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30 and Learning…

The journey continues

Shorts

Broken

There was a beautiful butterfly on the ground. Someone was busy taking pictures. I went up to it and realized it had broken wings and couldn’t fly. I held out my hand, and reluctantly it climbed onto my finger. I left it in the corner of a nearby flowerbed, hoping it won’t get trampled on.

Beautiful creature but it’s only when you look closely you see that it’s broken.

Magic

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl

There is a brilliantly blue bird in my neighborhood. It’s not easy to spot. It shows up in the park on certain mornings. Coincidentally, it always shows up on the days when my spirit needs a little lift, and seeing it lights up my day because it is just so beautiful! It reminds me that nature is wonderful and there is so much beauty, so much magic all around. Then out of nowhere, a second blue bird showed up two weeks ago and I saw the pair every single morning and evening. My days were filled with magic. I felt surrounded by boundless love.

But for the last two days, both birds are missing. I haven’t seen even one of them. I hope the magic returns soon.

Madness

You call it madness but I call it love.” – Nat King Cole

The Friend-zoned: “I think we should date.

The Grieving: “I’m in a relationship.

The Friend-zoned: “Oh! Have I met him?

The Grieving: “No, he doesn’t stay here.”

The Friend-zoned: “Long distance relationships don’t usually work. Give me a chance.

The Grieving: “But there’s this thing called ‘loyalty’ that I take a little too seriously (laughs). I must see this one through.

The Friend-zoned: “Well, I’ll be here.”

The Grieving: laughs and puts on her sunglasses… to hide the tears that are trying to escape from the corner of her eyes. There is no relationship; the loyalty is not to a person but to his memories. The world cannot understand so she lies. Time will fix everything but now is not that time.

Thoughts

This past week was ripe with all kinds of emotions, from a potential rehoming of the puppy to a visit to my parents’. I am putting all of it down, hoping to string it all together in some cohesive way but it might just be a disjointed mess.

The Puppy

Earlier in the week I thought I was going to have to give up my puppy. There is a long back story that isn’t worth getting into now but I’ll just say this – I will never abandon someone, NEVER, especially an animal who cannot understand the complex world of humans, because of inconvenience. If we make a commitment to love someone or care for them, we must follow through with it and any decision we make should have their best interest at its heart. I also believe that if we really want to do something we can always find a way. But sometimes loving someone becomes difficult, even impossible. Or the love itself becomes insufficient. So instead of holding on to them to ease our conscience it is better to let them go so they may find love once again. Something like that happened in case of Birthday too.

When I decided to give up Birthday, it wasn’t because it is inconvenient for me to have him but because it would be better for him to have more space and attention. And there were two homes that were seemingly keen on taking him. Huge houses with large, private yards, other pets and retired humans who stay home all day – I thought this was ideal for my baby. By Wednesday I was a wreak, crying incessantly, knowing that my little boy was going to be separated from me within a matter of few hours – I just had to take him to the two places and pick one.

When love is meant to stay, it finds a way. I had decided to keep my personal interest aside and do what’s best for Birth. But sometimes what we may perceive as “the best” based on our confined logic and reasoning, isn’t necessarily the best at all. One of the two families backed out last minute for reasons unknown to me. The other gentleman called me and said there had been some miscommunication and he was looking to adopt a female puppy of a small breed (Birthday is a boy, and already quite big for his age). Suddenly Birthday wasn’t going anywhere and I cannot express how ecstatic I was! Call me a weird one (although by now this shouldn’t come as a surprise really) but I took that as a sign from the Universe that Birthday and I are meant to be together. However “perfect” these other homes may seem, only I can give him the love he needs; I AM him perfect home. So once and for all, I have decided that Birthday is mine, and although I may not be able to give him everything, I will make up for it with love because that is something I have unlimited supply of.

The Cats

Sometimes I wonder if Izzie and Milo could talk, would they say that I abandoned them? I think that had I surrendered them to a shelter in the US that would’ve been abandonment. I have only left them with my parents because it’s better for them. The love, care and attention that they are getting there is something I am incapable of providing right now.

