Day #50

Day #50:

Wow! I’m completing this series today.

Today I give thanks to our Universe, the large cosmic soup in which we live. It has everything that we need, want or desire and also everything that we would desire, want or need in the future. It’s a perfect ecosystem where everything is in its place and time and nothing created is ever wasted. It all goes back to the cosmic soup which manufactures more and more wonders for us for eternity. It is able to take care of billions of people, trillions of living things and squillions of material things and organises everything to play its intended role as well as its malfunction at the intended time. It is mind boggling to look at and study the architecture that creates and regulates this ecosystem.

I give thanks to our earth which is only a speck of this creation but is still too big for me to explore in my lifetime or even in thousands and millions of lifetimes. This world gets proportionately larger as you explore it and shrinks as you ignore it. For the traveller, they discover more and more wonders when they open their eyes and drink in the multifaceted differences that are visible in the community and landscapes around them. If they travel, but stay in the same type of hotels they are used to or eat the same kind of food that they are accustomed to, then that world just shrinks smaller and smaller and the differences and nuances blur before their eyes making life dull, predictable and boring.

I give thanks to my country for its diversity and togetherness; its complexity and simplicity; its technology and its backwardness; its government and its people; its culture and its modernity; and its heart and its soul. Our contradictions are what makes India so vibrant, so resilient, so ancient and so modern. Bharat Mataji ke jai!

I give thanks to my family; parents, siblings, wife, kids, extended families, and friends. They weave a brilliant tapestry of experiences for me that rival the best potboilers I’ve ever read or the best movies I’ve ever watched. Thank you for being in my life.

I give thanks to my body for sensing, capturing and housing all these experiences and powering me forward in my life.

I give thanks to my mind that is still ticking and helping me grasp the enormity of my experiences and developing the right attitudes and responses to adopt in my life.

I give thanks to every cell and atom in my body that is contributing to this lifetime experience.

I give thanks to the emptiness within my atoms, they are a reflection of our Universe and has the capacity to recreate it.

I give thanks to my soul without whom none of this would ever exist.

I give thanks to my Guardian angels who watch over me and guide me every step of the way without interfering with the exercise of my will or decision-making

I give thanks to our Creator who masterminded all of the above and co-creates our dreams and our reality.

Thank you for being with me through this journey. I love you.

Day #48

Day #48:

Hi. Welcome back! 47straight days of gratitude are over and today I seem to have reached the bottom of the well. Today seems to be one of those days when I just want to lie down and rest and shut the world away. I did and I’m feeling a little better and am now sitting down to pen down this message.

breakok

I’m sure many of you would have days or moments like this when you just want to shut yourself out from the world and be alone. It is better that we give ourselves that break. If life was all go-go-go, we will get burnt out in no time. Sometimes the night sleep isn’t sufficient to recharge you and prepare you for an active life. So take the rest and bounce back soon. Just as not taking enough rest is bad, taking too much rest can be equally bad too. Don’t give in to the inertia of inaction. Kick yourself out of it and whiz around again, then life brightens up and shines again.

For many years I have had this habit of taking rest from work during the last week of the year, between Christmas eve and New Year day. It’s a great time to reconnect with yourself, your family, your friends, your interests, travel, food, cooking, music, and many other things that you have neglected in your busy schedule. This year I haven’t been able to do it and it is showing today.

The more breaks you take and reconnect with parts of yourself that you have ignored, then new ideas and fresh momentum comes back to you and you discover ways of getting more efficient, more productive and more successful in life.

What are the things that you have ignored in your life but would like to spend more time with? Make a list and put a date against each which is within the next 1 week. Give yourself a treat by taking a break and doing what is on the list. Some things may take more than a week – let us say going to the Himalayas. But you can call a travel operator and book your ticket so that you are committed to doing it at the earliest opportunity. Remember life is short. You never know how much time we have in our life. Carry happy memories rather than sad regrets. Create powerful dopamines by setting some personal goals on your to-do list and achieving them. These can energise and power your life.

Today I’m grateful for these breaks that power my life. They are the much-needed silences between musical notes that create the music of my life.

Day #47:

intell20

Good morning!

Today I want to appreciate and give gratitude to some of the most neglected and sometimes most abused components of my life – my body. Without it, I will not be able to have this conversation with you, but I take it for granted and unthinkingly put enormous loads on it too.  If you are a doctor or someone with good knowledge of anatomy and human biology I request you to keep the science aside for the moment. This article is about giving thanks to our body parts and not an exact representation of how it is constructed or how it works.

My feet keep me connected to the ground and our earth. It supports my entire body weight, takes me from place to place, Gives me a chance to activate and energise all organs and parts of my body when it is pressed and prodded during a foot massage. They have given me and my loved ones enormous pleasure and joy while playing footsie under the restaurant tables at stages in my life when it was appropriate and endearing. I give thanks to my feet for the role they have played and continue to play in my life.

