WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE – A SLOTHFUL SINNER OR A DILIGENT WINNER?

sloth

No matter how cute a Sloth may look, being one is not good. In fact, the Bible describes it as one of the deadly sins. What’s wrong in being a sloth, you may ask. To that, I will say, there is no right or wrong, just the consequences. If you choose to be a sloth, you will shape your life likewise.

Sloths are arboreal mammals noted for slowness of movement and for spending most of their lives hanging upside down in the trees of the tropical rainforests of South America and Central America. They personify the laziness. Thus, a person who is lazy and reluctant to work is called as a sloth. There is an age-old idiom “As you sow, so shall you reap.” How true is that! If you act lazy, do not put in efforts, wash your hands off the responsibilities then your life is going to be dull, non-progressive and boring. Success will be miles away from you.

On the other hand, if you are diligent you can go places. Observe any successful personality. The virtue that will stand out is diligence. Again, I would like to remind you of an old age idiom “Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently.” The hard work and perseverance of these people are what differentiates them from sloths. Their willingness to consistently pursue the hard-work and effort is what makes them a winner.

Having said this, let’s talk about the practical aspect of practicing this. I will be lying if I say I am totally diligent. I am not! And I can guarantee that even you are not! We all tend to be sloths, don’t we? Let me share my personal experience. I am a new mother and a full time working professional. I survive on a 4 hours sleep a day through the week, I travel 40 km every day and I pour in endless enthusiasm to entertain my son after coming back from work only because I want to make up to the time lost working in the office. Apart from this, I cook, I clean, I do social gatherings. We all do that, don’t we? And you will agree that the only thing that gets us through is diligence. We are able to do it only because with do it with a lot of vigor, we put in immeasurable efforts, we pay attention to every minute detail and we have tremendous ability to adapt to the changing demands. And this pays us big time, doesn’t it? The big fat pay cheque at the end of the month, being a hero in the eyes of our children, and being a very stable and strong support to the family is what we get in return. Just imagine how life would be without these tokens of love, trust and (materialistic as well as non-materialistic). appreciation. However, in my case, all this holds true from Monday to Friday. Come Saturday, I will usually be a total Sloth. I wake up late. I some times don’t cook, I laze around the house, I procrastinate many household chores. Yes, I do that. And it is natural, isn’t it? After all, I am a human, I get tired, my body needs rest. An this will be true with more or less everyone.

So you see, the same individual is a sloth as well as diligent. The challenge is to where to draw the line. It is very easy to get used to a lazy lifestyle, but it is very challenging to step out of the comfort zone and discipline yourself. Being sloth is alright, but only to the extent of being one just to rest and rejuvenate. We all need that change, but mind you it must be a temporary change and not the lifestyle change. We must bounce back.

I echo Benjamin Franklin’s words: “Diligence overcomes difficulties, sloths make them.”

So, what do you want to be, A slothful sinner or a diligent winner? The choice is yours!

IS IT EASY TO REFRAIN FROM WRATH AND FORGIVE?

The expression “Virtue + Vice” is deeply pertinent in human life and the Bible profoundly affirms this truth – “No human is perfect, not even one. Each of us in some way or other is fallen by nature and by works as well”. Our contrary characters have always been the factor of the disintegration of our emotions which causes wrath and emotional vacuum in our relationships. At such peak of emotional brokenness, often it is suggested by godly counsellors to ‘FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER’. Is it that easy to forgive someone?

I know Mom and Dad don’t like her now but I’m pretty sure her love and care for them can convince them in the future. What can be more valuable than having a companion like her? In her, I see my future, she is the perfect lady with whom I can fulfill all my dreams, it is with her I can face any struggle. It’s not just a day’s happening; we are in a relationship since so many years. But… how come it is so easy for her to turn me down, were those promises I believed in,  fake? Till yesterday evening she was there for me but what happened this morning? Is a relationship just confined to physical satisfaction, financial stability and fame?

Is it easy to refrain from wrath and forgive?

With endless promises, sacrifices and in the presence of witnesses in the holy sanctuary we tied the nuptial knot but how come only within a couple of years life has become hell? What happened to those promises and commitments? Is it the same guy in whom I built my trust and dreamt to fulfill my dreams? God has forgotten me, how can I tell Papa about the home violence, the marital rape, my character assassination, the cuts and cigar burns on my body, so on and so forth?

Is it easy to refrain from wrath and forgive?

