The Path of Least Resistance

Not everything needs to be possessed.

Not every love needs to unify.

Not every whim needs to be met.

Not every dream needs to be realized.

Not every beginning needs to have an ending.

Not every question needs have an answer.

Unfulfilled longings, cravings, wanting, desires, urges, also let-downs, disappointments and grief are amazing doorways to our vulnerability.

It takes us to depth of our core teaching us beauty of form without form, of having but not owning, of holding on and yet letting go. It also shows us the difference between love and attachment.

It stretches us our capacity to hold more than one position at the same time. We can be at peace and also conflicted. We can be grieving and yet experience joy.

Even though I can say that am the same person I was about 20 years ago, I can also confidently say that I have shifted so much over the last 20 years that I am not that same person anymore.

The ‘unfulfilled’ and ‘unrealized’ also breaks down our mental constructs about life and ourselves. It teaches us that we are constantly evolving, we are this and that and everything else. And we will continue to be.

When we make friends with the unknown, we open ourselves to embracing life for what it already is.

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer



Divine Timing

IMG_9036Blessings come in different forms. We are all familiar with the apparent ones. And then there are others; so painful, like a kick in the gut that leaves you down for quite a while. It is worse when it comes when you least expect it, rocking your world and turning it upside down.

Such was my experience meeting her, in the most awkwardest and painful of circumstances; for me. I wished I hadn’t met her, and I was sure that my presence brought her also a lot of angst. Yet we had to work together eventually, which at times felt like the blind leading the blind. Getting lost, stuck, frustrated, getting mad at ourselves and the circumstances. We were not here by choice. We were revealed to each other by chance.

Even though we eventually experienced a sense of camaraderie on some levels, we were still pained by each other’s presence as well as pain. I cannot speak for her, but for me, it was a harsh reminder to question myself, my perceptions,  and my assumptions. It also brought me up close and personal with my own insecurities and fears. And that was not a pretty discovery.

Slowly, as I began to see more of her, I truly wished we had met under different circumstances. Had it been so, I would have loved her, adored her, she would have been my tribe, my buddy, my pal. But not now. Not in this lifetime. We eventually parted as neither of us could find a way to relate beyond the circumstances that played cupid.

And there was silence…. for the longest time. It was the time to heal, time to be. Time to reflect and eventually also to be grateful. Grateful for her presence, that it was her and not someone else.. anyone else.

It is said that when we meet someone under challenging circumstances, we bypass the usual niceties to meet at a raw, deep space of no pretension or masks. How we show up under these circumstances really speaks for who we are at the core.

She and I had the privilege and honour of witnessing and holding space for each other under such circumstance, even though our journeys were different.. For sure there was the pain. But there was also love, authenticity, transparency, compassion, integrity, dignity and grace.

And then it dawned on me. We had been brought together by design. I saw the magic of it all, of how we meet the perfect people, under the  perfect circumstances at the perfect time.

Will our paths cross again?  It is all divine timing ! Will see


Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer



Navigating Break-ups

Paper.Project.29.PNGThis started off as words of insight to a young couple navigating a painful breakup. He couldn’t bear see her in pain, also couldn’t see a way for them to carry on, so he requested me to offer each them support through that period.  As I continued writing, it expanded to something bigger, which people who are in, out of and in-between relationships can probably relate to.

For him

It must be a really hard and kind of confusing, to love someone and, yet feel like you need to walk away. Sometimes not really know why. To feel like you cannot be yourself fully in a relationship, you become someone else when you are around her and eventually start feeling claustrophobic and feel the urge to get some air. A place where you struggle to find a balance between the relationship and yourself.

Honour where you are right now, without accepting the finality of things. There is a reason why you are here, why all of this is happening to you /why you are making these choices.

Be curious about what is here, ask yourself if you are running away from something because you are not willing to address it now. Or, are you walking out of something that’s no longer working for you, towards honouring yourself? There is a stark difference between the two. Be honest with yourself. Acknowledge that, at least to yourself.

Respect can mean many different things. You can only truly respect her when you are also respecting yourself. Respecting her means, not going back to fix the relationship because you feel sorry for her or find it hard to see her emotional. Respecting her means understanding that she deserves your honesty and vulnerability. And finally, respecting her means being with her for the right reasons, because you really want to be with her; because you are willing to stretch for her and the relationship (without breaking yourself).

Always treat her with love and kindness even when its scary and hard and all you want to do is run away from emotions. Be honourable and respectful regardless where the relationship is.

