REST WITH ZEST

Rest with zest,
Keep yourself calm and cool,
Take a break from your schedule
Don’t behave old school.

Work will be completed
with all its glorious parts,
Help your mind with little zest,
And think about your heart.

Just chill and take rest and
give time to take life’s test.
When heart, body and mind
balance is done,
Soul shows its ecstatic shades.

– Lopamudra Pal

REST – simple word, but very complicated. It has many meanings with prefixes and suffixes. But REST means to keep time for yourself, maintain body and mind balance. ME time fixes the problem and rejuvenates you. It is the perfect time for resting the body and testing the mind for creating new ideas. We in our daily lives don’t take out time for ourselves and then starts the blame-game. Sometimes we indulge into the problems so badly that we don’t realise what we get and what we lose. We try to satisfy each and everyone, professionally and personally. But it’s not always possible. Still we try harder and harder to get it done. We get really tired of being perfect. Perfection and being perfect is good, but not always.

We as human beings, get frustrated and take wrong steps. At times, some of us go to the verge of breaking relationships too. But we don’t realise the main problem. We don’t look at the angle, that we actually need a break and want to take rest with zest. We need to get a break from everything we do starting from what we think, we plan, we cook, we read, we write… everything. ” Just being with self”, that should be the essence of being in rest.

The heart is a very small thing, but very precious. It understands all the feelings, situations, emotions, good, bad … everything. Resting the heart means rejuvenating it with more good and positive thoughts. The longevity increases. Now, everyone is overloaded with work and the pressure is burdened with bad impact on heart and mind. It affects family members and other relations as well. Keeping yourself cool for all situations is the only solution. It can be taken by taking a break for resting. Divide the works among family members and spread equality. Work is a never ending thread. It’s a continuous process. We need to take rest for making the future bonding strong enough to handle all the odds.

“Stop overthinking.
You cannot control or change everything.
Let things go with the flow.”

An understanding heart is always a tired one. It takes out positivity from negativity. It too gets tired. It too needs rest for a while. But actually we don’t take. We should go for the break for our heart, mind, body and soul. Close your eyes, think nothing. Leave the worries behind. Keep your mind cool with low volume soothing music. Take long breathe, exhale and inhale. Feel the power of the heart and the brain syncing together. Then the nerves of your brain will run in a supersonic way.

Taking a break in any way, is to get yourself in a Restart Mode. Sit in the balcony and look around nature with a deep breath. Feel serenity and calmness within. That’s the result of rest with zest!

A STORY OF DECEMBER

The snow has put autumn to sleep
luring people to the
shop of antiques
to greet the Christmas’s bliss
bidding adieu to
autumn departing in divine abyss
as if a pleasure to remember
that comes with each December
Gathers a choir of red Robin
sitting on the dusty hemlocks
singing a mystical winter song
While the flock of Bohemian
teases the pansies and willows
spread across the snow banks
for trespassing their winsome land
A gem of a nature
for some an unwanted stranger
A muse to the lost
amidst the snow frost
A shroud for the dead,
while a scenery for the painter ahead.

Saniya Firdaus

REST LIKE YOU MEAN IT

“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?

FORTY WINKS TO BETTER PERFORMANCE

“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.

AM I RESTING OR BEING LAZY?

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?

Stay blessed!!!

(Understand REST by clicking HERE)

UNENDING JOY – THE HALLMARK OF HEAVEN

The silver lining beneath every dark cloud conveys a glimmer of hope to succor anxious hearts. Silver linings become prominent only when the clouds are the darkest.

The pains and gains, sorrows and joys of life are relative and subjective. When the Covid pandemic struck the world towards the fag end of 2019 resulting in lockdowns and shutdowns making normal life difficult, nature had a gala time. There were images and videos being widely shared over social media of birds and animals moving around fearlessly in areas of otherwise busy human habitations, skies being clearer than in the decades earlier, seas healing up and natural colours appearing vibrant than ever before. Nature lovers savoured each glory that nature displayed – all while there was pain, suffering, deaths and tears going on in the background.

