Day #41

Day #41:

Good morning. Welcome back! Today I want to give thanks to FAITH. It is just a five-letter word, but when used well gives you enormous power.

Time and again Faith has saved me. When I lose touch with faith I am invariably pulled back by some event or calamity that joins me back to her.

There are many instances I can tell you about, where it was only faith that saved my life or got me out of trouble. I’m sure you too have many instances in your life where when you got in touch with Faith, she got you out of whatever was ailing you at that time.

When I was on a trek a few years back and it was late, we had not reached our camp, it was pitch dark, the air was thin and I was gasping to breathe, I felt that I may not make it back to my home. I believed that I was out of shape, I was not fit enough to do this trek and that I had jumped in without adequate preparation. I was spiralling downwards mentally and was getting more and more panicked with each step. There was no question of stopping en route for the night and I had to be with the group to reach to safety.

Finally, I had to dig deep and get in touch with my Maker and get His help to see me through. My faith was extremely strong from early childhood and I was able to reconnect and find the strength. It pulled me through that walk and I was able to reach the campsite along with my group.

This is just one of many instances when I found strength in my faith and that helped me overcome problems, obstacles, and calamities.

Yesterday I was once again brought face to face with the fact that I was losing touch with my faith and had to reconnect. I had to undergo excruciating pain for around 3 hours with a medical issue that I had ignored for many years.  I did not want to be admitted in hospital for a cure nor visit a doctor since I’m unable to trust any of them anymore. I request my doctor friends to excuse me. There has just been too much of commercialisation and treatment for the sake of revenues that I’m sick of the formal medical system prevalent today. Though I knew I will get relief if admitted, I still did not want to get trapped into that system.

My father was a homeopath and after his passing, my mother is the informal doctor for me and my family. I called her for medicine and though given it, I did not get immediate relief. A change of medicine was given but the excruciating pain brought me to my knees and I had to surrender completely to my Maker before I saw any relief. Rationalists would say that it was the medicine I took, the passage of time, the body’s ability to self-heal, etc. Believers would say that it was the prayers I said at the deepest pains that brought about the relief and cure. Whatever anyone else would say what I felt and what I believe in is what matters to me isn’t it? It must be the same with you too, right?

I believe that it was my faith in my Creator that brought about the relief, either through the medicine, prayers, passage of time, the body’s healing ability or whatever else that one can point out as the cause of the relief. Through whatever means He works, when I connect with Him and ask for His help, he is there to see me through whatever ails me.

Thank you, dear Faith. Thank you, dear Creator.

You are the Rock in my life.

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Day #40:

Day #40:

Today I would like to give thanks to my craft, the ability to weave words and images together to create logos, brochures, newsletters and more. I have taken this for granted for so long and have pursued other career options and business opportunities too often that I’ve not grown this the way it could be.

Have you noticed how we take for granted the talents that we have? If you are good at something, you seldom give thanks to it nor do you give time and effort to grow that talent to the heights it could go. Instead, you spend time and effort on things that you are not good at but you want to somehow make yourself good at it. In the meanwhile, your real talents are languishing and shrivelling away and never attaining its full potential.

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Very few people actually grow their natural talents to the heights that it is capable of growing. Those who do, are lauded as geniuses and they are known far and wide for their talent. While the vast majority of us, ignore our true talents, or seldom use it, and allow it to be dormant or shrivel and die. Look within you to find out which talents you are allowing to decay and which ones you are under-utilising. Dust them up. Put them in center stage. Celebrate them. Let them shine. They will pay you handsomely in return.

“A bird in hand is better than two in a bush” has a whole different meaning now. We invest time and efforts on tasks that we are not cut out for. We ignore the tasks that we can do very well and easily. Why not do these first and do more of them? Allow others who are good at the other tasks to do them for you. Everyone will be happy and each of us will do what we are really good at.

Live life mindfully. Be aware of where you are spending your time every moment of every day.

