Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Meandering Thoughts.....

Am I a SAD person?

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family”......(Earl Nightingale)

The end of November normally indicated upbeat moods and a lot of suppressed excitement barely concealed under a calm veneer; but this time it wasn’t that way. I tried unsuccessfully, to kick start the enthusiasm that preceded the coming festive season but all in vain. I continued to be lethargic, despondent, aloof, and even melancholic....and would keep searching the net for winter getaways. I just didn’t want to stay here for Christmas...I wanted to escape to somewhere, where it wouldn’t matter that it’s Christmas and there’s no one home to share and celebrate with you. I wallowed in this miserable feeling from the beginning of November and as it began to dig its tentacles deeper, I decided it was enough. This wasn’t ME.

I don’t host pity-parties and I don’t attend any either. So what was getting to me? I googled ‘pre-wint
er blues’ and came up with the acronym SAD: Season Affective Disorder. According to the article, SAD occurs due to the lack of sunlight. Since sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D, which in turn is important for general well-being, the lack of bright sunny days affects some people, making them feel the way I was feeling. So that’s what it’s all about?! Naah! We still have quite a lot of sunshine around and I am getting my share of natural vitamin D. I’m missing something else. But I’m definitely not a SAD person.

So I snap out of it and decide to learn how to enjoy a festival like Christmas, without decorations, the children and grandchild. Christmas is so much larger than life’s disappointments. In fact, it permeates the depths of the soul and once again revives the grieving spirit with joy. I shall not sail, fly or drive away from life as it is, but celebrate it as I always have....besides it’s too late to change my inherent nature now. Joy doesn’t succumb to SAD!

Did I lose my identity?

Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.” (Luke 6:44)

Many years back, around 1987-88, I realized I was better known or shall we say recognised as Viny’s mom, around the new neighbourhood we had shifted into in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Later on at the school where I taught and in which both the kids studied, I was called “Joy Ma’am” but identified as Ranjit and Vineet’s mother. I found it amusing and often commented on how I had lost my identity to two rascals!!

Just the other day I was contemplating on the verse in the Bible that says “a tree is known by its fruit”(Luke 6:44) and I asked myself if the tree lost its identity to the fruit or was enriched by it. After all a tree is recognised by the fruit it has produced and its worthiness by the quality of that fruit. Putting this into a simple, everyday situation, I believe each family and home rejoices in the worthy achievements of its children, because they do contribute to it in many supportive ways. Yes, I feel blessed, proud, grateful, and honoured to be known as Tintin and Viny’s mom. And I am further blessed to be called Alyssa’s Daadi. My identity is embellished by such references and it endorses the fact that our tree has grown and branched out; reaching for The Light, which is the most important and magical thing a tree needs to nurture and enrich its roots and fruit.

I am blessed abundantly and may you also be gladdened when you lose your identity to your worthy children.....

How do I tell thee?

To me there are three things we should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special”........(Jim Valvano)

I get tongue-tied and at a total loss of words many times. There have been occasions for which I have rehearsed lines I would say, and then when faced with the right time, the cat gets my tongue. Those are the words my mind has coined. Reticence, nervousness, anxiety, fright or any such immense emotion play on the mind and tangle up speech. That’s what happens very often to me. Yet, communication doesn’t end there. When words become inadequate to express feelings tears do the job!

I am moved to tears by happiness and extreme joy. I am moved to tears by anything beautiful; an experience, music, verses, story, movie, happy memories, funny things....Copious tears express anger, frustration, helplessness. Grief and loneliness seldom move me to tears, but the memory of good times in sad moments make me teary yet happy. I’m moved by gratefulness for those precious moments.

When the mind fails, the heart speaks...through tears. Happy, joyous, funny, tickled, angry, helpless, ecstatic tears speak as eloquently and effectively as words.

These are those silent moments of release...of tears or unshed ones, which may or may not be understood. But if you don’t understand my silences, how will you understand my words?


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Chair And I

When one chair says to the other, “Yonder comes another bum,” you had better believe it! We are on our derrieres more often these days and for longer periods. Kudos to the health freaks that jog, walk, swim, and go ‘gymming’ religiously, but they are a minority. I was just “another bum” until recently. I was so sedentary that I could grow roots, branches, moss all together. Yes, I grew you know, and grew, and grew, like Alice but unlike her, I grew horizontally and found that it wasn’t only the mirror that was getting smaller.

Every time I decided to exercise or go for a walk, the pain in my bones sent me back to the chair. All I needed was a stronger will and conviction that exercise (certain ones) would help me immensely. I had to believe that; bear the pain and start with ‘baby’ steps literally. But sceptic me wouldn’t budge. The stronger the doubts became, the more beached I got...a beached whale! The doctor persisted tirelessly in goading me to lift myself out of defeat, depression and that chair. Only something drastic would get me to move. It took an earthquake to rock the chair I had permanently lodged myself into. Finally, reality hit hard and I got up and walked out of that chair in my head.

Today I am addicted to my morning and evening walk. I count my steps and time myself...I’m counting my steps to a healthier me. Exercises have added benefits too like de-stressing the mind, stimulating the digestive system, and giving one a ‘feel good’ feeling within, and I’m the better for it. The chair and I are still friends, we have been through ‘thick’ and thin and it has been a strong support, however we give each other a bit more space. I’m less of a ‘bum’ and it has stopped being my crutch!

“Health is Wealth” is an old adage. I didn’t realize the literal, hard truth behind it till I lost health and with it a lot of wealth....I see many young people at the orthopaedic’s with lumbar, cervical problems. Modern life has made us sedentary...that’s a mild way of putting it...in truth it has made us lazy, slothful, and totally unhealthy. Everything is instant, like coffee, and we want easy and fast. Exercise and balanced diets, freshly cooked home food involve time and work....Don’t we do enough work at our desks, and don't we deserve 'easy' and 'fast'?! If your answer to that is "No" you're not just "another bum" for sure...but if it's "Yes"....Hmmm....no wonder the chair has become sarcastic!