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.

Advertisements

Solitude

Solitude

Photo Credit : Vikram Phale (along with the words Solitude imprinted)

The challenge is to truly breathe
&
Be alone in the mind

When in Solitude

 

P.S. This quote had come to me in response to a blog post by The Chatter Blog I love this blog and you will too. Her illustrations are just awesome. Her message profound yet full of lightness, simplicity & often fun.

Image designed and published by Scene & Heard – a publication on Medium

Do Nothing

RestHere

Photo : Vikram Phale “Rest Here”

Choose to often do Nothing
Choose to not play the game
Choose to simply stay & Be
Choose the seemingly insane

Try it
Do Nothing
For an hour
For a day
For a month

For any length of time
Know what really is the fight
Win over that all in the mind
It is the Brave
Who can truly rest on this planet
Their choices are such …

Just Be
Aware
Then watch
Prowess simply becoming You
None of it you feel the need to be shown
Yet you are seen as powerfully grown

 

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 …

True Smile

LoneKayak

“True Joys” Photo: Manish Doshi ‘Lone Kayak on Kauai”

The numbness that we wear, in order to always smile

Choosing not to feel the pain, with that practiced smile

It is liberating to experience all there is, and not smile

For the true joys of life do not necessitate that we smile

One that comes from the heart and eyes is a true smile

 

 

P.S. This is a contribution to ForgivingFridays on ForgivingConnects, a blog by dear Debbie Roth, that is a wonderful work in support of acceptance, self-forgiveness, and self- love.

Finding My Balance

Golden sunrise - on sea of blue - Sitapur beach - Neil Island - 1F8A1566

Golden Sunrise at Sea by Atanu Chakraborty

I find a place…for my elbow to rest on. A platform that is a good space to give me relief. My elbow finds balance on a solid surface, my head rests in my palm sideways. My mind finds some moments of peace.

The platform turns out to be a floating piece. It starts to shift, putting my elbow and my rest, out of balance. I could rely on it but only for a while.

Pulses of life, stir through the surroundings of the iceberg where I was resting my elbow. The solidity of the iceberg now seems shaken.

Shock of the coldness hits my face as the elbow slides off. I am thrown out of my comfort space.

I have been seeking concepts and beliefs and relations and interactions to depend on, for balance. To rely on, when challenged. Only to find out that they are all floating icebergs.

Lean on anything a bit too much, and you plunge into the cold deep abyss of the sea of truthful revelations, eventually.

Some icebergs are memories that we escape to. Trying to find any semblance of joy or pleasure or balance or support that we felt at a different time. As all icebergs, this one too, serves only for a while.

I have sought it in persons and relationships sometimesOnly that I am an iceberg for others too, sought out to balance some need in them. Oftentimes, each ends up blaming the other iceberg, for not staying steady and still, for them to lean on.

I decide to walk on to dry grounds, with none of the unreliable icebergs around to entice me. There are trees to rest under and the lush grass on solid ground, looks fulfilling. I will now depend on the nurturing Mother Earth to hold me, to support me. I find rest in the shade under a vibrant tree.

It seems like I have found my solace and semblance of balance that I can finally rely on. Only until …the winds start howling and the skies turn dark and shower me with piercing drops of revelations, leaving me drenched in the cold again.

Sometimes it wasn’t even the furious weather that left me all lost on the face of the planet. My own thoughts could create a tornado within, that left me as if, there is no ground to stand on.

“Where do I really rest? Mother Earth! Where on earth can I just rest?” I cried in despair, kneeling down with my head hung low.

Mother Earth, as if smiled, while continuing her own journey through the void, around the sun, not knowing what, comets and storms and humans, might hurl at her, at any time.

Nothing seems to be at rest. Relentless movement. We go on while coloring our perception with the illusion of support and stability.

At times, memories of someone and the conversations, color our days or months. Giving a sense of balance to the emptiness in the place we call home. The home that stands on the compassion of the planet and it’s time bound stability.

There are times I am totally present with those physically with me. And I become aware of the hurricanes within them, uprooting my sense of balance.

I also often become dependent on other people for my soul nourishment and direction to my human mind. Every time I become completely dependent, that iceberg plops under.

In my sane mind I realize that they have gone away seeking their own nourishment, or might have faltered their own of self depletion. In my human mind I sometimes blame them for not being there for me anymore.

After many such hurricanes and toppling under of icebergs, I finally realize there is this vast ocean of space within me. The more I dive into the center of it, the more stability I find.

I begin to sit with myself more often, without leaning.

I feel more grounded as I allow a deep breath in, into the expansiveness of my being, and empty it out from the core of my being, as softly and smoothly as I can. The more I rely on my own ability, to glide on the current of the life force, flowing through me with the breath, the more rooted I get in the stability of my own being. The platform I lean on is not tangible yet so plausible.

A sense of trust and surrender and choices of possibility and tremendous courage, gives me an easy resolve of steadiness, and the experience of innate balance.

I wobble at times, escape into known comforts sometimes, fear the unknown darkness sometimes, and then find my balance again, as I recognize it all for what it is.

The darkness is pure nothing until I fill it with something. Its spirit is illuminated with each breath and awareness that comes. The silence is rich with the knowing and the perceiving and the feeling that guides me, unless it is purely divine silence.

A warmth develops within me, that balances out the coldness of any sharp revelations. It flows through me, which feels like love in some form or kind.

That’s how, I find my center and balance, time and again, until I fall off, time and again …

 

Originally published in This Glorious Mess on Medium