Ups and downs

This month June 2017, we were in Visakhapatnam for a few days to be with friends. Standing on the frontage of the flat we stayed, I could see two high rise buildings. Later as we went round that place where in 1971, I worked as a management trainee of a MNC, I was informed that the two buildings are of 35 floors high and have nearly 800 flats. I took some pictures and sent to friends.

I took some other picture a week after that at the Gandhi Road, Christian College Junction on Kannur Road, in Kozhikode. That place now has no signs of the house where I lived as an infant till a few years ago – made to ground zero for the widening of the road.

Up and down?

Seethammathara, a remote village in Visakhapatnam then was approachable only by one bus and few cycle rickshaws. I worked there in night shifts manufacturing medical and industrial gases. Months later I got shifted to Madras. That landscape has changed and has given a rise to the two towers. Gandhi road widening demolished my home where I still keep memoirs.

Ups and downs!

Profoundly in a state of thought, I received a whatsapp message from my daughter showing a photo of her son riding his newly bought bi-cycle – a cute picture of my grandson.

 I linked my thoughts of “ups and downs” to that of the cycle.

Quote – “There’s rises and falls and ups and downs in all music”. Tim McGraw. The music must go on in spite of ups or downs, like the cycle.

During his annual school holidays as a custom we take our grandson for a giant wheel drive at one of those exhibitions. He is only eight years of age and he need to appreciate the ups and downs and the thrill of returning from the downs to ups again. No wonder – Sarah Todd Hammer said – Everyone has adventures in their lives – Some good ones, some bad ones”.

When I sent the picture of the newly laid road demolishing my home, my brothers and sisters engaged in conversations of the “Lost” feelings. I think materials provide us with instant and immediate pleasures that when lost or deleted like in a relationship make us worried, with concerns of what next?

I have changed from those training days in night shifts at Seethammathara. So are the landscapes in terms of growth. We need to be part of that change by adapting without conditions.

We should be like a clock we need not keep watching the clock. But do what it does. Keep moving, unconditionally. Be with the flow. Witness the lives and nature around. After all in those more than 50000 thoughts that come to our minds every day how many deserve our concerns? How many of those thoughts can we influence? Leave and let go.

Let’s keep our looks at the rise of the Sun, the one that wakes us UP. Let our shadows remain behind with the setting Sun as it sets DOWN.

We move on – lets pedal the cycle of life.

 

ROOTS

I sat on the twinkled roots, old enough

In awe, clutched and twisted in thoughts,

Memoirs rising above the ground, from grave

My roots not so decayed and decomposed.

 

Reminded me of the journey etched in my diary,

Regret, no that’s not in dictionary, rooted in darkness,

Unable to wind up and decipher words in the woods

Uncertain where roots belong, that binds me to ground.

 

Tried to uproot, so as to forget, and forgive you, but

The cradle of thoughts, brought deeper into heart’s tissues

That bled, in resilience fruits of love that is time tested

The tree provided shades, covering love stories buried alive.

 

You planted a “forget-me-not” seed that went deep

Yes, ripping the ground of reality into a dream come true

You cannot re-discover the pain of penetration in heart

I only can feel the pain of retaining the roots of love.

 

Like the roots that clutch the earth, carrying life for the tree

Life being short, not to worry, but move on the way to witness

I wondered and listened to the whispers of leaves above roots as

I pass through the passage between memories eyes closed.

 

Like roots carry nectar to heart of tree, your

Love comforts, consoles, soothe my nerves

Making me a treasure house of pleasures in thoughts

Making me pause and feel about our relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MUSIC in our lives …

It was an evening where an audience without age barriers christened at the Calicut Town Hall. Lovely is the minimum that many expressed who watched the program from an overcrowded hall. Sure that was. Nostalgic melodies of Latha Mankeshkar and the rich voice of Mohammed Rafi were reverberating, sung by the two stalwarts in music – Rahamath and Firoz. The song presenter recollected the music of late 1950’s to the audiences. Years gone by; but shelf life of those songs has not perished.

I was watching that Sunday noon show on Television where latest movie on Dhoni was shown on StarPlus. Compare the epics of yesteryears in cinema and that of the recent ones. The movie is produced to cross the magic numbers of 100 and 200 crores and soon thereafter we forget about the movie.

