PACING FOR SPACE

as growing up
I was surprised
and taken back
when
dad asked me
to sleep separately
he said something
something called space
which
I am yet to understand

years passed
and
I had a baby brother
after nine long years
some more years
I entered teenage
mom and dad
were after me
poking into my privacy
checking on me
when I dressed up
overhearing me
when I called my friends
Oh ! is this called space
that I need badly

I became a maiden
and my brother
an adolescent teen
I understood space
by now
very professionally

I was married to someone
who I never met
love is in the air
and
so did I experience
I hated anyone
who invaded our space
we planned our first child
few years after we
cherished the marital bliss
fate had some plans
I gave birth
after a year
to enter
the world of
motherhood
at workplace and family
I forgot about the space
until one day
when I gazed myself
in the mirror

What a mess
have I made to myself
my hair was sticky
with few strands of silver
eyes swollen
with dark circles
and cracked lips
although
I was happy
that our family was complete
I was sad
to see me incomplete
with
dashes and comma

I checked
on my better half
he looked cherub
and happy
as a lark
juggling between
family and work
I lost my space
space where I enjoyed
being just me

love is strange
while it brings us close
it pushes us further away
balancing togetherness
and space
is not an easy task
but
it’s worth a try
the fairytale
does not end
with the words
happily ever after
the real life begins
where the tale ends

at some point
too much of anything
is stressful in life
like a lip-locked kiss
that has to come up for air
love and relationships
need space to grow

have the right space
that does not
stagnate your individuality
let there be some space
to keep the
excitement alive

sync for space
sink not too much with space
let there not be space
physically
breathe for the air
emotionally!

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ALLOWING SPACES – TALK ABOUT IT

Recently I was talking to one of my friends and she mentioned why she stopped going to a certain hair salon. They hired a new hair stylist who wouldn’t stop talking and would continue marketing their xyz brand of shampoo or conditioner or some new hair treatment. She said – I need my space when I go to pamper myself in salon. I don’t like to talk. It made me realize that the space is not just needed in the relationships but also with strangers.

In an attempt to contribute our bit to help the problem of Bangalore traffic, many of us opted for Car Pooling to and from work. It helps immensely in numerous ways. There is an app which helps organize the rides for the passengers and the riders. It is a win-win for all. But still I took about a year to come to a decision to actually use it. Why? Why did I want to go in over-crowded buses which take double the time to cover the same distance? Because I feared that I wouldn’t get my space if I share the rides. I would have to talk to people and it would look rude to just sleep or read or work. However, that wasn’t the case – I realized once I started using this option.

I convinced one of my colleagues to start sharing his car with others. He would travel 20 kms daily all alone in the car. What a waste of space! I would often tell him that. He gave in and started to use the car pool option. However, the next day he came back telling me that by the time he reached home – he had a bad headache and ended up fighting up with his wife. Why? Because there was a lady in his car who wouldn’t stop talking about all the over the world. She talked so much that he reached home with a headache and with no mood to listen to his wife. Well, it happens I said! And we had a good laugh at his expense. Again having enough space even with strangers is extremely important.

Once a year at our workplace the entire team goes to an out-station for a couple of days for some team-building and fun activities. This time we went to Pondicherry. It was an amazing trip. In fact, amazing is I think a less of a word. I noticed and it was obvious that people wanted to be comfortable with the people they shared their rooms with. It was just 2 nights but yes all of us need our space especially when we got this one chance to be away from home and responsibilities and be ourselves.

So, what is this concept of “Space”? It is not a physical area. It is virtual boundaries that we draw around ourselves. For some people these boundaries are too strict and for others these are quite flexible. For some of us these boundaries are very close to us only encompassing us and a little bit of other things and for others these boundaries are really vast that they wouldn’t want to share most of their personal stuff even with closest family members.

I have been on both sides of a conversation – one in which I am complaining “How much space do you really need?” and other in which I am complaining “I really need my space so please stay away”.

This might come as a surprise to most men. We women are usually perceived as nagging and irritating. It is usually believed that wives always want to keep a tab on their husbands and their activities. So obviously, it is also notion that wives suck away all time and energy from their men, so much that husbands have to lie to have some “me” time. But this notion is wrong. Women too need their space and “me” time. Maybe a little lesser than men but we need it or maybe even not.

My husband loves to travel alone and I used to get into arguments with him quite often. “Why can’t you take me also?” And he would say “next time, I promise”. And I would just nag away irritated and angry. Whenever I would complain about having a horrible time – he would suggest “Why don’t you go and travel?” and I would be like “With whom?” He would realize then that I do not like to travel alone. I would love to go out in a group or with him where I have somebody.

