Day 20: 50 days of gratitude

Day #20:

This morning I read a small story about a classroom discussion on the 7 wonders of the world. While the whole class and the teacher were agreed on a common list of what are the 7 wonders of the world, there was one child who stayed aloof and did not share her list. The teacher, after noticing this, cajoled the child to come out with her list which she did very shyly and after a pot of persuasion.

While the others had listed man-made structures and monuments such as the Pyramids, Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, etc., her list read as below:

  1. To see
  2. To hear
  3. To taste
  4. To smell
  5. To speak
  6. To feel
  7. To love

The class was stunned and silent. We take for granted some of the greatest wonders of the world. We search outside ourselves for wonders that may not impact as much as what we already possess within our grasp.

Today, I would like pay gratitude to these 7 wonders in our life.

To see is the most wondrous sense that we possess. Our life without sight would be colourless, formless and shapeless. Did you know that we first consume our food through our eyes? It is only after that we use texture, taste, and digestion to do the rest.

To hear is marvellous. There will not be any music without that. We will not hear the sweet voice of our loved ones or hear words that enthral us, move us and energise us in our life.

To taste is to live life fully. Can we describe the taste of jilebis or other sweets and get the same taste? Life without taste will not be worth it for more than 70% of our population.

We smell water, food, people, environment, smoke, and more. Our ability to smell keeps us safe from dangers, lead us to people and things we like and gives us a fuller impression of the world around us. Remove smell and we would lead a severely handicapped life.

To speak is to be heard, understood, loved and ok, sometimes hated too. But the ability to speak gives us an advantage in the world that would be sorely felt in its absence.

To feel is to live life. Without feelings, we may as well be dead. Our emotions and feelings give juice to our life. Feel it. Live it. Love it.

To love…… oh…. what a feeling! Have you ever loved someone truly at least once in your life? It is such an all-consuming emotion that everyone should have fully felt it at least once in their life, for life to have any true meaning. Lucky are those who live in love, who love their family, their friends, their work, their life, their pets, their environment, their society and their country. These are the people, who build our world and make it worthwhile to live in it.

These 7 wonders of our world are what make our life, a life worth living. Thank you, Lord for these fantastic gifts.

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Day 19: 50 days of gratitude

Day #19:

Do you have a friend who drops everything and makes time for you, however, busy his schedule? Then you are very lucky and blessed. It is getting rarer and rarer and you need to hold on to him or her and reciprocate the kindness, so you do not lose him or her in this tumultuous busy world.

Yesterday, I realised how precious such relationships are. I have moved my office a few days back and yesterday was my first day there. I was surrounded by tables, chairs, files and ton loads of paper and office equipment. But work had to go on as usual and among the calls, I had to make, was one to a Chartered Accountant in my BNI chapter regarding some chapter related matter. He is a leading VAT (and GST) practitioner, author and lawyer who handles tricky cases both large and small. He was inundated with work and deadlines for VAT audit and filing and was lamenting the fact that he needed a hundred more employees for the next one month to complete the mountain of tasks.

When he heard that I’d moved into this new office just a stone’s throw away from his office, he asked me if I was there and asked me to wait. Within a few minutes he turned up at my doorstep with an employee of his and after finding out how many of us were in office at that time, got him to buy snacks and sweets for us. He ensured that we all ate our snacks and sweets, welcomed us to this neighbourhood and invited me over when convenient. He was with us for just 15 minutes, but it was a whirlwind of love, friendship, concern and warmth that enveloped us for the whole day and made our day a lot easier despite the temporary dislocation and discomfort of our workspace.

He is an extremely busy man and people wait in the queue to meet him at his office. Still, he chooses to make these gestures that sweep you off your feet. I know him for just over three years but he is already a family member and good friend. And it’s not only to me. I see him always smiling at meetings and making life easier for everyone around him. From helping at the buffet counter to ensuring that each member meets visitors and gets connected to people and converts it into business. He is here, there and everywhere, smiling and making people comfortable and touching them with his warmth. He is the same to old or young, fair or dark, rich or poor. No discrimination at all. You will never know when he is in pain due to ill health. When he is in public he is always larger than life and smiling.

