Spirit Indestructible

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR – 2015 !

I wanted my first post this new year to be connected to music. So when I thought of which song to choose, the first name that appeared in my mind was SPIRIT INDESTRUCTIBLE. This song, performed by Nelly Furtado, is one of my favorites. It has a good singer, cool video, catchy tune, awesome beat and inspiring lyrics. Of course I like it. But I love it for the lyrics. It has moved me on many occasions. Inspired me. Cheered me up. These lyrics speak to me. I believe this will set the right mood for the year ahead. Let me explain why.

“I have a Spirit Indestructible”
What a powerful statement to make! If you come to think of it, in order to survive in this amazingly beautiful and yet crazy world we all need to have a Spirit that is indestructible. Just imagine this. Whatever problems and obstacles we face in this year, if we can decide just one thing and that being our Spirit will remain unfazed through it all, then we are set to conquer this year in style!

“A heart that loving was made for
A body that’s a miracle”
These lines are examples of positive strokes. (“Positive strokes are wholly positive, heartfelt and truthful recognition transactions. They have the power to soothe, to create good feelings, to make people feel OK about themselves, to heal physical and mental illness.”) When you tell yourself repeatedly that you are worthy of love and that you appreciate your body, it will go a long way in improving your confidence and self image. This in turn will set a chain reaction of positive results in your life. Try it. You won’t regret it.

“I have chains on my feet, but not in my mind”
Sometimes in life we all feel as though we have chains on our feet. What we need to remember during those times is this simple truth. Our minds are free. Always. No one can enslave them. The power in these lines is immense. When we see something from a new perspective, invariably it helps us to find a solution.

“A heart that was made pure
Unbreakable and that’s for sure
Unshakeable, so give me more”
When we live a life of truth there is a clarity we feel that is so grounding and liberating that we can say with confidence that our hearts are pure! If we can say that then we can be sure that our hearts will be unbreakable and strong enough to handle any crises. This is reason enough for us to strive to lead a life that is based on truth and honesty always!

“There’s a rhythm flowing through every vein
And the melody is never ending”
These lines will make complete sense to anyone who loves music. Somehow music has this effect on me that nothing else can come close to. In my most painful moments, it has always been music that has come to my rescue. On the other hand, even during my moments of bliss or happiness, music has always remained by my side. So I can say confidently that there is a rhythm flowing through every vein of mine and I know the melody I hear is never ending!

OH-SO-GRATEFUL

 

GRACE

This year has been phenomenal for me in more ways than ever before! The experiences I have gone through during this year are definitely the once in a lifetime kind. Looking back I can confidently say that this will be remembered as one of my defining years!

On this last day of the year 2014 let me take this opportunity to express out loud all that I am eternally grateful for:

1. My Family

What can I say here that will truly encapsulate my feelings towards the people closest to me and who have known me since forever? Words cannot express it in its entirety but let me give it a shot anyway.

  • To my Mother, for her unconditional love, constant care, unflinching encouragement, amazing culinary skills, and ever present patience when dealing with me, I am ever grateful.
  • To my Father, for his discipline, work ethic, entrepreneurial skills, leadership qualities, and above all, his constant guidance and support in all my endeavors, I am ever grateful.
  • To my Sister, for being the quintessential older sister, for always doling out good advice (whether solicited or not🙂, for putting up with my craziness over the years, for loving me to bits in her own unique style, for sticking with me despite my stubbornness and for being an example of a true humanist, I am ever grateful.
  • To my extended family, which includes the whole bunch of aunts/uncles/cousins and so on, for managing to keep our family together despite our distances and differences, I am ever grateful.

2. My Friends

They say friends are the family you choose and nothing could be closer to the truth. Life is immensely beautiful and bearable only because of the love, faith and support of true friends. Here again I can only say that my words cannot come close to expressing what I feel towards them but today it is going to be words so here goes.

