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No thought that occurs to us is unwanted except for the thought that they are unwanted...!!
Thinking is as natural to us as breathing, eating or sleeping. We end up spending a major portion of our waking life around thoughts. Thoughts which are an integral part of our life can be categorized into 2 major sections. The ones which are intentional & the others which are automatic. Intentional thought process including creative imagination is highly desired & considered the basic unit of understanding. However, things are not so green when it comes to automatic thoughts. We wouldn’t like to entertain automatic thoughts if we can help it. More so if the thoughts happen to be negative. Are automatic thoughts including the rumination & brooding so negative an entity...?? What is their role in our life...?? Do they occur mostly to disturb us & take our functional life off the track...? Not Really.
Let’s understand their purpose in our life & see how we may use them to lead an intentional life.
Your Desired Self: The Best version of You, Self 7.3D..:)
There is a version of you, which you want to create for yourself. This version includes all aspects of you; namely body, mind, emotions & interactions. This fascinating self which you dream to become is your desired self.
Let's take an example of a product, freshly launched in a market to explain the concept of desired self. When a company launches its flagship product to the market, it gets released in its initial form. Though it has a state of the art technology & amazing features, which are designed by best of the architects; it need not remain so appealing in the market while facing rigorous competition & public scrutiny. It undergoes continuous improvement in the warehouse followed by release of many versions, till the makers are satisfied with what they are offering & buyers are content with what they buy. Same thing happens with us, humans.
We keep working on ourselves to create the best possible version of self. There are many aspects of us, we wish to change so that we become self version so and so, which is highly acceptable & almost invincible like the superman.
Most important question in front of one, is to find how exactly his desired self looks like, thinks like, feels like & acts like. One's intentional/rational thought process strives continuously to dissect his desired self & understand it’s specifications so that he may reach there quickly..!
Your Experienced Self: The Present Version of you; say, Self version 3.7E
Experienced self is our current experiencing of body, mind, emotions & interactions. It is the way we have been looking at ourselves currently.
Each one of us is born with certain physical features, stature & temperament. From the moment, we are born, we are being shaped continuously; physically, emotionally & psychologically within the environment.
In childhood; We observe & absorb the thoughts, emotions & actions of others to shape our own. Later, we observe the reaction of the people around us to get an idea of what is worthy or unworthy in us. Appreciation from people make us judge ourselves positively & the criticism or blame from others make us carry a negative self-image. In our initial years, we mostly are imitators who are accepting or absorbing things without any intentional thinking or analysis. In this phase of life, others are the medium through which we would have judged our own self or even the world.
A person need not be an individual in real sense but the sum-total of the perceptions of everyone around him unless he builds the tendency to go deeper & analytical about each perception he carries, to validate it's current worth. Automatic thoughts are the voice within him; expressing his perceptions, which are shaped through his past experiences & collective societal perceptions. These thoughts are conveying him, what he thinks of himself & life at the moment. Hence experienced self is the combination of the real experiences packaged in possibly irrelevant or outdated perceptions.
Bridging the Gap: Your Leap from Experienced Self to Desired Self
If your automatic thoughts are the messengers from your past, emerging in the present; don’t commit the mistake of avoiding or killing a messenger. Every single thought that occurs to you is important. It’s acquainting you with yourself. It has emerged in you as an indicator of the voice in you, which needs to be understood so that you may move ahead in the process of shaping yourself.
Let's go back to the product analogy for a moment. When a product is released into the market, it’s strengths as well as short comings will be reported by public. A competent manufacturer shall consider every feedback with utmost respect & appreciation as those are his leads for a better prospectus, as a manufacturer. Similarly, the understanding of experienced self is mandatory to advance to the desired self.
Here are the guidelines to use the automatic thoughts appropriately without getting unnecessarily affected by them.
Start Noticing your automatic thoughts closely, label them as negative or positive
Though automatic thoughts are running in our head & clogging it, we mostly avoid paying attention to them because it may seem random & meaningless to do so. Let’s alter our attitude a little & start noticing them. First step in the process is to generally notice the thoughts & to label them as either positive or negative. End of the day, just gauge the proportion of the negative thought to the positive thoughts. It shall convey you, your current self-worth. If the negative thoughts overpower positive ones by a huge margin, you naturally are feeling helpless & hopeless about yourself/your life. If the positive thoughts overpower the negative ones by huge margin, your pride might be ruling your self-worth making you, overlook your faults hence blocking the progress. Pay attention to both. Continue this exercise for a week.
Assign your automatic thoughts into 5 major categories
Once you have gained some experience in paying attention to your thoughts, you are ready for the next step. Please assign each automatic thought into one of the 5 broader categories. Your thought might be self-blame/criticism or other-blame/criticism, anxiety or fear, self-appreciation or expectation, other-appreciation or expectation and neutral thinking/plane reproduction of experiences. Do note them down in a journal. Start noticing the sort of emotions which accompany each category of thoughts & specify them along with thoughts. Once you go little further with this step, you would start converting the automatic thoughts into intentional pointers to be addressed.
Meditate on different category of automatic thoughts, make them intentional
Allot at least 15 minutes in a day to think deeply about each category of thoughts. You may pick 1 category per day and invest in analyzing the thoughts belonging to the category along with the citing of supportive experiences. Do not be one sided in your thinking & analysis. Visit the opposite aspect of same thought & find out if you could gather supportive experiences. In the process, you would notice that neutral thoughts are not so neutral. They come to your mind because you associate a sort of strong emotion with the experiences in question. Continue with this step for a month & observe if the messengers are being used adequately.
Make Small goals in each category to move towards desired self
Your automatic thoughts are telling you about your current state, as perceived by you, shaped mostly from other’s perceptions. It need not be your reality. Those thoughts aren’t telling anything about what you shall be, in future. The way you shape your life ahead is absolutely in your hands.
Anything you imagine & wish for could be your reality; if you just start working on it. Think about & plan for a small step every day to move slowly & steadily towards your desired self. Remember that only thing stable about our life is its tendency to change. However, you are the agent of change & could lead it in the direction you want, with your intentions & actions.
Consult a professional, if stuck in the process.
Psychologists, Psychotherapists & Psychiatrists are trained to help you listen to your automatic thoughts & impulses in the right way to make most out of them. They are aware that no thought or emotion coming from you is trivial. They also can see the connection between multiple thoughts & emotions easily. They are in a position assist you to enhance your strengths & also to overcome every single fear/insecurity which automatic thoughts are voicing. End of the day, it helps to have another person with a professional perception in the loop. As Einstein pointed out, “we can’t solve the problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”.
Journey from being Mechanical to Conscious...
Though we all are shaped by others when we are growing, we have an inherent capacity in us to shape ourselves. Only requirement to activate this capacity is the awareness of its presence. We were tender & helpless once, however we need not remain in that position. Automatic thoughts are not the hindrance or the disruption in the process but the communicators of the present state of mind so that it can be comprehended, accepted & utilized to reach the next level. Let’s make an honest effort to comprehend our experienced self & reach out for the desired self..!!
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Most complex challenge we encounter in day today life is the understanding of human behaviour. Why did one behave in a certain way...?? Many a times we are clueless about the source of our behaviour when it comes to interactions. We tend to behave differently with different people and our behaviour also alters depending on situations. It is as if we become different people at different instances. Here is an effort to help you understand your own as well as other’s interaction pattern step by step so that you may choose the way interactions shape in the most fulfilling way.
Initial Positioning: 4 Pivotal Positions that decide our interaction pattern
From a 3-month old infant to an 80-year-old adult, we have one thing common about the interaction pattern, which is the initial positioning. Initial positioning primarily places the person who interacts with us in 4 categories. Positioning usually is carried out from the point of view of aspects we value the most in our life. For instance, one’s intrinsic criteria to gauge another person could be, dressing sense, confidence or composure level, perceived sense of beauty, perceived authority etc. We tend to put the person we encounter in the category for equals, lower, higher or indifferent hence limiting our interaction pattern to the pertaining section of roles or Identities(‘I’s). This is an identification which happens the minute you set your eyes on the person unconsciously & mostly remains so throughout unless you take an opportunity to know the person in question closely. Most important thing about this identification is that you start communicating it to the other person, in different ways during interaction.
Step 1: Be consciously aware of your automatic positioning of the other person. Understand where exactly you have placed him/her. In lower, equal, higher or indifferent category...?
Your perception of other person’s identification with initial positioning: Mutual Consensus
After the initial positioning, there is an unconscious attempt to gauge the way other person has been behaving to confirm your initial stand. You tend to look for the clues of identification with your categorisation. If you find the identification, you get comfortable in the interaction & switch to the set of roles which exist for the category. If the other person refuses to identify with your category, which is communicated through his/her nonverbal behaviour, there will be an ongoing confusion till there are mutual consensus. Once a certain positioning is set between people in question, it takes a form of power game. Each one tries his/her level best to reaffirm the position & take advantage of it. People start developing affinity for one of 4 positions in line with their needs, belief system and past experiences and start communicating it actively through their nonverbal behaviour. They want to be in this position most of the time. Non-verbal behaviour of the person communicates his comfortable position even though he might not identify with this very position consciously. For instance, there would be very few who would choose to be at a lower position intentionally. So end of the day, we tend to decide other’s perception of us more than them by the way we have been perceiving ourselves habitually.
Step 2: Observe the non-verbal behaviour of other person during interaction and check if the other person is behaving according to your positioning or if you are behaving according to his/her positioning.
Multiple ‘I’s that are embedded in the single 'I'
Do you think you are an integrated person with one track mind...?? Maybe you want to be so. However, reality is different. There are many tracks running from one mind creating multiple ‘I’s or roles. Sometimes you are completely logical & intentional in your behaviour & other times you may only hope so. There are times when identities which do not really think & act take over. If you look at yourself closely, you would be aware of multiple roles within you & their respective identities. Some roles tend to come out only with certain people under some situations. There could be a person who is dominating, understanding and submissive right within you. There could be a person who is teasing, cribbing, analysing and questioning in same package. Each role is associated with its own set of behaviours & emotions. Every time you express a particular role, you tend to experience that side of you, along with respective emotions. Each one of us tend to hold certain number of intrinsic roles which we have experienced & strengthened so far.
Step 3: Observe your interaction with others to recognise different roles or identities within you along with the emotions associated with them. Notice the roles which you are most comfortable in & vice versa.
The Game of Interaction, Automatic onset of a matching ‘I’ or ‘I’s
Interaction between two people is exactly like any other game that is played between two people. Just the way we choose our move based on that of opponent though picking from our own skill set in a game of tennis, we play the game of interaction. During any interactions, the choice of role depends on 3 things. Firstly, the position you have taken about the other person say equal, secondly the repository of roles you have within you for the chosen position, say teasing, expressing, explaining & cribbing and finally the other person’s choice of role during the interaction. You tend to compliment the other person by using that side of you, which embeds perfectly with the side he has been exposing. If in this instance other person has been teasing you, you tend to take explaining role from your repository, which binds with his choice of role in a seamless way and makes the interaction satisfactory.
Step 4: Choose one person, with whom you would observe the game of interaction. Pay attention to all the 3 steps closely.
Interpretation of the perceived acceptance level
Interaction is a game where each party is unconsciously & subtly craving for the upper hand or the power position. Power position here mostly is the need to make oneself heard or understood & possibly appreciated. The need for agreement & acceptance. Each party is continuously perceiving the extent to which his expressed role is being accepted by the other. Depending on the perceived acceptance level, we may switch to another role or get confused & transfer the control to the other party. For example, you may be advising your friend about stocks and in middle of the communication you notice her not being so inclined hence you switch to teasing role and tell her how exactly she looks when she is bored. In the beginning you had taken an advising role from higher position & eventually you shifted to teasing role from an equal position.
Step 5: Observe the way interaction shifts with the intention of maximizing the mutual acceptance
Role of self-esteem during interactions
Self-esteem is the value you associate with yourself at different tasks, with different people & in different situations. Self-Esteem plays the pivotal role in self-perception. A person who carries himself with ease in most of the situations tend to be carefree hence gives a signal to another that he is composed, confident & comfortable in his shoes. This message is strong & plays an important role when the other person is deciding your position from where he stands. It gets difficult for him to place you in the lower category, when you are oozing confidence hence lets you choose your repository of roles to begin with and lead the communication. Every situation or interaction can be used to enhance your self-esteem irrespective of the way situation goes. Here is a simple & effective way to boost self-esteem.
Step 6: Look out for the sort of people & situations where you are not comfortable and locate the reasons for the same.
Possibility for Rationality in Behaviour
Interaction is a spontaneous process. It brings out multiple sides of you. Though it seems like a rational process where you think and act, it mostly is not so. However, there is a possibility for rationality in your behaviour, if you start observing yourself closely and gain a deeper understanding of all your exposed roles. This would help you to recognise the onset of a particular aspect of you & control its progress intentionally during the interaction. You need not keep roles which you don’t like however you need to be aware of them to drop them. Additionally, there is a possibility to introduce a fresh role as per your liking, into your repository of roles.
Step 7: Identify the aspects of you; which you cherish & wish to sustain, wish for & want to nurture or despise & want to drop.
We know self self through others to a great extent. Our connection with others is through interactions hence Interactions are the key to self-understanding & expansion. Fulfilling interactions make our life stress free by improving the quality of personal as well as professional relationships. Let’s take steps towards intentional interactions so that we master our life & shape it the way we like...!!
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Which is your favourite food? Assume, it's caviar. Let’s say, it has the capacity to bring immense pleasure to you, whenever you relish it. Now, think about a situation where you get to cherish it every single day, every time you are hungry. What is the chance of it, still aiding to create ecstatic culinary experience for you? Feeble right. Same can be said about many other things, for which we strive hard, to make them a day today reality. On the other hand, how about an experience of climbing a mountain, playing a game or conversation with a dear friend. Say, you did it repeatedly. Do you get tired or bored of it anytime soon...? These are the things representing two facets of work we do, outcome & process. Let’s see why all we work and the way in which outcome orientation of work differs from process orientation..!!
Work for….or Outcome Orientation
1. Money which brings Security, Comfort & Freedom of Choice
First thing that comes to our mind when we think about any work is what does it pay..? It isn’t illogical to think so as money helps us do away with basic needs like food and shelter and helps us expand our horizon freely. More the money is, more the choices are in life. It can give comfort of a car, bungalow or a lifestyle. It creates the sense of physical security making way for psychological & emotional securities. It multiplies the possibility of entertainment. It opens the gate for several paths. Overall it makes the world compact, accessible and to an extent controllable. It is good enough a reason to work, to begin with. Making lot of money is like marrying best looking guy or girl in the premises. There is no guarantee of equally good looking life with him/her. It's up to you to make the marriage itself work further. Real value of the money is in the confidence it can give to plunge into experiences which enhance self esteem.