They don’t make people like him anymore. God must have thrown away the mold after making them. So whoever you know who is like this, preserve and celebrate their friendship. It’s very rare and precious.

Oops! I’ve not shared his name yet. He is VV Sampathkumar, Chartered Accountant, Celebrated VAT consultant, father, husband, uncle, mentor, Pithamagan, friend and a caring, loving human being. Thank you for being you.

Day 18: 50 days of Gratitude

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Day #18

It was a cold morning today. The air was nippy. Other walkers had mufflers on their ears and I realised that even Chennai could feel like a hill station. The weather is very good in end November this year and it is time for us to dust out our sweaters or jackets and air them out for wearing.

Back at home as I sipped on my tea and looked out at the horizon, I could see that the mist still had a grip on the land and that the sun was struggling to break through it. And finally when it did, I could instantly feel the warmth creep back into my blood and a warm glow of happiness build up inside me. The floors and the walls of my drawing room sucked up the sun’s rays and looked happy to be basking in the warm light.

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I wonder how some places in this world are able to survive without the sun for almost six months in a year. How are human beings able to live and flourish there? Since I’m a Chennai boy, the thought of not having the sun for six weeks let alone six months, gives me the shudders.

Life depends on our sun. Without it, we will be doomed. It allows our food to grow. It cleans up mildew, bacteria, and pathogens that could breed and suffocate our environment if the sun wasn’t there to fight them away. My skin glows thanks to the early morning sun. I’m alive and well thanks to the sun.

Many civilisations worshipped the sun. I’m not surprised. Take it away and see what happens to mankind. We need not worship the sun. But we can now and then say a thank you to that lonely soul out there who lights up our world and warms up the cockles of our heart.

Thank you, dear Sun. You give me life, hope, love, laughter and more.

Day #17 – 50 days of gratitude

Day #17:

Happy Thanksgiving Day

You would have seen this status a lot on FB last week on several of your friends’ pages. American Thanksgiving day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November and this is catching on with the rest of the world. Originally it was celebrated to thank God for the Harvest. For thousands of years, the Harvest season was the most important season in the year for mankind. Each country and region had their own way of celebrating it.  In India, each state celebrates Thanksgiving on different days. Pongal in Tamilnadu, Lohri in Punjab, etc.

How should we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the new millennia, where we have moved from agriculture to mechanisation to computerisation and now moving to automation? Should our old traditions still hold fort in this new age?

I believe we need to celebrate every blessing that we have in our life, not just for one day or three days, but for a whole month in December. Every day in December, just post one blessing that you are grateful for in FB or a blog or an email to your loved ones. Through that you would be building the happy hormones that will keep you healthy, wealthy and happy. Your eyes will pour out love and kindness. Your face will glow with gratitude. You will be singing in harmony with the Universe. Your health will be great. Your mood will be sky high. Your relationships will be on song. What better way to sign off 2016.

We can create heaven on earth. Love one another. Appreciate one another. Look for things that you can be grateful for every moment of your day this December. Try it for an hour, and then extend it to a full day, then a week and finally a month. It will become your habit and your life

Can we all celebrate our life together this December? Spread the gratitude. Spread your love. Post one message of gratitude every day to your social network through any means you prefer.

Live in gratitude. Live in Love. Be happy.thanksgiving

Day 16: 50 days of gratitude

Day #16

Today I would like to thank a special friend. He is a quiet unassuming man, shy, reticent, does not show off or come on strong. If you pass him on the street, you will not notice him. People who have not interacted with him may not realise his potential and his ability to move mountains. But he has this deep well of concern for his fellow human being, a wide circle of friends and well-wishers who will do anything for him, a very high human quotient that oozes kindness and love, and a massive mountain of trust and goodwill that he has built over the decades. His network is to die for and he has assiduously cultivated this over the years without any conscious thought of its worth or future potential.