  • To my ‘oldest’ friends (you know who you are!), for having stayed with me all these years, for accepting me for who I am and never judging me, for all the wonderful moments spent together, for all the memories created over the years, and for all the love, I thank you with all my heart.
  • To my newer and online friends, for being willing to accept me into your life, for sharing a part of yourselves with me, for your love, your time and concern, for the possibility of sharing wonderful moments in the years ahead, I thank you with all my heart.
  • To my friend, confidante, playmate, alter ego, cycling partner, constant companion and so much more; for coming into my life and staying there, for showing me the path of truth and how to walk the talk, for making me push my boundaries and being my anchor through it all, for accepting me for who I am in spite of all my flaws, for always being there for me to lean on, for reminding me of all that’s good in life, for trusting me with your darkest secrets, for your unconditional love, care and kindness, for welcoming me into the private space of your wonderful family, I thank you with all my heart.

3. My Mentors and Teachers

For a lifelong student like me, learning is something I have always craved. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to have attended classes for a variety of subjects that interested me. As any student will know, more than 50% of the success in learning something new depends on the teacher and for all the teachers who have taught me, I am eternally grateful.

A Mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser. I have considered a select few as my mentors and for their encouragement, guidance and support, I am ever grateful.

4. My Colleagues

I have been fortunate to have worked with several people over the years in different organizations and shared work relationships in varying capacities. For all the experiences I have gained from these people and for their generous sharing of knowledge and for having enhanced the quality of my work life, I am eternally grateful.

5. My City, My Country, The World and The Universe

I am a restless wanderer and I am never in one place at any given point of time because of my vivid imagination and wild dreams.

Given this fact about me, I can still confidently say that I love my city and know this will always be Home. You can put me anywhere and I will find my “space” there but here I don’t have to try!

India, my country, for her amazing variety and maddening contradictions, and most importantly, for her lovely people, I am ever grateful.

The World. Our World. My World. For being so wonderful and beautiful and giving, in spite of us humans, I am eternally grateful.
The Universe. For conspiring to help make dreams come true for every dreamer. A big Thank You.

Scenarios

Scenario – 1

She calls her sister frantically as she manoeuvres through the peak time traffic, hoping to make it on time for the doctors appt. Seeing a new doctor, she wanted to start on a right note. On the way she realized she needed some family background info just in case she had to fill out some forms or answer any queries. Hence this SOS call to her sister.

Strangely her call is answered immediately and she is surprised as her sister rarely picks up any call the first time around. Quickly she explains her situation and asks a simple question relating to their parents medical history. Her sister pauses and then says she will call back and hangs up!

Her appointment went well enough and she was on her way back home, nearly an hour later, when her sister calls back. For a change, and also since she’s driving, she doesn’t answer the call.

Scenario – 2

Doc: So tell me, what kind of a person are you?
She: Excuse me!
Doc: I mean, what’s your nature? State of mind?
She: Calm? (Grinning sheepishly)
Doc: Okay then, Calm. Entering data into his computer.
(She casually looks into the screen to see what he is entering and notices a tick mark next to calm. Then she sees another tick mark and that one was next to anxious!)

Scenario – 3

She: Aunty, I want to tell you something.
Aunty: Sure, go on.
She: I am making my new year resolution and that is to complete my swimming lessons this new year. And I am saying this to you as I know you think I don’t complete what I start!
Aunty: Now that’s what I would call a one in a million kinda joke! (Laughing uncontrollably)

Stars… always make me smile!

Yes it’s true. Stars have always managed to make me smile. What they remind me of is a truth so simple and yet one that we tend to forget ever so often. The simple truth is this. Beauty surrounds each one of us. Beauty that is free and available to all. Beauty that is generous and kind. Beauty that takes your breath away. Beauty that makes you smile. Every day. Always.

We need to be more aware of it. Once we do get to that level of awareness, there is no going back. The starry nights, the colors of dusk, the rising sun at dawn, the sound of the waves, the gentle spray of rains, the smell of wet earth, the breeze caressing your face on a mountain top, the smells and sounds in a forest, waterfalls, rainbows, misty roads, towering trees, the universal appeal of flowers, chirping birds, and the list could go on and on.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that it is this abundance of beauty surrounding all of us that has made me survive every roadblock I’ve faced. Do you know how? Let me illustrate my point with a few examples. When I was in New York and leading a very solitary kind of existence, there were few occasions when I felt really low and exhausted emotionally. One time I faced such a situation, I was greeted by a sudden downpour which cheered me immensely and on another occasion I had a clear view of a very colorful rainbow and I was left smiling!