My legs are the pillars of my life. I know someone who was very active, extremely productive and the breadwinner of his family who lost one leg permanently in a bike accident more than a decade ago. He is now a shadow of his old self and dependent on others help to see him and his family through life. Only when we lose something do we see its value. I’m aware of the value that my legs give me in my life. I can walk, run, swim, sit, stand, play basketball or badminton because they are here for me. Thank you dear legs, for your stellar role in my life.

My hips are the fulcrum of my life. They hold my torso up and act as a hanger for my legs. They twist and turn when I dance and provide stability when I walk and run. My life will not be the same without them. Thank you, dear hips.

My spine is the central column of my life. They keep me erect, they give me balance and they connect me to all the body parts and functions. They give stability and support to my rib cage and upper torso.  I can write volumes about this body part but I shall save it for another day. Thank you, dear spine for being my backbone of support.

My shoulder blades support my head and act as a hanger for my arms and perhaps even the vertebral column. Thank you dear shoulders, for keeping me up and steady.

My head is my crowning glory. It houses my brain and many important sense organs that life will never be the same without it. Just imagine how gross it will be to walk around without it. Thank you, dear head.

I give thanks to all my body organs for their hard work in keeping me going. There are so many body functions happening in my life while I’m busy at work, at play, at times of rest and even during sleep that it will take pages to enumerate all of them. I give thanks to all of them for taking care of me even though I do not acknowledge them and their role in my life. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

embrace-your-body-286x300

I give thanks to the nerves, blood, tissues, bones, muscles, cartilages and every cell of my body for their role in my life. You are amazingly hard workers who are faithful to me irrespective of how I have treated you in the past. Thank you.

Today I thank God for creating all these little angels who are taking care of me every second of my life. Thank you.

 

Day #46

Day #46:

We have entered the last week of gratitude. Thank you for being part of this journey. I hope it helped you look within you to find all the people, events and things that you are grateful for in your life. Gratitude is easily one of the most valuable qualities you can possess. It connects you with your creator and the universe and acts as a magnet to manifest more of what you are grateful for.

When you live in gratitude:

  • You are calmer all day
  • You sleep better
  • You are able to take better decisions
  • More of the good things show up in your life
  • You love yourself and others better
  • You are more productive
  • You earn more money and more easily than before
  • You are connected with the Creator and the Universe
  • You do not fall ill that often and even if it happens you are able to deal with it better
  • You have better relationships with people around you
  • Your life becomes more effortless and comfortable even though your productivity has increased
  • You can have a more healthy, wealthy and happy life

With all these benefits available for those who live in gratitude through the day, it makes sense to make more effort to adopt this method. Don’t you agree?

Thank you for staying with me through this journey. Wish you and your loved ones a beautiful end of the year week. Give gratitude to all the lovely things, beautiful people, memorable events and your body for supporting you, protecting you and keeping you happy through the year.

gratitude

God bless!

Day #45

Day #45:

Merry Christmas to you and your family! My favourite festival is here. It is Christmas morning now and I’m flooded with memories of so many past Christmases. When I was in school it was about buying new clothes. We are six siblings and this used to be a big exercise those days. If you have kids now you will know how fussy and cranky they are when they are buying new clothes. At least my sons are like that. They hate shopping. They pick out the first shirt or trouser that they think suits them and that is that. It’s another matter that they never wear it again. If your kids do not fuss or better still love the experience, then you are either lucky or unlucky depending on the size of your wallet. Those days we kids could not afford to fuss. We were under an autocratic rule where dissent or personal choice was not an option. One year my dad bought a large roll of patterned cloth and got that stitched for all of us. We’re three boys and three girls and we were forced to wear the same outfit that year. Boy, what an experience we had. That was the first and last year that happened. We mutinied and made it clear that we will never again wear something like this. This was the one time my dad relented and he never tortured us like that again.

The other things that stick in my mind are the elaborate preparation for at least one month running up towards the festival. We used to buy spices, dry fruits, and nuts for baking cakes from Dawn Stores or Spencers and soak the dry fruits in brandy for a few weeks. Then we will bake the cakes a few days before Christmas. What a yummy experience that used to be. I will churn the butter and the batter and taste it liberally even before the baking. I used to help my mom make ladoos and other savouries and sweets so I can taste them in the process. Tons of food will be made – biriyani, idlis, mutton kozhambu, cutlets, Ok. I’m hungry now. Sorry for drooling all over this page. I’m going to change the topic.

