Sunday, December 7, 2014

Journey of Doubt

Doubt is a curse that we bring upon ourselves. We only enhance that curse when we begin to believe that our unfounded doubt is the truth, because then we go out of our way to establish that the doubt is nothing but the truth.

Doubt arises either when we refuse to believe that man is inherently good or when we have been fooled by many often. I would rather be fooled by some people than doubt everyone around me. I choose to believe in the goodness of my brethren - until I have proof positive that they have done evil. Also, one evil or wrong done does not make the person evil. I refuse to judge the entire life of a person on one wrong-doing. At the same time - given the opportunity to do good, if one continues to do wrong, I will and do distance myself. I choose not to hate, but I find it very difficult to like such a person, because when I think of him/her it brings out the negative in me and a lot of my time is wasted in trying to counter that negative.

I deal with doubts by questioning my personal motive first. What is the payoff I am getting by giving credence to the doubt? If there is a payoff, (and more often than not there is one, I am ashamed to admit) then I become vigilant and make sure I stop entertaining the doubt. If there is no payoff for me then my next question is what reason do I have to doubt? Is it someone else's doubts that I have chosen to take on, or is it something I myself have seen? If it is someone else who has doubted then too I am vigilant and is reason enough for me to remove the doubt. If it is something I myself have seen then I move forward to verify the veracity of my doubt and take care that until I can confirm that the doubt is true, no wrong has been done. The human mind is vibrant and can override every logic if allowed to do so. The mind can show us what we want to see if we let it. It can blind us to the truth unless we control its velocity. We have the power to control our thoughts and be a witness to our mind. Silence, meditation, contemplation and above all acceptance of the imperfection within us all, gives us the necessary control that is the key to our innermost peace and outward harmony. 

We are all here with a purpose and I constantly remind myself that my purpose is unique and I am unique and if I stay on course and never lose sight of my goal nothing can take me away from it. My purpose in life is to bring joy and peace into the lives of those I touch. My purpose is to be a source of love - for myself and for those around me and so no matter what it is I do or say it must come from a space of love. I do not have a material purpose, I am not here to possess things or to give away things, but I am here to ensure that my interaction with people brings no pain, no hurt, no ill-will. For that to happen I must trust, I must have faith and I must love unconditionally. Doubt is counterproductive in my life and so I choose to treat it with only as little respect as it deserves. :)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Lesson Learned

Walking down memory lane today and I was struck by how far I have come and how much I owe to life experiences and relationships. Today, though, I want to write about one lesson in particular that I have learned through many experiences but very poignantly through the experience of sickness and death - of my loved ones.

My first brush with illness came at birth. My sister - born 5 years before me - suffered from epileptic seizures and they happened everyday. This experience was definitely more severe for my parents and my brother, but it was an experience that molded me more than most other childhood experiences did. I saw her suffer for the first 8 years of my life - day in and day out - till eventually her body could not take the assault of the seizures and gave in. She died at 13.

The next experience was with cancer - it took my hero away from me. Dad suffered, thankfully for a very short period of time and was gone. I was 18.

The next was the most recent event, when my husband was diagnosed with cancer and has since recovered.

The lesson is a very profound one - all the information and all the advice that may be available is good to have but it is imperative to know that the experience of each one of us as we go through watching our loved ones suffer is unique. No one can foresee the future that is ahead - not the person suffering, not the doctors, not all the loved ones. Yet, there is one thing that each one of us does have and that is the power to make a difference in the moment. We can choose to worry, grieve, wallow, smile, laugh, be positive, be strong, be sad, be prayerful or resourceful - the choice is ours. The mind is our tool through which we take control of the moment and live it by design. We have to accept that all the knowledge we have cannot foretell our future, we may even accept that destiny has already designed what the future will be, but we cannot give in to worry. Worry is our greatest enemy when we are faced with caring for or even simply watching our loved one suffer. Worry drains us and it leaves us lacking. Worry comes from fear. Each of us has a different set of fears and we have to learn to overcome our basket of fears. Our ally in all this is a stable mind and we must at all times care for that stability of mind. Never let it waiver even during the best of times. Staying focused, positive and recognizing ones own potential to overcome every odd ensures that we are at our best at all times. Never give in to anger, hatred, envy or pride for they take our mind away from the moment. Handle these emotions with care for they are part of our human psyche. We need to recognize them and use them to fire up our engines to bring out the best in us - never the worst.

