Poems: Homecoming

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Home. Such a precious word.
Describing far more than a place.
It is all the times and spaces
You are at ease, safe.

Where all blindfolds have been removed,
Protective Kevlar set aside,
Chuckles gurgle past the lips
And tears need not hide

Where fingers snap and feet tap
To the beat of silent songs
When there is nothing to prove
Or attain, but simply carry on

Carry on being alive
Vividly. Brightly. Aware.
Knowing this is but an exotic game
And you have the courage to meet the dare.

You search for counterfeit comfort
In strange, distant lands
Or breathlessly await the gift
from another’s hands

While all along it waits patiently within,
Constant. Consistent. Available on demand

Related Post: Are You Singing Your Own Song Or Dancing To Another Tune?

 

Poems: I Am Present

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I am the guardian
Of that part of you

Which melts in sunshine
Celebrates rain
Burns in fire
Bows, to the earth,
And to the breath
That all of life sustain
The part that understands
The whispers of the trees
That hidden self which knows
The language of birds, animals and bees

I am the reminder
Of who you really are:

Not the face you see in the mirror
But the core essence of your being
The one who is as wondering as a child
Curious, adventurous, alive, trusting.
The mother, the artist, the nurturer
Of all that is sacred, subtle, all seeing

I am the one who energizes you
Keeps your spirit fanned and alive

The one who sees for you the magic
To which you sometimes become blind
The one who creates clear space for you
When you indulge in illusion, distraction, noise
The sparkling fountain of joyful peace
When life seems like one endless night
In what seems like overwhelming darkness
I tend an inextinguishable flame of light

Don’t pretend you don’t know me
Or can no longer reach me.
We have never parted ways,
Not in the past,
Nor in the coming days.
I am present. Right here.

Notice.
See.
Acknowledge.
That’s all one needs
To restore inner peace.

 

A Slice Of Foreign Life

 Budapest Castle

As I prepared for my travel to Eastern Europe last month, I began looking for interesting places in Prague and Budapest.  Searching travel blogs and reviews, I came across two unusual write-ups.  They intrigued me sufficiently for me to decide that Vyserhad and Attila’s Mound were places I would definitely visit.  Even as I was being influenced by these articles, I could not help but wonder as to how much weightage I should give to one writer’s opinion.   It made me resolute to remain aware and open to whatever I encountered in my experience, without being overly biased by anyone else’s conclusions.

During the travel, I met several interesting people from diverse backgrounds.  I also heard many animated conversations in cafes and parks.  Listening to these, I realized that each traveler was going to return with a crisp summary of the local conditions.  As they shared their experience, many others would come to view this destination through their eyes.  So the tourist who got patient directions from a store assistant would return describing the locals as ‘friendly and helpful’.  Whereas the lady who got a poor exchange rate would label the locals as ‘thieving opportunists’.  In the first case, there probably would be no mention of the tourist’s own respectful and polite body language.  Just as in the second case, there would be no mention of the warnings that there is no single fixed rate and tourists are repeatedly advised not to attempt to change cash on the streets but only at authorized sites, after making their own price comparisons.

These observations were further highlighted when I met with a person residing in Budapest for several years.  I had only just reached the city and his unhappy description of the locals had me wondering how my next few days in this city would be.  He said the language was extremely difficulty, the culture very closed and the people unfriendly.  He used words like ‘dangerous’, ‘rude’ and with genuine concern, advised me to be most careful, especially as I was travelling alone.   After he left, I had to remind myself of my resolution.

I reflected on my experiences thus far and this somewhat strange analogy came to mind – consider the making of a pie.  Suppose it was to rotate as it was baked, but this failed to happen.  Consequently, there may be a part that remains uncooked, a part that is burnt, but also a part that is cooked just right.  Were you to taste a delicious slice of this pie, it would be understandable if you concluded that the entire pie was excellent and the cook talented.  If you got the burnt or uncooked parts, you would probably warn people away from that bakery.  And heaven help if you tried a piece when you were famished and in urgent need of nourishment for the body and soul.  The crushing disappointment would undoubtedly pepper your review of the same.

The truth is that we rarely pause to consider if the slice determining our conclusion is representative of the whole pie. 

