A Pleasant Surprise

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I’m not big on receiving accolades or hearty praise. But I do enjoy the thrill of resonance —that tiny feeling of satisfaction when a teeny spark you hold, kindles something in someone else.

I truly believe that every thought we think, actually counts. And when I blog, it is to share the insights I come upon—certain in my understanding that somewhere, sometime, my thoughts will reach out to someone who happens to be on the same wavelength.
Well, last week I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had received a Blogger Recognition Award. It was a simple confirmation of what I’ve suspected all along—that our thoughts do go much further than we expect. We don’t always have to witness every single effect any of our actions have at every moment. There is always a ripple effect of sorts and we simply cannot help influencing each other in intangible ways.
I’d like to thank Black Girls Who Code who nominated me. Not only did I get the thrill of knowing that my voice was being heard, but I got to catch a glimpse of what she has to say, much of which strikes a chord with my own thoughts and ideals. What I personally find fascinating is that many of us bloggers are sharing our tidbits in ways that seems to resonate so smoothly with one another.
As I muse on this, I am reminded of the words of the famous Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore:
There are numerous strings in your lute
Let me add my own among them
Then, as you smite your chord
My heart will break its silence
And my life will be one with your song
I think all of us smite our own chords as we think and feel—and blog and share our experiences with each other.
And the music of our ‘oneness’ pours out into the Universe, with Law of Attraction orchestrating the entire show!
Here’s my list of bloggers, who I think have an awesome voice:

© 2018 G.A.I.L

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Bending Reality

I’ve been brought up to tell the truth and I dare say I’ve always done a fantastic job. But now that I think of it, the ‘truth’ could always do with a little bit of whitewashing now and then.

People call this a white lie and any self-righteous person will recoil at the very idea of making peace with something so horribly taboo.

I’m beginning to think there are occasions when reality can be bent just a little bit, especially when the situation demands it. It’s easy to overlook the incredible power that a simple stroke of whitewash can give, in mitigating a bad situation and soothing it into a better place. What’s even better is that it accomplishes far more than a bucket load of explanation!

One perfect example of this is when I was a little kid—probably around five years old or so. I can’t remember exactly how, but I’d just come upon the realization that death was inevitable.

I was totally shocked to know that I too was doomed to die some day and I simply could not bear the thought.

I can still recall that feeling of panic rising in me as I confronted my mother about this.

“You mean all of us die?” I asked, quite horrified.

“Yes,” she replied, taking the time to sit me down and explain quite seriously that that was just how it was.

“But I don’t want to die,” I whimpered desperately.

Young as I was, I was fully aware of the concern in my mother’s eyes as she seemed to understand my fear, yet felt justifiably bound by parental responsibility.

“But we all have to die,” she explained patiently, watching with a tinge of sadness as I crumbled before her very eyes.

There and then you see, my world was shattered!

Up till then I’d been pretty sure that my mum could fix any problem—and here she was, admitting that she was powerless to save my life!

Most sensible people will agree that my mum’s response was very reasonable indeed.

I on the other hand, believe that a ‘white lie’ here would’ve been totally justified.

In my opinion it would’ve been that soft cushion of hope that had the power to soothe a childhood fear and pave the way to accepting the inevitable at a more suitable time.

My own response as a mother would’ve been totally different. (In fact I’d been waiting patiently all these years for my own kids to come along and ask me the same question, but unfortunately they never did, lol.)

I’d have said, “Yes I too have heard that we all die, but I’m not sure that has to be the case for everyone.”

I’d wait for that to sink in before I continued quite matter-of-factly, “I’ll just tell God that you don’t want to die …and you won’t have to, alright?”

I’m sure any mother could’ve gotten away with this, because especially at the age of five, mothers mean the world to their kids—mine certainly did! Of course everything changes with the onset of the teen years, when almost anything a parent says seems downright ridiculous—but that’s a different story.

People make too much of a deal about ‘always speaking the truth’.  Because when you think about it, the story of Santa Claus is the jolliest white lie ever told!

