Living fearlessly with a wounded heart

Imagining a world full of compassionate beings might seem idealistic to many of us, especially those who have been exposed to public hatred, humiliation and injustice. Change makers, motivational speakers, healers and other visionaries might agree with me when I say that although the idea of awakening to our true nature seem straightforward, there is a lot of work to be done. In many parts of the world, things are getting back to the new post-pandemic normal. Some of us are struggling to re-learn how to function in the world as a social being after having gone through a period of isolation. Some of us have reinvented our careers while others have reframed our idea of happiness. A majority of us consider the past 1.5 years as a period of struggle and profound growth. The relationship between struggle and growth is very interesting to me. The traditional idea of growth involves struggle and rightfully so, because you cannot make bread without kneading the dough. If we were to look at growth closely, we might realise that it is actually a change of state. Just like the myriad of triggers that shaped us into the “thick-skinned” adults, I perceive the recent struggles of humanity as a catalyst for change and consequently, an initiation of growth. I feel many of us have been walking with eyes so wide open for distractions and hearts so closed up for compassion that the wrong things in the world had to become worse for us to take notice of those things.

Acknowledging growth is not merely the responsibility of the change makers and the dreamers. The type of growth that I am talking about is relevant to every simple, average human being. Conventionally, the concept of adulting has been about developing a “thicker skin”, holding ourselves accountable and adapting to the world. While we as a society have come up with a seemingly fool-proof system of adulting gracefully, it is not news when I say that adulting sucks. It is not uncommon to think that being an adult is to be in misery, to be often broke and/or have an identity crisis, race for power, chase after true love, survive heartbreak, evade trauma, starve and jump through hoops until you embody the overrated and possibly borrowed definition of success. I can’t help but notice that there is one thing that can make adulting bearable and that is compassion. Compassion from strangers, parents, friends and well-wishers and most importantly, from ourselves can undeniably cushion the impact of the punches life throws at us. Growing from being an adult who is a proponent of gulping the hard pills down the throat to an adult who not only favours compassion but also celebrates it as one’s true nature, could be the humble beginning of our path towards world peace.

Contrary to popular opinion, compassion is not brought out by broadening our minds or stretching our limits in order to contribute to society. Compassion is neither a monumental task nor an aspiration reserved for the wealthy members of the society. Compassion is the most natural quality we human beings can express with the least amount of effort possible. If you need proof that compassion is innate to us human beings, look at a newly born child. Even the most evil person on Earth would have been a baby, with a soul that is so authentically expressed and a heart so open that it is shaken upon hurting even a small plant. What happens when the innocent little baby grows up? The baby is exposed to layers and layers of conditioning to make it fit for the world, which also includes the process of adulting. Kids think, speak and act from their hearts. Energetically speaking, our hearts are the energetic centre of love and compassion. It is not only the source of romantic love-based emotions but also that of an overall sense of wholeness and well-being that another human being can never give us. It is our soul-base. It is the portal to the ever-expanding internal Universe. It is home to the feelings that make us euphoric, drowning us in the bliss of feeling connected to other life forms and Mother Earth.

What makes the quality of compassion seem so surreal and unattainable is not only because of our own survival instincts but also that of our parents, relatives, neighbours and well-wishers. There is considerable shame associated with being an empathetic human being, especially the shame we are made to feel by those who have been hurt so bad in the past that they had to dissociate from the cruel world by developing unhealthy coping mechanisms. What many tend to overlook is the fact that the construct of life is not meant to make humans cold-hearted. Life is meant to expose us to a variety of circumstances, people and stimuli, all of which can be labelled as merely different forms of information. Information helps us learn about and understand the world and our life. Learning lessons in life is similar to scientific research, you observe and experience everything, collect data and interpret, even make your own experiments, vary some parameters, test the validity of the results and save it for your follow-up experiments. Throughout the entire process of your research, the objects vary but the subject of interpretation is you. They are your results and your interpretations are unique to you and your conditions. A good researcher is aware of the need to be objective while a bad researcher tend to take the results so personally and blame themselves. A good doctor sutures a cut in the skin while a bad doctor accepts that cuts are dangerous, the world is dangerous and hence, never reveals the skin to open air ever.