Izzie will be 8 this year, Milo 6, and I am anxious to be back with them. It saddens me deeply to be away, especially when I see how happy Milo still gets when he sees me, how he still remembers all the little routines we had, how I’m still the only one who can trim his nails, or who can hold him for his vaccination. Like Birthday, Milo is also a scared boy. He was abandoned by his first family, and I just hope he doesn’t think his new mum has abandoned him too. My only consolation in all of this is that they are well. Love, as I have said many times before, doesn’t always mean being physically close. We can love someone from a distance if it means they will be better off being away.

The Parents

Each time I visit home and see my parents a little more aged than the previous time I saw them, I wonder if it is worth running after a job at the expense of the time I could be spending with them. It would be easy if only I had a money tree, or if money wasn’t as important as it is. The latter is a sad reality we live in. Money is more important than family, more important than friends, more important than everything else. And ironically, the reason money is so important is so we can take better care of family, enjoy with friends, and do the things we want to. Somewhere along the way, money has become more important than the very people we want to earn it for, and what’s worse, most people don’t even realize it.

I hadn’t been home in almost 5 months now because I had work deadlines. It may not seem like a long time to many but I want to see my parents everyday if I can help it. I want to be there for day-to-day stuff, to help them with small things. I couldn’t go home for my dad’s birthday, nor my mom’s; I want to celebrate their birthdays with them. Because as they say, when kids grow up, parents assume the role of children and vice versa, and my parents were always there for all of my birthdays and now it’s my turn. I simply want to be there, I want to show up.

The Dream

There was a time I couldn’t wait to get out of the small town I grew up in, out of India and into the great, big world. I did all that and learnt the hard way that all we really need in life is our family and those we love. But I had to take this exact journey to reach this point. Even now, I remember my last visit to India when I was still in the US. It was that trip that set the ball rolling for my eventual return and decision to stay. For the first time, I was heartbroken when I had to leave. Once back in Buffalo, I couldn’t stop thinking about home and crying. That is when I finally knew what I wanted in life – to be close to those I love and care for the most. I was back in India within few months of that trip, and within few more months of that I had made up my mind to stay.

Now the only dream I have is to have everyone I love under one roof. Every time I’m with my parents, and Izzie-Milo, I feel that life is passing me by very quickly and I’m not moving fast enough to keep up. I must find a way to keep my family together, and find it fast. I am not in any unusual circumstance. On the contrary, this is the norm today – people grow up and move away from their parents. In India, aging parents move in with their children when they can no longer be independent. I don’t want to wait for the day when one or both my parents need looking after, or when Izzie and Milo are sick. I want to spend as many good years with them as I can before the inevitable happens. I lost my grandma unexpectedly last year and sometimes I do feel a pang of guilt that I didn’t spend enough time with her. There is no saying when life will be over for any one of us, and I don’t want to have guilt when my time is up.

The Lonely

Sometimes I feel like I have a plan and if only I can get a little help I can turn my dream into a reality. My father is the one person I have turned to for support multiple times, including during this visit, and each time his response is a negative. I doubt it’s his lack of trust in my plan – I am already proving at my own level that it is a good plan – but it’s his long held, deeply rooted notion that I should be married now, and by extension not have these “silly thoughts” about “keeping the family together”. I am not averse to the idea of getting married. But I cannot put my life on hold waiting for the right person to show up. I think that the right person will show up as I live and work towards my dream, because he has to fit into my plan. Getting married, for me, cannot be the opposite of keeping my family together, it must be the same thing. He must share the same values as me. He must put our family on top – his parents and mine – OUR family. And he must believe in me.

On certain days I miss my lost love a lot more than usual because he would have supported me and my plan. He believed in me. But he’s gone and now I have no one I can turn to. I feel lonely, not for lack of love or companionship, but for lack of support to turn my dream into a reality. I feel helpless, leaving my family behind with no clear idea about when I’ll see them next time. I feel restless, to live a life of love and abundance.

Reflection

I wrote a post few days ago that I have since deleted because it seemed more like a rant than anything meaningful.

Like I had mentioned in that post, on certain days my energy and patience are spent on trying not to miss someone, and then I become irascible, snapping at the smallest thing that irritates me. Sometimes I internalize the anger, sometimes I let it out, and sometimes it finds a way to come out, like it did in that post.

I am undergoing a state of internal chaos right now. As I pointed out in my post about meditation, I recognize that my energies are out of balance, and I must make conscious efforts to return to a state of equilibrium but the process is not easy. The constant efforts can get tiring. As with a see-saw or a pendulum or a weighing balance, before equilibrium can be reached, there is a period of swaying, going from one end to the other, one side to the other, one extreme to the other. Slowly the separation between the two extremes is reduced and ultimately, a steady state is achieved.