Give thanks to the talents that you possess. Spend more time in using your talents and growing them more and more.

Your life will be a performance par excellence.

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Day #39

Day #39:

A new week starts today, Monday the 19th December and the last fortnight of this year 2016. There is a lot going on in my head, especially the events of the last few weeks that have left visible marks all around us. The landscape is shorn of its green cover and we only see dead trees, cut branches, stark leafless trees still standing and many uprooted trunks. Varada’s presence is all around us. There are posters of a new Chinamma in town the recently passed away Amma in the background. There is support being drummed up for her installation as the new leader in TN. Most ATMs still have downed shutters and the few that are open have serpentine queues of people waiting hopefully to draw a few much-needed currency notes. Banks, of course, have crowds milling with riot police controlling their access to their own money. We have had a very eventful month and that effect is still largely hanging over our heads and dragging down our spirits.

Why am I giving so much negative news in a gratitude post? I don’t know. I’m just overwhelmed by all that has happened in the recent past and no amount of celebration or feel good thoughts are washing them out of my head this morning. I’m human after all.

Being human, I can take the bad with the good, the pessimism with the optimism and the sadness with the happiness. Life is a combination of all of these. I’m happiest when I’ve come out of the toughest times, right side up. I feel very good when I have overcome very bad moods and the smile is coming back to my face. Each of these feelings or states are just other sides of the same coin. And this coin is flipping and spinning all the time.

I’m not going to be down all the time. And I’m not going to be upbeat and happy all the time. Then life will be very boring. Any state of constancy becomes boring and annoying. Change is exciting, necessary and a constant in our life. This change from state to state is what keeps us getting up every morning looking forward to what life has in store for us today. This is what helps every individual who has been knocked down by life circumstances to enter a new relationship, new job, new situation or new day looking forward to a different ending.

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I’m grateful for this constant change swirling through my life, knocking off the old and bringing in the new and bringing excitement into my life.

Thank you.

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Day #38

Day #38:

What was I grateful for yesterday? That is a difficult question to answer today. There are so many things and so many people I need to thank yesterday. This post will become too long for you to go through. So I’m going to just pick a few top of the mind events that happened in my life yesterday.

As you know, yesterday was my birthday and I was planning a quiet day with family. At my age, that is considered more appropriate. (If you can believe that) The plan was to visit a temple, church, lunch, visit mom-in-law, mom and siblings in the evening and a quiet dinner at home. However, that was not how it panned out.

The first gift I received in the morning was my tower lift became operational after a 5-day breakdown due to Cyclone Varada. So now I could go down and come up any number of times without having to plan each trip in advance. Next good thing was I could take my car out after getting the puncture repaired and was mobile again. We went out for lunch with my wife insisting on The Brew Room, in Savera while I wanted to go to the Grill Box. This was after initially telling me that it was my choice. So as you might have guessed, there was something cooking which I was not supposed to know about. When we reached the Brew Room, there was a whole load of my friends awaiting us there and it was no more a quiet lunch.

In spite of bad communication networks over the last one week, my friends from BNI had put together a  get-together to celebrate the “big” day. Kandavel, Iswariah, Venkatesh, VVS and Vinod had planned this and got my wife to play along. So here I was with my wife and kids and find many of my friends from BNI who have rescheduled their day to fit in this lunch get-together.

I thank each one of them for making this day special. Kandy, Venky, Ish, Vinod, Mini, Anusha, Jeba, SPSM, Ammu, Geetha, VVS, Lakshmikumar, and the event manager Nams. You guys made my day.

Most times we take our friends for granted. But at times of troubles when they show up and help and at times of celebrations when they show up and drum up the energy, it feels fantastic to know that we are not alone in this journey and our love is shared and reciprocated. For some people, it may be a small effort to rearrange their day and accommodate an engagement of a few hours to celebrate a life event and for some others a big sacrifice, but for the recipient, it’s a huge symbol of where they stand with their friends and well-wishers. We feel great when we are appreciated and taken care of. Thank you so much for making the time and taking the trouble to do this.

