CONNECTING WITH OTHERS

The famous writer and philanthropist Sudha Murthy in the ‘Introduction’ of her novel ‘Something happened on the way to heaven’ writes:

‘I was filled with awe as I realised that the books I’ve been able to write are really not about me at all  – they are about the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been to and the lives I’ve had the privilege of being part of. I felt blessed – so fortunate to be in a position to help people, even as they found it in their hearts to let me inside their world and share their most private thoughts and problems with me. They’ve given me their stories and I’ve had a chance to be a character in their tales. Sometimes, I’ve been lucky enough to be the lead actor, but at most other times, I’ve been an incidental character or simply unbiased storyteller.’

When I read this I found so much of my thoughts mirrored in what she had to say. Of course, I am not a writer of her calibre or repute. I am a simple blogger but I have come to realise that I too have mostly written about the people I have come across in my life. The problems or triumphs or simple anecdotes from their life really adds colour to my articles. Being connected to people has really enhanced my writings. 

Not just in writing, focusing on people around me has helped me be a better person. I have come to realise there are phases in my life. There have been times I have been so bogged down by my own problems that I have withdrawn into a shell and lost touch with my own extended family and friends. During this phase I feel very miserable and I am not able to come out of my melancholy. Its only when I remove the focus from myself and actually focus on others that I am back to my normal self. Delving into our problems brings only more sadness but helping others with their problems or just interacting with them makes our problems go away too. This works for me, maybe because I am an extrovert. And I love to be around people and hate being alone. I feel connecting with others just enriches me as a person and makes me more interesting. 

Connecting with others is a sense of being open and available to another person, even as you feel they are open and available to you. Try connecting and it makes life much easier and lighter because we also receive the empathy and love that we give.

IF YOU CAN’T FIND TIME FOR YOUR LOVED ONES, THEN MAKE IT

I am too busy with daily chores.

These kids keep me so occupied. 

I am unable to find time. 

There’s so much to do.

These have been some of my reasons which were keeping me from talking to my family members. Talking on phone really has become a great deal for me, especially after kids. Even with my friends, I prefer chatting over phone call. With so many things to do, I seriously couldn’t take out time, which I have been regretting ever since I lost some of my close family members. I kept on thinking to talk to them in free time, but before that could happen, the ‘time’ came and took them away. Its very normal that we often take our loved ones for granted, without realising that life is short and our little gestures can make them happy. 

phone-ringing-seo-kc
(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

“If you love someone, show it”, said one of my aunts once, which made me realise that we need to show our admiration and respect to our elders in some way or the other. When my mom used to ask me to call someone in the family, I used to feel weird, as I didn’t know what to talk to them. However, I gradually realised that one phone call gives immense happiness to the elders. Just a normal question- ‘how are you’ starts the conversation. 

Ever since we moved to a different city from joint family, my mother-in-law makes a video call daily to watch her grandsons. And if she gets late, I ask my kids to video chat with their grandparents. They have now started talking to their little cousin too, by making silly faces and making him laugh over the screen. Because distance shouldn’t keep the feelings apart, this way of communication holds us together. 

I am very fond of capturing cute, sometimes silly, moments of my sons, either by taking a picture or making a video. Rather than just restricting these media files to my phone, I have now started sharing to my family members and trust me, they, especially elders, feel so happy to see them. Even if I don’t get time to call them up often, I keep them updated by sending photos and videos regularly. I even send them pictures whenever I cook something special. It’s a delight for my family members, who have known me since childhood, to know the varied food that I can cook now, as I hardly entered the kitchen before my marriage!

Family is a prized possession and nothing is better than being with your loved ones and spend time with each other. So, even if you don’t stay with them, utilise the technology optimally to be ‘together’.

ALWAYS GIVE A FRACTION AND YOU RECEIVE WHOLE OF IT

Over the years, things in my life changed, even though I was dwelling in my own problems I always found an escape by dealing with other’s problems and understanding them.

It always came to me that, the more I indulge myself in solving others problems, I could find my own way out. It is a human tendency, that when problems arrive, to the individual, they lose the thought process and they become completely blank on what needs to be done. But when they are the other end of the problem they become expert problem solvers.

In my course of life, I have to be the victim, the problem solver or even the problem creator, which actually led me to a problem-centric person rather than I would say people-centered.

I do not know, whether to call it my speciality or a defect, but yes I always had some or other to deal with.

Even amidst the crisis, I have to deal with, I never stepped away from inspiring others or even be the torchlight in the darkness, even though at times I have shied away from it due to the darkness I was engaged in.

Even if I say, I have missed being the “good soul”, I do ensure that a piece of me does something for the people around me. Being an empath, it was quite easy for me to just swim into the pool of other people’s issues and problems they face, in a much more understandable way. I could say, the things I have been brought up around or things like i keep doing like the ones mentioned below, helped me to be what I am today.

