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What are you going to do less off and more off?

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

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The Unlived Life Posted by on 31 May, 2015 at 9:20comments (105) This topic was inspired by my favorite TV show Super Soul Sunday. The guest Steve Pressman (author of book The war of Art) was talking about how for every uplifting thought we intrinsically have resistance and overcoming it takes us to a higher plane. These uplifting thoughts, ideas or ventures he describes as “the unlived life” and describes that we all need to take actions against the resistance. I have been caught in this. Whether its fear or a false sense of responsibility I may limit my dreams. I may limit my idea to what I feel confident about. It’s the “no risk” or “low risk” zone. Then I have the “high risk” zone where I have had crazy or different ideas which needs courage, commitment and common sense to follow through and succeed. However, I also have a different thought around this. Thinking on just the words “unlived life”, there is a reason why I have chosen to keep the ‘unlived life” unlived. I feel, where our lives are unlived and we have regrets or potential regrets is where we need to take action. It’s fun to fantasize about unlived life – however, it’s better to jump into the life we are living. My “unlived” life And the life I am living Distinctly different Carefully created Quite apart And yet oh so near Dreams, fantasies and aspirations Truth A potential path And the road I’ve taken A reason why its ‘unlived’ Yet a hope to reach?

Ignorance and Innocence Posted by on 17 May, 2015 at 20:55comments (0) This topic was inspired by my 3 year old Ashna. It has been a fun experience to see her grow, discover things and build her personality. Ashna like other children showcases innocence. Thinking about ignorance, I am not much into current affairs and recently in a conversation, I acknowledged my ignorance. Innocence comes from a clean heart and a trusting nature. In innocence, we accept things as they seem. Funnily in innocence we are closer to Him. As we get “smarter” we start building barriers, bringing more of our rational selves in the picture – maybe being more ignorant. Does innocence at one point lead to ignorance? Ignorance on the other hand is where we don’t know or where the intellect is not fast/ smart enough to grasp the meaning. It’s easier to fix the “we don’t know” part. It’s harder and takes more effort to push the intellect. The story that comes to mind is Panini. He became an excellent scholar in Sanskrit grammar and is known for multiple scriptures. However when he was young, he had a really hard time learning and memorizing verses. He was taunted and rebuked by his peers and teachers. At one point, he planned to commit suicide by jumping in the well. With God’s grace he saw some ladies pulling out water from a well. He noticed how the rope has created grooves in the well’s wall. He decided that if the wall can get grooves through repetition, his mind can too. With new enthusiasm he returned and overtime he become a world renowned scholar. For innocence, I think of the verse, “Give me the pureness, clarity and transparency of glass, then I will imbibe Your name in my heart” For ignorance, I remember Panini and also caution myself to be aware of my ignorance getting in the way of spiritual progress. Innocence Ultimate trust Unassuming? Accepting The Is Ignorance Not knowing Not questioning What is possible I pray for Child-like innocence To Love Thee Challenge the ignorance To Know Thee

The Learning from a Life Story Posted by on 25 April, 2015 at 8:35comments (648) The thought was inspired from a visit of our relatives. We had multiple generations within the room. We had a 76 year old, a 50 year old, a couple of 40 year olds, a 10 year old and a 3 year old. All of us with different life stories and different experiences and unique learnings. The uncle and aunty were talking about their times when India was quite conservative. They lived in a joint family and learned the art of living and existing with multiple personalities. My parents-in-law reminisced about their life as they came to US in 60’s when there were hardly any Asians. They adjusted to the new life-style, the weather and being so far away from the family. We and the other cousins were talking about technology, work-life balance and challenges of raising children with multiple identities – US and India and our struggle in finding time. All of us with different life stories and all different life learnings. Interestingly all of us have adjusted. The learning is you can adjust and accommodate to almost anything if you desire to – whether it’s a bossy relative, a new country, distances, weather or any sort of change. The key in my mind is to remember your purpose and continue to work towards it with enthusiasm and initiative. As we adjust and accommodate, we have to ensure we don’t forget our goal and path. Each life story Different Vivid So personal Each life story With choices And adjustments So unique Each life story With lessons And wisdom So intuitive Life stories and Their patterns So different And yet so similar Each life story One more path And one more chance To reach Him.