I am in the swaying stage right now. But I don’t think I’ve hit either extreme yet. I am yet to have a totally perfect day, and I’m yet to have an entirely bad day. In a way it is scary because I don’t want to have a bad day – breaking down is not an option I have. I don’t have the luxury of giving up. And endless stream of perfect days is really just make-believe. As long as we are not living in some sort of denial, we will have good days and bad days. What makes all the difference is our ability to remain unaffected in either case. I am swaying close to the center where this ability to remain unaffected lies. I pass that place many times but I can’t seem to stay there. I go to one end where I feel better by telling myself that I’m better off now – the place of denial, to the other end where I just want to cry – the place of shock. The place of acceptance, as I have mentioned in few of my recent posts, is elusive, transient, fleeting.

As I have done on occasion before, allow me to make yet another science analogy. A body at rest continues to stay at rest and a body in motion continues to stay in motion unless acted upon by external force – the Law of Inertia. So if I am swaying right now, I can continue this motion endlessly unless there is an external force involved. On most days the external force is me. I try to meditate and restore balance in my chakras so the swaying may stop and I can remain centered. But every once in a while there is another external force that has the exact opposite effect. It pushes me towards the extreme, it accelerates my sway, increases its span. This is the type of force that I ended up venting against in my last post.

I usually write my posts as notes in my phone, over a period of several days. And I usually avoid writing on days when I’m not feeling centered. This last post was an exception on all counts. I wrote it directly in WordPress because I was feeling restless to write. And the reason I was restless is because it wasn’t a day when I was centered. So what started as a simple narrative about how I don’t feel like I belong anywhere quickly turned into a spew of frustration towards those who keep telling me that I don’t go out as much anymore.

It is true indeed that I don’t go out the way I did before, but the difference is not in terms of time spent outdoors but the way that time is spent. People fail to recognize this and when they make such a comment, it is invariably accompanied by the insinuation that I’m not having fun anymore, or by extension, that something is wrong with me. I prefer early mornings to late nights, and I prefer activity over dining out. It’s as simple as that. And I’ve always been this way until someone came into my life and things changed for a while in between. The frustration over being misunderstood further led to futile justification of the way I had become – that I went out a lot because the person I was with did not like my dog! That somehow he turned me into someone that wasn’t truly me and so I am better off without him.

The thing, though, is that this is exactly how my uncentered days are. I couldn’t care less about what people say, but I’m sensitive right now and any suggestion that I am not handling things well bothers me. A small trigger can upset me, and set me down the path of denial. When I come out of this denial, I become extremely sad because I am reminded of how much I actually miss this person. It’s not that I’m better or worse without him, I just am without him, and although that hasn’t changed me as a person, it has changed my world a little and I must now learn to adjust to this new world. I’m doing the best I can and though the process of adjustment is taking longer than I’d like, there isn’t much more I can do. The counter-productive external forces sometimes slow down my progress but at least I am able to bounce back from that and not let them take over.

Happy and sad are not mutually exclusive states. Happiness does not mean absence of sadness. It simply means knowing that you’re ok despite the sadness. I am able to stay happy through all the chaos and swaying, and for now, that is enough.

The Gift of Meditation

Ever since my friend made the comment about me and enlightenment, I have been intrigued by what exactly enlightenment means. I’ve been reading about it, watching videos, and have come to conclude that I’m actually very far from it. In fact, I don’t think I even want to get there because that would mean having no attachments at all.

I like the level of attachment I’m at. There was a time when I was extremely attached to all things worldly but over the years I’ve become more spiritual. I have become unattached to most things. As I’ve said on occasion, there is a difference between being unattached and detached. Being unattached means not having any emotions associated with something. Being detached requires us to be attached to something first, and then being able to control our emotions for the greater good. We can love someone but be at peace loving them from afar because that is what is best for the other person. So the detachment we develop is rooted in our attachment to that person.

I have few attachments – my family, my pets – and I would never want to reach a state where I am unattached to them. An enlightened person is no longer a creature of this world. S/he feels no pain and is always happy, ecstatic as most sources describe it. But I like the pain that comes from having these attachments and from trying to remain detached. I like all the emotions I feel; in short, I like being human. However, I do feel more aware than I’ve ever felt in my life, like I have woken up from a deep sleep.