© 2018 G.A.I.L

Science and Spirituality

All of us have opinions and ideas that make sense to us based on our individual life experiences. These observations then become our truths because we believe that a pattern exists between what we observe and what seems to unfold, based on past experiences.

Scientists label this Confirmation Bias which they describe as ‘the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s pre-existing beliefs or hypotheses’.

Confirmation Bias in my opinion is simply ‘Law of Attraction’ in action. Any active thought (which comes with a certain vibrational frequency) tends to attract another thought of similar frequency to it—which then attracts another and another.

There are many aspects to any situation, but I believe each of us tends to rendezvous with those aspects that resonate with the beliefs we have. Just as the tuner on a radio can be set to a pick up radio waves at a certain frequency, similarly our beliefs pick up aspects within the range of what we are offering vibrationally at any moment. That simply is the way Law of Attraction works—in the same unfailing way as the law of gravity.

I reckon science is only just tapping in to Universal truths that many spiritual teachers must always have known. For example Jesus’s teachings seem to fit in perfectly with my understanding of how all of this works. “Turn the other cheek” is valuable advice indeed in confrontational situations, especially when you consider how consistent Law of Attraction always is.

Attention to any subject (for even as little as a minute) creates a strong enough vibration that Law of Attraction responds to. One angry comment could very well spark off another, until very soon a lot of momentum could gather. The situation then has the potential of turning ugly pretty soon.

‘Turning the other cheek’ may sound simplistic, but simply shifting focus off the irksome topic can work its own magic. It presents the opportunity to regroup, so to speak—allowing for some distraction towards more pleasant topics. And then there can be the gentle tuning out, into a more pleasant arena. ‘Turning the other cheek’ is honestly so much more than just having to grit your teeth and bear it. It provides the breath of fresh air that can diffuse a difficult situation.

Indian mystics too seem to have come to a similar understanding of Universal laws. They have a Sanskrit term Astu, which can be described as a force that brings one’s thoughts into a full blown manifestation. Spiritual teachers in India recommend watching your thoughts and words, lest the Tathastu gods act on them too swiftly. Isn’t this just another way of describing Law of Attraction?

As I see it, Spirituality relies on intuition or faith to visualise beyond what is already manifested—into the realm of pure potentiality, where all things are possible. It is by working in harmony with the laws of the Universe that the subtle connection to Infinite Intelligence (God) is reached.

Science on the other hand, insists on direct evidence and reasoning to move forward, which can be burdensome and therefore limiting.

Albert Einstein probably put it more succinctly than I ever could with his famous quote: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind, a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

© 2018 G.A.I.L

Empathy and beyond

Many years ago when my older son was around four, we happened to be at a ferry crossing in India. As we stood in line with the other passengers, waiting to go down the ramp into the ferry boat, I noticed a disabled man on a little cart almost at floor level.

His legs may have been paralyzed and I felt sorry that he must not have been able up afford a proper wheelchair. The gadget he was using was simple yet functional (much like a skateboard) enabling him to move, as he used his palms against the ground to propel himself forward.

While I felt sorry that he was forced to commute like this I could not help but admire his resilience in seeking to be independent in his own way.

I am usually hesitant to give alms to just any beggar on the street because there are many who pretend to be disabled when they really are not. But there was no doubt in my mind that this person was definitely genuine. I hurriedly fished in my purse for any change I could find.

Probably thinking this was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate empathy in action, I handed the coins to my son and asked him to give them to the man, explaining that we’d be helping him.

As we approached the man and my son reached out to give him the coins, I caught the man’s eye and for a split second I was confused. He looked at me with utmost kindness and shook his head ever so slightly.

In that moment I realized something that simply hadn’t occurred to me before – and I kicked myself that it had not struck me earlier. He was disabled for sure, but certainly not needy!

Because he was on a rundown looking cart and dressed in humble clothes I had assumed he was a beggar. I had incorrectly surmised that he could not afford a wheelchair. After all, who would choose to brush their palms against the ground when they could move in the comfort of a properly designed mobility device?