So, are we all bad researchers and bad doctors then? Do we really need to harden our hearts because the world has been mean to us or instead we seek help to heal our wounds and march forward with our hearts open? Do we live in fear or do we brave the cold and live fearlessly? Do we go back to courageously emanating love from our hearts like we used to when we were children or do we choose to secretly curl under the bed and call ourselves wounded? Whatever you decide, remember that your heart still beats just for you, waiting for you to tune in to the frequency of love.

Picture: Royalty-free, sourced from http://www.unsplash.com.

Stagnancy to flow-state

I remember the last time I felt the headrush of having a billion things to do in my list. I remember every minute lost in finding my shoes and gulping a sugar-loaded store-bought cupcake for breakfast before I had to catch the train every morning. I remember the hunger and fear-induced symphony played loudly in my stomach while sitting in a conference room. I remember counting the number of hours left before I could go home, wear my most comfortable pyjamas and watch my favorite Netflix show while I relish my two day-old greasy pizza for dinner. I used to look forward to weekends and would grab every chance to get a break from working my ass off. I would utilize every chunk of time during my day being creative in some form or the other. I would bathe in the joy of indulging the creative side of my brain. With the increase in the number of corona virus cases, I was forced to quarantine and all of a sudden, I felt controlled by a huge wave of inertia to do..basically anything. It was not laziness, nah, nah. It was something more powerful than that. It was more like a resolve to not do anything, literally anything. It was excruciating considering the number of deadlines that were approaching and the pile of work getting accumulated with the passing day. I knew I had to do something, anything if not something of value but I just couldn’t get myself to do it. This was the most stagnant my energy has ever been and I did not know how to get out of it. I wished for someone to suggest me a magical way to get my life back together. I wished to find a way to feel like myself again. There I was, silently looking out my window, staring at the beautiful meadow in front of me and sinking in desperation to find a way that shakes the lethargy out of me. Today, I would like to share a few ways to transition from stagnancy to flow-state that have worked for me.

  1. Take a shower

Taking a shower not only cleanses you physically but also energetically. When we have spent a lot of time doing nothing, chances that our mind wandered to relive unnecessary painful moments by overthinking are high. When we relive or replay past memories in our mind, our awareness is literally transported to all aspects of those past moments. We may not realise it but it is highly energetically depleting and polluting to our body and mind. Taking a mindful shower with fragrant soaps, favourite music or just quietly enjoying the temperature of the water might help reset our thinking by bringing our awareness back to the present moment and hence, help us make a fresh start.

2. End the chaos within

This has been life-saving for me! Often times, we tend to not do anything as a result of being overwhelmed by the number of things we need to do or the number of issues that are playing on our screen of the mind without even realising it. If you don’t know what to do next, simply, take a notepad and make a list. It doesn’t have to be in any order or structured. Just write away! Once you have a visual representation of what is going on inside your head, you can start the process of elimination. Cross-off the issues that you can’t possibly find a solution, mark the issues or tasks that you can’t solve within the next three hours and circle those entries that you can do something about in the next three hours. Within the ones you have circled, pick the most time-sensitive task and finally, you have identified the immediate logical action to do for the moment.

3. Find an accountability partner

Open your phone contact list and find one person who would either in person or virtually be willing to support your efforts in getting work done that day. Transfer the authority of making decisions to take breaks to them or better yet, involve them in this process by explaining to them what your work is about and what would happen if you failed to do the task. This way, you can’t escape the process by dismissing their knowledge or lack thereof of the nature of your work. When we don’t know how to start, the best way is to take the power of starting away from you and give that to your trustworthy friend.

4. Shimmy to your favourite jam

This might sound counterproductive but stay with me here. Now that you have your accountability partner and your clean psyche ready to work, spend the first 5-10min on listening to fast-paced music that pumps you up and makes you yell to yourself, ” you got this!”. When we want to do something we absolutely hate but must finish the task anyway, the act of listening to your favourite beats can help you connect with that energetically-masculine quality of getting things done like a warrior with swords. The genre of music doesn’t matter as long as it can make your arms punch the air with smile on your face while sitting at your desk. Keep a timer to end your dance session and then, get to work with an uninterrupted focus.

Picture: Royalty-free, sourced from http://www.unsplash.com.