Counseling

A pinch of Salt

A pinch of Salt

In this jet paced life when we finally find some time to sit and contemplate, look back, introspect, start to write our life’s journal we begin to relive the past. There, we all have some moments of regret, some filled with pride and joy; some achievements and some failures, a few events which we would change if we stepped back in time and a few we would like to be repeated often because they brought us so much joy and cheer.

Most of this generation in the age group of 35 to 45 is kind of burnt out. We have lived too much too soon, worked too hard too fast thought of nothing but money, career, aspirations to be fulfilled and more money for new dream houses, dream cars and voyages. We all began our career graph well, with lofty dreams of one house, one car or probably for those who were born with a silver spoon dreamt of a few more cars and a few more new businesses abroad; to flourish, grow and succeed has been the pivotal point for this age group. We seem to have been raised with that dream and it is embedded in us and we are incapacitated in a way that we are unable to think of anything else. But now, after crossing 35 years of age we realise we seem to  have lost focus, we are confused more than ever now because no we are raising our children and suddenly we are very aware of the verity that this dream we grew up with has many gaps and lacunae in it!! It is not bringing joy! It is taking us away from family, it is not helping us stay together, instead; it is only piling up frustrations, health concerns and a very bad ethical foundation for the progeny! We are in that conundrum now where the road travelled so far looks pointless and the road ahead is still foggy.

Our parents are sad that we drifted away from them, chasing our dreams. A beautiful family rich with values, bonding and emotional security is today reduced to a nuclear system full of paid helping hands and zero value addition. An emotional crisis seems to be brewing independently in every room of the house and we don’t know what to expect when we reach home, tired from a hard days, dissatisfying work and more challenges to be met tomorrow. Our children are not so happy either, we are never with them! We are always on the phone, we are travelling, and we are busy impressing strangers and trying to keep them appeased because they are giving us business, money and our job vests in their hands. We don’t have a day off because Sunday’s are forcibly dedicated to family chores and pending errands and before we can catch an extra forty winks it is a working day again.

We keep snapping at the kids for no reason and then at the spouse too. We are like that calm sea which is brewing a storm beneath the surface. This age is like that lull before the storm time and when the storm hits it leaves nothing to salvage, it takes it all in its wake of anger and destructive spate. We are unable to unwind, relax, sit back and simply be. Inevitably by the time we touch 45 years we are unable to do it anymore, on the brink of a break down, and if God does take mercy on us, we wind up on the bed with some ailment. Then we are forced to stay in one place, glued to the bed; forced to remain idle, do nothing and then we finally begin to think. Some introspection and most of us may have only one question, ‘Where exactly did we miss the bus?’ So rewinding and coming back to beginning, in this jet paced life when we finally find some time to sit and contemplate…

What we seem to have missed all long is the salt in the potpourri of our life! In this rushed hectic busiest of busy lives also the one thing most of us can’t do without, is salt, right? A sequence of dishes offered on platter every day, three times a day and the one common ingredient that the cook is checking, cross checking  and ensuring that it is in the right measure, not more not less, is – Salt. We can relish a sweet dish which has less sugar and we can forgo sugar altogether too with some effort, but giving up salt in food is probably unimaginable for most of us.

The introspective time we give to one self is like the salt in the potpourri of life’s events and challenges. Without taking time out for one self, ruminate, take a deep dive within and listen to the inner voice, we are living a life bereft of self -worth and awareness. To continue with the same analogy above, in case we think our dish is lacking a little salt we tend to sprinkle some and then eat, unwilling to compromise on the taste or excuse the cook thinking he/she was preoccupied. We comment on the lack of salt and wait till someone brings salt and alters the taste to suit the palete. Yet in the mixed masala life of ours we forget the most important person altogether. We focus on everything and everyone else apart for oneself.

The more this negligence the less the salt in one’s life, and the result is a bland non inspiring confused existence, forever seeking external help and impulsive decision making. Hopefully, we can take as much interest in our own self development and give ourselves the time due in a day. This pinch of salt is the defining difference in our lives, be it busy or relaxed. Don’t you think in this rushed inconsequential existence we all deserve our pinch of salt?

Balanced Life

“There is an ancient Chinese saying, which says, “Every stick has two ends.” At first it seemed to be too simple, a mere statement of a visible fact which all can see. Who can, after all, deny that a stick has two ends? I wondered why an ancient Chinese philosopher had felt it necessary to make this statement at all. It appeared too superficial a truth to have merited any philosopher”s attention. Many years later, after several years of meditation, I realize what a profundity of meaning is hidden within those five words of that long forgotten philosopher.

