Music Or Chair – What’s Your Choice?

“The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round; The wheels on the bus go round and round all through the town” and the music stops and kids fight their way to get a place on the insufficient number of chairs placed in a circular configuration.

And we call it “Musical Chairs”, a fun game we all have seen and been a part of. As the number of chairs decrease the competition gets intense. Some physical dribbles, some sulking faces, few sportive acceptances, few angry stomping – all for that coveted chair of winner 😁😁.

Well that’s all fun but have a close liaison with our life, just need a deeper look, let’s have a look then.

The fight for chairs isn’t just a game in the birthday parties but a reality of our desire driven lives. Comparison with fellow human being is constantly fueling the competitive streak (not always a good spirited one though) in us. Success, position, power – the Chairs we are fighting for and resorting to every tactic we could. These chairs are placed high and have a pyramidal structure beneath them, paving a way to reach them and have two directions for the summit – one a long one and the other obviously the antonym for the previous one.

If hard work, patience, strong will, perseverance, honesty, optimism are the stairs to climb and reach the “High Chair” then deceit & envy are the second direction we were talking about earlier that can place us in a jiffy in the place we are eyeing for (remember the dribble/push/pull in the musical chairs?).

The stairs we take to climb here are surprisingly the raw material for the “Chairs” we long for. While the previous list gives us a durable product with an added perk of Goodwill that aides reconstruction in case of an accident which is a norm of an uncertain life. Success, Position, Power – all might get wiped out but with a great character a human being is always up on his feet and starts head on.

On contrary if a person takes the other route then the termites of fear, ego, greed and arrogance enter the legs of the chair we rest on, corroding it to the core from deep within. When the chair crashes the hurt is deep and probably beyond repair.

A close encounter:  Talking about the choices we make, makes me remember a snack maker from my childhood in our neighbourhood.  When we moved to that particular neighbourhood it wasn’t a busy quarter. Provisions, services were scarcely developed there and slowly evolving. So a snack maker started a small business in that area. He used to make wonderful snacks that we loved to devour. He had a good market in the absence of a stringent competition.  He was comfortable in his “Chair”.  Since change is thy life, slowly other entrepreneurs started making their space in that area. In the wake of losing out market share to them this particular snack maker started the “business” deviating from the path he chose. His quality, quantity of food deteriorated, prices soared (which is still understandable in the wake of market changes and if had been the food was great). His greed to keep the position of a higher market share purported him to take the easy steps to attain the goal. Something close to the game of musical chairs we were discussing, isn’t it?

A recurring question: A strong belief that only losers preach or put it the other way round, preaching is only for the losers. I am no one to question or answer this – a candid confession! But the question that needs to be graced with deep introspection – Are Desires Completely Undesirable/ Unacceptable? Answer is NO. If desires of a person are acting as a fulcrum for his/her upliftment, if they pave a way for greater good and emancipation of many more then they are surely a necessary driving force. BUT ( noticed the emphasis?) if our desires are robbing us of sanity, peace of mind, values and inspire us to stoop to any level to reach the zenith (a mirage), then we better leave the game and enjoy the music instead.

There’s always another party and game to play and music is there anyways, so enjoy on a reclining chair with your hair down, what say 😁.

 

ARE YOU READY TO ROCK WITH YOUR SHOES ON?

I remember as a small boy when I hear my parents or elders announce a fun trip of my interest, I get ready within no time. And the usual comment I used to get from them was like, “Uhmm… Babu, Jota Ffotta Pindhiki ekdum ready (Aha! The boy is already dressed and ready with suit and boot). But I don’t used to get the same remark when I get ready for my school or was asked to visit a place that was not of my interest. They used to literally keep pushing me to make me get ready for the same. In fact, I used to hear shouts at my back, “Did you wear the shoe as yet or not?”

We always wear a shoe at the end after we get dressed fully before we start a journey leaving our comfort zone, our home. A shoe tied well around our feet implies that we are ready or prepared to set out.