A huge thank you for Kandy and the organising team and for my wife for keeping the secret and making this a big surprise.

I’ve not forgotten all those of you who called, texted, emailed, WhatsApped, FB messaged, Linkedin messaged, Telegram messaged…… me yesterday. Some of you sent through all these channels. It was a flood of messages through all these communication channels. What used to be very personal is today very public. What used to be a quiet (or rowdy) get-together among friends and family with a few birthday cards thrown in is suddenly an explosion of wishes across geography and communication channels.

This is a deluge of a different kind that makes one happy. Thank you for making it wonderful.030d4ebf8786701485be70a3edcf41fc

Day #37:

Day #37:

Today is my birthday. Waking up early and spending time with myself for the first hour, I went down memory lane as far as I could go to search for those I can give thanks, today. Predictably the farthest I could go was my parents. I’m grateful that they created me and gave me this life. They have made me what I am today. My beliefs, habits, attitudes, emotions and abilities were largely influenced by them.

My dad was a stickler for principles and values. No lies. No cheating. No bribes. No shortcuts. Work hard. Help others. Be useful…. The list goes on. All of them are deeply embedded in me and if I need to change any of the installed beliefs in me, it takes enormous effort and time to do so. I know. I’m working on one such belief system. “The poor are virtuous, the rich are sinners”. This comes from the Church’s teachings as well as his. I know now that it is not true, but I’m fighting with every cell of my body to replace that belief system. So, as you can see, he was a huge influence in my life and I owe my value systems and my life to him.

My mom is a model mom. She took care of us when we were sick, fed us when we were hungry, clothed us, taught us life lessons and ensured that we all turned out to be good human beings. Our family consisted of parents and 6 kids, assorted pets and a bunch of relatives and family friends who became temporary house guests. So there was always over a dozen people to be fed and the aroma of food lingered forever all over our home tempting more visitors to walk in and partake of the feast. Her kitchen was the favourite for many of my friends. I owe my health and my life to her.

Yes we owe our existence to our parents, and yes, we must give thanks to them for our life. But is that the furthest that we can go?

Who is responsible for our existence here? The Creator? My sense tells me that I am responsible for my life here. I chose my parents. I chose my circumstances. I chose the colour of my skin. I chose my financial background. I chose this life to learn the lessons I need to learn so I can become a better person and contribute to those around me so together we evolve to our higher selves. My parents agreed to bear me and bring me in and give me these life lessons so I can grow and expand and fulfill my destiny.

Each of us has chosen to do the same. We are here to learn, to change, to grow, to share, to love, to give, to receive and to get several steps closer to our higher consciousness.

Our birthday is a good day to dive deep and discover our purpose in life and give thanks to all those who are helping us to get closer to our goals.

Thank you for being part of my journey and sharing your time and mind space.

I love you!030d4ebf8786701485be70a3edcf41fc

Ps:

I felt like sharing my purpose statement:

My life purpose is to find my true purpose (at every moment) and to live it fully and to help others find their true purpose and help them to live it fully, thereby aligning ourselves to our highest good.

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Day #36

Day #36:

It’s four days since we were hit by Cyclone Varada which has severely affected our infrastructure and amenities across Chennai. In my high rise, the lifts are yet to be restored since we have 2 basements and 20 floors, the basement pits are still being dewatered and till it is dried up the lifts cannot be operated. So I have been climbing up and down several times a day. Living on the 20th floor, each trip has to be planned so multiple trips can be avoided.

