Calm in chaos

If I look around every household has some issues, some problems. As simple as leakages to more complicated ones like medical emergencies. Each one of us has something to resolve in our quest for better days. However quite often I see some people are in a loop like a mouse in a hamster wheel, the series of wrongs does not come to an end. Tiringly they keep attending, eventually losing sight of improvement in situations. My heart reaches out to them (even I must have lived such a phase but I would say briefly) and this story offers ways that can help one out of the chaos:

It’s a phase

Accept that it’s a passing phase. Like the seasons, the setting sun and the rising moon, that which is undesirable will also flow away like the river water. What kills one inside is the thought that the unpleasantness will stay forever. Change is the nature of nature, so take each day as it comes, spring follows autumn and autumn follows spring.

Rise above the problem

Learn that you are facing a bad time as you are capable of handling it. I know it sounds cliché but trust the ways of the Universe. Rise after the fall and carve a beautiful way ahead. For instance, you are having severed relations with a co- worker who is a key member of your team. You cannot ignore and you cannot confront. In such a case you need to identify yourself as a separate entity. You are not the team, you are not work alone, there are other aspects of your life too – so once you are done dealing with him/her, do not ponder or discuss or whine, rise above.

Manifest

Manifestation work wonders. Write a crisp statement in positive language desiring what you want for a better life. Reiterate it in your moments of quiet and rest, moments of prayer and meditation, moments when you are happy and alert towards surroundings. As wisely suggested by the learned, you attract what you ask for.

Break the problem

Like a jigsaw puzzle solve any impending problem piece by piece. Trying to tackle it at one go will only create anxiety. Many a times you feel helpless, in a place where you can’t do anything towards solution because the problem is due to an external stimulus not in your circle of control. In times like these simply manifest so that the problem does not grow bigger in your mind.

Concentrate on peaceful pursuits

On most occasions we are so overwhelmed with a problem that we give it disproportionate time and energy. It does not aid in solution but it is just a mindset that – 

“Oh I have such a big difficulty, what am I doing reading/writing/watching/talking/chilling…I should be attending to the matter.” Common sense is that if it’s a big problem how can it be resolved within few minutes or even days? 

And if it is going to take time, why not engage for some time in pursuits and habits that bring peace to you. For instance you are occupied in a bitter litigation over a piece of land. Yes, your future depends on the decision but you cannot restrict the time taken by the court of law, sometimes it take months and years. Does that mean that one should stop pursuing simple inexpensive hobbies? No it will not make you look casual; it will make you stronger from inside as it gives you life beyond the problem.

All the above points are interrelated. Personally this approach has helped me a lot in tackling my problems. Yes the article is generic because it is impossible to accommodate the myriad issues that face every individual. My apologies to readers who have felt that the above is easier said than done. But my intention was only to offer a different perspective. Even if one person benefits my purpose is served.

                    Problems are faced by everyone

               They slow you down or make you run

                   Connect to your soul as you think

                  Escape the emptiness, take a blink

                             Do not make the mistake,                                                         don’t be one with the problem

        Remember a rose, amidst thorns it blossoms 

What defines you?

Your identity

Your identity defines you in the eyes of self and others. What do you think forms your identity? The bigger things like your status, qualification and professional success, right? But there are many smaller things that too contribute to forming your image, your identity. Their impact is less but not innocuous. Things as simple as

Your clothes

Second skin as it is rightly called. The fabric, the fall, the patterns, the brands are collectively suggestive of your lifestyle and even your approach to your commitments. Love for comfortable simple clothes or heavily designed clothes, traditional wear or western wear, formal or informal ….the list goes on (thanks to the booming apparel sector that has something to offer for every pocket and preference) Yes people don multiple styles but there is one common thread that runs through all their choices and that is the element of their identity.

Your food

The 3 common types of food discussed in Hindu Vedas are – Sattvik (Mild, raw, freshly cooked, healthy, green and vegetarian), Rajasik (Cooked, spiced, oily, flavored) and Tamasik (Processed, stale, stored, rotten). I have described the three types in the simplest way possible. Again your food habits shuffle between the three categories but there is one which is predominant, find the one and know how it is a part of your identity.

Your content

The books and magazines you read, the articles in the newspaper that catch your span better than other stories. In the digital era that we are living in, the web series that you choose to watch. Trending or self-found, historical or modern, fun oriented or intricate…. It is impossible to list the categories in this case. Try and find what category hooks you up better and it will help you know your identity a little better.