I started meditating when I was going through some really difficult times and was desperately fighting depression. At that time, my practice was only focused on keeping my mind still. Through the years, I have added progressively “advanced” dimensions to my practice. I started working on chakras first, and currently I am trying to step out of my body and see myself from the outside. Some days I’m able to get there, other days I can’t. Regardless of that, what the practice has given me is not some magical ability to control my life, but the ability to control my reactions to it. Chakra meditation and balancing remains one of the most valuable insights I have acquired through this process. And I feel ever so grateful to have reached a state where I feel like my third eye chakra is almost balanced. Among other things, I am able to look inside and identify exactly what is going on within me.

If someone were to ask me whether I was happy, I would answer “yes” without thinking twice. But something has been missing in my life for a while now – laughter… joy. I am happy, but I rarely laugh anymore. I drag myself out but I rarely feel joy in doing things. I thought I have a broken heart so I kept trying to channel energy to my heart chakra. Then recently, during my ‘quest for enlightenment’, I learned about over-energized chakras, and suddenly, I felt like I had come across a major revelation. I had an over-energized heart chakra, which is actually a bad thing!

At its perfectly balanced state, the heart chakra allows us to love ourselves and others alike. Under-energized heart chakra leads us to build walls and close out any and all kinds of love. An over-energized heart chakra, however, causes us to love others excessively, ignoring ourselves in the process. I have been loving someone else so much that I have not been loving myself. As a consequence of this, I have an under-energized sacral chakra, because of which I no longer feel joy in anything. Identifying and acknowledging an issue is the first step towards resolving it. Now that I know where to channel my energy, I can fix myself.

This is what meditation has done for me – I can see myself from an outsider’s perspective. Some days I have all my 6 chakras in a state of perfect balance and I feel happy and content. Those days have been rare lately but at least I know how to get back there. The change will not happen overnight, it’s a journey. But the process has begun. I can hold on to my love for others but at the same time, remember to love myself too. I can embrace pain and still find my own happiness. I am sure there are other ways to explain everything I’ve said but this is the explanation that most resonates with me. I recognize energy, around me and within. Right now, it’s the energy within that needs attention. This awareness, this consciousness is enough for me. I don’t want to stop loving those I love and be ecstatic. I want to hold on to my love and simply be happy with the knowledge that they are happy too, even if it is without me.

Understanding Love

I am a big fan of science fiction. Because I don’t think it’s entirely fiction. It’s a window into a likely future we may very well be able to create. I love the Star Wars because I believe that one day a lot of it will come to pass, not in “a galaxy far, far away” but in our own Milky Way. People will travel across star systems, and in fact, the definition of “people” itself will change. I love Star Trek, and surely a life form such as the Vulcans must exist out there. To think that we’re the only ones, or what we know today is the limit of what can be known is ignorance, no, it’s arrogance. I wouldn’t even wager that we’re the smartest people in this vast universe. What’s to say that we’re not simply the science experiment of some other higher form of life? What is life for that matter? We only know one kind – the organic form. Who knows what other kinds of life can or do exist? I can go on endlessly because I have a curious mind that’s open to infinite possibilities. But I think I’ve said enough to justify my opening statement – I love science “fiction”.

Universe isn’t the only thing that intrigues me. I find the human mind just as fascinating. There was a time when medicine wasn’t a generally accepted profession. Studying cadavers was considered sacrilegious. But look at how far we’ve come today. Psychologists were once dismissed as shrinks but in recent times more and more people are turning to therapy because now we don’t feel ashamed in admitting that mental health is a crucial aspect of our well being. In fact, a healthy mind is the foundation for a healthy body. Our conscious and subconscious brain only form a fraction of what our mind really is. I believe that there is a lot more that is as yet unconscious. There are aspects of our psyche that we haven’t even discovered. Maybe as psychology becomes more mainstream, we will start to tap into this unconscious part.

