Posted in Family and Society, Musique, Personal Musings, Reflections

As the Music Goes

Sitting cross legged and rummaging through the stack of boxes wasn’t an ideal way to spend the one hour break from “the work from home routine”, but it was a necessity, for the demand had risen up quite a few decibels. Oh yes, the search is for those Christmas CDs, not that the music player list is not saved on the desktop, but here’s something rustic and nostalgic in winding down with some good old carols and Christmas music, for both the young and the old. While many of the CDs by themselves carry a lot of memories, there’s a special feel to listening to the lyrics and preparing for the Christmas time.

“Here’s the gift of Christmas, the world at it’s best
We mustn’t forget why the gift of Christmas
Can help remind us remember the rest….”
(Lyrics from Dannii Minogue – The Gift Of Christmas )

Talking about the feel, the essence of Christmas lies in the selflessness of love and kindness. This is one season wherein the spirit of giving comes alive. Regrettable though is the reality that the “giving” doesn’t go beyond the last month of the present year, over to the next year. For some it may, but then it gets tempered down with time. Seeing the holiday season come to full effect, reminds one to go beyond the commercialization and celebrations and carry over the Christmas spirit within oneself. It may start with one small act, words or thoughts; but as the chain effect goes on, the ripples created will last through the ever-changing winds.

To be kind to the self and to those around us. For that is one of the best gifts to receive and pass on, the spirit of happiness to last through all the seasons of time. As the music and lyrics go, let these last couple of days of the year bring forth and keep alive the thoughts of humaneness and kindness all year round.

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, poetry

“A”-Way we Go

With the sudden chill in the air, announcing the arrival of early winter showers; the sodden steps of the porch bore the evidence of the persistent rain overnight. Surprisingly the small backyard kitchen area wasn’t covered by wet pools; more likely that the winds of rain didn’t go that way. While wiping out the excess water from the porch steps; it brought to mind the directions that we go in our lives.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E.E. Cummings

Different people, different lives and situations and of course, winds that blow in varying directions and at odd times. Comparing life to a ship a sea is a familiar analogy that even non-avid readers (or as mildly known as keen newspaper readers) are familiar with. As always the analogy states, it’s about the outcome of how we get to the other side or the destination. It is the captain who mans the ship and sets the sails or the motor in motion, steering it, to reach the shore safe.

Switching the focus into each of our ships that we are a part of, the facts lie in not just how we steers but also in who guides us and gives us the inner courage and the will to forge ahead. In other words, who gives us the peace and calmness to the mind, heart and soul within each of us. That is the answer that one always seeks for. While a part of it lies in His abundant Grace and His Love, another part of the answers is what makes us whole. A part of it is the emotion of love, humaneness and kindness that binds together as a family, a unit, as friends or neighbours or makes the network or own social circle a welcome place to be in. Into the last month of the year, finding the will to steer and prepare ourselves to write or start off another segments in the life that we live.

The Set of the Sails
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

One ship drives east, and another west
With the self-same winds that blow;
‘Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
That decides the way to go.

Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As they voyage along through life;
‘Tis the will of the soul
That decides its goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, Quotes

Start of the End

Into the first few days of the last month of the year, brings out a fresh leash of hope to many. A yearning that the uncertainty and surprises (not of the nice variety) that this year had brought about, would come to an end. A wish that things would be happening for the better, from hence on. Bringing about this season of hope, the Advent, is also a journey to hold still, reach within and find the true self. It is a time to refrain from the hustle and bustle of the routine; take off for a few moments and spend time with those or for those, who really matter and need it. It is a time to ponder, wonder and say Grace for those tiny little miracles that happened along the way, known or unknown to the self, or even if known so, only in retrospection.

“It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.” Pope Benedict XVI

Whether one celebrates Advent or not, the last few leaves or columns on the calendar, do highlight the fact that this year is drawing to a close. At the end of the day, whether the coffers or the belly be full, what really matters is whether we have the happiness and joy to hold within our hearts and souls. And above all, how many smiles are seen around.