Why am I mentioning him today? He did something special yesterday for me and I want to acknowledge and thank him for it. He has done far more for me than this earlier. But at that time I was not writing this blog so I shall not bring up all those help that he has extended me in the past. He recently learned that I have started this service of helping professionals, business owners, celebrities and corporates in bringing out newsletters, magazines, books and coffee table books where I’m using my 3 decades of experience in printing, publishing, content creation and graphic design.

Since he knows that I want connections to such people, he connected me to someone yesterday, who is my dream referral. He is another human human, who I have admired from afar for a long time. He is a person who made a deep impression on me when I was just starting my career 3 decades back. A simple, loving, connected human being who is a coach, trainer, speaker, actor, playwright, social activist and reformer among many other tags for this multi-faceted person. It is none other than Mr ******. I’m not going to share the name just yet without his say so. So this person has been churning out millions of words over the last few decades and has impacted hundreds of thousands of people or perhaps millions of them through his workshops, speaking engagements, screen presence and more. But he has not got around to writing or publishing his books.

And I was introduced to him by Venky my friend. I’m so grateful to him. I’ve got an opportunity to work with another fabulous human being to help his words reach out to millions.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me these beautiful people in my life.

Love life. Love the Creator.

Day 15 – 50 days of gratitude

Day 15:

Yesterday, I attended a wedding of a friend’s daughter. I met several old friends, classmates, and acquaintances who I’ve not seen for many years. There was a lot of laughter, bonhomie, reminiscing the past, meeting their spouse and kids and making new friends and acquaintances.

When I was a kid, my parents used to have get-togethers at each other’s homes almost every week. We used to go to so many functions and social gatherings that we kept meeting old friends and family and making new friends. Life was full of people, laughter, fun times and creating beautiful memories. Today, life is full of gadgets, task lists, responsibilities, meetings, and deadlines. Connecting with people in person is seldom and far apart.

We’ve removed the juice from our life and mindlessly moving from one schedule to another and one deadline to another. Life has turned mechanical and automated. Living in the moment is gone. We’re living in the past or the future most of the times. Like I’m doing now….

I’m grateful that we have these weddings and functions and there are still people who take the time out of their busy daily schedules to attend and connect with others. This art of living is dying, with this deluge of instant messaging and seamless connectivity that wedding wishes are sent electronically and not in person.

Take a few moments every hour to connect with yourself. Every day, call one old friend. Every week have a get-together with different circles of old friends. Rediscover the art of spending time with loved ones.

This will feed your soul and make you happy. Power up your life with happy moments of togetherness.

Day 14: 50 days of gratitude

Day 14:

I’m grateful that I’ve completed a baker’s dozen days without a break. Now I’m training myself to look for things to be grateful for during the day. It helps me focus on the things that are going right in my life, rather than the usual pattern of looking at things that are going wrong.

So how does that affect me personally? It keeps me positive. It keeps me confident. It keeps me happy. It keeps me upbeat and optimistic. I’m looking forward to seeing the next good thing happening in my life. Isn’t that a great state of mind to be in? By just looking for things to be grateful for, suddenly it feels like only good things are happening to me. What a shift from two weeks ago when I would critique every slight or misdemeanor happening in my life.

Our life is in our control. Life is not what is happening to me. Life is what meaning I give to the events that happen in my life. Isn’t that a cool thing? By just changing the meaning, or as my mentor Antony Robbins would say, by just changing the label I put on a life event, I can change the way I see it and feel it.

Then why do so many of us feel helpless and despondent about what is going on in our life? We may have lost a loved one. We may have lost some material things. We may have lost prestige or status. We may have lost our peace of mind. Whatever our loss, it is the way we interpret this event that makes us happy or sad, confident or doubtful, strong or weak, fulfilled or unfulfilled.