Death and disease are part of life and we all have to face it, and the lessons they teach us can be carried through into many life experiences, both good and bad. My experience with illness and death has made me recognize myself and be more compassionate, more caring towards others and definitely more appreciative of life. Most of all it has taught me to care for my mind and be meditative at all times. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Being Alone

Many are curious about how 'being alone' feels. I am not alone. Relationships that I have built over my lifetime have a depth that goes beyond the need for physical presence. I realized that, for the first time, when I moved out of Canada and away from the physical presence of my sons. For 25 years everything I did, had to take my sons into account. Any decisions I made started with, "what about my precious boys," then came other aspects of the decision making process. For the first little while away from them, they were still my preliminary consideration, but soon I realized that I had to let go if I wanted them to be as complete as I was. I had to think about life without them so I could enjoy and not begrudge them their independence. It was difficult to see them struggle through difficult times and simply watch, but I knew that life, and not I, would be their greatest teacher. I relegated myself to be their soft place if they needed it. Then one day I realized that this soft place is mutual. My boys are all grown up and are my haven where I go to when I feel anxious or depressed and joyful or excited.

Their physical presence is irrelevant. I feel connected to them no matter what the distance. That was when I examined the rest of my relationships and now know that the soul connection (or whatever one may call it) is common for all relationships. How connected I am to one may differ from how connected I feel towards another but there is an almost tangible connection that is wonderful to experience. Technology makes it a lot easier to enhance the experience and I consider it one of life's greatest blessings. It comes with its disadvantages but the good, telephones and the web brings into my life, far outweighs any negatives.

I am loving life doing what I want when I want to. I am living a life independently and with no one depending on me for anything at a personal level. This is unique to me and an experience everyone deserves to have. I have had a great life so far. There were ups and downs and these have made me who I am today. People I love have helped me every step of the way and have become intertwined with my life as, I know, I have become with theirs. These bonds have nothing to do with the material world and so I am 'wirelessly connected' to my world. I am in the presence of many at all times, never alone. I am grateful to all my nearest and dearest ones. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Book

Life has a method. A predictable method of teaching one about oneself. There is this book of Life that we all have to read. We all have the same author but each of us has a unique set of chapters depending on the lessons we take from the previous one. In the process we all grow. Some of us flourish and some of us don't but each of us is totally responsible for our own success in life.

Life has given me some hard knocks and over the last few years the knocks have become easier to bear. I have learned that the knocks were actually not being given to me, but were given for me. If I simply examined the event and let it lead me towards the true me I invariably opened a hidden cell within, that showed me something new about me - but I found out something even more important than that. I, the person, who only I truly know can never be changed. If I respond in a way that is inherently me then every challenge I face I can conquer and be happy about. If I respond in a way that is not authentic then the challenge begins to eat at my inner peace and joy. To realign myself I have to respond from my inner wisdom. I am often reminded that in todays world authenticity is considered 'too good to be true.' :)

The 1st 10 chapters of my book are the most important ones and I end up 'reading' them very often. Here they are.

1. I love people unconditionally. I do not expect perfection from anyone. They may stop loving me but I never will. I will not let them walk over me but I will continue to love them - maybe from a distance.

2. I trust people blindly. It is only if I have absolute proof that someone is not trustworthy do I stop trusting them. I have been told this is naive. I would rather be naive than compromise with my inherent self.

