Closing cycles…Welcome 2011…

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance but simply because that no longer fits your life.
Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters….whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments in life that have finished.
Things pass and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

As always…pertinent…relevant…inspiring…lines by Paulo Coelho.

Easier said than done , for sure…but doable…when we put our minds to it! Putting our minds to it is the hard part…we waver…we justify and have reasons for vacillating…we let guilt take over and hesitate…we let others influence us and falter. But if we decide to let go…to detach and distance oneself from cycles that need to be closed…then we can begin the onward journey and make room for newer chapters and stages in our life…this is only possible when we accept…decide…release…detach ourselves in all earnestness and seriousness from the past…memories…relationships…mindset…that pull us down and back…

Releasing the past…stages…aspects…relationships…positions…we have maintained and carried…but have become painful to maintain, is a serious and arduous task. Memories are painfully hard to release, mindsets are distressingly difficult to alter, relationships are cloyingly unpleasant to retract from…but once the will to do so is there the actual break is surprisingly easy.

Closing chapters…finishing one to be able to start the next with a clean slate…trying not to hold on to specific elements…being able to let go…then being able to cut the cord…and finally to complete and close that circle…so as to be able to move freely…ultimately, to be able to embrace and welcome the next cycle of life…

Welcome 2011…

Prayers for children….

These lines were written by Abraham Lincoln to his son’s tutor upon his joining school…these were our prayers too for all our children…not articulated as well….but always there…

Treat him gently…but do not coddle him because only the test of fire makes fine steel.
Let him have the courage to be impatient…let him have te patience to be brave.
Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself…because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind.
He will have to learn that all men are not just…all men are not true.
But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero…that for every selfish politician there is a dedicated leader.
Teach him that for every enemy there is a friend.
It will take time, I know, but teach him if you can, that a dollar earned is of far more value than…five found!
Teach him to learn to lose and also…to enjoy winning!
Let him keep away from envy and learn that bullies are the easiest to lick!
Teach him if you please, the wonder of books…but also give him quiet time to ponder over the eternal mystery of birds in the sky…bees in the sun…and flowers on a green hillside.
This is a big order…but see what you can do…
He is such a fine little fellow…My son!
In school teach him that it is far more honorable to fail…than to cheat!
Teach him to have faith in his own ideas even if everyone tells him they are wrong!
Teach him to listen to all…but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through!
Teach him to be gentle with gentle people and tough with the tough!
Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the bandwagon!
Teach him to laugh when he is sad…and that there is no shame in tears!
Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness!
Teach him to sell his brawn to the highest bidder…but never to put a price on his heart and soul!

This powerful, inspiring and commendable prayer from a great man…is above all a parent ‘s prayer…these are universal truths…hopes…ambitions…prayers…and resonate with parents across the globe.

My youngest son, whose birthday it is today is well out of school classrooms…but these are prayers that are ever pertinent…and dedicated to him above all today. I am so very proud of all that he has grown into and achieved…his gentle and soft nature…his ability to bring laughter and sunshine to my world…his humanity and compassion…my prayer for him is that the Good Lord will always help and guide him and help him face and handle all the challenges that force us all to search for our center of gravity…to stay the course and accept that it takes both the rain and the sunshine to make a…rainbow! Amen….

Cost of personal freedom and happiness….

Is the opposite of happiness…unhappiness? What about…simple pleasures…joys…overcoming fears…relief…challenges…contentment..interests…excitement…inner peace? Is paying the price for doing it your way worth more than paying a price for living someone else’s life ? Dare we be different to what society…people…family…peers…expect us to be, and in that pursuit be…happy…content…at peace…lead a happy life?

In this age of instant gratification…instant expectations…instant communication…being yourself…unique…marching to your own drum roll, invites a lot of raised eyebrows and skepticism . There seems to be a one-for-all yard stick for a life of fun…happiness…the good life! This, more often than not, is now a made-to-order, across the board, modern…enlightened…superimposed lifestyle…and it is being adhered to by an increasing number of people…

Forgotten are values…norms…expectations…lifestyles of yore…We seem now to be marching to a universal…modern…alien, but blindly accepted…value system with it’s own codes of enjoyment. Not falling into this  “norm” invites a less than approving acceptance …

A favorite writer, Paulo Coelho says…Dare to be different. You are unique, and you have to accept you as you are, instead of trying to repeat other people’s destinies or patterns. Insanity is to behave like someone that you are not. Normality is the capacity to express your feelings. From the moment that you don’t fear to share your heart, you are a free person.

In effect…staying true to yourself…whatever that means or may be…irrespective of social disapproval…in spite of a superimposed code of conduct…marching to your own drum roll based on values, behavioral codes, ethics, tenets you believe in…this is the path of learning to be true to yourself…taking responsibility for the celebration of life…

The Lotus Eaters…

This mythical lore has held a fascinating hold on our imagination…it appears that the subject is rooted in lore and hence we don’t give it much traction in the real world. But…like all lores of myth, the basis of this too is rooted in reality…and as prevalent today as ever before…

This comes home to me with greater force when I visit certain parts of the world where half the population is literally…under wraps! I am the last person to criticize choice of dress or life style but…the key word here is…choice! Choices are, as we all know, based on family…cultural…educational…environmental influences. It is only much later when we understand the silent, often mind numbing influence of these on our lives that we decide whether to maintain them…out of choice…apathy…thought and reflection…ease…or change them, again, out of choice, and take the path less trodden by exploring paths and life choices that are not always easy to maintain or…acceptable in the main…

A fact we often find hard to accept is, that we all do, in the main, follow a herd mentality…be it in dress…behavior…life style…codes of conduct! Which brings me back to the Lotus Eaters mentality, more apparent in some societies, relatively less in others…but prevalent in all societies. It is often a silent, insidious part of life as a whole…and we can go through life without so much as acknowledging its pervasive influence and just swim with the flow. This is done naturally in the course of things…without much thought or reflection to the contrary, rather with a sense of unthinking and careless acceptance that I find hard to come to terms with. Is this just a sense of apathy…a sense of cultural brainwashing…a reaction to suppressed cultural desires…a sense or illusion of not having the strength…confidence…faith…guts…desire to rock the boat…or is it simply a mindless…numbing…apathetic…trance like easy way out of swimming against the current…

Ask…and you shall receive…

Sometimes it is the most inconsequential…trivial…unimportant things that bring home, this basic tenet of faith, with a bang…I feel strongly that asking for…more…with all that has been bestowed upon me so graciously and munificently may be a bit greedy…but there is no denying this basic tenet of belief systems across the board…

It is also when this grace is manifested voluntarily…repeatedly…graciously…that the ‘asking’ gives one room to ponder whilst acknowledging His grace. The ‘receiving’ is so random…regular…across the board…be it a last minute preferred seat allocation on an air journey…a shoe size for that shoe you must have…finding the perfect present for the loved one who has everything…a dining reservation opening up at that impossible to-get-restaurant…temperate weather for al-fresco entertainment…that unexpected but desired visit,call…love and friendships that make the heart sing…sleep in times of stress…the son,daughter,nephew,niece getting into the university,course,job they were wanting…an urgent dispensation regarding the health of near and dear ones…solace in the comfort zone of family…prayer for length of days for your near and dear…the list is wide ranging and stretches from the trivial to the life changing and is endless…spanning a life and…a life time…

When it is all given readily….magnanimously…repeatedly…we often think…we should have asked for something bigger…something more important…just…more…forgetting that at that point of time, that was obviously what was the most important and needed…which brings home the sad fact that we are very often ungrateful and demonstrate a real lack of grace and humility in the ‘asking’ and the ‘receiving’…