The most memorable thing anyone said to me

Myself in the Tall Woods – Photo by Manish Doshi

During one of the weekend trainings that I was taking about 5 years ago, another girl who was about my height or an inch taller, came up to me and said

“At your height, you really teach us how to stand really really tall!”

I had a good laugh with her and responded “This (height) is all I ever got, so I just stand that’s all”

She then shared with me how my passionate contributions to discussions had helped her gain confidence in her ability to speak up for herself, ask questions in front of the group.

I don’t remember being bothered, but I have been reminded all my life of being short. Nobody did the reminder as amazingly for me as this kind classmate did!

I thought this was the most memorable thing that anyone said to me. Then few months ago, I was in a phone conversation with a long time friend, sharing our latest life experiences with each other lovingly. She suddenly said “You know Pragalbha –

You live as if someone getting a PhD on the subject of life itself… not just studying but actually living it”

I was speechless, also because I only have an idea of the amount of meticulous research and dedication required of those who pursue the PhD degree. I do not have the experience of it. My educated friend went on to remind me “Oh you are no different, always remember that. You have a similar passion and dedication towards life itself, and to my eyes you live exactly like any other PhD aspirant.”

I remember being bothered by my lack of higher education and degrees behind my name during my younger years. It used to cut into my sense of self worth. A lot of life happened before I grew out of that and found my purpose in life. I feel content and blessed for how I was guided all along to reach where I am. I was absolutely humbled with what my kind friend had to say about my approach to life.

Now I have 2 most memorable things anyone said to me that make me smile when I remember them :)))

I would love to know – What are the most memorable compliments given to you? What do you think of those I shared?

Difference

Photo by myself

I used to remain small
to keep others comfortable
They did console themselves
that I am nobody big

I am nobody big
I am no small either

There is a big difference…

I wish us all to continue to live with the truth of our being, with courage and compassion in relation to each other. I found this in the corners of my old drafts, while I was looking for something else. I enjoyed reading it back to myself and thought I should share it 🙂

Guilty

Sunset picture by myself

Those who seem to be happy all the time
Don’t judge them or take them for granted.
Often they have taken deep dives into grief or depression.
They have somehow managed not to drown
and that’s why the smile.

Those who think & act from the heart
Don’t try to fix them, it is not a weakness.
Often they are being their own version of strength.
They are somehow trying not to hurt anyone
and that’s why the tears.

What if we actually live all that we have been feeling & made guilty of? Instead of forever trying to keep living & convincing otherwise?
Where else does this question seem relevant to you?

Days are long, Life is short

Photo by myself

2020 is a long year.
And yet it is already mid-November 2020.

My 15 year old said to me the other day “I can’t imagine living to 80 or 90 year old. That is just too much. I feel like I am on this Earth for too long already. I think it is tiring to keep living that long” He had said the exact same thing when he was 13 too.

I was speechless as to how to respond both times and a bit saddened that he thinks so. It took us few more conversations to arrive at the conclusion that the more we live to deliver to the expectations of social constructs, more tedious it seems to keep living.

I explained to him that I actually feel very young and I am forever learning something, growing, waiting to begin my life as if, and find that this lifetime wouldn’t be enough for what I think is possible. He explained to me that he doesn’t have time to think all that after attending school for 6 hours and working at assignments for another 5 or more hours. Then all we did was nod and smile at each other for what we had realized for ourselves.

The days are very long for my son who is in high school. The days can seem very short for me as I juggle my time between family chores and my personal pursuits. It can easily become overwhelming if I try to figure out what I should be doing. Most answers come from definitions of success and other conditioning. I have come to value Being – being at peace and joy and ease through anything that I am doing. This in itself becomes difficult at times as it involves setting boundaries and clearing attachment to certain ways of being.

It is a continuous process of discovery “What do I really want to do today?” that seems in alignment with me being my authentic self, in this moment and situation. Because life is very short really, to spend it any other way.

Dear friends and readers, I have made a friendly commitment to myself to post here every Monday. So I showed up today and simply decided to share what was lingering within and accessible to be expressed in words. I am absolutely thrilled to see if you have any thoughts to share with me on what became this post 🙂

P.S :
Related post : Be-Come
Another conversation with my son when he was 11 : An attempt at success?

Things I have tried not to say

Photo by myself

Things I have tried hard not to say:

I gave you valid respect for your given role in my life. I will never falter in that. I became weak, I cried. You scolded, told me to become strong. I did. You can’t stand me now.