2. Recognition from Boss : Approval & Appreciation from the Authority Figure
From the minute one is born, there is a tendency to look at someone who towers over him/her, for their reaction to confirm the acceptability or the worth of the action. Anytime in our life, we tend to have some authority figure whose perception of us helps us decide our own value. As a child grows she would have authority at home, authority at school & authority at every other place she visits whose opinions hold a special meaning for her. Most of the children who stand out at what they do, want to stand out to impress parents & teachers more than anything else. Effort one puts in at work tends to be directly proportional to the value associated to the appreciation of authorities. Even at work place, the way one is treated by the boss is the major factor in the satisfaction derived at work place. One wishes to be regarded highly & treated with respect by boss to associate a higher value for the work he/she does. There is a craving for the unconditional acceptance from boss for the person you are & all the efforts you have been putting in..!!
3. Recognition of society, which may bring Name, Fame or Power
We all crave for the attention & approval. Work is the means through which we get society to stand up & notice what we are. Recognition & appreciation is as important as food & water for us to sustain. We need others, to know what we truly are. No one is born confident, aware & self-reliant. One has the possibility to be so through the role of others, who would recognise him/her . Recognition by others is the means through which one perceives & understands himself to create a self-image initially. Going further ahead some might stop needing recognition & approval of others, as much as they would have needed it in the beginning by building a strong as well as worthy self-image. Many might be drugged by the high of name, fame or power which are the representation of the society's idea of worth at the moment and enjoy perceiving themselves through societal lens for longer. Either ways the role of work in bestowing recognition & appreciation which create a foundation for self-image/self-worth is huge.
Work at…or Process Orientation
1.Constructive Engagement: Avoid boredom & create food for stimulation of senses/thoughts/emotions
Would you agree, If I say that there might not be a single moment when we aren’t working? We aren’t acting on something, doesn’t really mean we aren’t working. Even when we do not act, we might be thinking consciously or automatically, feeling continuously and sensing outer world or inner world. It is extremely hard for us to not work. Try to hold yourself back from sensory experiences like watching a TV, intentional physical activities like working out, thought provoking activities like discussion or reading for one day and see how boring life can become. Work is the real fuel that drives us. Many a times we live for the sake of the work we do and health of mind is the outcome of effective engagement. Every day needs to be structured to make space for every sort of experiencing like stimulating thoughts, stimulating senses & getting entertained, using physical energy effectively, stimulating finer emotions etc. Irrespective of the sort of work, every moment at work holds a value as a moment of engagement.
2. Sense of Satisfaction : Realising the dream, Living the Passion, attempting something inline with your natural preferences
How does it feel when you have a splendid dream at night, which becomes a reality the very next day..? There would be certain sort of work which comes to you effortlessly and you seem to cherish every single moment of it. It can keep you driven by it's own spell on you, irrespective of it's appeal to the rest of the world. For some it could be sailing smoothly through physical, mental or emotional challenges which does the magic & a steady job of a particular type might do the same for some others. For a few any work that goes deep might be satisfactory and for few others a work involving lot many things. Overall any type of work that is inline with the natural preferences of an individual could be thoroughly satisfying & rewarding for him/her. Work won't be just an engagement but the lifeline if it's an avenue for expression of one's very own nature.
3. Sense of Mastery : Conceiving a near perfect craft which stands, breathes & exists in itself..!!
The best part of being a craftsman or engaging in a work is the joy of yielding to the voice of craft and let it take over and lead you. Who wouldn't want to know what Beethoven might have been experiencing when he was composing his symphonies. How exactly Pele might have felt when he was mastering the ground..?? What was Einstein's thought pattern..?? Aren't there moments when there is a perfect sync between what you want & what you express hence creating something that is a master craft.? Isn't the work we do the craving to reach our personal best at it..? To reach the highest level of beauty, creativity, skill & hence the perfection..!! Many of us might have experienced the elation of mastery at one point or the other..? From simple gaming to complex algorithms, to gain mastery could be the best aspect of work.
4. Sense of Acceptance : Trust, Attention and Appreciation from family for the work you do
Work is not just about your engagement, mastery & satisfaction but also about the way your loved ones perceive it. It is not just the value you associate with it that is important but also the value associated by your intimate circle, which is family & friends. Family creates the motivation for you to work in the most important way by having expectations from you. You play a certain role in the family which comes with a set of responsibilities. Concept of trust, accountability & ownership starts from home.In your choice of work or during the course of work, understanding and support from the family for what you do is a major aspect of your life. When your family accepts what you do, you consider it the acceptance for person you are. Sense of non acceptance from family for the work you do is sufficient to keep you confused, how much ever rewarding your work is for yourself & the rest of the world.
5. Sense of Belonging: To be an integral part of visible network
Human being is not an Iceland, everything he does, he does to belong in one way or the other. When he works with others, they become the direct part of the value he or she has been creating. They become his second family, who's approval of what he does begins to matter .When the role, ownership limits and the way one sort of work/person is linked to the other is clear amongst the team members or the along the teams, there is a sense of belonging which gets established for the whole work family.When we work in a group, we want to work as a seamlessly connected & integrated whole which is mutually complimentary. The environment at work & the way relationships shape at workplace holds as much an importance as the work itself.
6. Sense of Contribution: To be part of an invisible greater network
Each one of us is a giving entity. We have been giving through our thoughts, emotions or actions irrespective of it reaching or being understood by another. This has been one of our primary needs from very beginning. In every work we do, there is a dire need to be clear about the way in which we have been connected & contributing to the whole world through what we do. Every profession and every aspect of the profession has it's own contribution to whole world in one way or the other. However it need not be clear or evident to us. The work in which one cannot see the clear contribution becomes an empty work, without a purpose or meaning and can keep the person in the state of continuous dissatisfaction. One other important thing we work at is contribution.
7. Sense of Growth: To be competent, Enjoy & Evolve as a person as well as organisation
We continuously express ourselves through our work. It gives us a space to observe & understand the way we are. Work in itself could be a self-feedback mechanism helping us reflect, polish & evolve in a way parallel to the possibility of mere coal turning itself eventually into a sparkling diamond irrespective of someone noticing.Growth isn’t merely an unconscious process which happens to the person but the eventual breaking free of the consciousness, within the person, by the person, illuminated through the aid of work. Evolution of the organisation is ultimately the result of growth as well as evolved work of the individuals.
Balancing the Outcome and Process
We all are at different positions when it comes to our need & understanding of work however it's good to pause & think why exactly am I working and what all am I gaining through it..?? Every one begins with outcome orientation of the work as there is an inherent need to standout before we can stand with. Outcome prominently is for the society to approve & focus on process has potential to create self approval. A kid might start to study desiring the toffee she’s going to get in the end, however eventually she is to realise that life has been happening when she was studying halfheartedly, visualising the toffee which would come to her and make her happy in the future. Toffee would stop it's appeal if it becomes a reality for a while, following which her life seems more or less empty ..? When the process in itself becomes the motivation to work, destination merges into process and process becomes the destination. In this parade of balancing outcome & process let’s put in effort to not just do, but try and pay attention to what we have been doing to check if work is giving us everything that e want..!!
Going with and adapting the wise words of Immanuel Kant, we can readily say that work as self-expression need not just be a means to an end but also an end in itself...!!
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Each one of us is living two realities in parallel. One that meets people’s eyes and the other that can meet only our own eyes. In first one, we are constantly evaluating our lives from society’s perception and in second, we experience ourselves constantly from the perception of our inner world. Residual of both these realities act as a trigger for the composition & expression of each however mostly remain independent of the other. It’s essential for the inner & outer realities to be in sync to lead a contented life. Let’s go through few simple ways in which we can understand and bridge our dual realities if there is a gap.
Components of outer reality...!!
Our outer reality is one that we express to the world through different roles we play. In this reality we have 3 circles. Outermost circle is the connection between us & the world through our profession. Second one is the comfort level, activities & interaction pattern we share with friends and the inner most circle is the way we express ourselves within the family. These 3 circles are independent of each other.We tend to understand and show various parts of us, through these roles. One could be a heartthrob with billions of fans, a scientist with in depth understanding of an area or a little known professional in his/her third circle; for second circle, he/she would remain an easy to approach individual & for the first circle, mainly a husband/wife, father/mother, sister/brother or son/daughter with his/her own flaws & strengths. All these circles are playing an active role in shaping our inner reality however these circles can see only traces of inner reality which we care to see, accept & show through different roles. Money, Comfort, Name & Fame, Power etc. operate mainly as a part of outer reality and need not be linked in same way to the inner reality of the person.
Building blocks of inner reality
Our inner world is as rich and diverse as our outer world. It constitutes primarily our body, vital functions, thoughts & emotions. Just like the components of our outer reality, inner reality is relational meaning all these units are interconnected and act as building blocks for other units such as perceptions, ideas, needs, beliefs & actions. For example, a sudden thought about pending work might induce a fear which is felt in the belly and vice versa. Though inner reality is a constant voice in us, we rarely pay attention to it because there is a layer of habits, fear of change & lack of trust which is blocking the continuous expression of inner reality. There are 6 simple steps which can aid us in bridging the inner reality with the outer.
1.Being in touch with the voice of the body
Our body is a complex architecture with billions of cells coming together to function as various organs which perform seamlessly together to make the whole, as we are experiencing it. There are lot many things happening within us irrespective of our awareness. Our body communicates with us through different instincts. We can easily notice hunger, thirst, sexual instincts & cessation of these primitive instincts. Body has many other ways to show us the acceptance or non-acceptance for anything that we consume (as food or through senses). It’s important to be in tune with the bodily instincts. Every imbalance is expressed, if we just care to pay attention and interpret the cause to address the same. Body is a miracle, not to be treated recklessly as a dumping bag but with love, caring & attention so that we may be in tune with all it’s communications. If we just go with the voice of senses & the outer reality and use the body to alter the same, we might end up losing connection with voice of the body..!
2.Paying attention to your Self-talk
Thoughts are the most important communicators of the inner reality. Every aspect of outer reality is complimented by the activation of a thought unit or vice versa. Self-talk is something you say to yourself. It could be automatic or intentional & negative or positive. If you want to be in touch with your inner reality, it’s essential to pay attention to everything that you are saying to yourself. There might be lot of self-talk which is neither attended to nor validated and just taken for granted. Our inner reality cannot be understood without understanding the self-talk and addressing the concerns expressed through this important medium.
3.Tracking Emotions closely
Emotions hold a key to the inner reality. Same incident might trigger different emotions in different people holding a mirror to the way they have been interpreting situations.Emotions are also experienced as a tension in different parts of the body. Every emotion that one experiences can be labelled and analysed for the sort of situations which would have triggered it. This process would help in checking the way in which interpretation of outer reality is altering the inner one. Once there is an awareness and thorough understanding of the sort of situations which trigger a particular emotion, one can learn to address the emotions effectively.
4.Observing your outer world keenly for the gap
When we act in the outer world, it’s important to have a clarity about our motivation for the action. It is primordial to check if the outer reality is the reflection of the inner reality or if it’s something which is being practised habitually. If one does not pay attention and address it, habit stays for whole life hence enhancing the gap between realities. There also might be certain fear or helplessness which creates the gap between what we want & what we do. However most of the fears happen to be learned or over sustained and can be addressed by taking a closer look.
5.Creating weekly/monthly objectives to express your inner reality
If first 4 steps are followed every day, we already can think of small steps to be taken to bridge realities. A clear focus is essential in this process. It works to bring in one small change every week or month by planning it in the beginning of the week/month and reaffirming the steps to be followed every day, may be 3-4 times in a day to ensure that we are following what is planned consciously & consistently.
6. Daily evaluation of the change
Once the change is planned and acted on, it is important to observe the way it affects our inner as well as outer worlds. We need to pay attention to the thoughts and emotions triggered by the same and also the reaction of our 3 circles to the change. Observation & the reflection on the observation which is done in a set time of the day gives a clear feedback and action plan to continue the bridging process further.
Is our Life about Outer or Inner Reality...??
Outer and inner realities affect each other. Inner reality stays with us all the time irrespective of outward expression. People might judge us based on our outer reality however there is a self-judge who knows both. If we depend mainly on people to judge us, we let them control our happiness and also make home for multiple insecurities within us, out of perceived or real fear of being put down. It’s essential to express the inner reality to keep the self-judge content.
Outer reality is something which is dynamic, temporary and mostly out of our control however inner reality is something which can be mastered. If you try hard and build a beautiful house of sand on sea shore, it will be destroyed with the next wave. Build it anyways, if that is what you truly want because satisfaction is what you would have gained here though the house neither needs to be built nor can stay built.
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We are social beings with a need to connect and craving to be heard. Communication is our second nature. We are on it all the time whether through words or otherwise. There are times when communications fail irrespective of our intention behind or effectiveness at it. We might spend a lifetime wondering about a failed communication while things seemed just right. Let’s take a look at possible reasons and track prime factors behind failed communications.
We Don't like to listen..?
First, second, third, fourth and hundredth factor of great communication isn’t what you say but how you listen. Think about a time when you really and thoroughly listened to someone in a 2-way communication, when there was no pressure or compulsion involved. A rare incident right. This indeed is a natural phenomenon because every word said by another is triggering your own opinions and each nonverbal clue is putting you in different mental state, as other person is speaking. Once a strong opinion or mental state is triggered; you are rather listening to it & fine tuning it in your head than lending ears to what other person is saying. A mental state here is the state triggered by how the other person said what she/he said. A dominating or demanding non-verbal could automatically put you in defensive state rather than an accepting state which is needed for effective listening.
We fail to look from another point of view, which is very different from our own
We all carry our worlds with us, wherever we go. One’s belief system, values, needs & perspective constitutes his/her inner world. This world we carry is a huge obstruction while we are relating to another person. Every similarity here creates an overlap between the worlds and a difference distances them. It is a blunder to voice an altogether different perspective without creating a firm common ground to stand on. This primary requirement creates the necessity to listen and understand another person’s point of view before pitching in your own, so that you see the boundaries of another’s world and begin your side with that part from your world, which overlaps with the other world and eventually expand it, hence expanding the boundaries of both worlds.
