Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You Are The Voice

You’re the voice

In my workshops I am often encountered with people who say they are lost. They feel they need direction and want me to show them. “I hate my job and I want to quit, what do you think I should do ?” “My husband abuses me, I want a divorce, what do you think I should do ?” “I am not happy with my life, what do you think I should do ?”

At some point or the other we have all felt lost. We found ourselves at a junction where we didn’t know which turn to take ! We have all been at cross roads of right/ wrong/ compromise/ follow your heart. And it is in times extreme stress and despair that we look for a person who has the answers to our questions. We look for that voice outside which will give us those magical words of wisdom to set our world right.

What I am proposing is this. There is no answer outside. All answers are within. You are more than you give yourself credit for. If you asked me my age, and if I said, “I am 63” you would laugh at my face. You asked me a question and I gave you an answer, but you didn’t buy it ! I move on to tell you “I am 42”, you still won’t believe me. Then I say “I am 32” and you would go “hmmm that could be possible, but you look a bit younger”. The point I am driving at is this, in asking me the question you already have an estimate of the answer. You are merely looking for a match in my words. In other words, when we have a question or confusion, we already know the estimate answer. Why not act on our own answers anyways. When we seek answers from others, what we are actually seeking is companionship and re assurance that we are understood. When we turn to others to sort our world we are actually calming our own loneliness. We really want to be heard and understood than to seek advice. The greatest frustration of counsellors is that their patients don’t follow their advice. The truth is the patients just want to be heard and understood. They didn’t pay the money for advice, they paid the money to be understood. And that feeling of being heard and understood gives them enough sanity to move on with their own decisions.

I do workshops where I get people to walk on fire. Now there are many theories why the coals won’t burn you. I can quote from physics, from biology, philosophy and even spirituality. All this data helps in understanding one’s fear and one’s power. But believe me, when you are faced with the gleaming hot coals and you are next in line to take that step on the fire, you won’t remember a word of what I said. Fear does not understand science. Fear does not understand faith. Fear only understands your perspective. When fear is knocking your power out, it is what you tell yourself that will decide whether you will step on the coals or not. By the fireside, there is an intense conversation happening, between you and yourself. And finally when people walk across the coals without getting burnt, I ask them “How did you do it ?” ! And every single time I get this answer, “I told myself ............” It is always what they told themselves that took them across the coal.

Advice is good, opinions are good, knowledge is good. They give you a broader view and perspective on the world around you. But end of the day you are the one who knows your reality best. You are the keeper of your own truth. And the only person who can take you across your firewalk is your own voice.

At the fireside, there are only two options; to take the step forward in faith or to step back in fear. And that step is propelled by your own voice.

You will never know ‘how to walk on the fire’. You will never know if you will find love in your life again. You will never know if your next boss will be a better person. You will never know if you will burn on the fire. But one thing you will know for sure; when you make up your mind and take the step forward despite your fears and past failures, your entire system will support you because that is what it is designed to do. And no matter what the consequence, the place at the end of the fire bed is far more exhilarating than the place you were before.

So next time you find yourself at cross roads, consider all facts and opinions but in the end listen to your heart. People love to experiment with others lives by advicing them. And somehow all of us are experts in what is best for others. Only you know the real truth about who you are you and what you do. Only you can really sort your life. Make up your mind in the direction YOU know is right, and you will succeed. I have absolute certainty that we all know what the right thing to do is, whether we do it or not.

We belong to a culture that thrives on opinions and moves on approvals. When you open up your problem book to another, you are turning away from your own power. Listen to your own voice before it drowns in the noise of others.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Destiny is a Daily thing

Each one of us has our fair share of ‘potential’ destiny, just as the seed has the ‘potential’ of a tree. Unlike the seed, which is at the mercy of its environment to grow, we are blessed with the gift of choice, which gives us power over our environment. In other words, what that means is, we can create our own circumstance.

Life is a perspective. When you change your perspective, you change the way you think. When you change the way you think, you change how you feel. When you feel better, you perform better. And when you perform better on a daily basis, you see magical results.

A lot of people feel that the past shapes the future. If you look carefully, today is a result of your past. Today will be the past for tomorrow. So in a more intense perspective, it is today that will eventually equal to your future. Don’t use your past mistakes and mishaps as the foundation of an unfortunate future. You fail tomorrow if you fail today. You don’t fail tomorrow because you failed yesterday.