As we all have reached the end of the year, with the longing of new beginnings for the season of promise comes upon each one of us. Bringing this season closer to our hearts and soul, starts by being true to our own self. In doing so, one not only gets to embrace their happiness, but throws off rays of hope for those around them. For it’s these small lights that bring out the beauty of the dark skies.

“Advent is the time of promise; it is not yet the time of fulfillment. We are still in the midst of everything and in the logical inexorability and relentlessness of destiny.…Space is still filled with the noise of destruction and annihilation, the shouts of self-assurance and arrogance, the weeping of despair and helplessness. But round about the horizon the eternal realities stand silent in their age-old longing. There shines on them already the first mild light of the radiant fulfillment to come. From afar sound the first notes as of pipes and voices, not yet discernable as a song or melody. It is all far off still, and only just announced and foretold. But it is happening, today.” Alfred Delp

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, poetry, Reflections

Step to Start

One of the biggest drawbacks of the present day is the mass confusion and uncertainty attached to it. Nearing the end of the year, as the leaves of the calendar come off and the thickness goes down, the gnawing thoughts inside awakens again, “Oh what a mess of the year”. Reflecting on this one aspect is true that this year was totally off all expectations and hassled man; yet on the another hand this year helped one to refocus and find themselves.

“Most times, the way isn’t clear, but you want to start anyway. It is in starting with the first step that other steps become clearer.” Israelmore Ayivor

Finding ourselves doesn’t start off with a loud clap and bang. It starts off in the quiet moments where one shuts off the noise around them, and seek answers to within or just lie still. One of the gifts of the humane nature, is that the mind has unbelievable strength of its’ own. Each person has many facets of their character. Using them or donning them on, comes when the time is right or the when the mind ascertains it. Those who learn to do so, eventually survive the downpour and learn to appreciate the tiny blessings that come along with it. Each person has their own treasure trove of surprises; using them to better the day is what makes the whole difference in the world.

Another part to finding ourselves is to learn to switch off the irrelevant chatter around the self. Plain listening to the numerous conversations around oneself or pointless chatter, doesn’t serve any real purpose, unless one learns to tune in and out at the right points. Knowing which points are right or not; that happens only by experience, through own eyes or of those around us.

“…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

No one can move ahead by staying on that spots. Even a baby starts off on all fours, in tiny shuffles or large leaps, but they go ahead and explore. Caution is needed, but also hope, faith and the belief that there is always something better to do, especially using our own talents. More than talk, go ahead and start off. True that when the going gets tough, take a pause but wilt not. For the days are still there, for the year to end. And as always said “better now than never”. For the world needs those tiny steps of today, to make the difference in the tomorrows that come.

The Room of Ancient Keys
by Elena Mikhalkova

Grandma once gave me a tip:

During difficult times,
you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
Don’t think about the future,
not even what might happen tomorrow.
Wash the dishes.
Take off the dust.
Write a letter.
Make some soup.
Do you see?

You are moving forward step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Get some rest.
Compliment yourself.
Take another step.
Then another one.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow
bigger and bigger.
And time will come
when you can think about the future
without crying.
Good morning.

Posted in Family and Society, Personal Musings, poetry

A Fine Regard

It was one of those evenings, wherein the dusk settles and the household has the chance to hear the proverbial pin drop. This happens not because all are busy on their media devices and accounts, neither the young nor the old; for each device has their own “fashionable noise”. This was one of those evenings, as all were gathered in the den, from a busy crochet pattern to reading the daily grind with the young ones engrossed in their creativity (surprisingly noiseless for a change). Evenings like these bring to mind, the days of my own childhood; devoid of all the “social fanfare, entertainment and modern knowledge of today”; though surprisingly rich in it’s own share of happy moments.

“We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.” Nicholas Sparks ( from The Notebook)

Many a time, the quietness around us is what gives the balm to the restless soul or aching heart. The sooner we learn to stop and live in the moment; taking comfort in just being there and around, the more we get to add to the treasure trove of “good moments”.

Life is not always about being on the move or turning all the pages of the book at once. The gifts or even opportunities lie, in learning to savour the moments and just stop for a couple of seconds. As always known emptiness makes a lot of noise. Instead enrich it with the quiet moments scattered throughout the day. or scenes like “these quiet evenings” is what makes the soul through the passage of time.

