Rest with zest,Keep yourself calm and cool,Take a break from your scheduleDon’t behave old school. Work will be completedwith all its glorious parts,Help your mind with little zest,And think about your heart. Just chill and… More
American gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the Tokyo Olympic floor final earlier this year to focus on her mental health. She has not minced words in documenting her struggles with mental health in posts on her social media accounts. Mind you, she has been a reigning champion – a superstar!
Of late, mental health has been drawing the much needed attention from several quarters. Celebrities coming out to share their mental health struggles has immensely furthered the cause, which is otherwise considered to be a stigma in most parts of the world.
If you are a person who still thinks that there is a lot of unwanted fuss being made about ‘mental health’ and that there are other issues that deserve more attention, then you really need to rethink. Just as one would nurse a bruised limb in case of an injury, a wounded mind also needs to be nursed.
Be it about the physical, social, spiritual or psychological issues, we humans focus more on the seen than on the unseen. And this shapes our behaviour most of the times. However, what is unseen is more crucial than what is seen!
Have you ever attended a Puppet Show? Not only children, but adults too are attracted towards the colourful talking, singing, jumping puppets. But, what attention would puppets draw without puppeteers or marionettists doing their jobs well, behind the screen? The voices of the puppets and their movements are all regulated by the puppeteers. Puppets look attractive, but without voices and movements, they won’t be any different than dolls or other toys that kids play with and no one would accord them much attention. What is unseen is significant to the visible performance of a Puppet Show and that by large determines the success of the show!
We humans focus so much on what we consciously perceive, that we ignore the major preconscious and unconscious zones of our minds. What is concealed comprises of more than what is revealed. And, this concealed zone influences the revealed zone greatly.
This article is not about training the preconscious and unconscious minds. Rather, the intent of this article is to drive home the point that since a person is more than what you and I see him or her as, and since a person’s behaviour is regulated by factors more than what is seen in the external environment, we need to be sensitive to each other’s mental health.
Who are the target groups?
Starting from foetal stage till grey hairs right upto the grave – each one needs mental health care.
Mental health deterioration in a person (if it happens) starts from the time s/he is conceived owing to environmental stressors and genetic predispositions. When we ensure sound mental health of an expectant mother, we ensure sound mental health of the baby that is born. If the foetus growing within the mother is indirectly exposed to environmental stressors be they in the form of physical/ psychological/sexual/substance abuse, domestic violence, workplace harassment, maternal distress and sicknesses, poor nutrition – the baby that is born either develops a hardy personality (i.e., extreme resilience to stressors and a remarkable ability to cope with them) or develops a vulnerable personality (i.e., extremely sensitive to stressors and ill-equipped to cope with them). Besides purely medical conditions, the genesis of mental ill-health begins from this stage. Hence, foetal mental health is of utmost importance.
Children’s mental health needs a lot of attention too. The way children are shaped and cared for reflects in their adult lives. While the mental health of all children is crucial, those who suffer from disabilities and consequently from low self-esteem, those from single parent or parent absent families, those from war torn parts of the world, those subjected to abuse, those exposed to trauma and other disturbing life events – need specific mental health care.
Adolescent mental health care is crucial as the youngsters leap from childhood into adulthood and dabble with identity, acceptance and self-esteem issues. As they experiment with looks, relationships, careers and largely detest the tons of parental advice that are heaped on them, as they taste success or meet failures – there mental health needs attention. If the adolescent suffers from physical or psychological disorders/ disabilities, targetted mental health care is essential. This is precisely the stage when adolescents need to understand and accept that it is absolutely vital to seek good counsel.
Healthy adults shape up a healthy world. Numerous factors can mar an adult’s mental health. Starting from a lack of social acceptance, repressed childhood memories, to job hazards (harassment, exploitation, deprivation of rights and entitlements, unhygienic environment, layoffs), personal or familial ill-health, financial crises, family disputes, domestic violence, substance abuse and many more such additions to the list – an adult’s mental health requires a lot of care.
During the sunset years of life when one lies in a phase of apparent relaxation, mental health needs to be cared for. This is the time when most aged people are left uncared for, given menials and in many cases given the least attention. This is the time when they feel unwanted, when their desires are left unmet and their thoughts wander without expression. This is the time when most of the aged suffer from various illnesses. While a seed that promises to bear fruits needs care and nurturance, a tree that has borne fruits and flowers throughout life needs to be proffered due dignity.
So you see, all stages of life require mental health care just as they require physical health care.
With this I come to another important aspect which I would urge everyone to ponder upon.
Is mental health consideration meant for the educated and the affluent alone? What about that tramp on the street, the maid in the house, that ragpicker, the child labourer, the trafficked girl in the brothel and all those who find themselves at the receiving end of educational, social, economical deprivation? Those whose primary concerns are two square meals a day, a few old clothes on the body and perhaps someone’s doorstep for shelter? Who cares for their mental health, if at all?
With an unprecedented pandemic hitting the world which was at the helm of economic, technological, social progress like never before – mental health has suffered severe battering. In the last one and half years, there have been reports of increase in crime and domestic violence of humungous proportions – a majority of which have been under reported or have gone unreported. Millions of people have been rendered jobless. Thousands have lost their loved ones. Children have been orphaned.
While mental health professionals are doing their bit to help a wounded world, what can you and I do?
- Recognize the need for sound mental of those around you – your spouse, parents, children, siblings, neighbours, colleagues, superiors, subordinates, domestic helps, caregivers, service providers and anyone who you come in contact with.
- Cater to their mental health to the extent you can – Understanding words, appreciation, encouragement, connecting to legal/ medical/ mental health professionals as the requirement may be.
- Be sensitive – Do not share sensitive details of one person with others without their permission.
- Take care of your own mental health – In order to cater to and be sensitive to others’ mental health, one’s own mind needs to be in good health. Take a break when required. Do things that relax you. Arrange for like-minded caregivers to fill in for you in your daily chores as you care for your mind.
- Pray – Health is a blessing from God. He alone can grant the serenity and well-being of the mind when the tides rise against us. Whether you are in bliss or in the tumultuous tempests, pray that God keeps your mind tranquil and supple.
God’s plan for mankind was never chaos and destruction. But since we have driven ourselves into it, our mental health has suffered a severe beating. Seeking His strength, we can collectively work together for our own and others’ psychological well-being. May the theme of Mental Health Day 2021 be our focus for life: Mental Health in an Unequal World.
Acquiring knowledge is always desirable but more than that it is important for us to attain Wisdom as it gives the insight to use the knowledge in the right manner.
But according to the Bible, the Wisdom has a few demands from those who longs to attain it.
The wisdom demands our EARS to INCLINE to it.
The wisdom demands our EYES to FOCUS on it.
The wisdom demands our HEART (or MIND) to APPLY it in our day to day life.
The wisdom demands our MOUTH to UTTER the right words using it appropriately.
The wisdom demands our FEET (and HANDS) to GO on the PATH of it.
Because, the words of Wisdom, that is God’s word are LIFE to those who find them and HEALTH to one’s whole body.
Friends! Gain wisdom and fulfill its demands to enjoy Life and Health.
Had man not thought to shelter himself from the vagaries of weather, he would not have built huts, cottages and houses.
Had man not thought of making locomotion easier, carts would not have come into existence.
Man is a thinking creature and hence is referred to as being a ‘higher order primate’ many a times.
Only sometimes does he act before thinking and hence, needs a reminder to THINK.
THINK was Apple’s very first tagline.
But then, not always is it sufficient to think. At times it is essential to THINK DIFFERENT.
Creative Thinking is a booming market where thinking out-of-the-box is encouraged, recognized and honoured. Most organizations have posts of Creative Manager, Creative Head and Creative Director. The task of such personnel is to take decisions that are new and novel, to troubleshoot problems using never-before-used strategies, to suggest ways and means of growth for the organization that would be a win-win amidst existing competition. Their task is to think differently.
Imagine, if Thomas Alva Edison would not have thought differently about the production of light! We would’ve probably never had our rooms illuminated by incandescent bulbs. What if Nick Holonyak wouldn’t have thought differently? We wouldn’t have had the shift from incandescent bulbs to LED lights lighting our homes today. Had Joni Eareckson Tada not thought differently after a diving accident left her a paraplegic, she probably wouldn’t have been the author, painter and motivational speaker that she is today!
Be it the innovations that we see around us and marvel in awe or the people who have risen from ashes and reached the upper echelons of success or those who overcame their broken lives and went on to spread their fragrance around – all of these are the outcomes of people who dared to THINK DIFFERENT and strived hard to make their thoughts bear fruits.
So then, are there a different class of people blessed with the ability to think different?
Its a firm NO.
Each of us has the ability to think different. Some have scope of expressing and experimenting their thoughts and so come into the limelight, while for many others, such thoughts get snuffed out before fruition. Some have their unique thoughts flowing out naturally and freely, whereas some others need to be trained and encouraged to let their creative thoughts flow out.
To what extent can one THINK DIFFERENT?
The reigns of the mind once let loose, can scale heights and depths of limitless dimensions. Should the mind be bridled? Or left to run scot free?
Probably the Creative Head of Apple would have thought on similar lines!
Apple’s new motto now reads – THINK DIFFERENT – BUT NOT TOO DIFFERENT.
Railway tracks confine a train’s wheels to run along its surface so that the train can reach its destination unhindered. One wheel out of the track, and you know what would happen.
While each of us have been blessed with enormous cognitive faculties to stretch them far and wide, there also need to be certain boundaries within the latitude of acceptance so that human civilization progresses without much tumult.
THINK about it.
THINK DIFFERENT – BUT NOT TOO DIFFERENT.
. . . if you wish to follow the footsteps of Apple.
Daughters usually (not generalizing) have a penchant for dolls and fairy tales, especially when they are in the age group of 3-10 years (not a scientifically proven data but an observation as a girl and as a mother). My daughter is in that phase. She got 10 dolls including the major Disney princesses, 7 lol dolls (her new found love), Disney channel subscription, two fairytale books – basically she is very much into Disney fantasy world apart from being interested in investing time in Lego building. And as a parent growing with a growing up child her curiosity and amusement infected me too. And together we ended up watching Disney movies on a loop over many weekends – hooting and rooting for the characters, bewitched by the magic on screen, the child in me has been rekindled. I am still in that trance, don’t want to be out of it soon 😁.
To compound the impact of that magic we also watched few videos on YouTube – Disneyland tours across the globe. It’s a whole happy world out there untouched by the worries on the other side of the gate. May be that’s the reason why the tagline says : “The Happiest Place On Earth”.
Happiness did spread across on my daughter’s face from the screen and she insisted that we should go to Disneyland someday. And when princess demands can the ordinance remain unheard? Off we go to Disneyland Paris during these vacations of 2021.
Before embarking our road trip to Disneyland I did some basic research about how Disneyland came into existence. The concept for Disneyland began when Walt Disney was visiting Griffith Park in Los Angeles with his daughters Diane and Sharon. While watching them ride the merry-go-round, he came up with the idea of a place where adults and their children could go and have fun together.
His dream was a vision both in terms of tangible and intangible effects it had on future generations all over the world. Spread over many miles the theme park is an economically profitable venture that enveloped many vendors in it’s premises and of course a bigger contribution to the otherwise scheming, fretting, running and racing world – it delivered smiles!! I have experienced it very closely. Fantasy, adventure, amusement, magic and happiness – one word Disneyland. Three days stay there let me relive my childhood. Isn’t it enough reason for me to endorse it? Isn’t it the only thing we want – time recall / rewind?
One more reason for my happiness- We have always feared going out with our son for long trips, especially to places where it needs long waiting hours (yes, the only flip side – long queues with waiting periods ranging from 15-40 minutes). He being autistic patience is something which is not his forte. We feared serious melt downs with so many stimulations working around him. But to our utter surprise he thoroughly enjoyed the visit. He waited patiently like we never would have envisaged. Also the staff working there was quite understanding and helpful. That gave us HOPE as parents and family for we are hopeful now to fill his childhood as well with more fond memories.
If you get a chance do visit Disneyland, it surely is the happiest place on earth😊😊.
