Mattering

I am writing after a long break but it is wonderful I am able to write in this year before it morphs into a new decade! So – yay!

Talking of the arrival of a new decade, I have to say that time is a strange thing. It is something we have made up, to keep track of things we believe we ought to do. Yet, the most powerful moments I remember in my life have been those which render our beings into timelessness, allowing our awareness to flow as if we were air, knowing no obstacles, able to find our way into and through anything that might present itself to us at that time.

Wait, I know I said I am writing about mattering so hold on – I will share how this idea of time links to the subject in a bit 🙂

I have been pondering on the subject of ‘mattering’ since a few years now. Often in fleeting moments, sometimes when during the day when the topic has caught my mind space, unprecedented and sometimes during my sleep state perhaps. It is only in the past few days when this topic has take shape beyond my own self that I have decided to write about it. I have always been fascinated with the idea of being able to find interconnections between things and ideas and ‘mattering’ is a subject which seems to impel me to do so.

Britannica defines Matter as ‘a material substance that constitutes the observable universe and, together with energy, forms the basis of all objective phenomena’. In other terms, what seems to have matter, seems to exist as it takes up space and we can observe its properties.

In my work with women, more and more, I have been intrigued and a bit distraught I have to admit, with the growing phenomenon of educated, talented and very bright women feeling a lack of purpose and confidence. A deeper look into their lives brings to fore this very idea of mattering. Having given into their duties and responsibilities, complying with the idea of what a woman ought to do, bit by bit, some have perhaps let go of pieces of themselves, finding themselves in a state of incompleteness. This often brings with it a sense of vacuum which creates an unexplained dissatisfaction and leaves one feeling less that whole. So how did we allow this vacuum get created in the first place? From a fully functioning, bright and shiny person, how did one end up in this space? I suspect it has to do with mattering. I can say this because I have lived with this void for a while in the past.

As we go along in our day to day chores, buying groceries, tending to the house work, managing children and many times the spouse, we tend to sideline the human need we have for being acknowledged, for being thanked and for being held in the awareness of another. I find in more and more households today, men tend to travel extensively, leaving the woman to fend for herself and the children. Despite being in a relationship, many women tend to bring up their children mostly, by themselves with an occasional guest appearance from the spouse. This phenomenon has become so rampant that I almost feel we need a new word in the dictionary for this kind of parenting that children of today, receive. It is a convenient arrangement I must say. Many times the women are made to believe that this is the only way the household can run. The man must travel to keep up his job else how would the bills be paid? Well…trapped between the responsibility of raising a child and managing the household, having lost their financial independence so as to better manage this added responsibility, women tend to find themselves at a loss of ‘mattering’.

In between travels, home is a temporary stop for the bread winner to repack, refill and restore themselves, leaving little time for things like conversations and love.  ‘Mattering’ hangs, droopy eyed, on the window sill somewhere in the house, mostly in the bedroom and slowly, shifts somewhere around the dining area, where half a family mostly gathers to eat. So what is going on? I would like to believe that the men are very sincerely tending to their work during travels but we all do know that a night here and there is easy to extend to make space for having a good time. What that means, is open to interpretation of course 🙂

For the spouse back home, it is a reduction in mattering. It is to seek this very completion that many men and women today, indulge in extra marital affairs. They come and go – like breeze. They might or might not be long standing or serious, they might not last, but they are rampant and statistics are alarming.

While people can fret and stomp and go crazy when they discover what is going on in (behind their backs – well, mostly in front of their eyes, if one were to acknowledge the truth), if we were to take a bird eye’s view, there is only compassion to be felt for everyone in the situation. For this is about – ‘mattering’. Women (and men too, I believe), over time, start feeling a lack of connection with the very person with whom they read the vows. Where there is extensive travel, there is little opportunity to connect. There is dwindling eye contact, mostly due to a lack of physical presence and then over time, it is due to a lack of intentional effort leading to poignant lack of meaningful words. There are sometimes cold wars and harsh periods of silence or words that stumble to make incoherent feelings, caused mostly by an absence of receiving the other person as they are, due to the wall of our own individuality that we build around us. ‘Me, my needs and my desires’, is all about ‘my mattering’.