Your physique and posture

Most of the days you are alert or dull, uptight or slouching, whether you walk with a zing in your feet or just trudge along. How happily healthy your skin and structure appear? Your physique and posture are one of the key factors that determine your identity – totally evident, making an immediate and strong impact. Others notice it first and the acknowledgement keeps you going or pulls you down also. Yes, inside everybody lies a beautiful soul but what catches your sight is first the external followed by internal (That is how nature works)

Your energy

The way you approach your routine. The bestseller ‘Ikigai’ mentions an interesting concept of micro and macro flow. Micro flow consists of mundane day to day chores – but the way one handles them puts one in place for the macro flow activities like pursuing their passion, being innovative and genuine. You are a sum total of your energy. Whether the task is complete or incomplete is not a sufficient barometer, what matters is you accomplished it with what energy? – Positive or negative, enthusiastic or forceful. Yes, it is abstract, but it creates your aura and hence your identity.

You want to build a desirable identity – think about all the above elements holistically and you will be able to identify yourself better. No choice or person is good or bad – it is just that more the elements are in sync better will be the quality of your life. A conflict is an indication of you digressing from your true self which is not ideal. 

A casual evening


She sat by the window to spend time introspecting and writing

The air was cold; the trees were still, the weather simply amazing

She spotted two birds playing and swaying, one soaring the sky

In the neighboring window an elderly man sipping on hot chai

On the small road below a few teenagers chattered their way along

Two women engrossed in talking may be deciding right or wrong

Clouds were swiftly on the move, the skies dull white and celestial

A young woman, with a bag was headed to buy some essentials

Few kids were down, running and challenging, riding their bicycles

Yellow and white butterflies in the garden flew in motions cyclical

She sat there waiting for her bright introspective idea to arrive

And smiled as the authenticity of daily life bought her poem alive

Diwali…

Diwali is a special time of the year. It’s a time of families and friends coming together. Economically it is a period when the money flow is high as consumers buy household items and personal products. The logic is everything that needs to be replaced should be done on Diwali. If the house is due for paint, it is scheduled in a way that it is done before Diwali arrives so that the house is at its best. Dry snacks and traditional sweets recipes are not revised an entire year until its Diwali time. 

An important part of a good Diwali for an Indian homemaker is the extent to which she and family have managed to deep clean the house. I too relate to the cleaning process as it helps in putting items kept away into use and also those which are no longer suiting our requirements are either disposed or donated. Diwali is thus symbolic of Declutter. 

As the house, garage, office readies itself to welcome Goddess Lakshmi on the eve of Diwali; there is a positive aura around. People are in a phase of new start, better start – the reason behind Mahurat trading in business. The origin of this festival lies in the homecoming of Lord Rama where the entire Ayodhya was lit to celebrate the win of good over evil. Thus, this festival also carries a goodness vibe, a restoration of faith in all that is morally correct amidst the unnecessary worldly chaos.

            Wish we could extend the decluttering to our minds

    Wish we could take hopefulness deep down inside our souls

   Wish we could add the sweetness to our words and  gestures

     Wish we could for once believe in ourselves and change our                                                obsolete thoughts and limiting ways

The weather is cold and the heat all absorbed, mornings are brighter and nights are calmer. The external atmosphere also facilitates the process of renewing relations first with self and then with others.

Happy Diwali to all my readers!!!

Minimalism for beginners

We live in a world of never ending expectations, a long wish list of experiences and infinite possibilities. Even a mention of minimalism reduces chaos. Minimalism is a culture of less is more. It may sound like an idea for the sages but in reality it is very easy to adapt to. Following are five simple ways to start with:

Keep your space decluttered

Declutter allows one to differentiate between things which are useful and those which are not. Also it helps to find the right thing at the right time thereby reducing the need to stock extra.

Plan your buy

Whenever you go shopping, pre decide as to what pattern, what brand, what style you want to add to your possessions. A random shopping spree leads to excess buying, probably more than what you can meaningfully consume.

Stay updated

This is a farfetched point but very significant. You should stay updated about the latest trends so that courtesy your minimalistic approach you don’t end up presenting yourself or your space or your work shoddily. The appearance should be smart and on par.

A way of life

You can’t be minimalistic in one sphere and an aggressive consumer in another. It has to be a binding approach across your life span. Only then will it transform from a conscious habit to becoming a way of life.

Wabi Sabi

Try to mend broken things and put them to use, discourage your immediate intent to dispose. That way you can also teach the posterity to accept minimalism, from a young age they will observe and learn.

These are ways which you can put to effect right from the next moment.  While minimalism looks sacrificial, austere these can help in a humble start.

Be the sunshine

Hi! How are you? How is life? What’s new? Are you doing well? Common interaction when people meet. You keep connecting all the time with family, friends, neighbors, staff, domestic help, colleagues… and all those whom you meet during a day. Certainly you can’t be oblivious to how the people around you are feeling.