Sending and receiving cards is a dying tradition these days. But it still gives me the joy to find an old card buried in my treasures. They evoke such beautiful memories. During my school and college days, I have spent hours standing in the Hallmark or Archies gallery looking for the perfect wordings and cards for my friends and families. And believe it or not, I used to always find one such perfect card which suited the receiver’s personality, and also the wording felt like they came straight from my heart. And was also budget-friendly considering our cash-strapped student days.
Finding the perfect card was not enough then we decorated it with our comments and quotations using colorful sketch pens and stickers. Still more sketch pen work on the envelope and then the card was ready to be sent.
This whole rigmarole around sending a card really jived with the tag line of Hallmark cards – “When you care enough to send the very best.”
That hold true today also. Even though we don’t send many greeting cards in today’s times but we do give gifts to our loved ones. Giving the very best doesn’t necessarily mean the latest version or the expensive one. Giving the best means putting thought and effort into buying something that really touches the heart of the receiver, something they really needed or something that excites them or gels with their personality.
Going back in time an 18-year-old lad Joyce Hall started selling postcards from two shoe boxes. More than 100 years and billions of well-wishes later, Hallmark Cards, Inc. continues to thrive with the grandsons of that Nebraska teenager at the helm.
A time came when fire destroyed his entire inventory. But he still trudged ahead moved from post cards to greeting cards, then wrapping paper, Crayola, dayspring and so on.
While going through the history of the company I was very impressed by this thought
“Joyce Hall was intrigued by the word “hallmark” used by goldsmiths as a mark of quality. Mr. Hall liked that it not only said quality, but also included his family name. “
Yes mark of quality and full of love and care that is the definition of a hallmark Greeting Card for you..
Link for Hallmark Cards history:
To achieve heights in life, we need to carry out smart work. The smart work leads to right mindset and the right mindset is the key to success. As we all believe inner thought is the foundation of success, so success can only be achieved if our inner mind shapes our skills well.
Some people believe success can develop through hard work. When I were in school I used to think alike. As I grew up, slowly and steadily life taught me that success is all about smart work and then hard work. Undoubtedly, hard work is essential for growth but only hard work won’t draw to success zone.
First of all, you require to fabricate your mind. If you won there, then you have already travelled halfway success. Mind games play a vital role in desiring success. The negative thoughts will try to diminish your belief and thoughts as negativity act like silent killers to success. All you need to discard them with positive approach and it will surely lead you boosting your confidence. Successful people don’t implement discrete activity, they function in a different fashion.
This escorts me to the tagline of TAG Heuer, “Success. It’s a mind game”. This ad inspired me the most as it focuses on the sportsmen’s spirit and the fear that going through their mind in the Olympics,1995. Though TAG Heuer progressed to a better tagline in 1998 but “Success. It’s a mind game” is the most memorable and popular one. Successful people only mould the world by leading the crowd rather than standing in the crowd.
As said by Swami Vivekananda, “Take risks in life. If you win, you can lead and if you fail, you can guide”.
By Deena Bhattacharjee
L’oreal is not just a beauty brand, it defines the womanhood. This tagline unites women across the globe. A 23 yr old young female copywriter at Manhattan And Agency in 1971 coined this tagline. This resonates with audiences now more than ever before.
“Because you’re worth it” – has become symbolic, empowering women of all ages and backgrounds, believe in themselves and their beauty and sense of worth. Each and every woman is unique in her beauty and style. They should believe in themselves to prosper and inspire each other for growth of herself and for the world. This tagline has been translated into 40 different languages and uniting women around the world, encouraging them to embrace their ambitions and life fearlessly, believe in their self-worth each and every moment.
“Because you’re worth it.”- when I hear or read this,Mrs. World Aishwarya Rai and her L’oreal ad comes to my mind. Just as the tagline and the essence behind this, she is really worth it and an inspiration for millions of women, who admires her and idolize her. She is such an inspirational story herself. The company had chosen her an ambassador, means a lot. Her beauty, charmness, uniqueness in her thinking crowned her as Ms. World. She is carrying the legacy of beauty in her smile and attitude.
Like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, many women have inspired and showed direction to the world and it’s women in many fields too. But, when it comes to beauty, many beautiful women think negative about their own natural behaviours. It may be their perception, but I believe each and every human is unique in its own way.
“BEAUTY IS NOTHING, OTHER THAN A PROMISE OF HAPPINESS.” – Stendhal
Each woman is special and has some uniqueness in her attributes. The only thing we lack is Self-confidence. Because we are grown up in that situation, in orthodox mentality and conservative social conditions. In India, the society is male oriented. So, it’s difficult for women to believe in herself that she’s worth it, she is capable of everything what a man can do, even more than that. Just she has to believe in herself.
“Woman is the enemy of woman.” – it’s correct, but only in few cases. If this “few cases” will be nullified, then she can conquer the world. It’s the responsibility of man and woman of a family who can encourage each other to grow, to believe and to inspire each other. As “Charity begins at home” we should inspire our the women living at home to be bold enough in beauty and brain to win the World and hearts.
I can relate to this tagline, when I was praised and encouraged by my family members for my behavior, positive attitude towards everything and whatever I do. If a woman is praised, her self-confidence and self-esteem are boosted highly. It enlightens her inner beauty aesthetically with an ever winning smile. Yes, I am worth it as am a daughter, a wife, a mother and most importantly ‘ I Am a Generation bearer.’
L’oreal does make business, but it’s most profitable part is the inspiration, it spreads throughout the world encouraging the women-hood and it’s eternal beauty.
Have you had this feeling that something is holding you back from what you really want to do?
Have you ever restricted yourself from dancing in the rain when you really wanted to?
Were you crazy about travelling solo, but never let yourself of the leash?
The last question is the one I asked myself few years ago. I always wanted to travel solo. Like solo-solo, not in a group. A part of me was scared and another part of me was wondering if I was thinking crazy. There was only one way to answer the question. Break the barriers, stop thinking and book a trip. Finally, I travelled solo to Australia. It wasn’t really taxing at all to travel solo. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. The adrenaline rush started when I started booking hotels, then flights and there it was, my itinerary was ready. Strangely after the booking was done, there was no fear in me anymore. I was just looking forward for the trip.
While on the trip, I was elated by just thinking how much I grew past my own self for the past couple of years. I am the same girl who cried before boarding her first international flight for an official trip. That girl is no more there in me. I have learnt to find my way through the usual travel problems. I am a pro at packing for travel. I don’t need to make lists anymore. The usual items just make it to the luggage. The clothes get packed as per the season including an umbrella.
It is not just me. A month back, I was talking to one of my friends and he was like, “When I see all these teens enjoying now, I feel I did not do many things in my teenage. The time just flew while I was thinking”. “If you have really wanted those things, you would have done them anyway, trust me with that”, was what I told him.
That’s really true. What holds us back is just us. It is not our parents, friends or circumstances. If it is morally right (so we feel) and also we have the required resources, the only reason why we don’t do certain things is because we really really don’t need/want it.
If you really really really want to do it, then, just do it!!!
And, for those things that we have to do, yes, there is no one else. Just do it!!!
This brings me to the tagline of Nike, “Just do it”, which I find simple yet powerful. There is so much meaning in those three words. This tagline was inspired from a criminal who was standing in front of a fire squad in the state of Utah. When the squad asked him if he had any last thoughts, his words were, “Let’s do it”. It’s that helplessness of his that lead to those words. On the positive side of it, the Nike’s tagline is inspiring. If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a yearning for it, then stop wondering and just do it, because nobody else is going to do that for you! It is in your power to be happy!!!
You’re never ready for what you have to do. You just do it. That makes you ready
– Flora Rheta Schreiber
They are trying to sell Insurance but this tagline is just so deep in its meaning. I have learnt in life that we are not our bodies, we live in bodies till we are on this planet and then we leave. I have learnt that we are not our thoughts – we have these positive and negative thoughts and we often get consumed by them but they are a running train in our head all throughout our lives.
We are not all the possessions that we collect in our lifetime, they are just there to make our stay on this planet easier. We are not even our purpose that is just the work that we do for humanity.
We are attached to a million things – our body, our thoughts, our purpose, our possessions but we are none of this. We always get consumed by all these things throughout our lifetime. We are just life, we are just meant to enjoy this God-gifted life and leave when the time comes.
Have you really met the life that you are? Maybe not.
Nature has given us 5 sense organs to perceive the outside world. We can see what it around us, we can hear the sounds, we can taste what is in our mouth, we feel all that we touch and we can smell the world around us. Living is a challenge if one of these sense organs fails us. We can perceive the world outside with so much clarity yet we cannot feel the blood rushing in our veins, we cannot hear our heart that is working 24/7, we cannot feel our stomach, kidneys working.
Our sense organs help us tremendously to live a good life on this planet and those are really important for our survival. However we need to work a little bit and have some direction in life to go inwards. Only when we go inwards, we can meet life. Life that we are!
Simple techniques of meditation – observing your own breath and the changes in your body with each breath, eating food mindfully, being conscious of your own thoughts can help us tremendously be in touch with our inner selves.
Another way to meet life is to observe the life around you – the little ants that carry the burden so gracefully, the pigeons that collect to pick up the grains, the dog that looks into your eyes requesting for a pat, the leaves that just sway with the wind. Put a brake on the speed on your work and stop to appreciate these little things that are lives.
Life is not our jobs or deadlines, life is not our conflicts with other people and life is not the love we have for others. Life is just the constant transaction that we have with the world outside – transaction in terms of our breath, food, water, excreta. We are constantly taking something from the environment and giving out something. This is life – just observe this life and take time to meet this life.
Once it becomes a habit – you can truly say “I have met life today”
Do you do, what you don’t want to do?
Yes, I DO! In this hybrid living, every morning one of the primary things I do is, cleaning the cache files of my smartphone but what about the cache files we knowingly store in our life on a daily basis by “doing, what we don’t want to do”? Like the cache files slowing our smartphones often the cache files of regrets in our life make us feel demeaned in our own eyes. And one of such regretful matters in my life is to discipline myself.
We make fantastic plans and then plans to execute them tomorrow, sometimes the tomorrows keeps rotating, and finally on the last day, we instruct our mind, “nothing to worry, chill a little more…”, you can do it at the second hour of the day. As the second hour dawns, our mind becomes confused and the clock seems running at 4x speed. Alas, at the nick of the moment, our mind ain’t work, we fail to fulfill our commitment, and of course, Mr. Guilt is ready to peep in.
Oops, I did, what I ought not to do! But whom shall I blame? Who is responsible for my failure?
The Bible responds to it this way,
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
The problem of “doing, what we don’t want to do” isn’t always the circumstantial influence, rather it is because we are enticed by our own desires. Those desires are full of filth. As we entertain those desires in our life it gives birth to sin and when the sin is full-grown it gives birth to death. This death – the death of wisdom, the death of conscience, the death of morals, and the death of fearing God which is ultimately addressed as, “the eternal death of our soul.”
Does it mean, there is no remedy to our tendency of “doing, what we don’t want to do”?
The Bible responds,
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide you a way out so that you can endure it.”
Surprisingly, we experience the same! Whenever we sense there is a knock of temptation in our hearts, immediately we hear two voices within. The voice that says, “watching porn is adultery and brings the wrath of God on us” whereas another voice says, “come on, it’s just like watching any other movie. Everyone does it, why not you!” But ALAS, as we give ear to that evil voice within us, it returns and ditches us with guilt.
I realized every time we sense the knock, let’s train our brain to listen to the first voice – “the voice of God” and keep taming our sinful mortal human flesh. Let’s not be a slave of our the sinful heart rather let’s enslave our bodies, keeping it in our control so that we will not find ourselves disqualified after preaching to others.
Often I ask myself,
what I should do and what I should not!
During the questionnaire session
The heart says to quit,
The mind opposes it just a bit.
In the dusk and dawn,
I find the beautiful sun,
Helping the world to run.
The heart asks me,
“Why can’t you quit?
Be like the immortal sun,
Don’t be too stubborn.”
The realisation jar of mind,
Now seems to be very kind,
The heart said something ,
But, it does not match with the mind.
I tried to quit my long-run addiction,
But I failed many times, as it didn’t
satisfy my expectations.
Tried harder and harder
and said to myself again,
“I will not touch a cigarette from tomorrow”,
But alas! With the rising sun,
Every resolution went in vain.