For her

Breakups are hard, regardless of whether it was your decision, the decision was made for you or it was a mutual agreement. Either way, the pain is inevitable. I am sorry that you are hurting.

If you did make the choice, it must have been a hard and difficult one to make. There must be a strong reason why you did so. Honour your values and choices. If the choice was made for you, then it probably seems more painful on many other levels as it triggers and questions your self-worth. Your self-esteem may have taken a huge beating. Now is the time to practise a lot of self-compassion.

The mind can make up many stories of being “left”. Please catch yourself when you do that, as that will only take you down a spiral. As hard as it may seem it was not personal You just got caught in the line of fire and are impacted by someone else’s process and life choices. Nothing was done to you, even though it seems like that. Remind yourself to not take things personally.

If you feel that you cannot be without a particular relationship or person, then know that this is precisely the reason the universe is orchestrating this experience as a GIFT to you. It wants you to learn some important lessons – You can be with anything, you can be without anything, you can be yourself, you do not need another to complete you, you are whole just as you are. Your self-worth is not attached to another person or a relationship. These are important lessons to learn in life for any human being

You might want to fight this outcome, kick and scream and try to control the situation, but the truth is you only have control and power over yourself. You have no control over anything outside of you. When you accept that, life gets easier.

Choose yourself. Respect yourself. Honour yourself. Not from anger and resentment or from a reactive place, but by merely choosing to focus on yourself. That’s an important job you don’t want to entrust someone else with.

You deserve to be with someone who wholly and willingly wants to be with you and is ready to go all the way, not by force, demand, pity etc You deserve that and nothing short of that.

Closure is something you will look for so that you can move on with peace. You might think, “If only things were a certain way, or certain words had been expressed” you would have been in a better place to move on peacefully. But that is not the case now, this is where you are now. Please don’t look for closure outside of yourself. Don’t wait for words and assurances from the outside. Give yourself what you are waiting for.

And then some

Endings are always painful because we are struggling to keep things just as they are, we fear change, but change is inevitable. We will take time to grieve what no longer exists. Allowing grief is also allowing ourselves to feel the full range of emotions, ride that wave, rather than take the high road too soon.

Be compassionate and kind to yourself and each other, Be grateful for the journey you have had together. This relationship has served its purpose. Acknowledge and express that to each other. This person came into your life with a gift and is also leaving with a gift. You might not want to open the gift now, nevertheless, it is a gift.

We each bring our own set of luggage/garbage (depending on how we use it), our perspectives, our belief systems, our expectations from life and each other. Unless we find a way to align as a ‘WE’, and also acknowledge that we are two separate entities, we will continue to have pseudo-relationships where each will drift and lead disconnected or separate lives.  Endings are also a reminder to sort through our garbage so that we don’t keep carrying it with us moving forward.

It is normal to want to point fingers at another, to find someone to put the blame on. so it’s always good to remind ourselves that we only know half the story.

Endings can be anything. They could be temporary pauses to begin fresh, end of behaviours/patterns that are no longer working, end of disagreements, end of suffering, the end of the relationship itself or anything else. Walking hand in hand with ENDINGS are NEW BEGINNINGS.

At times we need to let the chips fall as they may and be open to what happens next. We might probably have some new insight and put them all together in a different way or all the old unwanted pieces will shatter and disintegrate so we can begin again with what’s left. Stay open.

Stay open to life my loves.

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

Life Lessons from my Niece Nyla – 2


This is a photograph of my niece Nyla and I. She is one unique human being, and I don’t say this because I am biased. There are so many words I could use to describe her but I will stick to the context now.

Oh and if you are wondering about her shoddy hairstyle in this picture, she recently chopped off the front of her hair a few weeks ago as she did not like the way it was blocking her view. At the time did not have the patience to wait for her mom to take her to the hairdresser.

I have always been aware that Nyla is naturally talented when it comes to singing.  She is a born performer. This is something I have observed in her when she is as little as 2-3 years old. I love to sing and it used to be my dream as a child to learn music, learn to sing and perform in front of an audience. (That dream, I am still working on). When I hear Nyla sing, I am always in awe of her talent. She needs training but she is definitely gifted. She needs to listen to a song just once to be able to memorise the notes and reproduce it fairly accurate to the original. What is an effort for me, was a piece of cake for this young girl.

