Archive | September, 2018

The Importance of Wasting Time

30 Sep

For most people today, Time is the one commodity that isn’t meant to be whiled away or spent mindlessly. In a culture that rewards relentless productivity, the idea of sitting around doing nothing is considered preposterous.

My mother, a confirmed proponent of ‘Hard work is the key to success’ impressed upon me the virtues of ‘Early to rise’ and ‘Keep busy’.  She considered Down time – a complete waste of time. All through my growing years I saw her busy all day, either at work, or cooking, or running errands. To her ‘doing nothing’ was a bad habit that needed to be weeded out at the earliest.

This indoctrination stayed with me for a large part of my adult life, so much so, that on days when I paused to just ‘BE’ [Do nothing Productive], guilt stuck out his ugly head serving me a generous helping of blame and shame.

To me ‘being productive’ was linked to my self worth and this made ‘Doing nothing ‘a scary place to be in. Letting go of my borrowed beliefs, I deliberately began taking time out of my routine to do things I enjoy. It was during these times that I came to realize that Life is a process of discovery and being trapped in this busyness only stalls that process.

Whiling away my time revealed to me the things I enjoy doing, things I care about and the things that don’t matter to me.

Sometimes these carefree hours provided an opportunity to reflect – like a huge mirror in front of me – to make sense of my life; to understand how the dots connect.

Today, I have released myself from my personal Alcatraz – where doing nothing meant I’m lazy or slacking.

Now I take breaks between work.

I go out for a long walk by the beach

I sit in a café, sipping coffee and people watching

I Meet up with friends and talk just about anything

I don’t wait for weekends to to engage in my personal pursuits. I choose every day to further the discovery process that life unfolds. Its during times like these that my mind is revived with clarity and new insights.

To me, Idleness is an investment, one that involves deliberate rest; one that helps gain fresh perspectives on various matters; one that keeps me happier and more tuned into life.

I am no more a part of the ‘Cult of busyness’. The sentence ‘I don’t have time’ doesn’t apply to me anymore. I make time to be unproductive, giving in to my meandering mind and experiencing the joy and vitality that comes along with it.

This ‘wasted time’ is a pursuit in itself. It helps me recharge and ultimately get more work done – A time well spent.

I definitely recommend all my readers intermittently ‘unplug’ and have periods of time that are completely unstructured to get that zing back into life.

 

This too shall Pass.

19 Sep

Not very long ago I went through the most   distressing period of my life. Everything I understood as being a part of a stable predictable existence came crashing down in front of me. People came, empathized, consoled, offered sound advice but nothing taught me how to deal with those moments of pain.

It was at this time that a friend said to me…’This too shall pass’.

I didn’t give her words much thought then, but today whenever I sit by myself reflecting on the transient nature of life, the timeless wisdom of these words echo in my head.

Nothing is here to stay forever. Both good times and bad times are fleeting. If anything is a constant – it is change.

Each time I am reminded of this impermanent nature of the world around us I realize how important the present moment is. Immersing myself into the moment I savor every bit of the present.

I am not sure if the moment will replicate itself again and so I live a little more spontaneously, steady my monkey mind as it loops in with unpleasant thoughts of the past or catapults wildly into the future.

Each time I see a beautiful sight I don’t wonder when I’ll be there again; nor do I bother to take ‘selfies’, instead I take a deep breath, soak up the beauty and relish every moment that I get

‘This too will pass’ has been a comforting mantra during tough times too. Just knowing that the pain associated with tough times will lessen gives me hope and motivates me to stay afloat when the going gets rough.

Sitting by the beach I watch the waves lash against the rocks. Each wave comes in fiercely with all its strength as if to weather the rocks with just one blow; but no sooner it breaks against the shore that it curls over and dissolves into foam. No trace left of the gigantic wave that charged in threateningly.

Such is life – even the most menacing of times will lose its intensity over time. Nothing remains the same.

So if you are in a happy state as you read this, be sure to savor it.

If you are going through a difficult time, remind yourself that it wont last forever.

Whatever the moment- beautiful or difficult; its Temporary.

Enjoy it or hang in there and endure it coz ……’This too shall pass’

The Lingering Effects of Sprinkling Goodness

2 Sep

Sometimes people say the nicest of things that puts you at ease in an instant.

I remember the time I was in the grocery line, paying the cashier who demanded the exact change.  This involved rummaging through my bag for all the coins, then counting them, handing them over and collecting the notes, putting them back in the purse, stuffing my purse into the bag.

All through this process I could hear impatient sighs from the people in the queue, some of them muttering about how I should not be there at the rush hour and how I should hurry up.

In the midst of all this, a kind voice behind me said ‘Its ok, take your time’. I stopped turned around and heaved a sigh of relief.

This lady had washed away the stress from every nerve of mine. I felt completely different in an instant. My frantic movements turned to calm and confident.

As I rolled out my trolley I turned back to thank her for changing my demeanour in less than 3 seconds.

The other day a young lady rushed into the bus looking decidedly embarrassed at the way her four children delayed the bus. Mumbling an apology, she got her children and their bags to settle into vacant seats and herself sat beside me.

Turning to look at her I smiled and said…. ‘Must be tough getting them all ready on time’. Something strange flickered through her eyes as she smiled back and let out a sigh. I am certain I saw her eyes well up as she smiled.

All of us have this need to feel a sense of belonging, to be accepted for who we are, loved inspite of our inadequacies. The moment we find this space, we feel relaxed and confident.

At times a tiny encounter that lends this calm can mean a lot to someone going through a chaotic moment.

To some of us, reaching out to ease somebody’s day comes naturally, while for some others it needs a bit of practice. All the same, it can be like a stream in an oasis, when in the midst of our anxieties, a fellow human lends us support and empathy.

A few ways to practice being someone around whom others feel comfortable and at ease are –

Smile. A genuine smile lights up your face and instantly puts people around you at ease.

Be nice and gracious to people around you.

Empathize. People live through varied circumstances, some of which we may never know

Be generous and genuine with your compliments which  immediately makes people around you feel relaxed

Sharing a joke can sometimes be a great way to defuse a tense moment

I write this coz I’m completely convinced of the power of human interaction, of the ease we can lend a fellow traveler who feels like a mess and finds life’s circumstances overwhelming.

I think its more than just important, in fact ide say it is our responsibility to look outside of ourselves and, reaching into that space, make life a tad easier for every person whose path we cross.

So lets make a choice to be mindful of the people around us and whenever necessary reach out and make someone feel at ease, offer gentleness that is far reaching, has a ripple like effect and makes this world a better place to live in.