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?

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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 🙂

 

Spiderman!

blog-3My 4 year old daughter loves Spiderman (she loves Barbie too, so I am not worried, really ;)). I was watching Spiderman 2 with her the other day and I realized that, well, each of us, is like Spiderman (minus the web..let me explain).

In one scene, Spiderman was utterly and totally frustrated with his evening sojourns and in that moment, he received advice from his dead uncle’s spirit. He said to Spiderman – ‘You have a choice’. The next day, Spiderman decided to take a break from being Spiderman for somedays to get back to being himself. He dumped his costume in a garbage bin and walked away…and he was happy!

Of course there is a longer story to it else what would the kids watch, right? But let’s hold the story at that point when he dumps his suit.

Isn’t that so much like each of us? Each day, we try to be something – something that is superlative, something that we believe the world expects of us, something like Spiderman. Sometimes, carrying the weight of being that somebody seems like a burden to us. It might be the weight of being a dutiful son or daughter when all you want to do is to go out on a date..it might be the weight of being a mother when all you want is to travel away to a quiet place..away from the madness..it might be the weight of being a star employee when all you want is to just say ‘that’s enough..let me be’ or some other weight…we all tend to carry some weight at some point of time.

All it takes is letting go of that weight. I know we might believe that we are not in a position to let go of the weight and we don’t have a choice. But, well, we do. Imagine that you are wearing a costume of that responsibility and imagine dumping it into the garbage bin, just like Spiderman! Now imagine that you are free and are living the life you want to. What costume do you imagine wearing now? Once you have visualized it, imagine placing it in your wardrobe forever. You can wear it any time you want. You can get really creative with this and let your designer instincts come to the fore.

The point being..you can choose to not wear the weight that you feel is wearing you down..let go of it. Even if it is for a while, you can let go of it. Wear something else instead…which makes you look better and makes you feel happier. You could wear the costume of a lovely princess instead of a dutiful daughter or wear the costume of a highly successful and dynamic woman instead of a full time mom…or anything else you might. Be who you want to be. There’s no stopping Spiderman..is there?

Note to my readers: This is how the Belief Closet methodology works. It is an extremely powerful technique to help you change your beliefs. It was introduced to me by a practitioner of this methodology and I can totally vouch for its results. 

Survival by Denial

denial1Living with the acceptance of everything that is going on around us can be a very painful thought for some of us. I was reflecting on a book I was reading recently and then on a recent clipping in the newspaper about how a mother chose to not acknowledge what was going on in her daughter’s life  and chose to live in denial.

Looking back in my past, thinking about the lives of people I know, I realized that so many of us have spent so many years living in denial. I know of women who have known their husbands are having an affair and chose to deny that as they just did not have the courage to deal with what might surface. I know of mothers who know their children are suffering from ADHD but choose to deny it because it really does take courage to be able to accept what might follow. I know of people who are growing old and refusing to accept that aging has set in. They find it unbelievable that their bodies are no longer supporting their desired schedules and they have a very hard time dealing with things. I know of friends and relatives who continue to follow very hectic schedules to sustain their careers when they know that from a health standpoint, they have become ‘ticking time bombs’ which could explode at any time. They choose to deny the fact that they their overall energy levels have reduced and that their bodies now need a different type and degree of nutrition.

This is not to say that those of us who have lived in denial or continue to live in denial are wrong. As I had shared in one of my earlier blogposts, I don’t judge people. Why would I, when I have been in denial so many times myself..The point is, some of us do not acknowledge the fact that we are in denial till we reach a point when it is very late anyways. You deny the fact that you are putting on weight by not doing anything about it. You deny the fact that your child might be suffering or getting bullied at school by choosing to not talk about it. Denying what is going on around you, usually does not help in solving problems. What helps is acknowledging that there is a problem and starting to think of ways in which you could resolve them.

Accepting things can sometimes be very tough. It is important to have someone around to help you look at things in an objective manner and not get caught in the emotions of what you might uncover.

Hiring a coach can help you come to terms with situations you might have been denying. There are many coaches available today. Look for someone you think might be able to help you and give it a shot.

Deny denial the right to take over your life. It can help you survive but will not help you live happily.

From Stuck to Unstuck

Break-the-CycleSo many times, we find ourselves saying that we cannot help our situation because we believe that we are really stuck. We might find ourselves stuck in the wrong relationship or the wrong job or the wrong house. Despite what we go through everyday, we choose to remain stuck. That’s right – we are stuck by choice – well, in most cases, we know that is true. We might choose to remain stuck because we believe any change might upset our life’s balance, render a few people unhappy, unsettle a few minds and what not. So, we decide to become the sacrificial lamb instead and drown ourselves in self-pity every day for many days, months, even years. The result is often something that we might not want to admit or know about. Nervous breakdowns, depressions, lack of self-worth and a lack of desire to live in general are red flags for us to take action.

I know of a friend who believes her health is going down the drain as she is stuck in a very stressful job, unhappy with her situation at home and believes her kids are getting impacted too. Nobody would really choose such an unhappy situation. Perhaps what seems ‘more’ important to her is the desire to earn more money and to sustain a ‘socially acceptable’ lifestyle. That is really where the key lies – in prioritizing our needs and wants. So often, we let our ‘perceived needs’ govern the course of our lives. Often, we do this at the cost of our qualitative wants and desires. We let go of that walk in the morning for the new job because it pays us more money; we forget how we used to love reading books because we are too busy at work and no longer permit ourselves the time to do what truly brings us joy.

Many of us find ourselves caught in the quagmire of what we really want but believe we cannot have, as just we cannot let go of the comfort of our present.

We spend far too much time thinking about how sad our situation is and how we wish something better might happen but we don’t really spend much time working out alternatives to get ourselves ‘unstuck’. The truth is, sometimes, we prefer the sadness of being ‘stuck’ than the likely happiness that a changed situation might present to us. More often than not, miracles happen to those who work towards making them happen, every single day.

The last time you felt ‘stuck’, how strong was your desire to be unstuck? How many options did you generate to get ‘unstuck’? Did you stop after your first try? Did you believe that a miracle might happen simply by waiting for it or did you work towards being ‘unstuck’, relentlessly?

As they say, if we want something real bad, the universe conspires to bring it to us. The point is, are we ready for it? Are you ready for being ‘unstuck’?

This blog post is a reproduction of my weekly column ‘Her Point of You’ in SHE – the women’s section of The Goan (http://thegoan.net/story.php?id=1206)