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)

SNAKE – A REPTILE THAT REFLECTS VOLUMES OF WISDOM

There was a big pond at the backyard of one of our rented houses and throughout the year it was filled with different types of fishes, snakes, and reptiles – creepy crawly creatures. It was the exact replica of the image of the Amazon forest in my geography book. Every time I found venomous snakes gulping something, moving on the ground or in the water. In fact, it was next to our bedroom, so especially in rainy season one of my most regular scary dreams was venomous snakes entering into our house through our bedroom window and skylight holes. It used to be the only place where my great gully cricket teammates won’t dare to go in search of the ball. The only time I would dare to go there is during summer vacation to watch my cousin brother killing snakes with an iron rod, stones and sticks. And I use to scare him saying, the snake has taken your picture in his eyes and its mate will surely kill you one-day. Of course, he is alive today, as it was my reference from the famous Bollywood movie “Nagin” (based on snakes).

Snakes are elongated, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes. Like all other squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales and with highly mobile jaws. To accommodate their narrow bodies, snakes’ paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other instead of side by side, and most have only one functional lung. They range in size from 4 inches (Barbados thread snake to 393 inches long (reticulated Python). 70% of them are oviparous (lay eggs) while the rest are non-oviparous but they do not go through the larval stage. Isn’t it so amazing? There are approximately 3,600 known species of snakes in the world, out of it only 375 species are venomous and harmful for humans. Snakes are found in every continent except Antarctica and other small land masses such as New Zealand, Ireland, and Iceland. According to their evolution snakes have orders and suborders. All the modern snakes are grouped into the suborder Serpentes, again the suborder has two infraorders; Scolecophidia which comprises of 5 snake families mainly of the blind snakes and Alethinophidia which include the non-blind snakes. Scolecophidia comprised of about 305 known species while Alethinophidia is made up of over 2,600 species and sometimes split into Henophides and Caenophides. Caenophides consists of Colubridae – the largest 19 snake families (51% of all known snakes), Colubridae snakes comprise the largest 1,866 species, Viperidae (341 species), Elapids (359 species), Lamprophiidae (314 species), Biodae (60 species), and Uropedltidae (55 species). Infraorder Scolecophidia is made of 5 snake families mainly consisting of blind snakes. The largest family Typhlopidae consists of 266 species, mainly the typical blind snakes. The family Leptotyphlopidae is made up of 139 species, mainly the slender blind snakes. The other three families are Gerrhopilidae (18 species), Anomalepidae (18 species of primitive blind snakes), and Xenotyphlopidae which consist of only One species; the round-nosed blind snake of Northern Madagascar. This is just an overview or can be counted as a micro set of information about the snake species.

Snakes have a wide diversity of skin coloration patterns. These patterns are a tendency to flee from predators, it is also their hunting strategy, as their pattern allows them to send little information to prey about motion. The blotched snakes usually use ambush-based strategies, it helps them to blend into an environment with irregularly shaped objects, like sticks and rocks.

Snakes also go through a molting process. The younger one goes 4 times in a year and the older once or twice in a year. Before the molt, they do not eat and hides or moves into a safe place to shed their skin. Molt keeps the snake young and helps to get rid of parasites such as mites and ticks.

Talking about snake without mentioning their venom! Oh, it doesn’t complete the talk. Snakes are a symbol of venom. Cobras, Vipers and closely related species use venom to immobilize or kill their prey. The venom is modified saliva, delivered through fangs. Snake venom majorly preys specifically whereas their role of defense comes secondary. Venomous snakes are classified into three taxonomic families:

  • Elapids – Cobras including King Cobras, Kraits, Mambas, Australian Copperheads, Sea snakes, and Coral snakes
  • Viperids – Vipers, Rattlesnakes, Copperheads/Cotton Mouths and Bushmasters.
  • Colubrids – Boomslangs, Tree Snakes, Vine Snakes, Mangrove Snakes, although not all Colubrids are venomous.

Out of 725 species of venomous snakes worldwide, only 250 species are able to kill a human in one bite. In India every year 2,50,000 snakebites are recorded and out of them, 50,000 recorded as initial death.