First I learnt that our existence has two aspects, two areas, to it. They are the material and the spiritual realms of existence. There are not merely two sides to existence. The two sides have to be “balanced” if one is to lead a full and productive existence. This is the second lesson I learnt. All of us live, but few lives have real content, real worth in them. The bulk of humanity leads an animal existence motivated by lusts, inspired by fear and driven by lower urges and appetites unworthy of being called even remotely human. …Principles of Sahaj Marg, P.Rajagopalchari”

All the saints of yore and now have the thread of ‘Leading a Balanced Life’ culminating in a life full of love and self-realization as the common denominator. Looking at the present scenario though, balanced life seems to have lost its meaning totally; the scales are tipped heavily on one side. Before addressing the problems let us try and understand what the seers meant by leading a balanced life, and where exactly did we miss the bus.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has said, like a bird needs both its wings to soar high up in the sky, so does the human life need both its wings, the material and spiritual to lead a successful life. If any one wing is clipped or unused the flight of the bird is hampered; likewise mankind must maintain a balance between the spiritual quest and the material search in life. Mankind can reach the zenith of existence and success in all fields only by leading a balanced life.

Our country was the epitome of balanced existence up until we started aping the west. The way the role of human being was divided was a very balanced one leading the person from one stage of life to the other nurturing both the wings equally. During the days of Ramayana and Mahabharata people were very advanced scientifically, performing miraculous surgeries sans the present technology. Everyone was rich and content, adept in their skill or trade and very connected to the God within, by way of prayer and steadfast faith. From the time of birth unto death both the aspects of life were weighed equally important, more so the spiritual aspect than the material one. The Gurukul shaped the students to learn the skills of life alongside their spiritual pursuits. They lived with the Guru, ran errands for him, learnt skills and mastered scriptures. The education was all encompassing and complete.  When the students returned to the world they were very cognizant of their role and future course of life. Never did the scales tip to any side; both the roles were accomplished with equal sincerity and earnestness. Most of the vices of ambition, greed, hatred, and jealousy existed then also but the spiritual mind was so strong that the conscience never swayed towards the wrong side for very long.  A peaceful co-existence was more the norm at the cost of a little sacrifice and unbounded love in return.

The more we began to ape the west the lesser was our attention towards the spiritual side. In no time the soul was put to sleep and one wing was clipped off altogether. For some time we did postpone the use of this wing to a later date, old age or after we fulfill our responsibilities of youth and family life but very soon that casino pa natet wing was forgotten and replaced by an inanimate wing for more material gains. The flight of the bird was artificially maintained for awhile but very soon the flaws came to light and life’s journey became a very uphill task. This is how it is today, life’s journey for most of us seems to have become a Himalayan climb and we are grappling with the reason. We seem to be doing everything right, the way our forefathers did and yet we are unhappy and feel stagnated. The west has lost its glory and sheen and India unfortunately has reduced itself to a developing nation, struggling with illiteracy, unemployment and rampant corruption today! Imbalances are so many that counterbalancing them seems impossible and very daunting.

The west is looking at us now for inspiration and a way of life, learning from our scriptures and trying to lead a balanced life. One big reason why almost all the Gurus and preachers are so successful, well accepted and have amassed a huge following abroad, even though they are Indians by birth. What we lost has become their gain yet again, first the material wealth and now the spiritual elixir. The west has always looked towards East for every query, be it material or spiritual. We squandered away our spiritual wealth and looked towards them for all the wrong reasons and look at our plight today.

All we need to do is like Swami Vivekananda said, ‘Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is achieved.’ Go back to our scriptures and revive the spiritual wing, begin to nurture it and start leading a balanced life. It is a verity that a successful wealthy person comes with an expiry date, material wealth at the most maybe lasts 4-5 generations if it is not nurtured with spiritual roots. On the other hand spiritual wealth well nurtured  becomes eternal and like a Banyan tree gives shade for generations to come and spreads its roots below and branches above! It brings material gains with the spiritual contentment and life reaches its zenith in one life time of balanced existence.

So, instead of teaching our children to be competitive and comparative it may be a better idea to teach them introspection and self – discovery. The youth of today has a better chance of changing this nation and creating a better world for their progeny. We adults can take the small right step of steering this youth in the direction of a balanced life, soaring high using both the wings.

Youth of Tomorrow

The age of 15 going on 16 to probably 18 -19 is decidedly the best and the worst phase of life. Some probing will reveal that God made it that way on purpose; the testing years to see who passes with flying colors and who is doomed to life after life till His passing grades can be acquired!  . Life has to be lead in a balanced way is what is taught by every religion and every scripture reiterates the same thing. And this lovely age of 15-19 is the decider years; a career path is chosen now, the mind wanders in every direction, forbidden thus alluring, defies and rebels to toe the line tries to create its own new path of life.  These years are when the youth feels as if He/she rules or can rule the world and they are Lord and Master’s of their own destiny. They want to do everything, but study. They wish to be everywhere but at the study table and God makes it impossible for them to be anywhere but the study table! Their decider years and peer pressure, parents breathing down their neck and the Damocles’ Sword of career hang all the time and the rosy beautiful present is never enjoyed to its fullest because of the gloomy dark future picture which keeps popping up.