Interstellar is another movie I loved. I also have special memory of the time I watched it, but that’s beside the point. There was one thing in particular in that movie that, in hindsight, makes sense to me now, because when I watched the movie I didn’t quite appreciate it. I think it’s mostly because of how it was dealt with. When Amelia and Cooper had to pick one planet that they could visit with the little remaining fuel, Amelia wanted to visit the planet where her beloved was. Cooper wanted to visit the planet that made more sense logically. Amelia’s argument about love being a real force was conveyed so weakly, and in a way that made it seem more like a silly rhetoric founded not in anything scientific but in a schoolgirl-like crush. But that was the whole idea, I reckon. Her capability to make a wise decision stood challenged by the time this exchange came about in the movie. So it was intended for her to lose this argument, or the movie would have ended differently!

I want to revisit what Amelia said but in a more objective way. By now it’s fairly obvious that I also have an unusual fascination with the concept of love. That’s because I think that love is one of the most fundamental human emotions but also the most trivialized one because of the plethora of movies that only focus on one aspect of it. It is so important yet so misunderstood. Through the many conversations I’ve had on the subject, I have come to conclude that there are three kinds of love – romantic, platonic and spiritual love. It’s really the last kind that fascinates me.

Romantic love is the most overrated and overused kind of love, honestly. That’s not to say that it’s not important. It is but it has really skewed our perception of love causing most people to dismiss it as being fleeting, hence trivial. Romantic love pertains to the conscious part of the brain. There’s enough research out there to explain the science behind it. We meet someone we are attracted to, our brain triggers release of happy chemicals like endorphins and dopamine, and we fall in love. Over time the release of these chemicals in response to the same stimulus tapers and we find romantic love fading. So yes, this kind of love is fleeting by design.

Platonic love is the most abundant kind of love that pertains to the subconscious mind. This love satisfies some of our basic human needs. We love our family, friends, certain activities and things. This, in turn, satisfies our desire to belong, to feel accepted and appreciated, to feel joy. Romantic love can often lead to platonic love, like in long term relationships.

Spiritual love, the kind that interests me, is associated with the unconscious part of the mind. Most of us go through life without any spiritual awareness. Sometimes we feel instantly connected to certain people but we don’t make much of it. Spirituality is something that needs to be cultivated, the unconscious needs to be made conscious. It requires time and patience, things that aren’t commonplace in today’s fast-paced life. I always advise people to make time for meditation, even if for just 5 minutes, because it truly can make a world of a difference. I meditate regularly and have felt my spiritual awareness increase over the years as my practice has matured. I recognize spiritual connections when I come across them. These are the people I can engage in meaningful conversations with. They help my spirit grow.

I have one such friend who is almost like my spiritual guru. He routinely gives me valuable feedback about furthering my meditation practice. He even told me recently that I might be close to enlightenment. Honestly, I don’t know what enlightenment is. My practice doesn’t have an end goal so I’m not seeking enlightenment, or anything else. But I do think more deeply now than I did in the past, and it is rarely emotionally charged.

So circling back to where all this started, I think the love that Amelia was talking about was the spiritual kind. She felt a connection with the person she loved and she knew that his data was more reliable. Spoiler alert: she was right as we find out in the end. Just because what she felt could not be explained by science, it was deemed illogical. So logic, then, becomes a subjective and relative term. As our collective knowledge expands, the bounds of logic will also expand. On an individual level, as one’s awareness expands, logic expands.

I am sure there is science behind spiritual love that we aren’t in a position to explain yet. But there are bonds that transcend the physical plane and exist as a certain force field. This is the force that we sometimes feel instantly, and physical distance has no impact on it. It is the feeling of “just knowing“. Once we become aware of this force we can feel it more and more because it is all around us. That is also the reason why I feel that the universe communicates with us. Maybe the universe is made up of matter and anti-matter, and also this force called love. We just need to raise our awareness to a level where we can understand it.

It is rare to find someone with whom we can share all kinds of love. I think I found that last year in my nameless relationship. It started as a spiritual connection, it was instant. Then romantic love followed and it was passionate. And finally we found platonic love too, and it was comfortable. In the end, we had it all, and then we, I, lost it all. So maybe I’m hanging too much on this relationship. I refuse to accept that my one true love is lost forever. So it must still be out there, waiting for me. But moving on, the reason I started writing this post is not to explore my love life but to answer a question I came across after my last post – what is love? So here it is. This is love to me. And when I said that love is all-consuming, I meant that rare kind of love that combines all aspects, because most love we encounter in our lifetime only has two of these three elements at most.