Tough Lives of God Posted by on 8 April, 2015 at 7:05comments (295) This topic was inspired as I was reading Shrimad Bhagwat, a Hindu scripture. The scripture talks about all 24 incarnations of God and stories of his devotees. As I was looking and contemplating on God’s life in the incarnations it is obvious that these are very tough lives! It’s the same theme if you see Jesus Christ’s life. Think about Shri Ram and spending 14 years in the jungle fighting demons or Shri Krushna who was attacked by demons when he was a baby or Christ and the crucifixion. Even Gods aren’t spared! Would you like to trade in the life you have for the life of these Gods? In the true sense of love, you would trade in if it relieves your beloved. Everyone faces tough times in life. Sometimes these are external. We continue to hear news where people flee from a country to avoid violence or poverty. Thankfully all of us in the US or in peaceful countries are blessed and we don’t have to worry that atleast from external circumstances we are not in midst of war or poverty. Recently, many of my close friends are going through their own tough times either with disease or with death. At such times, I am reminded of devouts of God - specifically Prahalad. He was 5 years old and a strong devout of God. His father opposed his devotion tremendously and tried various methods to get rid of the devotion. When that didn’t work, the father tried to kill Prahaladji. God protected his devout in each of the calamities. Interestingly Prahaladji never asked God for mercy. He never asked Him to save him from misery or harm his father. Prahaladji just continued to chant God’s name. With each calamity, his intensity of devotion increased. I wonder if I could have kept my devotion intact or blamed God or begged God for mercy. Tough times didn’t sway Prahaladji and rather helped him to be even more focused on God. For me, it’s a great reminder that everyone faces tough periods in life – whether it’s God or his devotees. With toughness of will, grace of God and steadfast devotion, this too shall pass A rough day Tough years And These too shall pass Steadfast devotion Strong will Laser sharp focus These ….I will bring Grace & More Grace Is all I will need Let me be centered Help me increase my intensity Of devotion Let tough times Remind me and lead me To Thee

Not Who - But Why? Posted by on 14 March, 2015 at 17:45comments (0) The thought for this chapter came from a training on EQ (Emotional Quotient). It talked on how we need to be aware of our perceptions. It further talked about concept to “seek to understand” thus reinforcing not who but why. Let me cite an example. I work with someone who is a nay sayer. She would find all reasons on why something wouldn’t work or complicate a simple process with bombardment of questions. This was my initial perception. As I got to know her better, I realized that she is very detailed and likes thinking through all the scenarios. As she is detailed she expects the team to think through all potential roadblocks. The “why” is her need for clarity on details vs the “who” is being who she is! Sometimes my ‘judgmental’ personality comes into play and I have to try harder to ask the questions and understand the context. I also enjoy the ‘speed’ of doing things and roadblocks like this ensure I learn the art of patience. The reminder is ‘not who but why”. What is the context? Why are they asking the question? What is bothering them? What are they scared off? What is their intent? Let’s us seek to understand a different point of view. Not who but why Ask the question Let go the perception And seek to understand Not who but why Explain the context Open up and Give the why Not who but why Align on the higher purpose And start there It’s the why That holds the keys To open the door