Even rarer would be to factor in the degree of awareness with which the sampler tasted this slice of pie.  In addition to personal conditioning, historical experience and mindset, the sampler’s state at that particular moment also contributes to their subjective experience and conclusion.  A tired, confused and apprehensive person is going to bring a different energy to any situation and leave with a different opinion than perhaps someone in a fresh, alert and enthusiastic state.  Our perceived reliability of the source should ideally be critical in deciding how much importance we give to that information.  If the information is too dramatic, positive or negative, we tend to get distracted by that and forget to question the source.

We have an innate need to label and organize information into understandable frames of reference.  Our hope for control over our environment and happiness compels us to classify people, places and things as desirable or undesirable, that too as quickly as possible.  Further, we tend to authoritatively pass on our judgment in oversimplified, pithy labels, which far too often are based on singular slivers of experience.

Just as we are eager to explore as many destinations as we possibly can, we also seem eager to distribute our findings. So before we have returned home and assimilated our reflections, our snaps – and surmises – are up on social media.  Prompting more friends to either add or remove a destination from their bucket list.

Whether intentionally or otherwise, we have further fueled the preference for haste over mindfulness, width over depth and conclusion over openness.

Now all this may be of little consequence when it comes to eating dessert, or of moderate importance in the context of choosing a vacation destination.   However, it may be useful to remember that there can be far reaching implications when we fixate our understanding of people, communities, cultures, nations or their challenges by a similar process of extrapolation.

For my part, I am glad for my resolution.  It reminded me to center myself and explore Budapest bearing in mind this person’s advice – without letting it weigh me down.  Fortunately for me, I got to experience a rich slice of helpful, friendly Hungarian people, beautiful sights, delicious food and excellent wine.  Not to forget, a better understanding of their complex and troubled history.

But if you see more of my snaps or read any of my other write-ups on the place – please do remember – this is just my opinion, based on one short stay!

Are You Singing Your Own Song Or Dancing To Another Tune?

Sing your own song

What is at the bottom of the discontent and restlessness that so many of us are grappling with today? We imagine that we are not good enough, or do not have enough because of the absence of some person, object or circumstance.  In reality, we have it backwards.  Everything that is wistfully parked in the future creates and contributes to an experience of lack. These thoughts concretize the belief that there is somewhere you have to reach, something you have to obtain, achieve or prove – so that you can feel a certain way.

Imagine for a moment that you already have the fame and recognition, wealth, dream vocation, ideal partner, or the vital statistics you have been chasing.  What really comes out of any of this?  A feeling.  A feeling of ease, a lightness of being – the sudden freedom to do whatever you feel like, be spontaneous and unmasked – simply enjoying the expression of whatever emerges from this sense of unbounded potential.

We seek this particular feeling: a sense of completion, wholeness, ease and expansion.  The description may differ for each one, but the bottom line is that you desire to be a certain way.  You want to be in your own zone, your home frequency.

The discomfort of not operating at our natural frequency results in exhausting struggle, intentional and unintentional compromises and manipulations, attempts to control people, events and life itself.  Consequently we remain trapped in a self perpetuating loop of insufficiency, anxiety, fear, urgency and an ominous sense of inevitable failure.  Neediness, dependency, sticky attachment and consequent victimhood all result from losing touch with our Self.

Further, as the ‘objectives’ themselves are subject to change, any taste of security or accomplishment is eventually transient. The consequent despair keeps us in a state of inadequacy and failure.  The very energy we started with itself brings us compression instead of expansion, bondage instead of freedom, fear instead of love.

In contrast, imagine starting from a space of abundance, wholeness and completion.  Knowing your infinite potential, expressing and playing from this space. Wouldn’t the whole journey become an exploration filled with curiosity and lightness? Tuning into our home frequency puts us in that place of wholeness right from the word go.

Dan Millman describes an African tribe that “… recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose.”  ‘Finding Your Song‘ describes how the community supports each individual in anchoring into their own song from conception, through life, until death, in more detail.  (Do follow the link.)