What gets registered is stored as memoirs. We are flooded with a huge amount of alternatives and choices. Cell phone that costs a lot is replaced once a new brand comes up. Apps and Appo’s provide a variety beyond practical needs but we dispose off and life of the costly apparatus becomes redundant. Shelves in the show rooms get a refill, with more modern equipments.

That probably is due to a fact that our mind’s IN BOX is crowded with thoughts that clutter. We have in store more than what we can chew. This was not the case some years back. Number of e-mails, Whats App messages and Likes on Face Book are accountable for the crowded transaction of thoughts that obstruct a leaner positive chain of thoughts. That of course reduces the shelf life of our thoughts and thus our positive action. We then have an issue of time created by our mindset. That time we lose does not nourish quality time. We lose relationships. We cannot even relax.

We need to think what we do? Why we do? And when we do? – Otherwise we miss and end up in losing some good friends.

It is said that our body is the servant of our mind. Undesirable thoughts that invade constantly in our minds put our body into sicknesses created by mental and physical tension. And we succumb to deceases and wild pressures including monitory issues. The delicate body tissues surrender to the penchant bad thoughts and become ill. We see street urchins playful, and rich ones with tough exteriors.

Bring peace within yourself by avoiding jealousy, ill-will, judgment, comparison, evaluation, criticism, doubt and cynicism, suspicion and envy. It’s we who create peace within us.

When we are happy and positioned with love and forgiveness we tend to be happier and smiling at issues that once we felt were un-surmountable.  Forget and forgive and use the dust bin in your mind and brain, to re-invent spaces where slowly good things tend to flourish. “Understand the flaws to appreciate the perfection of the Universe” – Ka Chinery.

As me and my wife listened to the music that eve, the song had a silent sequence of a few milliseconds. That was a dip in the rhythm, a split second of solitude in isolation. I thought then we need to listen and be silent more than we speak. Pythagorus wrote: “Learn to be silent. Let your quieter mind listen and absorb”.

Silence settles our mind. That allows us to think what we are thinking. But most of us do multi-tasking, loosing focus and attention. We drive and we speak on phone at the same time. We risk our lives and we reduce the shelf life of others in accidents.

As the cell phones need re-charge our minds do need a re-charge of re-vitalizing doses of happiness. We have given away the power to control our mind. It was one of my friends who said – I will chose to pick the phone and the caller cannot enter and interrupt my flow of transactions and thoughts. Surely I will respond to the call.

Innumerable SMS, BBM, WhatsApp, IMO call tunes, and the times we enjoy in LIKEs on Face Book columns distract and enter our solitude and privacy. We allow the world – professional, social and digital space influence the way we live and interact.

I think we need to reflect and live. Live the way we want to live. Not the way others want our lives to be defined.

It’s then when music to the ears becomes soothing. It’s then when we tend to listen to the tunes, the flimsy voices of birds and start thinking that our lives with limited shelf life need to be enjoyed.

 

 

 

Feelings

“Heaven willed that I spend my life with a man not meant for me, and I am wasting my days silently according to the will of Heaven, but if the gates of eternity do not open, I will remain with the beautiful half of my soul and look back at the past and the past is the present … I shall look at life as Spring looks at winter, and contemplate the obstacles of life as one who has climbed the rough trail and reached the mountain top.” – Wrote Kalil Gibran

In those words, we feel the feelings of a human being.

It is interesting to know Lakshmi, who actually underwent and compressed her feelings within. She had heart burn, gas trouble and headaches. Her husband was busy with his work and all household chores social obligations, children’s education etc. were all that she had to do. Mentally and physically tired she became an unfit persona. She then went on to understand feelings and it’s manifestations within her-self. A study helped her to be assertive and that helped her children to share chores and her husband understanding to tilt the balance in the family.

Don’t we feel that our mind is a complicated thing? With pent up sensations, reactions and feelings in our day to day relationships. Our mind creates suspicion, misery, anger and endless problems. Apart from this we tend to make it more clever, articulating, cunning and dishonest to ourselves. A problem we face.

We see the world as the “I” (EGO) sees it. We cannot see the absolute either by thought or imagination. Wittgenstein wrote “Conception of the world is limited by one’s thought and language” – A solution may come from appreciating the extensive thoughts our mind generate as well by its limits. Mind binds us with needs and desires. A King asked a holy man what he wanted as a gift. The holy man said to fill up his cup with gold coins. King tried but no matter the cup won’t get filled! King then asked for the secret of his cup. “This cup is like the mind of every person who is never content. It never gets filled and is not supposed to.”

