Beauty in Resilience

Hard labor for a Living - a Local -0898

Photo Credit: Atanu Chakraborty “Ladakh Old Lady – Hard Labor for Living”

Note: This is a narration of a true personal experience of a profound mental shift, I went through. This was originally posted on Infinite Living on December 2, 2015.

I was standing at the busiest intersection of Mumbai, India, just arrived from US, couple of days ago. It was the end of June and rains were expected anytime, unannounced. I was there waiting for my friend to pick me up, to take me shopping for some rain shoes.

I was much immersed in the experience of being there, soaking in life moving at a fast pace around me. There was a sense of impatience in the atmosphere as there were too many vehicles on the road, to be able to move fast enough. Mixed in, was the sun, moist heat, dust, pollution and the blaring horns from drivers.

I was going to be waiting there for 15 mins, my friend called.

My eyes lingered and then my gaze dropped down on a sight, about a foot by my side. Just inches away from traffic, on the footpath/sidewalk, on a tattered mat, was a mother tending to her newborn …maybe a month or so old. She had the baby on her legs outstretched, no clothes on the baby.

My mind drifted very briefly to some memories of how I had lovingly purchased multiple things to keep my babies in perfect health and comfort. I was again drawn back to the sight in front of me. Words came to my mind-  hygiene, safety, nutrition, sickness – but I was again drawn into the scene.

The cars and people zapped by. But the only thing real for me was the mother taking care of that baby. Perhaps just like the only thing real for the mother was her baby and what she could do for the baby.

Flies were hovering over the baby. The baby was clean. The woman had a rag in her hand and a half filled bottle of water by her. She would sprinkle a few drops of water on the baby and then wipe it off with the rag, every few minutes. It was her way of keeping the baby cool and the flies away. The mother and the baby looked content, and for what it takes, doing ok with each other.

I was filled with love and inspiration for the duo. What endurance and strength they have been born with! What beauty in that the mother making the best use of all that was available to her, to be able to give her baby all that she could!

This experience opened me up to a different reality altogether. The reality of our human arrogance that equates a good life and happiness with wealth and all that it brings.

I remember only 3 years ago when I previously visited Mumbai, I had a very different perception. I used to feel sad and have tears in my eyes as I walked past poverty and people living in tiny made up houses with their kids roaming around naked. I felt happy and also guilty about having a beautiful house and a bountiful life. I assumed they were suffering from poverty. I assumed I was happy and was supposed to be happy because I had all these material comforts.

In the 3 years in between, I went through a profound journey of self-discovery, transformation and renewal. I could now see the world through the eyes of people who have felt like their body has betrayed them completely.

People who have to show up for themselves, each day with tremendous courage to survive, what feels like their own death, day after day.

The ones that go through pain so intense that they have to continually keep tapping into the pulse of life itself to find faith, surrender and the means to help them inch towards the ability to thrive.  

Having a house, the food, the comforts, all become part of gratitude. Body and mind become the primary dwelling and the immediate place of turmoil and suffering.

There is tremendous beauty in the strength and resilience that people show, in showing up each day of their life, to make the best of what they have available to them.

To me this day, there was no difference between this mother and anyone else doing just that. Having a house is not enough. What you choose while living in any kind of house or under the sun is what makes you what you are.

In that baby I saw a beautiful being born with a purpose. One purpose was to open my eyes to this beauty. In the mother I saw a face of pure nurture and love. I felt a renewed faith that we are all very well equipped for where we are placed.

In that mother and baby, and all other contrasts around me, I see no suffering, only beauty, grace and strength!

 

P.S. This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays on ForgvingConnects. It is in the forgiving non-judgmental perspective of our circumstances is where we find our strength and happiness.

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75 thoughts on “Beauty in Resilience

  1. “I assumed they were suffering from poverty. I assumed I was happy and was supposed to be happy because I had all these material comforts.” This is the same kind of question I’m faced with every day as I walk down streets in India. I’m so happy you brought it to light on WordPress. You don’t know how much this resonated with me. Thanks for following me so I could discover this blog! Looking forward to more 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes!!!! If I may relate to your beautiful post…. Someone I loved passed away unexpectedly. In my journey of grief after their passing I felt so bad for that persons regrets in life. But the thing is, it was MY assumption on what their regrets should have been. It took me a while on this journey to realize my arrogance at assuming what that person’s regrets were. I was passing judgment on that life I did not live …. In my head this is all relatable to what you are saying here. What we perceive to be someone else’s perception of their life….when ‘we’ are mostly likely wrong. How can we know? I hope I am making sense. This is a beautiful post Infinite. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Transformation it is – thank you for seeing the beauty in it my friend. I grew up with these scenes along the street always, but it took a long part of the lifetime to see it this way. It was a raw unfolding as if from a different world.

      Like

  3. Profound words of wisdom there Pragalbha. It is experiences such has this, that help us reflect, evolve and grow. With a change in perspective, gratitude and happiness flows within. Thanks for sharing this experience with us and spreading positive vibes!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You said it, Pragalbha! What an incredible story. I really see your shift to seeing through the eyes of beauty, respect, and non-judgment. I am so touched that you shared this for #ForgivingFridays. Thank you so much. Each of us has our own journey, and each one is so beautiful and full of purpose of spiritual awakening.

    I am honored to share this for my post tomorrow. Thank you, thank you!!
    Blessings to you and that gorgeous mother and baby.
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Today’s Forgiving Fridays: It’s OK to Struggle – ForgivingConnects

  6. What a beautiful post. To be resilient can simply mean showing up, and facing the reality of things. I have much admiration for individuals who live (happily) with much less. It’s not the material comforts that give us happiness; happiness is a state of being, more so for people who cannot rely on material comforts to deny the challenges of their existence.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful story. I too believe that we are very well equipped for where we are placed in this life. It’s nice to have things, but they don’t make a life, they make a marketplace. We were put here to find our purpose, our mission. Goods are just for show. Our happiness is not built on pillars of gold. Noticing how people live who have much less provides a great lesson. They will only keep what they can carry, which in my experience also includes a smile & a pleasant demeanor.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Pragalbha what an amazing insight that was given you that day.. Indeed I have found it the world over. Seeing those who to our eyes have Nothing, Yet in their eyes is pure contentment and love.. The Missing ingredient of the world today..
    For in todays world we are brought up to feel wealth is success.. and success leads us to happiness.. How wrong that is.. We accumulate THINGS thinking these are the things which will fill our lives..
    We are all of us searching, searching for THINGS to fill the void.. Which is why society keeps striving for More with their greed..
    When all is there.. Inside us.. Its all there.. Pure LOVE..
    We each view the world through our windows of perception.. I LOVE YOUR VIEW… ❤
    Wonderful to be back reading your words my dear friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Today’s Forgiving Fridays: I’m moving and HAPPINESS! – ForgivingConnects

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  12. Such a thoughtful experience. Main takeaway from this post will be to utilize everything we’ve got in developing ourselves as a person, and try not to worry at little setbacks of life. My grandma used to tell me that whenever you think that god or time is too harsh on you, think of the poor beggars on the footpaths, who sometimes even have to sleep empty stomach. So, I try to live by her words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It makes me so happy that you visited this post 🙂 I appreciate your thoughtful reflections and the takeaway that you share. It is such a blessing to have your Grandma’s wise words to guide you. Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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