Hence these were my shell-breaking things, which made me much stronger and focused on people around me.

Sharing is Caring

From childhood, we all learn the basics of sharing. We encourage our kids to share when the one near you does not have anything. I recollect as a child, I used to be around people who were financially not so great and the other way round too. Since being a child we do not know where do they come from or what do they do to make a living. all I knew was that, if the person next to me was starving I should be sharing what I have, at least that used to keep me happier.

Ever since then, this was something I never stopped doing. It always came as a positive approach to be friendly with people around me.

A gentle soft gesture doesn’t harm anyone.

Give what you own more, than you need

Since my childhood, my parents taught me to share if I actually had more stuff than I required. Nowadays, if you see, the kids are given or gifted things , that are actually already available in abundance with them, or they do not need them. Even though being a responsible mom (as far as I think), I ensure, they do not waste whatever excessively they receive. I channelize such stuff to the needy. Like if they get lots of color pencils or crayons, which are already available in abundance at home, I ensure, I give to the children, who are not in a position to buy them.

There smile is more than a treasure box for me.

Never treat others as beggars- as they are not begging

Most of the people who come to work in our apartment, earn through hard work. Treating them as individuals and not like beggars are important. Feelings are also important when you consider being people-centered. When you offer something to someone, they should never feel that we are offering them out of their financial state or something else. Make an offer as a gift, a token of love, they feel much more valued for what they are doing.

It is a simple fact, but at times we need to be careful not to hurt their emotions.

We waste a lot, why not be for the good

On numerous occasions we put up parties, there is so much food wastage, and money being wasted unwantedly. What can we do about it?

It was hard to decide upon, as one part of the mind you want the people you love to be happy and pleased, at the same time, the other part wants to do something good for the needy especially when items are wasted. This is when you have to take a serious step.

Big parties, big weddings, etc just please the ones, who already have enough. Why not try giving the ones, who do not have anything, they will value every single piece being offered.

All these were my thought process to keep my focus on other people intact – at least to help them. In spite of all these, I struggle a lot in keeping relations close, or even keep everyone around happy, as my decisions are quite decisive at times. But as I say, the more I tend to be a problem-solver than a problem-centered person, I tend to forget what I am going through.

Being people-centered is always my life goal. Being a mother, I have to be much more selfless and be dedicated to my home. Everyone has a roller coaster ride, fighting their own wars every day, hence it is important that we value each individual be it a small baby or even an elderly person, they all are important like us.

Give a fraction of your second, you get peace for a lifetime.

HOW NOT TO DWELL IN YOUR MESS

Getting bogged down by life’s problems and situations and remaining inattentive towards the people around us is not a new thing for us. I won’t shy away to confess that I was too bogged down with my own problems last year and was finding it very difficult to think out of the box, trying to get out of the mess with many silly attempts.

I see a very self-centered and self-submerged ME, when I looked back into 2019, trying to introspect about myself. It is not at all a great state or condition for a human to stay within his or her shell after being created to have a multi-dimensional relationships with the people around him or her and with the God, Almighty.

Eventually, I lost skills in many things. I became monotonous. My messages and encouragements didn’t have much sparks as I usually have. My motivations seem ordinary and were not well conveyed ones. My decisions were not very concrete and shaky. I struggled with my time and deadlines. I failed to keep in touch with my own relatives and friends. Even I struggled to write meaningful articles and manage Candles Online.

In Cuttack, during my last vacation when I was reflecting on everything that I went through the year, I found where I went wrong.

I DWELT IN THE MESS!

Dwelling in the mess or negative situations around us instead of getting over it becomes a problem when we don’t handle it wisely and that tend to make us depressed, sad…letting us be blind towards the people around us and their needs.

We will come back to this part later… Let me divert your focus to something else…

Have a look at this image below:

This is how we were created by God – to have relationship with our fellow human beings as well as with our creator God.

I find it funny when some try to live all by themselves. I know, there are some who were the victims in the hands of situations and life. That’s a different matter. I have seen such people who keep a better connection with their fellow human beings than those who are crowded by people around them, strangely!

The best way to connect with the people and understand their needs is to get out of our shell first and the best way to get out of our shell is to focus on the needs of others. These two actions are interlinked and have to be carried out together.

I have experienced a fact about my mind. When I look into the problems of others I tend to forget my own for a moment. And the more, I make a habit of looking into the problems of people around me, the more it becomes a habit of thinking about others than dwelling in my own mess.