Our own embedded negative feelings make us insecure. A tragedy we ourselves invite. Like physical well being we need to have mental health. This is possible by de-cluttering negative emotions. A single feeling that is negative can drain us of a day’s energy. Introspecting, reasoning and looking back help us to understand what makes us sad and irritable? That helps to bridge what is in between our body and mind. The balance energy copes for our future action.

Humanity as evidenced in numbers have thus many variations of thoughts and beliefs. These variations or differences create confusion and later lead us to conflicts. Conflicts exist and are to be managed. Each point of view can be validated and re-validated and is a process. Sticking to one as good or bad is a stigma arising out of ego. There is no “delete” or “reboot” buttons that we can touch on screen of life, as we do on cell phones. It is possible to communicate, understand apologize and forgive the other person. That reduces the heaviness in our minds. One tend to avoid consuming a pain killer pill.

Conflict between logic and feelings is a matter that we should be aware of. Once the brain said –“I’m the smartest organ of the body” and the heart said “who told you?’ Feelings are part of our psyche; we need to be aware and handle it well, to belong in any relationship.

We belong. Like in a share taxi, passengers are together for some time and each one has a different destination. Like the arrow, that comes through the bow but does not belong to the bow, it follows own course. We bundle up feelings. But we need to release by detoxification.

To be pleasant or unpleasant is a personal choice over the circumstances and conditions that we entangle moment by moment. The circumstances can make us a victim. The same circumstances if dealt with positive motives can alter the outcome and brings happiness within.

Unpleasantness is a result of setbacks. “Setbacks are inevitable. Misery is a choice. Reasons are always there, but never an excuse” – wrote Stephen Covey.

“All emotions are impulses to act in handling life. The root of the word emotion is motere, a Latin word, meaning to move with the prefix ‘e’ to connote move away. This suggests a tendency to act with every emotion” – Daniel Goleman. Our rational thinking mind in the “head” is different from the “heart”. The convictions are different. The more intense is the feeling more dominant the emotional mind becomes. We need to be aware of the feelings that transgress within our heart and precipitate as sediments.

That may be why they say – Life’s deepest feelings are expressed in silence” – because feelings that come back are feelings that never went away. By soft handling of feelings, being aware of it help us to have a balanced approach.

Do not waste time on revenge – forgive, forget.

 

 

 

 

Reshaping self beliefs

As I was in the kitchen making dosha my wife was engrossed in cooking iddlis. The batter is nearly the same but iddlis are cooked different. Simple, though, that moment set a pattern of questions in mind.

Most turned out on the belief systems that get embedded in our minds. They set our thoughts, and those very thoughts turn the way we see moments, hours, days and months into future.

In my house where six of us went to schools and colleges my ammamma (grand mom) made iddlis on week days and dosha or aappams during weekends.  As I grew I knew the reason. But the set belief about iddlis still linker in mind countering reasons. This happens.

Probably belief systems damage relationships. We tend to believe “SHE” is not as good as “HE”. Some believe that days passed by were better than days to come. At least a few think that financially they can never recover. We tend to believe some of the illnesses are not curable. It’s a mental fabric that creates impediments for us to look beyond.

While working in the Middle East when I used to start the car early morning, cats that rested under chassis crossed and ran to front. Belief system indicated earlier in life was a bad omen. If I were to wait for something better to cross I would never have attended work!

Look at children and we see them not confined to themselves with such set beliefs. They have no fear. They take things and chose their ways on the spur of the moment. We were once upon a time like them. Over a period of time we changed to a set pattern of thought. If fear is cultivated, that seed becomes stronger. In a changing world scenario unless we change our thoughts we become victims of own thoughts.

By changing our thoughts we can shift gears in our journey called life. Using the indicators and making amends in the route we reach our goals at ease. When brakes are applied we find ways to escape un-hurt. Feelings are the same. Declutching is a need to change and move forward. We need to practice forgiveness.

It’s a mental agony when we swim within the restrictions set by those very belief systems. We get diseases due to toxic contents injected by thoughts. Our attitudes measure and drive us. The way to view and review our thought patterns are like viewing the rear view mirror and side view mirrors.

“The cause and effect” theory is applicable the way we feel happy or otherwise. Situations keep changing. We need to understand the cause that we create. Then appreciate the affect on us. We cause internal injury by some thoughts.

