Along the way of growing up, we change in large and small ways; we change by our conscious effort and through unconscious thoughts and deeds; we strive to change and struggle to make it happen, and sometimes it is instantaneously and you don’t even know how… But change you must and you will, for that is the order of life.
Recently in a reflective mood, I was just observing how in some areas I have changed so completely that I surprise myself when I think of my past and wonder ‘was that really me?’… And yes of course those areas where even my conscious efforts don’t seem to have any impact leaving me disappointed with myself – at least for a few moments before I regain control. Probably there is the third where people around me are hoping I will change and yet I don’t see those areas as a challenge for I don’t yet believe I need to change there!
I sat down and wrote a few of the insights that really changed my life. These were naturally born out of my interactions with my world around me. I may not be able to narrate the incidents perfectly, but the lessons I have learnt is validation of the priceless support everyone who has crossed my path has bestowed on me. With deep gratitude to each one of them, I began to list some precious incidents that have in many ways helped me reprogram my DNA. The stories I narrate are the seeds that have been the actions or words of others, but the fertile soil of my mind was prepared with earnestness by my Guru Mahatria with tender loving care and firm disciplined tutoring that made those seeds bloom to make these changes in my very being. In surrender and faith…
Life’s greatest blessing – ‘It is your responsibility and you can change it’. Life’s biggest curse – ‘It is ONLY your responsibility, and ONLY you can change it.’
Things did not go as I had planned with my life. It hardly ever does! But deep down the hurt remained – ‘if only…’ That phrase is such a dangerous one! I wish there is a law as you grow up that you cannot ever use this phrase either to someone or even internally. It puts such a strong break in our progress, that we are literally trying to drive our car in top speed uphill with the hand break and pedal break fully active! No wonder the car doesn’t move! Imagining permutations and combinations of how life would have been different if so many of the things that did happen, never happened… Fantasising every moment with a false hope that what was currently happening would miraculously change… Life slapped me hard and woke me up! It is my responsibility and I can change it! And suddenly it dawned – It is ONLY my responsibility and ONLY I can change it!!! Never been the same ever again…
Don’t cut off your neighbour’s legs in order to look tall.
The father of a friend of mine would constantly snub me just so that his daughter would feel superior. As a teenager, I first wondered if I was doing something wrong. It then struck me, that every time he would put me down, he would look to see the expression on his daughter’s face. I felt very bad for my friend for in trying to protect her, he was actually trying to fight her battles for her. In the process, he was making her also feel that she somehow was not as good as me! The incident taught me a very valuable lesson – Never ever cut off your neighbour’s legs to look tall! Grow Taller!! Of course there are those rare occasions when jealousy lifts up it’s head to see if there is any room in my life. But thankfully, I promised myself very young in life, I will not be petty. I immediately commit myself to grow taller – achieve something quantifiable that will never make me feel I am in any way less.
I would rather be noticed by my absence than in an insignificant presence.
The effort was mine. The credit too ought to have been mine. But circumstances conspired and immature people were trying to steal away my effort. Crumbs were placed to appease their conscience – a mention that would have demeaned all that I had done. I chose to stay away rather than be slighted as the nth fiddle. I realised I would rather be noticed by my absence than in an insignificant presence. It taught me to value myself and my effort and not allow any one else to deprive me of the credit I rightfully earn.
Boredom is the disease of the lazy. Life has no obligation to entertain you.
As a little child the one word that was banned in my home was ‘boredom’. My mother would get so upset if any of us told her we were bored. She would come right out and point at the trillion things we could immediately do productively. She never ever encouraged us to while away the time. Today, I seem to have caught my mother’s obsession – the one word that really irritates me is when people tell me they are bored. In such a humungus universe if you can’t find something productive and useful to do, it simply means you are lazy! Life has no obligation to entertain you! So many people tell me I do so many different things in life. I think I have found time for all of those self expressions merely because I never process boredom!
