EVERYDAY COMMONS, INSPIRE

The Mr. Nobody who picks up rags from garbage heaps,

Exudes inspiration.

I watched him from my window

One day.

He walks with that big sack on his bent back with an eye of precision for exactly the type of stuff that can go into his backpack. He rummages through the scum and dirt and goes on adding to the weight on his shoulder, barely caring for the scorching sun or the lashing rain or the chilling breeze or the barking dogs that hound him. At times, the sack doesn’t get filled up in a day. He picks up from where he left the day before and rushes to his masters to deposit a sack full of rubbish in exchange for a pittance. He works hard for survival – mere survival – with no hope for dignity, recognition or affluence! He doesn’t have the kindest of words to utter or the warmest of smiles to share. Exchange of expletives and disdain, hunger and pain, a seeming lack of purpose and often a world of crime mark his world. Choice – he hasn’t much of it. He still goes on!

The widow who lost her darling at the prime of youth

Exudes inspiration.

I watched her pass by my house

One day.

With tears gone dry and emotions stifled in the heart, she went about spreading smiles and cheer to the tiny kids she taught at school. The decades of toil seasoned with sympathies, pities and taunts have brought her to a stage where her hair has turned grey and there is gloomy loneliness around. There is pain in the joints and vision fades before her. She doesn’t know how to transfer money digitally or place a video call to her grandson. No, she doesn’t wait for life to be over some day. She makes the most of it. The tasty sweetmeats of her frail hands have made a local start-up rise up to fame. She lives and teaches others to live!

The mango tree in the garden bearing fruit once a year

Exudes inspiration.

I watched my neighbour engage labourers to pluck the fruits

One day.

It doesn’t bear fruit all the year round. It only gives a season of joy. The tree stands tall covered with leafy branches overall without giving away signs of its potency. When its time comes, it showers joy from its laden boughs. The year round growth shows forth in just one season. It feels no need to provide assurance each month of a fruitful season ahead. It silently stands with its lofty head held high knowing well that all questions and apprehensions would be laid to rest once its fruits show up in the branches. It speaks silently!

WHO I AM – WHY I AM ADMIRED?

One of the absolutes of human life is, each human being is intrinsically designed and holds a definite purpose. This definite purpose designs their life patterns. It also becomes the compass of their ethical and moral belief system. Probably that’s instigated, the American Author, Educator, & Activist Parker Palmer to pen,

“Before I can tell my life WHAT I WANT to do with it,

I must listen to my life telling me WHO I AM”

Recently I was asked by one of my board members to help him with technical assistance in a 2days seminar. I was able to help him on the first day but on the second day I had to go on my family vacation, so much prior to the session, I compiled all the information, made the presentation in a couple of formats, and handed him in a thumb drive. But alas, due to some technical glitch he was unable to make the presentation. The next day when we met, he said, “yesterday, if Avinash would be that Avinash whom I admire, I won’t have failed.” Going further he appreciated one of my leadership traits which inspired me to reason his words rather than complaining him of dicing the blame-game. He said, “to succeed in your work, you always come with a three-fold strategy. If one strategy falls apart, there are two more strategies to succeed. That’s why I admire you. He was right! That’s what I ignored, I didn’t use my other two options and as a result, he failed to resolve the technical glitch.

To understand “Being WHO I AM” and “WHY I AM ADMIRED”, I had an imaginative visit to a Potter’s workshop. I found too many pots there, each of them was of different designs, different shapes, different prices. I enquired about the difference and all that the Potter pointed me was “each clay pots are designed for a particular purpose. It is for that purpose people admire them, for that purpose I designed them differently, for that purpose they are of different shapes, and for that purpose they are priced differently.

The Bible says,

“You are like the clay in the potter’s hands, and I am the potter.”  – this is the message of the Lord.

COMING OUT OF THE DRIED BONES EXPERIENCE

I was called a self-obsessed person last year in 2020 when the Covid19 virus literally took the whole world under its control. The reason behind the person calling me self-obsessed was because I firmly held onto my own welfare in regards to my health condition. I had both genuine as well as self-obsessive reasons behind my behaviour otherwise as far as my knowledge is concerned, I am a very joyful and out of my own shell person who doesn’t like to dwell in self-obsession or self-pity. And I was at peace knowing that taking care of my own health and worrying about my own affairs momentarily while I am struggling healthwise is not self-obsession though I keep introspecting about it in my mind all the time.