The present generation invariably has this grouse of not being able to live their life and most parents are frustrated because even though they, the parents, totally understand their children and their frustrations, they are unable to say or anything to the contrary. The children cannot while away their time because the next 2 years are the defining years, the make or break years! They cannot afford to dream, watch too much TV, sit idle and doodle; all this is a taboo for them. God made it like that; waste your best years and waste your life…or work these 2 years and build your life! These are the foundation years…pass this test and reap the results lifelong! That is precisely why these are the crucial years.

It is like the youthful present is only a frame in which the photos of the future need to be filled, no picture of the present at all apart for hard work and labor. This is the debate which happens in the mind of every youth; the precise reason why God made ‘youth’ as the most defining period of one’s life. Thus youth is a tight rope walk, a fine balance between frolic and seriousness and walking this tight rope successfully to the other end is the key to a successful life ahead. Youth is not to leave anything, rather it has to focus on the priorities and the needless leaves them and there is no pain of ‘letting go’ or losing.

In addition to choosing a career path the ideal youth of tomorrow must also chose a spiritual path to follow alongside his/her career path. Absolute clarity of thought and purpose is imperative before youth can embark on this journey of life.  Life needs two wings, material and spiritual, to be able to reach the pinnacle of its existence and lead a purposeful life. When youth casino choose only the career path, they are embarking on their journey with only one wing; the material wing. They simultaneously need to breathe life into the spiritual wing too; to maintain the balance and allow life to fly smoothly on both the wings. If the youth focuses only on career now and waits for a later date to join the spiritual path then the spiritual wing is yet to take off and the bird will fly online casino at a lower height, struggling and groping for balance.

Most of us, unfortunately, start searching for meaning and purpose of our life in middle age; by then we are so tuned to a materialistic life that bringing the spiritual wing to the same keel is very difficult and unachievable. By the time the other wing touches and we gain some semblance of balance we are too old, tired or worse, dead, without reaching our goal. We are still engrossed in the material worldly mesh and unable to convince ourselves to see more in life than office credentials and bank balances!  The youth of yesterday were taught to focus only on career and bank balances, which bred arrogance and fed their ego. They thought all was within reach without the help or name of the Lord. Middle age came and with it some realization and eye opening also happened; our arrogance to think we could do it on our own when we are young was a wrong notion.  We needed Him more then, than we need him now. So, youth is the time, the right to take off with the help of both wings. The old of today is wiser from falls and scrapes and warns the youth from sheer experience to utilize the time and age propitiously.

Youth can start the journey on both wings and it is a known fact that the material wing, fed and nourished is never able to bring true happiness and success. Whereas the spiritual wing, nourished and looked after helps the material wing to grow too, it does not fly solo.

Lastly, a divine soul has written about a civilized society thus, ‘True civilization is the creation of a society where all individuals strive for personal perfection by aiming at the proper goal. This can only be achieved by bringing balance into our existence, flying like a bird on two wings, the spiritual and material wings, with the two in perfect balance.’

Overcoming Shyness

Insecurity

 It is usually our own inhibitions; insecurities and a pre conceived image of the self which makes us feel shy, leading to insecurity.  A weakness or fear which sets in a feeling of imperfection, causing a dint to the ego or self-image results in insecurity. This self- image makes us vulnerable and we resist or shy away from other situations and people alike.  People, especially the youth, go through this phase of insecurity when their ideal- self image clashes with the real-life self or when they experience disappointment too often and too recurring for them to overcome the negative situation. This youth withdraws into a shell and becomes shy or some tend to bury the disappointment with a show of aggression and bullying.

Most of the times, it is either the emotional self or the physical self which causes insecurity.  Insecurity pulls down our confidence and self esteem takes a beating. Finding out what the core issue is which is causing the insecurity; it could be physical appearance like complexion, voice or lack of enough money, whatever may be the reason, the beginning to recovery will only come if we pin point the reason which brings in the insecure feeling. Insecurity also creeps in if the person is too set or rigid, inflexible with the way he/she wants to be, look or behave. In real life though, not all goes as planned and the obstinate person invariably faces disappointment and it becomes incredibly difficult to accept oneself; to face reality. Getting rid of this insecurity is many times difficult because acknowledgment comes after a very long time and insecurity being such a personal thing to each one of us; it is tougher to get rid of it. Most of us usually succumb to it, only the brave acknowledge it and Abortions currently permitted by Hyde shall be covered in the Community Health affordablehealth.info Option to the same extent as they are under Medicaid. seek ways and means to combat insecurity and hope for a free secure life.