Snake venoms are also used in Medicines and much other healing and powerful aids after going through many kinds of’ medical filtration processes. Alongside, for an evil purpose, snake venoms, blood, skins, meat are used as a kind of too expensive injectable drug and starter food with wine. One of such, globally known places is “Snake Ally” located at Taipei, Taiwan in Japan.

Now, let’s take a look at Snakes in Business – In some part of the world, especially in India, snake charming is a roadside cultural show performed by a charmer. It has also relevance to Hindu mythology. It is a game in which the charmer plays the flute and the snake dances according to the tune. The Wildlife Protection Act, 1952 in India technically proscribes snake charming on the grounds of reducing animal cruelty. Snake meat is also served as a Japanese cuisine especially in Taipei, Taiwan. Snake venoms are used as an expensive injectable drug and also medicines for arthritis, cancer and many deadly diseases. Snakeskin is also used as the most expensive leather garment, house decoration accessories, and handbags.

Huh, my goodness! This is just a glimpse on the scariest creepy crawling reptile – SNAKE, there are endless volumes to discuss. Snakes are symbolized as the wisest of all animals. The Bible tells the human to be wise as a snake.

Learning from a snake, a wise reader at the end of his reading always looks for a takeaway, in other words, AN ANALOGY for life. What’s that here?

Snake is just one among those many creepy crawly creatures which reflect the strength of being wise, wisdom on how to survive in opposing environment and contributing to others’ need. What a creature we have in our creation!

An English proverb says, “CREATION WITHOUT A CREATOR IS IMPOSSIBLE TO EXIST”!

Indeed! There is no single amount of doubt that the Creator of Snake is – God, The LORD. He deserves our praise for such a beautiful creation of His’. A reverse of our thought is all that we need – Worshiping the Creator instead of His creation.

I LOVE TO WORK WITH A SNAIL PACE

Oh man, Aaii (Nani)… Look at this… there are so many snails invading our verandah…” I screamed when I saw 20 odd snails climbing on the verandah at my maternal grandparent’s home. And it happens only during the rainy season. I was a little boy then. If you see that scene I am describing, you will feel exactly as if you are watching a sci-fi movie with sluggish aliens invading your territory.

The snails are one of the ugliest looking creatures that we find around us. I always had a curiosity to hold them in my palms but never got that courage to do so. And these days when I have the courage, I don’t see them.

The snails are Invertebrate (Animals that do not have a vertebral column), Exoskeleton (External skeleton that protects the body of an animal) and Hermaphrodites (A living organism that has reproductive organs of both sexes) creatures.

Usually, there are different types of snails around the world which are mainly categorized according to their habitats – Land snails, Clean Water snails, and Sea snails. Some edible snails are reared for the purpose of different delicacies. There are some French cuisines prepared especially made of snails. I would love to taste them one day. There is an interesting fact that I found about the snails which have been used as famine food in historical times. Wikipedia mentions, a history of Scotland written in the 1800s recounts a description of various snails and their use as food items in times of plague.

The snails are also found in different sizes. They are as tiny as a bee or wasp and as big as the size of a rabbit. Unbelievable!

Giant African Land Snail

See the picture above. It is a Giant African Land Snail, a pet of that woman. But it is better not to keep them as pet as it’s considered one of the most invasive pests in the world and is believed responsible for carrying a parasite (in its slime, no less) that is responsible for a form of meningitis that is harmful to humans.

The shells of snails have been used as ornaments and decorative items. They are very popular among people around the world.

A snail is usually symbolically denoted to laziness – the sin of sloth because of their slow movements. But unless we crush them to ground, they are invincible and persistent in their journey which they start with a pace which the world never appreciates.

Sometimes, when I look at myself, I relate to it. Many things I am unable to do with the pace usually the world expects from a normal person. I do it slowly and calmly, without any hurry. I get annoyed when someone asks me to do things quickly which is beyond my ability.

The laid back (not lazy) people are happy people like me despite my struggles, I feel.  Therefore, I would conclude that it is better not to fall prey to the sin of sloth but it is also important for not to fall prey to the rat race of this world. I would prefer to be a snail, rather neglect my loved ones by running around money.

Stay Blessed!