Try it for today. If you face a situation which makes you feel weak, despairing, sad or confused, change the meaning of the event and choose the meaning that can make you feel strong, upbeat, happy and confident. Go try it. Look for the right things happening in your life. Maintain a journal of them daily. Then you will find that you are looking at things so very differently than before. You are giving a meaning to your life that makes your strong, successful and happy. Go for it.

Ok. I hear some of you say, what if I don’t have money, I have many bills to pay and how can I feel strong and confident about it? What meaning can I give it that will make the bills go away? You are not alone. Many people are in that situation or have been in that situation at some time or other in their life. What can you do to feel more positive about your life at this stage? What can you do to actually pay the bills?

Most people just worry, worry, worry. They worry at the problem every waking moment and go in circles trying to find solutions. Do they succeed? Some do, sometimes. Most people just continue to wallow in the problem. And they get from bad to worse till at some time by some stroke of luck or genius they are able to pull themselves out of it. So did worry solve the problem, or was there something else?

Let’s take an alternate way of dealing with the same problem. Firstly, accept that there is a temporary cash flow problem with you and that payment of bills is getting delayed. Now instead of staying there, let’s also look at what are the things that are right in your money situation. How much are your assets worth? Write it down and feel grateful for it. How much money is due to you from other people? Write it down. How much money do you have at home, or in the bank, or loaned to others, etc? Write it down, whether small or big and feel grateful for it. Deep down grateful. And read it as many times as possible in the day and feel the gratitude course through your veins. You will notice that soon money starts manifesting in your life more often and in larger quantity. Your head clears itself of all the worry and confusion and clarity steps in. You find ways and means to kick yourself out of despair and despondency and find workable solutions to the temporary money problem that you are in.

You can try it for any problem that you face. Write all the good things that are already there and that you are ignoring now because you are consumed with worry, despair and troubles. Celebrate the good things and feel grateful for it. More of it will show up in your life.

Live. Love. Laugh. Be happy.

I’m grateful that I’m able to feel gratitude in tough times and good. This one thing protects and rewards me

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Share your experiences here and let me know how it has worked. Implement now!

Day 13: My Dad

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Day 13:

I’m grateful for my dad. He raised me the way he knew best. With discipline; with values such as honesty, integrity, love, compassion and concern. He loved life. He loved his wife and family. He loved his friends, he had a large circle of them. He loved good food, a good drink, movies, cars, travel, adventure, cards, carrom, chess, holidays, good relationships, church and more.

He lived life to the fullest. Worked hard. Played hard. Lived well and died well. Today is his death anniversary. He passed on 7 years ago.

When I was a little boy, I was in awe of him. He could swim in the sea carrying one of the kids on his back, far out into the sea beyond the waves. When I saw him carrying one of my siblings out, I used to worry that something bad would happen and they would not return. However, when I was carried out like that and I could enjoy the calm waters beyond the waves, I could see the land far away, and it was so magical.

He could also jump from one building to another. At that time it felt that the buildings were 10 or 20 feet apart. Now that I’m older, I think it must have been just 6 or 8 feet apart. But I cannot be sure now because it’s over 35 years ago and the buildings are not there anymore to verify.

He spent every Sunday afternoon under his car. Those days the Ambassador, Premier Padmini and Morris Minor needed regular care. And he would do it himself or with the driver or mechanic depending on how serious the issue was.

We’ve raised chicken in our home in a room on the terrace. We used to stay in a farm every summer chasing goats and calves, bathing out of or in a concrete tank, attending daily mass in the convent that we stayed in. Summer meant car drives, us getting dropped in this convent / farm and my parents taking off for longer drives, etc.

Life was slow. Life was deeper and more meaningful. Life was healthy. Life was fun. There was more people in our life, real people. Not FB friends and WhatsApp friends we never met. More nature, less plastic.

I miss my dad. He was the best homoeopath doctor ever. He could cure anything and everything. He could take care of any situation. I could be a kid and leave the worries to him. Now I play that role for my children. But I’m not sure that I could be half the person that he was.

Thank you, Dad! Rest in peace!