He is the most sincere, truthful and hardworking guy I have ever met in my life. I think, he is the right guy to be given the power of attorney in my absence. Alas… after a month when he returns from the foreign trip, his company is sold and he is under bankruptcy!

Is it easy to refrain from wrath and forgive?

My dream is to make him what I could not accomplish in life. What more I want rather than his happy life. I trust he will hold my shivering hand; she will be my daughter, not daughter-in-law. Oh, how joyous it will be to be called as Grandpa and to hold those tiny little fingers and walk in the dusk light. Well, some dreams won’t be fulfilled, this old age home probably being the last roof!

Is it easy to refrain from wrath and forgive?

Well, the world is not only filled with evil hearts, internal scheming, and abhorrence. The world exists because of the God-fearing hearts, love for one another and forgiveness against wrath. Moreover, by the grace of God.

Thomas a Kempis says,

“Know all and you will pardon all”.

After 10yrs of married life and becoming the father of a girl, the husband always felt insecure and jealous of his wife’s beauty and influence. In his mind, he always thought people give him importance because of his wife’s credibility. As days went by his insecurity and jealousy became giant and finally erupted to crime one evening. Though it was just a fight for extra sugar in the tea but it ended him in jail and her in the hospital and made the daughter a one-parent child. Erupt with anger he threw acid and disfigured her face. After 15yrs to the incident, when the man was on his death bed in the prison, he wrote a letter to her asking forgiveness and making his last wish to spend the rest of his life with her. Out of love, she forgave him but it was difficult for the grown-up daughter to forgive and accept him as her dad. But greater is the power of love that helps to forgive one another. 😊 The final goal of forgiveness is to restore the broken relationship and gives way to renew the lifestyle.

Another remarkable story is the ghastly attack of 23rd January 1999 in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha state. Some religious fundamentalists burnt alive the Christian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons Phillip (aged 10) and Timothy (aged 6). The court of law convicted the alleged killers for their brutality. But the statement of Gladys Staines (w/o: Graham Staines) is exemplary for the entire human race irrespective of caste, creed and religious boundaries. She in her affidavit before the Commission on the death of her husband and two sons stated, “The Lord God is always with me to guide me and help me to try to accomplish the work of Graham, but I sometimes wonder why Graham was killed and also what made his assassins behave in such a brutal manner on the night of 22nd/23rd January 1999. It is far from my mind to punish the persons who were responsible for the death of my husband Graham and my two children. But it is my desire and hope that they would repent and would be reformed”. It is our forgiveness which gives an opportunity to the other person to correct himself and walk in righteousness which is never possible by taking the path of wrath.

The Bible says, “Forgive one another, as the Lord God forgives your sins. And as we forgive others and leave the wrath unto God, God takes the vengeance and establishes justice for us which can never be hidden to human eyes.”

Yet, the choice is in your hands “to forgive or take the path of wrath”.

OPEN UP ABOUT YOUR INDULGENCES

One day while loitering down the aisle of the super market and picking up requisite things for school picnic I brought a pack of biscuits for myself for tea time. I went home and opened the pack to taste few and was bowled over by the taste and rest is history! I can’t restrain myself from packing up my tummy with more and more of them, just as meals and in fact before, after and in between the meals.  My tongue took control of my heart and in turn, my hand that used to open the shelves every half an hour (a little exaggeration 😉). A pack of 40+ biscuits lasted barely for three days. And one more pack was already ordered for next week and it lasted nothing longer than the previous one.  The pace with which wrappers were going to the dust bin sent alarm bells for me.  It’s time to put a check on my intake as health was at stake (read extra pounds), it’s time to put an act of Temperance vs my act of Gluttony.

What are Temperance and Gluttony?  I will break it down to the simplest words to understand.

  • Temperance – putting / showing restraint, holding self back, to show control.
  • Gluttony – addiction/overindulgence used “usually” in reference to food and alcohol.

I have no shame to admit that I was moving in the direction of being a glutton.  I might be miles away from those who are socio-officially branded as “alcoholics“, “gluttons” but I did move a few inches, that matters and needs to ponder over. Had I not used the weighing scale, had I not examined the wrapper out of guilt I would not have been able to turn myself away from the biscuit section of that supermarket 😁.   I am the fortunate one whose sense prevails/revokes after hibernation before it’s too late.  But I know (from really close quarters) many who are head over heels in the act of gluttony because of their indulgence and addiction to food and alcohol.  So powerful is their urge to savor food or alcohol that it becomes the prime motto of their lives.  They live literally to eat and drink.  Family and responsibilities either take a back burner or the flame is completely put off. They beg, they borrow and they don’t hesitate to steal as well (especially alcoholics, drug addicts).  In short, their indulgences could easily make them indulge in SIN too.

