again. This is my journey, and I am at my own pace. I am not someone who can renounce the world. But I am someone who wants to make it a better place for animals.

In last two weeks something has shifted. Its subtle yet noticeable. The shift was after I turned to Swamiji and asked for his help for two things.

One situation was where I was fighting with my community management to save stray cats from being killed for last 6 years. After being shunned and insulted by the community management, I had a meeting with the new manager last week after pushing to change the practice for years. Before I left for that meeting, I spoke to Swamiji that if he felt I was making a difference then to somehow, he had to stop the killing of innocent cats and help me change the management’s mind about neutering them and saving them. To my utter shock the new manager agreed to all my terms, promised to do his best and listen to what we had to say for 3 hours. He then reverted back after few days asking for recommendations and involved me into creating a process where we can save lives of stray animals and neuter them in a clinic.

Second instance is more intriguing.

3 nights ago, a friend spotted a disabled kitten hiding under the car in a mall near my home. She sent videos to many rescuers asking if anyone could help this cat who had a missing paw and would not survive on her own. Here they trap stay animals and kill them. I saw the message at 5 am when I woke up. I was to sit down and do my Gayatri Chanting that early.

But instead, I bowed my head and spoke to Swamiji saying I will do the chanting later if that’s ok. I felt this kitten needed my help now and I will be driving there. It was a needle in a haystack. A cat will not hang around all night waiting to be caught. Maybe she was trapped and killed already. I requested Swamiji that if he could tell the kitten I was coming to get her and help me find the kitten I would be grateful.

I drove off with a cage, a can of tuna and a heart full of hope. Upon my arrival I realized that the massive parking lot was empty being early morning and there was no sign of life anywhere. I drove in circles for a bit covering the vast ground and then walked around for a while meowing, hoping the kitten will hear me. Miraculously after some time the handicapped kitten emerged from the engine of an abandoned car meowing and walked straight towards me as if she had been waiting for me. Anyone who rescues animals can tell you that chances of this happening are very rare, especially with cats who are masters at hiding.

I am stunned!
I am shocked!
I am speechless!
I am in awe!

To my rational and practical mind this is so so unfathomable. And yet it has happened exactly like I told you. He heard me. He was able to cut through the layers of chaos around me and he gave me exactly what I wanted.

The rational part of mind argues that this could be a mere coincidence, but my heart is saying HE DID HEAR ME.

He can hear my thoughts; he can see what I am doing, and he knows what matters to me. He is in my corner and he is not judging me. There will be times when things won’t go my way and I will have to understand that there is a bigger picture at play, or he could be protecting me from bigger harm. This is where faith comes in.

My first block in the game of Lego has been laid, without a doubt. Other pieces will fall into place when they are meant to. I just have to keep going until then.

I need to remember this though:

He is not selling his brand of merchandise.
He is not asking me to make a huge donation.
He is not asking me to buy copper rings to enhance my wellbeing.
He is not expecting me to be a monk.
He is not asking me to enroll in his signature yoga training camp.

He is not asking for anything.

He wants only one thing from me.
For me to be a better version of myself.

From this point on I will follow this monk who is not asking me to sell my Ferrari!

I am not selling my ferrari! 2

I am not selling my ferrari! 3

I am not selling my ferrari! 4

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Shivani Adalja

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