Through this article I wish to mention some ways by which you can create sunshine for those surrounding you – in their moments of dullness, anxiety, worthlessness or insecurity. A direct conversation does not work every time and even though you are not a reason for their sadness, for humanity sake; if you notice the unhappiness you can resort to any of these humble methods:

Do a part of their job

Seek smaller jobs that you can do for them like may be preparing a cup of tea for your mother, organizing the bill file for your father, helping  a colleague in some research, teaching the younger sibling, folding the clothes though it is the maid’s job…. I understand all are busy but these are tiny things which do not require much of time just some thoughtfulness.

Acknowledge the goodness

Each person has some special skill or attitudinal trait which is worthy of appreciation. Acknowledging what is good not only turns dullness into happiness but also allows you to develop gratitude. Gratitude – the supreme force of the Universe.

Go their way

You like doing things your way but sometimes it’s not a bad idea to do it their way. They like it when you groove to their music or walk their path. You prefer home cooked meals but once in a while a cheat treat with your daughter at her favorite joint can definitely cheer her up.

Converse about their interest

Communication is two sided. But sometimes let it be one sided where you only listen. Spirituality for example is not everyone’s cup of tea but if your mother in law or senior believes in it, you can actually probe them and ask them to share or narrate. It infuses enthusiasm in their otherwise somber minds.

Each of these acts can be the turning point in the concerned person’s day. And from that moment they revive and leave the sorrow behind. In fact most of the times there is no real sorrow – it is just a frame of mind that is too caught up in the day to day hustle – creating a sense of displeasure with self. That’s why the title – Be the sunshine because it easily spreads, to the contrary you need effort to curtail it….once its day, its day!!!

All simply settles…

 Everything in nature is meant to settle

Be it the seasons or the moon and the sun

All that begins finds its own end

Be it insects, birds, animals or mortal beings like us

Every issue in mind or with others in our life

Dies down as days turn into months and years

Though a lot seems to be going on in and around

A definite closure awaits all, lying somewhere at some point

Yes there is no time frame till we are there and that’s
the beauty

After all that is the way The Universe works

Every element even as insignificant as dust HAS TO SETTLE…….

Lock down revelation-The social frame

Lockdown has urged us all to step inside not only our homes but also our minds, our souls. I wonder that after things go back to normal do we want to go back to ALL that we have left behind. With me, multiple activities have been revisited and rendered futile during this period. I may not want to go back to that mythical busyness, where everyone simply tries to fit in a frame – ‘A Social Frame’

The social frame is strange. We look up to others and decide our course of action. We fear not going to a weekend party, no sending our child for extra- curricular, not having a perfect figure, not vacationing abroad…. Why? I think largely to fit in that frame. We squeeze ourselves, we struggle straining ourselves and without realizing. In our quest to multitask we burn out and burn the resources around.

Covid has directly hit and shattered that very social frame into pieces. You pick any of the pieces – you will see your own reflection…

Lock down hopes

The cities and countries will soon revive

All of us, our hustle – will bring them alive

Nothing is etched, continuous and forever

Change is the only constant, don’t fear

Kids will play hide and seek like before

Business will resume, markets will soar

Days will get busier and full once again

But what we faced mentally, will always remain

When it’s flowing, the same water can’t be touched twice

The ups and downs however do make us wise

Peace and contentment is the call of the Universe

If we work inclusive, it may never get this worse

With this let us wait to begin in full flare

But this time with simplicity, affection and care

As of now please curtail and completely abide

Nature will soon be on our side

Nature will soon be on our side

Lock down revelation – We are just a number

Last year we went for a trip to Auli. Auli is for the people who love mountains and simplicity. The hotel where we stayed had put up a photograph of a mountaineer with a quote – “If you want to know how small you are, try climbing a mountain.”

I would take the liberty to rephrase it – “You come to know how small you are when you are in the face of a pandemic.” The news each day, throws numbers from all over the world. When the numbers are being stated they are not categorized as per caste, status and power, in fact no one may be interested in that data. All we want to know is the percentage of people who are safe. This makes me ponder – Am I just a number?

As the people world over are trying their best to combat this crisis, we are coming to terms with the reality that the so called weaker strata of society makes us what we are – white collared and stylishly sophisticated. When I made a courtesy call to my domestic help who has been working for me since the last 10 years, we both checked on each other, our family members and our surroundings – the pandemic sensitized us both in the same way. Neither of us had anything more to say as we both were uncertain about our fates.

Nature in its best or worst form touches each one , without any discrimination , so you see in the larger scheme of things you are playing your tiny role – better be humble and play it well because at the end you are nothing but a number!!!