I’m sure we all have had similar experiences. Some days, I would find my train arriving just as I walk into the station or the lift would be waiting just for me or the light turns green for pedestrians as I walk up to the road. It is the small things that make a difference. They add up. A smile right at the start of the day goes a long way in improving the quality of that day for you and everyone you interact with. When nothing seems to be working, just pause a while and look around you. Life is beautiful. Of course there are problems and roadblocks we have to deal with. But we also have so much to be thankful for. Are we grateful for what we all have? We are lucky. Let us not forget that.

Today I’m smiling because of the stars. And the rains. And so much more. What are you waiting for? Appreciate the good in life. Start seeing the small things. And smile.

Let it go…

Today I was on a cleaning spree. Yet another one in recent times actually. Since November I’ve been slowly and methodically clearing out the spaces around me. This could be an outcome of the fact that I’ve been clearing out a lot of the spaces in my mind and perhaps now it’s become more mutual. I’ve noticed how a clean and clear surrounding physically enhances your state of mind drastically. Similarly when your mind gets clear you start to clear the clutter!

So today my target was a cupboard overflowing with my stuff from the past. This was basically lots of papers and documents and diaries and photos and other little knick knacks. As I started sorting through them I realized I had stuff right from my school day diaries to old letters and cards. All memories created over these years and still fresh in my mind.

This time I was able to let go of my need to hold on to these bits of my life from the past. I realized that these memories will remain with me and that I don’t need these relics anymore. It was a cathartic experience though certainly a backbreaking one! My dear friend who helped me through it all was witness to the whole letting go process. And I’m sure she understands.

Right now I feel utterly tired and exhausted, not just physically but also mentally as I have kinda relived the last 18 years or so of my life in one day. Yet there is a lightness I feel that is such a relief to me that I recommend such cleaning exercises for just about everyone. Letting go of your past is so important because only then can we really move forward. On to new vistas and experiences in life. After all the past is past, and there is change happening every day so we need to keep up with the world in order to stay in the loop.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not writing off the past here. I do know the value of where I’ve been and what I’ve experienced so far. Like a wise person said, it’s all been leading up to this one day. Nothing was ever a waste and not a single experience was not worth it. Life, after all, is a combination of the past, present and future. Let us remember that the future is what drives us while the past is what grounds us. However the present is what we have at any given point of time and so let us be fully alive, in the moment and make it count. Always.

Have you?

Have you ever felt
The raw ache of a hurting heart?
The dull constant ache you feel
Every time you breathe.

Have you ever known
The itch felt by tearful eyes?
The dry painful itch you get
After spending hours with lonely tears.

Have you ever heard
The sorrow of shattering dreams?
The stark imprint of a sorrow
You never wish even for an enemy.

Have you ever seen
The look of utter despair?
The searing piercing look often seen
When harsh cruel reality sets in.

Have you ever touched
The depths of your darkest fears?
Those dark shadowy depths hidden, yet
Often just within your outstretched arms.

If you know what I mean,
If you have experienced all or some,
If you still continue to wake up each day,
If you have it in you to keep smiling,

Then it means you have finally figured out
The true meaning of life’s adversities
How we need to let these emotions play out
While holding on to our core beliefs of love and understanding!

Silence

 “I don’t want to be married just to be married. I can’t think of anything lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, someone I can’t be silent with.”  ~  Mary Ann Shaffer

Now I would call that a profound statement. So true. Of all that you can share with a partner the two most important things would definitely be your words and your silence. If you can’t share either or both with that special someone then you are better off alone! Why is it that we are unable to share words with some people without them misunderstanding it and similarly share our silence with someone without them being insulted or hurt or perplexed by it? Communication sure is tricky business and the day we can be sure of communicating our message to the intended recipient without any doubts, I can say that will be our day of self actualization🙂

So coming back to Shaffer’s quote, we come to the topic of loneliness. Even though tomes have been written on this subject I am sure each one of us is aware of exactly how it feels to be lonely and if we think deep enough and are brutally honest with ourselves then we will realize that our lives are spent trying to ensure that we don’t have to experience that feeling of loneliness again! Every dream of ours, every action we take, the words we use, the relationships we nurture, all are basically aimed at ensuring we have company.

