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Photo Feature: ‘Nature Platter’ and My Experiments with Happiness

Friends, in whatever we do, seeking happiness is the essence of our endeavours. Often, we may forget that purpose and may give undue importance to success and material possession and adulation and accolades. Well, that's fine too, as long as we know that we are truly, genuinely happy in those pursuits. 

But then, happiness is a very vague and elusive term. 

It's not easy to understand, difficult to sustain and formidable to be aware of. To understand what makes you genuinely happy, you have to let go of many temptations and traps that keep you away from it.

I have gone through a long and winding journey… of interpreting and perceiving what makes me happy – in work, in relationships, in personal development. It's easy to jump on a bandwagon and declare that this is for me but it's something else to un-complicate and figure out what really clicks with you and makes your heart glow with happiness.

From studying Economics and dumping it……to taking up Advertising and Journalism and being a brand and marketing manager; from doing nothing (in terms of a career) for a while after having a baby to pursuing jewelry designing and owning an online jewelry shop only to bid good and finally creating two blogs and taking up photography in a passionate way – I have gone through the full learning curve trying to figure out where lies my undeniable, indisputable happiness.

And, finally – in my early thirties…

It's becoming more and more clear to me that I am deeply connected with my inner self when I am in the middle of nature – admiring it, gazing at it, photographing it, experiencing it. That nature could be some trees within my neighbourhood, indoor plants in my house, trees lining the streets of my city offering much respite to the eyes and lungs and to the aesthetic beauty of the city or that nature could be something I experienced in Coorg – all-consuming, therapeutic and reminding mankind where they belong and what they would be without it. 

Nature, natural, naturopathy, organic – all these are the buzzwords in this era of green economy, green marketing and green businesses. We don't know if people who coined these words, had genuine intention to implement the thought or was it just an innovative 'positioning'. Whatever the trend may be, the truth is that nature, in its heart, has the answers to our misery, illnesses and stress. Living in the concrete jungles, we have lost touch with it and consequently have lost touch with our soul's desires. When the soul feels out of place in our body, the body will suffer and so will the mind .

My past and recent experiences with nature…steeped in peace, silence, and serenity and away from the world of internet and the maddening crowd of a metro city showed me a reflection of my true self. 

I connected with my self that craves to…live near the mountains and beside a lake, the self that desires to grow vegetables organically on a farm, the self that dreams of shots every waking moment, the self that dreams to have her kid learn not in the four walls of a classroom but from life – by watching the rain pelting on the leaves, mud splattering under her feet, butterfly perched on her finger, birds singing over her head, feet rustling up fallen leaves

I am glad I am finally AWARE that nature is my overpowering passion. And, I will attain my nirvana when I live a life that I have described above. 

This connection that I felt with my inner self in Coorg, inspired me to give a creative expression to my dreams – through photography – another deep and undying passion.

I captured the hundreds of treasures from our nature walk in a series that I like to call – The Nature Platter. 

The 'Nature Platter' series of photos reveal my desire to bring nature so close into my life.

So close – that it becomes my 'staple' – for my body, mind, heart and soul and for my little daughter, my family and their healing.

So here is my 'Nature Platter'. Wishing you happiness, healing, light and peace!

Some beautiful quotes and thoughts:

  • Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Khalil Gibran

  • Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~ Lao Tzu

  • We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls. ~ Mother Teresa

  • A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. ~ Lou Holtz

I'm linking this post to 'Forest Fiesta' – a nature-inspired art exhibition by kids from across the world. This link enables to pull up all the gorgeous entries of 20 mommy bloggers who participated in this event with their Kids' creations. I am hosting Forest Fiesta on Mommy Labs (my blog on artful parenting) to celebrate World Environment Day. Enjoy the gallery walk. 

I need help sustaining this blog…

Dear blog readers – It’s been exactly eight years now that I’ve been writing on this blog! Yes, eight long years and hundreds of articles. From art, creativity and learning; to food, health, gardening, travel, sustainable and mindful living, natural birth. In our un-schooling life, as we go on introspecting, questioning and evolving, I’ve strived to share our stories and experiences with as much honesty, care and sincerity as possible.

I spend hours writing an article – and often write and rewrite many times before it rings true to me and sounds worthy of your time to read.

The most important thing for me is to keep this blogging endeavour authentic and true to my values. This blog has been my sacred space to express, share, feel empowered and contribute. Hence, I do not like to support businesses that don’t align with my values. So far, I’ve rarely taken sponsorship from brands and companies. I haven’t placed any ads on my blog, though there have been multiple offers.

Infact, I’d like to keep this blog ad free unless something truly meaningful comes across.
Yet, there’s a cost to running this blog. The basic cost of keeping the domain alive, and hosting all this content on. I spend roughly INR 10,000 (USD 173) just to keep this blog up and running. So, I need to cover this cost. Plus, it’d be nice to bring in some income for our family of four. And, this is where I request your support.

If you find my articles and stories useful or inspiring at some level, please help me sustain. Starting from 1 dollar or 100 rupees to whatever you can, do consider donating for the content I share; for my intention and the time and effort I put. Your support will go a long way in keeping this blog (of 8+ years) sparkling with stories for many more years to come. Thank you, dear ones. I’ll value what you’ll gift with love and kindness. :-)

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Roopa @putti prapancha June 15, 2011, 6:50 pm

    Such a lovely post, very well written loved it!! And beautiful photos :)) That boat shaped seed pod brings back so many childhood memories.