Feeling shy about a new place, person or a new event is very natural reaction and it cannot be attributed to inherent shyness. Even a boisterous over confident person senses ‘butterflies in the stomach’ sensation before embarking on anything new.  Insecurity stemming out of physical attributes results in shyness and low confidence level with regards to self-image, this batters the emotional levels also to a certain degree, but insecurity which has emotional reasons as it’s trigger results in emotional problems, low self esteem, depression and the like. The second needs to be addressed with a sense of urgency. Self image needs a definite mind shift and a renewed perspective of the self.

To lead a better holistically happy life, the sooner these insecurities are gotten rid of the better for us. Let us look at a few things that can be done differently to b able to overcome insecurity, it is easier said than done, but is imperative if one is determined to make the change:

Acceptance is the first step, learn to accept and like yourself the way you are. You are your own comparison and you are your own parameter. Comparing with anyone else will be futile because no two individuals are made the same way! So how can they behave or be the same? Start by accepting who you are, appreciate yourself and then you will start seeing where improvements can be made. If the beginning itself is rejection and criticism of the self then one can only see faults and imperfections and correcting so much will be an uphill task.

Stop being judgmental and critical about yourself; it only attributes to pulling down the self esteem and seeps in more insecurity. Write one good thing about yourself every day, morning and evening. Take time to look at yourself and see the good in you and why you are special and how you can make these your strengths to overcome your weaknesses.

Every small achievement of yours must first be recognized by you and you deserve a treat for every milestone crossed. Do not listen to what others have to say about you, start listening to yourself. Strictly avoid discouraging company and friends who make you feel bad or low about yourself. Seek out new friends who can teach a few good things without putting you down or being judgmental about you.

The world is a big place and we all have people who find us worthy. It is just when we start feeling worthy about ourselves is when the other person also begins to look at you with an appreciative eye. This in itself is a morale boost and uplifts the confidence levels. Change the image you have of yourself and the world automatically looks at you the way you look at yourself.

This is just the beginning, stick to the task and you are on your way to overcoming insecurity and take on new challenges in life.

Anxiety

ANXIETY

There is a small story which is kind of an ‘etymology of sorts for anxiety’ explaining the origin of anxiety. When the Earth was ruled by pious people no corruption existed and it was always peace, calm and prosperity everywhere. The Gods showered boons and human beings could perform miracles. This made Satan or the Devil unhappy, because he never had anything to do and he felt very sad and lost, losing his ground, importance and identity. He did severe penance, willing God to grant him a boon.

When God appeared and said, ‘Son, I am pleased with your penance. What do you want?

Satan, ‘My Lord, Gods are happy because human beings worship them and they grant all the wishes of these mortals. Human beings also are very happy and are in need of nothing and fear nothing, so I have no role to play and no one thinks of me or wants me! I want o be able to influence these people’s life in some way, God. Give me some thing, even a small boon will be enough for me to be able to get some control over them, I beseech you my Lord.’

Lord thought a fleeting moment and said, ‘Okay, from now on Anxiety is yours. How you use it and what you do with it is your wish, how you wish to rule the world with this little word is your task. I grant you ‘anxiety!’ and saying this Lord smiled and disappeared.’

Anxiety has such a vicious grip over every single human being today and we all know the devil succeeded beyond his own expectations.

From children to adults the whole world is rife with anxiety; if they do over come one anxious moment then another seems to follow soon enough with more vengeance.

Anxiety is like a huge banyan tree giving shelter and branching itself into fear, depression, neurosis, worry to mention a few consequential behavioral problems. The physical side is also caught in the vice like grip of anxiety it causes headaches, migraines, heart attack, blood pressure problems to begin with and faithfully sticks to the host till death do part.  Almost all problems can be traced back to this single word ‘anxiety’.

The little child clutching desperately to the mother’s little finger refusing to let go, ‘separation anxiety’. First day at work or before an interview the ‘butterflies in the stomach’ sensation that we have is again anxiety. Going through a financial crunch and the bills are piling everyday leading up to a severe headache a sense of foreboding fear; another kind of anxiety. Many kinds of anxiety are small time and soon overcome but the repetition of anxious moments in one form or the other throughout our life is inevitable. The present times are such that almost all of us succumb to anxiety sooner or later and graduate to a chronic ailment; few brave ones rise above anxiety and cope with it smilingly.

Let us look at a few things to be able to join the second group of brave warriors who are able to cope with anxiety, what different do they do which gives them this strength?

Medication is the last resort and most avoidable one because medication makes the person lethargic and dependant on medicines; the long term personality change never comes around to a medicine addicted person. Apart for medicines the rest of the steps which can be test run are mentioned below:

Maintain a dairy: This looks like a very irrelevant solution, but in verity, is the most effective one!  Dairy writing gives a moment of peace and quiet with oneself, the only time for true introspection and weighing ones options. Ponder on the key points of life and where it going, within reach or simply slipping from your fingers; all these are answered only when one sits down and put them on a paper. An honestly written dairy is like a mirror image of the heart and conscious online casino of the person.

