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Peel the Layers

Peel the layers


The inspiration from this topic came from Rumi’s quote “show me anger and I will show you hurt. Show me hurt and I will show you love. Peel the layers if you care”.


Such a wonderful thought - “peel the layers”. Lot of psychology is based on this too and lot of inner work gurus do is to get away from the layers and identify the core.


I had a spiritual experience yesterday in something as simple as fireworks. Though they were the biggest firework happening this year (2021) in Nashville. First few minutes were ‘normal’. We all were in awe and appreciated it and thought they ended. But fireworks continued. So the next few minutes for me were to burst away all negativities - criticism, judgement, too much advising, body shaming etc. and I thought the fireworks were over.

But it continued! So next time was to bring in all the positivity. Blessings, showers of grace, gratitude, happiness, achievement, family …the list goes on on all. All bursting with energy! And the fireworks were over.


Not yet. So next phase we are done with both positive and negative. So only Krushna (God) remains. And the next set was all forms of Him. Everywhere. Omnipresent. Omnipotent. Omniscient.


The fireworks still continued. Now we are down to nothing. Just energy. Bubbling and vibrant. Untainted. Pure.


The fireworks show helped me peel the layers. Next time I feel an emotion, I am going to go deep into what led it and what is the layer behind it.


How have you been peeling the layers?


Layer after layer

Needs to be peeled

To get to the essence

A new discovery

With each layer

The journey is long

And tedious

But worth it

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Eat Bitterness

Posted by [email protected] on 25 October, 2015 at 22:15 Comments comments (7654)

The thought of this topic came from our visit to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. This phrase for depicted in an exhibit. “Eat Bitterness” means when hard things happen, we learn to endure them.


I don’t like bitter foods – whether its bitter gourd (Karela), bitter medicine or beer! Eating bitterness calls for determination. I am reminded of a Gujarati Poem “Kadva Karela na gun, Kadva vachan na hoy kadva” which means though the bitter gourd tastes bitter, it has lot of essentials to stay healthy and similarly even if words are bitter, the intent may not be. The intent may be to push our potential. Hence “Eat bitterness”.

 


“Eat bitterness” also reminds me of Thomas Edison. He was 67 and he lost everything in a fire– all his experiments, innovations and money. It was devastating. His thought was, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” What an attitude and what a way to “Eat bitterness”!


In the spiritual path, I think this is tested even more and our Gods have acknowledged and eaten bitterness themselves - Whether its exile of Shri Ram or crucifixion of Christ or the hardships for Prophet Muhammad, all of them ate bitterness.


There are 6 kinds of tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. In life, we get all of them. We live with all of them and we eat all of them. Just as I eat and relish sweetness, let me relish bitterness too. Cheers!

 


The scorching sun

Parched throat

Blazing heat

And miles to go


 

"Eat bitterness"

She had said

And I go on..


 

A stream?

Or a mirage?

The salvation

Will come in time

And I go on…


 

A tiny cloud

Hiding the sun

What a relief

And I go on…


 

I eat bitterness

I surrender

And I go on..

 


The feeling of Self-Reliance

Posted by [email protected] on 19 July, 2015 at 15:35 Comments comments (264)



The thought of this topic was inspired from the movie “Still Alice”. It is about a woman struggling with an early onset of Alzheimer disease. In a particular scene, she was trying to note her daughter’s recital on the phone. Most of her family asked her not to bother – they will ensure she attends the recital. However the daughter encouraged it – encouraged the feeling of self-reliance.


 

I feel in disease, other than physical discomfort, it is the feeling of dependence that bothers us. My husband’s grandma, Ba, as we call her, is nearing 90. As I hear her speak and reminisce about her life, it is evident she misses being self-reliant. Funnily, I see the same with my 4 year old Ashna. She has learnt to wear her PJ’s and she wants to do it herself. It bothers her if we try to help! The feeling of self-reliance knows no age boundaries!


 

I am a believer in self-reliance – both physically, mentally, financially and spiritually. I feel I have made very conscious choices to stay self-reliant. Example financially I have consciously chosen to be a working mom to be self-reliant. For mental and spiritual self-reliance, I read the works of Swami Vivekananda and Swami Yogananda who help reinforce courage of the mind and power of the will pushing self and Self reliance.


Finally we come to ‘s’ and ‘S’ of self-reliance. I am reliant on Self. I trust He has my best interest and I trust Him to direct this life at His will. One of these days or one of these life-times, the small self will merge into Self – I will be truly Self-reliant!


 

“I do myself”

Says my little one

Learning self-reliance


 

“I can’t do myself”

Says my grandma

Grieving self-reliance


 

“I can do myself”

Says my ego

Boasting self-reliance


 

“I should do myself”

Says my husband

Pushing self-reliance


 

Let the Self rule

Says my self

Trusting “Self” Reliance

 

The Unlived Life

Posted by [email protected] on 31 May, 2015 at 9:20 Comments comments (105)

This topic was inspired by my favorite TV show Super Soul Sunday. The guest Steve Pressman (author of book The war of Art) was talking about how for every uplifting thought we intrinsically have resistance and overcoming it takes us to a higher plane. These uplifting thoughts, ideas or ventures he describes as “the unlived life” and describes that we all need to take actions against the resistance.


 

I have been caught in this. Whether its fear or a false sense of responsibility I may limit my dreams. I may limit my idea to what I feel confident about. It’s the “no risk” or “low risk” zone. Then I have the “high risk” zone where I have had crazy or different ideas which needs courage, commitment and common sense to follow through and succeed.