I’m grateful that I’m able to walk up and down 20 floors 3 to 4 times a day. I’m grateful that I’m fit enough to do it – physically and mentally. Why mentally fit you may ask. I’ve noticed that even people living on the 3rd floor and the 5th floor dread this climb up as much as some of us who live on the higher floors do. Whatever the floor you are living in, the journey seems long and difficult. For the person living on the 10th floor, the 5th floor is just a brief breather point on their journey. For the person living on the 15th floor, the 5th floor and the 10th floor are just brief breather points. Since you know you have to travel further, the stages in between are just wayside stops that you effortlessly go past.

Our mind expands to fit all these wayside stops and prepares for the longer journey and it is not at all difficult to go past them. So it is in life. Depending on what goals we set for ourselves, it will seem difficult or tough. The larger goals make the smaller ones feel like a cake walk and you effortlessly coast past them. So why should we limit ourselves all the time and set small goals and sweat our way up to them? Why can’t we set up much larger goals so that our smaller and intermediate goals get effortlessly accomplished while we have our eyes set on the larger purpose of our journey?

Life is like this climb up the stairway. Depending on our mindset and our larger purpose of life, we can accomplish goals effortlessly or we can sweat it up for every wayside stop on the way.

Keep your chin up. Look up at where you want to go in life. And coast past all these small wayside obstacles and irritants and your journey will be lighter and happier.

Have a fantastic day.

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Day #35

Day #35:

Have you noticed that there are many trees fallen in Chennai after the cyclonic storm this week? There are thin trees and fat trees; tall trees and short trees; old trees and young trees. They have all been felled without any discrimination. When I go for a walk and I see these trees on their side, these trees that once stood tall and strong, I wonder why nature has to destroy itself like this. Is there some logic or valid reason for this indiscriminate destruction?

Today, it struck me that most of the trees that have fallen are the ones with very shallow roots. I thought that perhaps this was nature’s way of selection of the fittest. Pull out those that do not have a strong enough foundation and leave the remaining to get stronger and stronger. But then I also noticed that there were some really strong and old trees with deep roots which were also knocked down. And I thought, so much for my theory, it was disproved before even fully forming.

But on closer inspection, I noticed that for the strong trees with deep roots that have fallen, the connection between the trunk and the roots were diminishing and reducing so the weakness was already setting in and these trees had to go. So my theory was back and I was happy that I discovered the reason behind this mass destruction.

On further pondering, I also realised, that we human beings are also like these trees. The ones who survive great challenges and flourish are the ones with deep rooted values and beliefs that contribute to their growth. Those who are shallow do not possess the foundation of values and qualities that protect them from storms and are thus affected adversely the minute they face difficulties.

We all have the trunk and the branches. They are our physical structure, our mental structure, and our ego. If you notice some people are like these big trees. They show off their size and their stature and their intellect and intimidate others with it. They look solid and undefeatable. But when a large enough storm hits them, they crumble and fall. I believe that it doesn’t matter what size one’s ego or public avatar is, if they have built a foundation that is four times the size that they display, they should be good to stay strong. If their depth and foundation are less than that, they are liable to be knocked off at the first strong storm.

There are others who do not hoo and haw and show off their might, but when a massive storm hits them, they bounce back and thrive and help others and they grow and expand in stature without any conscious effort to show off. These are the mighty survivors that ensure the longevity and growth of the human race. Who do you know in life like that? Which type of person do you want to be?

In conclusion, I hypothesise that our ego and our public image should be less than 1/5th of what we possess within us. Only then can we be grounded enough to manage, survive and thrive in hostile environments and adverse conditions.

Our foundation must be deep and strong if we want to grow and expand. We need to dig deep and connect with our creator and our inner purpose. We need to build a value and belief system that can anchor us deeply with the universe and give us the strength and courage to face any adversities that life can throw at us.

I’m truly grateful to my Creator, my parents, my family, my teachers, my friends and all those who have walked this journey with me for having built into me these values and qualities that keep me anchored and grounded so that I can fly higher and further.