I have no desire for power games. Each time you try to make me small, I hurt a bit, a lot and then just become tall. I desire respect for who I am and regard for my personal growth.

I shared with you that genuineness in relationships is required for me. You explained how I am being unreasonable. You thought you helped me understand. Sadly, I understood what you said.

I said it is important to show more care for each other. Soon it became a game of guilt-tripping grievances, while flaunting privileges. I wasn’t interested in those. I quit engaging. I am learning to be ok.

I kept my stories positive. I didn’t share what I really struggled & triumphed through. Validated, empathized and supported you inside out. You took me for granted and declared that I am lucky I have it all so easy. I am learning to find a balance.

You have given me a lot of goodness, helped in times of need. I expressed profound gratitude at every opportunity. I am done being made indebted to you forever. I perhaps bring no other value to you.

You praised my spiritual writing in public and in person. Then you said I was foolish to actually attempt to live what I wrote. I need to be loyal to my own word. I think you should have no say in that.

I have acknowledged both your struggles and your privileges without agenda and envy. I think I have suffered enough humanly, if that’s the competition we are in, to prove our worth. I now go for continual joy and gratitude. You preach me positivity while pointedly reminding me of my lack. I become weak only because I care and want to trust you.

You are so so lovely, I would love to create some fun moments with you, instead of you trying to make me jealous with other people. I wish we are truly that which we take turns trying to become/show. Have a cup of smiles, perhaps with some sweet, bitter, hot, perfect brew. I want us to speak easy and true, or then why bother with the façade/role play?

Praise is not the expectation behind any of my action. Love is the intention behind all I say and do. I feel deeply. I mean what I say. Your mixed layers of what you say, what you really mean and you intend to convey something underneath saying something in the perfect nice words – it is exhausting to me.

Respect & Love exist as attitudes, trickling into action and words. Certainly not true when the words are claimed, assumed, imagined, explained. All this while continually invalidating others’ feelings, in the guise of wanting to make them strong and positive.

These are things I have tried hard not to say.

Today I decided to get them out of the way. I am not perfect, made my own human mistakes. I am working my way through. All this is what I really think sometimes, before I work diligently at letting go of expectations and acceptance of what is.

When emotional I am often unskilled at expressing, wanting to keep the love and kindness, fearing loss of relations. It is ok I think now, to say what I really mean without trying to make it into something nice. It is ok to love myself as much as anyone else.

I am learning to become unapologetically myself, still humble and authentic, valuing positivity and peace, yet more unapologetically myself. All my heart feels is Love in this moment and I am willing to grow to be able to live it to the fullest extent of it.

Post Update because of some comments I am getting : This is not about a single person in my life. I share a good marriage with my husband – we grow together as individuals. This is a compilation of various journeys with multiple interactions in life. Not an exact experience of this moment but a description of cumulative experiences I have been working through. A venting of how I think relations work in some ways in society, that I am growing out of very clearly, and felt the nudge to put it out in the Universe for anyone who might find it helpful and mark my own journey ahead.

Related posts from the past, if you feel inclined –

Prose :
Downsides of Gratitude?

Step into the New …You

Truthfulness, kindness & the dumbness of it all!

Love broken down to …Basics

Rhymes :
I Certainly Will …

Gratitude Attitude

Being Positive Truthfully

Letting Go?

IMG_4035

Photo: Manish Doshi

Letting go of results does not mean denying the gifts of your labor. It means letting go of the idea of what the result looks like. Goodness comes in ten thousand and different ways. We fixate on having it come a certain way.

Be open to receive what’s coming to you. We shut ourselves off from what is coming to us. We do that with our busyness or often with feelings of unworthiness. Always filling the spaces available to us with ‘doing’ and ‘trying’.

We then go into judgment of self, and rest of the world. That is a sure way to find a million upsetting things in our life. Things, not even in our immediate life, upset us. We go about finding glory in all the suffering we endure in all our pursuits.

There are so many things that need not define our life. There are so many pre-organized structures that don’t really work for us. We seem to think it is comfortable to make ourselves fit into them. We imagine it would be our success to show growth within those structures.

There are some given structures that are nourishing to us. Those that give us certain joys, stability and security. Those are our gifts to receive from, and find our worthiness through them. There are some areas of our personal growths that need the freedom of creation.