This is just one example of where we land into a conversation of having space.

I have a 3 year old son and as I can see he simply doesn’t have the concept of having his own space. Probably he is too young for that. He always wants somebody with him when he is sleeping or watching TV or playing or reading. I am eager to see at what age he develops this concept. And probably I would relieved also because then I would get my space as well with him.

Communicating about having our own boundaries or space is most challenging with our immediate family members. But all the happy families eventually learn to talk about it and appreciate each other’s need to be themselves in their own spaces. This journey isn’t easy. It just depends on how much trust and security is in relationships within the family. Every individual is unique in needing his/her space and also communicating about it. Always having a clear communication about the needs and respecting each other’s needs is all that is needed to allow the right amount of space in the relationships.

​DOG IS INDEED MAN’S BEST FRIEND

Those two innocent eyes, that wagging tail, all time pleasing attitude is what makes dog man’s best friend.

I was once watching a documentary that stated that dogs have an all-time pleasing attitude because this is their survival instinct. Hundreds of years ago, if dogs wouldn’t have tried to please humans and connected with human emotions so well, they would have been extinct by now. This quality of dogs, have made them survive over ages. This is good information to know and when I saw this documentary, it didn’t make a big difference to me, because till then there was no “Milo” in my life. Milo is my 6 years old female beagle and she is absolutely adorable. 

It was tough for me to agree to my husband and his brother’s decision of getting a pup at home. It would be just an additional responsibility, I thought initially. But as soon as that 35 day old pup entered my home, I fell in love with her. She was so tiny then, that all her 4 paws would rest on my palm. Her hanging ears, innocent eyes, wagging tail made me so much fall in love with her. She would struggle to walk on vitrified tiles because her paws, small as they were, would keep slipping. 

So, what did I really learn from my dog? A lot. She makes me peaceful and humble. She makes me feel so loved and wanted. She gives me a plethora of positive emotions. Of course, raising hasn’t been easy – it is equivalent of raising a child.

She taught me to love unconditionally. 

As a little pup, she used to run after kids and babies as though they would be ready to play with her. No matter how much I would scold her for pooping all over the house or running after the stray dogs, whenever I would come back from office she would welcome me every single evening with her wagging tail and her ever naughty acts. She connects with me and my emotions, she loves licking off my tears when I am in my worst moods and knows exactly how to raise my spirits. She brings in so much of happiness and fun in the house. 

I cannot understand why we human beings use the word “dog” as an abuse. I feel dogs are the most beautiful creatures. They know how to connect with human beings unlike any other animal. They love to please us. No matter how you treat them, they would love to do things to make you feel special. They are extremely playful which makes them so much fun. And the best part is that they are the most loyal of all animals. It is very strange but the very basic emotion of unconditional love that we human beings struggle to show is so very well exhibited by the dogs. And this is what I learn from Milo every single day. 

She taught me how to trust and be there for someone you love

Dogs are supposed to be guards for our homes. This fact is based on a single quality that dogs have – ability to trust their master completely. They amplify the emotion that dog’s owner feels. If a stranger like a plumber or carpenter enters the house, I am cautious of this stranger and just want to get the work done. Milo then keeps barking at this stranger and is far more cautious than me. She will keep running around the house till this person leaves our premises. If a loved one visits my place who I happily welcome inside, Milo showers that person with all the more love. She would sit around the guest and wag her tail indefinitely. No barking and no anger is visible in her behavior. 

When I was pregnant and I used to take Milo out for walks, I noticed that she started walking ahead of me. Sometime later I realized that she not letting anybody come closer to me – animal or human being. She was being protective. She somehow knew that I should be helped and she did it in her own special way. Though later on I had to control her protective behavior because it was getting dangerous but I totally got her concern for me.

SAY – ONE LINE ABOUT YOUR MOM

Today, on the occasion of International Mother’s Day, I asked few of my friends and family members to say one line about their respective Moms and I received quite a number of responses which I recorded as under:

The most disciplined and systematic women and she is a workaholic.

Can be a lioness when she wants to be, protective and fierce.

She’s the one who truly care…

She is an epitome of Love, Care and Selflessness. She is my Mother.

She’s the most patient, persevering and selfless woman I’ve ever seen and I hope I can be the same at her age even when life has given her so many hardships…

Mother: She maps her esse inside our bones and tissues, knowing and feeling everything even when she is not around.

She is a fighter.

A lady who strives to walk in the way of the Lord – treading the path with sacrificial simplicity, firmness of purpose and an extreme level of God-given power of endurance.

Mother is God personified.