064d4370677ed4185bdb4cc35891dd58

Then the decorations! There were no shops selling Christmas decorations like we have now. In fact the mountain paper was made at home and can you believe that I still have some of them. They must be more than 35 years old. We used kraft paper (the ones we cover school books with), poster colours, brush and water. We mix each colour with water in separate containers and then dip the brush in each and tap the brush on a ruler over the paper. Drops of colour fall over the paper and as you layer the colours the mountain paper gets created. We grew the grass from mustard or wheat seeds at least 4 to 6 weeks before Christmas. Straw, wood pieces, cotton wool and other available materials were used to create the whole nativity scene. This will be viewed by our friends and family and comparisons will be made with the previous year’s creation or other people’s creations.

On Christmas eve we have a light supper and go for midnight mass, hug and kiss hundreds of friends and family at Church and return home with at least a dozen more people to continue the festivities and celebrations with food, wine, music, dance, more food, more wine, mistletoe and more.  There would be at least a hundred people going through our doors that day and the sound of laughter and talk will drift through for a few days more.

Today, we don’t have such get-togethers anymore. We live in nuclear families and any crowd over a dozen is shifted to a hotel and no one has the time or takes the trouble of doing everything themselves. It’s become mechanical and commercial. However, even smaller gatherings can still rekindle the memories of yore. Last night we went for midnight mass, my wife, my sister and I. Supper was at my sister’s home, yes you guessed it, idlis and mutton kozhambu. Mass and the choir were fantastic. The lights and the decoration were many notches higher than what I’ve witnessed earlier. We didn’t bump into hundreds of people we knew, nor did we bring home a dozen others. But the Yuletide spirit was there nevertheless and we rounded it off with an ice cream before we called it a night.

e918e4586ab74c327f06dc317d9fa42e

I’m now looking forward to our family lunch where the whole khandaan will show up and rekindle some of the magic of the past and rehash old stories and memories.

I’m grateful I have a large family and many beautiful memories created over several decades that tether us together with love.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, go create some lovely moments together so these become beautiful memories that linger on for several decades more.

Day #44

Day #44:

Yesterday I was out of cash and had to go to a bank for withdrawal. After India demonetized the higher currency notes on Nov 8th I’ve been able to avoid having to go and join these serpentine queues, but today I had to draw the money myself because of the Christmas Weekend Holidays. It took 1 hour 15 mins to withdraw Rs 10,000/- from my account.This bank had reduced the withdrawal limit from Rs 20,000/- a day due to lack of currency notes. It is now 45 days from the date of announcement of the war against black money and terrorism and the effect is still telling hard on the population and businesses. Millions or probably billions of man days are being wasted standing in queues to withdraw your own money. This is one more instance of fantastic intention but poor planning and execution. I don’t even want to guess the loss in productivity and to the economy.

Well, that’s not the topic of today’s gratitude. I went to the bank hoping I will get some of this money in change rather than Rs 2000 notes. I had just used up my last 10 rupee note for the car parking and I had no notes or change in my wallet. I wanted to pick up some cutlets and samosas for myself from a popular local outlet since I was peckish. But all I got after this long wait was Rs 2000/- notes only. I went into a bakery close by to pick up some items that I really did not need so I can get some change. I stretched out a 2k note and waited hopefully for change. He refused to accept and showed me how his cash box had only 2k notes and no change. He asked me to pay by card and I had to.

I was still hungry, the smell of the cutlets and samosas were killing me. I had skipped lunch and was heading home for an early dinner and I had to have that snack now and I was not going to give up yet. So I went to another store and bought a few more things I did not need and again hopefully proffered this 2k note to him. I received the same reply and the same show of the cash box. My face fell and I looked visibly dejected and broken and something clicked within the store keeper. He looked around to see if his manager was about and then pulled up whatever Rs 100 notes were there and some more assorted change and gave me the change for my 2k note. My heart sang and I thanked him from the bottom of my heart, grabbed the change and rushed out to get those delicious samosas and cutlets.

I felt like I had waited close to t2 hours, overcome so many obstacles, and won a huge challenge. The same feat of buying cutlets and samosas was an ordinary event till now. I did not have to write 500 words to crow about the victory. The same event was now being experienced very differently. Why?

I also noticed that I was happier to receive hundreds, fifties, and tens rather than receive 2000 rupee notes though their value was higher. Why?

The currency notes have value only when it can get us what we need at that moment. If I was pushed even further it was possible that I might have paid a 2000 rupee note for just 50 rupees worth of samosas.

Think about it. The value of what we have is only proportional to the value of what we can get at that moment. All the money in the world is not worth it when my health or the health of my loved one is at stake. You may buy the best treatment but can you make up for the years of neglect that you gave it?

Or for a man in the desert who has not had water for days, he will sell his house and all his properties for one bottle of water.

Let us cherish what we have. Let us cherish all the people and things that we are currently taking for granted. If it can give you pain when you lose it, why can’t you give gratitude to it when you have it.

I am grateful to this storekeeper for showing compassion and for teaching me this life lesson.

Go live life with gratitude. I am.