Be willing to create, express and offer exactly what you want.There are no barriers in the space that is not restricted by definitions. Most things come to us in ways we haven’t ever thought about them. Don’t lock yourself up in finite ways of achieving things.

Keep your self-reflection with kindness and compassion. Have a willing contribution towards your pursuit. Let go of the idea of how it should be coming to you. Letting go of results does not mean denying the gifts of your labor.
This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects! You will find this blog very inspiring.

 

Focus

Focus

“Myself on the trail” Photo by Manish Doshi

I have lived with a confusion of what exactly I want to do with the rest of my lifetime.

I looked upon the path I was walking on, I often saw multiple trails coming up ahead. The best I could zoom in was to stand at a fork trying to decide which one of the two roads ahead I want to choose.

That led me to question myself : “What is my purpose?” “What is the work that I am truly given time for, on this planet?” “Which dream do I follow? Which dream is truly mine? Which ones are more ideas from others about what I could be/should be doing?”

It felt like this lifetime wouldn’t be enough to cover the paths becoming evident to me.

It is funny how clarity in different directions can create confusion!

The word ‘Focus’ dawned on me. I needed to focus in one direction for now, I told myself.

I followed my inclinations and found things that I couldn’t stop doing. They are enough to fill the day ahead & my heart with immense joy & peace. I am committed to those.

It has become clear to me that I needn’t beat up myself with one ambition to focus on.

I am travelling this beautiful road of life and I have a lot of glorious views on the way. I give myself permission to look side ways and take time to appreciate what I see.

This picture of mine taken unknown to me, gives me a glimpse of my Focus in life.

I kneel to the ground in reverence to how I am being guided and choose to look through the lens of a powerful perspective.

I still see the fork in the road ahead of me, not knowing which way each trail twists & turns. Yet, I am seeing that I will be led on to one of them, one day at a time.

Something tells me there is a possibility that both those trails could meet at a later time, and I might have the opportunity to have an integrated experience of fulfilling all my dreams on the way. Just maybe …

 

This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays, a monthly initiative by Debbie Roth of Forgiving Connects, a blog of inspiration to me.

 

Choice

Choice

Photo by Manish Doshi – On the sand dunes at Death Valley, California

A note to my blogger friends & readers:

This could be the last quote image of 2018 from me. I have had so much fun creating these. Check out all my quotes at the Inspiration Gallery that I am so grateful for coming to Be. It is the gift of 2018 to me and my gift to all of you who enjoy it.

Pairing the words that came to me with pictures was like a meditative treasure hunt always. Pictures came from our family vacations and often browsing through sites of my photographer friends Atanu Chakraborty & Vikram Phale, who generously allowed me to use them. None of the collaboration of words and pictures were ever planned. Pictures were taken without agenda and words were gifts of the soul of the Universe. Rare few times the pictures prompted the quotes and other times the words took me on the trail to the right picture.

The first quote image I ever made took me about 8 hours to get the final version right, playing with all the tools, fonts and placements available. I was like a kindergartner getting my alphabets right on the blackboard. So much patience shown with me from my friend Vikram Phale with his coaching to visualize the aesthetic aspects of the images, his honest feedback always, and help in the technical aspects of editing from my husband Manish Doshi. Today’s quote above found a picture and got designed in under an hour with no help 🙂 and I love the feeling of that.

I started this blog with a lot of poetry and occasional articles. I dreamed of making quotes but didn’t think/trust I would be doing them. A blogger friend Josiah Harry of Skylarity gifted me some quote images that he made from my poetry lines that he so preciously picked. Oh the joy and gratitude with which I received his gift of these quote images! (Images created by him are included in the Inspiration Gallery)That gave me the boost of a beginning to create my own, though it took me about an year after.

My quote images seem to have replaced the process of my poetry. Poetry has become a occasional kind visitor to me in my work, some articles, some thoughts, some quotes, some long pauses, that’s how I am flowing in this blog space.

 

PS : This quote image is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects. Choices come with ease when we work with forgiving and acceptance.

Downsides of Gratitude?

GratitudeLeaves

Photo: Myself “Fallen Leaves”

Gratitude & Joy are on my mind a lot lately.

My understanding of gratitude and joy, how it has evolved and grown for me, is on my mind a lot lately.

The quality of Gratitude and its power became known to me during the seemingly toughest times of life when I found myself naturally leaning into all that was available for me to depend on – people, basic necessities, nature – every single thing that I was receiving anything from, to help me keep going. Genuine Gratitude swelled from my heart for every perceived blessing, every kind word, every new day, each genuine smile, each laughter that became possible.

