In the 90s, Raageshwari Loomba Swaroop had a promising career as a Bollywood actor. A part of many hit Hindi films, she juggled multiple careers effortlessly. A successful singer, VJ, and television personality, Raageshwari is now an author. Her debut book ‘Building a Happy Family’ launched digitally earlier this year. She recently spoke with Express Parenting about the book and shared many other aspects of mindful parenting and positive living, from her residence in London. Read on to find out what she is up to these days.
On mindfulness and mindful parenting during COVID-19
“Mindfulness will help you through any situation, because it tells you to embrace situations in life. We constantly have this inner dialogue, and research tells us we have around 60,000 to 75,000 thoughts a day. Sadly, most of them are negative or repetitive. We are either thinking about the past or the future. We never, ever enjoy the present moment. Whenever you have been through any crisis, any challenge, what’s going on in your mind is actually far worse than what’s happening right there.
“When we are thinking about anything negative, the brain gets engaged completely… We are producing stress hormones that completely command our mood. We feel stressed or unhappy. If we are mindful, we train ourselves to become aware of our thoughts. And when we do that, the brain realises, this is not a reality… When we get into mindful parenting, books tell you to observe the child and all of that; I genuinely believe parenting is about bringing up the parent and not the child, because when you look at a toddler, they are so mindful. They are the quickest to forgive, they are not bothered — we train them to not think about the moment, to consistently think about the past, or be worried about the future… In COVID times, recharge your batteries and say: ‘How can I be the fountainhead of creativity?” she explains.
View this post on Instagram
“We inherit the Earth from our parents and borrow it from our Children” This beautiful planet is never truly ours, hence, it’s our greatest responsibility to hand it over to the young children better than we found it. ‘Happy Mothering Sunday’ (UK) to our greatest Mother ‘Mother Earth’. May she live long, thrive, remain abundant and beautiful. 🌏❤️ #mothersday #motheringsunday
On teaching mindful parenting to other parents
Raageshwari says that while every parenting book talks about disciplining children, of creating a factory-line production of kids, it needs to be understood that adults have taught children everything that is wrong, because they have themselves learnt things the wrong way. “We have been told that we will be happy if we are successful, and if we have lots of money. But, look at what research says — mental illness is 80 per cent connected to this mad obsession to be successful. Why is that? We sadly have one education system, and we expect all children to fit into that.”
The first thing of mindful parenting, she says, is to “appreciate your child for how they are”. “Let them bloom and flourish. Parents need to look at themselves in the mirror and say: ‘I need to nurture myself, I need to heal myself, understand what my authentic self is, and from then on, I will be able to accept my child my way my child is,” Raageshwari says.
Mother to her four-year-old daughter Samaya, Raageshwari believes you can have your own priorities as parents, and that hers is to be kind right now. In fact, that is a quality she wants her daughter to have, too. “Other than that she can do whatever she likes. She can play and enjoy. Too much screen time is not encouraged, but then we as parents — Sudhanshu (husband Sudhanshu Swaroop) and I hardly have any screen time. We use our phone rarely when we are with her. If we are in the midst of a work call, we consistently communicate to her, so she never ever feels relegated where this technology is concerned.
“No one can tell you how to be a parent. In my book, it is a very humble request to awaken your inner child… Your approach should be holistic, you have to understand yourself — how you would like to be treated. Having a humorous outlook to life will always make parenting enjoyable,” she remarks.
View this post on Instagram
Whatever you do today, do it with the confidence of a 3 year old in a Super Man / Woman outfit !! This feed from my story was so loved. It inspired and triggered confidence in so many of you , that I had to create a post out of it. What an amazing activity of ‘pretend play’ that children indulge in Mindfully. Have you observed how seriously children take ‘pretend play’ ? They put on interesting outfits and dive headlong into their characters. A ruffian puts on an outfit of a princess and starts to act docile. A bully puts on an outfit of a doctor and suddenly peaks in empathy forcing medicine down our throats. A shy kid puts on an outfit of a Police Man and becomes a Super Hero. How magically our personalities can change with a tweak in our mindset. What can we adults learn from this ? That we can be anybody we like as long as we fully believe in ourselves with 100 % confidence. So let’s go and live our life like a child : 1. Have Fun and be silly. 2. Don’t be afraid to try new things. 3. Dream Big. 4. Only think of this moment. Be in the NOW !! 🙏❤️🙏 @omc_mindfulness
On late motherhood and the pressure to conceive
Raageshwari became a mother in her 40s. On the pressure that women experience on a regular basis to embrace motherhood at a certain age, she says: “We bind to culture. Culture tells you, you will be happy when you are married; that’s not true. Culture tells you, you will be happy when you bear a child; that’s not true, because if that were true, then every marriage, every couple, every mother would be happy… Culture thrives when they tell you that you are incomplete. You have to consistently remind yourself that you are perfect without anything extrinsic.
“I was bound by culture. I did the tests before I was getting married, and was told I will not have children. I was so happy I made the right decision of marrying someone so evolved. Marriage is not about children. Marriage is about companionship. It is about you getting to know yourself first, and then enjoying the path… My husband completely took the pressure off of me [of having a child], so that really helped me to understand that it is great if I have a child, and great if I don’t; I could always adopt,” she shares.
Raageshwari writes in her book that her daughter Samaya is her greatest mindulness teacher. She believes adults can learn a lot when they observe toddlers and that is what she has been doing with her daughter. “A toddler has his or her mind. They are totally authentic. They are not here to do what you consistently want them to do… In all aspects, Samaya teaches me to be patient, to let go of ego, to be humble, to forgive, and to not be worried about the future,” she says.
On her powerful recovery from facial paralysis
When she was at the peak of her career, Raageshwari was struck with Bell’s palsy that paralysed a part of her face. Speaking about her pain and her subsequent recovery, she says: “The pain was not that my face looked the way it did. The pain was more about that I had to cancel a whole lot of concerts that I committed to. Not being able to talk, not being able to sing, to lose financial freedom. All of that affected me much more than the face.”
She says she made the recovery through gratitude, even though it seemed difficult at that point.