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Goodness Should be Ubiquitous

The world often seems to be ‘playing’ on the other side of a glass divider, like an aquarium. Everything ‘seems’ close and within reach, and yet not so. We often end up making choices based on what we believe we are ‘seeing’ and know, and more than not, those choices do not reflect ‘good’.

The fact is that goodness at any level still surprises us, and on a large scale – we are shocked. And yet, the ‘idea’ of goodness is ubiquitous, often mentioned in passing, assuming everyone truly understands its meaning and significance. The irony is – we use the word goodness in everyday parlance and yet the actual concept is highly underused, to the extent that any sign of goodness surprises us. Your first reaction might be to disagree with me – but think about it. Someone responds with care to your message – you wonder what objective the person may have; someone helps another or even cares about the planet and animals – there are innumerable posts of ‘wow’. What doesn’t shock us, on the contrary, are acts of unkindness, bullying, and hatred.

Why do so many of us turn to ‘God’ when we undergo tremendous difficulties and sufferings in our life? Why don’t we learn from our pain and ensure that we do not mete out pain and suffering to others? Why do we allow ourselves to wallow in self-pity or take out our frustration on those around us, and worse still, those weaker than us? The answer to all of these seemingly perplexing questions is that we allow our character to be shaped sans goodness. We make choices that lead us down a path that does not allow us to be receptive to goodness. Some of us believe that goodness can only be a reflection of some ‘divine power’ but definitely not a person’s internal ethical values.

Strange!

We need to make goodness ubiquitous – and this should no longer be a choice. This is so since without all-pervasive goodness, we are actually going against what is natural – it’s like abstaining from breathing, or food, or air – which sooner or later will affect our survival! The greater good is present inherently in all of us – but can only be effective and become stronger when we practice it. Hatred and evil are what we ‘learn’ and pass on to our generations! Ever seen a child ‘hate’ on another living being? A child’s first reaction is to run towards, hug another, pet an animal, and laugh for no reason – proving that goodness is inherent. We are born with it. Yet over time, we replace a lot of it with everything that would be the antithesis of goodness. Are you brave enough to accept this truth?

It’s time to reboot – now. Do you agree?

Writing Uncovers Even the Depths of the Soul

I must admit that when I began writing as a means to earn, it was scary. There were times that I would write just to escape – from being tired, from feeling emotionally drained, or even from laborious chores. At other times, I would relax and stop battling these ‘demons’, only to find my head and heart in sync, which then allowed the words to tumble out of them. My heart, mind, and words would coalesce – sometimes into a smooth flowing river and sometimes I would end up with a big soggy puddle!

Over time, I realized that in order to write well, I need to write from the depths of my soul – not from the surface of my emotions. I had to venture deep inside – deep enough to awaken feelings that would help me become distinct. Writing for me now, after years of practice, is a series of layered subtleties and gradations, expressed well enough to make people want to go along with me on my journey. I write from my soul.

When I write, I want it to be read and to leave the readers wanting more. It’s a deep desire to captivate the readers and enable them to ‘live’ my experiences, joys, darkness, lessons – albeit vicariously. The truth is that all of us have a story – we all are memoirs. When I write, however, it becomes a journey that I wish readers would want to undertake with me, and maybe compare notes of their story with mine.

It’s all about simple choices – the kind that creates magic, the kind that is the difference between words that readers want to soak in repeatedly or give up right at the beginning. I write such that readers can learn about my pain and joys – and maybe ease their pain and re-live their joys.

Life can be mundane in some parts – but through my words, I try to help see those ‘worn out’ parts with a fresh perspective. I know that when I read something, it often is to find some light or some solution to the complete madness in life – I read to save my soul and move towards being a better person. No words should be taken for granted – they must enrich the reader and encourage him/her to feel the emotions without actually undergoing a similar experience. Imagine that!

Wishing you well always!

Wherein Lies Inviolable Equanimity?

What does this phrase mean? What does it mean to you and can it be explained? To my way of thinking – it is not that this cannot be explained, but in doing so, it is possible that it loses its meaning when explicated in words. The world from each person’s perspective is evidently dissimilar. We seem to see everything up close and personal, and yet things seem detached.

We are not aware of what the future holds – and the pandemic is proof of that, in a forceful and ‘larger than life’ way. No, this is not a discourse on the pandemic! We know (even without the ‘scourge’) that we cannot predict the next moment, let alone tomorrow. What we can do, is either make the ‘uncertainty’ creep on us like flames lapping at our feet or choose to stay with and in, each moment. #Inviolable Equanimity is harder to achieve than we might think, but it is not impossible to steer clear of the immediacy of uncertainty. Without this composure and being in the present, we add isolation to the already lethal mix of depression, pain, anxiety, anger, and other toxic feelings. We create a ‘pressure cooker’ like state in our mind, heart, and body, with no discernible ‘release valve’.

We know that the definition and meaning of certainty and inviolable equanimity changes all the time. The reality of these terms is volatile and multi-layered, and even paradoxical. The phenomena of our everyday life seem fiddly to define. So, is there a way to center our minds and attain Inviolable Equanimity? Yes, I believe there is – if we are willing to go about things differently and remain committed to achieving positive results.