My mother is a peace of heaven. She has spun her life around me. She revolves and rotates around me. I fall, she picks me up. I fail, she lifts me up. She’s my everything. I know that’s more than one line. But I can’t summon her up in a whole volume.

Hardworking and generous.

I spell my mother’s name as I-N-V-I-N-C-I-B-L-E .

Soft n tough… 😘

She is my love and my superhero, my strength and my weakness, my world.❣

She is my friend, my confidant and my go to person in all circumstances.

The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of the God is the heart of my mamma.

She’s the most sacrificing mom in the world.

My mother is a simple-hearted, hard-working lady, whose ability to stay calm and face adversities is amazing, and her quiet ways of expressing love understated. She inspires me to be humble, thankful to God and remain grounded.

Next to God🤗

Inspiration to many 😌

Hardworking.

I wish I could be as nice, hardworking and energetic like her.

My mom is someone who has helped me to fight with my problems alone and has made me to learn to lean on God for everything…

Innocent.

The backbone of my mind.

Whenever I pray, Its my mother who listens and grants my wishes!

One who unites the family and one who always puts someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of her own.

Hardworking and God fearing.

My mother is, the most loving, caring, crazy and weird best friend of my life. No one has ever got close to her.

Whatever i am today,its only because of the wonderful mother that God has blessed me with.😊 Even thousand lines wont be just enough to describe the worth of our mothers.

Whenever I count my Blessings, I count my Mummy twice.

Wow! I was overwhelmed with emotions after reading those lines about all different lovely Moms.  Some even tried to treat their Mom as their god though God is supreme and incomparable to any human. I can feel their emotions towards their mothers. They were all adorable.

But I had received few negative replies as well from those who didn’t have great experiences with their Moms. Some were treated bad by their moms. Some have never seen their moms. Some moms have left their children alone to suffer for their selfish motives. Some Moms have left their children forever in tears and grief. I understood their hearts and pain as well. I can understand it more as my wife’s Mom had also left her when she was just five years old. It is truly very painful. I remember one verse from the Bible in this regard which I would like to share for the encouragement of those who are troubled today:

And the Lord said:
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast

    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
As a mother comforts her child,
    so will I comfort you

What comforting words!

Mothers are the greatest blessings that we all children can enjoy but remember God assures us that He can gather us as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings when things are not going well with us.

Stay cozy with your Mothers and give them the best possible treatment today and everyday!

Stay Blessed!

Quote of the day

Twinkle twinkle little star, never leave a child with scar.

​HANDLING EMOTIONALLY DRAINING SITUATIONS

Just as I sit to write this article, there was a potential stimulus to cause an emotional tension within me. A colleague had posted an obscene video in my workplace WhatsApp group. I had seen the hazy image and realized that it had inappropriate content. So, I decided not to download / view it. With peace still reigning in my mind, I continued with my other daily chores. Meanwhile, other colleagues began viewing it and were enraged at the person who had posted such a video in what is meant to be an official forum. And, as you would expect there was fiery exchange of words in the group. The colleague who had posted the video, pleaded innocence saying that it got posted by mistake. Some colleagues left the group. And the saga is still continuing as I write this article.

My purpose of sharing the above incident is to give a peek into how even small actions or words can pose as strains or stressors in our lives and drain us. Imagine beginning a day with such a video! Now, I trace my steps back and put myself in the place where I first saw the video in the group. What would have happened had I not seen the hazy image and would have decided to view it? Firstly, I would have been emotionally disturbed (as I gather from the comments of others in the group that it was highly sexually explicit). Next, I would have harboured a very negative impression about the person who posted it. Ultimately, it would have disturbed my mental peace. It would have continued to linger in my mind for several days and so on the responses would have continued.

That’s about me. However, there would be people who would have enjoyed such a video. There are people who sure begin their day with such content and spend most of their leisure time viewing such content. For them it is not emotionally draining, rather it is emotionally pleasurable – a stress-reliever.

It is then very clear that what is emotionally draining for one, may not be so for others. To give examples – one person may love shopping, while for another it may be physically and emotionally draining. One person may feel cooking to be a good stress-buster, whereas for another it may be a strainer.

And yes, not only do work, sickness, death of a loved one, divorce, disappointment, failure and the like, emotionally drain a person, but also events like a wedding, celebrating a festival, visiting a friend, a kitty party can be equally draining.