But the question is, does Gluttony be used in relation to food and alcohol alone?  There’s nothing else we are heavily addicted to or indulge with? The answer is an absolute NO.  For example, the moment we get up in the morning we check updates on our social media accounts and it continues till the time we go to the bed again. Checking up phones every five minutes is like checking an empty fridge knowing there’s nothing yet hoping to find something exciting  😁.  This is an addiction! Nymphomaniac is overly addicted to sex. Many are overwhelmingly addicted to lead a luxurious life even if it means putting up a false prestige image with a corrosive base.  I have read about silly cases where one family member beats or even murders the other family member just because he/she didn’t get the TV remote to watch their favourite show.  It is silly for us but it’s all about serious addiction to Television.  Then there are people who have a penchant for using abusive language as their expression, they simply have no control over their tongue, this is also a kind of addiction. When they hurt/ offend people with their foul language they one excuse to chanter “I didn’t mean it, you know my heart na”.   And I can literally go on and on tipping you with more and more examples on Gluttony which of course doesn’t strictly adhere to the definition that is provided by a dictionary but fits the bill of Indulgences perfectly.

Overindulgence with or of anything reduces the analysing power of the brain.  The judgment to choose between right and wrong paths diminishes or completely gets extinct. petty example: a girl is a head over heels with the idea of being loved which is of course influenced by celluloid Romance instantly falls for the online proposal of an unknown and the result is not as beautiful as she fancied or might be ugly too.  Her hunger for fairy tales romance has ditched her with her ability to fine judge.  A drug addict won’t even budge to kill someone just to get money to buy him stuff for that day.  Every addiction, every indulgence results in the same.  We lose our senses and sensibilities.  We end up in a state of an emotional coma which involves nothing but “Me, My, Myself” and is probably the mother of all crimes. In short Gluttony Is a Sin, Period.  And this is not something that I have announced but it’s a vice, a branded sin as per every holy scripture that I  know.

What’s the solution to this corrosion? Corrosion because it eats you away slowly.  If alcohol & drugs finish you off physically other addictions doles out humanity, intellect, and wisdom from you.  And these vices have a butterfly effect on others lives too, it isn’t rocket science that needs an explanation as to “How”.  Exercising Temperance is the only solution with a very hard way to follow.  In fact, there is an inverse relationship between Temperance and Gluttony (that’s why they are antonyms).  You lack restraint you end up being an addict and vice versa.  But what should one do to bring back lives to normalcy when the person himself/herself is not able to show some self-control?  Role of Family and Friends comes to play here.  Firstly accept the problem at hand because acceptance is the key! Next comes the path to travel to the destination.

  • Discussing the issue – communication helps; 
  • Showing perseverance, persistence – holding the ground strong – a NO is a NO (in case of drug addicts and alcoholics).
  • Taking professional external help (consultations, treatments).
  • Some quality family time can work wonders.

These are the minimalistic points that I have mentioned. I am sure there’s more to it. I was waiting for your experiences and insights into this issue. Together we can find solutions to many problems we face in our lives collectively or individually. Opening up is what it takes.

REMOVE THE ENVY BLOCKS

Lucius Annaeus Seneca has said- “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness. In this, I would like to add a line, where there is a human, there is a chance of envy as well. Why? Because we can’t have everything. And this is when the feeling of envy raises its head.

If I talk about my experience, I am not untouched by Envy. I remember, when I was a kid, I used to be envious of my cousins. This used to happen when they (my cousins) received appreciation for the drawings they made. I would then give my best to compete with them. They too felt envious of me whenever results were out. However, this didn’t harm anyone of us.

Some of you might say, envy is not harmful. But the story is different. It is very harmful. Let us see how:

In my neighborhood, there is a man who is always envious of every other person. He can’t stay calm on the fact that a person is climbing the ladder of success. The man always looks for ways to drag down other people.