It was my cousin’s wedding a few days and this post has been inspired by an incident that happened at the wedding reception.  The reception was a huge event with hundreds of guests and also a live band. Towards the end of the event, the family put up some performances for the bride and groom. There were dance and singing performances by younger cousins and their children.  We were then given a wireless mic for anyone who wanted to do individual performances. As much as I imagined myself taking the mic and walking up the stage to sing a song, I just couldn’t get myself to do it. Too many negative voices, and wanted to save me the embarrassment and the awkwardness of failing miserably in front of many known and unknown faces.

Meanwhile, I sent for Nyla as she had been asking me all evening if she could sing too.

Nyla walked up to me to know why I had called for her. I asked her if she wanted to sing, She was excited by that question. She took the mic from my hand. I expected her to stand next time and quickly start singing. Instead, she took the mic and started walking confidently towards the stage. She stood right in the middle of the stage, looked at the audience and smiled.

And then,  in the sweetest voice, she said, “Good evening everything one!. My name is Nyla and today I am going to sing a song called Kanmani Anbodu Kathalan …… , If you like the song, then please tell me so, after I finish the song.

After that for the next few minutes, all that existed in her world are her music,  her love for singing and her pure joy of performing.

And during those minutes, time stood still for me. At that moment, my niece became my teacher. I was watching her in her presence and the impact she was having on the crowd. She enchanted them by just merely showing up as to who she was.  I could see it in their eyes, as they watched her in awe. She taught me a lesson in presence, of being in the moment and enjoying oneself rather than getting caught up in one’s fears. She taught me the beauty of vulnerability and innocence by simply introducing herself before she started singing.

And finally, when she finished, she looked up at the audience and paused for a few seconds, in anticipation.

“So, how did you like it?”  The loud applause said it all!

Another lesson learnt: know and value one’s worth. And don’t be afraid of acknowledgement.

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer





When the going gets tough, start mining gold! Part 5 of 5

Paper.Project.21 2

Take a chill pill. Easier said than done, but there is a lot of wisdom in this phrase. Taking things lightly is second nature to some people. I have an aunt, who takes things so lightly, that she makes a joke of crisis situations. I could make assumptions about her emotional intelligence, but I am in awe of the ease with which she handles emergencies and crisis. It is pretty straightforward, the way she looks at it. ‘We do our best about things that are in our control, the rest we let go.What the point in worrying/being about something that is beyond our control.‘  By and large she has the presence to navigate through pretty much anything, without her world crashing around her. And, she is the odd one out in our family. The majority of us are worriers, we make life difficult for ourselves, we panic over the littlest of things, and we put our lives on hold indefinitely during crisis.Most our decisions are driven by fear and emotional impulsiveness. We have learnt the hard way though, since we have had lots of opportunity to practise. 🙂

We are always at choice; we only need to accept it. Certain events drastically change our life situation where some tough decisions might need to be taken. We might have to quit our job, relocate to a new place, move to an unfamiliar location, give up our career temporarily, start caring for a sick family member, scale down financially, all of which will throw our life for a spin. We find ourselves doing what needs to be done or the right thing to do, but also feel stuck and not at choice. Eventually, we end up feeling resentful.  I recall complaining to a friend about something I felt stuck and resentful doing. She then told me, “If you don’t want to do it, and you are feeling miserable, don’t do it.” I then argued and gave her reasons for why I felt convinced that I had to do it. She then pointed out that I was choosing to do it. And if that a choice I was making, I had to accept that choice and do it gracefully and stop torturing myself. Sometimes we need to make hard decisions, They don’t necessarily feel good, but they feel right as they are driven by our values. If we continue to feel miserable, then it is time to get curious and revisit those values.

We are moving, even when we are stuck.There was a time when  I felt like my life was in limbo where all I was doing was recovering from one crisis only to be pushed into the next one soon after. When I looked around, it felt like everyone else I knew was moving forward, going places, accomplishing things,  while I was stuck in the same spot. Truth is I was still moving, just that it was along a different dimension. Forward movement is not the only way forward. Sometimes we need to go deeper. Each of us is on a different journey, and there is no point comparing our path with someone else’s.

It’s all made up.This might be a contradiction but here goes. We unconsciously make up stories to make life more dramatic. We are attached to drama. This is a hard one to accept, but we tend to create stories about everything. An event is an event, that’s all it is. How we respond to life depends on the stories we tell ourselves about these events and more so on the climax we create to those stories. The key is to keep dropping the story and sink into the present moment.

Complexity is simplicity dressed in costume. What we experience as complexity is more so because of our attachment to how we want things to be. Learning to navigate complexity is much like training for a marathon as opposed to a sprint.