It is a way of self-monitoring, what the triggers are and what excites the person or what causes tension and anxiety to the person. How often or what state of mind results in what reaction, which company has incurred this resultant emotional state; all of it comes across crystal clear from the dairy. It is the first to knowing oneself better and taking the corrective measures. Ones one starts to flip through the pages of the dairy the pitfalls to be avoided and the attributes to be applauded are visible.

This moment of introspection is a must first step for getting rid of any problem. The issues which are within ones control, the ones which can be alleviated, tempered can be seen and the ones which are beyond ones control also becoming glaringly apparent. The former ones can be acted upon and corrected and for the later the next external help can be resorted to.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Many who have high stress levels and are totally in the grip of anxiety need to go for consultation, begin with some medication and graduate to behavioral therapy as soon as possible. The therapy aims at developing skills so that the anxiety ridden person is enabled to cope with anxiety. The aim of this therapy is to help change the thinking of the person, from negative or pessimistic, defeating thoughts to optimistic, positive and winning ideas and ways. They are encouraged to challenge their anxieties and are helped to overcome them to be able to get back their confidence levels. Phobias when confronted with and overcome either lose the fear factor or the person gets desensitized to the phobia and is rid of it forever.

The therapy also encourages and gently guides towards a changed lifestyle, less dependence on stimulants and a self reliant way of life.

Eating habits and life style changes:  ‘All work and no play makes one a chronic anxious person’. Much depends on eating habits, what we eat, when and how too! The present times have made breakfast; lunch and dinner a hurried momentary activity combined with some other more important work. This is leaving its adverse affects and affecting all our faculties negatively.  A change in eating habits, what we eat and the attitude towards food is imperative. Exercise, meditation and yoga add to healthy body and healthy mind removing all signs of anxiety forever. These are a must incorporates into our daily lifestyle if we are seeking a permanent solution to overcome or get rid of anxiety altogether.

Let the steam out: One who is following the above three may never face an anxious moment, but in case such a situation does come by where we feel agitated and a feeling of anger begins to simmer; let the steam out! Bottling up feelings leads to ulcers, negative thinking and the whole satanic cycle of anxiety begins. It is very humane to feel anger or irritation or anxious every now and then, walk it off or let it out of the system. Do not allow anger to control or get a grip; different things in different ways give favorable results and we are on our way to leading an anxiety free life for the most part.

 

Bad ad! Mostly..

Ads these days…

These days every house is infested with television and the 1000 odd channels that come with this biggest vice! Of these, half the channels are for children and what is worse is that they are full of advertisements. The influence of these advertisements on our children is appalling. They seem to know every new product that is launched.

The message these ads pass are totally misleading, in bad taste or send a whole assortment of undisciplined signals to the viewers. The biggest dupe master, I have already mentioned this in my health drinks hub, is the Bournvita health drink and its’ ridiculous claims. The others to join the club are Fairness Cream ads, Shampoo advertisements featuring renowned figures, dishwashing bars, detergents and after wash for clothes, I can go on and on; the list is endless. Advertisements are exaggerated and need to be understood and treated after removing the garnish and spice!

The kids and adults alike are so keyed in into these ads that we have gotten into the habit of indulging just for the heck of it! Let us give this new brand a shot, a beginner’s try and see if we like this product or not! There is no silver lining in this abysmal dark gloomy cloud of advertisement menace. To top it, some ads get away teaching bad manners too! The kids bribe the grandparents and get things done or in another ad the child is asked to share a chocolate and the child starts to whine and cry! The mother and the granny both console the cheeky, impudent child and get another bar of chocolate! The casino ad‘s tag line is “Let’s have some sweets moments together”! What in the heaven’s name are we trying to teach or impart to our children with such ads? They can get away with anything! There is one more where the mother is standing at the child’s beck and call and the child is playing ‘Emperor’, ordering the menu of choice for dinner! Goodness! Absolute blasphemy, these ads are!

The only good ad I have chanced upon lately is that of an Insurance company. The father encourages the child to say ‘Thank You’ to the help at home. It teaches the basic values and etiquettes to the kid helping him/her to grow up to be a good human being. My congratulations and thanks to this ad team. Why can’t we have more of these and do away with all those? Even though I am loathe to agreeing that the chocolate is irresistible, but if a good deed is done by doing away with such irrelevant advertising, I am all for giving up eating chocolates! In fact, I resist buying my daughter that chocolate from the time I set eyes on that foolish ad!

 

What Do We take With Us?

‘Many succeed momentarily by what they know;
Some succeed temporarily by what they do; but
Few succeed permanently by what they are.’