So, one day a lady went to him for seeking some financial help. The man assured her and did the needful. After a few months, the lady came to my house. To my astonishment, I came to know that man was forcing her to return the money with double interest. I felt sorry for the lady as she is financially weak. The lady tried to convince the man but the man was in no mood to pay heed. Later, we came to know the reason behind this was, the man was envious of the lady’s farmland and was eyeing the land for a long time.

People choose envy over kindness just to satisfy their ego and quench their longing for something they don’t have. Sometimes, we feel envious and think it is fine unless it is not causing harm to other people but it never stays there. It keeps growing as we grow if not checked at the right time.

When we feel envious, we get surrounded by negative vibes. In order to possess those qualities (for which we are envious of), we tend to make wrong choices. Instead of giving best and performing better, we try to harm the person we are envious of. And these wrong choices never make us a kind human.

One should understand, no one is perfect and we will lack in some or other things. For that, we don’t have to envious and drag people. Instead, we should work on our grey areas. 

Being envious won’t bring peace and internal happiness to us. Because the envious feeling itself is full of discontentment. When we are discontented within ourselves it is very difficult for us to show that compassion and kindness to anyone else. Kindness is an act when our mind, body, and soul are at a state of contentment and peace with each other. On the other hand,  envy blocks that free-flowing connection within our own self. And we fail to show that kindness to our family members, neighbours and the people we come across in life.

Therefore, be happy and let kindness occupy your heart.

Quote of the day

Being envious in any relationship brings forth negative results

MY AFFAIR WITH THE GREEN EYED MONSTER

envyHave you ever felt jealous? Have you ever had an affair with the green eyed monster? I have… Even though I keep telling myself that I am that calm and contented person who is happy for others, mostly I am, but at times the monster does rear its ugly head.

My husband keeps joking that Facebook and other photo-sharing sites of social media are full of photos that have been put for the sole purpose of making others jealous. How many times have you liked a picture and in your mind wondered how on earth does such and such person find time and finances to vacation so many times a year. I mean look at me posting pictures of the latest birthday party I attended in the adjacent building and my friends are in Bali or Macau or New Zealand or Australia…. 

Then there are the children. I guess I am surrounded by moms of overachieving kids. I mean look at their marks or their sports achievement or their extracurricular activities. Makes me wonder if my parenting techniques are in the right direction or not. Don’t get me wrong I love my children and they are fairly good in studies and sports. But then they are not winning medals in spelling bee contest and Olympiads and national level sports etc etc.

Someone is getting a promotion or an increment, I am genuinely happy for that person but somewhere in the corner of my mind you know my dear friend the greeny monster keeps asking me why I didn’t get it.

I know I am not painting a pretty picture of myself here but this is the way I was some time back. I would compare myself with others and then wonder what I had done wrong to get such a crappy life. 

But in due course of time I came to realise two things, firstly these envious feelings of mine were not helping my position at all rather I was just burning up inside and feeling bitter every day. To help my own cause I needed to think in exactly the opposite direction. 

Secondly remember nobody’s life is perfect. We will always feel that the grass is greener on the other side. In Urdu there is a famous couplet “Har kissi ko muqamal Jahan nahin milta, kissi ko Zameen kissi ko aasmaan nahin milta” which roughly translates as everyone does not get a perfect life. When I looked closely at other’s lives I realized that everyone had their own set of struggles. If the person is doing fabulous in the office then maybe he/she is facing a huge crisis back home or vice versa. We look at only one aspect of their life and feel jealous maybe that same person is looking at our life and feeling jealous. So basically I came to the conclusion that jealousy is a futile emotion. We should stay away from it as much as we can.

Seriously friends it works. I mean instead of wasting my time and thoughts on the things I don’t have. I have started looking for things that make me happy. Let it be a small achievement, I try to celebrate it. I don’t need to prove anything to the world. Even though I still have huge ambitions in life but now I have started enjoying the journey instead of just concentrating on the goal and the people ahead of me.

It’s not always a happy journey. Life does give us setbacks but we need to get up dust ourselves and try to move on. I recently read a book called the legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna. I just loved a quote from it…

“In English there is a saying ‘when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade’. But in India when life gives us lemons, we turn them into talismans threaded with chillies to protect us from the bumpy roads it takes us on.”

So find a way to cope with the setbacks either with the lemonade or the talismans but don’t look at your friend’s life with jealousy you really don’t know what struggle is going on in his or her life. 

I don’t know how much this will help me in the long run. But right now with this attitude I am happy and at peace. And hopefully I have had a breakup with the green eyed monster…