My book of poetry, "Stripping- My fight to find Me" is a story of the triumph of the human spirit. It is a story of our deep need for connection and the infinite power of love to heal.

I am energy. I am infinity. But I am also a poet, author, artist. wife, mother, sleep doctor, and attachment and complex childhood trauma survivor. I healed only when I understood I was broken, not a victim. I learnt that everything I needed was within me. And that my inner life was the essence and driving force of my existence.

Where did Self Love Self Care First® come from?

I needed to find meaning in my suffering so I kept thinking, “What truth did I come out of this journey with? How can I share what I know in forms other than what I receive through my poetry? What is the most foundational and fundamental truth about human existence that I discovered to be true in my suffering? That is where SLSCF® comes from.

I discovered that if we do not know our truth, we cannot love ourselves. The pain and suffering of our lives, the false external messages about life, success and achievement that we receive, and the projections and imposed expectations of others we are subjected to, mangle our truth, distract us from our destined path, and cut deep into our body, mind, and soul. They cause us to not pay attention to ourselves, and to how we live our lives. These feelings and beliefs descend into our unconscious and become habitual patterns that hijack our lives.

SelfLoveSelfCareFirst® is the journey of truthful self-examination and acceptance of our truth. Only when we are ready to find value, love, and compassion for our true selves do we begin to live free.

This blog is a celebration of love, stillness, growth, joy, discovery, and the truth. The conversation is honest, the topics are varied, the perspectives are from many angles, but the common thread weaving the discussions together is Self Love Self Care First®.

You are not moving towards any light. There is no light out there. It is inside you. You must move inwards- not outwards to look for it. No one can guide you there. Only you can give yourself the permission to embark on this journey. Only you can reclaim yourself.

Your freedom is in your hands.


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Losing The Quarantine 15 is Now a Self Love Self Care First Top Priority

It's Sunita here.

How are you all doing?

It's now been over 3 months since COVID19 took over our lives. From the initial shock, horror and disbelief, we have gone through different stages of emotional reactions to the pandemic, and how it is impacting us. These reactions and responses have had physical consequences. One of which, for many of us, has been weight gain.

There are many compelling, and valid reasons for this weight gain. The stress of work pattern changes and employment loss, closure of gyms, stocking and consumption of high calorie/low nutritional value non perishable foods, home schooling and being confined to our homes almost 24/7 has taken a toll on our waistlines as well as our mental health.

Having the opportunity to have an afternoon cocktail (or two), and turning to alcohol for stress and boredom relief (alcohol actually doesn't help for that purpose. It is a depressant, and disrupts our sleep pattern, so we end up being more depressed and making poor choices, which makes matters worse) has added pounds to our frames.

Lastly, because we have had more time at home, we have baked our hearts out. Sweets taste good, and baking is a soothing activity that has a calming effect. So it's no surprise that we huddled in our kitchens and instinctively channeled Betty Crocker in the first couple of months of this pandemic.

We are seeing and feeling the consequences of all this now. Jokes are flying all over the internet about the COVID 15.

But Quarantine weight gain is not a joke.

It's time. It's high time now. It's time for Self Love Self Care First to kick in and take over. Someone recently asked me what my favorite act of self care was. I told her, it depends.Well, today I say, it's getting back to a healthy weight.

We will talk about what we can do to achieve that goal in the coming weeks, but here are 3 things that I have committed to this week.

#1Being kind to myself and looking at my weight gain through the prism of self love, self compassion, and understanding only. There is no place for harsh criticism of myself. It was, and remains a trying time. Coping with the realities of a deadly pandemic have been truly challenging. Many of my unavoidable short term coping methods resulted in my weight gain.

#2 - Being accountable for the choices I am making. It is my responsibility to maximize my well being. In order to make the best decisions I am capable of, I must work towards a calm mind. That is the state from which all healthy choices and decisions are made. So I have committed to limiting, and being extremely selective of what I read, listen to and allow into my brain and mind. I want the superhighway of my brain to be uncongested so I may access my highest thoughts in order to make the most self loving and healthy decisons for myself.