These three lines have always stayed with me and keep me rooted to the earth. A kind of a reminder to tell me is what you leave behind or what makes you immortal is what you are and were when you were alive, not what you possessed 
by way of wealth and reputation.  
There is a small story about a rich, stingy businessman and his only friend, a tailor. The more the wealth the stingier and meaner is the temperament of the rich may be a true curse. You have all the money which neither do you know how to spend nor are you able to give it away. Anyway, I will not to digress from the main story.
This businessman also fell ill, and his days seemed to be numbered. The tailor’s son came to pay his respects to the ailing Seth and said, ‘Master, I have a small request for you, my father is already in heaven and has forgotten to take his needle with him. He always used to dream of stitching lovely clothes for Gods up in heaven which he is unable to do because his needle is here. Could you please take this needle with you and hand it over to my father, in heaven, where you will be meeting him.’
The tailor was the miser’s only friend, so refusing was out of question. He readily obliged because the boy was not asking him to part with anything, he was foolishly asking this miser to take something with him! So, the businessman took the needle promising to take it with him to heaven the boy happily went away bowing to the miser. Now the businessman thought and thought of all the probable places where he could keep the needle so that he could take it with him whe
n he died. He began wondering about the ways in which he could take the needle with him to heaven. ‘Pin it on my shirt
? No, my clothes online casino will get burnt in the pyre and so will the needle’. Then he thought, ‘Maybe in my mouth, in the bulge of my cheek? But my whole body will be burnt to ashes, how will this small needle survive?’
Without any plausible answer to his dilemma, the Seth got very frustrated and called the little boy and shouted, ‘How can I take this needle with me. I am anyway going to be burnt when I die and reduced to ashes!’

I don’t think I need to add anything else in this article for the reader to understand what I wish to say. I will simply end this with a small poem, a favorite of mine from the book, ‘Becoming a person of influence by Jim Dornan:
The boy only smiled and looked questioningly at the businessman implying, ‘you cannot a small needle and you are hoarding all this wealth for what and to use when?’

My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done,
Leave countless marks for good or ill ere sets the evening sun,
This is the wish I always wish, the prayer I always pray;
Lord, may my life help other lives it touches by the way.’

 

Dream or Reality

King Janak, of Mithila, once dreamt that he was a hungry pauper and begging for food. He Went from door to door only to be turned away dejected and empty handed. He finally reached a Dharmashala where alms were given to beggars. The poor King had no bowl to receive the food and was sent away from here also unceremoniously. He further dreamt that he scavenged the bins and garbage pools in search of a bowl and finally chanced upon a broken earthen pot piece! The king hurried back with the bowl and got whatever little the bowl piece could hold.
To make matters worse for the crestfallen king he also dreamt that as he was about to put a morsel in his mouth, a bull fight began and they came charging in his direction. Sheer fright stoned the poor king and the bowl of food fell to the floor. He woke up drenched in sweat and totally unsettled. He then heard, “Wake up your majesty!” the loud gong and the sentry in the doorway.
A momentary sense of sadness loomed large over the king. Was the dream real? Or what he was living now, the wakeup call of the sentry and his kingly bed, the richness and mansion, was this real? What if he really had to face the life he dreamt of just now? Was he actually prepared to face such a reality if it were ever to occur?
Are we also not living in a surreal dream like world? All of us seem to be oscillating in a state of sleep and wakefulness. When we are prepared for an event and its eventuality we think we are awake. Because then things go our way and we can perceive or anticipate the end result. If things unexpectedly occur and we have to countenance mishaps or unfortunate losses we want to quickly erase it from our memory like a bad dream or a nightmare best forgotten.
But isn’t this entire life a series of eventualities? It is a sequence of dreams; some pleasant and some not so pleasant. Do we really have a wakeful state is the question we need to ask ourselves. A dream, asleep, last a few minutes and makes us brood over it for maybe an hour or so. This life, in real, is also a dream lasting for maybe 50-70 years encompassing many smaller dreams within dreams over the lifespan of the dreamer. 

Your child and you II

A small recap

In the last article titled ‘your child and you-I’ I spoke of ISP and the best you can do with your baby, the toddler. I will move to the next age group in this part, the 5-12 years age group and what may be in store for the parents during these years of parenting. For the pregnant moms, who have read the article and enrolled for the ISP classes; good luck to all of you and I can assure you that you will be immensely benefitted. You are already on the road to joyous parenting. For those who are already in the ‘old’ category like I was when I joined the program, no harm done. We simply must practice honesty with our children and love them to their fullest. Children are unique and incomparable; all formulae need not bring the same results for every child.