In that brief unspoken moment when our eyes met, something indefinable happened. I found myself humbled by the fact that he understood my intentions, yet held no grudge that he had been so completely misunderstood.

I think of this incident often these days when I am in the midst of doing something very ably with my left hand. Then someone will come along and offer to complete my chore, obviously assuming they can do it better because unlike me they have the use of both hands.

I try not to feel irked because I’d rather they appreciate my ‘ability’ rather than assume that my apparent disability is somehow limiting. But then part of me understands that they are coming from a place of caring – even though they are probably just as clueless as I was then.

I guess we all live and learn … and grow, through every little experience.

© 2018 G.A.I.L

A Chip off the Old Block

   

Many good ideas are born around a kitchen table. That’s the sacred place of home where we bond, confide and bounce ideas off each other.

Our own kitchen table had had its fair share of sticky fingers and all the myriad activity that goes along with school projects and growing up.  After eleven years it certainly looked worn and my husband suggested it was probably time to look for a new one. To me this table was like an old friend and I was reluctant to say goodbye just yet.

As we sat around one day, about a year and half after my surgery, a thought popped into my head and I couldn’t resist entertaining it, even though it seemed rather far-fetched. I was contemplating bringing this table back to life, rather than getting rid of it, and as I shared my thought, everyone gazed at me quite startled. They were rather skeptical of my idea and the thought of me sanding, polishing and varnishing simply did not seem to be worth the effort at all.

I however, was undeterred.  As a child I had witnessed my dad dabbling in a lot of carpentry as a hobby and had been privy to the satisfaction he seemed to derive from his various projects. I could feel the stirring of a similar desire in me and I simply had to follow my inspiration.

In a way, I understood the reluctance my husband and boys felt. I was riding on the heels of my dad’s passion, while they were not. Their path of least resistance was to go out and buy a new table, but mine was to test my own creativity and see whether I could bring my dream to reality—singlehandedly, in every sense of the word. I would need to do everything with my left hand!

It took me nearly two weeks to sand the table to my satisfaction, but I was pleased with my effort. A lot of the initial skepticism my family had had, was quickly fading away as the kitchen counter became our temporary watering hole. I did encounter a few glitches with applying the stain and the epoxy layer but I managed to sort them out, learning a lot through the experience.

My ‘new’ table was a perfect reflection of the thrill I felt at accomplishing quite ably, everything I had set out to do. Unfortunately the chairs now stood out awkwardly, so I had to sand and varnish them as well. This of course took a couple more weeks, but slowly and steadily I worked my way through all of them.

And finally, our kitchen table was recommissioned, happy in its new attire. For me the satisfaction was worth all the time and effort. More than that, the table stands as a tribute to my dad, who had subconsciously sown the seeds of passion and patience in me all those years ago.

And while it’s certainly true that many good ideas are born around a kitchen table, I daresay (tongue-in-cheek of course) that this table was born around a good idea!

© 2018 G.A.I.L

Life beyond perfectionism

I was born into a family culture of perfectionism. It might seem like a good thing, but I don’t think it really is.

Perfectionism comes with invisible shackles that can bind and smother in unseen ways.

In my case, it seemed to hold me captive to a standard that was never really consistent.
People have different perceptions and outlooks and trying to meet everyone’s expectations can be quite daunting. What’s worse is that after a while I began to hold myself to a standard that no one else even expected—or really cared about.

It took me a while to come to my senses and realize that I was robbing myself of so much, because I was focused inward (on meeting some very high standards) and not outward (in enjoying the moment for whatever it was worth).

I seriously began to question if I could indeed let go of this bugbear which seemed to have its claws entrenched pretty deep into my psyche. I finally decided it was time to say goodbye when I realized it was giving birth to something almost as obnoxious—and that was procrastination. I found myself putting off doing something for fear that it may not turn out as perfect as I liked.