Richard Lazarus, a psychologist who has done commendable work in the area of ‘stress and strain’ is of the opinion that there are two ways to cause emotional strain in a person – exposure to certain stimuli present in the environment and the response of the individual to it. Some of the common hassles that drain people emotionally all over the world are – issues of appearance (weight, height and looks), health of family members, rising price of common goods, too many things to do in a short time, tax payments, misplacing or losing things, children’s education, a non-responsive spouse, loss of employment, a dip in the business, a house full of guests, truant/rebellious children, personal disorganization, frequent job transfers, shifting houses frequently, etc.

How then do we handle such emotionally stressful and draining events?

We all have certain triggers in our lives that drain us to the core…so much so that, all we need later is to be left alone for a while. However, since the triggers are different for different people there cannot be a one-size-fits-all remedy. A few general measures that can be taken –

  1. Stay away from the company of people whom you have identified to be stressors in your life. But what do you do, if your spouse/your children fall into that category? Identify what triggers them. Talk them into handling those situations better and show them reason as to how they can make theirs and others lives better by managing those little triggers in their lives.
  2.  Avoid situations that drain you. But what if your workplace stains you? Quitting your job is not the solution (unless of course it is too intolerable). What if your workplace is your stress-buster and your home is where you feel drained out? Leaving home is never an option. Effective management of people and chores at home would lessen the pressure.
  3. Take care of your health. Your health is God’s gift to you. Choose to eat healthy foods, drink healthy fluids, sleep enough and exercise well. A healthy body ensures a healthy mind. Too much toxins in the body and lack of sleep generate irritation and frustration easily.
  4. Spend time alone in the lap of nature. Gazing at the starry sky, listening to the chirping of birds, watching butterflies flutter from flower to flower, lying down on a grassy lawn are wonderful stress busters. If there is absolutely no way in which you can escape to such places periodically, take to gardening. If you don’t have a patch of land, buy some potted plants and care for them daily. You’ll soon notice the difference.
  5. Be alone with God – Pray. The Bible says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you.” No matter what is the draining factor in your life, take it to God. It may be something big and impossible or it may be a petty matter, God can and will help you manage it better if you take it to Him.
  6. Don’t escape emotionally draining situations; find ways of handling them. Avoidance is never the answer. That’s because, how many times can you avoid such a situation? And what would you do each time it recurs? So, a better strategy is to find out ways to tackle such situations.

The above list is not exhaustive, but the space surely is. As we deal with emotionally draining situations, it is also wise to identify in what ways do our words or actions drain others. Intentionally or otherwise are we causing stress in others’ lives? Let’s be mindful and make the necessary amends.

EFFECTS OF BAD WORDS ON CHILDREN

Foul Languages and cursing have always been considered as bad whether you shout against injustice or you are among the hooligans.  When we were kids we used to hear many such profanities of people fighting with each other on the street.  And when a drunkard used to use those languages and shout walking on the roads we used to hide ourselves behind the parapet of the balcony and watch them with our eyes wide open. Sometimes we were driven out by our elders off the balcony to stop hearing or looking at them. And I remember when we used to enact those actions of such people using those foul words we used to get the beatings from our moms. But these languages have all the more bad and have an adverse effects on children when parents do that to their little ones. I will bring THREE very vital effects of the foul words on the young minds of children.

Learning Bad Behaviour

Children often imitate their parents and elder siblings who abuse them with bad or foul words. They just tend to learn those words and speak later whether they fully understand those words or not. Sometimes they use those words in the school and get punishment from the teachers. They get humiliated for behaving bad or using bad words all because of their parents.

Poor Stress & Anger Management

Abusing with bad words at the children can lead them to believe that using coarse words is an acceptable way of dealing with anger, frustration and stress. They take the examples of their parents and their actions get registered in their young subconscious minds. When they grow up they display or react in the similar manner. Recurrent cursing or verbal abuse could lead them to have trouble at school and difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships. As adults, they might have trouble asserting themselves in their career and intimate relationships.

Affects their Self-Esteem

When parents curse at their children, use abusive words that can be emotionally devastating for them. Children are emotionally vulnerable and depend on their parents’ reactions to form healthy self-esteem and a positive sense of self. When they curse at their child out of their own frustration and anger, they might internalize their parents’ hostility. They tend to feel worthless and unloved. Ultimately lowering their self-esteem.

I picked up few abusive words in my own native language that I had learnt when I was small. Sometimes, I use them when I pass comments on someone jokingly and not taken as an offense but I am sure some might have got hurt for that also without my knowledge.

There two Bible verses that attract me in this regard –

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

As parents, as elders what do you do when you are angry on your children? Do they feel pressed down by your words or feel the grace when they hear your words? Do you use foul words to scold them? Do you shout at others using abusive words in front of your children? Mind it, they pick those words and can hurl them at others or you sometime later.

Keep reading and keep learning…

Stay Blessed!