#3- Pause before making a food choice, so I am mindful of all that I eat and drink. Instead of making a plan of eliminating, or increasing the intake of certain foods and beverages, I have committed to stopping and pausing to think before I eat or drink. I already know what I need to do but want to rewire my brain to be more mindful when I am chosing how to nurture and nourish my body. Once this pause comes into play before I reach out to grab something from the fridge, I am confident that I will automatically draw from my vast knowledge base of nutrition, and make a healthy choice for myself.

I have learnt that to make lasting changes, I have to change my mindset. 

As a survivor of mental injuries due to attachment and complex childhood trauma, approaching a goal from a place of affirmation and self love has made all the difference in my life. Keeping a healthy balance between honest self examination, and self compassion helps me avoid making excuses for myself, and spiral into negativity and self condemnation. There is no need for judgement. 

What I need is understanding. I'm looking to be accountable, not abuse myself.
Negative feelings and distorted beliefs about myself do not motivate me to do better. They have historically done the opposite by fuelling my self doubts, allowing my tendencies for self sabotage to emerge, and permitting my unconscious desire to punish myself to take over. But no longer does this occur. The work done in effective therapy (Davanloo's ISTDP) took care of healing my brain, and helped me move past this damaged state by creating lasting changes in me.

I hope this honest sharing on my part about my COVID 15, and how I plan to go about losing it through Self Love Self Care First is helpful to you. I'd love to hear about your COVID 15 if you have it, and what you are doing to combat it.

We all deserve to live our best lives. Let's work towards that with kindness to ourselves. We will do much better, and go much farther that way!

With my very best of luck to you with your COVID15 loss,

#selfloveselfcarefirst #selflove #selfcare #COVID15 #quarantineweightgain #COVID19 #pandemic #stresseating #stressbaking #alcohol #stressdrinking #mindful #selfcompassion #pause #uncertainty #accountability #choices #wellbeing #healthy #trauma #childhoodtrauma #attachment #attachmenttrauma #healing #HabibDavanloo #ISTDP #reachingthroughresistance

Saturday, June 20, 2020

"The Only Thing Worthy of You is Compassion"- A Reminder and "Recommendation" from Thich Nhat Hanh in These Troubled Times

It's Sunita here.

  We are travelling in times of great difficulty and pain. I once again, turn to poetry for comfort and guidance. Since there is so much original content out there right now by incredibly talented and compassionate people, I feel there is no need for me to add to it.

So, instead today, I share with you a poem by Thich Nhat Hanh that takes me to a place of mercy as I try to move away from anger, frustration and feelings of helplessness in the face of the gigantic problems we face in our world.


Promise me,
promise me this day,
promise now,
while the sun is overhead
exactly at the zenith,
promise me:
Even as they
strike you down
with a mountain of hatred and violence:
even as they step on you and crush you
remember brother, remember.
man is not our enemy.
The only thing worthy of you is compassion-
invincible, limitless, unconditional.
Hatred will never let you face
the beast in man.
One day, when you face this beast alone with your courage intact, your eyes kind,
(even as no one sees them),
out of your smile
will bloom a flower.
And those who love you
will behold you
across ten thousand worlds of birth and dying.
Alone again,
I will go on with bent head,
knowing that love has become eternal.
On the long, rough road
the sun and moon will continue to shine.

Wishing you a week full of invincible, limitless and unconditional compassion,

#selfloveselfcarefirst #poetry #thichnhathanh #thay #recommendation #alone again #compassion #love #mercy #courage #selflove #selfcare #mindfulness #meditation #eternal #smile

Photograph credit- "Thay Walking" by Paul Davis

Sunday, June 14, 2020

How our Work Space Can Heal, Boost Productivity, Inspire Creativity and Bring us Hope

It's Sunita here.

I’m a big believer of making our work spaces our sanctuaries. It’s a supreme act of self love self care first. But I never realized how much this is truly not a luxury in our lives, but a necessity, until recently.

The pandemic has impacted every aspect of our life. But in particular, it has wreaked havoc with our work lives. My own professional life has been turned upside down since I was mandated by our State Governor to close my dental practice and sleep center in mid March. Practicing dentistry will never be the same again, and getting ready to reopen in a few weeks has taken every ounce of my energy and thinking power. Contemplating the complex and ever evolving protocols that need to be put into place to make my office COVID 19 safe for my team, patients and myself took a toll on me that I had never felt before.