Once we increase our  tenacity and let go of expectations of how life should be, we get creative and also learn to juggle more balls effortlessly. Complexity then becomes simpler and more natural! Complexities are just life’s way of simplifying itself if we allow ourselves to be guided by it.

My brother makes his this funny joke all the time. He would tell someone, “Don’t worry,   it will be quite challenging and difficult for a while but after that its going to be fine”. Just when the the listener is about to sigh in relief, with a naughty grin he will quickly add, “because, by then you will get used to it ! “

So how do we know if we are mining gold? I don’t have an answer to that as it’s not a destination, it is only a perspective towards life. I guess the key is to check in with ourselves and see how we are feeling. When our hearts have opened up, and we can feel it’s  tenderness and warmth; when we are allowing flow into our lives; when we feel that our experiences have been humbling ;  when we’ve turned our lives around; when we are feeling grateful; when we feel lighter about life; when we can experience joy, music and laughter despite all of the complexities, when we still forward with HOPE, then we most definitely are on that path.

Life is unpredictable; we never know what the next moment has in store for us. So what are we waiting for? Why not live fully until we die, and make every breath count, especially the challenging ones!

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

When the going gets tough, start mining gold! Part 4 of 5


Everything is energy. All of the emotions we feel (seemingly good, bad & ugly), it’s all energy. It is best to let that energy flow rather than have it be stagnant and stuck in our bodies to manifest as physical ailments. Vent, scream or cry or just about anything that let that energy flow through you. Don’t fight, block, intellectualise your emotions. Allow that energy to pass through you. Nothing is permanent!

Grief functions in a different time zone, we need to give ourselves time to adjust to it. One day it might feel like we are feeling ready to move on, and the next day, suddenly hopelessness takes over; or we might have a mental breakdown where it feels like we are stuck in a different dimension with no way out. As I said earlier, nothing is permanent. Allow grief to take its course; surrender to it.  Allowing and surrendering are is not a passive experience.  In fact, it is the very opposite! Grief is mourning over lost hope or dream that was cut short due to fate, circumstances or choice,  and does not discriminate.  So, one could be grieving, the end of a relationship, loss of a job, life changes like a move or relocation, a chronic illness,  or a scary diagnosis, not just the passing of a loved one. Each of it might feel equally gut-wrenching.

Please try not to be strong. Be ‘weak’, allow yourself to feel what it is like to just let go.  Trust that the ‘feeling’ weak does not mean we are going to be emotionally crippled forever. It is only a passing phase. We need to remind ourselves of that. Nothing is permanent; nothing remains the same. Even the most painful situations or feelings, eventually pass.

Moreover, ‘staying strong’ has a significant impact physically in our body. We accumulate stagnant toxic energy which causes stress and ailments. There are no prizes for perfection. I come from a family of high functioning perfectionists who think we’ve got it all under control. That hasn’t worked so well for us. So, we are now redefining ‘perfection’ means to us.  What is possible for us at this moment, without breaking ourselves in the process is perfect enough for now.

Notice the loaded labels. Events happen in our lives, tough, hard ones; they might shake us, might even break us. And we have within us the capacity to always begin again. There is no guarantee that we might not fall again, but we can eventually develop the tenacity to bounce back up quickly after a fall. Most times though,  we create labels for our experiences, those are the ones that kill us. Words or phrases such as ‘abandoned’, ‘doomed’, ‘ the end of the world’, ‘misery’,  ‘irreparable’,  ‘irrecoverable’, ‘fight’ a disease,  ‘stuck forever’, ‘betrayed’, ‘untimely;’ etc. hold a certain energy. They create automatic reactions within the body and mind and have the power to taint our perspectives as well as significantly impact our experience. They don’t invite flow into our being. We need to continually bring our awareness to these labels  as and when we keep naming them.

Comparison kills joy and creativity. Let is stop comparing to what it was like before this, before the loss, before the problems, before the diagnosis, before the accident, before the breakup, before the disease etc. What is the point of comparing something to what was? When is it not that anymore?  That’s our mind trying to block or deny the present. Comparison only drags us back into the past and takes away any hope of the future. If we must compare, then let’s compare our current perspective towards life as with how it was the past. How have we shifted?, has that shift been empowering or disempowering? We need to accept that this is where we are right now! What would we like to do about it?  How do want to be with it? Where do we want to go from here?