Think of it, after all what is the point of life if we can’t share it with someone we like? Rather I should say we all need one witness to our lives. One person (it could be anyone, not necessarily a spouse!) who commits to being a part of your life, till either one of you moves on to another plane of existence. If we are unable to find this one person in our entire life, then obviously our life will be about our search for this person. And if we are lucky to find that person and each of you make that commitment to each other to share your lives together then remember, you are one of the rare few. You are blessed indeed. Cherish that relationship forever.

I would like to leave you with a quote by my favorite poet – the Sufi mystic Rumi –

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”

Two Zero One Four … Two Zero One Five

Let your tears come.  Let them water your soul.  ~ Eileen Mayhew

2014 is the year that taught me to cry. And how! From silent tears flowing down my face to sniffling into a supporting shoulder to bawling away in the shower, I seem to have done it all. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I have always had an issue with crying. I just could never get myself to cry! No matter what the situation, how sad or painful or hurtful it was, I could never cry. There would be this heavy pressure in my chest and unbearable pain in my heart and I would long for a release somehow but it never came. Not all these years. And suddenly this year it happened. One day I cried. Then it happened again. And yet again. Now it has become quite a common occurrence for me, but only when I am sad or hurt. Sometimes I am depressed, due to my thyroid levels or PMS, or just because I am overwhelmed by life and her sometimes inexplicable twists and turns. Now I finally know how it feels. I have to say it is a big relief to be able to cry but it is also a very sad, lonely place to be! I always have to remind myself that I need to stop sometime and that I need to move on. Its certainly not easy but I am doing it.

This year saw the beginning of a new friendship and it seems like one of those forever kind of friendships. On a few occasions in my moderately long life, I have met people who click with me in an instant and I just know that this is a friendship that’s going to survive all concepts of time and space. And I have been right. I am lucky to have few lifelong friends and no matter where they may be I am always connected to them somehow. So here’s a salute to my new friend who now shares my life story forever.

Besides that, it sure has been an eventful year for me. This year has been huge in terms of life changing decisions that I actually went ahead and worked on. Making plans in your mind is one thing. Going ahead and taking a step in that direction is a whole new ball game. And I was a player this time. Stuff that had been brewing in my mind for a long time came to the surface and I was forced to face them head on. A writing challenge that opportunely came up about the same time seemed like a message to me from the Universe and I used it to channel my thoughts as well as bare myself completely to the unknown world of digital media. My blog was purely raw, uncensored and true during those days. It was basically a peep into my inner mind and thinking process during one of the most crucial phases of my life. It was terrifying and I lost my nerve on various days but somehow I kept at it. Each time I wavered, a friend or well wisher egged me on. And I completed the challenge and in the process, reached my decision. I went ahead and declared it to my inner circle of people, and this brought about a turmoil that took some time to settle. I know I have made my choice and I am going to live with my decision without any regret. I harbor no ill will towards anyone nor will I feel any guilt for my choices. Someday I hope everyone affected by my decision will understand me. If not, then perhaps that is destiny. I will still move on. I always do.

When I look back some things that bother me about this year gone by are the things I started and did not complete. This would be Swimming lessons, Cycling daily, Regular exercise/walking/gymming, Tennis practice, etc. I intend to set this right in the new year. And I will do so. That’s a promise. And when I think of my accomplishments, I smile. This year started off with me completing my Sailing course. Later I started cycling daily since February preparing for an amazing trip. Then I was lucky to be part of a trip of a lifetime to Ladakh. Immediately after that we organized our annual Sangamam trip to Malaysia (KL-Langkawi-Penang-KL) in a relatively short time and it was a huge success. Then a really serious phase of my life started by July and went on till end of November, and during this intense period I interacted with many of my old friends and their immense love and unconditional support gave me the strength to handle my life as best as I could. I also went on and signed up for an FCPX (video editing) course in an authorized centre around the end of October and am almost close to completing it.