We advise instead of validating or understanding
When we are short on listening or lack an appreciation for deviating perspectives we tend to advice from where we stand rather than understanding or appreciating other person’s requirements. Many of us like to share which doesn't mean that we are fishing for different perspectives. We rather want to bring clarity in our own perspective by sharing the experience. An uncalled for advice is to force a perspective when the other person has hardly made sense of his own experience. This would lead to defensive emotions like denial, irritation, confusion or anger rather than really helping the person. Another important intention when we share things is to have a validation for the emotions we feel. It is to know that in the given situation, from where the person stands, the experienced emotions are relevant. Most of the communication is the expectation for clarity and validation rather than need for expansion of perspectives.
We take another’s opinion as a judgement about us...?
What is the reason for us to get defensive when people share their opinions of us, with us.? Firstly, the opinions come from their world and might not make as much sense to us as they do to them. Secondly, we might not sense the exact intention behind the opinions and thirdly the opinion shared tend to be mostly negative which goes across as a blame or criticism to us, automatically putting us in defensive shoes. One tends to have much more to him/her than what is perceived, so blame or criticism is interpreted as reduction of our whole personality to few trivial details hence a judgement about what we are...! On top, we can take opinions constructively, only from people who understand and respect what we are.
We feedback when others do not need to be fed back
Feedback is something which needs a willing receiver. Feeding back rarely makes any sense when other person hasn't asked for it or isn't ready for it however honest and genuine the intentions are. Feedback has its own time and place and one needs to wait for his clue before jumping in and showering feedback on a clueless pray. Though it’s a worthy act to feed the hungry, it will be worthless to force-feed the needless how much ever delicious and rare the food is. See if the other person is ready for what you are saying, when you are saying else say only that what he is ready for.
We express impulsively instead of containing till there is clarity & need
There are 2 sorts of communications. One which is triggered by impulses which might not be the way we would behave on a calmer day and the other which is well thought of & well-reasoned alternative. First communication satisfies the momentary need however the second one keeps the long term need satisfied. First one is a reaction to a trigger and second one is a clear response. No one is free of reactions when taken over by emotions however every impulsive communication ought to be followed by reflection to understand the inner turmoil & reaction pattern better hence gaining a clarity & understanding with each experience. It also need to be followed by a well thought out communication between affected parties to gain from the rain rather than letting relation flood away by force of the rain. A better option would be to eventually learn to contain emotions and process them within rather than expressing it on another person.
We have little acceptance for diverse perspectives
The most important reason for the failed communication is the level of acceptance. We all walk on a thin rope when it comes to accepting self and others. Just one or two incidents might make us stop believing in ourselves just the way one or two instances of criticism can create a gap between people. We need to know our worth irrespective of situations or other people’s opinion. A few flaws in one’s thought process, impulses or behaviour doesn't make one a flawed person. We need to stop equating ourselves to the way we are perceived and realize that perception is just a small part of ourselves and there is a lot more to us than what has met our own or other’s eyes. We need to stop judging or limiting ourselves based on the story which is yesterdays and expose ourselves to a magician called change, who can broaden what we think we are.
Communication is the bread and butter of evolution. End of the day, only criteria to validate the quality of life is to check if we got any better communicating with self and the other as the days pass...!
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A recent query from Practo Consult made me aware of the inclination, of a sector of society, to explore the science behind the taboo on untimely exposure of children to sex. This seemed like a topic relevant not just for parents but also for progressive individuals. Let's go ahead and explore the short & long term effect on a child's thoughts, emotions, actions and the way his/her life's shaped.
Child’s Identification with People Around & Imitation in Every Possible Way
You might have observed that your child is a little person who does everything that you do. From being an infant in his own world, he eventually starts noticing his body as well as objects in his environment. He is observing keenly, what people say or do and also their body language. You are walking & talking around him. So can he. You are watching a TV or working in a tab, even he would. You talk about certain topics and eventually find him also having something to say. Your emotions do not take much time to be reflected on his face. It’s all an indication that your child absorbs everything about his environment & imitates you as a first step in making sense of his environment. He is closely reading your emotions. You are his role model in creating his life. All these doesn't mean that he understands what he is doing. An exposure to a sexual activity in his initial years would make him also want to express his instincts in similar way as an avid imitator. He too would want to manipulate his private parts. However, he also realizes that he is not accepted whenever he shows this sort of behaviour. He has gotten his hands now on something he cannot understand or manage and is under constant pressure.
Effect of the initial untimely exposure to Sex on Emotions
This world is fascinating as well as scary to a child based on the way she experiences it. Every day routine which is acted out by adults, becomes her routine hence a zone of safety for child. However, encounter with a new experience or persons could bring out any sort of emotion from child depending on the extent she is able to integrate it to her world. A direct exposure to sex like watching anyone involved in the activity could alter her perception about people involved & an indirect one through media could trouble her in different ways. Sex is a basic drive operating also within her in one form or another; hence exposure to sex before the body and mind are ready could generate confusion, shock, fear, panic, disgust, curiosity, fascination, guilt, misunderstanding or any other strong emotion.
Affects the way Child’s Mind & Habits are shaped
A Person’s Mind or Brain is like a sponge which absorbs everything that she comes across in her environment or imagination along with her reactions to it. Mind is continuously developing as she is growing. Everything that arouses strong emotions or curiosity in her is replayed multiple times in her head as well as actions & is strengthened in the brain. A child basically has two environments to cater to. First one is her inner drive or psychic energy & second one is the outer drive or the expectation from her world. She would eventually learn to manage both the drives appropriately if she gets a chance to express her inner drive in an age appropriate way, aided by relevant exposure & parenting. If there is an exposure which startles her and imbalances her expression of drives it is not only stored as a strong memory but also recalled repeatedly and explored further out of curiosity, fear or confusion. It could make way for habits/addiction associated with acting out on strong emotion related to sexual tension. A young mind hasn't yet developed the extent of reasoning or intellect to understand or interfere the trigger of these emotions.
Creates a misguided Idea about Self & the World derived from Extensive objectification
In the beginning of an infant’s life, the people who care for him are viewed mainly as objects who feed him or keep him safe/satisfied. His view of himself also is of an object or a body which comes handy in satisfying his inner drives. As he grows, child is continuously learning to express his inner drives in one way or the other by observing his surroundings. He is developing his own thought process & emotions. Care and attention from his loved ones teach him to express his instincts in a nurturing way. Watching the expression of affection in multiple ways through senses, touch, caressing, speech etc. by people in his life, helps him build the same in his persona. He starts to cherish belonging by engaging with his siblings & friends in a constructive way. He also learns the value of constructive engagement through age relevant activities as a means to gain pleasure hence the idea of meaningful career. Eventually he is in a position to look at sex as another important way of drive fulfilment & expression of love rather than the only way. He begins to view himself as well as others as people with body, thought process, perspectives & emotions rather than mainly a body or object which comes handy for drive fulfilment. An early exposure to sex might interfere in this process of shaping a healthy individual by occupying a major portion of his mind and activities as a means of drive fulfilment. This would certainly affect the way he shapes his life in an adverse way.
Long Term Effects of Untimely Exposure or Experience on your child
An untimely, age inappropriate exposure or experience with sex has consequences in multiple ways. To begin with, it affects child’s emotions and alters his thought process. It could invade his imagination. It might make him look at people more as objects for gratification than ones with intelligence, emotions or something more to them. It creates chance of sex occupying his mind as a major means of drive fulfilment or lose its charm in his mind altogether and become a disgusting or valueless activity. It could arrest his growth as an individual and enhance his insecurities. It could also create an obsession in his mind to think about sex or to avoid any thoughts about sex. It could create a huge burden of guilt & shame over something he finds hard to understand or control. It could reduce his focus or engagement with activities which help him grow or make him immerse only in things which help him block undesired emotions. Overall it reduces the extent of control he could have had on his own thoughts, emotions & actions and interferers in his well-being.
Overview of Developmental Stages of a Child, Requirement for Gradual Exposure to Sex in a Healthy Child
You might have noticed that child undergoes certain developmental stages during her physical, emotional & psychological growth in the early years. She would be interested only in being fed & getting enough sleep in the beginning however eventually her senses start to develop. She would acquire control over her motor skills which leads to her manipulating objects with her hand, legs & body, start walking followed by development of fine motor skills involved in mastering languages. Later her world expands to her playmates & schooling. She would start with the initial reasoning, symbolic thinking, mastery & cooperation with her world, followed by abstract reasoning. In all these stages, there usually is an order in which she develops. Every action which is visible about her must have a psychological & emotional component, which need not be exclusively expressed & visible to us unlike physical growth. Where exactly exposure to sex fit in, in these stages? There is an inherent exposure in relevant manner in all these stages which could be coupled with age appropriate education. In the beginning she was fed by mother, which is her primary means of survival. Touch, holding, affection & attention by parents and others in environment make her identify with care givers and put an effort to sustain their attention. She develops belonging with her siblings & friends who are girls as well as boys. She eventually notices that she is a girl who happens to be different from father, brother or friends who are boys. She tends to identify with female role models & hold curiosity about opposite sex with her own set of questions. Children tend to express their curiosity in their play & subtle behaviour. Her questions need to be answered appropriately while she is young in line with her well-being. Children manage their curiosity exactly as guided by elders, playmates and other exposures. She is ready for exposure to further intricacies of sex, when she has entered her puberty & started developing abstract reasoning. This stage calls for a well-informed and holistic sex education. Ignorance also doesn't shape a healthy & progressive individual.
Handling the untimely Exposure, when there is one
The world we live in is not always rational. Even after having the best intentions for their children, parents might face situations where they have to handle the sort of exposure their child might have come across accidentally. It could be anything that has affected their children in an adverse way. Elders need to keep an eye on their younger one’s emotional experiencing & behaviour. If a child happens to have any age irrelevant experiencing, it’s important to understand the way it’s acting on her mind & help her relieve the tension so that she can make sense of her experience & start engaging appropriately with her world again.
Find 7 Ways of Effective Parenting Here.
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There are 2 religions in this world. One of them is the experience of being a woman. This is the religion which intrigues many through its enigmatic nature. What does she truly want..?? Is there a way to understand her better..?? Let's look at every aspect that makes her what she is and see If we can..!!
Physical Composition: She has it in her to Nurture
When it comes to physical composition, men and women differ in quite a few things. Woman’s body reflects her prime purpose in the existence. Main difference here is with reproductive system and hormonal generation. While men mainly have the hormones facilitating physical strength & sexual instincts which focus on creation, women mainly have the hormones to make her body and mind conducive to build, maintain & nurture. This is the prominent difference at the level of sex.
Social Structuring: Roles she play in the society
To begin with, we humans started as hunter gatherers who lived in forest. Here men who were physically stronger & aggressive could compete with other animals and hunt for food. They got everything that is required from outside, home. Women who could nurture, engaged herself in management of home with tasks like cooking food, home maintenance, caring for her family etc. In this equation, man and woman played equal roles of provider & nurturer. If he cared for her & respected her through his activities, she complimented with hers. Eventually when humans evolved & started making their lives comfortable, they invented 101 ways of engagement including the concept of money. Everything which was done outside the 4 walls of house, became a profession with different amount of money associated with it. More the number of people who embraced the profession, lesser was its value. Lesser the money associated with a profession, lesser was it respected. In all these developments, we forgot one thing. There was another religion called woman, whose existence was mainly inside 4 walls. In the beginning we couldn't come up with a way to decide the value of work done inside home. We thought her role as an overall manager of household is invaluable & priceless hence cannot be gauged however eventually it became undervalued & priced less because there was no money associated with it. This concept of value got established in general psyche. Eventually she started to engage in caring & nurturing professions which as well tend to be invaluable in their nature & undervalued. At this point, with the concept of value shifting to work involving analysis & reasoning rather than physical, men & woman hold equal probability of flourishing at them. However, household management still happens to be our basic need which is undervalued and taken for granted by many progressive men & women alike. We all wish to be fed & cared for however it’s all expected to happen by itself somehow...??
Emotional Strength: She can sustain longer without appreciation?
Every one of us need food to sustain. Most important food we consume is that, we feed our mind & heart with. Our heart and mind survive based on the way rest of the world treats us. We all are seekers of attention. Most of the things we do is for the approval of others in one way or the other. When we engage in a profession, first aspect of the recognition we get is the money and the second is the appreciation. We decide our own value in this world based on these 2 factors. In a man’s life, by engaging in a profession, he at least gets money if not appreciation however in an average woman’s life, she has the probability of missing both if she doesn't engage in a recognized profession..? Just the way we consider a man working outside for a family to be his duty, we consider woman toiling for family, inside home as her duty and fail to appreciate her. Cooking could be a profession or a responsibility. whenever it’s done outside 4 walls, it becomes a fancy profession however at home it’s just part of the concept of home. Here both men & woman suffer from lack of appreciation however weight carried by woman tend to be higher because her role itself could be overlooked. It might make her insecure & show it in one way or another.
Intellectual Flexibility: She embodies Change
Woman is the religion which embodies change. She has all the seasons of the year, within her. Changes of environment in her body is reflected by her menstrual cycle. She prepares herself to hold another life every month. These hormonal changes might reflect in her mood & behaviour. Her capacity to hold & care for life makes her sensitive to people around her. She is flexible & adaptable to any environment if treated with a little love & respect. Her changing body gives her a chance to understand changes in oneself & the other. You could express 101 of your thoughts to her and she can point out that one which is most important to you by capturing emotions. Her sensitivity for emotions lets her see the meaning behind thoughts. She can explore her inner world better while men are equipped to explore the outer world.
Striving for Security: Coping with Course of Life..!!
Constructive engagement is the basic need of every single person. If she could create a beautiful family through her roles, she has it in her to engage in any sort of profession & create value for society. In today’s world which mainly speaks & understands the language of money; she might be required to engage in a recognized profession, not just as an expression of herself but also as a means for survival & security. It is the best scenario when a woman or a man could engage in a profession, which is mainly their self-expression and a means for further self-exploration. Woman’s mixed engagement pattern however might leave her more confused & stressed than clear about where she stands.
Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter: What’s her role in Your Life?
We have experienced her in different roles. There is one who has raised you to be so beautiful & another who grew playing & quarrelling with you. There is one more who has been your companion for life, who is a teasing lover/caring mother/playful daughter in one. There is one more looking at you with such a devotion in her twinkling eyes that your heart explodes with pride. You have been experiencing her beauty, her sensitivity, her love, her expectations, her emotional turmoil & her vulnerabilities in all these roles.
As a Woman Is She Feeling Valued?