A small note before I go to the next age group: I deliberately left the food part out for the toddlers. India is such a blend of diversity that it is next to impossible to pin down on anything common for a child to eat and drink and say , ‘Give this only, the child will be healthy!’ The culture and food habits are related and then the geographic location and food availability define the culture of the place. For north Indians wheat is a must for the southerners rice is a must. My mother used to insist on garlic, excellent for lactating mothers, my in-laws house is garlic –banned place! My chances at ‘good lactating’ were squashed the day I married this family! So, my only suggestion is mum’s milk of course, till it lasts. Introduce fresh home- made stuff and stay away from canned food as much as possible, especially the first 3 years. Now, to continue with toddlers…

The busiest 7 years

Toddlers are biggest mischief mongers and by the time they turn 5 all the tricks in their book are out in the open and they have very few in their kitty. So the parents also breathe easier and have a little free time on hands, with the children going to pre-school and beginning formal school. The days of being at their wits end and hair rising din are thankfully out of the way and very little shocks these well trained parents anymore. The parents get a good chance to have the upper hand with this age group , in the sense they can introduce rules , give instructions to get a few things done independently, set a time table for the them, some activities to be done on their own, some family time, some play and friends time etc. Instead, the parents begin to get used to this little free time, and the full night’s rest as they are out of the ‘staying up through the night phase’, enjoying a little freedom and have a few hours when the toddler is at school, so it is very luring, to grab another few hours of peace or freedom or sleep, if you can get the child to do what you want. They innocently begin the blackmail game of, ‘do this or eat this, you will get to watch your show or you will be given an extra chocolate’. I notice most parents with children in this age group are either shouting, ‘No, no, no don’t do this, don’t go there, don’t run, don’t touch….’ A string of ‘No’s’ or trying to cajole the child with, ‘I will give you this, buy you that, take you there, do this…’. Already the children are grooved into a life of blackmail and bribery, right at home. I know it is very tempting for the tired parent, but it is strictly taboo. This is exactly the kind of long casino online run harmful habits that I wish to warn the parents against. Most of my counseling cases deal with this issue and I am tired of telling each parent, individually, you brought this on yourself! You thought you were in control and you could get the child to do things your way, but in no time the tables turned and you end up doing everything to the child’s bidding, yielding to every whim and fancy. So, please parents, hold on to your temptation a little longer; that is all. By the time the time the child is 7-8 they are very independent and have 10000 things to do. They will have no time to bother you because you would have occupied them with so many other educational distractions! Play the smart parent. Let them walk into the trap rather than vice versa.

Begin with learning from the child than teaching the child. Reason being, the more you are with your children the more you really get to know them. The longer you black mail them, you will remain in the dark about what they really want. One by one they will explore, it takes patience, but the result of patience is always sweet, yes? So play along peacefully please. Remember the brain cells they have and their count; think of what slim chances we have, at our age, of out smarting them! So, smartly learn from them instead. Then the parent has the advantage of knowing the child inside outside and everything about the child’s world is like an open book to the parent. Now you can start the extra-curricular classes, based on the interest of the child. I found the ‘Multiple –Intelligences Test by Howard Gardner’ very helpful in this case. It narrows down the options effectively and you can start moving on the right track from this tender age itself. No time is wasted and the child ends up with a career of choice and liking too.

Secondly, a suggestion, please enroll your child to any one creative class, it may be drawing, dance, music- instrumental or vocal, anything on the fine arts side. Nothing else inculcates discipline in the child in a natural way. Dance music and arts still the child, rather force the child to sit and a gradual sense of calm and composure comes to the child. Most of the children with attention problems are only begging to be put into something like this; and this is the perfect age. The academic pressure is nil and they have too much time to kill with too little to occupy them! Even if this is not a career option for them, no harm will come. This paves the way for everything else that they will want to do in future. Many parents enroll them into karate classes to bring in some self confidence etc, I am not their mom and they do know the best for their child, but as a counselor, I wish they wait till the child crosses 12 years at least before putting them into such classes.

A smart parent need not be a house wife or a full time mom, a smart parent simply needs to know the child and be with the child when with the child. As for the rest, time flies and you will be enjoying every minute of parenting, re-growing, re-learning and bonding with the child.

Your child and you-1

Your child and you-1

About ISP

The following is a continuation of the series your child and you, enabling the parent to understand their children and groom them effectively. My learning from Siddha Samadhi Yoga says that the child is like sponge from the age 0- 5, and then the phase for showing what has been grasped during these crucial five years is noticed. I attended this Infant Siddha program with my first born very meticulously. My son though, was already 2years + by the time I got to know of this program and they said I was late, a little too late! My son was old already. I was taken aback to hear my baby being called ‘old’ , but the verity has begun to sink now, with all these cases that come to me.