Day #34

Day #34:

Yesterday was a day without power, mobile, telephone, internet, lifts and my commute to office. We are still marooned in our housing complex thanks to Cyclone Varada and the copious downpours that rained on our parade. The rest of Chennai is limping back to normal and we at the suburbs will get help eventually or the sun will do its job and bring down the water levels and we will all get back to our normal routine.

This break from the routine is being forced on us for the 2nd time in 2 years, last December and again now this December. My wife remarked at least this way you are paying attention to the family and staying with us and spending time with us.  I didn’t realise that I have been so busy that I have ignored my family for a long time.

Every time God sends us some disaster or circumstance that is uncomfortable, there may a reason that we are unable to perceive. This may be one such.

Many people have suffered a lot more than what I have. Hope they find their silver lining.

I’m grateful that I got this day of rest. I’m grateful that I was able to walk 20 floors up and down three times yesterday without getting exhausted or overwhelmed.

Day #33: The Varada effect

Day #33:

Today I’m grateful that I’m able to post this message.

Why?

For several reasons:

  1. I’m alive and well enough to post this after Cyclone ravaged Chennai yesterday. Many must have lost their life. I don’t know what is the damage since I’m still marooned in our complex
  2. There is a back-up generator so I can charge my laptop and type this out. And it saved our sanity over the last 24 hours. Last year this time we did not have electricity for over a week
  3. There is internet and we can communicate with the outside world. Last year we did not have this luxury for several days.

Yesterday Chennai experienced the worst cyclone in almost a century. Wind speeds were as high as 140 kmph at its peak and ranged between 100 and 120 Kmph for over 3 hours. Rainfall was so high that there is 5 feet water in some areas and the roads have over  2.5 feet water still this morning.

Lamp posts have been torn down. Hoarding, sign boards, trees, metal rooftops and more have been torn open and thrown all over the place. Cars and roads have toppled trees and posts on them.

My balcony doors almost tore open and I had to keep it open for sometime till it subsided enough for me to close it and enjoy the silence and get dry. But we’re still alive and all our worldly possessions are still with us.

Outside my balcony I can see over 500 families of construction workers whose tin sheet homes have bee razed to the ground. All their belongings are stuck in the muck and clayey soil. Their world is shattered and will take a long time to get back to normal.

Tomorrow when the lifts are restored, electricity is back, the roads are cleared and my car can move out, I will get back to my life with the fear and worry of yesterday but a distant memory. But those who toil to restore our roads and amenities and risk their life to build our structures have to pick up the pieces and hope that this will not happen to them again.

Life is unfair. But can we at least be fair? The least we can do is give them thanks and bless them for their toil.  Some of my friends are rubbing shoulders with the police, NDRF and other volunteers in clearing the trees, giving succour to the displaced, affected people and being a Joan of Arc for thousands of suffering souls. Whatever we can do to empathise with their situation and whatever we can do to alleviate their suffering will go a long way in building our human quotient.

Varada the cyclone has done its best to wreck havoc on Chennai. Let us do our best to show that the human spirit can never be quenched.

So please do your best. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for feeling what I feel. Thank you for doing what you can to make this world a better place.

Day #32

Day #32:

Good morning! This is a long one. Give yourself a 10-min break and read it fully. Yes. Click on the link below and read it fully. It could change your life. It did, mine.

Yesterday I attended Mahatria’s program on “The Power of Beliefs”. I am attending an event by him after a gap of nearly 15 years. He still has the power to hold an audience spell-bound and he has reinvented himself time and again to stay current and relevant.

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I learned an awful lot and I would like to share some of them with you if you don’t mind. This is helpful to me as well as you since it helps me remember and internalise the things I want to adopt in my life.

It was a 2-hour talk that started on the dot at 4:00 pm and ended on the dot at 6:00 pm. Hats off to him and the organisers, Rotary Club of Madras East. Just being on time all the time speaks volumes of the people who are able to keep to time. I love that.