You can have a shot to success everyday. A lot of people quit on their lives because they feel that their past has been too messed up. Success eludes them because they continue to live their life ‘everyday’ in the same mindset of helplessness. At some point or the other, we have all made mistakes, we all have been beaten, we all have been cheated, we all have all fallen short of our own expectations. At some point or the other, we have wronged ourselves and wronged others. But the only point where destiny is shaped is the point where you stand now. It is ‘now’ where you choose what you will do about all that has happened to you and all that you can make happen for yourself. It is in your choice today, that you will set a whole series of events and intentions in action for the future. Today is a chance for you to set your past right. Learning from your past is a smart thing to do, but only the ignorant live their past everyday.

I do personal breakthrough workshops and use the firewalk as an analogy to make this point. I often tell people that just because they got burnt in the past does not mean that they will burn today on my firewalk. Burns like accidents happen when one is not paying attention, when one acts out of ignorance and when one lacks intention. When people do walk on fire, they do so with full attention, awareness and intention. Is it then magic that they did not get burnt ? Certainly it is magic. There is magic in paying attention, there is magic in awareness and there is magic when actions are done intentionally. So what role does a past burn have to play in the decisions you make today ? Every burn, every loss, every hurt teaches you one lesson: “responsibility”. If you learn to take responsibility of what happens to you, then you become a powerful person. Destiny is not about what happens to you, destiny is shaped in what you do about it here from.

All people who rose to greatness had pasts they were not proud of. They have also had their share of misfortunes. They became great because no matter what happened to them, they made choices of greatness on a daily basis. Whether it is Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Mahatma Gandhi, your next door neighbour, or you, all alike, have some parts of their past that could potentially destroy them. And all alike, have equal opportunity to create a better life. And that opportunity knocks your door daily in every choice and in every decision you make.

You too can create your own destiny, and you can start today. As long as you are alive, you have your shot at creating your world the way you want it. Your destiny is giving you a chance daily. Grab it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I have a great life

I have a great life, and if only I would tell myself that everyday, I would have a great life everyday :)

Im here in East Grinstead and just being here is an indication of a great life. I landed at Heathrow and the madness I left in Bombay picks you up right at the airport. Its as busy as life can sometimes be. I had to walk a mile with my suitcase (thank God for trolley bags) to the Central Bus Station. People pass you by and everyone has somewhere to go, no one is really there. Only bodies present in the airport, the mind is always somewhere else, either at the place they left, or the place they were headed for. I tried my best to be "there" and I found I was alone.

The Central Bus Station is not a fancy pick from the Bollywood movie. Its pretty cold with just alleys for buses to stand. Unlike in India you have vending machines near the benches while you wait. I was hungry and I was cold. Its funny how cold and hunger go together. I have never found myself saying "Im hot and Im hungry", thirsty is much appropriate. I dont know what the English were thinking when next to the bench at the bus station, out in the cold, they have vending machines selling ice creams. I was cold and I was hungry and the only thing I could find handy to eat was ice cream. I dont know what the selling psychology is here, but I headed for the machine. Atleast after eating the ice cream I wont be hungry anymore, only a lot more colder. I put in a 10 pound note with the queen side up, and the machine swallowed her with delight spitting out some wasted change in disgust, and out popped a "Caramel Cream" cup. I ate it with sadistic pleasure my teeth and oesophagus (the canal that takes your food from the mouth to the stomach) shivering in a musical rythm. By the time I finished my cup, my tongue was numb and when the ticket collector asked me "Where are you getting off my lady" I could only babble "South Terminal". He gave me a puzzled glance and shrugged his shoulders "hop in" was all he had to say.

East Grindstead is a pretty small town. And Forest Row is a pretty place, true to its name, with Forests everywhere.

My first few days were mainly a focus on my health. "How can anyone make themselves so sick ? You have done a great job at that !" Is what my teacher had to say. I felt great already. Whenever someone compliments me, I feel great, even if the compliment was directed at me making myself sick. I guess in my delight that "I did it", I also realised "I" did it. And now I didnt want to do it anymore. "How can I undo my sickness ?" I asked alarmed. "I was beginning to think you would never ask" my teacher said. I always thought she was too pretty to be a teacher. All teachers I had since then were bland, unattractive and yet very wise. I always thought wisdom and beauty dont stay in the same place, but G changed that perception. She was a stunning teacher.

