Nostalgia and Dementia

About 35 years ago ….. This morning I barged into a cell of memoirs of that day.

A college mate of mine Venuraj told me on phone that his ankles are paining. I then looked at my ankle. Found that my toe nails need a trimming and went to collect the nail cutter. That was it.

That nail cutter was gifted thirty five years ago in Jeddah by a friend’s friend who shared our apartment for a few nights before he boarded flight to Jordan. He worked for Panasonic National. He said “You keep it”. None ever gifted me a nail cutter, may be with crystals. This nail cutter is unique and precious in many ways.

Nostalgia; a friend of mine told me is like dementia. I found it to be an interesting comparison. Dementia is unsoundness of mind resulting from organic or functional disorders leading to loss of coherent thoughts. Nostalgia is about poignant fixation or longing for something that happened long ago.

It appears both are demerits. I wonder though! When it sounds and steps on memories, nostalgia turns purple. It connotes love and that kind of?

I lived longer than someone and came to this world before India was independent. Nostalgia plays music in my old heart to tickle and fondle my memoirs.

Today the Gen Next will not bother to know because they have a valid reason. It does not tickle them anymore. What tickles them probably are smart things like cells, robots, AI (artificial intelligence), drones, remotes that run automobiles and speed. The flow of nostalgia is in any way trickle by trickle. Very slow like pain in the ankle of Venuraj.

No wonder when a close school friend of mine called up to ask “why not we four meet?” made me vibrant and speedy in action to meet sooner. And we did speak that night in calm and laughter only about nostalgic stories that bind us still. Football we used to play, jokes that made us laugh; cutting chai that we used to share; the kalumakai (mussels) fried in original pepper from that corner shop that does not exist, and about the shop near Malabar Christian College, Kozhikode that has gone into oblivion as a road widening took place and traffic signals have been planted. We spoke of times when there were no city buses only bullock carts and a few horse ridden vehicles, and by no way no traffic signals.
Change is forever and un-stoppable. We understand and appreciate that factor, as none can stop dementia or nostalgia. It flows and carry on with it good and bad things.

Unfortunately in dementia we forget and in nostalgia memoirs filter only goodness and leave the spoilt occurrences to waste. That is why the most often repeated concept of forgiveness comes into picture. The four of us had fought and split but we are congruent in one as much as we trace history and look at what is happening. And hold our fort of thoughts into future with a back drop of how illuminant was the days we passed by. As we grew we never thought we were making memories. We just enjoyed the fun of living.

Some moments we passed through have become treasures. They fit into our bags of assets. More valuable than some of the gifts (unlike the nail cutter) and materials we made in due course. School holidays when we used to go to uncle’s houses to recreate times shared with cousins and their neighbor hood, lakes and valleys, mountains and rivers, playing kites and running and falling.

It appears the second trip down the memory lane is a treat like the grandma’s coconut chutney. Even the eight year old grandson of mine Darsh listens as he is unfolded with an old photograph of his and asks in excitement questions that his nerves wonder. In us are those fond memories, aside us are our friends and intimate relationships and in front of us are challenges that makes future.

I miss being the child.

That brings an opportunity in all of us. Not to forget to awaken the child in us. Being lonely is a possibility and is the worst poverty of this time, as you age. Remember fear was not a part as we grew up, fear is taught en-route. A child does not fear – he just tries.
Like we four old friends met without a reason but celebrated the occasion.

“Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you are in trouble, because that reason can be taken away from you” – Deepak Chopra.

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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!