Sunday morning, up with the lark
I think I’ll take a walk in the park
Hey, hey, hey, it’s a beautiful day!
My dad used to wake me up almost every morning with these lines from Daniel Boone’s Beautiful Sunday when I was a toddler. The sound of his humming in my ears is one of the best and last memories I have of being with him.
The end of the year is special in many ways. It’s time not only for festivities and celebrations across the world but also for deeper reflections and new beginnings. Two years ago Christmas was more special than usual: it opened my heart to the joy of sharing and togetherness. The sense of belonging I gained from reuniting with my paternal family has helped me tide over some of the deepest fears that have accompanied me since childhood. Ever since I’ve been rejoicing the gifts this season has brought to me.
My mother once told me, “There are as many universes as there are individuals.” Each of us has a definite role in existence; none is out of place. It is like a jigsaw puzzle: even if a single piece is missing or out of place, the picture is not complete.
A growing realization of this fact has helped me to resolve inner conflicts that are often reflected in the form of jealousy, competition, a sense of being deprived or wronged and so on. The more I live this understanding, the more I become open to receiving from the world around me.
I often like to listen to my mother-in-law’s story about how dreamy the world appeared to her as a little girl, from the window of her house on a rustic street in one of the suburbs of South India, until the day she was married.
Describing the transition she narrates, “The greatest challenge was not being able to attend to my individual needs and make individual decisions. I had to get along with many minds and, at the same time, maintain harmony among family members. The ups and downs I faced while playing the role of a mother, sister, aunt, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law and, as time passed, now a grandmother, has shaped me in all aspects. It has given me the courage of conviction and strength to experience life with full acceptance. I have begun to understand that every situation is just a passing cloud. We learn to handle situations without being too involved.”
Living together is an art, though it may not necessarily involve staying together under the same roof. The joy of togetherness is reflected in small things – in the way we reach out to each other, the way we accept each other, the way we recognize and regard our inner oneness despite outer differences.
Have you ever experienced the therapeutic nature of work? It is the only thing that keeps me going in the lowest or most challenging phases of life. The effect or impact is even better when, in my own times of struggle, I forget myself and make efforts to reach out to others. It is not easy but surely worth every bit of the effort! It works wonders especially when you are feeling down or depressed.
THE WAY OF THE HEART
Often have I refrained from giving of myself because of fear. Fear that others may take advantage of me. Fear of being deprived of what rightfully belongs to me. Fear of losing my identity.
The most beautiful gift I have received this season is a reinforcement of the existence of the heart within. There is nothing to fear with the heart, for love is its essence. The physical throbbing heart is one thing, but we all have a spiritual heart capable of feeling, giving and loving infinitely. How do we discover it? How do we expand it? How do we live by it?
There is joy in giving. When you give infinitely, you experience happiness infinitely. And it’s my secret conviction that the more you give, the more you become fit and open to receiving.
As the world gears up to exchange gifts for Diwali, Thanksgiving, Milad Un Nabi, Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Christmas and other traditions, I appreciate and offer thanks for the little things that make life so special. Please join me in celebrating this season!
Artwork by Xuan Loc Xuan
Article by MEGHANA ANAND
April 02, 2019
April 02, 2019
March 03, 2019