I was sent to a chiropractor who would tell me how to undo my sickness. Its funny how I created sickness without any instructions and now I had to be taught how to undo it. "Whatever" I muttered to myself "I will make myself well".
The chiropractor was an Italian guy. Massimo. Nice name I thought. Instantly in image of an Italian hunk, long hair, golden skin, dimpled cheek, shiny white teeth came to my mind. And before I could complete my mental sculpture the door to the consulting room opened and out walked a lean man "You must be Priya" he said in a twist almost biting his tongue. It sounded like my name in some strange language, but since he was looking at me with a smile, I nodded.
Massimo was Italian. He wore pants shorter than his size and a white shirt like the ones that sailors do. He seemed like a man who was so passionate about his work, that he had no time to dress like an Italian man. He sure had a set of shiny white teeth but the huge mole on his lip took your attention away from that. He had a dimple alright but everytime he smiled the mole almost touched the dimple. "Lets set you right" he said in a very Italian Accent, and I was ready.
A chiropractor works with your bones and aligns your body. When he finds your spine out of order he can also point to the disorder in the organs that are related with that point on the spine. One tickle down my spine and he figured that I had a colony of parasites in my stomach and intestines and also some that were causing me allergies and headaches. Wow. Italian men are smart. The first step was to set my spine right.
He lay me on a table and asked me to fold my arms clutching my shoulders. Then he twisted my neck on the side and said that he would raise me from the back, pull me in an embrace and crack my spine. "Good Lord ! If he makes a wee tiny mistake, I will not need this body anymore." I closed my eyes and Massimo put his hands under me raising me from the back in a one short "huh" cracked 6 bones on my back. "Thats good" he said. As I straightened my self on the table feeling a distinct relief in my back I realised that my long time dream had come true, of being in the arms of an Italian man, even if he was a chiropractor with short pants and a mole in his lip, genuinely interested in the vertebrae of my spinal cords and the energy imbalance of my body.

I must say that the spinal correction worked wonders on my body, though usually the hug would suffice, and I quite look forward for more wellness. ....

(to be continued) (only on special request)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wrong Place... Wrong Time

Have you ever been in a situation, kinda, wrong place at the wrong time ? You got fired for something you didn't do ? You got hit by an angry boyfriend when you weren't even hitting on his girlfriend ? You got caught for a crime you didn't commit ? You got ketchup on your new shirt which you weren't even pouring ? Your car got banged at the signal you didnt even break ? Well, thats called timing.... at the wrong end.

I am a believer that life is not an accident. That somewhere there is a hidden intent in all that happens to us. That somewhere, unknowingly but certainly, we create our own realities.

If you have been raising your fist at the sky muttering, "Why does this always happen to me ?" Then here is some news for you.... You lead yourself towards your greatest lesson. And if you care to inspect closely, there IS something you DID or DIDNT DO that you SHOULD HAVE DONE to cause or to prevent what happened to you.

And if you are the kind who must blame another for all that happens to you, then you have bought yourself a life full of misery. It would take considerable courage to look at the situation squarely and ask yourself "How did I cause this to happen ?" The answer is not to make you small but to make you powerful. You become powerful when you are at cause and you become weak when you are at effect. If you can catch yourself "causing" all the "accidents" in your life, then you certainly can turn that around and get lucky.

Being at the right place at the right time, is what happens to a person who knows what he wants and wants it at all costs. Being at the right place at the right time needs you to be aware, to be sensitive and above all to be prepared. So when you compare this to all the "bad things that happened to you" you will find that at that time you were in a state of ignorance, confusion and chaos.

Your destiny is defined in the clarity of what you want. You lead yourself to your greatest lesson. If you are not aware, sensitive and clear then you will create that knock on your head to stop and get back in focus. Stop you sure do (raise your fist and curse) .... but get back in focus (learn and move on) is what you must do.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Price of Love

The most liberating emotion that any human can be blessed with is the ability to love and 'to allow' being loved. And when you have pets, love becomes second nature. Thats what Betty brought into my life - an experience of unconditional love, literally.

For 13 years my dog lived with me, for only one purpose, love. There was no other reason, no agenda, no expectation, no quarrels, no upsets, no negative expectation - only joy and only love.

Life was amazing for 13 years. No matter how tiring or difficult a day, Betty was there to end it in joy. One creature was always ecstatic to see me. She was my source of joy, my source of relaxation and my ever ready source of play. Betty had no reality of a "hard day" or "heart break". All she knew was "its fun time" everytime.

And the price I paid for that bundle of joy was the pain of letting go, was the pain of watching her die. I am generally a VERY strong person, but Betty tested my strength BIG TIME. It was not easy to say "good bye".

All the hardships that I have been through in life seem petty today in the face of the pain that I experienced in allowing my source of love to leave, to move on, to be set free.