Identity Crisis Posted by on 16 February, 2015 at 17:20comments (499) This thought was inspired in multiple ways – a discussion with a colleague, a comment on a TV show about identity theft and a thought for the day on mindfulness – speaking of with what you identify yourself and trying to go above and beyond it. It all started when we had a massive layoff in our department. It came as a surprise. The gentleman who was impacted had 18 years tenure with the company. His identity was defined by his work at this company. His reaction naturally was of disbelief. He was facing an identity crisis! I have always believed that your identity should not be solely dependent on your work. We should have different facets to our identity. I am blessed to have different hobbies which help me expand my perspective and the people I interact with. Hence it helps expands my identity as an earthly being. Though its still limiting. It’s also interesting to view identify from external and internal perspective. Most people, including me at times, start believing that the perception people have about you is true. However, true identity is how we think of ourselves. What is the mirror telling me? As we think further on identity, I am reminded of Sri Sri Ravishankar. He asks “Who am I?” Are you Ms. ABC? Are you the body or are you the soul? Who am I is a perennial question and it’s amazing to introspect on different answers that come to the mind. He further asks to contemplate on “Where am I” – going at a micro level of each DNA in the cell to at a macro level of a miniscule part of the entire universe. I am reminded of the 'Nirvana Shatkam' I had read a story of a saint and someone asked him – Who are you? His response was – a servant of the Almighty. I guess if your identity is linked back to the infinite and the limitless there is no scope of identity crisis. Who are you, again? The boss called me And thanked me For my services I am fired I am free And “I” am lost The pursuit begins To find the path To recreate “me” The same fallacy The same mistake I need to break The barriers That limit me!

Empty the Boat Posted by on 25 January, 2015 at 9:40comments (85) This thought came from the book Dhammapada – teachings of Buddha. As a part of my new year’s resolution I have promised to work on my patience by building more compassion. My brother recommended I review Dhammapada as who else can teach us compassion and patience like Buddha! The book has various chapters on verses and each chapter has introduction by Eknath Easwaran (an author introduced to me by my coach Marian Baker – another blessing). The thought “Empty the boat” implies getting rid of possessions. Possessions can be both material and mental. It’s easier to get rid of material possessions – buying less and giving away more. Though that too may be hard for some people. I like to keep the Japanese philosophy in mind – Just in time (JIT) to get things when you actually need them. Its counter philosophy is “Just in case”. I hold on to something just in case I may need it. Funnily most times this does not work as we forget where we have kept all the things! Let’s empty your boat of material possessions. It’s harder to get rid of mental possessions – anger, irritation, greed, lust, fear, impatience and even restlessness. Interestingly, once we give up either of the possessions, there is a sense of calm. I have to be careful though as I give up material possessions, it does not end up as ‘mental’ possession – example I am so nice that I donated $x to this cause and it ends up being the ego possession. Suddenly my boat is fuller than before! Empty the boat is more of an inner state. An inner craving to live with just what we really need materially and spiritually. Letting go and emptying possessions is relieving. What’s on your boat that you would like to empty out? Empty the boat And let it float Lightly Enjoying the waves And the rhythms Empty the boat Of material things Enjoy The calmness of “less” Empty the boat And let go Of fear Of anger Of greed Empty the boat And make space For Him

What are you going to do less off and more off? Posted by on 8 January, 2015 at 7:05comments (0) As the New Year begins, I enjoy reflecting on the past year – rating and noting key events of the year in material and spiritual terms. At that time, I revisit my resolutions and evaluate those too. As I started thinking about them for the New Year, it inspired this topic – what am I going to do more off and less off. In the past years, I had “activity” based resolutions. I will exercise 3 times a week. I will spend more time practicing music etc. Then last year my coach Marian Baker gave great advice. She said, think about how you want to “feel” and that will drive the right behavior / activities. So, last year, my resolutions were I want to feel healthier and have more stamina and I want to feel recharged through music. She did warn though that we need to continue to remind ourselves and focus on how do you want to feel and will this activity help me move towards it or away from it. This year I decided to take a twist on this and ask the question - what I will do less off and what I will do more off. I also decided to just come up with 3 core things to work on – less overreaction, more meaningful activity (less wasteful activities) and more time in spiritual pursuits. I have decided to focus on each quarter and take up the 21 day challenges. The first 3 month is mastering less over-reaction and the 21 day challenge is - no complaining ( Physically I have a 90 day challenge to lose 5-7lbs. What are you going to do less off and more off? A year gone A time to reflect A time to resolve A time to see time move A subtle realization Archiving the year In totality? A struggle To undo the past from the present A new year Can be a new life Changes and challenges Enthusiasm and apprehension In the end its upto us With the gift of ‘free-will’ To do or undo another year


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