With the love and care from my partner,
I thought of my beautiful life
just now and then,
But after trying many times,
everything and every time,
The Beautiful Love for Addiction.
I very well understand that this poem reeks of negativity but there can’t be a denial that it exists. Many of us experience the feeling of being suffocated at various points of time and in different relationships. That feeling of claustrophobia comes from the fact that we willingly (unwillingly though) suppress ourselves from speaking up and out. We feel “give another chance, let’s not break”. But the fact is we want to break away at the first given chance but never dare to do so. This poem is about that dilemma where we want to express but fear if we are exposing ourselves – to the criticism, to the adversities, to trauma, to loneliness (which probably we might not have realized yet we are).
Time and again, responsibility and the people we love are the biggest BUTs for which I quit to quit. 🙂
There are many things I know I need to be doing and don’t get around to actually doing it. Please don’t ask why? Because I will say ‘Where is the time?”
In my quest to become a perfect homemaker, mother, employee I really feel time is running me by and I have no time to invest in myself. I have read dozens of self help books, seen multiple inspiring videos and read quite a few blogs and get very inspired and buzzed about everything.
But when it comes to actually putting things into action I am back to square one. Where is the time? Make a different diet plan for myself – where is the time to cook a separate meal. Go for a walk – in that much time I can fold all the laundry and reload the washing machine. Write a blog – but there is a ppt pending which I need to complete first. I mean the chores are never ending. There is always something out of place which requires my attention.
And the worse part is I am still not house proud. I still feel my work is far from perfect. Lots of miles still left to be covered.
You may call it procrastination or lack of time management or will power. I don’t know. Or maybe I just need a wakeup call to get off this chores treadmill and spend some time only with myself, only on myself.
Every year I make many resolutions,
But steadily they all come to their conclusion.
When a child, I pledged to top my class,
And after a month, ended up saying Alas!
Then I grew up promising to limit my TV time,
But, the title of couch potato was all mine!
Once I considered saying no to sibling rivalry,
But could not take up the idea of chivalry.
I gave up chocolates at the dawn of a new year,
Again, my determination did not adhere.
At one time I affirmed to regularly exercise,
Although not sticking to it was no surprise!
Time flew and so did my each resolution,
Keeping them for good was only a delusion.
Finally, I told myself-
These resolutions are not for me,
My will is not strong enough, so let it be!
And now there is just one resolution I make
Not to make anymore for heaven’s sake!
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”The Bible
I always relate with this scripture portion whenever I read it. I had shared one story previously about how I thought about giving away my egg roll to a kid on the street but I delayed. I delayed thinking that I will go hungry at that moment. And I missed the opportunity to feed a hungry street kid. The sin working within us always pulls us down and doesn’t allow the spiritual part of us to stay active and dominate.
Our spirit has an upward pull to our Creator. Our body has a downward pull towards own selves. And our mind dwindles between the world, self and God. The moment we allow prioritizing between God, the world and self we will do exactly what we feel to be right.
We all must have struggled between our inner good voice and our selfish voice. It was more like a riot that goes on within us when we decide on something. But our PULL determines whether we do, what we want and right or do just the opposite.
Friends! Always listen to your conscience or your inner voice because God created you to do good and what is right. Though your conscience needs to be trained well and pure as well or else its leading would be fatal too.
Facing judgements is the hardest thing. I am sure all of us face some or the other kind of judgements everyday. Sometimes, I take them and, then, there are instances that disturb me more than I want to be disturbed.
Recently, one of my colleague’s wife found herself alone with responsibility of two kids after her husband passed away. I know their family quite well, so, I try to help them in any way I can. Few weeks back her car broke down and she didn’t know what to do. She was frustrated. We made some arrangement for her to reach home and the car is taken care of. After she returned home, she started yelling, “Why should the car break down? This is so stupid. I feel all the problems are interested to be with me forever“. I tried to calm her down, “It’s ok. When you are the only person to handle, it would be overwhelming at times“. She quickly snapped back, “Please don’t mind me saying this. You asked for it. You wanted to live alone, so, it was easy for you to come to terms with life. But, I didn’t“.
That was not the first time someone has judged me on the same thing. I am sure that won’t be the last time either. I sat there wondering if I unknowingly struck the wrong chord. Have I uttered something offensive? I was so lost, that I did not even talk for some time. I came home, but the thought never left me. I was hurt, spent few days crying when I couldn’t handle it anymore. I don’t know why it is so difficult for me to accept these kind of hypocritical judgements. I questioned myself thousand times as to what I was doing wrong. Should I just distance myself and not care about anyone? Should I just let people say whatever they want and not react? Should I forgive them to come to peace terms with them? The last one is extremely difficult to do.
Every time, it is a different person coming with a new perspective of what or rather how my life is and why they think it is so. Why do they care? Have I asked them for help more than I should? Am I asking for a leaning shoulder every other day? Am I bothering them with my problems? When none of these are true, why should anyone pass judgement on me? It was very very hurtful. Couple of days later, she apologized but the damage was already done. If I may say so, I lost respect towards her. Now, may be I am being judgmental, but, I would prefer to keep people where they belong. OK, I still want to help her and I would, but, won’t care for what she feels about me.
I feel I just keep going back to this viscous circle no matter how many times I don’t want to. People would say some nonsense, I take it. When they are in need I just go to help them. This cycle just repeats. In fact, I was even asked for why I care for those who don’t give a damn about me. I actually don’t know what else to do. I simply cannot ignore the fact that they are in need. But, this is the same circle that is harmful when people are mean and I don’t know what to do in that case either. Just cry and come to peace with the situation. There must be some solution to this and I don’t know what it is. What I know is, I don’t want to beat myself up for some nonsense someone has to say about the path I took when they aren’t even aware of what I have been through. Even if someone knows what it was, they don’t deserve the right to say anything mean.
“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” ~Gandhi
Well, it has been a long time since I wanted to be a famous writer. Yes, I have a few 100 blogs, a published book, couple of other published stories – but I am far from where I imagined myself to be at this age. Is that bad that I couldn’t make it? No, I won’t judge myself. There have been reasons and there have been responsibilities that kept me from focusing on my goals.
When I was in my 20’s, I used to maintain a document wherein every year end I would write down what all I achieved in the last year and what are my goals for the next year. Then I would break them into monthly goals and plan on how to achieve them. I haven’t done this since last 8-10 years at least. I didn’t have the time or the energy to put in so much effort towards my personal goals. I just let life happen to me.
With the responsibilities of parents, a child, running the house, getting that promotion, meeting those impossible deadlines; I forgot to keep track of how many books I want to read, how many kgs I want to shed, how many stories I want to write, how many dance performances I want to do, how many paintings I want to make. It all takes a backseat.
Recently, I went through a serious bout of depression. It was only because one fine day I woke up and after some petty arguments with my family members, I realized that I am not myself anymore. I have become this subdued person who is ready to take any sort of nonsense from others just to keep peace at home. And when I thought about my own goals, there were none – absolutely zero. It was a huge setback to me to realize that I have come so far in life to discover that there is nothing that I have for myself.
That realization woke me up, as if I was in some dream world – and just got aware of some of the harsh realities. And now when I wanted to have my own goals and start working on them, I realized that I had no confidence at all. I couldn’t think straight and I didn’t trust my talents anymore. I cried, I blamed myself and everybody around me, I fought with myself and my husband, I got nightmares and woke up sweating on my bed, I got really anxious and had palpitations as if my life is over and it was a complete waste.
And finally my husband said, if you know that you are overthinking everything – then force yourself to take an action. After arguing with him for hours together, I did take an action; it was a simple action to just go for shopping for myself at 9 pm in Dehradun (the city sleeps before 9). That action led to something else and a chain reaction took over me. I started taking actions one after the other. That helped me build myself again.
I am not there yet. I am not as confident as I used to be. I am still not sure what my personal goals are, where do I want to land up a few years from now. But I know that even though my goals might change, I might not resonate with them now – I need to have them always. I cannot afford give up on my own goals in life – no matter what kind of responsibilities I am loaded with at work and at home.
I knew this at some level of conscience, still I ignored this aspect of life for almost a decade. And now it feels like I have to build myself up from scratch. I hope my readers find some inspiration in this article and never make this mistake in life.
“It may look like I’m doing nothing but, in my head, I’m quite busy” – this is almost many of our stories these days. After all, who wants to be identified as a sluggish person!
Since office and school have become virtual there is no need to rush to the bus stop by 9 am. The miles away from the office are inches away from logging in to our computers. All that we are concern about is how the upper part of our body appears on the screen, on the lower part boxer is fine. Alongside the virtual background and screen beauty mode is on duty to make us look good.
You know, I just thought to watch one more 20-minute episode but sadly that a little more took past 4 AM. My alarm rang at 8 AM, I woke up and realized I still have 1hr 30min in hand! Then why not take a little more nap!
Oops, if Mom won’t have shouted at 9:30 AM, I would definitely miss to log in at the due time.
Sailing the same boat, it would be apparent for me to say,
Being habituated of doing ‘A LITTLE MORE’ of what we ought not to have done
is powerful enough to diminish our zeal to work;
distract us from our professional goals and
as an end product, it disrupts our identity.
This “A LITTLE MORE…” is none lesser than addiction in our life which primarily affects our brain and as we keep entertaining it, it diminishes our enthusiasm to work. The virtual meetings become boring and the professional targets seem unrealistic. It basically, distracts us from attaining our professional life goals. And its end product is well expected! One day to be known as the most passionate employee of the company is now somewhere at the first position in the below performer list over a month.
Is there no way to overcome such an addiction in our life?
Well, the Bible responds to it perfectly.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Here are some primary tips as a way-out strategy that I have discovered for myself. Hope it may be helpful for you –
- Since our spirit is willing to overcome the addiction but our flesh is weak, let us seek God’s help every time for He is the Creator of our body, mind, and soul.
- Start practicing to say “NO” to that “A LITTLE MORE…”. Every time our addiction prompts us to sleep or watch the Web Series “A little more…”, let us train our brain saying, “No, I will not do this!”
- There is the possibility of failure at the beginning yet let us discipline our body and bring it into subjection by waking up early for a walk or exercise.
- Redo our daily routine. We will fail several times to follow it yet we can notice a change in us if we keep practicing that routine for another 21days (3 Weeks)
- Dress like going office. Even before our systems let us sit as if we are sitting in our office. Let us drop off those Boxers and Bumchums and put on official trousers.
- Leave working like sitting on the bed and keeping the laptop on laps. Use table and chair to sit and work.
- Every night before going to sleep let us note our tasks for tomorrow morning and follow it thoroughly.
- Avoid as much usage of cellphones and stop downloading movies and web series on computers. Let us use our laptops only for official purposes.
- Eat less heavy food. Let us stay hydrated by drinking enough water and avoid eating junk foods.
A little attempt to kick out “a little more…” can make our life better. Because the Bible says,
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest —
and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.
“Sometimes the best solution is to REST, RELAX and RECHARGE. It’s hard to be your best on empty.”
But with the new normal the office has entered into our homes. It has systematically eaten into our relaxation time. Office never ends. Calls and emails keep on going from evening to late into the night trying to accommodate all the different time zones in the world. The company says – anyways you have nowhere else to go to so might as well utilize the time.
There is a kind of buzzing in the house all the time – enter one room and you realize it’s a classroom for the time being. Enter the second room and you have accidentally entered a meeting room with your hubby’s eyes transmitting a huge ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ Board.
My mixer grinder, cooker and even TV are not allowed to create their usual racket. So what do I do? I blot out the buzz sit on the sofa plug in my earphones and login to my favorite OTT channel.
This was my relaxation. My little world inside this bigger world. I was really enjoying it. I get transported to another world, comfortably lounging on my sofa and the headphones whispering into my ear and time just flies..
Yes it flies and how.. Gone are the good old days of weekly soaps or even daily soaps. Now is the time for series. I am sure no one has dutifully stopped after one episode. One episode leads to the second and then the third and so on.. minutes turn into hours..
I have watched entire seasons in matter of days. Just completed the series ‘Sherlock’ which has 7 seasons.