When I was a kid, I struggled to live my life joyfully though I have a cheerful personality. I definitely, led a life with self-pity but once I tasted the sweetness of my God’s grace and realised how much He controls my life and the lives of everyone else in this world, I took a U-turn. And I started living a joyful life since then, doing justice to my original cheerful personality. But I would acknowledge that for the last three years since I had suffered Dengue in 2017 I have been struggling in life trying to tackle many things. Though I kissed failure in all attempts to get rid of my struggles. I became self-centred a bit but never suffered from the disease of self-pity.

A week ago, while trying to focus on God more when the whole world started falling prey to Corona virus once again, I came across a passage that made me think within once more.

Let me quote the passage:

No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests. It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges— always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied. And there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives.

Oswald Chambers

Self-pity not only creates self-doubt within us, but it creates doubt about the existence of God and His might. I realised self-pity is not just a feeling which makes me feel pity for myself all the time, but it makes me behave and work in a certain way as well. Self-pity not only makes me talk about myself explaining my pain and problems to others but it also dries up all my God-given desires and talents which I should be using them for His purpose and for the benefit of this world at a large. We were created by God in a certain way to lead our lives using the talents in every situation – bad or good. Are we doing it? If not, we are attacked by the virus called Self-Pity.

I realised I may not be feeling and talking about myself and my problems and thinking that I am not suffering from self-pity but I am not using my talents but feeling low almost all the time. And that day, I called up many of my friends and relatives to know about them because I know I am good at encouraging and motivating people. I decided I will do everything to use my talent instead of feeling low all the time.

I know, my comforting words have always become a source of inspiration for many in the past. Many have been motivated and encouraged when I had prayed for them but recently, I have been feeling low and not trying to reach out to people. I decided to change my way of life and start doing what I do the best.

Trust me, friends, self-pity is such a virus that kills us from within and dries our bones as the Bible rightly says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Let’s stay away from this deadly dried bones experience.

Stay Blessed!

MILES AND MORE

Surrounded by melancholy as I sat under the rock of my insecurities I was stuck hard by the lightening of chaos. And I was forced…

As I was forced to leave behind my shattered self and trend a new direction my hands held together the broken pieces of a painful heart and haunting memories.

As I commenced my stroll with moist eyes and parched lips, with every mile I left behind the pain in my heart turned into bodily exhaustion yet prevailed a sense of solace.

As I continued my stride forward the strings of expectations entangled with my flimsy fingers broke apart getting my shoulders ready for new hopes and responsibilities.

As I picked up pace the heat that earlier filtered through my skin burning my very soul now seemed to have transformed into rays envisaging a path of possibilities.

As I fought my way through barriers I faltered and devoured by the depths unknown, an attempt to put a halt to the fall lifted my gaze opening up for me the skies.

As I crossed miles and more the soaring distances that rested behind me relieved me of my ambiguity, as my body could no longer feel the prick of thrones nurtured around me I am in a state of tranquility.

As I walked and walked and walked looking at a new horizon in offing I paused to pay homage to my journey so far and wondering what could have led to this agility which wasn’t me.

A realisation dawned upon me, I ran out of choices. Fear of losing has already battered me to death that my existence has already been charred to ashes. Had I not walked away I would have been trampled upon in the name of normalcy & formalities.

Its my fear of losing myself that instigated to retaliate with resilience, make a move, cover miles and more for I am Phoenix and not Icarus.

HAVE I EVER INSPIRED ANYBODY?

I once affirmed to myself that I wanted to be a possibility of Inspiration. What did I mean when I affirmed so? I meant that I want people to be their best when they are with me in whatever relationship I have with them. This was quite a huge aspiration. But this aspiration continues to drive me every single day. 