So what is the point? What is the workaround? Let us start focusing on the matter. Let us create moments of ‘mattering’ and those moments that render us into ‘timelessness’. How? I have come to believe that each of us are complete in ourselves. Before you sign me off as a cynic, know that this is really the ultimate truth. This whole notion of someone, someday will say or do something and life will be happy every after is not only impractical but also unreal. What if we knew that we are complete, now. In this very moment? What if, you knew, that the only person who needs to make you feel as if we matter, is you?

Times are changing and we are living in an era of self-love and self-reliance and that is the smartest way to deal with your big load of ‘mattering’ – by simply dropping it. Be the matter. Because you are the matter. You literally carry all the matter you are with you and in you. Create those moments of timelessness that take you where only you can go. Go watch a meteor shower, watch the sea waves, stare at the sunset, listen to the birds chirp. It is a beautiful world out there. What finally matters is that you are alive, now. You are well and you are able to breathe. Nothing else matters. As for those moments of connection and parts of you which you left somewhere along the way, they will all come to unite with you, in the hushed silence of the night in your sleep.

I am Effortless, Choiceless, Pure Awareness

Where have I been? On a journey. To find myself and to discover who I am.

I am that – is what I have found – effortless, choiceless, pure awareness.

So I am not really a product of my choices after all. The choices never really existed. It was all a play of the ego. We are playing out a script. We are all the same awareness.

There is nothing to be chosen. There is nothing to be considered. Just being in the present moment is what we need. It is the path to peace. Silence leads to this path.

Meditate. Be persistent with it. It helps. With everything.

Thank you Nithya Shanti for sharing this teaching from Robert Adams.

Circle of Positivity

1I have been doing a lot of reading and research on Happiness of late. Happy people are a resource I always recommend to participants of my workshops,  although it just struck me that not everyone might be purposeful about forming such connects. If you intend to be happy, there is an invaluable resource you must be purposeful about tapping into. It is, what I would refer to as a Circle of Positivity. This circle is really an imaginary circle surrounding you, at all times, acting like a shield when you need protection, like a source of strength when you feel weak and like a sponge when you feel overwhelmed with negative emotions of any kind. It is quite remarkable if we think about it this way but unfortunately, not all of us consider creating or rather, curating one for ourselves.

Many of us would have heard about the vibes we get from people, about auras, about negative and positive people, about energy vampires and various such constructs. Simply put, there are people who raise our energy levels and there are those who tend to deplete them. If we pay close attention, any one interaction is often enough for us to gauge the impact that a person might have on us. However, not many of us are purposeful about making time to spend with those people who enthuse us, energize us and fill us with positivity and hope.

Most times, we flow through the day, moving from one interaction to the next, from one task to the other and from one place that leads us to the next and so on. This is essentially, flowing through the day on a default mode. An alternate would be, a design mode, which is governed by an intention. While we do complete tasks and meet the people necessary for the same, we do ensure that we make time to interact with those to help us dip into the source of energy that, perhaps, all of us draw our energy from. It could be the sun, or the supernatural or anything else you might believe in – but there is, certainly, a source.

Surrounding ourselves with people who exude positivity and those who leave us with a sense of possibility and recharge us, is almost a life skill. If you are familiar with Buddhism you might have heard of the ten angels or you might be familiar with any other such similar concept which basically indicates that in times of distress, there are people around you who are there to pull you out of your situation. If you think about it, you already know who these people are in your life, They could be in your family, your friend circle, or even at work. What if we plan to include them in our lives everyday instead of reaching out to them and hoping they would be there when we are really down and out? Imagine how that might infuse us with positivity each day and might, in turn, enable us to be that source for someone else. I hope not having time is not the excuse you might be planning to cite for not being able to do this 🙂 You do know that not having time is the world’s favorite excuse!