Know when its time to get help. At times we might notice that we have all these insights, they make sense to us on an intellectual but we can’t seem to apply it in a way that is serving us. Hopelessness becomes a constant partner, like a dark cloud following us. We get so glued to our thoughts and are unable to step outside of them. Sometimes we are able to overcome them on our own and other times we are not. If you think or a loved one is struggling with depression, it is crucial to get help.

Faith is that pillar which keeps me rooted in the strongest of storms. Whether you are following an organised religion or being spiritual or both, whether the word that works for you is God, Universe or Nature, you undoubtedly would have experienced the power of unshakable faith, trust and surrender in some form. I know I have! When I connect to that infinite source, it feels like being linked to the endless flow of love, wisdom, compassion care anything that I ask for. So pray, be thankful for what we already have,  ask for what we want,  demand it and then let go. Surrender and trust that whatever happens is what we need and not necessarily what we want. Accept the gift wholeheartedly, even if we don’t know what to do with it.



Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

When the going gets tough, Start mining gold ! Part 3 of 5

Paper.Project.23-4Self-Care is life saver while navigating complexity. I cannot stress enough on self-care. Those of us who walk around with the responsibility chip, need to pay particular attention to caring for ourselves. Self-care is not about being selfish.

I recall when my brother and father had passed, we had friends, family and acquaintances, visiting us around the clock to offer their condolences. It is quite hard to multitask grieving a loved one and playing host at the same time. There were cultural expectations to continually play the host, which took a toll on us emotionally. I am thankful to friends and family who came over to offer solace, as well as take some responsibilities off our shoulders. They took over the kitchen, served tea, organised the meals.

Also, some conversations gravitated toward people’s curiosity about events leading to their passing, and the what ifs. It would be a one-off conversation for them, but for us, it was repetitive;  we were reliving it over and over again, until one day, I snapped.

Being assertive to take time-offs, discouraging conversations that were not helpful, sleeping and eating on time, and being mindful to not make sudden emotional decisions etc. were part of my self-care routine during that period.

Self-care might translate into creating some physical distance for emotional clarity;  alone time or solitude;  getting enough rest and sleep; listening to music; going for walks, exploring creative or physical activities, reaching out and having conversations with close friends/family, venting out frustration, and asking for help.. etc.

Caregivers need care too. If you are a caregiver for someone, who is struggling with health or grieving a loved one, one of the things you would notice is that the priority is always the visibly struggling person; caregivers are usually ignored, by themselves and others. I have seen some caregivers going into a deep depression as they neglect to care for themselves and don’t know how to ask for help.

I want to share a powerful example of self-care and caregiving with a short story about how my uncle, proactively navigated circumstances around his mother’s illness. They are a family of nine children, with him being the oldest male child. After their father had died when he was 18 years old, he took on the role of caring for his mom and siblings, the youngest being only 14 months old.

When the realisation came upon him that their’s mother’s health had taken a downturn, he called a family meeting with all the siblings, including five sisters who lived in India. He discussed with them, the possibility of their mom being bedridden for a few years until she passed. He suggested that they each take turns, in whatever form that worked for each of them, in caring for their mother. He also assured them that any inconvenience they might face during this period, financially or otherwise, would be taken care off. More than just inconveniences being addressed, he wanted to make sure each of their needs was met.

His perspective was that none of the siblings should put their lives on hold at any point in caring for their mother that resentment about being a caregiver might creep in. His vision was for their mother to live peacefully with the best of energy around her, until she untill she breathed her last, and the family to stay connected through this journey, so he worked backwards from there to create that experience for her as well as each of them.

Help was organised, Palliative care arrangements were. Their mom was moved to another independent home where each of them had the freedom to come and go as they pleased, without inconveniencing the others.

He wanted to make sure that their emotional needs were also taken care of, and did not want this to be a stressful period of any of their lives.During four odd years that she was bedridden, she was well looked after, the siblings took breaks, were sent on holidays to let off steam and relax; life was as normal as was possible under the curcumstances. Finally, when she passed, it was she had all herchildren were around her.

One one level it might seem depersonalized and rational when we hear of siblings being compensated to care for their own mother. As I recall, his suggestions did create some discomfort in the family. What I appreciate and admire about his approach was that he courage address and have much needed conversations most of us think about but might not voice out.

Not everyone has financial resources to handle situations in sich a manner, but the perspective of self care while caring for a loved is what I wanted to bring attention to.

Explore what self-care looks like for you. Ask yourself, how am I doing? What do I need n to do to take care of myself.


Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer