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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Realness

Don'tKnow

Photo Credit: Manish Doshi

I am told …

My Realness is Intimidating

That they don’t know what to do with me

I don’t know what to do with that …

What we look like

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Photo Credit : Vikram Phale

All of us, what we look like
Have a story of our life
Sometimes really brave ones
And then those that we hide

When we want to change something
In what we look like
It’s actually something
That we want to change in our life …

There is a Difference

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LiveLifeGrand&Deep

There is a difference.
In living to make it look like
To be seen a certain way
To be remembered a certain way
To be talked about a certain way

And

Actually living the life exactly
As what would be seen and talked about
Only because that is the only way
That is skilled and known to live.
There is a difference.

The difference is
Vexed exhaustion
And
Calm conviction.

The difference is
Unknown inner suffering
And
Chosen wise suffering

The difference is
Mind maddening rush & fall
And
Heart exalting ebb & flow

Just wanting to be Seen

Through the words
Through the face
Just wanting to be Seen

Through the silence
Through the emotions
Just wanting to be Seen

Through how we dress
Through how we stress
Just wanting to be Seen

Through the efforts
Through the turmoil
Finally not caring to be Seen

Through the Self that emerges
Just feeling and Being
From behind those curtains
As if just peeking …

Suddenly you are the Presence
You are the Beauty and Brilliance
Made invisible all this while
Through all the trial
Just wanting to be Seen …

The electric Truth

There are some days when
I reach for my electric blue eyeliner
Or sometimes my bright red lipstick
I feel that either of those would make me happy today

And they do!
Once I am done wearing them though
I cannot really see either for myself.
What really makes the difference then?

I suppose so it is with the Choice of living your Truth
Every single day, every single moment
Once you are done choosing them
You don’t see the difference for yourself …

P.S. – I have no idea what category to put this in …it doesn’t feel like prose, nothing rhymes and it is definitely more than few lines …I am going ahead with the category of rhymes for now, as the thought felt rhyming to me but the words didn’t. What do you think?

True Story

Habit is but a smile
As it is never out of style
True story is in the eyes
They don’t hold any lies

Habit is but our appearance
Worldview is it’s dependence
True story is in the grace
That harmony brings to the face

Habit is but a service
Flows without avarice
True story is in the heart
What is felt but blocked

Habit is but the noise
Seems to come with no choice
True story is in the silence
Shows you your resilience

Habit is but a desire
Sometimes no less than a fire
True story is in the meaning
The desire is really seeking

Habit is but our comfort
At any cost we ‘d import
True story is in the courage
With which reality we forage

Habit is but our human-ness
Begs for our kindness
True story is in the Soulness
That brings us closer to wholeness