Answers – Part 3 : Of Childhood and Safety

This post follows from part 1 and 2. I’m again clubbing two questions as they mean the same things to me, personally.

Are you still in touch with your inner child? If so, do you mind telling me about them?
Do you feel safe?

In a word, yes. But let me tell you the story.

Last day, I came across this tale of a brave warrior.

The warrior was well renowned for his courage, and when people asked him what his secret was, he would tell them that when he felt fear, he took refuge in a castle where he was always protected. One night, he was passing through a forest when a band of robbers – who knew him by reputation – caught him. “You can’t go to your castle now!” They taunted him. But the brave warrior smiled and said, “Oh, but my castle is within. And it is my mind that takes refuge, not the body.”

This story was profound in so many ways, but in the context of this post, it speaks to us in that whether we feel safe or not, is a choice that rests with us.

I fully acknowledge that finding this place of protection within is easier for some than it is for others – many of us have had frightening, abusive experiences, and its hard for those with such traumatic memories to think of the world within or without as a safe place.

After all, it holds so much trauma from the past that it seems nearly impossible to find peace there.

Eventually, we all look for safety. In jobs, relationships, degrees, money. These are all worthy and necessary pursuits, but what of the world within?

There are things we all lacked growing up, though the specific thing we lacked might vary. And what we lacked must have served at least in part to bring us where we are now. For instance, as a child, I longed for meaningful relationships, for a place free from the evils and heartbreaks the world had – and that took me closer to spirituality and self exploration.

But when we go searching for that peace outside of us, can we be sure that it’s going to be long-lasting? Jobs can be lost and so can relationships. Everything that can be gained can be taken away – just as we who gain and lose these things can be taken away in the arms of death.

One wonders if there is indeed any such thing as safety in that case, given the fragile balance of the world. And because our experiences tend to bring us to fears and successes both, our inner child can show apprehension, annoyance and even anger.

While I’m no great master of the mind, I have observed that as I started to build a better conversation with my inner child, I’ve started to feel safer. When an experience comes along that challenges me, I soothingly tell myself that it’s a learning experience and not a taunt from life.

Taking the inner child by hand, I protect her against the backlash of my own thoughts.

Ultimately, every situation in itself has no power to break us. This knowledge when internalized is the greatest safety net of all.

So when are you building your own castle?

Answers – Part 2 : Of Places and Wishes

This follows from part 1 and I’m clubbing two questions as my answers to these are similar.

Given the option to move to anywhere, would you? Why would or wouldn’t you?

What is the one thing you want at this moment?

How you feel emotionally is a place, a state of being is a place. Owing to some recent lessons, I feel that even though the world has much to offer, our internal world is just as magnificent a universe to explore.

The abandoned ruins of childhood memories, the fresh fields of momentary happiness and the wilderness of difficult emotions are all places to spend time in.

The way you discover different sides to you when you physically travel, these journeys into yourself could be just as rewarding, if not more, with the right mindset.

While I certainly do love to travel, at this point I realize all the more the need to attain the state of mind that allows me to stay calm and composed no matter what the situation externally. As I start to discover treasured moments in my own home that I know like the back of my hand, I see why clear perception is essential.

And perception cannot be clear unless the mind allows itself to drink of the present, which it rarely does as it’s either too consumed by the past, or too obsessed about the future.

I wouldn’t necessarily say I ‘want’ that, because I know that I and every other being on this planet is evolving slowly towards that state of mental clarity.

Consciousness evolves too, not just the physical forms.

But it’s the closest thing to ‘want’ that I can think of now.

I remember how – on my most surreal trip until now to the mountains, I enjoyed every bit of the journey. Climbing the first few hills, going deeper into the forest. Camping at a clearing where we still had a signal on our phones. Going higher still the next day – walking through wild country, listening to the streams, stopping for a breath as I basked in the sun, encountering a whole community of sheep. The cup of tea at the thatched tea shop, and the first sight of the snowy mountain. Standing under a night sky as I sent a thought of love to my family whom I couldn’t call as I had no signal on my phone, and seeing a shooting star then.

None of these moments are better than the other. They all have the same precious spot in my heart, and they always will. As I knew then that I will reach my destination, I know now too, for the only qualification to be on this journey is the willingness to learn.

And so for now, I savor the journey.

Answers to some wonderful questions – Part I : On Country and Culture

There will be a couple of these, as said set of wonderful questions are eleven in total. I’ve also shelved anything else I thought of writing because I might miss out and not complete them. These questions are from Dante at Dialectics, an amazing blogger and a great friend. His posts sometimes bring you closer to reality, sometimes make you question the way things are, and sometimes give you a good laugh because he sounds like a thoroughly frustrated English professor (he does teach language so, close enough!). Thank you, Dante, for re-nominating me and giving me the chance to respond to the questions you wrote.

Since I don’t want to do another nomination post right after my previous one, I’m taking each question as a prompt (a delight to me, who adores explaining my answers). The question I’d like to answer today is: May you teach me something from/about your country/culture?

