Posted in Daily, Personal Musings, poetry, Reflections, Work

Trap of “Trepidation”

Stepping into the college life, miles away from home, was an awesome experience, especially in learning about life skills, new friendships as well as tiny “take home” messages from the encounter of others’. From the archive of memories was one with my adjoining floor mates. Bitten by the “cooking bug”, which had initially started off as a dare, my friend had embarked on the mission to bring to the house, dished cooked from scratch ( nor processed, prepackages or half cooked meals). For a person of score years who hasn’t even made her own coffee, this dare was a challenge to be over-turned.

As the smells from the common kitchen happened through the odd hours of the day or wee hours of the morning, numerous recipes were attempted (many had flopped) and the cons turning more in number as compared to the “pros”, some days we had questioned if the challenge was worth it. Couple of months, when she had won laurels for the best dessert category in the “food fair”, all this trouble was worth it.

“To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self…. And to venture in the highest is precisely to be conscious of one’s self.” Søren Kierkegaard

Looking back, there were more of “should you” and “do you think” than “good luck”. Yet ignoring all the voices around, the focus was on the final goal. Similar instances have happened in each of our lives. While one looks for the perfect approval from others, time runs it’s own course and own choices go unfulfilled. For those who do accomplish their dreams, one discovers that they never paid full to the voices around them alone. Some did hear them, but never listened. Others listened but never retained or dissected them. Few did pay attention, decided if it was worth further regard and if not, just went ahead with their own dreams.

“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.” C. H. Spurgeon

No one needs an acknowledgement or recommendation to follow own choices. If one really wants to do it, go ahead and reach for it. None of us need a stamp for the green light from others, especially for our shaping own thoughts, ideas and plans. Unless one believes in own self, knowing own dreams and strengths; what we want to truly do will never be done. So charge ahead and seek that dream that makes each of us happy and at peace and content form within.

An Ocean of Angst
by Don Wells
It seems like we live in an ocean of angst
telling us we shouldn’t, we dare not, we can’t
we can find so many ways in which we can fail
that we just spin in circles, chasing our tail

And listening to strangers’ whispers of doubt
but ignoring the voices of friends that shout out
“yes! you can do it! we believe in you”
and deep down in your heart you know it is true

Because you see people, simple and plain,
accomplishing miracles every day
they are the dreamers, the crackpots, the few
but they’re not any more special than you

We all have great dreams within our grasp
but to make them a reality we need to ask
will you succeed if you try your best?
the answer, of course, is a resounding yes!

Because every time you try to excel
whether you succeed or, more likely, fail
each attempt you make is a single push up
not much by itself, but they eventually add up

And even if you find that you’re dream has departed
you’ll find that you’re stronger than when you started
so pick a new dream and keep trying again
and success is bound to be yours in the end

Posted in Personal Musings, poetry, Reflections, Work

Of an endeavor nonpareil

The interstate athletics and sports competition during the school years sees plenty of friendly sparring as well determined efforts to be the one to take the trophy home. Seated in the spectator arena and cheering for my nephew from the sidelines brought back memories from my high school days. During the last day of the three day event, my school was tagging along in the third position. Lagging behind, the only way to get the trophy home would be to score gold or silver in the relay, javelin and high jump. The problem was that some were participating in more than one event. The coach with the consent of participants did a quick shuffle with the athlete in their best sport competing alone for that event.

With these changes, some of the reserves were on the front-line for the relay. As the tension was mounting high, each of us gave it all we had, keeping the “will we win” doubting thoughts far from our mind. Towards the end of the day, we did claim the trophy for that year by a very close margin. That feat wouldn’t have been possible if all participants of hadn’t joined forces for the final day.

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford

Forwarding to the present day, each member of the team has their own special importance as well as role to play. Each link needs to give their best strength for the chain to stay strong. While one aims to give their best in their chosen field, sometimes their shine may be seen in the another scene. While all mayn’t reach the first place, giving their very own best gives a sense of peace and contentment. Being human, we all maybe assailed by regrets at some point of time or the other. Once we learn to give it our best shot in whichever capacity one may be in, one experiences the joy of an effort and work well done. As unpredictable life maybe, enjoying the feeling of inner peace, contentment, confidence and happiness within are few of the best and subtle gifts of life over time.

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” Andrew Carnegie

Be the Best of Whatever You Are
Douglas Malloch

If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley — but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.

If you can’t be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie then just be a bass —
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew,
There’s something for all of us here,
There’s big work to do, and there’s lesser to do,
And the task you must do is the near.

If you can’t be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun be a star;
It isn’t by size that you win or you fail —
Be the best of whatever you are!