If I have to list out a few ways how I can be a help for others then I would list what I really do and want to do more often considering my physical limitations:

  1. I do pray but I will pray more strategically by listing down the names of people and their needs.
  2. I will ping people more often instead of expecting them to ping me first. Who knows, someone might need a warm ping from me desperately.
  3. I will visit people more often those who need a little company, especially old people. They are the most neglected and most loneliest people on this globe.
  4. I will try to listen more than talk. That way I might be helping more people. 🙂
  5. I will be more funny and humorous to bring that smile which people crave to display on their faces.

There are many other things that I really want to do though I am still unable to fulfill them in my life. I can only list them when I really make them happen in my life. And I pray to let it happen by His grace so that I don’t dwell in my mess but walk out of it.

I will tell you one thing, all these actions can be easily and genuinely executed only when we are well connected vertically – human to God. This is the base, if you are forgetting it. And it is tried and tested, if you think I am just blabbering weird theories in front of you.

Friends! The Bible says, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” This is a fresh year. We still are in a very festive and celebration mood, let’s try out and give it kick-start and divert our minds from our own selves to the people who are in desperate need of our care and support.

Stay Blessed!

WHY ACKNOWLEDGING GOD IS SO DIFFICULT?

The knowledge we gather becomes the barrier between us and our Creator. It is only a childlike simple heart can accept anything and everything. When we are childlike, it becomes easier for us to accept and acknowledge God but when we keep a complicated and complex mind then we struggle to accept Him and suffer ultimately.

Don’t we run to Him when we are in trouble? Don’t we scream and cry out to Him when we suffer? Don’t we jump around here and there seeking some divine help when we are sick? Then why is it so difficult for us to accept Him in our day to day life, when we are happy and kicking?

I have heard from even my own family members that, “Let’s be practical“, when I ask them to pray, wait and seek His guidance. I give my example even… Yet, they get stuck to their practicality leaving a God, who is also the creator of this, what we call – ‘A Practical Life‘.

Friends! Be assured, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Don’t hesitate to acknowledge His presence in your life today…

Stay Blessed!

USE WORDS MORE, THEY ARE BENEFICIAL TO PEOPLE

On the 1st January 2020, I sent a poster that I had made to wish all the people by sending them to everyone I know and are close to me. But I made sure, I add few words to the image I send. The exchange of images and wishes started to flow from both sides. And I received an image of her family with “Happy New Year 2020” written on it as soon as I send my wishes to her.

My reaction to her was : “Words are less… We try to convey our messages through visual imageries more, these days.” She confirmed me by sending two more emojis instead of words again. 

It strike me as I was observing this last Christmas and New Year day that how we are so comfortable and fine with just sending images, either created by us or forwarded ones without even caring whether the person is benefited by it or not. 

I regret that I haven’t written anything about anyone recently as I usually do on their birthdays. I remember whenever I do such things for any one of my sisters or brothers, others keep poking me for writing something for them as well… or say, “Ah…when my birthday will come and Bhai (brother) will write for me as well“.  My Badepapa (My father’s elder brother) used to write such notes for people. I had kept a letter that he had once written. I regret that I had lost it somewhere. I still wish I could find it back to treasure it forever. Most of us have that habit of treasuring those letters. Isn’t it? 

Words do have such values and effects on our minds that elevate our spirit when we needed it the most than these forwarded images. No, I am not criticizing or against those formatted images. I did it myself as well. But it has lesser effects on us than a few words of comfort, consolation, encouragement and so on that are hidden behind a wish. The words we type out or speak have powers, they can kill or heal others. 

In closing, I would like to quote a couple of Bible verses which read as under:

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.”

Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction.”

I am good at framing words and I decided to use my this skill more and more for the benefit of others. 

How about you? 

Keep thinking as you keep celebrating the freshness of 2020 till the end of January. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Stay Blessed!

THE GIFT-BEARER’S GIFTS

Carrying armloads of gifts uncertain,
Wrapped in glazing wrappers,
Someone knocks at the door,
As the clock ticks away . . .

 

What a warm welcome
The gift bearer receives
With open arms, beaming smiles
And hugs galore!

 

Gifts uncountable
Roll onto the table
Some small some big
Hardly can anyone wait for their pick

 

With excited squeals
All scramble onward
Eager anticipation
Givings way to mixed gasps

 

The wrappers are ripped apart
And strewn across the place
As all behold their gifts
Some with smiles and some with tears

 

Some hold prosperity in their hands
While for some a pile of debts to be cleared
Some united in marital bliss
While some hold a severing chord

 

Some hold happiness and success
While some have in their hands sadness and failure
Some cradle a new born
While some hold another year’s waiting

 

As the gift bearer beholds
The mixed expressions
He assures of joy in the midst of grief
And tranquility amidst unrest

 

The gifts that the year has brought forth
Do not promise prosperity and success for all
Yet there is available abundant Grace for all
Assuring victory over situations strong or dull

 

The Sender of the gift bearer
Is God over all
In His hands lie the reins
Of one and all.