So overall I am happy about the way this year has shaped up. Of course it was a complete surprise how my life played out after the middle of the year but I know I am on the right path. Astrologically, some say that this was the year everyone had a chance to make a change. Either you take the risk and make the plunge or you pass the turn and continue your life as a status quo. This was the choice we all had. You and me. Each one of us. I know which path I chose. I hope you have made your choice well. If you chose the status quo, I wish you well. And if you made a choice to change then too I wish you well and also wish you lots of inner strength and courage. If however, you want to make a change and are yet to do so, there is still time. Whatever you do, make sure YOU make the choice. After all, its YOUR life.

Let me wish you a very thrilling and memorable 2015. Make it rock!

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.  ~ Mary Oliver 

https://asoulbared.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/the-power-of-great-poetry/

When Death Comes by Mary Oliver

I am back with another beauty from Mary Oliver. Please read this wonderful poem here now.

 

~~~

 

When Death Comes by Mary Oliver

 

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

 

~~~

 

How can anyone not be inspired after reading these words? I keep returning to this poem whenever I feel overwhelmed by what I have to do to get through the day or when I think of creating the future I dream of. And I realize each time that it is the same for every single person. If anyone has achieved anything in life, they have most certainly gone through the same turmoils and confusions in their minds. Circumstances may vary, but the way our mind works and how our emotions go through this huge giant wheel is almost the same for everyone.

The poet makes the coming of Death a special occasion and wants to be stepping in through that door of darkness with curiosity and wonder. Like everything else in life. She looks upon time as no more than an idea and considers eternity as another possibility! Her wish is to have lived life like a bride married to amazement or a bridegroom who took the world in his arms. What a life that would be? Can you imagine? She reiterates that it is not enough to have simply visited this world. We need to make it worthwhile. She is absolutely right. Don’t you think so too?

 

Black or White

She says:
Life is all about Black & White.

I say:
What about all the Grey?

She says:
What Grey?

I say:
The Grey that lies between the Black & White.

She says:
There is nothing in between Black & White. There are only two options.

I say:
But I have always seen the Grey! The Grey appears when I am not happy with the two options of Black or White.

She says:
Well then you are creating the Grey. It is not actually there in the first place. Black & White are always there!

I say:
Come on! How can you say that? Do you really think there is always a clear choice between one thing or another?

She says:
Absolutely! It’s either a Yes or a No.

I say:
I don’t think it’s that simple. Life is way more complicated than that.

She says:
Are you sure? I would say we create the complications. Life is simple really!

I say:
I think I understand what you mean. I’m only saying it’s not that easy to follow.

She says:
Who says it has to be easy? Just do what you think is right. That is easy!

I say:
What if I’m wrong? What then?

She says:
Well then once you realize it is wrong, deal with the consequences and work on making it right. You still only have to do what you think is right.

I say:
Yes I see your point. But I doubt most others would. What I’m saying is that what if others don’t see the Black or the White? What then?

She says:
What others see or don’t see is not your problem. Just do what needs to be done and let them decide what they need to do. Each one can focus on their part and that is all there is to it.

I say:
Okay. So let me ask you something. What if someone asks you a question and you know they can’t deal with the answer, what would you do?

She says:
Well I believe people should ask a question only when they are really sure that they can deal with the answer! But if I were in such a situation as you say, then I would try to avoid answering it as diplomatically as I can. If they insist on my answering then I would say what I feel is the answer and let them deal with it.

I say:
I feel it is refreshingly different to think in clear Black & White terms. I know it is not easy but I understand what you mean. The things that matter are often those that don’t come easy! So let me try this approach from now on and see where it takes me. Thank you for clearing my Greys.

She says:
I didn’t do anything really. I was just sharing my philosophy of life. You agreed with me and are willing to make a change, and I think you are on the right path. Good luck.