But seriously I have come to realize that is not rest and surely not relaxation. My body is lying for hours in an awkward angle trying to balance my phone or remote. Binge watching and binge eating go hand in hand. And then most importantly my eyes are not getting any rest. Work also means I am staring at the screen for long hours and fun also means the same. Brain is also buzzing with the non-stop watching. There is a sense of satisfaction that I completed so and so series in such less time but then again it’s a race to complete it not relaxation.
I am trying to kick this habit. Or at least reduce the binging time.
Do share what is the kind of relaxation you are into. And does it really give rest to your body?
Have you ever seen yourself dead? …you know that very moment when your soul is slowly leaving your body.. and all that’s left on earth is well.. you, or at least the physical you – your lifeless body that people are crying over?
I did… right at the time when she said
“Rest in Peace my friend… you need this”
That’s when it all came back to me. I wasn’t supposed to die, my life was snatched away from me. I didn’t deserve it, and I’m coming back to know exactly what happened.
I could be you…. you or even you crying at the corner. No one can hear me now – but all of you will, soon, very soon. Sooner than you all realize.
Back at the plush bungalow by the pristine beach, ovelooking the Butterfly Creek, stood exactly 3.5 healthy living entities – Shawn: the cook, Pascoal: the next-door-sin-affair, Aditi: the best friend and Pluto: the cute pomeranian – who probably had all the answers, only if he could talk.
The word going around was that I ended it all by myself.
Inspector Mark Gracias, the most eligible bachelor of the Goa Police Force, having surveyed the immediate surroundings, took to the nearest sofa, looked towards Shawn and asked:
“May I have a cup of tea”?
Not an ideal time to be drinking tea – I thought. But then this was Mark we’re talking about, and nobody says NO when he asks for tea. He had always said, his brain worked a little better with a hot cup of tea.
Now, how would I know something like that? Interesting that you noticed:
Incase you are confused, it is still me talking. I am talking from the beyond.
<did I hear you ask: How is that possible? Well… this is my story afterall…>
I am Stella – well, atleast I was Stella while I spent my life down on earth, NOW, I don’t quite have an identity. I am around you or might just be YOU.
The thing about situations like these are: it makes people vulnerable even when they know they aren’t responsible for what has happened. Drooping shoulders, bent heads and sombre faces are all what is seen around.
“Make that TWO” – a voice spoke from the main door, bringing along with the aroma of a strong scent of perfume…
“…fruity floral with notes of citrus, rounded out with jasmine, sandalwood, and vanilla”– blurted out Pascoal almost immediately,
taking in the heavy scent that surrounded the woman, who had now entered the room, giving a fleeting glance on the covered-once-upon-a-time Stella (she was just a body now) making herself comfortable on the sofa.
Giving a quick scan across the room, she looked to the dashing Inspector.
“Let me lay all your doubts to rest, Inspector: I know who did it” …. pointing to the covered white sheet on the floor
“…and the rest as they say, is HISTORY”, she continued
“It is interesting that you say it with so much conviction: Mrs…”
“It is Miss. Miss Surabhi”
“Ms. Surabhi, be rest assured – this isn’t an open and shut case as you make it to be. I am here and I WILL find out the TRUTH, to know exactly what happened.
The word “Rest” need not be only associated with relaxtion, slowing down or putting on pause, but it can also be used in an English phrase or an idiom. While the brain works better after giving it adequate rest, for all other other times – a cup of Tea works just as well.
While I’ve had fun brewing up a story out of nothing, trying to use a couple of idioms (of rest) along the way. It is interesting to know that – using phrases like idioms, similies or alliterations, makes the language and the speaker/writer look classy, and in the process if you can weave out a story or two around it – nothing like it.
The completion of the above story is left to the readers imagination. Or maybe simply enlargen it, if it is something you enjoy doing.
- #Fact The Police take a good 25/30 minutes to arrive after a particular scenario arises #India
- Women make even better detective-ghosts than they otherwise do on Earth.
- Perfumes are vital clues in every investigation. Women always leave a trail – even after they’re dead
- My stories should be read with a pinch of salt
Husband (looking into the mirror): Honey!!! Honey!!!
Wife comes running from balcony with phone in her hand. “Why are you screaming dear? You just spoiled my reel!! What on earth made you scream your lungs out? It better be something that really needs my attention.”
Husband : What do you mean by “your attention”. Look what happened to my trousers (pointed towards his trouser that was unevenly ripped only on the left and interestingly it’s not even denim but a regular formal one).
Wife: Oh that thing! I did it. You know my friend made a reel with her husband in a torn shirt and got over a million views. I want to make a better reel and surpass that number, that’s why this ( and she giggles leaving her husband bemused). Honey we need to make funny videos to make our numbers ticking. We can’t just Relax and let others take a lead.
Husband: Yeah funny, hmm. Why don’t you switch on the camera and say that you are Smart!! Funny isn’t it? (Left the room with wife smirking and getting busy with her camera)
Sarcasm and agony written all over that husband’s face which was just a reflection of the restlessness of his wife – restless to make her presence felt on social platform, restless for churning numbers of views and likes, restless for relevance in the context of trends.
I might have given a fictional account of a couple but the scenario isn’t fictional altogether. From vacation pictures of celebrities to absurd challenges; from transformation videos to derision of people in the name of comedy; from cringe like breaking out dancing in the middle of street to being violent to random people – all in the wake of getting “Viral” and gaining attention. What started off as harmless fun has now attained the status of more or less a gluttony that has messed badly with our brains, draining off sanity and peace leaving behind a worked and worn out mind.
Get yourself some rest: Often we hear the term detoxify and the importance of cleansing one’s body. Very much needed indeed in the wake of the content we consume (like literally what goes in -what we eat) and our relatively less physically active lifestyles. But with our exposure to the social media and it’s content, our brain too has consumption. Wanted – unwanted; sensitive – bizarre; informative – crazy – say it , have it. It’s a buffet out there. And the brain too gets tired of consuming tirelessly a plethora of junk. And from consumption to serving dishes we have completed a full circle. And the problem arises when the circumference of that circle enlarges. When we are on consuming side we more often than not let our thoughts processes skew and let emotions embroil accordingly. Let’s go to the other side of the fence. Once a post is made, the next desire is to see it finding the reach – having clicks, views, likes , comments, shares, subscribers, followers, going viral. It’s a pretty much numbers game!! Pretty entangled. And when those expectations are not met we feel bad and rejected. We are in a self doubting mode – was it good enough? Worse , many also go through the existential crises as for them it’s about getting those impressions. We may accept it or not, our brains too need detoxification – a digital one. Our thoughts need a break from that constant worry of being able or not to impress others. Aimless wandering aiming for a set of benchmark numbers is an ailment for sure. Evading from the social scene from time to time is the best possible cure/ detoxification method. This is definitely not a new thing that I am phrasing out here but definitely less trended path.
Few exercises (questions) we constantly need to do:
- Do our private life need social audience every time?
- If the answer is yes to the above question then are we ready to ably handle the unwanted commentary (not supporting it by any means)?
- Why and how opinions of strangers on virtual world matters?
- Are you sure that all the happy faces on the internet are happy in reality as well?
- What if at this very moment “I forget my password for every social account of mine and there’s no possibility to retrieve the same for a long period”, will that affect my quality of life?
These questions from time to time will give a reality check. This is not bashing social media but a small attempt to bring to notice that conscious consumption/supply is of paramount importance. That let’s brain breathe and think. Our brain too deserves rest and it doesn’t mean completely devoid and deprived of thoughts/ ideas/ opinions but it means better utilization of it and not squandering it for trivial and unimportant things.
Sharing my experience: I am politically centre- right aligned person. I was on Twitter where I thought I could speak my mind. But soon I found myself to be really effected by what others say. I rejoiced when I found same voices, I disliked (always in the realm of cordial disagreement) the otherwise opinion (though pondering over arguments backed with strong reasoning and logics) and really hurt over crude comments that had sole objective of abusing the people who don’t agree with their perspective. That left me thinking over and over, worried for some unexplained reasons. I was getting anxious and was evident on my face. My husband intervened at right time. He said ” if you can’t remain level headed, if social media debates are leaving you hassled, if words of unknown faces ring in your head, if you can’t see it as a way to pass of your time then you should better be off the wagon”. He was in a jovial mood when he said those things to me but I took it up as an advice on trial. Deleted my Twitter account, reduced my Facebook and Instagram engagement immediately. And to my surprise found myself lighter by many notches. My presence on social media wasn’t for the numbers yet it effected me as I was weak and let it to do so. I always maintained and practiced – acceptance is the key!!
Be a Voice not noise: The point is how we create or consume content on the social media. Presence of social media in our lives is nothing less than a boon where ideas, perspectives, creativity are given a buoyant push towards the public eye. But a discretion is always necessary as to how the creators and the consumers behave. What we are experiencing now is a rush to be visible and seemingly relevant than actually making sense. This extreme pressure we are exerting on ourselves is making it a noise than a voice. Users discretion is so important, isn’t it?
Try take a break and make this idea viral 😜.
“To meet any eventuality and to ensure smooth management of relief and rescue operations which may arise out of flood-like situation due to the heavy rainfall occurred in this district, it is hereby ordered that all officers shall remain present in their respective headquarters including Sunday. Any absence will be viewed seriously and action such as deemed proper will be taken against the defaulting person.”
Orders such as these are not uncommon in my line of work. But, what made me smile on receiving this order two days before was the fact that just few minutes before receiving this order, I had seen a WhatsApp message to write on the topic – ‘REST’ for CandlesOnline. I had volunteered to write for Monday, thinking that I could write leisurely on Sunday. But, what an irony it turned out to be! Leave alone write an article, my rest day was gone! Though losing a day’s rest usually makes one cringe, in emergency situations the call of duty is supreme.
Emergencies emerge every now and then in each of our lives – a loved one suddenly taken ill, a road accident, an unexpected death in the family. These are exceptions requiring occasional adjustments in our schedules for temporary periods during which our rest gets affected. Our bodies adapt, accommodate and rebound without much effort in responses to situations such as these. However, continual deprivation of rest is a silent killer!
Rest (it includes sleep and relaxation) is an integral part of longevity. Research shows that people deprived of adequate rest have a reduced life span, score lower on the performance scale and aren’t able to sustain for long. Machines made to run for durations longer than their performance capacity, often break down. They then need oiling and repair before they start functioning again. Without repair, they simply rust and rot due to disuse.
We humans are so much more than mere machines!
While it is important to find rest times for ourselves, it is equally crucial to identify the need for rest in the people around us. A humanized world is rapidly getting mechanized in a widely expanding digitized world! So much so, that we are increasingly losing sensitivity to the need for rest and relaxation in ourselves and others.
Heard of the boss who comes to office at mid-day while issuing a whip for his staff to reach office before working hours and makes them to stay on beyond official working hours? An insensitive boss! The rest-deprived employees then vent out their frustration before their families, thus creating an unhealthy environment of depression, fear, anxiety and continual friction. Insensitivity breeds insensitivity!
From of years old, we all have been used to seeing wives and mothers working day in and day out to care for their families. Taking care of sick children, helping in their studies, cooking as per the taste buds of the family members, dusting, cleaning, attending to guests and some even balancing a job alongside. No gender biases, but cultural stereotypes world-over mostly accord the household chores to females, and hence the division of labour. That’s beside the point, since this article is not about gender equality or stereotypes. Be it a man who is engaged in heaps of chores or a woman, each one needs adequate rest. It is not justice for one person to slog for hours together without resting, without any one else lending a helping hand.
Human capital is a rich resource. It contributes aplenty to economic development. Apart from skill and training, the other important factor in assessing and tapping on to valuable human capital is ‘efficiency’. Efficiency is in turn assessed by performance. Performance is directly impacted by rest or the lack of it. Do you see the sequence here? Rest and relaxation indirectly impact economic development big time.
An organization having overworked employees will be an under performer in the long run, compared to organizations offering adequate rest, relaxation and recreation times to employees. Yes, each of us need to be on the toes in a fast-paced world – be it students in their studies or adults at work and home. None of us wants a night’s slumber at the cost of falling behind. Yet, it is wise to let the body clock tick away gracefully rather than pave the way for the clock to leap before time. Recognising the need for adequate rest and unwinding, some work places have a scheduled time for power naps or relaxation avenues like gyms, cafeterias, etc.