Keeping Quiet
Pablo Neruda

Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still
for once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for a second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would not look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.

Life is what it is about;

I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

Spring, after the Torrent

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” Martha Washington

Many a time, as the sun sets, we drag our feet over the threshold, wondering when will they ever be a day, when there would be a spring in our step. Then again, on other days, there’s a spring to our step. Or the warmth enters the soul and fresh hope surges after a fresh cup of joe or a warm pot of tea, light chatter with family or friends and a couple of memories or moments. Little do we realize that, through all this, it is the “way we go about things” that makes all the difference in the world, especially as one encounters the unexpected hassles in the curse of the day.

“Crow asked the pot : How come you are able to give sweet and cold water when you yourself is made out of mud which had to go through very high temperature and burnt to be transformed into clay pot?
Pot’s reply : My character is to remain cool as a clay in all circumstances
even though I had to face high temperature to become a pot .”

Each of us have our own test of fire. Some we were able to temper down, some we got off with a few minor or even major scalds to burns. Yet at the end of the day, we survive because of the fire that beats within us. Our essentiality is what defines who we are, what we do and how we do it. Circumstances come and go, they change according to a design of their own and swing to the direction of the wind. Despite all this, a large role of the outcome is played in how we go about things, based on our own disposition, mentality and will.

Know who we are. Then reconnect with ourselves, the Faith that guides us as well as draw our strength from those who wish us well. As always said, “it is the test of fire that makes us strong”, but the fire can be conquered depending on how one fans out the flames. As the fire strengthens us, keeping our own composure with an inner strength and humaneness is what brings a spring to the step, hope within, warm happy thoughts within as well as to see through the situation by the time tomorrow comes by.

“17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
18 There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
19 Listen, my son, and be wise,
and set your heart on the right path..” (Proverbs 23:17-19)

Posted in Christian, Family and Society, poetry, Reflections

Shades of Red

Gazing out at the fiery evening sky brings to mind the words of Francis Bacon, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Reality wise, it mayn’t be so. Even as the sun rises or sets, we carry over the fury to the next hour, knowing or not. Only when the dust settles quite late, does one realize the futility of holding onto that strong emotion of “anger”. Truth is then, at the moment of restless and fury, that anger was what felt right.

Certain scenarios in life justify expression of “anger”. Own credit transferred to the senior or colleague, inability of the other person to listen, the same error going on complete loop are just a couple of many scenarios that eventually trigger the anger wire. Sometimes it is this anger and injustice that keeps the inner flame burning, allowing one to move on. Yet this “anger” can cause one to combust and burn own self to embers. Such is the power of anger. Contrary to what most say, as per the writing as by experts in this field, often express the opinion that anger should never be stored away or stewed away. It needs to addressed and expressed in the right manner. And finally it needs to settle down, so that one regains the normal balance of own.

“26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Like the two edged sword that it is, anger needs to be used in the right manner and also let gone back into the folds of time. Dragging these shades of red, over and over again, makes one lose out on the brilliance and vibrancy of the other colours around us. True that being humane, things happen and one feels the anger. One needs to acknowledge, address it, reason it, use it to better own self but never to feed it, so this beast consumes us from within. If and when this anger festers, give vent to it in private, journal it and pray for strength and patience for the soul to calm down. For taunts and rebukes never help but self-destructs. Hold fast and hold true to the soul, for this phase of “anger” shall too pass. As the anger fades into the night, the next morning shines clear and bright, for a better tomorrow.

How Clear, How Lovely Bright
A.E.Houseman

How clear, how lovely bright,
How beautiful to sight
Those beams of morning play;
How heaven laughs out with glee
Where, like a bird set free,
Up from the eastern sea
Soars the delightful day.

To-day I shall be strong,
No more shall yield to wrong,
Shall squander life no more;
Days lost, I know not how,
I shall retrieve them now;
Now I shall keep the vow
I never kept before.

Ensanguining the skies
How heavily it dies
Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
Falls the remorseful day.