I may be wrong but that’s how the process of learning works. Sometimes you’re right, other times you’re wrong and then you seek what’s right.

On Singularity and Love

Is possible to be in love with two people at the same time?

I like observing people. It is what feeds my thoughts, and consequently, a lot of my writing. Seeing people handle situations in their respective lives gives me a chance to analyze human behavior. By no means do I think that I’m an expert, I’m not even playing in that ballpark. I am not trying to decipher the complexity of being human. But in a way, this constant analysis of vicariously experienced situations gives me a chance to reflect upon my own character and understand myself and my belief-system better.

Not too long ago I made a mention of a friend who is in love with two people, at least that’s what he claims. His situation has always made me wonder if that’s really possible. He’s been in love with two people for a while. Then a time came when he had to choose, and so he did. So now he’s in a committed relationship with one of the two people. But he still thinks about the other person. So the obvious question that comes to mind – who does he really miss when neither of these people are around? As I had written in my earlier post, I don’t think that really matters. He simply misses company and having either one of these people would make him equally content, equally secure.

I have often wondered if he actually loves either one of these people. To me it seems like he loves neither, because none of his feelings are all consuming, like love should be. If he loves his current committed partner, he shouldn’t think about the other person. Having this person to hold and cherish should be enough. It is a choice he made willingly and freely. By contrast, if he loves the other person, he should not be able to have a meaningful relationship with the former. That is not the case either. From what I can tell, he has a wholesome, healthy relationship with his partner. For lack of a better word, I think he might be a coward. He does not want to be the one to end his current relationship, but he also wants to have a safety net in case it ends of its own accord.

I read something as a child, in the book Notes to Myself, “we are not responsible for our feelings but for what we do with them”. Powerful words. Back then I simply highlighted them not knowing that one day they would mean a whole lot more to me than what they did at that young age. In the recent years these words have been like gospel to me. I don’t believe in judging people for their thoughts and emotions. It’s the most natural thing, and something that sets us apart from other living creatures. Animals have emotions too, but they are stimulus based, and go away with the stimulus. My puppy sees me and becomes happy; he is sad when he sees me leave. Then he gets busy playing. I don’t think he can suddenly become dejected in the middle of his playtime thinking about me. But people can. Thoughts can spring up without any triggers or stimuli.

So when I say that my friend shouldn’t have thoughts about the other person, I’m not blaming him for these thoughts. In fact, I partly commend him for how he handles these thoughts – he pushes them aside and focuses on the life in front of him. The other part I reserve because I don’t think ignoring something is the best way to deal with it. But let’s shelve that for later. More importantly, I see thoughts like these as a sign of some underlying, deep-seated issue that’s begging to be addressed. Do these thoughts mean that there’s something missing in his current relationship? Perhaps.

The thing with this friend is that he is extremely afraid of being alone. It’s not something he has said to me but it’s something I have come to observe in him. He becomes a different person when he is alone. I think that like most people, he also believed that if he did not have a steady relationship by the time he was 30, he would end up alone for the rest of his life. It reminds me of the post I wrote when I turned 30, and the burdens of 20’s that one shouldn’t carry into their 30’s. This friend is turning 30 this year and I strongly believe that he is entering his 30’s with a wrong relationship simply because he is too terrified of being alone. He settled for the first person he met who he thought could be the one. Then he convinced himself that it was the right thing although I could sense a lot of doubt in him. Not too long after that he met someone else who started seeming better. And now he thinks he loves this other person too. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone, probably also out of fear of being left alone by those he hurts. So he continues telling himself that he loves both these people.

To confirm my earlier doubt, he is, in fact, not in love with either of these people. That is not to say that he doesn’t love them. He may very well love them both platonically, but I’m only exploring the romantic love here. He is physically present with his partner but emotionally, he is frequently absent. One day he might find the courage to admit that he made a wrong decision choosing his current relationship out of fear instead of love. He might do himself and his partner the favor of being honest, and might walk out (knowing him, he’d hope that his partner walks out on him instead). He might find some more courage to explore life on his own until he truly meets “the one and ONLY”. Or after being honest, he and his partner may decide to give things a try, starting anew with open communication this time.

