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 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 Personal Musings, Random Thoughts, Stories Around the World, Work

Stance on the Slant

Many of us or may a few, may have experienced the feeling of being overwhelmed by an unexpected turn of events. More than the “happy” feelings, there may have been the “feelings of doubt and uncertainty” that reigned high. It’s only in the aftermath, that one realizes that, it was those unexpected turns that brought out the best in us. Or it was the unexpected, that became our saving grace.

“You can’t outwit fate by standing on the sidelines placing little side-bets about the outcome of life. Either you wade in and risk everything you have to play the game or you don’t play at all. and if you don’t play you can’t win.” Judith McNaught

In retrospect, it all comes down to the attitude that we hold within us. The choice lies in either embracing the new, but a strong sense of grit, hope and faith, along with the willingness to take each day as it comes. As we do, one does get the blessing and a chance, to experience some of the best aspects and colours of life.

The point is to embrace these uncertain, unplanned turns and make them into some of the best outcomes. For all this and more, one needs to come out of the sidelines and wade in deep with all the senses in tune and intact. Then the journey will provide new insight into the perceived notions of the old. If so, then the surprise and brightness of the whole new vista awaits each of us.

“A group of prestigious university graduates came to visit their old professor. During the visit the conversation turned to work: graduates were complaining about countless difficulties and problems of life. After offering coffee to his guests, the professor went to the kitchen and came back with a coffee pot and a tray, filled with many different cups: porcelain, glass, plastic and crystalline. Some cups were simple, other ones – expensive.

When the graduates picked out the cups, the professor said:”Notice, how all the beautiful cups were picked out, and the simple and cheap ones were left. And although it seems normal for you – wanting only the best things for yourself, but that is the source of your problems and stress. You need to understand, that the cup doesn’t make the coffee better. Most of the time it’s only more expensive, but sometimes it is hiding what we are drinking. Actually, all that you wanted was only coffee, not the cup. But you consciously picked the best cups, and later watched what kind of cups others got.

And now think: life – is coffee, and job, money, position, society – are the cups. They are only instruments for maintenance and upkeep of life. The type of cup we have, doesn’t determine the quality of our life. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cups, we forget to enjoy the taste of coffee. The happiest people are not those who have the best things, but those who enjoy life and get the most of it with what they have.”

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

Standing Strong

As the downpour continues unabated for more than two days in a row, getting across the lawn to even close the gates at night are a hassle. From hopping between the deep pools to stepping on the stones laid across the path and below the tall branches laden with green leaves breaking down the torrential downpour to drips of rain. Though the skies are mostly laden with gray, the mornings are spent on assessing the visual damage across the fields and lawn. The scene of dead branches and a tree split by lightening, brings about the dark reality of life to surface.

The cycle of life as one may call it. The birth of life and the scene of destruction. Nature has her own way of showing her love, the cycle of balance and the end of an old or on the other hand, fresh beginnings.

All these and the words of Herman Hesse come to mind, on seeing the scene of chaos. Though fast forward a week ahead, the colour of the fresh flowers and the shades of varied bright colours across the fields, show how much beauty and revival is possible, once the mess is cleaned up. Likewise, our lives be so. After every fall, we pick ourselves by self or with help, clean up the mess and move on. Staying in the flow, eventually we will reach the point where the rainbow ends.

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow. Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother. So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.” Herman Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Random Thoughts

Two Back, One Forward

“Roadblocks are nothing new. Going around them is the real issue.”

Words same or almost similar ones often echo in the recesses of the gray cells, especially when faces with those unexpected blocks. Truth to tell, those what we do expect, one can often deal with them. Those that just turn up, out of the blue, are what makes one stumble, often failing to get up soon after the fall.

So what’s next then ?

Procrastinate a bit. It isn’t a crime to do. For a while, getting out of the scene, doing something dissimilar or a remote similarity, gives us the breathing space to regroup and move ahead. For those of us who didn’t need them, well and good. But for the rest of us, sometimes those cups of tea, a swing in the hammock or just a walk around the block, gives us a fresh perspective and gives us back the inner mojo. Soon the roadblock becomes just another phase, and we move on. Don’t rush in, but just breathe. What if another comes along ? Find a way, none out; then breathe, do something else for a change and sooner or later all those roadblocks will change or the new turns open up. All it takes is those little steps, even though they may be few back and one forward. Tick along, we’ll soon be there.