So who forms your circle of positivity?

Something’s missing..

e78e1a68a7d5d5ec8633e3925f49bd46Ever get that feeling? Technically, you might have everything going for you but do you get this feeling sometimes..can’t say exactly what it is…but something seems missing?

To begin with, know that it is completely normal and there are millions of others across the globe who feel the same way at different points in life.

That being said, then what is it? What is missing? And more importantly, how do you find out what is missing?

Unfortunately, the Math that I studied at school and college did not have a formula to find ‘x’, where ‘x’ is the missing factor to complete happiness. The funny thing is, that many of us start on this quest as if we have morphed into Sherlock Holmes, in search of the missing ‘x’. We do all kinds of things – depending on whether you are a man or a woman reading this – things range from bungee jumping to river rafting to refreshing your wardrobe to coloring your hair and the list goes on and gets crazier, as you know!

And then, what happens? We feel something is changing, yes, we are so close to finding ‘x’ and then we realize that we are back from where we started, with ‘x’ still missing. In fact, by not finding ‘x’, we have further complicated our lives and convinced ourselves that the pursuit of ‘x’ is tougher than we thought and some of us tend to try even crazier things at this point.

And then what happens? It goes on and on and on in a loop..till one day…maybe some day..hopefully some day soon…we realize…either as a Eureka moment or through our reading or our religious pursuits or through some other way..that there is no ‘x’. That in fact, ‘x’ is just like the new Pokemon Go – we create it, we catch it and we think we have caught it but it is not there. It never was. It never will be. It is augmented reality. Augmented by our mind. To make things exciting. To make us believe that there is excitement in life, somewhere, out there.

Ok..so no ‘x’, no Pokemon, no Santa Claus? I know..not fun. However, that still leaves us with ‘What is missing?’. If there is no ‘x’, then what is missing?

So, here is the thing. What is missing is exactly this, it is nothing. We have everything we need. Well, if you are reading this blogpost, then I can safely say that you have everything that you need to live happily on this planet. We just want to believe that we are incomplete. We are perhaps raised to believe that things or people complete us. When I have a…then, I will be happy. When I get a…then, I will be happy. When I…well..keep waiting..the clock is ticking..and ‘x’ is still not be found. It never will be.

So here it is. Nothing is missing from your life. You are complete. Your life is complete. You do not need anything or anyone to be happy. So give up the search for ‘x’. Be one with ‘x’ for it has always been and continues to be within you at all times. Cherish each moment you are alive. Who knows how many you have left?

The journey

2Often times we find ourselves thinking of the past and wondering what prompted us to do what we did or what could possibly justify our actions in the past.

Every time I have caught myself thinking that, I try and steer my thoughts towards what I might have missed out on had I made a different choice. What if..this…or what if…that..?

We can continue to dwell in a world of what ifs or we can instead, move into a realm of acceptance. We can choose to accept the fact that like most people, we are, most of the times, thinking, rational beings. The choices we made in the past, were, hence, a result of the thoughts that transpired at that time. This does, however, pose a danger, in the sense, we can then use this to justify any ‘wrong’ that we might believe we have done. It is, hence, important to also trace back to the thoughts that led us to make those choices. If this is what I thought and that is the choice I made, I was left feeling so and so about it.

What happened was important, as without that, we would never know how we would feel. If we do intend to not feel that again or if we wish to change the outcome, we need to replace our thoughts with other thoughts and see how the related outcome changes.

In essence, nothing that happened in the past was not intended to happen. Can you accept that? Nothing in life is a coincidence nor does anything happen by chance. We are where we are, thinking what we are thinking, doing what we are doing, because that moment is meant to teach us something. Once we have learned what we were meant to learn, we move on to the next moment and create a different outcome.