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011, 2:51 pm

      Thank you dear for your visit and comment. The silk cotton pod that brought back nostalgic memories for you was our favourite treasure from nature. We have collected dozens of these. I can understand how you feel looking at these that were once part of your childhood environment. More so, since you are now living thousands of miles away from your home country…

  • welcome to our wonderland June 15, 2011, 7:06 pm

    wow wonderful pictures and great project! I wish we have those pretty purple leaves!

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011, 2:55 pm

      @welcome to our wonderland – thank you for stopping by to read and share your comment :) It’s lovely to know you and connect with you via Forest Fiesta :)

  • Himadri June 15, 2011, 7:32 pm

    hi rashmie….sorry we didnt participate in forest fiesta but while i am writing this i have got an idea of making forest and i think that will intrest my 2.6 yr old boy who’s no intrest in art and craft these days. i really love this post….i know u studied adv and pr in IIMC…..which was a dream for me….but i never sat for the test….with lot of reasons….moreover i think i am not that intelligent too. after studyin adv and pr frm polytechnic, working sometime…doing nothin for some time….getting married….having a baby…i seem to find my goals of my life clearly…..decision to homeschool my child has given me a direction in life. i love nature and want my child to connect with it….love the way u r bringing up pari. the joy of finding the inner self is fulfilling as well as inexplicable.

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011, 3:59 pm

      Dear Himadri,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. It’s okay that you were not able to participate as your kid is not excited by art and craft currently. I, too, wouldn’t have gone against Pari’s wishes and to have her do something she is not motivated with. Having said that, Forest Fiesta was not limited to just art/craft, it was more about interacting with nature and even creating art IN nature. For instance – planting saplings, making a real bouquet or making land art with leaves etc was very much the theme. But, never mind, I would totally love to have you in my next event! Okay? :)

      Yes, I studied Advertising/Mass Communication at IIMC! How do you know? :) I am sorry that you did not sit for the exams for various reasons and it did not work out for you. But then, what you are doing right now with your child – by deciding to homeschool him – you have taken a really positive and brave decision. Such a decision always stems from a deep yearning, love and passion and I am so happy for you that you followed what your heart said is right for your child.
      You won’t believe – I am currently going through the same yearning/call – to homeschool Pari. I have not taken a clear decision but my heart is prodding me more and more in that direction.
      Thank you again Himadri for this heart-to-heart chat… :)
      Do visit often and share freely here.

  • Devon June 15, 2011, 9:05 pm

    I LOVE these photos. Beautiful, fresh and creative. Thanks for sharing :)

    ~ Devon

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011, 4:01 pm

      Welcome to Gorgeous Karma. Glad you like the photos and found them refreshing. It was infact a refreshing experience for me – the whole process – of collecting these, bringing them back to my place to arrange them, admire them and capture…
      Hope to see you here more often.. :)

  • Srishti June 15, 2011, 11:22 pm

    2 bolgs posts in a single day….Hats off to you !!! Awsome pictues and so innovative …You are right …half of life’s battle is won if we really get to know what makes us happy…and the rest half lies in achieving that happiness :) (thats my own quote…not copied from anywhere ;-))

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011, 4:04 pm

      Very well said :) I love quotes and this is good enough to go into my diary… :)
      So glad you liked the photos. I will cherish these for ever not just in terms of photography but because I shared a bond with these leaves and flowers when I picked them up from nature and admired their beauty…
      Thank you again for stopping by to encourage..!

  • victoria antar June 16, 2011, 2:14 am

    Rashmie, I wish I could live near you and get all this beautiful energy that you have to share. You give others ideas that maybe never crossed ones mind. As always you did great and I am proud of you! Vitoria

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011, 4:08 pm

      Dear Vitoria,
      Yes, I too wish we lived close by because I have not known anyone who would go out of their way to send positive vibes and encouragement like you do – each and every time. Believe me, I really am grateful to you that in spite of your health and all the work that you have to do single handedly, you still find the time and energy to share your thoughts and words with me. You are so kind dear and ‘giving’. You inspire me to be a better human being and a helpful friend… :) Big hugs to you.

  • stacy June 18, 2011, 7:16 pm

    A beautiful post by a beautiful mother I am so touched to call my friend! We’re on a similar path indeed and I’m so thrilled we’ll be able to help each other along the way. Your photos are outstanding and have inspired me to start a nature platter of my own! Love you Rashmie

    • Rashmie Jaaju July 13, 2011, 4:48 pm

      Dear Stacy,
      I don’t know how I missed this comment of yours. I am so..so sorry…. :(
      Yes, my friend, you and I have lots of common ground that we have covered and want to cover.
      I will love to see your nature platter! Love you too, Stacy :)

  • Afrah Taher June 14, 2013, 4:42 pm

    I am touched by your post..and I connect so much with your photography as I m myself a nature lover n love to click anything about nature!
    Right now, you truly are a boost to my inspiration!
    Glad to have visited your site!

    Stay blessed!

  • Grace December 12, 2014, 12:29 pm

    Hi, stumbled upon ur beautiful blog..it resonates with me so deeply..and the last pic on ur title page reminds me of an almost same pic of my husband and me in Narkanda :) stay blessed Rashmie..really enjoyed reading..btw i create jewellery etc. from paper (www.facebook.com/handcraftedbygrace)..i think u will enjoy looking through..
    happy creating..will be back here to read more about ur experiments!