While we are capable of myriad expression, this individual vibration or home frequency seems to be the one we came to ‘sing’ while in this particular form. It just feels right. But how does one embody this way of being?  That frees us from our dependency and attachment to external factors and centers us in the space we have been seeking all this while?  How do we tune into our home frequency?

Here are four suggestions:

  1. Identify –  Devote attention to this critical aspect.  First, remind yourself that  you have already experienced it.  However long ago, and however briefly – you have lived it.  However, you may have forgotten how to recognize it.  What can  help is asking yourself questions like, “When did I last feel at home? In flow? In the moment? Fearless? Capable and Confident? Present? Unconcerned with future outcomes? At ease in my own skin? Generous, warm and open? Joyful? Peaceful?”
    The error one can make is in assuming that this feeling is only found in ‘positive’ situations.It may very well have been experienced in the courage to continue in a difficult situation, in the aching heart after a painful loss, or the heightened awareness in a crisis. This is a zone where we are in tune with the larger picture and know, that at a fundamental level, there is nothing to fear or lose.  It is a state of complete trust and non-resistance.  By limiting our acceptance to ‘pleasure’ or ‘happy’ states we deny our wholeness.If you get specific memories, deliberately relive them in your mind.  
    Pay great attention to body sensations. Notice how you feel, how you sound, how you look in the mirror, your body language, all of it.  Write all this down. (If you don’t recall anything specific, revisit the questions frequently.  The movement will begin at an energetic level.)
  2. Discern - Far too often, your voice has been corrected or suppressed and you may have taken on someone else’s ‘song’ as your own.  You may need to unlearn the lessons of childhood and begin to ask yourself if any superficial comfort truly reflects who you are; if these are your own choices, preferences and priorities, or something you were taught.  We have an inbuilt need to belong and fit in.  In trying to conform, you could be chasing things you don’t even want.  “Who does it belong to” is a useful Access Consciousness tool.  Asking this around a thought or feeling will help you to discern what is yours and not yours.  Any tightness, shortness of breath, uneasiness, heaviness and so forth are all indicators that it is not yours.  This awareness will start dissolving the any distortion and noise.
  3. Anchor, Amplify and Practise -  Because we have become experts at ignoring our feelings, emotions and intuition, we tend to neglect moments of insight and knowing.  Habit and cultural admiration for busyness and stress lends us a false sense of importance. Begin to notice which activities, surroundings and interactions trigger the same feelings that you noted in Step 1.  Create more of these opportunities for yourself.  Repeated encounters will increase the familiarity and ease with which you can return to your frequency.When you notice being in your zone, instruct yourself to ‘turn up the volume’ and deepen the attention you give the sensations.  Train your body and mind to become sensitive to these moments.
  4. Clearings – History has a way of showing up.  Using processes of inquiry such as The Work, and or energy clearing tools like Emotional Freedom Techniques(EFT), Access Consciousness or Now Healing, you can reduce the mental and energetic disruptions that prevents you from identifying, discerning and embodying your home frequency.  (Browse this blog for related articles, EFT scripts and other practises.)
  5. By regularly tuning in to our home frequency, while consistently clearing any interference that shows up, we begin to stabilize in our zone.  The more you are located there, the greater the trust in yourself and in the flow of life.  Being present and graceful acceptance of all of life becomes the norm rather than the exception. We finally experience the joy of being ourselves with ease and freedom.

    Isn’t it time to sing your own song?

    If you like the this article, please do share with others.  As Howard Thurman said, “What the world needs is people who have come alive.”

     

    Image Source : Steve D. Hammond, Flickr.com

     

9 Tips To Reinventing Yourself

Anais nin

All around me, I see family, friends and clients re-examining their lives and looking for ways to implement a dramatic change.  As individuals grow in self awareness and clarity, there is a deep desire to embody a more authentic way of being.  A life that honours a freer, transparent way, our innate talents and longings, and the courage to experiment and explore beyond conditioning or societal expectations.

The days of playing safe, conforming and compromising our callings seem to be coming to an end.  I myself have made it a habit to take stock and introspect every couple of years.  Every single time, there has been a deepening and freeing on the inside. Transformation is sometimes subtle.  The changes may or may not be easily apparent on the outside, but we all know when we feel significantly different in our skin.