I would be tackling tasks with enthusiasm and energy for a couple of hours, making headway, and feeling very optimistic when suddenly I would hit a wall. Not just any wall, but a brick wall of great density. There would be no going around, or through this wall. I would feel unusually exhausted and depleted and become unable to put two simple, coherent sentences together. Nothing but stopping and taking a long break would help me. It would be hours before I would feel capable of mentally and physically regrouping. It seemed like the weight of the world was on my shoulders, or as if I was treading water.

Of course, in hindsight, I see I was dealing with, and adjusting to the unknowns and uncertainty of COVID19 early on in my experience of the pandemic. My fatigue after short periods of work was disproportionate to the amount of efforts I was putting in. I quickly realized that I was going to need to find a way out of the sticky molasses that I would descend into with regularity.

I focused on the usual suspects. Doubling down on good nutrition, getting adequate sleep and aerobic exercise, minimizing time spent watching the news or scrolling on social media, and making sure I stayed connected with my loved ones was a big help. But as I started to spend more time at work, I found a new ally.

My work space!

Sometimes we can't see what is right in front of us. We focus on everything but the obvious. I realized that even though I had no control over the virus, or what was required to be done at work, I had absolute control over the space I was working in.  So I made some strategic additions and subtractions to it based on how I wanted to feel, and it became a totally different experience.

These changes were not expensive and did not require much effort. But they were strategic and targeted with the goal of getting more done in my day with less mental, emotional and physical wear. I went even further and determined that I wanted to enjoy my day and feel confident, excited and powerful about reopening my office, and life in general. I share with you what I did to accomplish my goals.

The 3 things you can amplify in your space to heal, boost productivity, inspire creativity and bring you hope.

1) Beauty
Beauty has a healing role in our lives. It softens the harshness of our existence and reminds us of what is possible. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so what works for me may not excite you. But the important thing is to bring into your personal space what ignites your aesthetic senses. It will tend to you in your weary moments and be a balm to salve your worried mind. Don't just stop at your visual sense. Play the music that soothes your soul. Bring in scents that calm and relax you. They all work in unison to  uplift you and bring you joy. That results in higher engagement and productivity in your work.

Schedule non negotiable Beauty Breaks every few hours of your day.

2) Efficiency and Ergonomics
Revamping a work space in order to maximize it's efficiency to effortlessly guide you in moments of fatigue and mental blurriness is the key to getting things done without "losing it." Your space's personality may have to stop veering on the "shabby chic" side but assume more of a military precision to serve you during the pandemic. So investing a few hours, a day or few days to rearrange your folders, writing materials, research sources and anything else that you now need to communicate,, into a system that would work for you is worth it. 

Make your systems in your space work for you seamlessly, and at all times.

3) Inspiration
Place reminders around you of life, in it's highest form. Invite these messages to inspire you when you get dejected, tired and discouraged. Quotes, sayings, photographs, books, mementos and treasured things can all do the same thing to our psyche. They make us believe in our strength and resilience. Display tokens of past successes so you can remember how you have persevered and fought adversity before to emerge triumphant. Pictures of your family will motivate you to find ways to overcome obstacles and create new paths to a happy and productive future life. Allow yourself to see things that are yet to come. 

Dream. Imagine. Believe.

It will not be what we cross off from our check lists at work that will bring us success in overcoming the adversity and challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic.We must fundamentally change the way we are used to thinking in order to come out on the top. Change is never easy and it poses even more stress on our bodies and minds in times of uncertainty and loss. 

So how can we move forward to not only survive, but thrive? 
By taking one step at a time.
By taking it one day at a time.
By seeking beauty, demanding efficiency and finding inspiration every day. 

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."
-Henry David Thoreau

As I now work towards reopening my practice, and emerging from the darkness of COVID19, I am not looking for a "New Normal".
Only a Transformation will do!
I hope you feel the same way.
Wishing you a week of beauty, inspiration and hope,
With my love,

#selfloveselfcarefirst #selfcare #selflove #workspace #office #space #COVID19 #beauty #efficiency #ergonomics #inspiration #hope #henrydavidthoreau #resilience #overcome #mindfulness #transformation #peonies #flowers #joy #rewinedcandles #fragrance #senses 

Friday, June 5, 2020