Amidst 101 things a woman manages, she runs the risk of not managing her own value & space. Rest of the world looks at us & treats us the way we treat our selves. Women tend to nurture the whole family forgetting to nurture themselves. Person who is neglected and belittled by self tends to be neglected & demeaned by others as well. She ought to Start owning her life & respecting what she does. It sets a standard for others to respect her. Being a woman, one ought to give herself some space when she creates space for everyone else in the family. She need not do anything she doesn't want to do to prove a point. Any work is a celebration in itself and a means for development if it’s done with whole heart. She ought to truly love, respect & cherish what she is doing. That way, people in her life will understand her and look at her from her perspective. It's difficult to change the way world treats us however we can change the way we treat ourselves with a little effort in turn reinforcing social change. Let's look at women in our own life and check if they realize their value. Self-empowerment is the beginning of social empowerment.
Hope we understand & appreciate this most discussed religion called woman a little more now. If she is special & unique so is the religion called man. Even he is misunderstood many a times. I would love to write about him, may be another time..!
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"Anything we want to Change, We got to Understand First"
Samay desperately wishes to say adios to smoking. Ruby would give anything in the world to lose those extra pounds. Shalu is wanting since years to start with an exercise regime. Romy doesn’t understand how he can stay away from weed, which makes his life seem magical. Shahid doesn’t get tired dreaming about a job which isn’t anything like his current job. All their worries are around one powerful word, Habit. Every one of us resolves to break few habits & construct few others. What’s our success rate? How about improving the success rate in few steps? As a first step let’s understand the nature of habits.
Instinct driven Habits, when Body takes the Driving Wheels..!!
Joey has a tendency to wake up around one in the night hungry. He sneaks into kitchen looking for a snack, while his wife is sleeping like a baby. He has been like this since a while. What would you do when you are hungry or thirsty..?? How long can you control them..?? Every one of us has experienced the power of hunger & thirst. We will be habituated to eat at certain interval or drink certain quantity. Other instinctual tendencies are the need for sex & the need for rest. We were born with these instincts, generated automatically by body to address its basic needs. Being body driven & primitive; instinctual habits are the toughest to master. There are many industries that thrive by triggering one of these instincts within us subconsciously. Few of the strong addictions we wish to get rid are at this level.
Pleasure or Pain driven Habits: the World as Experienced through Senses
Think about yourself during childhood. Did you love going to school & listening to teachers..?? How about studies? Was it fantastic to study? What did you really like to do?
Well, most of us would have preferred to eat junk food, watch our favorite shows, roam around & mostly play. Then why did we go to school or how did we manage to..?? Childhood is when we develop different habits from brushing our teeth to sleeping at a certain hour. If we checked our routine and listed all the habits, the habits we created & loved were the one’s which made us feel good. All the activities which were pleasurable for us were our choice.
The strongest of the habit was that where most of our senses were involved like playing a game or watching television. The habits which we liked least but obliged anyway are the one’s which were created out of fear of elders. It could be something like waking up in the morning, taking a bath, eating our vegetables or doing homework. Strong Emotions guided by instincts are the motivation behind most of these habits. Even later in our life we continue to be pleasure seeking beings & most of the things we do is to multiply pleasure & divide pain. These habits are to immediately satisfy the emotional urge. Once a certain emotion is generated we just want to generate more of it or reduce it based on its nature hence the pleasure based habit strengthens just by repetition. Most of the addictions we want to get rid of are at emotional level. It’s just a balancing act between pleasure & pain just like studying after playing or to play after studying.
Goal driven Habits, What gives satisfaction in Life
Roshan puts in tremendous efforts on every project to ensure that he climbs up the corporate ladder soon. He is sure that one day he would be one of the directors and every day is taking him a step closer to his dream. What Roshan is looking for here is not an immediate pleasure. He is working hard just to satisfy his need to be a prominent person. Every goal driven habit is driven by a need, lying deep within us. It could be the need for money, comfort, name, fame, status, prestige, power or anything that needs one to work for it & later keep working to enhance it or save it from waning out. Goal driven habits are futuristic in nature hence come with a common component of seeking something. It might be individualistic in nature or involving the needs of family, community, country or the world. Goal driven habit is one of the indicators of agency because one has a persistent goal only when he could manage pain or pleasure driven habits to an extent. Goals here are associated with stronger emotions, strong enough to overcome the need for immediate pleasure/pain.
Love driven Habits, Ones that Make Every Moment of Life Valuable..!!
When Abdul Kalam took his last walk recently, whole India walked with him. If not for Lincoln, there wouldn’t have been the USA, Anand remains in many hearts though Rajesh Khanna is no more. One’s in a while we come across people who seem to be thoroughly enjoying what they do. It could be a carpenter, a shop keeper, an artist, an athlete or a scientist. This person works for the sake of work and nothing else because he/she is drugged by what he/she does hence high on it. These habits do not need any other motivation because there is love connecting what they do and what they are; hence what they do becomes what they are. They either do what they love or learn to love what they do. These sorts of habits are seen in those who shape their profession through their very presence.
How to Create a Habit that stays and How to get rid of unwanted Habits..??
Our life is nothing but an outcome of our habits & patterns. Now that we have a rough understanding of the way habits function we are ready to take the leap and see how we can create and sustain habits or lose unwanted ones…Stay Tuned for the next article in the series..!!
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“You are the bows from which your children
As living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
And He bends you with His might
That His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies,
So He loves also the bow that is stable.”
Kahlil Gibran, On Children ~ The Prophet
Parenting is a beautiful experience. Parents play the vital role in helping children grow. In their role as creators and providers can we compare parents to the sun..?? As we know sun is the sole provider for earth who maintains whole existence here, by giving tirelessly without any expectations. How about role played by children..?? Can we compare children to the moon; who continuously receives from the earth, to sustain it's existance, without giving back much..?? It doesn't sound like the whole truth and there has to be much more to this relation than what it seems like, at surface level. Let's go ahead & check the role played by both parents and children in the course of life and see If parents are just the giving entity or are they also recieving simuntaneously..??!!!
Bringing a Life on Earth…Creation Phase
A life is conceived when the creation & nurturing forces come together as father & mother. From the moment a life is conceived, every cell of the embryo or to be a child is formed from the body of the mother. How a child looks like is decided by how father, mother or the ancestors looked like. The health of the infant is the reflection of the health of mother & father because she gives the infant what is very own her and he gives the genes and creates a conducive environment. The conditions in the womb are just the reflection of mother’s food habits, mindset and the moods which shape that of the child to a great extent. Mother herself is very much reflection of her own outer environment and inner strength.
Raising a Child….Maintenance Phase
Parents are the representation of the society to the child. A child would start and advance exactly from the point parents themselves stand. If parents feed child, she’ll have food. If parents can recognize child’s emotions, she would learn to recognize and understand her own emotions. If parents respond to her needs appropriately and create a secure environment, she would have security in her heart as well as life. If parents recognize her talents, capacity and inclinations; she would develop them. Child would invest herself continuously in any intellect developing medium like school only because of the will of parents. Through their will she would eventually develop her own will. She would learn from the values parents’ project, observe the way they live and make those standards her own. Parents are the lens through which child looks at herself as well as the society. Overall growth in every aspect of the child from physical to spiritual is just the reflection of her parents. Child carries her parents throughout her life. The impact of parenting on child is projected further in the article about effective parenting.
Adulthood & Marriage…The Learning Phase
This is the phase where initial growth has happened and individual can take care of himself in every front. He can earn his food, contain and express his emotions, think & analyze rationally, make his own decisions and most importantly has developed a will; which helps him to set goals and work for the goals without any immediate reward in vicinity. This is the phase where he learns to look at his belief system from different angles, consider the bigger picture rather than a single perspective and take his own stand. He hastens his exploration and expansion as an individual. Once a certain amount of development is in place, he is ready for marriage.
Marriage is the coming together of two people on the foundation of commitment to contain the attraction and expand the intimacy, within its very own boundaries. So far, the person has been mostly a receiving entity; with marriage he starts to give, to accommodate and to walk with. The success of any marriage is the reflection of the extent to which two people involved can respect each other give unconditionally & appreciate what’s received. This is the beginning of Love or self-expansion where one starts realizing the joy of giving. More about marriage is discussed in the article on role of romantic love in marriage.
Giving Birth & Raising a Child….The Shaping Phase
Once couple can contain each other in a trusting environment, they are ready for further self expansion in the form of parenthood. Conceiving and parenting a child gives an individual the opportunity to give unconditionally, which is the meaning of real love. Children are the answer to a parent’s craving for an eternal Life. Children strengthen the bond of parents with universe by teaching them to love truly. Responsibility towards children is the will that motivates parent’s to work harder. By helping children gain agency, parents strengthen their own confidence, esteem & agency. So parenthood; by driving Love, motivation, & responsibility drives the higher order growth of men. Parents shape the future of children & are in turn shaped continuously during the process. They expand self, attach themselves to children as if they are one with them and then detach from children eventually; gaining wisdom in the process. Parenthood teaches understanding & develops inner strength which in turn creates a bond of trust and caring towards society .
Late Adulthood….the Testing phase
This is the phase where the outer strength which was taken from someone else diminishes however inner strength which was built so far is tested. The person is happy to the extent he has managed to expand. If he gave everything he could to life unconditionally and received all that parenting & parenthood gave him totally, he would be more content than insecure. He would be even with life because he would have received a lot & given unconditionally. His body becomes less important to him than his emotions, emotions lesser than intellect & intellect less important than mastery & will. His concept of home expands.
Are We like the Sun or the Moon as Parents & Children..??
In the journey of life; we are the past, present & the future. Any phase of Life isn’t independent of us. We were the children who received from yesterdays, we would be the parents who shape tomorrows by giving & we are the individuals who are evolving the present day. If we received directly from some, we would be giving some others. When we gave, we already would have received at a higher level. Life has been flowing through us throughout yesterday, today & tomorrow towards eternity. Be a parent or child, we are the links for life to flow & we ourselves are the life.Hence We neither are the sun who is all giving & nor the moon who is all receiving. We are the earth who takes from the sun & gives to the moon while sustaining Life & evolving every day during the process. Let’s cherish the interdependence and connection we share with everyone/everything & grow together...!!
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When I am brushing my teeth, with slightest awareness of the scratchy material wandering around the nukes and corners of the cave of my mouth, amidst the sea of foam; only wish I have is to rush back to the comfort of cozy bed and continue with the world of warriors and ferries. “Sonu, aren’t you finished with your bath yet, you are going to be late for school again”, mum’s shrill voice is like this final ‘Go’ in the running race, it has that alarming effect. I hope for the umpteenth time for a miracle that should delay the school bus, which appears unfailingly at our doorstep, somewhat sooner today..!!
While I am entering the classroom, I am still struggling to wipe off those final traces of sleep, save the rhythmic voice of my class teacher. I try to keep my eyes and ears open, when they go on filling me in with different subjects; thinking all the time about that wonderful hour when I get to play. Once in a while my attention is captured by a story or a joke or a sudden question. Yesterday, someone asked me about my favorite subject. “Of course English, there is no doubt about it. I like it when mam tells all those stories. She has never hesitated to explain again, when I did not understand something. How does she know that I haven’t understood in first place? She must be the nicest person in this whole world.” Then comes the next question. “Sonu, why do you think you are studying?”; “Ahh, don’t I know; to become a great man/lady; rich and famous”. That person also wanted to know what all these subjects I am studying about are. I really have no clue; I guess they are taught so that I can write exams. Finally he asks me what do I like most about school. Of course, it is the time when I get to mingle and play with others.
School & learning would have been much more bearable if they wouldn’t have thought about exams. Why exams..?? The mention of exams freaks me and my parents together, alike. Dad tells me that I need to be ahead of crowd and ace the exams if I am to become a great person and make my mark in society. May be then I need not get up soon or go to school and get to play all the time. Mum also tells me that it is not enough to be good but also to be ahead of others. I guess the school is about competition and to conquer everyone around. But I like it more when I am playing with others. I even enjoy me falling in the attempt to make a goal. I love it when we hold hands and laugh together. I like the game the same irrespective of our team winning or losing and want to play it desperately the next time. May be rest of the life is not like these games. May be it’s supposed to be hard like most of the classes, homework & exams.
Sometimes I wonder why I enjoy the games so much and not so with the rest of the day. May be the games I play are much simpler than what I am learning at school, or maybe not and just appear so because I perceive and understand in my own way; the whole of the game but not most of the subjects, I am supposed to learn. Games engage me , interest me and also teach me to respect rest of the players & their role however rest of my life wants me to become superior, to be the best with a forced and artificial engagement in subjects I am learning. I enjoy the inter dependence on other players in the game but rest of my life does not reflect it to me in any way. Just like games I play, I have the capacity to learn anything and everything in this world if I get to look at them just like another game.
Many a times I want to converse with my world, and tell you all; how thankful I am to you, for loving me and directing me the way you do. You use your will & reasoning to make me engage with life, in the way you think is best for me, so that I can become a strong willed person tomorrow. Would you do a little more for me and think about why I might like what I like? Would you be patient with me and understand my reasoning as well as the world, as I see it to help me know, understand & be a pro in the game of Life. End of the day, isn't my competition's with myself and none other..??
I wish to conquer my Insecurities & Embrace Life rather than to embrace the insecurities & Conquer Life…Would you be my ally in this grand endeavor..??
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“Our relation to surroundings is interpreted through words whereas that with self is through Silence”
We live in a relational world where the value of each one depends solely on the quantity or the quality of the value he/she creates for others. In this circus of value creation and need fulfillment, we hardly have any time to peep into own self and find out why we really do, what we do as individuals. Most of us are proud as well as relieved to be engaging mechanically in one or the other task so that we hardly have time for real intimacy with oneself or others. However we wish to get a tad more understanding of what we are, so that we could be happier & content.Here is a simple & straight forward way to come face to face with enigmatic & complex person, called 'I'...!!
Have an Encounter with Silence
Most of the activities we engage in are habitual save the urge for engagement. Just take a look at your routine and find out if there can be a small window for self-engagement. Fall silent intentionally in that window. Notice yourself when you are being silent to find the progression of your natural inclinations. There are multiple ways in which we hold ourselves in silence. We might fall into an internal monologue or dialogue. We might get agitated & crave impatiently for stimulation of senses. We might get restless for action. We might even fall asleep or clear our thoughts and focus on the inner world. It is important to allow ourselves to drift into most natural mode and check where we could be going with silence. Here is little elaboration of forms silence usually takes.
We are not as simple or straight forward as we assume ourselves to be. There are different parts to us lying right there within us. One part of us could be our best friend affirming our ways of life and another could be the worst enemy with multiple variations in between. Internal dialogue usually is held in 3 ways.