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Photography Art, Quotes, Stories Around the World, Work

Standing Strong

One of the longest suspension bridges of those days, this hybrid cable-stayed or suspension bridge; it was opened on May 24, 1883 to be the first fixed crossing over the East River, connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Renamed to Brooklyn Bridge (1915), proposals for this bridge were made in the early 19th century with the design plan initiated by architect John A. Roebling a famed canal engineer and bridge designer, completed by his son Washington A. Roebling. In those times, the initial design plans were considered to be a feat highly improbable to be accomplished. Yet applying the concepts of the known studies into practice in the modernization process, use of the wire-rope concept, suspension principles, anchorages and caissons.

“This is the vocation of our own and of every age: to grasp the knowledge that already exists, to make it our own, and in so doing to develop it further and raise it to a higher level; in thus appropriating it to ourselves we make it something different than it was before.” Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel (1770-1831)

During during the initial surveys, an accident saw the amputation of Jon A. Roebling’s crushed toes, resulting in a tetanus infection leaving him in incapacitated and untimely death (June-July, 1869). As his son, Washington A. Roebling took over the project, the construction of the bridge continued and several improvements were made on the bridge design and the building of the two large pneumatic caissons which became the foundation of the two towers. Unfortunately a fire onsite (1870) in one of the pneumatic caissons caused him to suffer from decompression sickness, severely affecting his health and rendering him unable to move, talk or even visit the site.

Determined to continue the project, he had developed a code of communication with his wife using the only finger that he could move and tapping out the instructions against her arm. As for his wife, Emily Warren Roebling, she taught herself bridge construction, continued the day-to-day supervision and project management among other duties of the chief engineer. As recorded in McCullough’s The Great Bridge (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972) that “nowhere in the history of great undertakings is there anything comparable” to Roebling conducting the largest and most difficult engineering project ever “in absentia.”

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

Over the years, undergoing subtle changes and renovations, the Brooklyn Bridge still stands tall, a witness to exemplary will, strength and belief in ow dream, even in the face of strenuous hardship and hurdles. This great bridge recounts one of the most inspiring tales of motivation, perseverance and determination to own up their dream and make them come true.

In the face of repeated roadblocks, both father, son and his wife never gave up their dream. Though adversaries were rampant, they still found a way around it and completed one of the most finest structures in architecture, laying down a strong bind to the infrastructure that helped the economy flourish.

Each of us have our own set of snags as we set about a project. While some may be on a physical level, others may be at the personal front, or psychological or emotional extent. Facing all these impediments, one must always keep their true dream close to their heart. Where one can get support, take help. To know own strengths through struggles takes immense courage and iron will to stay on course and make sure it happens. As long as one thinks, plans, moves ahead, knows and firmly believes that one can do it, one will.

Posted in Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Reflections

Balance in the Wind

“ You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” Cayla Mills

Juggling through home and professional life is never easy, especially with family, kids and pets. In most situations, if the two adults and kids do their bit of the share, things fall into line. Yet what happens when the children are too small or physically challenged or here are not two, but only one pair of adult hands. Initially one may be able to tackle the situation, but later, one may feel quite defeated. This was experienced by a close friend of mine, with her husband transferred to another project for two weeks, a toddler with a cast (courtesy of a misjudged jump), one child sick with chickenpox and a deadline project on her work front. Like these, many similar situation may be experienced by us at certain points in our lifetime.

During those initial parts of the difficult days, it may be mentally and physically possible to cover all aspects alone. But when the going gets more tough, taking a step back and moving ahead may help things work out in the long run. While circumstances may get more trying, cribbing would never help. Instead deal with what ever is possible, as for the rest get help or prioritize the more important aspects at that point or course of time. Remember that the trees survive through the cold of winter as well, the hot rays of summer and the cold winds laced with thunderstorms of autumn. Though they may lose their leaves, flowers and branches; they still stand tall with their roots going deep. As the start of spring rejuvenates them, thy grow back. Likewise we too need to go deep into the roots of support system of friends, family and neighbourhood (we all have them for no one is an island), the tough times will gradually fade and life gets back to the normal (if not the same) footing.

“ Life is, at times, tough. And all we need to do is to prove that we are tougher than it.” Sanhita Baruah

The Oak Tree

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew

– Johnny Ray Ryder Jr

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

Maintain the “Equipoise”

While entering work, there was a new notice at the bulletin next to the elevator. It was a new poster based on Don Miguel Ruiz, “The Four Agreements”. With the elevator still stuck on the top floors and time on my hands, a quick run through the words of these agreements provided a fresh perspective.