Love in all purity also brings with it pain in full power, if love is not understood. What I understand now is that love is a feeling, not a person or animal. Love is in the action. Love is in the intention. And so there is no end to love. And the power of love is in spreading it. The only true source of love is the ability in each one of us to express it. I was the beneficiary of it for 13 years, and now the price is in passing it on - to BE that source of love.

My tribute to Betty is that I will be that source of joy and love in all I do. That every moment is a reason for enthusiasm and energy. That because I am alive, I must bring happiness. That the only relationship that I have with others, is the relationship of love. And in doing that I am allowing my soul to move on in peace, because I am sure hers already is !!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A.R. Rehman and You

A.R. Rehman has practically become a living legend in the music industry. With success following him with every passing year, the 43 year old soft spoken maestro still prayers before every composition and chooses to love in all he is and all he does. With a humble beginning to worldwide recognition at the Oscars, his journey has been the path less trodden. Here is following A.R. Rehman to his stardom and leading you to yours.

1.Train well: A.R. Rehman started playing the piano at age of 4. And ever since he has trained under almost every great musician the industry has had to offer. Be aware that learning takes time, money and above all humility. You cannot expect to earn before you learn. And when you do get to learn, take it to the point of mastery like Rehman did.

2.Go the extra mile when you start: At the age of 19, Rehman used to play the keyboard for Zakir Hussain’s troupe and even after his work, he would stay back in the studio, sitting through other musicians pieces, eyes and ears tuned in, constantly imbibing. How far you want to go in your life is determined by how far you will go in your quest to learn and get better.

3.There is no substitute for experience: Before Rehman composed his first song for films, he had the experience of 300 jingles behind him. And before he composed his first jingle, he had 10 years experience of playing music in concerts, big and small. And before Rehman got his first Oscar, he had 39 years of active music experience behind him. Success is a series of experiences, the more the experience, the closer you are to success.

4.Work comes first, money follows: Even though Rehman’s advertising career was flourishing he accepted to compose music for Mani Ratnam at Rs.25,000. It was a sum that he could make in three days composing ad jingles. But he did the project for the sake of expressing his talent and not for the money. If you want to make a new start, focus on your work, the money will follow.

5.Work your options well: Rehman was a well trained musician but before starting something new he worked his options out well in advance. Before he quit advertising to take up music composition for films he learnt driving so that he could at least temporarily survive as a driver in case the film world ended for him.

6.Have a work philosophy: Rehman has a very strict work philosophy, "Rather than making money, I believe in making people happy; all other things are secondary.” If your work makes people happy, you are in business and on the path of progress.

7.Treat others with dignity and importance: It is every singer’s dream to work with A R Rehman because he makes you feel like God. His singers even go to the extent of saying that he makes you feel as if you are AR Rehman and he is just an ordinary fellow. When you treat people with importance you put them in a state of peak performance. And when your team, department and colleagues perform well, overall you stand to win too.

8.Get the best out of your team: Rehman tries to extract something extra from every one of his musicians as well as his playback singers. He believes in their additional input. And with that he makes a point to improvise, every single time. Getting the opinions of those involved in your project is the smarted thing one can do to in order to project a master piece to the world.

9.Work with people: According to Rehman his best music comes when there's an exchange of ideas, when there are stories that inspire him. Connecting with people and his team and picking their brains keeps his creativity to the highest.

10.Learn to say no: Rehman’s philosophy is simple, "To achieve something you have to take the risk of offending someone by saying no.” He can only do so many films and can compose only so many songs and has to turn down others because he just can’t do it all. Saying no is important to remain in the business of quality.

11.There is no burnout in work: Rehman believes that a burnout occurs when one is not happy with what he is doing. If you are doing work out of family pressures or financial hassles, keep your eye rested on your passion, and follow it with the first opportunity. Because if you enjoy what you do, you will never want to take a break.

12.Success is a start, not an end: On winning the Oscar’s, which is a lifetime achievement for many, Rehman was humble enough to say "It's a starting point in my career”. When you succeed, you have only started. The true journey of responsibility and creativity begins here on.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wouldn't It Be Nice If....

Games are fun. They shape our character. They set up our personalities and also impact the way we think. Thats why its encouraged for children and adults alike, to enagage in sports and games as a part of their life.

There is this game I like in particular and playing it regularly will have a deep impact on the way you think, the way you manage your emotions, and the way you set the course of your dreams.

It's the game called "Wouldn't it be nice if...". Rules are simple, and can be played at any point of the day and other partners or players are not necessary, but sure helps in creating the some fun. The best time however to play this game is when you wake up to the world in the morning, and also at times when you feel low, lost or stuck.