Two quick take aways:
DIVIDE AND DELEGATE
You may be a person who can multitask efficiently. Still, identify people around to whom you can delegate some of your tasks. If you are a mother, delegate some tasks to your children. If you are a team leader, delegate tasks to your team members. If you are one of those meticulous perfectionists, who cannot rest in peace without micromanaging, work on yourself to let go of obsessive management and look for smart ways of management with optimum productivity. Use the time saved, for a siesta. A burnt out candle gives no light. It just leaves behind smoky remains. Divide and delegate tasks so that you can continue to glow and shine in the world.
SHARE AND CARE
Look around you for overworked people. It doesn’t mean that you go snooping into others houses, offices or even into other people’s lives. Start from your immediate surroundings. Start at home. Check with your relatives and your immediate community. Share responsibilities so that others get time to rest. Accept delegated tasks without a grumble or a murmur when you have spare time. Awaken the spirit of sensitivity and the sense of realization that people around you need adequate rest. Sharing of responsibilities is a vital indicator of caring for others.
We can contribute towards a healthier world with happier people if we learn to rest well and realize that others need to rest too.
The statement, “if we take a day off, the world will not stop turning on its axis” suits perfectly for those who work day and night and are sincere to the tasks they are assigned to. But for those who are lazy, this statement is nothing but an excuse only.
An article on Psychology Today says, “A person is being lazy if he is able to carry out some activity that he ought to carry out, but is disinclined to do so because of the effort involved. Instead, he carries out the activity perfunctorily; or engages in some other, less strenuous or less boring activity; or remains idle. In short, he is being lazy if his motivation to spare himself effort trumps his motivation to do the right or expected thing.”
The Lazy Me:
Looking at my life, I found areas where I have been lazy in the name of resting. Procrastination being my favourite word in life, I kept postponing that are important and do what are easier and pleasurable to do. That’s the very meaning of Procrastination – “an act of delaying or putting off tasks until the last minute, or past their deadline“. I am working on those areas to discipline myself on a day to day basis.
Rajnandini continues to poke me about the book I have been longing to publish for over a year or so. We decided on the title of the book and the content of the book even yet, I am procrastinating or being lazy to do the selection of articles and rewriting them. Usually, I work hard as the deadline come closer and finish it. But in this case, there’s no deadline so I am all the more lazy about it.
My spiritual father, Dr. Rev. Niranjan James asked me to make a routine of what I have to do and what I have to accomplish in a day’s time. He also told me to “forgive all my past failures, forget all my past successes and start afresh“.
The Busy Me:
I have always tried to follow the Bible verse which says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom“, I have mentioned about it many times. My focus has always been on the first part of the verse; I have tried to do everything that my hands have found to do and I was blessed. But today, I was trying to think about the last part of the verse which says, when we are dead we won’t be able to WORK, PLAN and ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE as well as GAIN WISDOM. So those who are not lazy they don’t take rest for granted but they rest for regaining their strength to work, plan, acquire knowledge and gain wisdom. Whereas, those who are lazy they continue to excuse themselves away from working, planning and acquiring knowledge.
I believe God has given us different talents, assigned us tasks and brought many people in our lives for a special purpose. Unless we rest our body, mind and soul in God and understand the call, we will be running errands like all others, participating in the rat race without a specific aim in life. It will never be fulfilling, trust me.
Resting Vs. Laziness
We need to know that God gives importance to Rest which we see in the Bible. In the beginning, God was busy creating for six days; then He rested. He rested not because He was tired but He wanted to set an example for the mankind to follow. When we don’t take rest, we disobey as it was a command to rest. The Ten Commandments mentioned in the Bible declares the seventh day of the week or the Saturday as Sabbath or a day of rest to be observed religiously without failure. It was a law. The command to rest was not an excuse to be lazy but to get to the Sabbath there’s six days of hard work before it. And there’re six more days of hard labour following the rest day. Thus, rest is a state which prepares an individual for future activities and our efficiency.
But what about laziness?
The Bible says, “The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns”. Laziness leads to devastation (poverty). Rest is restorative; laziness drains energy. Sometimes we think we are resting when in reality we are draining our energy. Let’s not confuse rest with the excuses of a lazy person. That’s why the Bible warns us again and again about laziness.
Where I stand today, – a man busy with a lot of ideas for the Lord in heaven and the fellow beings around me? Am I working on all those ideas day and night with proper rests in between or I am procrastinating and lazing, thinking there’s still time? Am I making the most of every opportunity, knowing the days are evil or taking the word rest as an excuse and for granted?
I am working on it? Are you?
(Understand REST by clicking HERE)
Relationships are all about love, trust, communication, respect with a healthy dose of compromise involved. A healthy relationship would be one that has these essentials invested in equal or near-equal levels from both the parties. An imbalance in any of these would make a relationship less healthy, but still workable if the parties involved are willing to rectify it. But a toxic relationship is a heavily skewed relationship where generally only one party is giving it all they’ve got, while the other uses the relationship as a tool of manipulation.
In the book and the movie ‘Gone Girl’, Amy, the seemingly perfect wife, was a murderous, manipulative, selfish person who fed on the unsurety and emotional immaturity of her husband. She first pins her own murder on Nick, then manipulates him into staying in the marriage because of her pregnancy. He agrees only because he’s afraid of facing criticism and exclusion from society.
This movie is an extreme as far as toxic relationships go; one would have to be blind not to see it. But how about the children’s classic ‘Beauty and the Beast’?
A poor and selfless girl, Belle, is abducted by the Beast, and then falls in love with him. Why? Because Stockholm Syndrome dictates so. The beautiful mansion housing talkative, conniving clocks, candlesticks, tea-pots and spoons, goad her to bear the angst, isolation and pressure from the Beast, who keeps her perfectly happy in all material matters except in the things that should matter.
While the overt message of the story is that love overcomes all flaws, love should not come at the cost of self-effacement or debasement. Toxicity can be a result of personality (Amy in Gone Girl) or circumstance (The Beast), but in both cases, the relationship becomes a blackhole that feeds on mistrust, lies, fear and subjugation, resulting in the demise of the relationship or the emotional mutilation of the vulnerable party.
Before you think – that sounds like my in-laws, make no mistake, toxic relationships are not limited to relationships where there is an intrinsic imbalance of power. They go beyond that into the realm of parenthood, family, friendships and professional relationships too.
Your clingy best friend, who absolutely needs to have you around for everything, no matter what your emergency, is using you as his emotional crutch. The boyfriend, who physically abuses you in private but tags you in all his love-poems on his Instagram profile, is bad news. Your PHD guide who drives you insane just to get a kick out of seeing you suffer is a Narcissist (please look up this term; Narcissists are the ultimate in toxic personalities). Blood relations, who manipulate you into being no more than a vehicle for their desires, are not family. In fact, after suffering three narcissists in my life from family alone, my definition of ‘family’ has changed. In many cases, family is a veil that hides all kinds of misdemeanours and manipulative behaviour, but that is a discussion for another article.
Realizing that you are in a toxic relationship is the first step towards making a better relationship because you are willing to admit that there is a problem that needs to be resolved. These pointers may help you confirm your suspicion:
- Exhaustion: All relationships are hard work but toxic relationships leave you feeling enervated. No matter what you do or say, everything is rebutted, trampled upon, or never enough. You keep telling yourself, telling them, next time you’ll do better, but every single time leaves you feeling like you are on the losing side. There is a never-ending sense of loss and tiredness and your best is not good enough for them.
- No Communication: No matter how many times you try to resolve an issue or even just talk about it, you face a wall. Every discussion becomes a fight. There is no reasoning with a toxic person because they are always right. They do not respond well to ‘no’s from you. In fact, you don’t have a right to say no to them. You either acquiesce to them or face the music.
- Avoidance: Healthy relationships nourish you and you want to spend more time with such people. In a toxic relationship, you may appear willing to spend time but only because you have no other choice. Because the alternative is facing their wrath. This may happen because you have external, apart from internal pressure, to keep up pretences (like Nick in Gone Girl) or because you are trauma-bonded to the toxic person, by trying to appease them so that their ‘good behaviour’ phases last longer. But sub-consciously, you avoid that person. Being in the same space as them makes you fidgety and anxious, which is the next point.
- Beware! Landmine: Being around them is like stepping into a field riddled with hidden landmines. You learn to keep your mouth shut, to do whatever they want you to do, to keep the anger and the fits at bay. You internalize behaviour patterns and responses that give you moments of peace even if it comes at the cost of your own humiliation. You begin to avoid everything and anyone who threatens to disturb this notional peace. Your relatives are coming over, who your spouse doesn’t like? You tell your relatives to come over when he’s not around and hide it from him. Your bestie is jealous of your new friend? You contrive ways to keep them apart. They keep bombarding you with passive-aggressiveness like snide comments, below-the-belt-jokes, your incapacities and faults are shoved in your face every day, but you take it all and don’t retort because you are in survival mode, and with an abuser, this is the only way you can survive. Eventually you give up trying to be who you were and try to be content in being who they want you to be, because it keeps the Hulk away.
- Loneliness: Outwardly, you may seem like a team, but within the relationship, you feel bottomless loneliness. You feel isolated in your misery that no one else can see because you have been perpetuating the farce of a happy relationship. Narcissists are especially good at isolating their victims. They monitor who you interact with and what you talk about. Your previous relations may be denounced and you’ll be pushed to limit your interaction with them. You must be the perfect other half of the relationship at all times, but from the abuser himself, you’ll get no companionship because they are not in the relationship for your company. They are in it because they love wielding their power over you, which brings me to the next point.
- Power-play: Ideal relationships have no imbalances of power but no relationship is ideal. A parent-child relationship is the best example of a skewed relationship. In some cases, even after attaining adulthood, parents may still manipulate a child because inherently parenthood forces a sense of inferiority in the child. The child, now an adult, always perceives the parent’s superiority as a part of a ‘normal family’ set-up. In toxic relationships, the abuser has always an upper hand in the relationship, due to monetary, physical or intellectual superiority, or a better status in society, or family hierarchy, to name a few reasons. Conversely, the abuser may act like a harmless victim while propping you up as the big, bad wolf to coerce and shame you into doing their bidding. Over-possessiveness, over-jealousy, competition are all indications of an abuser’s need to control their victims.
- No Boundaries or Privacy: There is no space for respect in a toxic relationship. You don’t have a voice, you don’t get to have opinions. You will be ‘advised’ which you must take and act on it. Your needs may be just barely met, but you will often be told how you should be grateful that they considered your needs. You may be allowed to do things you like to do, but your space, time and self-esteem does not exist for them. Many daughters-in-law in Asian cultures will admit that they feel like they are only earning their keep as in the marital home because their families are providing them essentials. A toxic person will claim all of your time and resources often giving you excuses like – “You aren’t working; you will do housework.” “Your money is my money because we are a couple, but my money is not your money.” “I get a say in your matters because I’m older than you and family, but you must hold your tongue.”
- Gaslighting: The term means manipulating someone into questioning his or her own sanity. Even if you do voice your disapproval in how they treat you, you will be told you are ‘going insane’, ‘splitting hairs’, ‘can’t take a joke’, ‘too sensitive’ or something dismissive like that. Remember, a toxic person will NEVER agree to being wrong. If they do admit, they always seem to have a reason for it that you must excuse. “I acted that way because I had a shitty day at work.” “I have personal problems going on; have some shame.” “I never had a good family so I don’t know how to be a good person.” In the end, you will second-guess yourself and conclude that you were the one at fault for even bringing it up when they are going through so much.
- Endless Sacrifices and Compromises: You find yourself making time for all their needs, all their whims too. But when it comes to you, it comes out as, “This is the way I am”, “I’m too old to adjust”, “I don’t have time for this” or “I’m going through so much myself!” Victims often find that they expend all they have over the abuser and still not get them to even appreciate what they’ve done. Toxic people are blackholes with a never-ending appetite and you are their feed because you still cling on which makes them feel that they must be superior to you. Hence you must sacrifice, never they.
- Distrust: You think you must trust them in the relationship but your gut reaction is wariness and fear. In a healthy relationship, trust comes effortlessly, but in a toxic relationship you never willingly trust the abuser because subconsciously you know the cycle of trusting-breaking of trust.