The trick lies in maintaining the impenetrable calmness – moment to moment or what is defined as being #mindful and being in the now. The offshoots are clarity of thought, ability to influence positive outcomes, focus and concentration – and a number of other such niceties that help maintain Inviolable Equanimity. Must say, however, that this sweet spot is by no means a given or easy to attain, even though it is core to our being. It is an essential albeit fragile asset.

Many of us have been dealt harsher and more frequent blows in our life – ones that either shook the foundation of our being or had other catastrophic aftermaths. These ‘thrashings’ often result in coping strategies that are usually apathy and even ‘resigning to one’s fate’. What makes these feelings even worse is the seeming revelry of our plight, of those around us – sadistic pleasure as we know it. Face it – there are demons amongst us, and each of us may have worn the cloak of such demonic impulses, sometime in our lives.

It is apparent that the disdainful and emotionally impoverished reactions, need to be culled – we need our inviolable equanimity to feel as dignified equals. We need a deeper form of ‘equality’ – a place where we accept our differences, stay away from corrosive inequality, and keep alive a profound sense of dignity not just for ourselves but for others too. Inviolable Equanimity is that higher stage – the one that lies beyond formal and material equality. Are we ready/committed enough?

Let’s talk more about this – chandini.khanna@gmail.com

Have a Super Life!

Do YOU Know Why You Write?

Writing as a business and for a living has been with me for the last 11 years and what I have realized is, that I write best when it is personal. This kind of writing has a ‘soul’. This kind of writing allows my unique voice to shine through – share my experiences, tell my story, bare my vulnerability and humanness, and enable readers to ‘bond’ with me. I must add though, that writing with soul is not always about one’s personal life. It is the kind of words that sparkle with vivacity and brio – a sparkle that is transferable. I often find myself telling myself to stop using my head and hand over the ‘pen’ to my heart. And it works.

The most important thing for me while writing is to never wear a mask. The mask of pseudo perfectionism or being a crackerjack – these personas are easily shattered. I have and will continue to share my susceptibility, my errors, and my doubts.

Even as a solo-flyer, there is a truckload of competition but my rule has been simple. Rather than ‘fighting’ the competition, I choose the path of differentiating myself – allowing ‘me’ to shine through, while still engaging in a conversation with my readers. This is true for any work/profession – sharing yourself and your experiences gives the persons listening to you, the freedom to do so too. In the words of Leonard Cohen: Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

Perfection is boring – it lacks sparkle and the ability to go beyond. As humans – we all are imperfect, quirky, idiosyncratic, and flawed – and it would be unwise to try and hide these inadequacies. I feel more at peace by embracing my quirks and flaws – it is comforting and not just for me. Think about it – do you prefer being around that ‘oh so perfect person’ or that ‘crazy and eccentric’ friend who allows you to be you?

I have always wanted my writing to comfort – allow those reading it, to argue with their inner critic and know that they are great despite the self-doubt. My writing is about the portrayal of a real human being. When writing, I prefer to ‘close the door’ – on the world and on the inner critic – and work on the first cut, uninhibited and without focusing on sharing it or possible praise or brickbats. The aim is to write with soul!

There is enough ‘writing’ out there that is loaded with falsity, ennui, aimed at ‘shocking’ for the sake of it. Why add to it? I would rather continue writing to build a ‘real’ human connection – and that means writing from the heart. I don’t have a humongous marketing or branding budget – I would rather write in a way that gets readers to like my work and know me and remain in anticipation to read my next piece. It is about being relatable and daring to be different – about putting ME into every piece. So, why do YOU write?

Trouncing Negativity

“Tell the negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up.” – Ann Bradford

Wouldn’t it be great if we could convey to all the negative folk around us exactly what the quote above says!

Of course, we know that life is not always about roses, happiness and cheerful people.

Dealing with negative people is part of being human

Face it – meeting and dealing with negative people comes with the territory of being human and this is irrespective of how careful, open-minded and middle-of-the-road suburbanite one would be. There is always someone out there trying to get you, tell you that you are wrong and will tell you that they don’t like anything you do. Funnily enough, despite everyone having their fair share, some people seem to get more than their ‘portion’. I see you nodding your head vigorously in agreement. You have been derailed by this ‘dumb’ set of people, whose only ambition is to be excruciatingly annoying and negative and suck up every ounce of energy that others may have.
I always wonder why we care so much about what others think of us. But yet we don’t think twice before commenting on something, especially when it is negative and you will find that there will be agreement all around. If you are not one, of the negative majority you will probably find your journey through life to be an extremely gruelling experience, an uphill task, a Herculean feat, an onerous…. Oh! Well you get the picture.

Some ways to trounce Negativity

 Take solace in the fact that such people are actually hiding behind this cloak of negativity only because they are desperately in need of help. Their neediness has enslaved them and they are fighting a self-trouncing battle that will ultimately get the better of them. Negative people actually need your help. This does not mean that you give in to their every whim or dominating action- just being respectful and caring often does the trick.

 Think that whatever the person is saying is their opinion, which they are entitled to. Say this to yourself continually and you will begin to live it and believe it and negativity won’t seem so tough after all.