Movie analogies often help in seeing our predicaments in a simple, direct way.  Much like the struggling actor, you may have battled difficulties, fought inner demons and dealt with much criticism and failure along the way.  But now, finally having found a fair degree of success, achievement, confidence and security, you may be surprised at the extent of restlessness within you.  Do you feel like the star wishing to change the genre of his films?  Instead of a saleable persona, do you now itch to demonstrate your true potential?  Perhaps you seek opportunity to make more meaningful films that may not be as glamorous or paying, but are richly rewarding and fulfilling?  Or do you wish to push the boundaries on what is possible and bring radical change to the industry you work in?  Would you like to usher in greater honesty, respect and mutual appreciation in your work and social networks, instead of remaining embroiled in competition, insecure politics and fake niceties?  For all appearances, you may continue to be a movie star to others. But only you will know if you have finally claimed and owned the method actor you may actually want to be.

Reinventing ourselves requires courage.  If you thought reaching this point was difficult, now comes the greater challenge – giving up the persona and the goals that have driven you all this while.

Once the call for authenticity has been heard, the pain of going against the grain becomes greater than the pain of the previous driver: the desire to have  love and approval from others.  After all, you cannot run away from yourself. As Anais Nin eloquently said,

And the day came when the risk to remain in a tight bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

So here are 9 tips to help you emerge in your full beauty:

1. Remind yourself that you are not your history:  

For the caterpillar
To emerge as a butterfly
It must be willing
To annihilate all self definition
Become the new and yet unseen
Or risk entrapment,
Stagnation. Dying…
Cocooned in false safety.

If you are struggling with whether you should quit your existing role or not it is important to ask yourself, “Am I continuing to stay in this situation more out of love or out of fear?’”.

2.  Create space for the unknown:  Sometimes we are clear about what we don’t want, but not so sure of what we are looking for.  The error is to continue doing and being the same, without creating breathing space for inspiration and insights to show up.  Be willing to sit in the unknown.  Be willing to carve out time from your busy schedule to do nothing.  The gap between thoughts is where the real downloads happen.

3.  Proactively seek inspiration and support:  Amanda Owens defines receptivity in her excellent book, ‘Born to Receive’, as something you do when you receive energy.  So whether it is meditation, a long walk in nature, or inspiring people or resources – do things that energize and motivate you to articulate the changes you sense you need.

4. Fire the Continuity Supervisor:  The movies require someone to ensure that the actors are wearing the same clothes or the props are the same as shot before in an ongoing scene. Much like that, we tend to have an unconscious need to maintain familiarity and comfort.  It is now time to stop trying to be the same, look the same, act the same or keep yourself in the same settings.  Start noticing the urge to settle for the old reference points and consciously remind yourself, “Its okay for things to change.  Its okay for me to change.”  Seemingly innocuous habits can otherwise keep us tied down in history.  For example, if you have habitually had difficulty in refusing others, at the next impulse to refuse, say that no.  Take that small step towards saying ‘Yes’ to your self.

 
5.  Accept that those close to us are often blinded by familiarity.  Accept that initially your changes may be difficult for them to acknowledge or support. Our freedom can often imply inconvenience to others. Our reluctance to deal with these difficult conversations can keep us trapped in playing victims or pretenders.  Be kind, firm and direct whenever possible.  Share your feelings and thoughts with them so that the transition can be as mutually supportive as is possible.

6. Consciously clear any history that weighs you down.  Instead of  denying or ignoring them, begin to notice and acknowledge old fears, emotions, memories and beliefs that come in the way of your growth. Along with awareness, energy clearing tools such as Emotional Freedom Techniques, Access Consciousness, Emotion Code and Now Healing can all be extremely quick and effective tools to unlearn old behaviours and habits.

7.  Release yourself from any oaths, vows and promises you have made to your self. Formally stating your new choices is helpful in undoing many of the conscious and unconscious limitations we may have imposed on ourselves as a consequence of hurt or trauma.  An example: the singer who lost at a childhood competition and swore never to sing in public again because of the humiliation she felt then.

8.  Address any ‘anticipatory’ emotions that are blocking your from implementing change.  Not only the past, but fears of imaginary, projected and dreaded outcomes also block our movement.  These too can and should be cleared (using any tool of choice) to allow ourselves full presence and freedom.