- Abuse: There should never be any room for unprovoked physical violence in any relationship but often, toxic relationships get physically abusive. If not physical, then there is always some sort of emotional manipulation or harassment involved. Stray incidents of superiority, narcissism, silent treatment and anger are there in every relationship. But if your relationship consists mostly of dark, depressing days, if you are constantly fearful for your life or sanity, and if you have depression or suicidal thoughts because of the abuser, get help immediately and please remember, there is nothing wrong in seeking out help.
No one deserves relationships that leave them feeling unloved, uncared for and incomplete but unfortunately, ours is not a perfect world. Now that you have identified that you may be in a toxic relationship, please work towards removing the imbalance. Communicate your feelings and your desires, talk, fight for the relationship, seek help and if everything else fails, leave as soon as you can.
A healthy relationship sets you free, helps you breathe, gives you space to grow.
It should never feel like a cage.
Pradita Kapahi, 2021. @praditachandola
Disclaimer: This is not an exhaustive list of signs of a toxic relationship. Remember that as times change, the definition of a toxic/abusive relationship changes too. These are helpful pointers that may assist you in identifying that you have a problematic relationship requiring immediate attention. This is not meant to replace medical/ psychological advice.
As a kid, most of us have experience nyctophobia. For me as a kid, to be without Mom at night or to be in the darkness almost gave me the feeling as if it was my last day on earth. Last week, late in the evening, I took my niece outside for ice cream. As we were walking back home suddenly the street lights went off, and immediately my 5 yr old niece reacted, “Uncle, it’s dark, I can’t walk”. I encouraged him, ‘Don’t fear! God is with you. Nothing can harm you. And holding her hands tightly, I kept on walking towards home.
As we celebrate the 60th Teachers Day, it reminds me of my teachers who encouraged and helped me to walk. That formal journey started from the day I started learning English alphabets. As a kid, I had the least interest in studies. Being worn out of me, my parents appointed a teacher for me to teach me English alphabets, and numbers. I love him because, in our first meeting, he first showed me his love. He was a soft-speaking fine gentleman. Every evening, he promised to give me candies if I did my homework. Today, as I refresh my memory of that of our Teacher-Student relationship, I find in him fulfilling the Bible verse –
“Do everything in Love”
In high school, my class teacher took me to the Principal to punish me and suspend me from class for using filthy words in the classroom. I was asked to kneel down outside the room of the Principal, as our school peon took my case to her. But to my surprise, she patted my cheek and very sweetly said, “Son, you know these are bad words and you are not supposed to use such language! Henceforth, I will not listen to such a complaint against you.” Oh, what a horrible day turned into one of the blessed memorable days just because of the simple act of forgiveness. Today, as I refresh my memory of that of our Teacher-Student relationship, I find in her fulfilling the Bible verse –
“Forgiveness is an act of compassion, kindness, and mercy”
As a teenager in our Sunday School class, I and my friends often asked our Sunday School teacher all sorts of weird questions intending to irritate and make fun of him. But every time with much patience and love he responded to each of our questions very maturely and filled with divine wisdom. Whenever he was unable to answer our question with folded hands, he very simply said, “my dear children, I don’t know the answer.” Every time the humble and God-fearing response of that knowledgeable man with grey hairs drove us to revere him more and more. Today, as I refresh my memory of that of our Teacher-Student relationship, I find him fulfilling the Bible verse –
“He who humbles himself will be exalted by God”
While in the initial years of my professional career, something related to my then profession had deeply hurt me and I thought to resign the very next day because of that incident. As I came back home and was about to go to bed, observing my long face, Dad tried to reason my situation. As I unfolded the whole story, he didn’t suggest me anything. He just said, “Son, think whether you are in this profession because of your ability or by God’s divine grace. The next morning, I consulted my mentor. To my surprise, his response was the same. He said, “If you are not happy, why don’t you take it to the LORD in Prayer? I trust He will respond to you.” Today, as I refresh my memory of that of the counsel from my Dad and my Mentor, it assures me “It is blessed to trust them who lead us to God.”
Ironically, the Sanskrit term “Guru” is used for a “mentor, guide, expert, master, or teacher”. In pan-Indian traditions, a guru is more than a teacher. Since the Guru (teacher) is the person, who leads someone from Darkness (‘GU’ in Sanskrit) to Light (‘RU’ in Sanskrit).
But alas, the harsh reality is that these gurus exist for a finite timeline. They won’t be everywhere at any time and their moral standards moreover stand circumstantial. Considering the border and sacred perspective of guru in our life, Jesus is presented as the Sat-Guru (the eternally good teacher), who is the Light that leads us from darkness to the Light of life.
Teacher’s Day- a day dedicated to our loving and respected teachers, which fills our hearts with nostalgia as we remember our unforgettable school days. Making cards, role-playing as teachers, playing skits, singing songs, and performing dances for our remarkable teachers used to be the whole day program. Celebrations remain the same and still continue. The only thing that has changed that now we help our kids in wishing their teachers, especially in the current pandemic situation, where the school is online and we, as parents, are now more involved in our children’s school activities.
Last year, my younger son was supposed to join a formal school, but due to the pandemic, everything went online. So, I composed a poem, ‘My Formal School’ on his behalf, for his teachers:
My formal school started online,
Seeing new teachers, I felt so fine.
Writing letters, learning numbers,
Singing rhymes and dancing too.
Thank you, Teachers,
Learning is fun.
I love online classes
And I love you too!
For my elder son, where the teachers were facing teething troubles of online classes, I wrote the poem, ‘My Teachers In Pandemic’:
Am I audible?
Can you see the screen?
Are the new challenges faced by the teachers,
In this pandemic routine.
Ma’am, he’s hitting me!
Ma’am, he’s not letting me write!
Has now changed to;
Ma’am, he removed me!
Ma’am, he’s chatting, which isn’t right!
Screen is the new blackboard,
Scroll up and down the data stored,
Correction on screen is so difficult,
By the end, eyes strain as a result.
Yet, you managed all,
Thank you, my teachers,
For taking so much pain,
Your hard work and efforts are my gain.
Being in the teaching profession myself, I know how much hard work, both mental and physical, is required. But, in the pandemic, the teachers have really showed up a great deal of patience and I salute their spirit. Hope the challenging times end soon and the new normal is over with the beginning of offline classes.
Google defines the term: to judge which people or things in a group are bad and which ones are good
What suddenly prompted me to think of this English idiom – out of the blue?
..it was when I read up on a blog post written by a fellow blogger, Aastha on the Candles Online platform, about Compartmentalization. And while both terms are different from each other, compartmentalization-meaning division of something into sections and categories and the idiom ‘separating the wheat from the chaff’ which is more judging the good from the bad, to me… somewhere down the line – they both are interlinked.
I was never the kind of person who enjoyed doing that kind of thing-separating myself from certain people or things from other things.
But the thing in Life is that: it probably can be the BEST and the WORST teacher at the same time.
I’d want to nominate ‘Life’ – especially today, on the occasion of Teacher’s Day, as my most treasured teacher. The things I’ve learnt from the simple living (at times existing) on the face of this earth, is something NOT EVEN the most educated/qualified teacher would be able to do.
Life has thrown me such curve balls, had me fending for.. in different situations, that have not only helped me find ways out of those situations, but also taught me how to guage people beyond their fake exterior portrayal. That said, I will always be of the understanding that – people aren’t bad, it is the situation/other people that makes a certain person look good or bad: however the ability for a human to tune himself/herself to a particular situation is so great, that the person itself changes to alter their own personality. The superior quality that only human beings possess I suppose.
Ever witnessed/seen how couples behave after they get married?
Marriage is the situation – the couple are the people involved. AN APT EXAMPLE.
What am I getting at-you ask?
There comes a time in life where you need to separate the chaff from the grain, the good from the bad, the valuable from the inferior, the positive from the negative – most importantly PEOPLE from ANIMALS, and you’d probably know which side of the fence I am on that last one.
It has been an ongoing process that I’ve been working really hard on – you just need to PUSH some people out, they just don’t seem to get the hint. They JUST DO NOT FIT IN ANYMORE – they don’t. Some people give it fancy names like ‘Spring Cleaning’ or ‘End of the Year residue’. I do it everyday in course of habit now. If you are a part of my life, you’ll find a way to be in it – if not, well… there are always animals to befriend.
And then you have people who are like cockroaches – the least said about them the better. I detest cockroaches – PERIOD.
I do not compartmentalize, I simply separate. The good remains while the bad are out – out of sight, mind and attachment. When you’re OUT-you’re OUT for good.
I took birth,
And squirmed in her lap.
I felt her warmth
I learned the word – Comfort
From no one else, but my mom.
I grew older
And found him strong,
I saw him bringing things for me
Before I even uttered anything.
I learned to be a Provider and a Protector
From no one, but my father.
I fought, I teased and played,
I snatched their belongings,
As I gifted them all I have too.
I learned – Caring and Sharing
Whether I am bitter or better
From no one else,
but all my brothers and sisters.
I went to school, and then college,
I acquired knowledge and gained wisdom,
Became very wise, sometimes a little fool.
I made friends,
Who took off all my stress,
Made me nonchalant and stout.
Managing everything on my own,
I grew as a man
Learning life’s lessons – as the years leapt and ran.
I got married,
Had someone by my side, my wife
Who took all the strife,
Bore the burden together
As a friend and companion.
From her, I learned the art of sacrifice,
And learned how to treasure the valuable prize.
I became matured,
As I learned, and I learned from many…
Whom I met in the walks of my life,
I found someone to teach me, to inspire me
To learn from and to gain wisdom
Without being foolish and uncanny.
Learning never ends in life,
It is as common as sufferings and strife.
I found a teacher around me, all the time,
From whom I learned and felt sublime.
And today, I wish them all…
With all my heart and mind –
A Happy Teachers Day!!!
This conversation was from a week ago with our dear Charlie. He got a new laptop. Anything new is extremely exciting and he was no different after receiving the laptop. I was asking some casual questions about display, battery etc, when he mentioned he wants to partition the drive. He wanted to call someone so that the drives could be partitioned because he wasn’t sure how to do that. I asked him why he wants to partition because after SSD (Solid State Drive), there is almost no clear advantage of partitioning the drive unless one needs dual boot or really want the data from a particular drive to be backed up. I explained him it wasn’t necessary at all. He snapped back with a question, “Do you partition your laptop drive?”. There was an instant smile on my face. I don’t and I told him the same. That’s when he was really convinced.
Partitioning itself is a beautiful concept, not for laptops alone but for human beings too. There is a term for it, compartmentalisation. Couple of years ago, someone mentioned to me that they compartmentalise their life. It did not occur to me immediately, but, a while later I realised I compartmentalise too. In fact, all of us compartmentalise life without paying much attention to it. We separate professional life vs personal, best friends vs close friends and many more.
Our brain is wired in this way to protect us, to allow us to function better in life. The ability to compartmentalize means we can create psychic barriers to protect from the stress of conflicting thoughts. It’s a natural way to play offense. There is a WhatsApp joke that circulated sometime back – An old man refers to his wife always as Darling, Baby etc. When other people express they admire how much the old man loves his wife, he says he actually forgot what his wife’s name is. I have seen many boys not refer to girls with their names. I always wondered if all they wanted was to not mix-up names. Lol.. It is still unanswered, if anyone of you knows the answer, please enlighten me.
A simple rule of thumb that I follow in life, is to identify the tasks I need to perform and the tasks that make me happy. For example, doing the dishes is my responsibility. However, that does not essentially make me happy. On the other hand, getting a new plant or gardening does make me happy but not an essential task. In life, it is important to draw that line to set aside time. The hardest part of course, is not to let things from these compartments overwhelm you until you are ready to process them together or one along with other. The easy part are the common ones. For example, my career brings me happiness and also is essential for my survival. So, in reality, the only thing I need to keep track of the time I am spending on my career so that I don’t disturb other aspects.
Of late, due to work from home, many people started to feel that there is no difference between work-life and professional life. Some of my colleagues said that they continue to think about work all the time. A simple hack that might help is to have dedicated spot in your house to work that is not the same place as you sleep. Keep work related items out of your sight if you are really struggling. We have to compartmentalize the various goings on of our own life experience to keep them from disturbing other parts of our life.