Day 12 – 50 days of gratitude

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Day #12:

I love Tuesdays. I’m part of BNI Azpire which meets every Tuesday. We meet at 7:00 am and network between our members and our visitors till 8 am. Have the formal meeting till 9:30 am. And then continue our discussions over breakfast and disperse around 11:00 am. In this time, I would have discussed with at least three people of orders that could be incoming, another three people on the status of various ongoing jobs and sometimes new business opportunities with some members. I would have learnt of at least five new businesses and learnt more about other verticals and categories.

The room is filled with conversations, laughter, large-hearted people, happiness, enthusiasm and buzzing with positive energy that this becomes a place where I recharge for the week. My life as a business owner before BNI and after BNI are radically different.

It could be compared to life before electricity and life after the discovery of electricity. Before BNI, I toiled alone in my business and life was very lonely at work. There was no one to discuss business issues with. There was no exposure to other businesses. I was not growing my network or making new friends. There was no support system that was thinking of helping me grow my business.

Today, after 3 years in BNI I wonder how I did it before. Life is full today. I have made at least 150 good friends through BNI. Not just friends, they are business associates, extended sales network, business owners who champion my cause with their network, and good people who want me to do well. These type of friends we normally make in school and college. But here in BNI, we develop strong interpersonal relationships that are a huge support system at work and in my personal life.

At home, any repair work used to be a chore, and we have to search for the right people to do the job. Now I just have to make a call to my BNI member who is in that category and hey presto the job gets done.

We not only have these weekly business meetings, we also have regular socials with or without our families, have joint meetings with clients and other business owners, get trained on so many aspects of running a business successfully, visit other cities and countries to network with other chapters and explore new business connections and opportunities. We keep expanding continuously in BNI. No stagnation, there is only dynamic movement and growth. What more can a business owner ask?

Thank you BNI for coming into my life. Thank you, dear members, who have welcomed me and made me a part of your inner circle and family.

Day #11: 50 days of gratitude

Day 11:

Welcome back. Today, I had a peek into how we handle relationships, take decisions and lead our life. I bumped into an old friend of mine when I was out for a walk this morning. I had lost touch with him for some time and I’d been meaning to meet him or speak to him.  A few weeks back I was told something about him that I found very difficult to believe. But since everyone was saying this about him, I gave them the benefit of doubt and parked my arguments till I had spoken to him and got his version. It hurt me that he had not spoken to me about these things and that I had to learn it from a third person. However, I did not call him to find whether any of this was true and went about my life, with this doubt still unclear. Luckily I had not made up my mind that it is true. I just parked it to be handled later.

So today when I met him by chance on my morning walk, I could ask his side of the story. Luckily I found that he was still true and the other people were spreading false information. This was such a load off my mind to find that there was no betrayal or fall in standards and that there was just a lot of misinformation being spread willingly or unwittingly.

Many of you may have had similar experiences. Some of you may have immediately called and verified the facts. A few may believe the stories. Some others may just go about it carrying this doubt but not getting it cleared one way or other. But whatever we have heard leaves a mark to rear up at some later date. Rumour mongers may do this wilfully or sometimes without really knowing the consequences. But a rumor or a fact twisted to suit one’s needs can leave untold misery on the subject and the recipients. We need to be sure about it before we pass on anything we just hear or read.

I’m blessed that I tend to speak to all the parties concerned before coming to conclusions, especially when it is negative information about people I know. It is always better to hear it from the horse’s mouth than to rely on some hand me down facts. Any information can be twisted, turned, corrupted and out of shape when it changes from mouth to mouth. Do your own research. Let the information resonate with your inner being before you believe and act upon it.

I’m grateful that I have this inner sense of balance to know when to believe and when not to believe something. If there is a rare occurrence when this inner resonance has been proved wrong, I discover that the Creator was playing a role for me to have those subsequent experiences that were a consequence of the decisions I took.

Get in touch with your inner voice. Let it guide you through the plethora of information being thrown at you daily. Choose the right ones. Take the right decisions. Or better still whatever decision you took, make it right and align it with your value system.2636