Old habits however, die hard. There is an air of familiarity about ‘habit’ that feels comfortable even though it may not be serving us as well. That, as I now understand, is because one cannot go cold turkey where Law of Attraction is concerned. Only thoughts within the same vibrational range can harmonize, so it’s rather illogical to expect to switch from ‘perfectionism’ to ‘sensible’ on a dime. It requires a gradual steering away, thought by thought; subject by subject. I had to cajole myself into accepting that something was ‘good enough’ rather than ‘absolutely perfect’.

I think my kids have been the biggest instrument for change as far as I’m concerned. They came along and challenged my need for perfection in interesting ways. I soon realized that the world would not fall apart if their rooms weren’t absolutely tidy and they certainly would survive, even if they didn’t always get to bed on time.
I’ll admit it wasn’t easy to turn the other way and ignore a condition that was not meticulously dusted off of any perceived imperfection.

Yet slowly and steadily I began to find my balance, taking baby steps away from my biggest nemesis. Metaphorically speaking I had lowered a bar that never needed to be there in the first place.

I am pleased to say that I now use a different yardstick, called ‘satisfaction’. I measure my accomplishments by the amount of pleasure I derive, in doing them.
Since I no longer strive for ‘perfection’ I can focus more purely on a sense of fulfillment, which surprisingly nets me a higher yield than perfection—allowing me to achieve far more.

I suspect that’s because ‘satisfaction’ tends to spawn a certain confidence – and I find ‘confidence’ far more delightful!

© 2018 G.A.I.L

Some things don’t change too much

All of us have some childhood memories we look back on with amusement—and maybe share with our kids.

Not too long ago an incident tumbled out of my memory which made me smile and when I shared it with my boys, they too were amused.

I told them of the time when I was around twelve and had to walk a fair distance to my piano class. It wasn’t much fun at all, to trudge up a hill in the hot afternoon sun  and the humidity in India certainly didn’t help. So to beat the drudgery, I’d often play little games with myself—like overtaking someone ahead of me, just to see if I could do it.

Anyway on this particular day, I hurried along as fast as my legs could carry me and just managed to overtake a man in front of me. My satisfaction at racing him was short lived as he managed to get ahead of me only a few minutes later. This silent race went on for a couple of minutes, both of us seemingly oblivious to the other.

Then to my utter surprise, he suddenly paused and graciously ushered me forward. I was taken aback ‘cos I’d assumed he hadn’t really noticed me and I felt a little sheepish to know that he had indeed been aware of what was going on.

This was thirty odd years ago but some things don’t change. A couple of weeks ago I was walking along and I wondered if I could actually outpace anyone. I have slowed a bit since my surgery but I’m happy enough at my current walking speed of 4.5 km/h.

There were two men ahead of me this time, one walking far more briskly than the other. I hurried along even as the brisk walker strode off leaving me with just one competitor. I found myself exhilarated with my effort, because I could see that I was gaining on my target and slowly closing the gap between us. As I drew closer I stepped on to the grass (rather than on the concrete sidewalk) to give him a wider berth and as I crossed him, he did something that left me quite stunned.

No kidding, but he did exactly what that gentleman had done so many years ago. He too paused and gestured kindly for me to go ahead! I could hardly believe what was just happening.

I’ve never really noticed anyone give more than a casual glance to people walking past, so I was extremely startled with his reaction because it was a perfect replication of that childhood memory of mine!

While it’s interesting enough that I haven’t changed all that much over decades (in my secret desire to overtake fellow walkers), I find it fascinating that the Universe decided to deliver pretty much the exact same response using a different player—and that too, in an entirely different continent!

I can only surmise that I must’ve had an active vibe in me that actually elicited that response from the man the second time around. I guess a lot of people might dismiss this as an interesting but random incident, but I do believe everything unfolds logically, in this attraction based Universe.

We tend to take ourselves (with our thoughts, beliefs, observations, perceptions—and therefore potential for attracting) everywhere we go and things often repeat themselves accordingly.

Different places, different faces—and (according to me)  pretty well demonstrated in this case;)

© 2018 G.A.I.L