So did I succeed? That is really difficult to judge because I cannot really say that somebody in my life is becoming a better person because of me. That would be just unfair to everybody to take away the credit of somebody else’s evolution journey. I can know this only when people come and tell me that something that I did helped them in their own journey to be the better version of themselves. 

Inspiring my readers

I have received a lot of feedback from my readers’ time and again about my articles helped them in their particular situations. Even if any article that I have written makes somebody change their mindset from negative to positive – I consider it a huge success. 

Recently, one of my ex-colleagues called me after reading one of my articles. I spoke to her after really a long time and she mentioned how the lockdown was wearing her out and reading this just changed the her perspective. And now she was willing to explore this dimension a lot more along with me. The article was about something that I learnt while reading an amazing book. The article was this one.

Even this particular article that I got quite a few texts and calls on was this one.

There have been many such instances where people called me or texted me specially to let me know that my article made a difference to them.

Inspiring my students

I was a teacher for a very short span of time. I took up some volunteering work when I was working with GE Healthcare. As part of this work, a group of volunteers taught basic computers and spoken English to 11th and 12th standard underprivileged kids. These kids were studying in Kannada medium government schools and most of them could not communicate basic English and teaching them computers was mainly a language issue. 

I took up the challenge of teaching them English communication and stumbled upon one big obstacle. These kids didn’t know English and I didn’t know Kannada. So, there was absolutely no medium for us to communicate at all. Still I took up the challenge believing that this would probably be my path to learn Kannada as well. So I struck a deal with them – they teach me Kannada and I would teach them English. Initially, it was quite a challenge mainly because I am not at all a quick learner of languages. But we figured out ways to communicate with each other. 

We discovered and played different mixed language games. We learnt together in this journey and I really grew close to this class of not more than 10 students. So close that they started sharing the stories of their teenage crushes with me. 

One of the girl’s parents decided to get her married to a guy 10 years older to her when she just turned 18. I was furious because this girl was really smart and was quite determined to take up an Accountant’s job.

We volunteers met her parents and surprisingly after a few meetings with them – we convinced them to wait for at least 2 more years and give her a chance to pursue a job. This girl and her friends were in tears of gratitude when her marriage was called off. 

This whole episode turned out to be great inspiration for many other volunteers. This wasn’t just my job, we were a team of 4 volunteers that was working determinedly for the future of those kids. And I believe this was probably the biggest difference I have made at the community level. 

Inspiring the people I work with

When I was interviewed for an entry into the current organization that I work with – I was asked a very deep question by one of the very senior members of the panel. He asked me “Apart from your technical skills, what value can you bring to our team?” And I replied “I will make sure that my colleagues work at the best of their ability”. I replied so because I was coming from a team that was highly toxic and was a reason for me to move on. Later on this senior member became a good buddy and he told me that this particular answer made them sure of their decision to hire me. 

It is extremely important to have a calm atmosphere at work. As a junior developer, I have worked in toxic environment for a few years and I realize how crushing that workload is. I decided when I grow up to be in senior position, I will do my best to keep toxicity out. 

The person who tends to respond to a situation instead of react to it – makes the best out of the situation no matter how negative it is. I have seniors who inspire me in this act of responding wisely always. When my team performs at their best and are full of appreciation for each other and me – I know that responding to the situation wisely works always. 

Inspiring my family

There is a lot that I want to write in this regard. I have seen my family members transform from very negative to very positive when I have been practicing responding to them instead of reacting. 

I know my behavior has inspired them to change their mindset. Unfortunately, I cannot allow myself to write more on this area without giving out the details of their lives. So, I will keep at it. 

Possibility of being an inspiration

As a child if somebody would have asked – how can you become an inspiration for people? I probably would have replied that I need to be somebody like Indira Gandhi or APJ Abdul Kalam, maybe I will have to do some great acts and have my biography published or maybe I will have to write many books. 

But now I realize, that all of us inspire each other in many different ways. It is a continuous transaction that happens in our lives with every other soul. A simple act of kindness or compassion can trigger a wave of inspiration in somebody. I get inspired by many and I do inspire many. We just need to notice these little things in life. 

One need not be a VIP to be an inspiration. A mere common person of this world is capable of inspiring by the little acts of humanity.