What about the other person? In a way the other person is a casualty of his battle with his fears, if the fears win that is. In another way, this person may be the one who finally helps my friend face the reality and defeat his fears. His thoughts about this other person, that he mistakes for love, are no more than an escape and a sign that something needs to be fixed in his current relationship, and life in general. He would never actually be with this other person because his thoughts lack the power to move him. As much as he thinks about this other person, he would never find it convenient to openly, and unabashedly, admit that that is the person he loves, which is the exact opposite of what love is. And thereby any claims that these thoughts may have of being love stand self-destructed.

I maintain what I’ve always said about love and being in love. Love is a powerful emotion that can overpower everything. Being in love is about togetherness. Staying within the bounds of what’s normal, no one can want to be with more than one person at a time. You only want to hold one person’s hand, only want one person to kiss, only want to fall sleep and wake up next to one person. In my friend’s case, this ONE unique person is as yet nameless and faceless; all he has are options, one better than the other depending on the circumstances on any given day, and he can do the above things with either one of them, or anyone else for that matter should a suitable option present itself.

Tomorrow

Poetry was my first love. I wrote my first poem when I was 8. And now, every time I can manage to express myself in few sentences that rhyme, what I end up with is a feeling of pure, unadulterated joy.

Scarlet O’Hara is perhaps the one fictional character I admire the most, and who helped shape part of my character at a very young age. Granted she has her flaws, vanity being the biggest one, and lack of maturity on occasion, but I love the strength of her character, her resilience, her determination. And the one thing that has always stuck with me through the years is her “tomorrow is another day”. Finally, I have a poem to honor this life lesson.

No, I don’t long for yesterday to come back,

For yesterday would lead me back to today.

Sometimes today is a hard place to be,

I just want today to go away.

 

       I long to see the sun of tomorrow,

      Tomorrow might be a better day.

       Tomorrow the pain might disappear,

       And all the hurt might fade away.

 

Tomorrow – it is a place of promise,

Tomorrow – it is a place of hope;

Tomorrow the memories will be weaker,

Tomorrow I’ll have more strength to cope.

 

        And just like that tomorrow comes,

        And just like that it turns to today.

        So once again I long for tomorrow,

        And hope that this time it will stay.

 

Although tomorrow never really comes,

It’s what makes the world go ‘round.

The hope, the promise carry us on,

Through all the hard todays that abound.

 

       Oh life! You are beautiful indeed,

       Through high and low, through joy and sorrow.

       Most days, I live for today,

       But when I can’t, you give me tomorrow.

P

Coincidence

Not too long ago I wrote about destiny versus free will. And here I am today, talking about coincidences. Sometimes certain things happen in life that make us question whether it was all part of the plan or if it was just a coincidence. My life is full of such odd coincidences.

One time, as a teenager, I got into an argument with my parents and decided to run away – oh the teenage years! I started walking and soon enough I realized that I was lost. I kept walking in the hope of finding my way back, only to get further lost and ended up deep in the woods. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I saw a cop. A cop, in the middle of the forest, on foot – now that’s some coincidence! He asked me what I was doing there and I told him what had happened. He said a young girl should not be venturing out there all by herself, it wasn’t safe. He offered to escort me back home, and after many hours of walking I was finally reunited with my family, safe and ever so grateful to have found that mysterious policeman. I think that I had digressed from my life’s intended path and hence the universe had to intervene.

The universe always gives us a chance to correct our course, however, it is up to us to recognize the opportunity as such and take it. When I met that cop in the forest, I could have rejected his offer to help and continued walking. I might have ended up in grave trouble and regretted my decision to leave and refuse help when it came. That is what I had talked about in my post about destiny. Sometimes we can deviate too far from the intended path by making one wrong decision after another, and that is when we live, or die, with regrets. But the universe does offer at least one chance.

The way I ended up back in India was also a series of coincidences. I did not plan for it, it just happened. At the time it seemed like a series of unfortunate coincidences but in hindsight it seems like it was part of the plan. The way I ended up in Goa was also a coincidence. I had never applied for my current job. I got a call one day and I said yes. And everything I have now feels so right. I have some amazing friends, a budding passion project, I found a puppy, and I found love. Almost all of these things happened as coincidences too. My passion project came about on a whim one afternoon. I had a thought as I was walking down the street, and coincidentally, I walked into the right place, at the right time and met the right people. The puppy came to me on my birthday. I’ve tried giving him up several times but somehow it never worked. And my love? Well that’s a coincidence too, and in fact, the reason I started thinking about coincidences.