 Try to control your wide-eyed enthusiasm and passion around such people. They are not easily distracted from their ‘negative path’ and may begin to see your cheerfulness as a challenge to them. You might as well stand as the target in a practice range! Just as you value your upbeat and optimistic nature, negative people have toiled hard to be the way they are – why should they change for you!

 Sure each of us has our own standards and principles by which we conduct ourselves. More often than not what you believe in is different and maybe even disappointing to you by virtue of being negative. I am not suggesting for a minute that you should not believe in the inherent universal good, but it is in your best interest to remain aware and stand your ground till the negative ones wear themselves down. This will make you more tolerant and probably have you whistling a happy tune most of the time.

Kick some butt!

If you don’t want to be kicked in your behind and be sore for a long time, then expect to be misrepresented, overruled, incessantly derided and be subject to other such negative strong-holds. All you can do is, train yourself to become mentally strong and get yourself some rhinoceros skin. Easier said than eh! Not really – it takes time and practice though. Negativity would come at you and it is necessary to spade your way through it. You cannot walk around wearing ‘rosy coloured glasses’ – it is not possible or prudent to disregard negativity but it should not throw you off balance.

Developing thick skin tactics:

#1 – Negative people love critiquing and would often be abusive in the bargain. Filter out only the suggestions and pretend that you didn’t hear the @#%%&^*!(*!

#2 – From my experience, negative people specialize in conveying the choicest of insults. As I said, they are emotionally charged individuals who throw reason and caution to the wind. Insulting you is meant to be a personal attack and now that you know it, practice selective listening.

#3 – Negative people often purposefully ignore you. That is their way of keeping you at a distance since you are probably making them uncomfortable. Check your behaviour to see if you are doing something to irritate people, else be flattered that you are important enough and making a strong enough impact that someone is trying so hard.
Developing ‘thick skin’ just means that you are confident – not in the group that requires constant approval from outside to feel special. It also means that you are willing to go beyond the ordinary, beat the challenges and probably be an inspiration for someone.

Make your own miracle!

Get serious about your own future since negative people aren’t going to support you to fulfil your desires and dreams. Unless some miraculous power or unseen force makes them mend their ways, you can be certain that wherever you are in life you will cross paths with negativity and it would be in your best interest to deal with it with humour and lightheartedness. Believe in the power of a cheery disposition, smile more (make people wonder what you are up to!) and I will let you in on my secret – the power to trounce negativity lies in you – make the negative ones know this too!

Strangely, Feeling Unloved has a Wicked Allure…….

“But you can vanquish the demons only when you yourself are convinced of your own worth.”― Adeline Yen Mah

An aphorism within the haloed realms of psychology speaks to the fact that we feel pain continually irrespective of how much it may bother us and build unresolved issues in our psyche. Over time, these inconclusive build ups are from the feeling of being unloved – and reactions can be triggered by just a word or someone. Unfortunately, the feeling of being unloved has a wicked allure – one of the strongest enticements. This, despite the fact that feeling unloved causes deep pain and sometimes unmanageable distress.

“I am unloved” is usually an unintended feeling, however, the enticement and propinquity for this feeling, have a strange vice-like grip. And yes, allured by the feeling of being unloved does throw common sense out of the window – because why would someone want to feel pain, after all the crap that life throws at us anyway? Well, the truth is that our inner self, has the ‘habit’ of going against the protocols of common sense, and if we look within deeply, we will uncover many such ‘allures’ that completely fly in the face of common sense. Feeling unloved – just one of these startling ‘discoveries’.

I refer to this feeling as a wicked allure because it is easy to fall in love with being unloved – it is familiar and maybe even used as a defining trait. It gives us a sense of ‘comfort’ to the extent that we are unrecognizable to ourselves without it. I don’t mean that these feelings are always unfounded – there would be innumerable instances of rejection, cruelty, snubbing, ridicule, and more inflicted upon the psyche and heart, leading to the vice-like grip!

Despite what we want to believe, the rejection or unkindness from others, while being the trigger, is not the reason for the allure and internal burden. These unsettling feelings come from our internal conflicts that remain ambiguous and unresolved. The vacillation between loving oneself and feeling completely unlovable in the next minute is that tough place where we feel trapped within. This cobweb of complexity – self-loathing, self-criticism – is usually and primarily unconscious, and has a devious allure.

This execrable allure has to be negated and broken away from – to sustain overall well-being. It might be acceptable to dig deep to make improvements in oneself, however, allowing the inner disparager to overwhelm us, can over time prove harsh and ruthless. Rather than allowing this to crush our very soul, looking deep into the reason for our emotional conflicts, could help us to love ourselves first. We can absolve ours self of unnecessary misery through insight and #emotionalintelligence. Taking steps to claw our way out of the pit of misery of feeling unloved is possibly one of the biggest ‘favors’ we can afford to our self. The allure towards being unloved – betrayal, rejection, feeling abandoned – are emotional but unfortunate attachments. It is akin to a bloodsucking parasite that refuses to leave, unless we shake it off.

Feeling unloved – a wicked but very real allure!