So many times, in our life we must have been challenged to do something against our will or against our mental preparedness forcibly and eventually we fail to achieve or accomplish something that we were expected of. So, preparedness matters in everything we do, both mentally as well as physically.

In army fraternity, the discipline they follow from the day one, trains each one of them to stay prepared for an emergency situation inside or outside their country. That is why, when they are asked to leave their comfort zones, they do it at once, without hesitation, without asking any questions.

The Bible so appropriately says,

No one serving in the military gets mixed up in civilian matters, for his aim is to please his commanding officer.

That is called mental preparedness, stuffed with obedience and humility.

I am always reprimanded for my laid-back attitude. Being laid-back or sloppy is just the opposite preparedness. I know, I have suffered and struggled for being sloppy in my life, I truly regret it. But I am striving to stay read or prepared wearing my shoes around my feet well before the arrival of worst days.

Keeping aside the personal level of preparedness if I want to give an example of a larger scale then I would love to mention the preparedness of Odisha Govt. during different cyclones that the state faced in the past. I can proudly say, that the state of Odisha has always been prepared for any cyclone after it suffered a lot in the past.

There were reports, that before cyclone Phailin hit the coastal regions of Odisha, there was a record-breaking evacuation took place to safeguard human lives and the state Govt was highly praised for their preparedness. Even during cyclone Fani in 2019 the report says the same thing about the promptness of Odisha govt., unlike to the loss of human lives in 1999 super-cycle because of the unpreparedness.

This is just an example of state level preparedness but coming back to the individual level if we look around, we can find ample number of such examples that make us understand how preparedness can help us at difficult times.

In closing, I wonder, if I am prepared when I am needed to stand in the gap between a father and a son and be the agent of reconciliation! I wonder, if I am prepared to stoop down to the level of a poor and deprived and lift him up from down! I wonder, if I am ready to wear the shoes of someone else and understand the pain the other person is going through!

I wonder, if someone is still saying at my back, “Aha! The boy is already dressed and ready with his suit and boot”!

Stay Blessed!

IMPORTANCE OF PREPARATION

What does preparation mean, if we go just by the definition it simply means: “the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration”, but is it as simple as this definition – it’s much more than that.

Imagine how chaotic life would be without preparation for the day, be it home (cooking, cleaning, laundry), work (meetings, presentations, targets to be achieved for the day) or kids (getting their stuff done, packing their lunch box, preparing their meals, driving them for classes etc.).

Preparation however is not a skill that can be taught or given knowledge on. It comes with practice and experience. My dad is the most organized person I have seen, he would plan days in advance and do his preparations accordingly. An effective way of doing this is to note down all your plans and make a note of the preparations you need to do to achieve the same.

Preparation is not just a task, it can be helpful in more ways than one for the person:

  1. Self-discipline: when a person is prepared for things in his/her life, they drive their life towards achieving the goal, hence it becomes imperative that the person follows certain routine and hence in the process becomes more disciplined in life.
  2. Confidence: when a person is prepared well enough to achieve the goal they have set, it becomes easier to achieve the goal, and hence the more they achieve the results or their goals, the more confidence they gain in life and hence more self-respect as well.
  3. Maturity: The more a person is prepared, the more logistically their brain functions. They see life through different aspects and situations and hence prepare accordingly, hence they can handle the real life situations in a better way than the normal.

However, having said all of the above, it is also obvious that no person can always be prepared for all the situations in life. Human mind and emotions direct us internally to be prepared for the so called ‘happy path’, but destiny might have different plans for each of us. Hence, no matter how well prepared we are, we should always be ready to change directions and planning towards the instant challenges that life throws at us. So as they say-

“Plan for the best but be prepared for the worst”.

LACK OF PREPAREDNESS LEADS TO BROKENNESS

I was not scheduled today. I am not prepared at all. My mind is wandering around to find a thought. Finally, I thought of turning the pages of the Bible to get some inspiration and there one verse from the book of Proverbs caught my attention:

“Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.”

