Living lightly- part I



I  am writing here after a long time- an eye operation, family upheavals and bereavement, illness and other things took up time.  But I did write elsewhere as a commitment to write everyday, although it is not as enjoyable as writing here.  For here, I write as myself and on whatever takes my fancy.  I am my own captain here.

I meant to write this post in the new year as I sorted out my stuff and seriously took up organising my life.  As I was getting rid of my stuff, mostly books- giving to charity, or people, recycling or selling, I came across this scene at my local library.  Not to let any moment go without buying books, this was so tempting for me.  So tempting until I learnt the story behind this pile of books.  They belonged to a dead man and were being sold to raise money for the library.  These books- new or second hand- were those he had bought, and never read- price labels intact.  Hundreds of boxes underneath the tables!  There were more apparently but the library ran out of space to take this generous gift.

I thought of how much this man had loved reading like I do and yet never found time to read them like I do.  I also have a big collection of books, but not as much as this.  Now that my eyes do not like the strain with the onset of glaucoma, I have started to read as little as possible.  I thought of a time, when I might have to do this or heaven forbid, my children might have to do this when I am gone.  No, no, no!  I felt the sadness of a possession that is never used.  Some people use things as a means of declaring their worth to the world.  Some use books to hide their nervousness of facing the reality.  I realised I read many books on organising and clutter and yet was afraid of actually tackling it.  I hung on to my self improvement books in the hope that I may improve just by reading them or reminding myself of their titles.  But life is lived in the reality, in the existence, in the mess of the world by learning, failing and trying again.  By holding on to a book, not only did I not have to take the action in the real world, I thought its existence on my shelf meant I possessed its qualities too.

So by releasing my ‘crutches’ of books, I found opportunities to engage with people and learn so much more than a solitary instruction of a book.  My life has become richer and my speaking and language have improved.  I feel more confident.  I have an important speech due in ten days.  Normally I would have felt nervous, but now I feel happy to welcome a new way of revealing my thoughts and communicating with people.  Life is experience, life is conversation!  In the moment.

PS- I did buy two books from that table but that is another post!


Valuing oneself when following your heart

It is important to value oneself even when doing what one loves.  Unfortunately there exist people who will take advantage and more so, when they realise that you will do anything to pursue this work.  They will steal from you (ideas and more), patronise you, make you work to unrealistic deadlines, not respond to you- all while being satisfied that you will do your best in the circumstances.  What an irony!  So what can you do?

1. Balance your heart and head: do your sums- are you being exploited?  while following your heart, make sure you follow your head too.  It is your heart that feeds your soul but your head feeds your body- you need both to achieve your life’s work.

2. Find your limits- how far do you go?  What can you do when you follow your heart?  When do you give up?  When does it start to hurt?  That’s when you need to stop.

3. Be assertive- Ask for things you need- money, time and any other thing to accomplish your work.  There are many lovely people too who will help you- you need to ask!

4. Believe in abundance- the concept of going without is consistent with scarcity thinking, i.e. there is not much to go around and therefore YOU need to be the one that can do without- money, love, honour and respect.  In abundance thinking, there is enough for everyone, so there is no need to be a martyr to your cause.  You can follow your heart without having to go without. 

Following my heart

I saw a post by Leo Babauta in which he encouraged us to create blogs about ourselves.  Now, this is quite terrifying.  I had got used to writing privately every day  after reading Julia Cameron‘s books, but the thought of sharing it with everyone- that was fearsome.  So I thought I should challenge this fear. To challenge it, I had to face it, feel it every inch of it, live with it creeping inside my skin and see its loathsome face.  It was not pleasant- what I did see was my own face reflected back.  That is it- my fear was me!  So in a way, I had been fearing myself, my success (possible or not) and all the fears that had been ingrained in me by others right from childhood- all these fears came at me with its multi-headed ugliness.  After scrapping away, only the fear that I had instilled in myself remained- that was the most powerful one.  So I have decided to challenge that too. By writing and by doing what I can do best- being myself, not my fears.