There is also an unhealthy compartmentalisation that some do without realising – Locking their emotions while grieving or trying to cope up with some loss. This form of compartmentalisation leads to distress and often leads to depression. Processing all of it by yourself could be more than you can handle and it is always better to open up to a friend or well-wisher. What kind of compartmentalisation could help here, is to not let this pain bleed to other areas of life.
After all this, some day we are going to run out of memory. So, just let go of !!!
Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism employed to avoid cognitive dissonance. – Author: Zack Love
My daughter was watching her favourite cartoon series on YouTube. Suddenly an advertisement popped up. It was a scary one. With demonic figures charging up, roaring at each other and inflicting carnage on everything and everyone, she got scared and came to me. I skipped the ad and consoled her. She gathered herself and asked me, “Mom are demons real?”
I smiled and said “no darling that’s all imagination, demons don’t exist. Don’t get scared” and hugged her tightly and put her to sleep. That night I watched her closely if that advertisement would have an impact on her sleep. Night passed off well and the next day she left to the school happily. Before leaving she posed one question that engaged my thoughts for a very long time. She asked “Mom can imagination yield something so alien or a completely non existing thing? Aren’t demons real?”
I didn’t say anything but smiled and saw her off. But I had an answer so complicated that I believed it would be out of the little girl’s comprehension. Answer was “Yes demons are for real”.
Demons are not the caricatures we see onscreen but they dwell well amidst us and within us, peeping through the cracks in our character. Always on a lookout to unleash themselves upon us, commanding us to submit and surrender ourselves (souls) to the ulterior motives.
With those heavy thoughts the I tapped the phone to check out the news with my morning coffee. I tumbled over different “Viral” materials across the internet, making their way to the news portals. A group of bullies beating a lone person mercilessly; an officer abusing subordinates and general public while misusing the authority bestowed; miscreants ill treating (vis a vis torturing) animals just for fun; both the genders getting harassed on various pretexts while transgenders still getting mocked up to an extent of utter humiliation for just being a part of nature’s scheme and everything ranging from witty to atrocious. A sigh escaped my lips.
More than the brutality of the incidents the silence of spectators busy in capturing the episodes in their phones is quite bone chilling. Demons that we are acquainted with are blood thirsty creatures who thrive on the weakness, sorrow and fear of others. We had a notion that demons are unworldly and against humans. But a bird’s eye view at the times we are living in it is clear that it’s has nothing to do with a certain type of specie. It’s about humanity which is almost incessantly depleting from the human race. To worsen the woes what we are witnessing is an oscillation between apparent demons (driven by greed, lust, anger, ego) and slow poison (the mute spectators who claim to be peace loving and the law abiding people). Between the demons and slow poison, it’s the slow poison that is posing a great threat to humanity as it is gifting away the encouragement for such insidious and horrific plans of scrupulous souls to be put into action. Precisely the slow poison of the thought process called “why get involved” is ushering life into the ideology of “who will dare”. In a way the periphery system to the humanity – our value system is paralysed. We react, regret and forget but don’t act at the very first place. Over the years of evolution we have technically advanced but morally been (still) through a downward spiral. We are somehow habituated to live in a cocoon, a bubble from where we pray – to keep Us / Ourselves safe and happy; from where we have a view of everything happening around us and hope nothing unfortunate lands at our doorstep; from where we certainly talk about the cruelties of the wicked ones but don’t speak against it because we are more or less paralysed by one question “Why Get Involved?“. This illusion that our silence will save us from problems is like believing that we might save ourselves from a wild fire by simply changing our path or keep the catastrophic tornado at bay using an umbrella. Sooner or later we all will get engulfed.
To Sum it up – We are aware and woke but not awake.
Our System is infected – Since we made an incredible and unfathomable amount of technological advancements let us talk in technical terms. Considering the human society as a system say a computer that is connected to the entire ecosystem via peripherals of values and responsibilities. Time and again this system is being attacked by the virus of brutalities and over the years various technicians (leaders/ law makers) through their tireless research enabled a security for the system. Security include laws and regulations, code of conducts. But that has not been able to completely secure the system, in fact over a period of time the defense of the system has been weakened considerably. Reason – corrosion of the peripheral that made the security rather ineffective. But the technicians and the users are still turning their user manuals to find defect. It’s high time that we revive the connections with certifications of “compassion”, “gratitude”, “unity” towards the entire system.
Reboot is thy need of the hour!!
PS: Have you encountered demons or tasted slow poison????
Do you know what is Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?
Even I didn’t until I searched the web for the longest word in dictionary. Yes, and I am sure you will have googled it too! That’s what we all have been doing in the smartphone era and will continue to do so.
Search engines proved to be an easy access to all the information, that too on our fingertips. All information here refers to the mass- good or bad, positive or negative. Sometimes we get the result in just the top results, else it is like manually searching for a particular tree bark in the jungles of Amazon. Last year, we all were so paranoid with the new pandemic causing disease that ‘coronavirus’ was the most searched word on Google in 2020, as expected.
As I also mentioned in my old article, “When In Doubt, Just Google”, getting information about a particular thing is easy and can be misleading also. When I was expecting my first child, I got chickenpox, that too for the first time in my life. The doctor told me not to worry, yet I searched all over the internet about what all negative effects it can have on the foetus, getting all the more anxious and restless. “Stop searching the net”, my brother warned me as he explained that whatever information the search engines have are given by the users only, citing that if he had a headache after eating sweets, he would mention it on any XYZ website and when a person like me would come across, he/she will believe that if I eat sweets, I will get a headache.
I recently gifted a dictionary to my 9-year-old, as I realised that I was setting up a bad example of using the search engines too often. ‘Creative search’, using your mind is better than an ‘easy search’. So, now if you hit that search button, just pause and think if it’s really needed or not.
We all have experienced the gruesome waiting time when our computer hangs or freezes. Haven’t we thought of throwing our system in the gutter or kicking it off our table? How many times we have banged our working table in sheer impatience? How many times we have pressed the reset or reboot button to restart our pending work? How many times we felt apprehensive about losing our unsaved data when when the system doesn’t respond to our cries and pleas?
Similarly, we all hate it when everything ceases to work momentarily, obstructing our smooth functioning lifestyle – household or work. We really feel frustrated when we know what is to be done yet we are unable to move ahead. We feel as if our life has frozen or hung for sometime and we are unable to move ahead. It is a horrible experience.
The year 2020-2021 was a deadly year for me. There were problems after problems from all sides, pressing me down and forcing me to succumb to my vulnerabilities. Starting from the hospitalization for Pneumonia in the month of February 2020 till the time I suffered with second episode of hemoptysis (spitting of blood) in February 2021, I remained weak, sick and extremely vulnerable. Moreover, the deaths of relatives and friends and the fear of getting infected with Corona virus myself was all the more stressful and depressing. Added to my problem there was my inability to go to the office, work for long hours or efficiently and the taunts and scolding of insensitive people around me were all very heavy for me.
I felt literally hung in my life – unable to decide or move ahead.
Unfortunately, we humans don’t have a restart or reboot button like computers and mobiles have to get rid of the state of being frozen or hung in the middle of a serious work or life issue.
When I faced with newer health complications, I decided to quit my job but when to do it, how to do it, I didn’t have any idea. There were a lot of obstructions and hurdles to cross before I just called it a quit as we all know winding up is not an easy thing in any manner. And I didn’t want to end things on a bad note. I have always wanted and believed in building relationships; breaking them is something indigestible for me. There were many inputs from my well wishers all around me – whispering to do this and do that, but I remained quiet and held on to my resilience and patience.
I patiently waited on the Lord and His timing, trusting the promise – He says, “Be still, and know that I am God“. Knowing God personally, knowing His heart and knowing what He can do is such a soothing and comforting feel. I was so troubled yet I was so peaceful in Him. And when His appointed time came, He prompted me to press on the reset (quick and quit action) button. Now, I am free, relieved and happy at home, writing this article. 🙂
Am I free from problems? Are all the problems gone? NO, not at all. I have more complications for my blood and cardiac issues, I need to arrange finance for my living, I need engagements to keep my mind occupied, I need this and that to stay alive in real sense before I am called home. But you won’t believe how happy and jubilant I am being here at home without the stress of life.
Friends! Remember, when life hangs or freezes in the middle, stay still and know that He is God. Be patient to get back to your active life instead pressing many other panic buttons and suffer.
I cut the norms,
a shortie me;
was drowning in it
I made it sleeveless,
was not in its favour of doing the rounds
I made it backless;
didn’t want it getting the support of the wall & creeping all over
I made it ankle length;
wanted it to pick up & run, should anyone try to mangle it
I put on a baggy smile,
that way, it would be easier for my sorrows to be swallowed
I’ve assembled the pieces
to a perfect fit,
I hope you all do too.
Happy tailoring 😊
Each child cries to go to school,
Wants to study for future goal.
Parents are circumstances-bound,
Not a single way can be found.
Though the situations are bit worse,
Cries of stomach shows time coarse.
He never stops himself from dreaming,
nor left behind from the new beginning.
Starts working for his daily chore,
To connect with his painful hunger.
At the tender age, starts labouring,
As a bread earner, the duty is carrying.
Age of study,dance, drama and dreams,
He is cleaning the dirty leftover utensils.
The hunger of the poor’s life is so awful,
Child labour starts like this, there’s no rule.
It should be now stopped by the society,
Little child is tortured all time,it’s the reality.
Enter to the world of education and liberation,
Erase the feel of suppression & add motivation.
Child labour is a curse, but the child is a gift,
Let’s delete the curse and give children a little up shift.
Make each child be adored like our own,
Give them wings, knowing the future unknown.
I sit, and I type
Byte by Byte
My processor is slow
I got nothing to show
My memory is full
I’m trying to pull
Motherboard is outdated
All content is R rated
I empty Drive D
But all I can see
Are files I don’t need
It’s slowing my speed
My head has no space.
Says my Database
I look for the source code
to share some of the load
My heart is a brute
I have to reboot
I run such a risk
of burning my disc
I am run over by Malware.
I wish someone would care
Please unzip my smiles
Add happy chip to my files
If life had a solution
like screen resolution
Just change some setting
and see what you’re getting
I search, and I browse
For my perfect spouse
But this firewall
I should uninstall
The bugs are still here.
The cookies gimme scare
And Captcha onslaught
prove I’m no robot
I need my domain
Plus unique username
A name to standout
on Insta and Hangout
View live in the Zoom
And Friends in chatroom
All smileys no smile
Can’t open this file
Turn to PDF to DOC
And close that CAPSLOCK
No emotions are spared
By emoticon software
This new virtual land
of bandwidth broadband
I wait and watch while life is buffering
Can’t say if its fun or am I suffering
I lived in Dwarahat – a place in Uttarakhand in middle of Himalayas for 4 years. Those 4 years were also the best part of my life, the 4 years of Engineering. Beautiful memories of those mountains are just so many. However, when I left that place – I told myself I would never go to the mountains again. I felt that I had too much of mountains and moreover the problems of living in mountains had overtaken the beauty of the place from my mind. There were problems related to water availability, electricity availability, no heating mechanism in the hostels in the utter cold and many more. Over the years, I forgot how beautiful that place was. There were some of the amazingly beautiful scenic beauty of the forest filled green mountains that we witnessed in those 4 years.
Today I am reminded of those days so much because I am quite close to this place where our college was. I am in Jim Corbett National Park with my family. We did the safari in rain, we went to the Kosi River and ventured into the Jungle ourselves too. In short, I experienced the nature after too long. Living in the hustle bustle of city life, I have forgotten what it is to feel the nature. We just get way too busy in our lives, running behind the deadlines of work and home. We forget to appreciate the little things in life.
We forget to notice the little ants who carry the broken piece of Lays. We forget to notice the pigeons picking up little twigs to build their nests. We forget to notice the clouds floating in the mountains and little wind that makes us feel so cold that it gives goose-bumps. We forget to notice the dogs waiting to get that pat on the back. We don’t even notice the little blue and orange butterflies fluttering around the flowers and not even the beautiful texture, colors and fragrance of the flowers. We forget the simple fun of getting drenched in the rain.
