Featured Writer: Anu Kaur

Anu Kaur,  a writer in the forthcoming book Her Name Is Kaur, published by She Writes Press.

Anu Kaur, a writer in the forthcoming book Her Name Is Kaur, published by She Writes Press.

Anu Kaur is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Wellness Coach, and Registered Yoga Teacher. She is a nationally selected Diversity Leader and past recipient of the Emerging Dietetic Leadership Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Anu has served on several professional boards and has a private practice. Anu counsels and coaches individuals for optimal nutrition and wellness while integrating a mind-body-spirit approach. She lives with her family in the greater Washington, DC, Metropolitan area close to a local farm, and she enjoys gardening.

Anu is a writer in the forthcoming collection Her Name Is Kaur: Sikh American Women Write About Love, Courage, and Faith (published by She Writes Press, reserve your copy here). Below, Anu discusses with us (among other things) self-care and her motivations to author a story for the collection.

Your favorite beverage?

Clear room temperature water and second best masala chai made with milk or soymilk, fennel, clove, cardamom and “vadi” elachi (big cardamom) and jiwan when I need a lift.

Your favorite meal?

Corn crust pizza with black beans, green peppers and onions with a warm roasted vegetables (Brussels sprouts, golden beets on a bed of baby kale tossed with Brianna’s French Vinaigrette.

Your favorite dessert?

Chocolove xoxox “Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate” with a handful of Trader Joes Dry Roasted Almonds and a shot of decaf Nespresso coffee topped with Trader Joes European Sipping Chocolate for a homemade mocha.  Delicious!

Your favorite way of unwinding from a long day?

Jogging in nature for 20 minutes for an energy lift and/or going to one of my favorite yoga studios at nighttime to wind down and release from a long day.  Love doing yoga at night by candlelight and dimmed lights.

Anu Kaur with sonWhat are you up to these days?

Taking stock and assessing if I am going in the trajectory I would like to as I embrace my 40’s.  This is a great decade but one that requires work-life balance so everyone in my family blossoms into their best selves.  I am slowing down and thinking through my day-to-day choices as I teach, speak, write and manage my private practice.  In essence, I am calling deep on my courage to move forward in a new way and expand my perception of what will serve me and those close to me.

What do you believe self-care for women means?

To learn to ask the question at any given moment during the day, “What do I need right now?”  Then to own it and offer your body, mind or spirit just that.  Maybe it is rest, exercise or connect with someone or just slow-down and go one octave lower.  Whatever it is – bringing awareness to the need is powerful and more empowering is to satisfy that need.

What do you believe it means for Sikh American women? 

As Sikh women it means to have a sense of worthiness, love and belonging and have the responsibility to take care of ourselves.  We can’t treat others kindly and do authentic seva if we are not first compassionate with ourselves and accept ourselves fully and whole-heartedly.

Why do you believe it is critical for women to pay attention to their own well-being on a daily basis?

Simply put if you don’t do it you will crash.  It is inevitable, especially in this information-overload time period we live in and the many roles people take on.  In essence, self-care is to have enough compassion and care for ourselves as people that we freely give ourselves permission to be kind to ourselves first so we can offer that kindness to others.

What do you do on a daily basis?

Meditate, exercise, hydrate and reach out to one friend or family member a day.

What does Sikh “love” mean to you?

Anu KaurI think it also ultimately means to have the courage to be imperfect and to have the self-compassion to be okay with imperfection.

To love and live whole-heartedly and to have a sense of belonging that comes from a deep sense of universal love.  I think this only happens when we share our vulnerabilities.  That can be scary and to me Sikh “love” offers a type of love that is safe and non-judgemental and starts with offering that to ourselves first.

What inspired you to write for Her Name Is Kaur:  Sikh American Women Write About Love, Courage, and Faith?

Meeting the editor and her vision to share about this diaspora.  I view it as a privilege to have the opportunity to process and share from my heart.  I love the underlying belief of this work that accepting ourselves as we are is what makes us beautiful.  The belief that beauty lies in the very thing that makes us vulnerable, our stories told with courage and heart.

What are the main themes in your story?

Acknowledgement, inner strength, letting go, inner validation, gratitude and openness.

Did the act of writing your story impact you?  How?

It released me from my past.  It offered me an outlet to reevaluate and be vulnerable to my memories and to honor them while letting go of them.  The act of writing gave me perspective that I have changed over the years.  Yet the seed of my past experiences still allow for growth and remain with me.  It is like a perennial that grows back year after year and the fragrance and beauty is still stunning each year.

Anu Kaur with husbandWhat do you want to see for Sikh women and girls as a collective and in relation to the larger community?

That we listen to our inner voices and also take the step of sharing them with others and bearing witness to each other’s stories.  That process will hopefully help us remind each other to let go of who we “should be” and accept who we “actually are.”  When we are collectively authentic then can we truly connect with one another and learn from each other.

What would you like to experience in your relationships with Sikh women and Sikh men? 

That there is a safe space to be and share our vulnerabilities, our idiosyncrasies, our weakness and strengthens and that we never ask any of us become “small” so the other can become “big.”  That we as people recognize that our partners are not us and our differences offer the beauty of polarities and shed light on the spectrum of life.

What is your super power?

To see individuals strengthens.  I can often tell another persons “talent” or gift so to speak.

How are you saving the world or making it a better place?

By sharing and continuing to reach out authentically even when it feels tough.

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