I was going through my blog last week, finally organizing posts into a menu, when I noticed something. I wrote a post on May 27 last year, more or less challenging the universe to impose love on me if it does exist out there for me. On May 29, I met him.

I knew him before that too, but we were no more than formal acquaintances. On May 29, purely by chance, we ended up spending the most memorable night together. It’s not what you might think it was. The plan was only to have one casual drink. But then we went on to walk by the river, then to a “secret” beach. We spent the whole night talking; we watched the first rays of the sun light up the sky; we rescued a baby fish that had shored up, probably because of the low tide that night. We, well I, did some yoga – silly, I know – and he took pictures (that is how I know the date, from the photos in my camera roll, and one of those pictures is featured here). I say that that was the night we met because that is the night we knew we had something special. I felt a strange comfort in his presence, although I had never spent any time with him before. I remember wanting to rest my head on his shoulder. I can’t remember if I did though. I wish I could ask him because he would remember. What I do remember is telling him at some point during that night that we were kindred spirits.

Those are some coincidences that are etched in my mind but by no means the only coincidences I’ve experienced. But are they really only coincidences? I like to think not. Not everything is a coincidence, not even good things that may seem like a chance encounter or serendipity. Perhaps they are part of a bigger plan that we don’t see. And sometimes they are spontaneous course corrections to get us back on that plan. But that’s not to say that there are no coincidences at all in life. There are. Towards the end, I think both he and I were beginning to realize that our attachment was much deeper than we liked to admit. We did a bunch of nonsensical “if we’re meant to be together”s – like catching an empty bottle in open waters, missing a flight… the answer always came up as an affirmative. Those were purely coincidences though because here we are, separated forever.

It’s hard to say what’s a coincidence and what’s more than that. I believe in the Universe, and I believe in miracles – miracles are miracles only because we can’t understand them, not because they can’t be explained. Trust me, I am a person who whole-heartedly believes in science but I also acknowledge that there are things that science can’t explain yet. So I like to believe that anything of the slightest consequence that happens to us happens for a reason. There are no accidents. What may seem like random events are actually not random at all. It’s sort of like the chaos theory but in a metaphysical way. That’s the way I see it. It may be too romantic a notion to think that the Universe is always guiding us, but the more I go through life with an open mind, the more I realize that the Universe talks to me, and sometimes coincidence is the language it uses.

Another Tuesday in the books, another week come and gone. Tuesdays are the new Mondays for me because they bring on the blues. It was a Tuesday when I saw someone for the last time. Now every Tuesday I wake up with a number in my head – the number of weeks since that fateful day. Someday it’ll change. Someday I’ll lose track of the count. There are 52 weeks in a year, and who knows how many years of my life ahead of me. I doubt I can keep track of the weeks. Weeks will turn into months, months into years. And ultimately it would just be an entire lifetime.

And it’s pointless to keep count anyway. It’s not that after so many weeks or months or years the wait will be over – it’s not a countdown. The weight of all the “never”s will not change. Never see, never touch, never feel, never kiss, never hold… regardless of the count, all of it will remain “never”. 

Grieving is not a linear process. You don’t always start with denial. You don’t always end up at acceptance and stay there. You keep going back and forth. I have reached acceptance but on certain days I have to work hard to hold on to it. It’s not that I get reminded of something. I don’t need reminders, he is always front and center in mind. His toothbrush, his razor, the change he emptied from his pockets – everything is where he left them. These things are not reminders, they make me smile. But on certain days I just want to tell him something and watch him laugh. That is when the weight of all those “never”s comes crashing down on me and I must muster all my strength to hold on to the acceptance with my dear life.

This is not intended to be a sad post. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I have always said that I am too vain to ever expose my weaknesses – they aren’t flattering. So this is not me crying and asking for sympathy. This is not some sort of outburst of emotion. This is not an act of impulse. This is just a reflection, an objective look at the process of coping with a loss. I acknowledge all feelings and emotions the same way. This is an acknowledgement that I do have moments of weakness. I also handle all feelings and emotions the same way. So I let myself feel weak just as I let myself feel happy; and if I’m not always happy, I’m not always weak either. Acceptance, in a way, is only a matter of finding the balance between the two. The day there is no weakness left is the day you have finally moved on.

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