“Every human is an artist. The dream of your life is to make beautiful art.” Don Miguel Ruiz

On detailed reading and review of the poster resulted in one accepting the beauty of the words. While these work agreements may help to pave a better work place scenario, when practised in the true spirit, they aid one to stay happy within.

There are endless encounters with people in our daily lives. On some days, it may be a few, on other days it may be a lot many. Yet all these contacts leave an impression in the mind of which some may be happy, some give off a feel of kindness or at times, a negative vibe around each experience. Yet when one tends to brood over and feed on the negative vibe more, the inner peace gets lost.

“I am content; that is a blessing greater than riches; and he to whom that is given need ask no more.” Henry Fielding

By keeping the humanness in our basic interactions; more than the positive impact left, it is the feeling of happiness and contentment within that leaves one in peace. Every hour of our lives has a lot to offer. Time is never predictable, neither is the chance to experience the joy of living. If the inner balance is upset, efforts must be made to regain it. Those efforts always start from within. For to to be in harmony with the inner self, is a gift of Grace in itself.

Be impeccable with your word. “Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”

Don’t make assumptions. “Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.”

Don’t take anything personally. “Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

Always do your best. “Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.”

Source: Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (1997)

Posted in Daily, Personal Musings, Quotes, Random Thoughts

Beyond the Wish

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.” Oprah Winfrey

When an invitation for an evening performance of classical music and dance had landed in the mail, it perked my interest. One reason being that in the digital age, almost everything is through email or phone messaging applications. The second reason was that why the mail to the residential address. On reading the entire programme detials, the name of one the dancers being familiar lead to the call home. The confirmation of the details came as a shocker. Yes, my fifty plus year old cousin who runs a boutique, children at university has decided to fulfill her childhood dream of performing a classical dance. The entire preparation was kept as a surprise.

“When you’re not sure if you’re following the right path, when you’ve been knocked down a few too many times, it’s completely fine to get discouraged, hell even defeated. What’s not okay is to stop.” Gary John Bishop

Age never as a limit on our dreams, neither has time. During childhood, all of us may have wanted to do that one art or hobby; but were constrained by limitations of time, academics, co-curricular or other priorities. Yet as the age matures and responsibilities change, it is up to one self to make he cherished dreams or desires happen, if feasible. It takes courage to do something new, especially when the world around as well as society put plenty of tags and labels. The truth is it all lies in oneself. If had wanted to do something with great desire from within, follow up on that dream and make it happen. For one can never be too late to fulfill own dreams, no matter how much the time or the age flies.

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” Francis Scott Fitzgerald

Posted in Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Reflections

To own Beat

“To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?” Michael Jackson

During the early years of college, there was the responsibility of holding a musical to commemorate the founding day of the institution. It was usually held along similar lines of a Broadway play, complete with music, drama and script. Consequently when it was turn of own class, the decision was to do something different. That alone, resulted in a simple play being scripted to be held on roller-skates. When a group of twenty year old, some of whom have never seen a roller-skate in their lives, decide to collectively act, direct, choreograph as well as sing; it involves plenty of learning along with “the aches and ouches”. As intended the show did go well. As years passed on, it is that one single musical that still keeps the class in fits, groans and fun memories.

“What are heavy? sea-sand and sorrow.
What are brief? today and tomorrow.
What are frail? spring blossoms and youth.
What are deep? the ocean and truth.”
― Christina Rossetti

To venture out and try something new is not in the daily routine. More than courage, it requires immense faith in own plan and the belief that something different can be made to happen if we put in an effort for the same. That entire musical mayn’t have happened, if not for a bunch of people, who designed, motivated and helped each other as well as the whole lot to put on their own skates and learn to move, sing and shout. As each one of us found our own rhythm and danced to the music, it was those couple of “game changers” who had turned the push to shove, to make the event happen.

All of us have our own set of wonderful, seemingly impossible, interesting or even crazy ideas. Some of them we foster and grow them, others we neglect. The same we do for others. It is these “crazy ideas” that bring a wide reckoning, forcing all to sit up, take note and add on tot the few drops to make a collective change for the better. We need them all. The rule-breakers, the game changers, the followers, the questioners, those with blinders on and off. For with all of them, like in a potpourri can the fragrance be released and music made.

Learn to appreciate yourself and the differences in and around us. It is the collective effort of all, that makes the next day brighter than yesterday, a change from the mundane and something new to learn and experience as well. Life is all about finding our rhythm. And let all those crazy ideas out. Somewhere along we will learn to dance to the rhythm and beat of our own music.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Rob Siltanen