Here is how it goes, when you wake up in the morning, spend about a few minutes playing and contemplating... "Wouldn't it be nice if.........." and you can complete the sentence with your hearts desire. This way you are acknowldeging all that you desire and also releasing it's hold on you by giving it away in a game. It's not a prayer, it's not a strong need, it's a game. You have fun, you imagine, you let it go,,, and by the way that's a very strong intention set in motion.

Try to play this game as a cheer yourself up tool when you are lost in your own web of worries. Worry is a game which is the exact opposite of "Wouldn't it be nice if.." Worry is a game that says, "Wouldnt all be ruined if...." The rules are the same, the impact is inevitable. Only one pushes you forward and the other pulls you down.

Wouldn't it be so nice if, everyone who read this finds happiness in the little things, such as the coincidence of this blog. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone greeted each other with a smile. Wouldn't it be nice if today I would be kinder and more tolerant. Wouldn't it be awesome if today I chose to forgive someone I had a longstanding grudge with. And wouldnt it be divine if today I chose to live in gratitude of all that have and more.
Wouldnt it be nice if you.... were lead to your own divinity.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pain - Dental is Mental

If you have ever had a tooth ache (especially the one you have ignored for a long time), then you will understand that dental pain crosses that line of being just physical pain, it eventually becomes mental. Well, maybe,,, all pain, if left unattended, eventually affects us mentally.

Im the kind of person who does not eat medicines. I believe that the world's biggest pharmacy exists in our nervous system, and if we just allow ourselves the time and the rest, we will heal. But, some people have zero tolerance for pain. The minute there is pain, they want to run and hide from it, and pop the "pain killer". Well, let me tell you this, the pain killer does not kill the pain. It deadens or numbs the pain receptors so you wont feel the pain. Now here's the deal. The pain exists. Only you cant feel it. What good would it be too deaden a process that is naturally designed to save you ? If there were no pain, dude, you would have been long past dead.

Now imagine this, you stub your toe real bad and your nail is ripped off. But you feel no pain, and you continue on your way. And by the time, your foot grabs your attention, its already bled you off and become septic. And to take that scenerio to an extreme consequence.... you have to chop of your "gangerene" stricken foot. So is pain good ? Yes, it brings your attention towards a hurt and malfunction, so you may correct and fix it.

So, my tooth hurts and I refuse to eat a pain killer. So when pain struck me, I decided to time its duration. I took out my stop watch and observed that each time the pain struck, it lasted only 3 minutes or less. What I learnt is that if I just allowed "some time" the pain would pass. And the same is true for all pain in life. If I just "allow it some time" it will pass.

To kill pain receptors makes the system weak. To allow your system to learn and fix I think is the greatest survival tool one can learn.

Even when I have a head ache, if I just sleep it off, I am fine.
Even when my stomach is upset, if I just allow myself two days and light eating, I am fine.
Even when I catch a cold, and if I just drink some extra juice and rest, I am fine.
What I have done in the process is given a chance to my body to heal naturally, because it will. Its designed to heal, not to quit on your on a simple running nose or skin allergy. When I count on my nervous system to heal, it works up and it works fast.

And medicines, create more rucass than they heal. Pick up the pill pack and read the booklet. The "side effects" part wont impress you much. So the deal is, would you rather risk the 10 side effects mentioned , or fight out the pain for two days ? Your answer will either put you on the path of natural well being or artificially derived temporary relief.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

All Paths are the Same.....

All paths are the same.... they lead nowhere :O)

If you really think about it life, learning and love are all in the journey. Where does that path lead you ? It quite depends on how you live your life. It quite depends upon what perspectives you learn from. And it quite depends upon how freely and easily you choose to love. There is no end to this journey because life and love like the Universe itself are ever expanding.

The Universe has no end. We have not been able to trace it's beginning and we have no sight of it's end. Astronomers have declared that the Universe is expanding, every minute. In that perspective, where does your journey end ? It's ever increasing. The more you do, the more there is to do. The more you learn, the more there is to learn. The more you love, the more there is to love.... What is of important is that you move towards expansion, that you move towards the creation of your own being and doing.

Wherever you are right now, make sure that your heart is in it. If your heart is not where your feet are leading you, then you cannot live, let alone learn and love. If you are lead by your heart... no matter where you are going it will make for a joyful journey.

As long as you put your heart in every moment, in every task, in every word, in every thought, you will be directed on the path of eternal bliss and divinity. And where does that lead to ? Does it really matter ? For as long as a man follows his heart and is on his way, he has connected with his infinite nature.