First one is the straight forward reliving of the incidents, which we would have been part of or would have witnessed in some way (ex: through media). We need to notice the sort of feelings we attach to this replay & also see the direction in which we tend to alter or improvise the drama to know our hidden needs. There could be some parts which are replayed a trillion times in our mind which tend to tell a lot about what's truly cherished. This mode of internal dialogue is partially driven by feelings (inner sensations). Ex: replaying a part of daily soap or cricket match.
Second one is the day dreaming where we start with certain incident as a trigger & proceed in the direction of the most prominent part within us, at that moment. Content of the dream takes the nature of our inner dynamics. Many a times day dreaming could start as a pleasant experience and eventually turn into a panicky and nightmarish. It could portray oneself in most glorious or utterly helpless position. Day dreaming represents our wishes as well as fears with either one taking control based on one's very own inner programming. This form of inner dialogue is driven by multiple, possibly confused feelings. Ex: Fantasizing about dream job, ideal mate or imagining a failed attempt at public speaking.
Third one is the internal dialogue about an idea, perception or a concept. This is a monologue where we tend to get into the nuances of the concept and flow with the concept as if we have become one with it. In this mode we usually tend to progress in single direction hence can be named as the flow of will. Here we usually tend to analyze one side of the concept in depth. This form of the inner dialogue is mostly driven by a single feeling. Ex: A Eureka moment.
By observing our inner dialogues we get a peep into parts of us which are driving us and understand them better to create our very own driver who could act our will as a whole.
Impatient craving for stimulation of senses
Once you fall silent you might have a great urge to watch the latest episode of that reality show you drool over or listen to your ultra-favorite music parallely or else at least get a grab of the mouthwatering slice of culinary wonder accessible right next to you…!!??? These along with many other urges primarily involving one or the other sensory gratification are the cravings to embrace the world with all its beauty in different forms. We would find it almost impossible to fall and stay silent because our identity here is greatly attached to the world surrounding us. We are mostly controlled by the world.
Restlessness for action
We are in one or the other way in action because first two categories are nothing but action of thoughts and senses respectively however this one is the one concerning with activities. In this mode, as and when you fall silent, you might remember that you haven’t sent that critical email yet or you have not exercised in a while. That book you haven’t read yet will come & dance before you. Every action you were supposed to do would come to you & beg you to take it up. Eventually you tend to give up and say alright, if that is what it is. It usually shows our preoccupation with actions & the assumption of being of great value as long as we act. It also could be a mechanism to avoid our own company.
Sleep is the self-preservation mode where we shift from active consciousness to another state of consciousness. Every organ of our body is still active when we sleep except for the senses, actions & the active observer within us. If silence can put you to sleep, either you are tired of sensing and other actions or bored of observing yourself act. It can be physical exhaustion, lack of motivation or lower emergence of feelings (it could be any) than the usual threshold.
Clearing the mind & Focusing within
This is a state where you could really fall silent when you intend to be silent. In this state you are able to clear your mind of all thoughts and focus on the inner sensations. If you can reach this state readily it means that you are in a position to lead your life intentionally rather than mechanically. You are truly driving your life rather than being driven by situations.
Our relation with silence need not be very comfortable one at the moment. However do we currently have any sort of relation we know of, with silence..?? We could love, enjoy, fear or even despise silence. Are we ready to find out and face it..?? After all everyone needs to come face to face with one self eventually..!!
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Hunger is the ultimate driver. We all strive to quench thirst & subside the hunger, existing in one form or the other. Hunger is that force which shapes us & makes us what we are. We have all sorts of hunger; within us, to certain extent however there is one hunger which becomes most prominent in us. If we look back at our precious moments of joy & elation, we find them to be an answer to satisfaction of prominent hunger at that point. What is important is if we know exactly that, we are most hungry for..!! What gets us up in the morning with butterflies in the stomach & twinkle in the eyes..?? What makes us rather run with all the enthusiasm in the world than walk along..??
Hunger of the Instincts
Let’s begin with the hunger of the stomach. Stomach is the biggest attention seeker one would ever meet. Every single day it arrives without knocking the door or waiting for your permission, more than once. It needs to know that it would be attended to; whenever it likes, in the way it likes, for the eternity to be content. Body is hungry even for mating which is it’s way of feeling unified with another body & also to relieve the inner tension of instinctual nature. We begin our life with hunger of the body & would rarely are hungry for anything else, if stuck at this level..!!
Hunger of the Gut
Hunger for the survival is as primitive as our existence on the earth. We primarily sense any sort of danger to our being through our gut. Hunger of the gut makes us crave for the safety & security. It not only wants to address an immediate danger but also wants to ensure a non threatened existence throughout.Hunger of the gut makes us collect as much money & people as possible to relieve the tension. It also ensures that anytime there is a plan to keep things as they are expected to be. This hunger makes one dwell into the past to anticipate a threat & frantically come up with a solution to avoid disturbance. It is because of this hunger that we have finer materials & enhanced comfort in our lives
Hunger of Senses/Core
One more hunger of a prominent nature is for experiencing the beauty & excitement. Our senses are the main source of this hunger. One who is hungry for visual beauty finds it exciting to capture it on a screen. They have keen eyes for capturing everything seen, visualized or imagined. There are others who are hungry for the beauty of sound. They can listen to those sounds of nature, which rest of us notice only when made explicit by them. They also are adept at listening to inner tune & give it a voice. Third type of hunger is that for grasping the scent & aroma. This type of hunger can create that exquisite perfume which can take you to ninth heaven. Hunger of the taste has given us millions of varieties of mouthwatering recipes. Hunger of the touch is something which makes the body sensitive as well as capable for subtle variations. It gives us athletes, sports stars, choreographers, & different performers. The hunger for senses make us adventurous & risk taking. This is one hunger which can keep us literally on our toe, ever ready for the next move. Here our body is our biggest source of hunger satisfaction. This is the sort of hunger which makes the world beautiful & skilled.
Hunger of the Heart
We are social animals, meaning we are a community who live with each other, deeply connected to each other in multiple ways. We wish to continuously feel the connection in one way or the other. Feelings are the medium through which hearts communicate. One who has a prominent hunger of heart has a deeper need to understand & also to be understood. They find it easier to read their own & other’s feelings. When they use language, it is to give words to feelings & also to understand feelings. This hunger comes with a high thirst for intimacy. Intimacy is the heart's way to feel unification or oneness with another heart. Anyone with prominent hunger of heart can be called romantic who is keenly and genuinely interested in people & their well-being.
Hunger of the Mind
Hunger of the mind strives to tune you to bring in order & efficiency in the world. It wishes to create a world which makes perfect sense for ever examining intellect. This sort of hunger creates a warrior who has studied the art of war thoroughly from several angles & has come up with the right set of weapons for every single soldier on board to make a winning side out of his/her side. It makes you focus on the right set of weapons rather than the skill of the soldiers or their heart's cravings. The ones with hunger of mind do not stop at the conception of a winning side but also focuses on improvising the efficiency of the weapons continuously to make their side an absolute winner. Mind's hunger creates those logical systems which speak the only language which is that of efficiency.This hunger gets the world life altering inventions & technology.
Hunger for the Truth
In between all these hungers, there is another one in all of us. It is that hunger which is feeble in the beginning & a major parallel as and when the original hunger is adequately satisfied. It is the hunger for the absolute truth in this relative world. It is to find predictability in unpredictable path. It is to locate the infinite in the finite lifespan. It is the hunger for the ultimate truth. It is the hunger to know self, hunger to know universe & the reason behind reasoning. This is the hunger which makes us believe that tomorrow exist out of the faith in the existence. It is the hunger which has created several religions understood by those who created them & interpreted by each of us inline with our own understanding & the extent of hunger. It is the hunger which makes us reach out for the unknown eternity..!!
Hunger for the hunger
Hunger is the lifeblood of life. We all need a hunger to keep us adhered to the beads of life. A state where there is no hunger pushes us to boredom which we do not know, how to face. Hence we are the satisfiers as well as creators of the hunger. All these hungers exist in all of us to some extent. We could also be intensely hungry in more than one ways here. We need to listen to our nature, our inner voice, our most prominent hunger & answer the call. If we go ahead & subside the wrong hunger, we just are force feeding the person whose stomach’s full & pushing her towards inconvenience, illness, irritation or boredom. A lion who is well-fed & well kept, does not forget its hunger for pride & lead a fantastic life in zoo.
Now think twice…Is your life the true reflection of your hunger…???
Hope you said Yes..!!!
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It’s indeed rare for Bollywood to come up with movies which show the saga of Life after love stuck boy & girl unite in wedlock. Tanu weds Manu Returns seemed to be one flick, which does that job quite well. However Bollywood being a dramatic art portrayer continues its tendency to blow things up & let the audience either get reinforced in their dysfunctional belief system or start thinking about creating a functional Life. Looking at the eagerness with which this movie is being accepted it’s clear that either people are identifying with what’s being offered or are curious about what happens after girl weds boy.
There are many messages in the movie which highlight a dysfunctional relationship. Wedding of this sort is clearly not a norm, as we wrongly presume. Dysfunctional aspects in any marriage can be corrected with little willingness & effort. Let’s take a look at all those messages, delivered at one place or the other.
Loneliness within the Marriage
In the movie it’s very clear that Tanu’s issues begin when she starts getting lonely. This is an issue in many marriages. We all need something or the other to keep us engaged. Before getting married, it is extremely important for the person who is expected to relocate, to find out the sort of environment which will be available in new base. Assuming that it is the girl who will be relocating in line with Indian culture, she needs to know her engagement pattern beforehand & find out if that pattern can be expressed in new environment. For instance if she is relocating to another country, she needs to find out the sort of engagement opportunities available & if those are in her liking. Here, Tanu is an extremely carefree & outgoing person who is worshipped in her town hence finds it totally out of place when she is placed in London alone with Manu. She needs people & their attention to engage and she gets materials & comfort instead which make her extremely lonely. One needs to engage & feel at home to have a functional relationship.
Most of the women seem like persons with Bipolar Disorder..??
Throughout the movie the tendency of Tanu to over react, seek attention & lose control over her mood as well as behavior often is highlighted. If movie is considered her lifetime, she can be suspected to have some issues. On the other hand movie normalizes her portrayal with that of every woman & indirectly suggests that women could be persons with emotional issues & it’s normal. Normalcy is the situation where a man or a woman, in wedlock or outside the wedlock, is in control of his/her life irrespective of the situation. If you are not able to own your life there is always a way to make it possible. Women might be expressive in their emotion however it doesn’t mean that they do not or cannot have control over their moods & behavior.
Nagging & Cribbing from women & Silence from men is the norm..!!
In the movie we see Manu’s father’s efforts to escape from his wife’s cribbing & nagging with the aid of his muteness & alcohol, as a ritual aiding long commitment. When the family is lead in this way, the woman never feels heard in her lifetime & the man keeps all his longings & emotions suppressed forever in his illusional world. In a functional marriage both the parties feel heard & both the parties feel free to express their opinions. Any marriage where we see continuous disconnected communication is dysfunctional.
Once I commit, I cannot back off even if whole of me is against it..??
In this movie Manu stays committed to marry Kusum though he becomes aware of his still existing love for Tanu. He reasons & backs off his decision calling it one of his rare virtues to stand by a decision. At a superficial level this one seems like a virtue. However is this quality to hold on to a decision though all your thoughts & emotions are against it a virtue..?? It is important in a relation to be committed & work for the growth of relationship along with the growth of yourself. However a relationship which starts with a self & partner deception in the name of commitment to another cannot be called functional save virtue. Commitment can be established only by being honest to yourself as well as partner.
One would keep loving another person for the way he/she looks like
Here Manu falls in love with Kusum mainly because she looks like Tanu though she isn’t like Tanu in any other way. After being in relationship for certain number of years & experiencing each other as whole persons rather than a face or just a carefree or caring attitude, if one still tends to identify the person with the face, it is just an obsession with the face & not love. Once you have married someone & reach a stage where you cannot stand each other, you might learn to eventually stand each other & develop intimacy however rarely fall for another person with similar face. In marriage you develop relation & intimacy with the whole person & not just with the body or face.
I love you & I hate the way you are..!!
Tanu here is looking for some stability & that is what she loves about Manu however she cannot stand anything else about his personality. Manu is attracted to the carefree attitude in Tanu & it’s hard for him to accept the other parts of her. They depend on each other to balance & complete them in a need based way. In every relation there are certain aspects where partners are different from each other in a complementary way which keeps the flames on however there also is a great extent of similarities which make them identify with each other & walk together. In any marriage where similarities are too few & no inclination to develop similarities there is an issue.
Open communication is something I can’t practice or won’t practice...
Tanu & Manu did need the presence of mental health professionals to discuss the health of their wedding. Tanu, though carefree & concerned hesitates in showing her love directly & Manu is too inhibited to make the first move. You cannot rely on the situation & people surrounding you to mediate & make you understand each other. It’s important for the couple to take initiative & communicate in every possible way, till the other person understands what was communicated. In a functional relationship one can look at a situation from minimum 2 angles, one being your own & another your partners.
I want ‘you’ to understand me while I continue my non understanding
Both Tanu & Manu from beginning did not have any intention to separate. They just reacted to the situation. Manu did not intend to divorce Tanu however he took his anger & helplessness as an intention to separate & approached the lawyer. Tanu had all the intentions to apologize & unite however did not know how to react to a mild & caring husband reacting out of character. For a marriage to sustain before making the partner understand you, you need to understand yourself. You need to be clear about your intentions & willing to make partner understand your intentions. When you are clear in your mind you certainly can make the partner understand you. Once there is understanding there cannot be a dysfunctional wedding.
Tanu & Manu Returns is a well-directed & well-acted functional movie portraying dysfunctional relationship. By the end of the movie Tanu & Manu came back to square 1. I am sure you might have taken the other route & learnt a lot about functional relationship after that meaningful experience..!!
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We love our children & want the very best for them. However are we taking right actions toward that very best..?? Most of us know that children learn or are shaped by what we do & not what we say. However not many know the implication of these words on our very own lives. At this moment let’s take a glance at the way we are shaping our children with our “actions” or “non-actions”.
Most of us come home from work tired..??
Let’s accept it. Day by day we are reaching home from work all the more tired. It’s as if we have been rolling mountains whole day. Only one thing we wish to do, back home is to relax. Children are extremely instinctual. They read you more from your body language than from your words. So they interpret that work of any sort is something that gets you tired & sulky. From very young age they develop an aversion against working. They think that life is great when they do not work and just have fun in some way or the other. They are getting a message that work is not fun..!!