We don’t notice these little things and then even at a beautiful place of nature we take support of alcohol, smoke, weed and other things to make us happy when all you need to do is to look around and breathe in that fresh oxygen. If you do that enough and more, you will be intoxicated naturally – there won’t be any need to take in all other stuff to get high. Today a monkey very silently walked past us and came in uninvited in our cottage to steal the bread, it just made me and my son feel so joyful to witness that, something that a city life can never give.
I noticed all of these little things a lot in last few days and it is life changing. I have always been the kind of person who has constant To-Do list in her mind. Along with the To-Do list, there is a huge emotional baggage that feels so very heavy. Noticing these little things in life gives me that much needed break that all of us crave for. It makes me meditative. The feeling makes me feel wiser and heals the wounds.
Stop living your regular life for some time, look around you and appreciate the nature. You will definitely fall in love with this magnificently amazing life that you are.
From the moment we feel down and out till we recuperate ourselves to fight our way through all the hiccups of life our heart experiences an excruciating pain. This poem is about that pain, that hopelessness we all experience at one or other point of time.
Lopamudra Pal is professionally working as a teacher. She is an enthusiastic writer, painter and vlogger. She loves to spend time in nature and with her family. She is always open to new and creative stuff. Reach out to her on Instagram, HERE.
Saniya Firdaus is an intern in a Software Company, but as far as her passion is concerned she dreams of becoming an author, a poet, a limitless bird. Reach out to her on Instagram, HERE.
Deena Bhattacharjee, a 23-year old Bengali girl is born and brought up in Jamshedpur famously known as Steel City. She has done Masters in Chemistry from Central University of Jharkhand and presently involves in writing. She is the author of the book, “The Soulful Words“. You can contact her on Instagram – HERE.
Susan was born and brought up in Balasore. She went to St. Vincent Convent Sr. Sec. School. She passed intermediate from FM junior college, Balasore. Now, pursuing B.Ed in FM autonomous college. Her poem won the second place for her in the contest. The personal relationship between a human and God was quite relatable for the readers.
This poem won the first place in the contest organized by Candles Online for its simplicity and meaningful composition and presentation. This poem is written by a young 12th Class Science student Mr. Karmant Khimasia from Rourkela, Odisha. You can find his poems on his Instagram profile – HERE.
Trusting my own decisions has never come easily to me. I always rethink my decisions weighing all the pros and cons over and over again. Even while making a small decision of buying a dress, I feel more comfortable after taking a second opinion from a friend. I jokingly say that it is the aftereffect of being completely surrounded by Librans and their balance (My closest family members are mostly Librans and I am sure they will not forgive me for this statement 😉).
I guess living a very sheltered life and always having some one at hand to bounce my ideas off has made me dependent.
Anyways so for a person like me to think of an incident where I completely trusted my own decision, I had to do a lot of deep diving.
When my kids were pretty small, the elder one was in Nursery and the younger was hardly a toddler. My life was all chalked up. My in-laws were staying with me. There was a full-time maid to help out with the kids. Me and my husband both had a good job. I was actually working with a government organisation having a pensionable job.
Out of the blue moon things changed on every front. There were some family obligations because of which my mom-in-law had to shift to her elder son’s house. My husband got a great opportunity to work in Pune. He shifted base to Pune and suddenly the responsibility of handling my job and two small kids felt very huge.
We tried to manage for 6 months but then I realised that at this stage I didn’t want a long-distance marriage. He was tired of travelling to and fro every weekend and kids were becoming very cranky and difficult to handle.
After a lot of deliberations, I decided to take a 1-year leave and move to Pune to see how things work out. To cut the long story short things did work out there and I left the government job.
People called me foolish to have taken such a decision… Others said this was a wise decision. The jury is still out on that.
But looking back all I think is things did work out for good in the end.
One phone call.
One mistaken identity.
A chat with an unknown person, whom I mistook for a friend of mine, costed me my time and emotions.
I received a call from an unknown contact. For the first time, I disconnected as a wrong number. But, the caller called again. When he asked me to guess, I assumed to be one of my friends as he posed as my known one. Later, when I realised my mistake, I stopped taking his calls. After a few weeks, I started receiving the calls again. He said that if I didn’t pick his calls, he would take the formal route by calling up my parents and seeking their permission, as he wanted to marry me.
Marriage! What me! No, way! I wanted to have a career first after finishing my course. Marriage for me was too early. I got tensed and used to get up very early in the mornings because of anxiety. The guy wasn’t known to me, but he knew a lot about me. How strange was that! He had unusual phone numbers, some ending with 888 and sometimes only 4-digit numbers. Yes, it was very strange.
One day I was too annoyed that I blasted at him for giving me a hard time and I was almost crying. He sensed and disconnected. Relief at last! I though. But I was wrong. He called again, saying that he tried not to call me, but he couldn’t stop himself and needs time. 10 days he asked. He said that on the 11th day, I wont get any call from him. Those days went with friendly conversations and I started actually liking him and our talks continued beyond 10 days. Though his name, his location, his family remained a mystery.
“Does that guy really exist?” “Are you normal?” Such questions were asked from my close friends whom I had confided. I wished to meet him. After a long time, he finally agreed and we met twice only, that too between long intervals. ‘Intervals’ here was a kind of hibernation. He used to just vanish, with no calls or messages and after a few months would return to his ‘calling’ self, as if coming out of hibernation. This was really infuriating as all his numbers would come out of reach. Mysteries around him increased and I started getting the pressure of marriage from my parents. ‘Either you tell, or we shall look after one’, used to be their favourite line. I confided in my brother, who talked to him. And the trouble began. He called me, shouting at the top of his voice. He was angry on me that my brother called him up. He said he would call me himself and no need to try calling on his numbers ever again. I tried my best, but couldn’t take him out of my mind. I trusted him. I trusted his words, but probably his name was also not real. At that time, there was no social media, yet I searched him all over the internet, trying to search with his phone number, his names. But I ended up in wasting my time.
All due to my blind trust on him.
Another lesson of life learnt.
As much as we want to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt that – when we make a decision and trust ourselves to execute it, how many of us, can truly say – it has worked out?
…and yet we go about making so many decisions along our day – most of which are done at the spur of the moment, do we have the conviction to trust even the “smallest” decision made?
If trusting our decisions is the physical execution of a particular task, then self confidence is the driving force behind it.
Some of the very normal and everyday decisions we make are:
~ when do we cross the road in a country that do not possess traffic lights? #India
~ how much do we spend filling petrol in our vehicles – now that it’s touched INR 100 a litre?
~ Do we use public transport over private vehicles when it comes to safety v/s money?
~ Do we continue wearing masks & take precautions or go through life with gay abandon forcing ourselves to the “normal life” in comparison to that of the “new normal”?
These may be some of the more simple decisions in life, but that said – again, we still need to trust these decisions we make – however small or big it may be.
While all of us make decisions: some forcefully and some not – I personally gift myself with life altering decisions that make me put myself in situations that are new, the unknown but surely in places that I’d be better off than what the present situation finds me in.
Not even the closest member of my family would be able to decipher/understand my next move, my next decision – and ask me why? I’d have no answer, for I never thought it have ever been important enough to explain my decisions to anyone else.
I trust the decisions I make – and obviously there would be made only to help me be a better version of myself. <others may disagree but well….>
That said all my decisions haven’t always reaped benefits, BUT if there’s one thing that trusting my own decisions has done is: even if things went wrong, I am/was solely responsible for it and no one else had a hand in it. Success was ALL MINE so are/were the failures.
Listening to people have got me nowhere, other than confuse me more and to find myself back at square one.
To think of one such instance of trusting my own decision: was to decide to work out-of-state – a new place, a new line of work, strange people and a language I had no clue to speak. However, new things always excited me – and working out of state was never a new thing, many people had done it before me, so I was just one more. However, when it came to support from back home: it didn’t come in abundance besides my dad (who is always game for a new adventure – an advocate of the phrase: “you only learn when you put yourself out there“)
I got into the teaching line with little to no experience in the field initially, only for a crash course in the ‘do’s and the ‘don’t’s and a skill of the language that I possessed. I trusted my decision to go ahead not so much on the experience front, but on the skill front and of course, the fact that I knew I would do well because I backed myself with a whole lot of conviction and the trust in my abilities – backed with confidence like that, its rare that things would go wrong.
The road wasn’t the smoothest but if ever I made a good decision in my life, that was surely one of them.
They’ve been other decisions too – some taken in the past, others in the ongoing present and a lot more to come in the future. My life has been a whole set of decisions that I set out to do, make, break, achieve & power ahead – I am bound to make a lot of people unhappy on the way; but then again the journey isn’t theirs, it has, is and will always be mine, if we happen to cross paths and a wonderful relationship comes out of it, be it professionally or personally (nothing like it). This has always been me – Plain, Blunt and TO THE POINT.
Making the right decision is one thing, trusting that decision and marching forward – no matter the judgements is a whole new level of awesomeness, that one needs to experience. I continue to feed myself with these experiences, maybe you could give it a try out yourself too.
I’d like to end with a piece of advice to all fellow readers:
If you think you aren’t qualified to make a good choice then you’re going to be afraid to make any choice.
May the Power be YOURS.
Well, my intuition is one of my best friends. It guides me when I need it the most. It makes me feel secure and safe in this wild world. It makes me do the right things at the right times.
What is Intuition?
It is that tiny little voice that says – “Just do it. Everything is gonna be alright.” It is your own sixth sense that tells you if your decision will take you where you want to go or not. It is that gut feeling or the vibes that one feels when something is not right. Even without enough analysis of something, you sometimes just know that you should do something or not do something.
Is the intuition always right?
No. It has failed me many times so that I could only learn better from my experience. Sometimes I failed multiple times but that’s just life. Isn’t it? Intuition is not always meant to be right. If it were, then all of us would be Gods.
When do I use my intuitions the most?
In trusting people. About 6 years back, after a few unfortunate incidents of betrayal at the hands of my “so-called” friends I made a decision. That decision was to get away from any friendship (or relationship) that seems fake. If I cannot make any meaningful conversations with a particular person, then there is no point in being in touch with that person just for gossiping about rest of the world.
Since that point in time, I have used my intuition the most in choosing my friends. And I must say that I have been really successful. I chose the right people who brought out the best in me whether it was the group of my apartment buddies, or my office lunch group, or my Candles family, or my child’s school friend’s moms etc. I am so glad that I haven’t faced any sort of a discomfort from any of my friends since I started to use my intuition to choose my friends and to decide how much to open up in front of whom.
I recall one such incident where I really trusted my intuition and took a decision. And I really got what I wanted. In the year 2013, I suffered a miscarriage and at that point of life I was so upset about not being able to conceive. We had seen doctors, got a lot of tests done and even taken a few treatments. It was not working out. We changed doctor after doctor because I had a strong feeling that I am not finding a good doctor. Little did I know then that infertility clinics is such a huge industry and it is very difficult to find an effective solution. I was looking for a doctor that I could connect with, a doctor who listened to me and my concerns about my body.
Eventually I found a doctor, recommended by a friend. And as soon as I met this doc, I knew that she was the one. She didn’t talk too much, she listened, she empathized and she didn’t talk medical jargon. She just looked at the reports and said – “Everything’s normal. Let us not worry too much. We will just take the right steps and see how it works.” The calm way in which she spoke I just knew that I could trust her. My intuition told me that this will work. And it did. Finally we were blessed with our boy in 2015 and life was good again.
How to sharpen your intuition
This is something that I am not an expert in (I am still learning). But I know for sure that to sharpen your intuition, you need to do the following
- Keep your thoughts organized. Don’t let your mind clutter with all the negativity. Negative self-talk is the killer for a strong intuition.
- Meditate and focus on the process of life. When I say process of life, I mean focus on something that proves that you are living. Like your breath, or the movement of your abdomen when you are breathing, or just focus on one of your fingers etc. There are a million ways to meditate effectively. Use what works for you.
- Do not take decisions when you are angry or upset. Your intuition is simply shut off when you are in a negative state of mind.
- If you are in doubt whether you are taking a right decision or not, take time. Time to breathe and slow down your thoughts or time to just sleep over it.
Your intuition will always make you trust your decisions and stick to them. Use it wisely!