 

However, I also have a different thought around this. Thinking on just the words “unlived life”, there is a reason why I have chosen to keep the ‘unlived life” unlived.


 

I feel, where our lives are unlived and we have regrets or potential regrets is where we need to take action. It’s fun to fantasize about unlived life – however, it’s better to jump into the life we are living.


 

 

My “unlived” life

And the life I am living


Distinctly different

Carefully created


 

Quite apart

And yet oh so near


Dreams, fantasies and aspirations

Truth


 

A potential path

And the road I’ve taken


A reason why its ‘unlived’

Yet a hope to reach?

 

 

 


The $10M check

Posted by [email protected] on 20 October, 2014 at 7:25 Comments comments (0)

The $10M check

The inspiration for this story was from one of my favorite actors Jim Carrey. I love the scene from the movie “Bruce Almighty” where Jim Carrey becomes God for a period of time and realizes the responsibility that comes with God’s power. He soon realizes, only God can handle it all and in the scene he says “I surrender” and is run over by a truck. The humor and trust get me every time! It eventually leads to getting his girlfriend and his job back.

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The $10M check is his personal story where he wrote himself this check for “Acting services” and believed it would materialize in time. And it did! He believed and visualized and put his heart and soul into it. He believed with total intensity and integrity. His beliefs made the Universe believe!

I would divide this into 3 things – a belief, action and Grace. In the world of acronyms I would call this a BAG – Belief, Action and Grace. A bag signifying the journey you are about to take! It starts with a belief, a vision, a thought. Isn’t that how the Universe was born? Then comes action, not just passive action but deep seated, intense, active action to make it happen and finally its grace. The $10M check then materializes! It’s interesting that at this stage it requires even more belief to acknowledge that it was your belief in yourself that was the first step to be here.

I sometimes sell myself short. Self-doubt and ‘not being good enough’ may haunt me too. The first step of believing is the key. The $10M check works out for the ones who “Don’t stop believing”. Believing not only happens for the $10M check but for health, for love and for Him.

What is in your BAG?

 

I believe

In this vision

A dream

And a reality

Of the future


 

I believe

And I act

For this dream

To make it happen


 

I believe

And grace showers

My dream

Realized

In a new form..


 

I believe

And I surrender

To Thine Will.

 

 

Courage and Resilience

Posted by [email protected] on 30 September, 2014 at 7:10 Comments comments (0)

The thought for this topic arose from Super Soul Sunday with the story of Wholefoods CEO John Mackey. At a point in his life, somehow he became very conscious of life being short and he decided to live and do the things he really wanted to do. He was in school at that time. He took up various electives, things he really wanted to learn but didn’t complete his education. With courage and confidence he followed the path. The path of doing what one really wants to do.

 

As I think of my life, it points more to resilience. At age of 16, I decided to pursue courses in science and I struggled. It wasn’t the right fit but I kept at it. During my career too there have been roles that weren’t a fit or roles that after sometime didn’t seem to fit. I kept at it too, with resilience. I waited for the perfect time to get out, the low-risk method.

 

Courage also reminds me of Maya Angelou who considered courage to be the prime value. It is courage that gives us strength to follow our dreams and live by our ideals. And its resilience that helps us not quit when the road gets harder. I would argue resilience also requires strength and courage. Though I would also argue that if your heart tells you it’s the wrong path, you should have the courage to take the risk and quit. Dear God, help me have the courage to identify and walk on the path and the resilience to keep at it.

 

I have the courage

To follow my dreams

And I have the resilience

To walk the path


 

I have the courage

To take it on

And I have the resilience

To keep at it


 

I have the courage

To Trust

And I have the resilience

To love


 

I have the courage

To seek You

And the resilience

To not quit


 

What do you think? Do you lean more towards courage or resilience?

 

The Loving Critic

Posted by [email protected] on Comments comments (62)

The thought of this topic was inspired by Swami Yogananda (Self Realization Fellowship). He was giving tips on how to be critical if needed with love. Hence the topic - The Loving Critic.


 

My mentor Mike Smuda at one time had said ‘Feedback is a gift’. I have tried to take it to heart. Professionally I have made a specific effort to get feedback. The crux is that if someone you trust tells you something, it is typically more prevalent than just that one person. Personally, I get feedback from my husband Pranav. For me, my loving critics help me detect my blindspots!


 

For times, when I have to play the role of the loving critic, I first ensure the person wants to hear the feedback. I also clarify my intent. If my intention is not noble, I check my premises. Then ideally in a loving way I try to focus on strengths and talk about things for improvement. I also believe it’s better to hear criticism from loved ones.


 

The piece I and most people struggle with is being defensive when we hear criticism or finding excuses for that behavior or action. I remind myself that its best to be the listener at such times. Swami Yogananda advices to keep criticisms short.


 

I think the toughest part for me is when I get caught suddenly in unplanned criticism battle. Harsh words don’t work. I like planned loving critic sessions else it feels more like an argument and I become defensive.


 

Loving critic also implies your ego does not pay in it. Before finding faults in others, I like to have the mirror to see I am not coming from ego but from genuine love and intent to uplift. As I am receiving loving criticism, I need to remember and assume the other person is also not coming in from ego. Let me listen to the point, assume pure intention and reflect where to change/ improve.


 

Loving critic – it starts and ends in love. Loving critic are our blindspot detectors. I am blessed to have loving critics in my life.


 

The blessing

Of a loving critic

Throwing the light

To eliminate

Darkness


 

The blessing

Of being a loving critic

Spreading the love

Teaching

Like a mother


 

The blessing

Of loving critics

Thanking

The angels

God sent my way