9.  Take action steps – start small if required – but get into the habit of asking yourself. “Is this taking me closer to who I want to be or further?  Does this feel authentic to me or am I doing this for some other reasons?”  And execute a choice based on this conscious realization.  B.J. Fogg from the Stanford University explains how Tiny Habits can help one implement change here.

 

Listed below are some more relevant resources.  It is my hope that this article, along with the many other resources on my site and blog will support those keen on emerging free, vibrant and present to what is alive and true for them in this moment.

If you find this article useful in any way, please do share it with others as well.  It is time for us all to honor ourselves and support each other in a return to authenticity.
Thank you.

 

Related Resources

EFT Script for Overwhelm

EFT Script for The Road Less Travelled

EFT Script for Personal Freedom

The New Beginnings Meditation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poems: Unwrapping Gifts

Beautiful notebooks

Of handmade paper

Wrapped in transparent film

Exquisite, delicate glasses

In cardboard boxes

Nestled in cotton

Clay cups made

To be used but once

Then broken

-

Being saved.

Like guarded hearts

Never consumed

By their purpose

Waiting.

Always waiting…

Perhaps today is the day.

Really Short Stories: ‘The River Sings. Listen.’

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Verdant green forests, craggy white mountains, gurgling rivers and roaring seas.  Who would not be tempted to explore these?  He set out with empty hands and a heart filled with wonder at what lay before him. Every step a sacred communion.  Every breath in – one of joy.  Every breath out – a reverent sigh. Such that he began to feel he himself was sheer transparence, light.

Until one night he arrived at a village.  The fire in the square burnt brightly. Shadows danced and stretched behind the performers.  The loud voices and impassioned gestures had everyone riveted.  The traveller was no exception.  Drawn in by the power that the ‘villain’ appeared to exhibit, he could not help but forget his way.  He forgot all about the journey and was bewitched by this unfolding drama.  Instead of moving with the winds, he seemed to grow roots in that place.  Returning every night, again and again.  Finally, his unspoken desire was given opportunity.  The actor had failed to show up.  He had been a silent understudy long enough and could step into his place.  For several nights he played villain.  Reveling in the reactions he provoked.  The gasps of fear.  The whimpers of subjugation.

Till the beauty caught his eye.  No matter what he did, she would not even  look his way.  She was bewitched by the brave ‘hero’ on stage.  Slowly he began to regret his choice. He began to wonder what she saw in that beleaguered lead.  Now bravery and honor began to look appealing.  Perhaps that was not a bad part to try out for after all.  The first chance he got, he changed roles.  Now he could play a human God.  This was even greater fun and the enchantment complete.

Within a few days he was off the stage.  He became the helpful hand.  The voice against injustice.  He owned the role so well, that soon they all forgot who he really was.  It did not stop there.  These exciting, wonderful tales – of color and vivacity – they had him completed addicted.  The laughter, the tears, the coming together of hearts and the falling away of friends.  The alternating gains and losses of the adventures he underwent.  The makeup had been on so long, it became his skin.  The costume no longer his temporary attire, but a defining part of him.

In the meantime, the weather changed.  The forests were cleared, the rivers were running dry.  The sun was scorching.  The winds were high. They were all calling out to him in their own way.  But he could not hear them.

He was lost in his play.  When he grew tired of being the leader, he played the sage.  In true identification with his role, he set off back on a mountain trail.  After days of penance, fasting and prayer, an unease arose.  He did not admit this to his followers.  He led the meditations every week.  In between, he continued to be verbose.

But one full moon night, he looked up and felt the cool breeze.  Through the cloth, the covering skin.  It touched his heart again. He could smell the forest despite the incense.  He could hear the leaves.  The sounds of the village drama, the actors, the audience – none of it deafened him anymore.

It was the waters that finally reached him. The resilient babbling of a dwindling river sang him awake.  He walked back to the neglected track.  He returned the way he came.

Quiet.  Attentive. Grateful.

And slowly but surely, with his return, the landscape blossomed once again.

Image Credit : Flikr Trey Ratcliffe (under Creative Commons)