We seem happy when we communicate over phone or with friends..??
We humans being highly evolved beings have learnt the art of pretending. Whatever our energy level & mental state is all of a sudden we sound happy & excited when we are speaking over the phone or with an outsider. These masks we were, in our definition might be the social face which we ought to hold for a successful living, looks like a puzzle to our little ones. They get an impression that phone is that magic device which makes you happy & also you are to be relaxed & gay with friends & grim & uptight with family…We are teaching them to wear masks..!!
We install ourselves in front of television at first opportunity
Any child, you might have observed has very high energy level. He/she wants to play all the time. We do not realize that it is actually the work they are doing. They are born with a tendency to work passionately. As they grow up, they come across their role models whose keenness at home is to catch up with something or the other on television. On top of it, they also see their father & mother criticizing each other for their choice of program to watch. Eventually, they learn to choose that show, which closely portrays what they want to do & fall in line with the competition within the family…We are teaching them that pleasure is to be gained through senses & not by action..!!
We are too tired for real action/ we dislike our work..!!
Most of us lead a life where we imagine or watch what we want to do & work only for the sake of money, time pass or status. Our attitude portrays work to be a very distant ally. We are not in a state to talk passionately about work to our children & on the other hand we cannot even sit for a minute without filling our time. Our children grow up watching us mostly disinterested in any sort of physical action. Just think about the number of fathers or mothers who go out & play while their children watch them, number of parents who actively play at least an hour with their children, number of parents who take their children to their work place & explain how fabulous it is to work..!! Our children are left with no choice but to play in computer or phone imitating their parent’s obsession with phone or computer…We are taking them towards non-action..!!
We are connected more through technology than intimacy
Technology with its huge advance has brought whole world together. Now we receive appreciation & attention from people we barely know though several ways which is highly addictive though superficial. We beam to see 100+ likes on a picture posted on Facebook over a genuine appreciation from the partner. Now we have started to live for the sake of that wide range of appreciation over the joy from depth of appreciation. This depth can be felt when we can sense the presence of another person wholly with us, moment to moment; Sharing not only our outstanding experiences but also creating intense moments together. In any experience whether it’s a small discussion with family or quality time vacationing, the depth of experiencing depends on the focus. Right now our focus is not on the task at hand but on capturing the task for appreciation from some faceless friends on social media. We are teaching our children to live an empty life right from the beginning.
We do not make an attempt to establish intense connection with partner
Most of us eventually take our partner for granted & communicate only about some facts or about a decision to be made. A child keenly watches the way parents interact. It is highly rewarding to watch parents who care for each other, understand each other & truly connect. Child learns it’s interaction style & emotional expression by observing parents. At the moment, to a child home looks like a place where people collect nice stuff, watch television, eat, blame people, discuss some anxiety arousing topics occasionally & relax as much as possible not with each other. Home, where children are supposed to learn to work, to love, to communicate, to resolve an issue is slowly becoming a place where one learns to pretend all the more. We aren't teaching our children to establish true & genuine connection.
Influence of the media on our children..!!
Media is the bedrock of any civilization. It is a huge player in shaping the culture & tomorrow’s existence. It is yet another article to discuss the role media plays in shaping our children. Only one thing which has to be mentioned here is that media needs to be thoroughly reflective & aware of its role in shaping the whole society. Every single person is influenced to great extent by what’s portrayed in media. The society where media is biased, negative, overly objectified or irresponsible takes the society in that very direction. Media need to remember that it has to lead the society than to reflect the society to create enriching life.
We all love our children & wish a fulfilling life for them. However let us remember that our children can have a fulfilling life only if they find us leading one. Anything is possible if we truly intend to & start acting towards it. We need to lead our children by example. Let us reflect on our lives & create the very life we wish for our children, from this very moment…!!
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We crave for Love in one form or the other. Romance is something everyone goes gaga over. Bollywood & many other woods sustain because of our fairy tale notion of romance & its natural successor, the marriage. Most of those overblown entertainers conveniently forget to show the story after Love & Marriage. So it’s very natural to assume that it’s next to a sin to marry someone for any other reason than Love. Specially to arrange a marriage, seems like a far fetched idea..!! At this point, we are in a hurry to fall in Love so that we can settle in a marriage. Concept of getting into arranged marriage worries us. Is it really something to worry about..?? Is the marriage out of Love more successful than the arranged marriages..?? Research says it isn't. Reported success rate of both sort of marriages are surprisingly same. Let’s see how Romance need not be linked to Marriage in spite of popular understanding & expectations..!!
1. Conscious Efforts of Lover Vs. Adjustment with Unconscious Patterns
When anyone falls in Love, he or she is super conscious about the way they behave. We want to do everything right for the partner. We take extra pain to explore the person we love and go an extra mile to ensure that things are perfect & romantic. We put in all sort of efforts to be totally in the moment & make the moments wonderful. So, when we are in Love, our Lover seems like the most perfect person in the world. In Marriage we have a slightly different story. In marriage we tend to expose every part of us to the partner. We show the exact way of life we are accustomed to lead so far. We do not weigh or sensor our behavior or reactions for long and just let our already built patterns & habits take over. In this mode we become the pleasure seeking and pain reducing commoner, who himself/herself is unconscious of most of his/her autopilot way of Life. Now the task is of 2 individuals to understand & accommodate each other when they hardly understand themselves, through each other..!!
2. Exploring the Exciting Side for Variety Vs. Establishing Stability
When we are romancing; we are inclined to explore the funny, adventurous & caring side of ours. Lovers will have something or the other to talk about even at 3.0 am. Exchanging the sweet nothings becomes a routine. Even the silence between them seems charged. It turns out pleasurable to be doing something for the other & bestow love through multiple gestures. Hence romance is about exploration, that too of the exciting side of oneself & the partner to enjoy variety. Marriage requires for the couple to create a common ground between two people who are different in many ways. It is an anxious task in the beginning to give up on some of the long established habits to make way for a common lifestyle. So marriage becomes a process of accommodation between two people with the primary intent of establishing stability. Once stability is established in one particular way; out of many choices available, couple does not usually explore further & disturb the calm.
3. Ingredients of Attraction & Caring Vs. Understanding & Communication
Both love & marriage require their own ingredients to happen & sustain. Romance is about intimacy more than anything else. Intimacy is the outcome of realization about the acceptance from the other person for different aspects of one. Romance sustains when there is an attraction between a couple who deeply care for each other. Hence main ingredients of Love are attraction & caring. As the marriage is about partners having each other’s back & growing together, it needs partners to understand each other. Understanding is a complex process. Though one might understand few things about oneself, he/she understands many things about him/her through partner either through interaction or through observations from partner. So it becomes detrimental for partners to have an effective & continuous communication channel in place. Hence key ingredients of marriage are understanding & communication.
4. Expectations from oneself Vs. Expectations from Partner
When you fall in Love, other person becomes the center of your universe. You naturally will be doing anything & everything to show your Love. You are curious to find out the interests & strengths of the person you love, hence you experiment. Overall you tend to have more expectations from yourself than from the partner leading to you, feeling good about yourself & the relationship. In marriage you settle down with another person & relax. As the other person can see your most honest & comfortable self, you start expecting the other person to understand you exactly the way you understand yourself. In the process you forget that the other person is not your replica. That, other person had a different upbringing, carries different set of beliefs, has different expectations, possesses different frame of mind & most importantly can see those parts of you, which you express but do not yet know. In marriage you expect the partner to understand, to adjust, & to care for you; very you, which you yourself hardly understand, accept or care for completely.
5. Loving what’s Special Vs. Coping with the Ordinary
When you fall in Love, it usually is with what is special & magical in another person. Once you notice appreciable things in partner, you are predisposed to recognize more of what you already thought the other person is. Once any aspect of one is recognized by another, he/she is on a spree to show more of what's appreciated & hence hold on to the image. It’s a constructive loop. Your partner eventually becomes sort of your idol. Hence when you are in Love, you wouldn't fall short of special qualities in partner to worship. In a marriage the other person is already your ally hence you tend to notice the positives as well as negatives in the partner & mostly take positives for granted & mention the negatives so that he/she improves. Even here other person automatically becomes more of what is noticed. This isn't very constructive loop. Your partner seems very ordinary now with many flaws & marriage becomes a process of coping with ordinary.
6. Love is a Choice & Marriage is a Commitment..!!
Falling & being in love is a choice. Attraction, Lust or even having a crush is instinctive. However love is not an instinctive process. You are in Love because you chose to be in Love. You might not make the choice for all right reasons. You might make the choice out of insecurity. You might be persuaded to make the choice. You might not make the choice due to inhibitions or fear. You might unconsciously give wrong signals. In any case Love is definitely a choice. You have all the freedom in the world to nurture the love or let it shrink. Marriage on the other hand is about committing to be walking with the partner irrespective of situations. Once you marry, you become responsible to nurture the marriage, the way you nurture yourself. You cannot afford to neglect a marriage. In marriage, you become the primary motivator for the partner to build a beautiful Life together. The differences between you both will be something to be bridged & not to be deepened. Commitment helps you understand another person, different from you to expand intimacy and sustain attraction..!!
Romance & Marriage belong to different League however Marriage can lead to Romantic Love & More…!!
If you are in Love, thank your fortune & put in efforts to stay in Love. If you are in a marriage, focus on taking it one day at a time & make each moment count. You need to stay in present & convert the marriage into romantic love, companionship & more to reap its true benefits. In short you need to implement all the factors of romance, into your marriage intentionally. To fall in love; in marriage, is the best way to make marriage glorious, irrespective of if you were in Love or not before marriage. A great marriage is an outcome of great efforts & the efforts you put in here, is the greatest gift you can give yourself..!!
When you look back after decades, at traces of your steps; hopefully they are complimenting another pair which is clear & deep, right beside yours..!!
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We enjoy playing different games while learning to play the game of life effectively..! In the process of switching from playing games to playing life we need not realise how close any game is, to the Life itself. There are couple of widely accepted games such as soccer, cricket or basketball; one of which, every bloke on the block might have tried, tested & settled for the enthusiastic observer position eventually..??
Let’s consider cricket & see how close it could be to the game of life..!!
In the world of cricket, we can play different roles. One can be a batsman, a bowler, a fielder, an umpire, an audience or a commentator. All these roles come with their own rules & a unique nature. Though we keep switching from one role to another we mostly get comfortable playing one or two of these roles.
Are you a Batsman..??
A batsman’s role is that of a defender and a counter attacker. You have a high need for achievement & the scope for recognition. In this position you play in the centre by taking the responsibility on your shoulders. Well, at least in the swing of your shoulders. Everyone around is observing each of your actions & you are busy trimming your skills, defending or attacking depending on your own expectations, self-esteem or team’s expectations. In the family, one with a batsman attitude would prefer to respond to situation & make it click rather than initiate an action. Your presence is an active one in any situation and failure is a tad hard on you.
The role of a Bowler..!!
A bowler is the main attacker in the game. You would like variety & unpredictability. It is a place where you create different scenarios for others to respond. In this role you mostly enjoy trying, testing and polishing as much as shining. It’s good if things work according to expectations else you learn one or two things from your actions. In family, this is a role of an initiator. You would prefer to create different situations for others to respond. In this position you are comfortable enough in your shoes to act freely & also trust your family or team to back your actions..!!
You are a Fielder...!
A fielder is a less noticed craftsman in the game. You are the one; bowler is counting on when he initiates an action. You are present in the game and also feel like being a significant part of the game however it could be only you who feel so. You are an active observer who gets to voice your opinion here and there only when bowler & batsman feel it to be relevant and that is your chance to step out of your position for a change. Your role is the most taken for granted one in the family or the team. You tend to enjoy being part of the game and cherish the belonging though.
Being an Umpire..!!
An umpire is someone who is in the game but not part of the game. This is a role where you watch the drama unfold; live, in front of your eyes & get involved only to enforce the rules. You are an important member who will be remembered only when things go wrong for one party or the other. You are significant but not famous. The family or team will come running to you whenever there is a conflict however will just ignore you when things are smooth. You are a rare neutral observer in your den.
Playing an Audience..!!
An audience is the prime motivation for the game. You are playing the game that you aren't playing. You are rarely a neutral spectator in the game. Though your body & actions are not reflecting, your emotions are playing the game. Once you are aligned with a side, what you mostly care about is the performance of that side you are playing rather than being an observer. You become immune to the charm, technicalities or the point of view of the other side. It becomes your opponent you care about only with one intention in the mind, to conquer. In the family or the team, you tend to identify your side, and align with the party who is to be your voice & action.
To be a Commentator…!!
A commentator is the magnifier of the game. You can bring fire where there is only water in the vicinity. You are that observer who is looking at the game from outside with your own glasses, interpreting the intention of the players and ensuring that the game goes out of the four walls in most dramatised way. You are the window through which world gets a glimpse of the game being played. You have it in you to make the game bigger, dramatised & relatable than it seems. Your intention is to ensure that the game has a grand presentation & reception from the world irrespective of its course..!!
Life, A Game of balancing roles
Life gets far more interesting than games because one has the choice here to play numerous roles, beyond that offered by any game. We may mix and match the roles & go on improvising till we feel that the game of life is grand enough..!! Question here is if we are observant enough to recognise the roles we are playing & motivated enough to drop the unintended roles we are habituated to & pick fresh ones intentionally..!!
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One fine day, at an ice-cream corner you come across one Miss. Mishra. As excited as you are to see her after years, you call her name and then comes the reply. “Hey, I am not Miss Mishra anymore, I am Mrs. Rao. I got married”..!! Isn't this a common occurrence around us..?? Once a girl ties the knot, the next natural step seems to be the replacement of the second name. She takes a second name to show her alignment with husband and his family in some way or the other. This is a gesture which doesn't need an explanation or does not call for any second thoughts because it seems to be in perfect sync with society’s expectations or even individual aspirations, At least at surface level..!! Have we ever thought about the intent behind this ritual, its possible meanings & the consequences of this small action on one’s identity & the marriage?
Men & women are biologically different. The hormonal difference makes an average man predisposed towards aggression where as a woman towards nurturing. That explains the primary role they were inclined to play in the beginning of the civilization, in the hunter gatherer society. Men took into hunting to survive & woman into caring for the today & tomorrows of existence. Mating as well went exactly like hunting for food. Men fought with each other for the mating rights so that they got the best woman to care for them & also bring in & nurture their next generation. A man did everything possible to ensure that the woman he chose belonged to him. He ensured that she stayed with him in the house he built & also carried different symbolic signs to show that she is already taken. Then, it was a world where the physical strength was the most valued asset anyone could possess. In that time, woman was no more than a valued possession. Physical needs & strong offspring was the main purpose of man & protection from other men & nurturing space for the children was that of woman.