I thought for a moment and understood what it means. We can build a house only when we have everything ready. Suppose, you started building the house and suddenly you realise you missed something. And the delay for buying or preparing that material might have an adverse effect on the construction work.

Similarly, take the example of cooking a special dish. If everything is not available at the time of cooking then the dish might be not taste well or cooked well. Every ingredients were kept ready and made available by the woman of the house or the cook before s/he starts cooking. I have seen my wife requesting me to run to the market to get something that she forgot quickly while she is in the middle of the work. And if I am sick she herself runs to the grocery shop to get the ingredient she needs.

Remembered about ‘Marriage‘. And God gave me a thought to talk about it in the light of the above verse that we read.

A man or woman needs to be prepared physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually before they get into a marital bond. And if it is not done… If right amount of preparation is a lacking in any marriage then the couple struggle a lot to adjust with each other or break sooner or later. A marital home can not be built unless there’s a well prepared ground or field. A base or ground is always necessary. A base of physical, mental and emotional need between two uniquely designed persons make them to enter into a marriage covenant. Then all the characters and behavioural changes are made ready for the bond.

A love marriage without responsibility doesn’t last long. An arranged marriage without emotional union shatters. A forced marriage blows off. A marriage without commitment perishes. A marriage without love devastates.

A marriage without preparation breaks all the way along… dragging both the husband and wife on the way to destruction by killing their desires, their zeal, their passion and their dreams.

It’s not only in a marriage relationship but it is true about any other relationships as well.

Are you somewhere breaking away in any of your relationships or anything that you value a lot? Don’t worry. Do whatever you need to do. Prepare yourself well for everything you do and for don’t forget to put your trust in the Lord. Because…

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

I am learning and you learn it too…

Stay Blessed!

ARE WE ACTUALLY READY?

As we all know and so it is actually true that any great accolade demands immense strenuous preparation. What is to be reflected is the fact that preparation is not just about physical toil and labor but complete whole hearted mental indulgence in the task is equally important. Hence, it is very well said that we need to commit to the battle before it begins!

Even the smallest of the task to be accomplished requires some amount of speculation. Thus we need to have the clarity of our purpose and a reason for its accomplishment otherwise all our hard efforts will be haphazardly directionless that will bear no fruits in the end.

Each one of us wants to achieve great heights and so some of the questions need to pondered and they are :-

i) Are we ready to put in the required level of hard work and give our best?

ii) Are we ready to make the needed sacrifices that includes giving up all the pleasures for a while?

iii) Do we promise ourselves to be patient in this journey that we undertake and not give up irrespective of how much time it takes ?

iv) Are we prepared to face or suffer the little step downs or failures along the journey ?
Well all the questions above are not only for any great target to be achieved but also for any little achievement , they need to be pondered. Only the level and degree of hard work and sacrifices vary according to the goals.

All great people may not reveal their success mantra but one thing is common and that is that they all have a well defined plan of action and they stick to it!

I feel physical preparation is completely dependent on our mental preparation. The mind needs to be energized and strengthened with power before commencing any physical task. For example, it can be seen that during the times, our mind is in turbulence, our efficiency also reduces and we are not able to give in the planned input. Hence all I want to emphasize is that we need to be mentally strong and determined as we undertake any Hercules task.

Building an equanimous state of working mind and focusing all our mental energies towards the goal which is unaffected by the setbacks is called mental preparation. It is not easy to do so but also not impossible. Powerful positive affirmations , daily visualization of the goal and falling in love with the journey are some of the ways to be learnt that makes mental preparation smooth! It is also true that “The possession of anything great begins in the mind.”

So I would suggest each one of us to start preparing our mind first for any upcoming war to make the struggle easy. As it is very well said  “The more we sweat in training , the less we bleed in battle.’’