There is a cost for joy! Joy is never offered free on a platter. Consciously striving for joy never fetches it. You and I pass through numerous hardships and sufferings in the course of this lifetime, only to recognize ‘joy as joy’ when we come face to face with it (provided our senses haven’t been numbed by the intensity of hardships enroute meeting ‘joy’).

The story is told of a rich girl who married an aspiring young lad hailing from a poor family. The girl encouraged her husband to pursue his dreams and invested in all his pursuits. While he strived to fulfill his ambitions in a far away land, she waited patiently for him. Years passed by before fortune struck gold and days of prosperity flowed in. The man returned home to his wife with the jubilation of success, only to see his wife living a life of misery, sickness and loniless. She had sacrificed her all to see her husband joyous!!

No pain, no gain. No thorn, no throne.

However, it is not always so!

Not all pains end up in joyous gains. Not all thorns yield golden thrones. A woman having borne her child for nine months has short-lived joy of child birth when the same child raises his hand against her. So, I say that the concept of sorrow leading to joy is highly subjective and relative.

Having said that, I would also say that when joy does come after misery, no matter for how short a time span it may be, it is phenomenal.

We all yearn for joy in life. We wish and pray for misery to be shooed away from our lives and others. But if truth be said, as long as we are in the flesh, the pains of the life will cling on to us. We cannot taste ‘joy’ for what it is while we are in this world. The little trinkets of happiness are just silver linings which create within us cravings for joy.

Being a believer in the existence of heaven and hell after earthly life ceases, I look forward to the place ‘what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined,what God has prepared for those who love him’ – a place of absolute joy sans poverty, worries, anxieties, sicknesses and sorrows.

Our earthly cups of miseries would yield vials of joy in eternity if we strive to live our lives in acknowledgement of the Creator’s designs.

HOW TO MANAGE AN UNAVOIDABLE BARRIER IN RELATIONSHIP

We had a great week discussing the barriers in any sort of relationships, especially marital ones. As I was thinking about those barriers, I realised they are to be very common and known to all and we always can try to rectify our relationships by breaking them at some point in our life. But there are a couple of barriers that are unavoidable and unbreakable in life. I am gonna talk about one today.

Usually, a sickness enhances any sort of relationships. How? When someone is sick in the family, all others in the family display their love and care for that sick member and that exchange of loving emotions enhance the bonding between each member in the family. This happens when the sickness is temporary and short term. But in the case of prolonged sicknesses, the exchange of emotions take a different turn.

The whole world now knows I am born with a cardiac issue. Being so, I was the centre of attraction, love and care in the family. But for how long? There were frustrations, bitterness, impatience and irritation that I had felt in my family members along with their immense love and care. Their love and care for me were supreme but they did feel negative emotions creeping in, at times.

My Mom, for example, had to stay back from all the family functions or travels all because of me. I used to be sick and she used to be taking care of me all the time sacrificing all her fun and joy. She never showed it, never made me feel. But at times, it did show up through her anger and behaviour which were natural and unavoidable though I was just an infant to understand those feelings at that particular stage of my life. I heard the stories of her sacrifice later when I grew up.

In schools and colleges, generally, boys and girls rely mostly on their friends. My friends didn’t have that reliance on me when it came to any physical activity, helping someone or in sports. In that regard, my health condition became the biggest barrier to establish friendships with many. I never had the guts or condition or state of adrenaline rush which define teenagers or young boys and girls. This is the foundation of my bonding with peers at that stage of human life. I missed or rather failed to either build or even sustain a friendship basing on it.

The unavoidable barrier of sickness which I was carrying with me was still manageable or can be ignored in all the above relationships or friendships at those stages of my life but when I became a man and there was a need for the higher level of relationship, I faced a real challenge. I reckon I missed out on establishing many possible relationships in my life when I became an adult. And probably for my sickness, many have fallen out after falling in for me. That’s an assumption, I don’t know it correctly, so let’s cut it out.