Times have changed now. We have come a long way in evolution. Humans have become what they are now, not because of their physical strength but because of something which goes beyond. What distinguished humans from other animals is their capacity to think & the capacity to express their thoughts through complex symbols called words. Thoughts & emotions have taken front seat now. We have a realization of being something more than just the body & also needing something beyond bodily pleasures. Men & women still have the same biological differences they once had however they aren't much different in this capacity to think & express. At this point men & women have almost similar needs. On top of all other needs they have is the need for individuation or the self-expression. It is the need to become all that he or she possibly can..!!
In current times, where both men & women have found their common grounds for evolution, concept of marriage goes much beyond the physical needs, providing for & caring for the family. We rarely marry just because of physical attraction. Marriage now stands for the concept of being each other’s primary source of motivation in multiple dimensions. In marriage a man & a woman understand & care for each other physically, psychologically & emotionally besides creating a secure & nurturing environment in which the future generation can thrive. Marriage is the commitment to walk with each other as equals in the advancement of oneself, family, society & human kind.
A woman might find pleasure in going with a change in second name considering it to be her expression of love & commitment & a man might be pleased with the idea of feeling valued. What exactly does this gesture communicate in today’s times..?? It is saying on girl’s part that I am ready to alter my identity to be part of your life and on man’s part it’s putting in a burden to provide for her in all possible ways along with the expectation that she will be the one who would alter herself to accommodate him. When a girl takes her husband’s second name it is half of her & one & a half of her husband which goes into the relationship. Love between the couple is when two hearts can beat in sync & two minds understand each other. Commitment between two people is when they walk together with complete realization of where they are going and being respected & valued is in the deeds & not in the words. For a relationship to thrive & naturally lead to love, commitment & respect, it needs one & one to become two & not one and a half & a half. It is self & other understanding & self-expansion from both the parties & not adjustment which creates a fulfilling marriage.
Your parents, as beautiful people as they are individually, might have half + one and a half sort of marriage between them. Just reflect if you like what you saw & see in their marriage. If the answer's no, go ahead and experiment with something different.
Though many of us might agree with the concept of marriage as 1+1, we do not put in efforts to question the idea of marriage, which is shaped in our head through society we were brought up in, when we were growing up. We forget that society is the representation of the yesterdays and we are the architects of today, the creators of the future society.
If society has to advance, we will have to stop behaving as mere spectators and take charge of our own life…to find out what is best for us & act..!! Now, can we really think deep & hard, without prejudice…..Does she need to change her second name..??
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I was going through the social media the day when BBC released its documentary, "India’s Daughter" about the horrific incident of Nirbhaya tragedy. The case itself was heartbreaking. I was further moved by the comments I saw from general public. Many expressed their disgust & some said that they were ashamed to be Indians. Now, being an Indian I am acquainted with Nirbhaya episode as it is presented in Indian media to some extent however I had to acquaint myself with the documentary which forced the Indian government to put in the vain efforts to keep it away from India & brought out this sort of emotions from people who watched it.
At first look it seemed like any other documentary about any other random topic. It looked as though the documentary is made from an objective point of view & is thoroughly rounded in handling the topic in question. However if you take a closer look you can see its impact in the larger context. If this documentary was about an incident from an insider to the country called India, the context in which documentary is made might be flawless. But it is not. This is the representation of India, through one incident to the whole world and the way it is done is no way close to objective or rounded point of view..!!
To a viewer who watches this documentary, India might seem like a country with rapists without any values (backed by statistics from one state), extremely pitiful state of the victim, rigid & biased police system, attorneys who live in another barbaric world, despicable culture, struggling & questioning youth, a convicts exaggerated view of his world which goes across as Indian situation, crooked bureaucrats & indecisive legal system. Now I ask you one question..?? Does anything here seem familiar wherever you live..?? Is it India’s daughter or is it a world’s daughter..??
Let’s take the cultural aspects to begin with. In any given society there are different sectors of people who interpret the culture in different ways. India is a country, which saw numerous invasions & has been in the state of constant flux. Right now it is not a place with a single religion, language or demographics. Even within any of these entities such as religion, there are multiple interpretations of the culture each one embraces. If India is a country with billion people, it also is a country with millions of interpretations of the way of Life. India represents the human spirit. The unity in diversity. Unification of multiple characteristics, thoughts, actions & emotions to a whole, the human. If there is a sector of society which finds fault in women even raising their voice, there is another which is ruled by women. If there is an instinctual sector which can be triggered by slightest of provocations, there is another intentional sector which could be epitome of conscience & consciousness just like any other society.
Yes, the police had taken actions against the crowd when there were protests against this heinous act. If it seems like an uncalled for action, imagine a situation where negative forces would have taken advantage of the crowd and converted the gathering to a uncalled for mob..!! What would have been our reaction then..?? Would it be something close to “what were Delhi police doing all this while..??” We would have blamed their inefficiency & lack of vision. About the criminal bureaucrats, Yes, there are crooked politicians. When we have a system called democracy and educated people shying away even from voting we will have many power hungry & superficially educated people taking the lead. However if there weren't bureaucrats around us who could go beyond self-interest & power hunger we wouldn't have seen this very own documentary in any way..!! We really run a democracy here, In India.
We might gather a lot of information about Indian picture from the interview of Mukesh Singh and make a judgement about India. Now, think about his situation. Being a convict in the case, self-preservation would be his primary goal and in his mindset he wouldn't think twice exaggerating or blaming the victim or the society in his defense.
Rape, gender insensitivity, stereotyping, abuse & self-centeredness are not an Indian specialty. They are everywhere at our own doorsteps, in one way or the other. To a smaller, or a greater extent. If you do not believe it, check the statistics. If that’s not convincing ask yourself..?? Are you entirely free from all this..?? Is any country free..?? Is an objective documentary supposed to create the sort of perception as witnessed in that of a highly educated Professor about the whole country..??
Gandhi, who is named the father of Indian nation believed in the inner strength. For him the Dharma was about the strength to stand for what you believe in irrespective of the situation. He commanded this courage from Indians when he took lead in the fight for the freedom of the country. For him, the freedom was more about the inner rather than outer. If you have studied the Greek history, characters which stands out are that of Achilles & Hector. They both were true heroes not because they fought or won the battles but because of their courage. Their inner strength to place what they believed in, ahead of their own life. That is the reason they created history & changed history which lives beyond them. So was Nirbhaya (a symbolic name representing her courage). She was a person with inner strength & conviction. She was a hero..!!
When she boarded into the bus, she was facing 6 men who carried a perception about woman entirely different from her own. Anyone else in her place would have not stood up to that count of physically stronger aliens, who did not understand your world or what you stood for. The practical behavior was to keep quite or play along with their thinking line but need not be a right one..!! What she did was an act of courage, a satyagraha, which brought out the most heinous and animalistic behavior from the perpetrator. There would be several abuses around us however this one infuriated a sector of society & brought out the passive crowd on streets because an act of sheer strength never goes in vain. It forced people to think & act. Her death is not the end but the beginning. Her suffering was great however her spirits didn't falter. Seems like, this woman wasn't unconscious when found even after undergoing the amount of pain she had faced & that marked a new rise in the consciousness of many..!!
If we have to learn anything from Nirbhaya’s case, let’s learn to embrace her conviction, her courage, her morality & kindness. If a part of our house is broken, what do we do..?? Do we prefer to despise the house or rather repair it..?? If we discard our self, because of our faults who else will take responsibility to correct it..?? If we are ashamed of our self, our home, our society, our country, our world or our universe; where else do we go..?? Who will take the responsibility..?? Who will respect us or love us if we cannot love oneself..?? The attitude of despising ourselves is more self-defeating than pointing at the problems of another’s house, blaming them & putting in efforts to civilize everyone else except the state of our own house..!!! Isn't it easier to point fingers rather than reflecting on one’s own flaws, through any medium..!!
Civilization is not about what we show to the world but about what we are. It starts with an Individual..what he or she truly is..!! Let’s learn to be inquisitive, to embrace the culture after questioning its relevance in the context rather than blindly following what was learned ages ago. Let’s repair our house if it’s broken rather than throwing stones on it. Let’s embrace our broken house & rebuild it in the way we are proud of..!! Let's listen to our own inner voice before letting other voices in..!!
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It’s another day; supposed to be a fresh day, however it just seems like yesterday. I get up 5 minutes early & finish everything I do in the morning. Get dressed in a hurry & announce that I am ready.” Not again”, mutters Lila under her breath. Do you have to wear that pink striped top of yours..!! I just stare back at her. We keep going because we are already 5 minutes late as usual.
Lila is not wrong in her irritation. This top I bought, before a year somehow has become my identity. I keep wearing it compulsively on most of the days. As for now, whole world has noticed it, at least my world has. It is not that I being a post graduate student lack a wardrobe. I do have a pretty elaborate one; stacked up with loads and loads of blues, greens, reds, blacks & oranges. However I cannot say I am truly acquainted with all of them. They are all in my wardrobe, mine in technical sense, but not really.
I bought 3 other dresses the day I bought this top, with equal enthusiasm for all of them. When I was trying them at home, the red one looked really terrific. I was not ready to own it. I thought I will save it for a special day. Green one needed a lot of maintenance. Then I tried this pink stripes. It was neither fashionable nor standing out but just comfortable & low maintenance. Eye balls didn't turn when I wore it. Then, it became me; with I, not realizing it, until the world started noticing. Lila says that “I wear that top so often because I want to show only one side of me to the world”. May be she is right. I don’t know. It just feels like a part of an unbroken chain I have been making every other day. What people call a fresh day, I just add one more link to the chain. Now, that I am 21, the chains longer in size than what it was when I was 16, but similar all the way. May be over the time I get to paint the links here and there and add to the chain so that the chain looks colorful, satisfying…different.
I think about my life before I bought this dress. Was I any different then..?? Answer is Yes and No. There was another grey casual which was my identity, till it made itself redundant by wearing out. Before that, there was another black one & the green one. It’s not that I don’t want to look pretty or glamorous. When I buy those dresses I have all the intention to wear them & look as good as possible however not many leave the wardrobe, even for the first time. Lila says that I being a grown up should behave like one & start exploring with all these dresses; I own, before buying new ones. I want to, but I don’t know where to start & how it will be received by the world. I have an image in the world & a reputation to keep. I cannot forsake that. I will just do what I can, which is to keep all those colorful dresses just to myself; just like my thoughts, emotions & dreams, at least till the wardrobe overflows. I realize that some of these dresses, I want to hide in very back, so that even I do not come across them again. I do not remember buying them anyways. May be they came from nowhere. May be they were the gifted ones. All my avoiding hasn’t yet made them disappear. I guess I will have to take them out & through way.
Lila is quick to notice my pink stripes however she doesn't seem to realize about her own lavender suit. I guess it’s not her fault. After all she can see me more than she can see herself. May be she should pay attention to what she sees in mirror as well
I wonder if there would be a day when I meet those special people. The people who would love me irrespective of what I am wearing. Those people, who would not bother about how short my dress is or how tacky the shoes are. Wait a minute; doesn't that special people I am thinking about include me in it..?? Have I accepted myself when it comes to rest of the wardrobe? If pink stripes is me, isn't the black dots also me..?? If I can wear black dots with as much ease as I wear the pink stripes, people will eventually see black dots also as me. At least I can try. I know It’s uncomfortable to take out all those dresses in the wardrobe, try them on me & accept the way I look in them. It needs lot of patience & perseverance. However isn't that the only way to break the chain? I need not just change the color of the links called days, but make those links in all shapes & sizes. Don’t I want to make so many things other than a chain which I am making so far, from those links of my Life..?? The chain need not just look different but it can be different, for that matter it need not be a chain at all.
People are not born special however they can become special. Can’t they..?? Let me start with it today. How about trying that odd looking orange dress in the very corner of the wardrobe for today..?? I am on it..!!
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As I watch the state government election results of Delhi, there is only one thought running in my head. “Delhi, You are doing it again “. Being neither a political analyst nor a sympathizer or identifier with any party, I have my own reason for appreciating it's stance. I am quite sure Delhi might have its own reasons to choose the government it has chosen, which I am not considering here. There is one important aspect which makes Delhi a leader.
How is an Individual Shaped
When we are born, we are born as a combination of our parents; shaped by the prototype called genes, we carry. We all have a certain nature. As we grow up we are exposed to the society & its rules. We learn & shape our lives by watching what society does & also what society says. What we learn in childhood through others is of great importance because we are getting exposed to knowledge for the first time here. Our attitude towards most of the things such as religion, food habits, values, political orientation, language, community, learning method, ways of doing things, gender and so on are shaped for the first time & strengthened through the people around us. At this time; we rarely question, think or analyze our own stand about anything & everything in life. We already have a certain attitude towards life by the time we attain the capacity to think for ourselves. We eventually would have become a slightly upgraded version of our parents & the society they represent.
Set Patterns in us
The beginning years leave the person with an almost stable or stereotypical way of looking at things. Though it might be an outdated & non-functional version of reality, it is our truth. As we grow, we attain the capacity to think for ourselves however we hardly bypass the strong perception we already carry about what we know. Our orientation about most of the things, remain what it was, in childhood. Education though is a tool to make individual embrace knowledge by thinking on his/her own & questioning; it mostly adds up to the set patterns in the brain. This constancy of mindset shows in our voting behavior as well. Once we would have made our political stance because of some factor,in the early adulthood, we rarely change our stand irrespective of the promises made before elections,the quality of governance or prospectus of growth. In a society we find few who think, question & adapt. They are the leaders.
Evolving as a society..!!
It is hardly the case to find a group of people, community or even a society which thinks on it’s own beyond the set patterns. When a society as a whole is analytic rather than stereotypical, that is the true leader of the evolution. A society which is a thought leader as well as action leader deserves to be in the front.
Why Does Delhi Stand Out..?
Delhi has proven that it can think as well as act, on its own, repeatedly. This factor is represented by the way Delhi initiates & embraces change. It could be in the swiftness with which, it continuously changes its preferences or in the presence of a common & clear voice throughout; Delhi seems to precisely know what it wants.It could root for a party for decades & do not hesitate to reduce it to ashes in a matter of years. The decision it makes might not be the wisest but it seems to be embracing novelty as a society.The way whole state chooses its leadership, upholds the true intent of democracy, which is to ensure that the governing body is no more authority or influence above the thoughtful voice of each individual.