Infants and toddlers see and learn during formative years, soaking it all up, the good and bad alike. We parents are too busy feeding, cleaning, putting them to bed, catching forty winks ourselves if possible, then again the baby is up so feed, clean and it is like an endless loop. The first three years of most parents are is a small circle dotted with stops at the clinic, crèche, home and maybe one two other places like relatives and playschool. We forget that the child is happily soaking it all up, the hustle bustle and the scenery, the people, the learning from every person the child is interacting with too! So every relationship is a learning experience for the baby. What is a rushed routine, waiting for the child to grow up is the learning period for the child. Imagine the magnitude of what we have lost in our ignorance and what the child has inadvertently learnt again because of our innocence (I dare not use the word ‘ignorance’ too many times, touches the wrong nerve of the parents.)

The child first learns to see, observe, then listen, talk and the last in the line of education is writing. Whereas parents wait for the child to talk first, then we assume that it makes sense to make the child reason or understand, the child will begin to listen. The child has been hearing for the last 1 year or so, not to forget the + nine month’s conception to delivery time! So we have actually waited almost 2years more than the needed time. Meanwhile, the child has already heard a lot, made many impressions, images in his or her mind, some alterable, some indelible, some good and some bad of course.

This Infant Siddha program has done extensive research and experiments too. According to them a new born has about 100 billion active brain cells with 50 trillion brain connections and by the time the child is 10years old half of these connections would have died off! That still leaves half alive for us to wake up late and yet achieve a few milestones. They have created magic children and child prodigies, trained mothers from the day they conceived and set many examples of miraculous babies. The site has extensive information for any parent who wants a miracle child. The site is www.liyaisp.org and the mail id if the person managing and conducting these classes is manjo@vsnl.com . Here I will talk of on behalf of every child, with without the program and trying to understand these children better to enjoy parenting to its fullest best. Getting discouraged that we have lost so much already is a defeatist attitude, let us pull up socks and say, “I will learn to and make up for the lost time and reach the finishing line in the same time”.

My semi ISP trained kids

Parenting ‘knack’

So, parenting is really a knack, it nine out of ten it comes naturally to the parent. The whole disadvantage begins with this line itself, because now most families have both working parents and the influence they leave on their children is very piecemeal and disintegrating. The nuclear family structure which is most prevalent these days is also a big hurdle. This ‘knack’ is being in tune with the child, to a degree where the parent perceives thought of the child with the very expression or every look of the child. The verbalization of that look and expression on the child’s face must come naturally to the parent and spontaneously and immediately! Now how many of us can say yes to all of these? At least earlier the grandparents used to have time and enjoyed grand parenting and imparted a lot of wisdom, now with this nuclear family convenience and nuisance, we have lost out on that advantage too. For all you know, maybe our parents also felt that they lacked the knack of parenting then and now wish to enjoy their grand children to their fullest. Whatever maybe the reason my point is why can’t we parents really enjoy parenting?

It is never too late to begin, because your child is your guru. All the parents need to do is a role reversal! Observe the child and start learning from the child. Without holding back, bias and with complete enthusiasm and spontaneity if any parent can be with their child, that parent has the knack of parenting is also on the correct road to perfect joyous parenting. The parent should allow the child to decide and stay away from imposing decisions on the child. You then give room for the child to listen, think, assimilate and then make decisions; decisions which have come from him/her and which are meant for him/her. We parents must know what we want to imbibe in the child? The values we wish to impart must be crystal clear and we need to do a repeated refresher course with these values and guidelines ourselves.

Are we allowing the child to discover him or herself, giving an exposure or an outlet to explore his/ her unique talents and foolish wishes too? Allow them to dream, because every dream precedes a goal, and dreamers are usually more successful than the non- dreamers. We are too focused on academics alone, but think a step ahead please, is academics the sole determinant for an intelligent or successful child? Who are we to rob the children of their dreams, to thrust some certificates down their throat? We are robbing the child of his/ her childhood and ingenuity! We need to ask ourselves these simple questions. It is the parent’s hands to give the child the vision of become a dwarf or a giant, emotionally. What we show them to see is what they believe and grow up to be.

We give love they learn to love, we cuddle they cuddle, we are cold and stiff they grow up self conscious and stiff. The source or the root is us, on which these tender buds with the potential to bloom grow. Respect your child, if you are away most of the time, work constraints; then sleep talk to them. They understand and sense that little bit too. They are so receptive. My husband is practically a guest daddy, but this one habit of his, to come back home at some god forsaken 11 or 12 in the night, yet go and sing a lullaby to my daughter and smother my adolescent son with his kisses has made a big impact on the children. They barely exchange any notes during the week but the weekends, they lap up all his attention and dote on him and pamper him! They remember all hugs, songs and smothering they received when they were asleep. It surprises me, but they have a lovely relationship and it works wonders for my family.

I thoroughly enjoyed and lived every moment with both my children. It is honestly a boon to see them flourish and grow up into content and complete kids, adolescents and able adults too (I still have to wait for the last part). Up until now, I am happy I have given them my time, we have had our own share of ups and downs, but till date the ride has always been exhilarating and full of sweetness. So it is love, love and more love, the trick or the knack of parenting.