When you can fly, you don’t need a trampoline. No more falling to rise – only landings and take offs …
I was given to understand by the numerous books I read in my youth, that life is always a cycle. Bad times are not permanent but neither are good times, that a step down is needed before you can rise. But something within me has always rejected the claim. I’d like to believe that to an observer it looks like the bird is falling, but the bird knows it is only learning to fly. It is not an external trampoline that is pushing it upwards, it is the innate nature of a bird to soar the skies. When I know I am a bird, I also know I neither fall nor rise, I simply land and take off…
An Organisation needs leaders and professionals. As a leader I ensure that my business can go on without me – people are trained to fill my shoes; as a professional I ensure nobody can do it like me – I give my best to make myself irreplaceable.
Just out of college when I had begun assisting my uncle in the finance department, he would keep insisting that papers should speak for themselves. ‘With or without you the organisation must go on.’ It made me think, if everything is so systematised that even without me things will go on and I will not be missed, how do I ensure I am indispensable? I realised, even if I taught everything I know and made everything systematic, I will ensure nobody can do it like me! Yes I strive to make it a reality in everything I do!
I haven’t sacrificed anything in life. I have just made some very difficult choices.
There was a time when I was beginning to feel like a victim. It is the most dangerous place to be in for everything everybody says or does seems to imply you are ‘suffering’ for no fault of yours. It is very ego fulfilling to know that everybody agrees that it ought not to have happened in your life – but let me tell you honestly, it neither resolves the situation nor helps you mature.If there is one thing I promised myself – ever – it is that I am not a victim of anything. I don’t believe I gave up on anything; I love everything I do. I made choices that were hard, sometimes seeming to give up a part of me. But what I have gained has been immeasurable that I realise, I have never sacrificed anything in life. Just made some very difficult choice… And the truth is, they have always turned out just fine…
Health insurance does not guarantee health!
So often we think the solution to the problem is in finding a guarantee. But life has no guarantees! I realised like humanity that pays no heed to the process of being fit and instead ‘invests’ on a health insurance policy no one ever wants to cash, we miss the process of living life and instead waste our time dreaming that bad things will simply go away of their own accord. They won’t. If you need to be healthy, you address the cause and exercise. The effect of health will manifest. Same goes for everything in life. If you want your life to turn out right, you gotta work at it – every moment of your life!
If its not my liberty to punish, it is neither my responsibility to pardon.
This one is a bit tricky. It is likely to be misunderstood! Let me first clarify what it does not mean – it does not mean one should not forgive! It merely means there are times when we struggle a great deal to forgive someone and move on in life. It sounds so easy for everyone to say ‘forgiveness is for your sake not for their sake’. But when emotions are running high, for anybody’s sake, it looks impossible to forgive. As I sat facing one such incident, my little daughter of six asked me why I was so tense. When I told her I was finding it hard to move on and forgive the hurt someone had caused, she immediately asked me ‘so why don’t you punish them’. I explained, ‘it was not really my position to punish. God would take care…’ and in that instance I was liberated – if it wasn’t my job to punish, neither was it my responsibility to forgive! I was merely an observer of the incident. I had nothing to do with it! It is not my cross to carry! I moved on and have never looked back…
The repercussions for my actions when I was you, you will realise and understand only when you are me.
Things were going from bad to worse. I was on the verge of a breakdown when it suddenly struck me, if the hurt caused by someone else was so painful to me, how would I feel if I was the one causing the hurt? A million times worse for sure! In a moment I realised, what a blessing it was to be the one hurt rather than the one who caused it. I can live with myself knowing I am vulnerable to hurt, but I can’t live with myself knowing I caused someone enormous hurt. Soon the ugly head called ego raised itself, so do they actually know that you are so forgiving? I realised the hurt that I caused when I was you, you can forgive only when you are me.
Nallathor veenai seithe… Why make a beautiful veena and let it rot? How then can I even think that my creator will make such a beautiful life and then let it spoil by circumstances?
This has been one of my most favourite songs. I always believed I have to make my life count, I have to ‘do’ something to prove my worth – until one morning I realised, if I feel that the man made veena should not rot in a corner, what ever makes me think that God would have made such a lovely creation called me and then render me useless? It was such a transformation, for in that moment I realised He has much bigger plans for me! It has taken a zillion years of transformation to arrive at this moment to create me. Even if I screw it up, my God wouldn’t let that happen! He has a lot invested on me!!! The strength of that conviction makes me step ahead with purposeful strides to live the dream He has for me…
Written by Gita Krishna Raj | Published in infinithoughts in September 2014