When I actually got into a bond, a marital knot, I realised how my sickness became such a deadly barrier in my relationship with my better-half.

I remember, we went on a trip to the mountains. And at one point we had to climb up to watch the sunrise on Kanchenjunga peak (Part of the Himalayas). She had to stay back because I can’t climb up. She did it for the sake of love but there was a tiny trace of frustration and unfulfilling desire that remained in her heart. I encouraged her to go up with others later. She climbed up with others but there was a trace of not being together or being alone imprinted in her heart. In my case, I had that anger and frustration within me for not being a man for my woman when she needed me to be the one. And there were many such incidents that brought bitterness into our relationship.

Was there a shortage of love between us? No, not at all. But the charm or the glow of our love was missing. Blame it on the barrier, the unavoidable barrier called, sickness.

Almost all the time of our life till now, she has been doing the outside work, household work as well as taking care of me. Her love and sacrifice for me add so much value to our relationship but the bitterness, frustration, stress out of doing everything all alone and being deprived of a few of joys in a relationship suck off all the juices out of our bond. Blame it on the barrier, the unavoidable barrier called, sickness.

Individuals like me, who live with chronic sicknesses are always very aware of how much our partners do for us. I often feel very selfish and guilty for being such a burden to others, to my wife. One husband says, “My wife lives with the illness, and I live with her. So, in a way, I live with the illness, too”. And these reactions of our partners hit us all the more as we can’t do anything about our own illness. Although if we think from their point of views, we understand how hurting it is for them as well. Again, blame it on the unavoidable barrier called, sickness

How to deal with this barrier in a relationship if we can’t avoid it or break it forever? I can share TWO major ways how I deal with it, though I struggle a lot at times even when I apply all my own tactics.

ACCEPTING the fact
It is applicable for both the sick partner and for the healthy partner. A sick partner should not feel bad or feel guilty of being a burden to his or her partner and the healthy partner should accept the fact s/he has to live with it. Instead of grumbling s/he should find ways to live with it happily otherwise it becomes more taxing for both of them. Accepting also means, keeping the communication channel open to talk about each other’s deepest and darker feelings considering the vulnerabilities of the relationship they both are in. Due to ill health all the time, a couple often feel sad, angry and overwhelmed and it is of utmost importance if they both open up and encourage each other to talk about their feelings without being judgemental.  Accepting is also knowing and understanding the painful thoughts and emotions that pop into our heads due to the presence of chronic sickness of one partner in a relationship. I haven’t seen her treating me as a sick person but have always considered my ill-health by doing things before even I ask her to do. That is her way of accepting me and my share of responsibility on her shoulders.

ALLOWING unthinkable space (or grace)
These kind of relationships are rare and should be managed differently as well. A person like me who suffers almost all the days of the year needs space to regain my strengths, joys and happiness to live further. And this happens almost regularly as the sickness is a regular affair. Similarly, the other partner, who does everything for his or her sick partner needs an enormous amount of mental space and strength to stay encouraged. Instead of terming it as Allowing Space, I will call it Allowing Grace to each other to pacify the barrier of sickness in the relationship. I’ve learnt to just eat whatever she cooks. That helps her not to be so worried about what to cook and how to cook. I don’t even interrogate her about where she goes and what she does. That is my way of allowing space or grace for what she has been doing for me all these years. Allowing that grace to her is in my hand and I do it wholeheartedly. When I shout or don’t talk with people, she makes others understand the reason and they understand it. She doesn’t look into my mobile or inspect what I do all day. This is her way of allowing grace to me.

Have I overcome this barrier forever? No, I can’t. But I am still managing to break a hole in it to keep my relationship with her alive and kicking.

It will be amazing when we take responsibility of managing to break through any barriers and make each of our existing relationships a sanctuary where each person can be seen and loved for who they are. 

Stay Blessed!