3. I believe in forgiveness wholeheartedly. I do not forgive the wrong-doing but I let go of the hurt and pain the wrong has caused me because I have no intention of giving my power away. The earlier I forgive the sooner my power comes back to me.

4. The opinion of others about me does not matter. If someone says I am being dis-honest I do not try to convince them otherwise. It is more important for me to know that I am honest than for others to maybe think so.

5. I take my responsibilities seriously. I work with the best of intentions and have no problems owning up to mistakes and correcting them as I go. I am careful to not knowingly make the same mistake twice.

6. I refrain from judging others on hearsay and conjecture. If two people tell me opposing stories of the same event I never side with one over the other - unless of course I was there. I understand the power of perspective.

7. I know that wisdom is not directly proportionate to age - it is only directly proportionate to knowledge. The more I am willing to learn the wiser I get.

8. I cannot change anyone. :) I accept people the way they are. I may attempt to share some knowledge with them but eventually one can only change oneself, no one else.

9. It is important to build a strong character with all the traits that give me the strength to carry the weight of my own ego. If ego is not to take over I must overcome fear and for that, I must have an unshakeable character that can stand up to scrutiny anytime by anyone.

10. I am continuously on a learning curve. Right now my new lesson is French. Oui. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thank you!!

5000 views so far. I will be back to write on a regular basis soon. Have to spend some time learning new things for a while first. New language, new city, new job, new friends, new life. Writing is my go to place during good times and bad and gives me the most joy and solace depending on what I need. I love sharing my writing with others and hope my readers like my word pictures. Through the silence, words creep out onto my fingers and thence onto the screen giving voice to ideas and thoughts which would otherwise most often remain hidden. Thank heavens for this medium of expression.

Take care all. Will be back soon and more often.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Homemaking!

When things and money become life’s motivation we lose touch with what makes us human. Not that we change inherently, just that a heavy veil seems to cover everything good about us, as our focus is for wealth which is inherently transient and volatile. Being wealthy materially, does bring about a sense of security; and poverty is very stressful, so material wealth is important and need not be shunned, but making it the number one priority is self destructive. When one begins to identify with money, status and things the important human qualities like kindness, fairness, inclusiveness are measured through a mind calibrated to count numbers. We stop valuing intangibles and devalue love and care in the process. 

A wife who puts all her energy and time into making a home for her ‘successful’ husband is at best someone to be carried as a burden or at worst a chattel who is dispensable. It is only when she is thrown away that her true value is appreciated, by which time she has already been destroyed. The pain this half of the partnership feels cannot be appreciated because it is invisible in eyes that can only see  beauty in things. Ask a man what value he puts to her contribution and pat comes the response, “It is priceless!” No, it does not mean invaluable, it simply means there is no price to be paid for something that is not tangible, not visible, cannot be quantified, cannot be sold for money! 

This attitude is pervasive and is growing exponentially. Many women are having to stand up and shout out their contribution to family and home simply to claim their rightful identity. Others are leaving materially secure relationships to get away from the hurt. Wifehood, motherhood, homemaker-hood are legitimate quantifiable careers that must be valued because without these society will fall flat on its face. Most women take on these careers with as much gusto and aplomb as they do their paying jobs and yet their contribution at home is largely ignored and taken for granted. This is not because we cannot value our homes and families, it is because these values are superseded by the value of money and things. 

There must be a solution for this and I do not believe simply paying mothers and homemakers is it, because that will further devalue the person who never undertook these roles for tangibles! The payment will come automatically when a husband values his wife’s contribution in his success; when children value their mother’s unconditional love and when we, as a society, respect our relationships! As women we have an important role on this path and so must learn to appreciate ourselves and other women for their contribution to family life and so society. Let us first remove the veil of money and things from our own minds and recognize that family, home and relationships are defined not by the size of our homes or our investments but by how kind we are to our circle. Let us stand by one another whether we are financially independent or not and appreciate each other for being the nurturer, the teacher, the lover of the home! Let us teach our sons and daughters to value the intangibles that define relationships and show them how to use their careers as a means to spread love instead of a means of making money alone.