Many religions and philosophies, including Buddhism talk about infinite possibilities in every single moment of time. If we think about the number of choices we have every single minute, we might feel overwhelmed. Hence, the way things unfold, it seems someone is making that choice for us. It is, in fact, we, ourselves, who make that choice. We make that choice by default by not acknowledging that other possibilities exist.

When you say hello, there are so many possibilities of how you say it. How loud, how soft, how energetic, how engaging, how detached, think about it. Even that one word has an impact on the resulting possibilities that get created in the environment around us.

It is convenient to not think about these as this means more work 🙂 The point is, we are all living our lives for a purpose..if some of us haven’t found it yet, we are unlikely to find it unless we recognize the choices we have every moment.

So how do you want the rest of your journey to be? Would you like to continue in the greys, blissfully ignoring the possibility of colors around you or would you like to paint each moment with a color of your choice?

The Match

maxresdefaultBefore you read ahead, let me clarify, this is not a blog about sports  🙂

I was reflecting today on what makes people differ in opinion, in values, in ways that leads them to disagreements and almost pulls them apart. It all really boils down to different people operating in different planes.

Let us say, one person wants to go right, the other wants to go left. They meet and they start walking. Oh..but..I thought..no..actually..well..awkwardness! What just happened? It was all going well until, they started walking. That was the beginning of awkwardness.

What really happened was that two people, wanting two different things, never really discussed what they wanted. Leave alone discuss, never thought it important to articulate it, to state what they wanted.

The result – a mismatch. The root cause of a mismatch is not stating what is on your mind. Multiplied by many instances, it leads to broken relationships and irreparable damages which take eons to reverse, if they ever do.

How does one avoid it? The thing is we do not live in a homogeneous world. We will always have mismatches everywhere, with everyone we meet about something or the other.

If we could only find a way of sharing what is on our minds. Talk more. Really talk…connect…despite the distractions of the environment around us. Share with people what you want often…what makes you happy…what you are looking for…what you are not ok with..it helps minimize mismatches..helps reduce stress and heartburn…and eventually…makes for a happier life.

So, what DO you want? WHO should you be sharing that with? WHO else needs to know that?

Go on..get started…the list of MATCHES that results keeps growing..and you will see, so does your happiness 🙂

 

Stop hiding, start living

f2c551c6f6e0085ac489bb94900a09c0As women, we spend our lives living up to the expectations of the people around us. Like it or not, we are brought up to believe that addressing the needs of others around us is more important than living our own lives and we tend to succumb to this belief and adopt it as our own as fighting it and wanting to live our own life takes far too much effort.

If you find yourself in this category, know that you are possibly trapped in a hideout, which is a reason (read excuse) to stop ourselves from doing the things we truly want to do. I cannot do this because my husband…or because my child…or because my in-laws…or my boss… the list goes on. Interestingly, there are abstract hideouts too, like our income or our looks or, and this will sound a bit ridiculous but it is true for some, even our colour. I cannot do this because…I cannot wear this because…I cannot go here because…For men, of course, hideouts take a different spin. It is the newspaper or the cricket match or the occasion that calls for drinks or perhaps the next big car.

The point is that we all tend to live in these hideouts endlessly unless we are required to pull ourselves out of the inertia for reasons that we believe we have no control over, though for which, we may be secretly thankful at a later point. The sad part is that in some cases the reason to break free never presents itself, and if it does, it arrives too late when most of our desire to live has ended. I would argue that each of us has one or many hideouts, but the truth is that each of us is capable of recognising our hideouts and abandoning them for good. It requires courage and means facing the real world with all its opportunities and challenges. It means saying no to things which no longer work or make us happy and going out of our way to do that one thing that we have always wanted to do.

Happiness is like a flame that needs a constant supply of oxygen and oxygen is scarce in hideouts. Sometimes, resorting to hideouts might be good, but only for a limited period of time. As long as we are conscious about our choices and have a plan for getting out when we want, it works. So, what’s your hideout?

This post is a reproduction of my weekly column  written for The Goan (http://thegoan.net).