Finally, more than any individual or party, this result represents the nature of Delhi. It's about majority of individuals who believe in exploring options rather than going with a set pattern, at least when it comes to choice of a governing body.This decision might not be the wisest one, they have made however they are trying out the change wholeheartedly. I hope Delhi is what it seems, even in other fronts. Hopefully each one of us prefers to act intentionally rather than stereotypically in every facet of our life.
Are we learning to question, think & advance as a society…??
Photo Credit : http://delhi.gov.in/wps/wcm/connect/11dd31004fe87b81b01ebbd9d1b46642/delhi_gate.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&lmod=-288451762&CACHEID=11dd31004fe87b81b01ebbd9d1b46642
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When you stand in front of mirror & gaze at your reflection; what sort of person do you see..??
A super star, an ordinary person or a wannabe..??
Amazingly, there are just 2 aspects which can make you a super star or leave you an average person. Thankfully those aspects are neither genetic nor a property of a handful. They are accessible to you, just as much as to that charming person you admire. Let’s take a quick glance at those magical factors.
1. Appreciate the awesomeness in you
From the time we are born, till date; we are in the action mode. We experiment with different things in life to arouse certain emotions such as excitement, joy, thrill, happiness and so on. Once we discover those things which keep us in the positive state of mind, we tend to repeat them to be in same state. In childhood, everything that happens to us is a matter of chance. What we think & how we feel about ourselves is decided by the way others treat us. It need not be so as we grow up. When we depend on accidents & others opinion to see our awesomeness; it becomes a rarity to uncover the superstar in us. Good news is that we can be exactly that person, we want to be. We just need to take charge of our life.
The very first & the biggest step towards being a super star is to locate those things you like about yourself. Those factors in you, small or big; which set you apart from the crowd. Make a list of minimum 10 things you admire about yourself. It need not be what others know or even notice about you, but you know. Think about the awesomeness in you first thing in the morning as you wake up. When you step out the next time, remember how unique you are & what you can offer to each one you meet. Meet the world as an equal, right in the eye. You are awesome to the world only when you notice it, yourself & communicate it, to the world. It takes for one, to stand alone comfortably;before one can stand on a stage, alone.
2. Appreciate the finer things in others
We interact with people every day. It might be those we spend lot of time with, or those, we come across only once. Everyone around us come with certain aspects which are likable & the some others, we might even despise. We will be quick to show our dislike in one way or the other; however we fail to appreciate the aspects, we like.
It would be fantastic, if you make a habit of locating at least one thing you like about anyone you come across & let him/her know your appreciation. When you are genuine in your appreciation it would not sound like flattery. Instead, you might turn out to be the source of the pleasant surprise. A smile, nod, little respect or few kind words from you can change someone’s life for better. Try this with at least one person every day & see for yourself how awesome you would feel about yourself.
True appreciation is one factor, which even the most independent of the individual strives & lives for. We all crave for it in one way or the other; however we tend to hold back or take for granted, when we can freely shower it to our self & others.
The difference between the super star & the ordinary is the extent of self-assurance, brought out by the extent to which the person feels appreciated…!!
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Love is one word we do not quite understand. We find references to all sort of love around us. If you watch any movie, it will show you some or the other form of love. Love, which would make you strive to attain the loved one in any situation. Love, which would force you to sacrifice for the sake of loved one. The love for yourself, which would make you want to be the best. Love, whether it is for self or for others is the biggest source of motivation. Though, In most cases, love needs the presence of the loved one to reaffirm the motivation. Have you heard of that intense love, which could motivate a man to get up every single day; for 22 years, with a single resolve to work hard, for its own sake?
Dasharath Manjhi, is that man who represents that higher form of love which went beyond pleasure seeking, physical proximity, intellectual identification, emotional dependency or even affirmation of self-worth. It is a story of a 25 year old man, whose love for his wife made him continuously toil for the common good for 22 years, all alone. It was a love, which turned to be a motivation for a resolve; as mighty & strong as the mountains to challenge their strength and break them apart. It was true love for one woman, which did not confine him to show some sacrificial act or to represent symbolically like Taj Mahal; but to express his love in his work for others. He did something which he would have done for her, for people around & showed the intense power of love. It was a love which transcended self.
This man was the commonest of the commoners. He was an illiterate laborer, who lived in a village disconnected in every way from the least imaginable materialistic comforts. He had to toil every day to earn his bread or to see the night’s light where a candle was a luxury. His wife & other women in the village had to climb Rocky Mountain, even to bring water which could quench their thirst. It was during one of those days of toiling that Dasharath’s beloved wife, Falguni Devi tripped & injured herself badly. It made Dasharath Challenge Mountain of its mightiness & toughness. He had made a resolve to help the people out of their misery. A resolve which made him sell his only possession, the goats he had, to buy a chisel & a hammer. A resolve to break the mountain, one stone at a time to make a road. No one was with him in his resolve. People saw him as a lunatic to be stepping in for the impossible task, with a family including a young son to attend to. Here was a man who worked day & night to feed his family & also to work for love. Even his wife’s death did not make him stop his stint as the love now has led to a dream. A dream, bigger than himself. A dream, to prove the worth of one man’s resolve. A dream, to improve the lives of others, in a society which could not understand him & intern made fun of him. Mountain had become his companion in the deed & he had become true friends with it. He made a pact of inseparable companionship with mountain. It took several years for the people around him to appreciate his deed & to be with him in his mighty task. 22 years of singular resolve & hard work,by one simple man shaped a road 360 foot long, 25 foot deep and 30 foot wide in place of 300 Feet rocky mountain. Now, his people could access the nearest town, route for which was shortened to 15 KM instead of 55 KM. It wasn't needed anymore for women folks to climb a stony & dangerous mountain to get to the nearest well, every single day.What he did was neither for money nor for fame. It was just for the self satisfaction. It was for the common good. It was because he truly loved people around him.
Dasharath might not be with us anymore, however he has left us with his legacy. The power of the inner strength which cannot be matched even by the strength of mighty mountain. The concept of love, going beyond the personal quest. The power of human will irrespective of the situations. This man shows us the worth of a life which is shaped out of true passion to get the impossible erased from dictionary. He represents the motivation, true love & passion can bring in. He earnt something beyond money or fame which is the love & respect of millions. He has set an example for all of us.
Now ask yourself few questions. Do I have that passion..?? Do I love anyone or anything to the extent where my love becomes my strength, my path & my legacy..?? Do I love myself enough..?? Is my work expression of my love..??
Photo Credit : http://www.bloggang.com/data/r/ravio/picture/1350521930.jpg
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Marriage is a relation undoubtedly different from any other relationship. Multiple factors make it stand out. It alters the boundaries of freedom and responsibilities of a person or family to make space for another person or another family. This is not a simple rearrangement in any way. In our childhood, the boundary was defined by parents and society with little bargaining from us. However by the time we reached adulthood we would have altered boundaries to some extent and established a stable pattern. Once we marry, the boundaries of partners collide and seek a rearrangement which is satisfactory for both the parties. There certainly is a honeymoon period wherein we are baffled by the presence of another person in our private circle. It however is followed by the boundary conflicts which might last for a short interval or even a life time. There are some practical ways which come handy in creating win-win situation out of this conflict..!!
The Phase after Honeymoon
In the honeymoon period every little nuances of the partner seem bearable or even pleasant. In this period one rarely takes time to understand the partner. However one surely would notice when the honeymoon phase ends and reality of two very different people making life together syncs in. I am going to propose one simple experiment which can alter your marriage for the better if not for the best. This experiment will run for a month & leave your marriage changed for the days to come..!! Consider taking it up even if you have a satisfactory relation. After all it doesn't hurt to improve your marriage for the better..!!!
To reap maximum benefits, both the partners will have to make a commitment to take it up together.It's also essential not to assume that you know everything about yourself or your partner beforehand. Once you take it up, you will be amazed by the way your marriage shapes further...!!
1. Notice Your Week
Starting from today, just notice yourself for a week. On first day make note of your routine. Everything you do starting from early morning till the bed time. Make a mental note & note it down in a journal at the end of the day. Just compare it with your past routine, the way it used to be before marriage. Identify the factors which have changed for the better, remained neutral or for the worse. On the second day keep on with the task of first day & reaffirm your observation. Now you have clarity at task level. On the third day, move on to your thoughts. Notice your thoughts throughout the day and again note it down in your journal. Find out if the way you think and what all you think about have changed since the marriage. What used to be your focus beforehand and what it is at this point? Locate the changes & see if you like the present or the past. Repeat this on 4th day. Dedicate 5th & 6th days for your feelings. You would notice the way you feel at different instances & note them down. Make an observation of the factors which change your emotions. On 7th day you will bring all the three; the tasks you do, the thoughts triggered & also the feelings they generate together and validate the extent to which the life is going according to your intentions. Note down how different it is from the way it used to be. At this point you know your expectations from life and the extent to which things are in track.
2. Write a special letter to your partner
With your current understanding of yourself, you are in a position to make your partner understand you at first level. In second week you would write a special letter to your partner. This letter will contain 2 sections. First section will talk about your routine before marriage. It also would have the way you thought & felt about what you did. Most importantly It will talk about the intentions which were behind the way your life was and how satisfied you were with your life. Second section will talk about the situation at the moment. It will have all the factors first sections had. Take whole week to write & rewrite the letter so that it is absolutely satisfactory for you & speaks your mind clearly. One thing to watch out for in the letter is the language you use. Please write your point of view without blaming or criticizing anyone. It should show the way you see the world with ‘I’ language with as few ‘you’ & ‘them’ as possible. Please do not forget to write down things you have started to appreciate about your partner & partner’s family.
3. Read out the letter to Partner/Family
Go out for a day’s outing to a place you both enjoy visiting. At the end of the trip sit together and read out your letter to the partner before handing it over to the partner. Ensure that you do not discuss the content of the letter for a week. During this week read the letter as many times as possible and also observe the partner when they are engaged in their day’s task. Think about the ways in which your partner is similar or different from you. Consider the ways in which you can plan & restructure your life to realize both of your dreams & aspirations. Check how you can help your partner satisfy their intentions & expectations from life.
4. Accommodate each other to establish togetherness..!!
Discuss the way you can change your marriage for better by accommodating both. Evaluate the extent to which your intentions match. Locate the things which can be done together, shared or realized separately. Respect the differences. Ensure that you are walking with each other & nurturing the other, rather than blaming or criticizing. Make a commitment to talk about the things which went right or wrong at least once in a week. Make another commitment to openly appreciate at least one factor about the partner genuinely every other day
The next step…
There are many more ways to take understanding to different level . This initial step would act as foundation to rearrange boundaries . Do share your experience with the experiment..!!
Take Care & do not forget to take care of your marriage... !!
Photo Credit : http://www.redbookmag.com/love-sex/relationships/advice/g1305/tips-for-couples-who-work-together/?slide=9
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I am Ravi…I am around 26. At least that is what my ration card says..!! I do not know to read or write like you, who are reading my story or the one who has written it. However that does not mean that I cannot think or feel. I think as much as you do; more or less. What difference will my thoughts make what so ever..!!
I still remember those days, my childhood, particularly that night when I am sitting by the fireplace, watching mother cook. The way fire danced in the darkness is amazing me. There is certain anxiousness, anticipation & fear in my mind mixed with intoxicating aroma of boiling fish curry, increasing in intensity with every passing minute. I can imagine him entering the house any minute now, his red eyes & cruel face. Once he enters, what follows is shocking. I pray to god that he should be in good mood today. What if he comes & sits beside me for a change, watching the graceful dance of fire readily erasing darkness. What if he also savors the heavenly aroma of gravy, which has started to make random sounds now; occasionally patting me, smiling at my mother? God never listens to me.
I want to stop him, wherever he is, right now. I cannot. I am too scared of him. I want to shut my eyes, ears & mind off, I cannot. He is right in front of me, staring at me. It’s too painful, He is so powerful. He shouts loudly. “You guys are good for nothing”. We both, me & my mother, should have done something terribly wrong to deserve all this shouting & beatings. He could have at least spared fish curry. I am so hungry & it seemed so tasty. I should have eaten sooner. What do I do now..?? Shall I run away somewhere, where there is no him..?? No, It’s so dark & I am too scared to go anywhere without mother. I want to be with her. He is still drinking from the bottle. What is in there must be something out of this world. Someone so big & all powerful like my father likes it. I should find out what it is. It might make me powerful too. The picture of them fighting is getting blurred. My eyes seem to be closing. When I open my eyes I am alarmed to see his face near me. Thank god he’s asleep. I close my eyes again & wait for the sleep to overtake the hunger.
I woke up at 6 in the morning & shouted at my wife to get breakfast soon. My factory owner would already be waiting with questioning face & impatient posture. He will say I am late by 15 minutes. It’s all her fault. She should have woken me up sooner. She cannot even cook a decent breakfast in time. These women, they are good for nothing. My son, he is still sleeping. I look at him for a second impatiently. I hurriedly eat & leave for factory. Today there will be three loads of granite, to be unloaded in the morning. I do not mind all this work but why does this owner find one or the other thing to blame me. Whatever I do is not good enough. May be I should shut my ears & do whatever I please or maybe I should run away and find another factory. I want to tell him that it hurts. I want to tell him that I am trying but he is so powerful & I am good for nothing. How can I talk to him that way? As the evening falls I have started to mull over the good time I am going to have. I touch my pocket umpteen times & get restless. The picture of Nandini bar is dancing in my eyes. Finally this tyrant of the owner relieved me. I rush to Nandini bar, strait to my liberator.
It seems to be dark. I am really hungry. Now I will have to go home & see faces of this evil woman who cannot do anything right & this good for nothing kid. I struggle so much with this monster of the owner & this lady, look at her guts, she forbids me even from having good time. What does she know about the way I am belittled at work? What if she too works in a factory? I know, it cannot be that hard for her. I have the meanest boss, most thankless job & worst possible wife. On top, this son of mine hides behind her with tears in his eyes, cannot stand & face the situation, like a man. Let me go home & teach them a lesson.
Now, who says I cannot think. I do. Who says I cannot feel. I certainly do. However I refuse to come out of my loop & think. I refuse to recognize my feelings & act. I refuse to listen to myself. It seems too scary to step out.
I refuse to change…..One day, I will..!!
Photo Credit : http://www.graceinchrist.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/reflection.jpg