41bda5dedc8ebf0a3a1559384f6daf4e

Day #43

xeeeb83

Day #43:

23rd December… 2 more days for Christmas. But my house is not yet ready for Christmas. Some repairs and restorations took place after Cyclone Vardah. Spring cleaning is on now. I’m yet to pull down the stored decorations, lights, nativity crib, etc. So it still doesn’t look like Christmas at home. But seeing the pictures of the celebrations that has started in my housing complex and the wishes that have started pouring in and floating around, the Yuletide spirit is seeping in and I’m rearing to pull out all the decorations.

Are you already infected with the Christmas spirit? This is one of the most looked-forward-to festival in the whole world and not just by Christians. This is the time for gifting, for sharing, for spending  time with family and loved ones, for wearing new clothes, for feasting, for wine, for cakes, for midnight mass, for kissing your loved ones under the mistletoe, etc.

From childhood this was my favourite festival. Hot idlis with mutton kuruma after midnight mass was to die for. And the wine and the dance and the girls and the …..hmmm! A late lazy breakfast was followed by a sumptuous lunch with biriyani as the central course. The lunch table was laden with food and could feed over two dozen people at any given point of time. The house was filled with friends and family either resident or visiting. It was a whirlwind of smiles, laughs, hugs, wishes, presents and love.

In all this the small figure of baby Jesus in the creatively done up nativity scene was still a major draw and the first place to go to for visitors. Each year we would do it in a different theme. For many years we used to decorate it with grass grown from wheat or mustard seeds. The kings, sheep and the shepherds were the ones on the grass. Some years we will have a hut to house Jesus, Mary, Joseph, two cows and a donkey with Archangel Gabriel perched on its roof. Some years it will be a rocky cave. A couple of years it was snow created by cotton wool.

fontanini_christmas_crib_11_a

I miss all those little pleasures we had while growing up. My children are unfortunately not experiencing Christmas the way we used to experience it. And it’s truly a loss which they cannot even comprehend.

The coming of Jesus is so filled with deep meaning that it is now lost in the commercialisation of this festival. It marks the end of the separation of God and man and uniquely bonded man with God through Jesus. We have been incepted with the Divine DNA after His coming and man can raise himself up to his divine nature and drop the animal within him. We now possess the ability to rise ourselves higher than our crass earthly needs that the body was born with. This conflict between our divine yearnings and our earthly needs is the dance of life that we live on a daily basis. Who wins or who loses determines the quality of our life and our destiny.

Look within you. Be aware of this internal tussle. This season, let the divine rule within you and see how blissful life can be when you have Him as your Lord!

Thank you dear Lord for ruling over my thoughts, my emotions and my life. I surrender to thee and will gladly do thy will.

Day 42

Day #42:

Year-end holidays are around the corner. Soon many families will be packing their bags to visit their home-town, families, friends, or new places to visit. Travel is the biggest learning opportunity. We see new places, new people, new cultures, new food, new customs and new social systems.

My biggest learnings have come when I travelled or read about others’ experience when they travelled.  The most awe inspiring moment for me was over 11 years ago when I first visited the Himalayas. The roads up from the plains are basic and rugged with the constant threat of landslides. The sight of rocks tumbling just behind you where your vehicle just passed can send chills down your spine. But that was not as awe inspiring as when I got down from the vehicle for a break and got my first sight of the Himalayas.

maxresdefault

I got down, stretched myself and looked up at the mountain range and saw the mountain stretching up, and up and up. The top was not even visible it was above the clouds. I’ve never seen a sight like this. Till then I had only travelled and trekked in the Southern ranges and the highest point is just around 8000 and odd feet. The Himalayas looked old, craggy and everlasting. And apparently it is the youngest mountain range in the world. It is believed to be between 50 to 450 million years of age as against the earth’s age of 4.5 billion years. I am just a few decades old. I’m less than 6 feet as against the 28000 odd feet of the highest peak in these ranges. And I have a fat head and a big ego thinking that I’m carrying the world’s weight on my puny shoulders, which by the way till then I thought was very broad.

My concerns, troubles and problems were inconsequential to this range of mountains. They were there before me and will continue for a long time after I pass. Why was I breaking my head over these little matters that I had just magnified in my head. These issues will pass and life will go on. The earth does not depend on my solution to this problem to continue spinning around merrily for ages.

That is when I got my life into perspective. My fat head shrunk significantly. My ego became a deflated balloon. I started searching for a higher purpose. I started aligning my life with my higher purpose. I became less possessive and more contributing.

Life got a little bit lighter and more expansive. There were lesser limiting beliefs in my mind. Life became more peaceful and happy.

I’m grateful to all the travels that I have done and I intend to do.

You should too. It’s awesome.

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.

i-expect-miracles

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.

845e6f9e931e99398974f2ed08f2c015

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.

uts-lv11-zinal-av20151012084413-313722612918zq27h10y