Joy was the gift and the jewel that came as the core fragrance of Gratitude. It felt the most amazing to wear on me – something radiated brightly with just Being in this state of Gratitude and Joy.

Then came the awareness that my Gratitude for roles people played in my life was taken for granted and seen as my neediness alone. I wrote a short poem to give this an expression.

On further self exploration, I recognized that deep down I have always felt unworthy and undeserving, having to earn any regard, support from any one else. There was a feeling of indebtedness. I felt obligated to become everything I can for their comfort and be available to pacify any of their struggle. Result was a lack of boundaries, lack of self-compassion and honoring my own needs in favor of what was required of those others who had made any contribution to my life. I had a tendency to disregard any unfairness towards me, constantly justifying it as their humanness.

Eventually I was able to separate my heartfelt gratitude from the feeling of having to give up my true sense of being in return for approval and appreciation. I felt empowered, free and actually very unselfish. I am now available in my best possible ability to be of good service to anyone, when I am truly being myself. No amount of taking on other people’s suffering is going to lessen their’s.

That lead to the awareness of the guilt that permeated the joy available for me. Guilt about how much some other people had not still caught up on the true simple pleasures of life and how they needed to be supported in that. With time I realized, I can honor each person’s journey, feel the tenderness of their suffering but the Gratitude for what is available to each, is their’s to find.

Grief brings us in touch with the core of our being, empathy brings us in touch with the core of humanity.

Each one of us is responsible to use our emotions skillfully and compassionately towards self and others. No matter how many tantrums I threw about the sometimes seemingly treacherous life, I had to live out my own until I was able to choose the right perspectives that led to more Gratitude and Joy. There are so many people that I am grateful for, for showing up to help me keep steering powerfully in the right direction. I just needed to keep the strength to NOT let go of the wheel, and depend completely on others to carry me. The direction I am headed towards comes from within me.

Gratitude is a means and also the gift received through the means. Joy is something that flows through our veins and becomes a natural expression that shows up in relationships and life experiences. There remains no need to stage and create moments of happiness. Joyful moments keep occurring naturally. This happens with looking at some excruciating times of life in the eye – with the eye of Gratitude.

I am finally free to celebrate Gratitude without forever feeling indebted or undeserving of what life offers me through people and opportunities. I am still learning to express joy without the guilt because of how much suffering humans hold within. I share my Joy when moved to do so, in an attempt to inspire more people to move in that direction, share in this pure juice of life and genuinely celebrate life with each other.

 

This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects. Debbie Roth’s work on this blog is a wonderful inspiration.

Chance Meetings of Perfection

Love is in the air - sublime sunrise at Kala Pathar beach - Havelock - 1F8A1055

Photo Credit : Atanu Chakraborty “Sunrise at  Havelock, Andamans”

 

About chance meetings of perfection
We are either blobs of messes that encounter perfectly
Or then a piece of perfection untangled out of a mess
Sometimes both true at the same time
It is how we intersect as part of humanity

About chance meetings of perfection
We either skillfully carve our personal journey
Or then truthfully honor the other’s story
Sometimes both true at the same time
It is how we raise the bar of humanity

About chance meetings of perfection
We either expect them to be exhilarating in experience
Or then try to escape those that bring deep reflection
Sometimes both true at the same time
It is how we have blinding views of humanity

About chance meetings of perfection
We either get trapped in the glory
Or then tend to repulse some misery
Sometimes both true at the same time.
It is how we have all the confusion in humanity

About chance meetings of perfection
We either look for them outside of the relations we have
Or then treat the relations we already have as differently
Sometimes both true at the same time
It is how we have suffering in humanity

About chance meetings of perfection
We either see each of our relations in similar view
(parents, siblings, spouses, such bound)
Or enjoy the brilliance of other special few
(those that intersect out of nowhere, really unbound)
Sometimes both true at the same time
It is how we allow the grace of humanity

About chance meetings of perfection
We either acknowledge the divine interventions
Or lead a seemingly undeserving existence
All big and small daily interactions
All long and short term relations
Make the perfect design of all of humanity

I offer this poem in Gratitude to every single human and soul that has crossed my path in this lifetime, and made a direct or indirect impact on my Being here ..

This post is a contribution to ForgivingFridays of ForgivingConnects, blog of profound work by Debbie Roth.