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” Meister Eckhart

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

Out of the Cliche

If anyone asks a guardian, what would be one of the biggest drawbacks of the current global scenario, minus the pandemic in itself; among them one would be the absence of schools. The loss is felt more acute, if the child is from the primary classes or below. Though on the other hand, these “online classes” become an eye opener for the guardian or parent as far as the teaching beyond the books is concerned. And yes there are no cliches. If a boy wants to paint, it is fine for te safety of home is there, ad if a little girl wants to build a Lego car, let her do it. The stereotypical boys-cars and girl-dolls to draw, doesn’t really take a place in the freedom of their home. Yet sadly, the camaraderie between their own peers, the social play takes the back-stage.

“A tree stands strong not by its fruits or branches, but by the depth of its roots.” Anthony Liccione

Through all this, both parents and teachers once again realize the what a child should really learn. Though the online learning pressures mount up, one of the saving grace is that it can be done in the child’s own time, despite the hassle of striking the balance between “study screen time” and “fun screen time”. The parental regularity of seeing not just their ward, but all the respective students score charts isn’t a chance occurrence these days. In short the gentle reminder that education is not just in but also of the classroom and beyond the books, is a must for these days.

Whether a spectator, competitor, enthusiast, discoverer or experimenter; as long as any child indulges in their interest, imbibing in a love for learning and interests in and beyond the books, that’s all that matters. Each of us have just one life. To live it true to our own self by the right morals, beyond the projected image of society is a gift and blessing in itself.

Confessions of a Born Spectator

One infant grows up and becomes a jockey,
Another plays basketball or hockey,
This one the prize ring hates to enter
That one becomes a tackle or center,
I am just glad as glad can be
That I am not them, that they are not me.

With all my heart I do admire
Athletes who sweat for fun or hire,
Who take the field in gaudy pomp,
And maim each other as they romp,
My limp and bashful spirit feeds
On other people’s heroic deeds.

Now A runs ninety yards to score,
B knocks the champion to the floor,
Cracking vertebrae and spines,
Lashes his steed across the line,
You’d think my ego it would please
To swap positions with one of these.

Well, ego it might be pleased enough,
But zealous athletes play so rough
They do not ever in their dealings
Consider one another’s feelings.
I’m glad that when my struggle begins
‘Twixt prudence and ego, prudence wins.

When swollen eye meets gnarled fist
When snaps the knee, and cracks the wrist,
When officialdom demands,
Is there a doctor in the stands?
My soul in true thanksgiving speaks
For this modest of physiques.

“Athletes, I’ll drink to you
Or eat with you,
Or anything except compete with you,
Buy tickets worth their radium,
To watch you gambol in the stadium,
And reassure myself anew
That you are not me and I’m not you”.

Ogden Nash

Posted in Life, Personal Musings, Photography Art, poetry

Little of All

Somedays one hopes that a switch could be made, that would give on ean option to just change places and get some peace and quiet. No sooner than this thought balzes through the mind, that another one follows that no matter what the present circumstances may be, there are certain things that one would prefer to carry with them wherever they may go.

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too” Vincent Van Gogh

Troubles. True they are plenty in number; then again once in a while we do need them to appreciate what we have at hand.

Blessings. We all have a share of them, whether they be in ounces or gallons; they are there in one form or the other; depends on which we look.

Grace. They do exist, maybe coming along to prove their existence when least expected. Then again, they are there; if not one does find them or they chance upon us along the way.

Steps. All it involves putting one foot in front of the other, though direction of those steps involve a matter of choice, effort and the innate conscience within us.

Hope. Look forward to experience the colours along the horizon, then somewhere along our dreams get a spark to give a little light within.

Add a little of all above and more, it would give us a semblance to live through some moments that life takes us through. All of us need a little of the “good and the bad” to let us know that the beast within do have a rhythm and will of their own. When the varied notes come into play, it may be a sonnet, a pop, a song or just a tune. What ever it may be, the music with the dance is our own, so what are we waiting for ?

This is Life
Ken Smith

I saw the glory of the sunrise,
Breathed the invigorating air,
And my soul rose to the very skies
When I sallied forth, proud to dare.
That was the morning.

The awful heat of the day came down;
I stooped, and my brow was wet with sweat.
And when I saw Misfortune frown
I cried, “I am not conquered yet!”
That was the noonday.

The softer shades of twilight fell
And released my grip in the strife.
I am contented now to dwell
Where understanding sweetens life..
This is eventide.