In my homeland of Kerala, the period from mid-July to mid-August is called Karkkidakam – one of the months in the traditional calendar. In the earlier days of our agrarian society, this month of dark monsoon clouds and prevalent illnesses was bad news. Our ancestors hence devised a detailed plan for us to weather this seasonal storm and stressed upon the importance of looking after our health.

My favorite part of this plan was the Ramayana recital.

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Liebster Award Nomination – 2020

I am really grateful to Rishika Kakar (https://whimsicalwordsmith00.wordpress.com/) for this nomination. I just recently discovered her blog. She writes with a flair, making you feel as if you’re in the experience yourself. She lives up to her name, ‘The Whimsical Wordsmith’ – so do check it out!

My favorite thing about award nominations is that I get to answer so many questions and ask some of my own – and what better way to know fellow bloggers than holding an interview with them? Here goes!

Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers
  4. Ask your nominees 11 questions
  5. Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post
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Nature and Progress

More and more people believe that we are facing real issues due to our distance from nature – so much so that there’s even a word for that trauma.

As I was taking a walk today in the yard, thinking of this, I came across this flower lying on the path. I wondered whether we too, are like her, separated from the branches, roots and leaves, isolated from our true homes (ironic, given the present circumstances).

I used to be a person who loved to imagine the lives of those who came before us. I’m guilty also of glorifying those times as golden.

But as I felt the stone against my bare feet, the wind in my hair, the song of the leaves, I knew that I too was blessed.

Nature is never far away.

If you miss Her, you always have a choice to step out and reunite with Her.

And if that is not an option, simply close your eyes and listen to the breath like waves – rising and falling like the innumerable daughters of the ocean.

She is in you, as you are in Her.

And we are where we are meant to be, always.

Befriending procrastination

Surely, all of us are familiar with this famous black hole – the only one with a name that I can actually remember.

Procrastination is blamed for reducing productivity, negatively impacting mental health and for the one cardinal sin we should never commit – wasting time.

Unless you’re a master of your own mind and time (if you are, please, teach us all), there is at least one event concerning procrastination in everyone’s life that is either a funny anecdote or a story with a moral.

If you are familiar with my blog, you would know that I firmly believe in using all our traits – and I mean all of them. We are not one-dimensional beings made to forever laugh and smile and please those around us. We are human, and so-called negative impulses might be here to stay.

But perhaps procrastination is not such a bad thing after all.

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Why we shouldn’t let our ancestors dictate what we should believe

“The older generations believed that shouldn’t be done. They say it’s not appropriate.”

No matter where you come from, you must have heard these words – often from well meaning elders or even your more conservative friends.

I heard that recently from one of the most open- minded, forward-thinking people in my life.

We were talking about how the wooden prayer cabinet in our home that housed our sculptures, texts and other prayer articles, was often referred to by my friends as a temple inside my home. He must have heard someone in the older generation say it shouldn’t have been so, and he shared that with me.

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Communications in colours

When I first took “The Palace of Illusions” into my hands, it was love at first sight. And when I began to read it, to truly get lost in the story, I knew that I had indeed found the love of my life – the way we think, in our heady excitement, when we fall in love for the first time.

Eight years later, I still cannot pass it by without picking it up, looking through it with a happy sigh, and perhaps going through a few lines, even chapters. I’ve decided many a time to do a re-read and still found myself as enriched and elated as I was when I first finished it.

I truly hope I love someone the way I love this book – or that someone loves me that way I love this book.

Somehow, it teaches me something new every time I read it and leaves me not with the sort of exuberance that dies down within seconds, but with a calm sense of meaning that stretches on like an ocean of great depth.

How is it that I never wrote a review for this book?

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Where it starts

Farewell to anger — Palette Knife oil painting on canvas by Leonid Afremov

Anger is a constant and sometimes well-deserved companion in many of our lives, though it often serves as a double edged sword. Most often, we – the ones who unleashed said anger – end up being unhappy over that, which doesn’t help anyone.

While I have made many unsuccessful attempts to conquer this particular behavioral pattern, I’m now able to understand it better thanks to those failed undertakings.

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Beholding infinity

When I rediscovered my love for photography recently (on phone camera, please don’t judge) I found that just like before, I was fascinated by the silent demonstrations of life. The leaves of a plant with her proud face to the sky. The shadows falling on the wall as the sun set.

These quiet depictions of beauty, usually taken for granted, started to really grow on me. One of my favorite hobbies these days is to go out to my front yard and just stand there, my neck craned up, eyes taking in the beauty of the sky.

Cloudy days, sunsets, sunrises, even moon glow – how different were the personalities it exhibited.

Yesterday evening, I was sky watching as usual – the sky was an ocean of clouds. I could imagine why most religions in the world had a God who sat up in the clouds on his golden throne in paradise.

Every part of nature is magical and beautiful, but when we look up at the sky what exactly is it that we’re looking at – or more precisely – what are we seeking?

When we look up at the sky hoping for faith, for guidance, for light and rain, are we really looking up at a God-figure that we painted in our heads?

Or are we reaching out to the whole of life and humanity – who see the sky all the same – but in different forms in different parts of the world, quite similar to our spiritual quests. Seeing the same thing really, just in different ways.

Perhaps, somewhere deep within us is buried knowledge. Of remembrance and connection. That we are not one but all, and all in one.