I am re-entering the workforce with an agenda that is very different from the one I had the first time around. I am doing it for me and for other women and I am hoping to raise awareness that we are not the weaker sex of society but the BETTER half of society and so we deserve BETTER! 


I appeal to my friends and family to evaluate the values they have and see if their lives are balanced. Are we living purposeful lives that make a difference to the lives of those less fortunate than us? Are we taking more from the Universe than we are giving in return? Are we contributing to making our environment better or are we contaminating it and corroding it? Are we raising families who stand by one another or are we isolating ourselves? Do we have a purpose in life or are we simply being born and dying with no lasting legacy that enhances the Universe? I appeal to you, that if necessary, re-align yourself so you can be strong, independent, progressive and productive. Generate a legacy of abundance and joy that is shared by many. Share your ideas and pull at least one other woman, child, animal, man close to you and together stand up for those who cannot or know not how. Together we can bring love and fairness back to the forefront. We can make money and things a means to survive so we can find our true selves and live harmoniously as a society and as individuals. Money is important but it is not everything. The downpayment may get you a house but does not a home make. :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

This Day Again.




38 years ago, November 3rd, the day after Diwali my BFF passed away and left me wondering why. I still wonder why a young man of 52 had to leave so soon. My father is my hero. He was far from perfect, but he was my guide, my friend, my soft spot. He was predictable, very clear in his views, very strong and that is what made him my haven. I knew him well not because of any effort I had to make to understand him, but rather because he was as transparent as unpolluted air! He loved us unconditionally but that did not stop him from disciplining us assertively. :) He taught us right and wrong by practicing what he preached. 

I still remember how much he loved the idea of gambling, but he never over-indulged in it. A rupee bet on a horse here another on a lottery ticket there. The fun for him was the anticipation of waiting for the result more than the money he won in return. I learned self restraint from him.

He followed the clock and kept his word no matter how much effort he had to put to do so. Our neighbors would adjust their clocks to my father’s comings and goings. I learned the value of dependability from him.

My father did the most menial tasks with pride. He cleaned the toilets in our home, he packed our suitcases when we traveled, he polished our shoes to wear to school, he sewed the mosquito nets for our beds, he washed his car, he repaired his car, he even darned our clothes. I learned about dignity of labor from simply watching him live life. 

He gave us what we needed without ever having to ask or wait for it. He never gave us what we wanted without wanting to know why. If he felt it was important he willingly gave it to us; if he felt we should not have it he said no and explained why. My father never ever said, ‘because I said so,’ nor did he ever say, ‘I told you so.’ I learned about responsibility by listening to him tell me why.

If ever I had a question about anything, no matter how trivial, how embarassing, how shocking, Baba (I called him that) never avoided it. He always gave me a verifiable answer and never ever hesitated to say, ‘I don’t know. Let’s find the answer together.’ I learned self confidence and truth just by sitting beside him as he helped me find answers. 

He was a possessive man, almost compulsive about personal hygiene and very choosy about friends but everything he did had a reason he was pretty clear about. His decisions were made with conviction and he did not waiver once he had set out on a path. He believed in himself and so in us as his children. ‘I have faith in the way I have raised my children. They know right from wrong.’ This I heard him say when I was 16! It made me strong, confident and a person of worth because I knew he trusted me.

My only regret - I wish he had been there for a few more years for I would have loved for my children and my brother’s to have been fortunate enough to have spent some time with him. I only hope my brother and I have given our beautiful children at least a little bit of what our father gave us, for then his life is worth so much more! 

I love you Baba. You are always with me and always will be. You guide me today like you did when I came to you as a child, the only difference is that I could touch you with my hands then and now I experience you with my being. I do not believe I have another relationship that can touch the one I have with you - a relationship that only a father and his daughter can have and I feel blessed to have had you as the king to me your princess.