The program itself is in aid of Rotary East’s Vocational Centre in OMR which trains disadvantaged children to learn a vocation and build a career that has the potential to change their whole family. The Rotary president shared a beautiful success story of Kavita, a girl from a family with a monthly income of Rs 2,000/- Her father was a scavenger. After a  6-month course in computers in their vocational training institute, where she learned not only computers but also etiquette, English communication, etc, she was given a job in one of the Rotarian’s company. Today after 10 yrs and a few job changes, she is earning Rs 90,000/- per month and has educated her siblings and changed her family circumstances forever, from scarcity to abundance. Rotary is keen to create many more Kavitas and through this fundraiser they were able to raise over Rs 1 crore for a new building and campus in OMR.

Mahatria wove this story and the program objective right through his riveting 2-hour speech. I’m not going to reproduce it in verbatim since I neither have the ability to do so nor would you receive it the same way as when you watch his speech in person.

In a race, the winner starts the race with the certainty and belief that he is going to win it. The loser starts with a sinking feeling that he is going to lose it. Not all those who start the race feeling like the winner is going to win. But definitely, the person who starts the race with the feeling that he is going to lose, will lose. So what should be your attitude when starting something? Our beliefs determine who we are and what we become. If we have the right beliefs we can be healthy, wealthy, happy and successful.

He said that if we do one of the three following things in our life from today, then the 2 hours that we are spending together would have been worthwhile for him and us.

  1. I shall drop ONE THING that I know is bad for me but I still continue to do in my life.
  2. I shall do / learn / act on ONE THING that I know is good for me but I have not adopted and implemented in my life.
  3. From now on, I shall monitor every word coming out of my mouth to ensure that it sweetens or improves the atmosphere around me rather than pollute or stink it up.

We all know what is good for us and what is bad for us. The difference between the successful and happy people and the others are the former act on their beliefs while the latter know it but go about their life ignoring it.

So what habits do you have that you know is harming you but you are unable to give up? Pick the most harmful one and let it go right now. Not tomorrow. Not on New Year Day. Right now!  Just drop it and don’t look back.

What habit do you have that you want in your life but have not taken the trouble to inculcate? Do you want to learn a musical instrument? Do you want to sing? Do you want to exercise and get into shape? Pick the ONE NEW THING that will make you feel great about yourself. Commit to it from today, right now and adopt it. Learn. Practice! Make it a habit.

Did you know that all excreta that comes out of the human body stinks? I hadn’t thought of it till then, but yes, he has a point. Words are the only thing that is in our control. Let us bring out words that will sweeten, brighten, elevate and build the atmosphere and people around us rather than stink up or destroy people around us. It is in our control. So use them wisely. Avoid expletives, curse words, demeaning comments, barbs and stink bombs. Can we start that from right now? Thank you.

These three were the key transformational take-aways that he gave us. But I got a few more too and would like to share them with you? Is that okay?

Three more words that stuck with me are LEARN. EARN. RETURN. He said most people go through life thinking that these are phases of life. First 25 years they will Learn. Next 25 years they will Earn. And last 25 years they will Return. But do any of us know whether we will definitely reach the 3rd stage? We don’t. However, we can have all three stages happen every day, every moment. You learn. You earn and you can return all the same day. Think about it. Practice it. This is the dance of life.

The last and final lesson I learned was this. I have taken my talents and my craft for granted. I practice it and earn from it. What have I given it in return? Zilch!!! This is my God that feeds me. I have not treated Him with the respect due. I shall pay more attention to it and grow it and nourish it from now on.

Thank you for reading this fully. Go live life fully.

 

One moment. Just one more little thing for the road. If you are a good person, you owe it to yourself and your creator to be rich and wealthy. If you are spiritually connected and grounded and wealthy you can do enormous good for the world around you. If you let the bad people be poor and make all the good people wealthy, the world will become a beautiful place and heaven will rule on earth.

As you grow you create space for others below you to grow. Invest in yourself. Grow yourself. Your organisation, your family and your surrounding will grow and prosper.