It’s rigidity in our set patterns of thought that give us stiff necks and chest pains. If we are flexible and at ease with the swinging affects that surround us, we see things like the way children play with kaleidoscope. Adapt and enjoy with the ever improving patterns that emerge on a tilt of kaleidoscope. Children play with toys. Can we?

We get involved as we move on time with jealousy, guilt, anger, criticism, hurt and resentment. We anchor thoughts inflicting internal bleeds with negative feelings. This robs us of the brightness of the day, the chirp of birds, and the magic of colours of the flowers we see. We shut our eyes to those wonderful moments by purposely filtering only negative thoughts. Why do we harbor our past? Why we often reload elapsed time spaces?

Stiff necks and bottlenecks siphon out our energies. They give us constipation, both physical and in feelings. Rigidity causes heartburns. We create our own boundaries. Out-of-the-box thinking is a tool we need to apply in daily lives. Edward de Bono created the seven hats exercise to find alternatives. We can think different – vertical and horizontal. That helps us to pause, re-visit, lift the anchor and steer away from the turmoil or the tsunami we expected were hindering us to move ahead.

For internal peace and happiness we need to have a self approval process of our identities and images we create.  We are what we are due to our thought chains. We need to indulge in thoughts that ignite and burn self beliefs. And that ignition lights pathways to progress. Love without conditions is integral to forgiving.

After all iddlis also have changed shapes and forms!

 

 

 

 

 

Highways and Bye-lanes

piaano

I had an opportunity to listen to a music concert and enjoyed the music coming out of the various kinds of flutes. Remembered then – “Life is like a flute, with many holes of emptiness. Work on it to play melodies of life”. As we pass through life with stress, we need to pass through silence. We come across walls of obstacles at times built by glass and rocks. In order to overcome stress we need not break those walls; better to pass through them.  I ardently listened to music from the flute that gave me a conduit to pure essence of life’s experiences.

“It is not enough to be busy like the ants” – David Thoreau.

Just look at the ants. Deborah Gordon of Stanford University says – Ants aren’t smart; ant colonies are. These colonies have lasted tens of millions of years, feeding fighting reproducing following simple rules nearly clueless of what’s going on. They work on adapting behavior. Look at us! We tend to understand life by over thinking, creating mental blocks that limits us to explore.

When I went for the morning walk I found four wooden chairs and decided to sit on one of those. It was bliss that followed – listening to the breeze and the whispers of the birds from the nearby trees and looking at the sun rise. The same day my daughter took me to her work station. We walked within the premises and came across a pool of water above which bridges were built. Those bridges resembled bye-lanes of paths, around the trees and away from the highways of stress. Water flew creating ripples enriching the ambience. These visuals stopped the monkey in my mind. I enjoyed. These walks enriched me to listen and fill the void created in my stressed mind. Just like the flute – from nothings of emptiness to rich tones.

Focus brought calmness to the heart and un-locked fullness of mind. I was able to set my mind free from the routines that gets pre-occupied by a trip on these bye-lanes. She too mentioned that in an environment that she attends as a daily routine on the highway, she found happiness on the bye lanes.

As we pass through the walls of hindrance, a factor that impedes is regret. One medicine for regret is forgiveness. Mark Twain wrote – “Forgiveness is the fragrance that violet sheds on the heel that crushed it”. The bottled up feelings of regret are set free in a new scent.

We need to enjoy the journey, not only the destination. In most cases the expectation of the outcome in our minds creates heart burns. We recreate drama in our own lives. Detours make us aware of our mind sets. The flute and the bridges helped me realize there are alternative bye-lanes towards destination.

For this to happen we need to change our minds. Minds are hard to change. But human mind makes changes. This happens very slowly in most cases and abrupt changes happen in circumstances that are phenomenally different. We can change our own minds and change other’s minds.

It’s Jean-Baptiste who said – “We are responsible not only for what we do; but for what we don’t do”.

In understanding our mind sets we need to resolve ourselves from resistance to resilience and to resonance. We need to create resonance in the melodies of ragas from the flute and piano and merge with tweets of birds and the sounds of ripples of water. This creates music in our lives and around us.

One way to change ourselves is by making an effort. Diverting and deviating from the mundane routine makes it possible. We have to be involved fully in appreciating the way we want to think. Like a piano player, what you get out of it is how you play it. Black piano keys represent the sad moments and white the happy ones – playing both in balance produce the best outcome. Life is like playing piano, first using the key notes of the rules and then from the heart to create your own music in your own life.