Sunday, March 03, 2013

A Hit below the Belt

This is hilarious … no should not be hilarious. Should make me cry, make me get angry and make me sit up but at the end of the day, I settled for hilarious!! My best friend gave me one hit below the belt two days ago. When I attend an event, a church service, a seminar or truly even just when I meet people and have a conversation, I debrief the conversation or what I heard on my way back or hours later if my return from such encounters was another event on its own. Sometimes, it takes me days to finally reach some conclusions on what I learnt, heard or made out of a conversation. I somehow take in everything… gestures, expressions, dressing and words spoken. I piece all these information together in my mental debriefing… they all help me to make sense of the event, the encounter and conversation. Sometimes the expressions stay with me for life (depending on who, what and how), sometimes, I shudder at the thought of it and sometimes, I wish I can relive some events. Recently, I attended a remembrance… I could not remember much that was said about whom we were remembering but I remembered a lot about the shoes that came to the remembrance. I like shoes. I have three main passions in life… God, books and shoes (in that order) so I see shoes, I notice shoes and I smile at shoes. For some strange reasons, only shoes made an impression on me at this remembrance. I came home and hours later, I sent a bbm to my best friend and I told her about the remembrance and how strange it all seemed and then I told her about the shoes and the designers that came. Of course she knows me and shoes so she said that she is happy with her comfort shoes of naturalizer, aerosole and one other brand that I cannot remember. She said she would rather spend the $500 (clearance price in outlet shops) or $1k plus toward vacation. I told her that those are on the cheap side and she said for this brand that I went on and on… she can get one for me for $500 in Neiman Marcus outlet shop during sales… then I said…Oh… I would like to own lots of those when my book has made the New York Bestsellers list… Now this is when it happened. I could hear her laughter across the space and time… I live in a hemisphere that is six long hours ahead of her, across many oceans… ( I think it is across Atlantic and I am almost so sure, some part of pacific ocean too). My sense of geography is totally warped but that goes for a whole lot of people (Phew! What a comfort!). She responded and said, “that sounds like the man in the glass house”… I could barely remember the story but I remember the book. So I said, I thought that book was about a woman who loved frugality and somehow crossed the line into scavenging and she said... “yes it is, only her husband was going to build her a glass house”… which never was and has not been yet… I laughed… thought it was hilarious. Then thought… no I should cry because that was really below the belt delivered succinctly and with painful humor… then I resolved that the book will be written this year… at least one will be written and submitted to the publisher… fingers and toes crossed!!

Confront Your Fears (part 1)

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do things which you think you cannot do” (Eleanor Roosevelt) The above pretty much captures where I am in life right now. I know the path I want to take but fear seems to cripple me. I am in transition. That point on the road where there is something. It is a vulnerable state and fear can eat you up… because the path seems so uncertain. I do not know quite how to navigate out of it. There are things I must do and they may not be “convenient” but as I look back in the courses of my life “convenience” has stolen most of dreams from me and convenience had stolen time from me. What I see today is fear in a new cloak…did I say new? No, in the usual cloak of convenience rearing up again. I will jump anyway!!! I will get off the ship… off the known I will get off the ship of waiting for convenient time because I may never remember when I lived my life I may just be waiting for convenient time and my life will be over… What a tragedy that will be! “You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, So you have to make choice. And hopefully, your choices can come from a deep sense of who are” (Fred Rogers)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Turmoil and the Pretense

This is my second visit to my sister-in-law on this my consulting leadership journey. I like to talk to her for two main reasons among others. First, she has substance and understands professionalism, second, she will tell me the truth without sugar-coating anything because I am not her ‘friend’ so I chose her earlier on in my journey as a resource… call it “sounding board resource”. So we have our second meeting scheduled for today and because I came with my kids (one toddler and a 10 year old), we had to ‘move’ our discussion to another part of the living room area.
Although I have been to this home several times on social visits and family stuff, I have never really sat in this part of the house and have never noticed the painting on the wall staring at me today or maybe I am starring at the picture. My sister in-law was on the phone as we got in and the conversation was a fairly long one so I had time to look around. This picture is the portrait of a woman seemingly serene and at peace with herself… (sort of resigned but not with hopelessness). There was a richness and a fullness around her. On a closer look you get to see four cracks, all joining together to make a complete picture. It immediately appealed to me as if to say “this is your picture…” A lot of effort to appear serene or at peace but with a lot of turmoil and cracks. Although I have not checked out my ‘cracks’ to know how many pieces make the whole, but I am sure it must at least four like in the painting.
Maybe turmoil is a strong word I said to myself but what better word depicts the war or rather wars within… relationship cracks, spiritual cracks, career cracks, motherhood cracks, sisterhood cracks, personal journey cracks, discovery cracks… just mention it… there are crack.
As my sister in-law finished her conversation and came around to sit and discuss, I pointed to the painting and she said “yes it is a good piece, isn’t it…?” “The woman depicting serenity…I promptly cut her off with a loud laugh and this my sister in-law is prim and proper (Buckingham palace kind of prim and proper… no loud laughs kind of a person… you have to laugh with dignity and poise). So she was a little taken aback and I said no “I am relating more to the four cracks (which she called parts) that make the whole and appear serene. I told her that it kind of depicts my life right now… different wars within yet one has to appear to be all together… serene and at peace. We both laughed and got on with the meeting. That image stayed with me…

What a long break????

Hello all
I must really apologize for such long break but it has been tough…juggling quite a bit and my blog took the most hit. I embarked on a leadership development program and it has been gruesome in its demands… but I have resolved to find a little time a week to tell you all about it… the intrigues and the scenes behind the scenes. While there is not much of juicy stuff flowing out of academic program but there are stuff happening in the study groups and I have really missed dissing on those… the characters, the charades and other things happening in other areas of my life…
So I am back beginning with this story which happened earlier on as I embarked on this yet another journey… please come with me and share with me… and do not forget to leave your comments… and tell others about the blog…

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Death Becomes Us...

Today is one of those reflective days. It is the funeral of a friend and a colleague and I got to there a little early and sitting at the cemetery, the quietness, the solitude and the gloom that hung in the air as the different groups and clusters of people come in to bury their loved ones, it hit me again as it always does at times like this and practically everyday that life is one lonely journey but a lot of people ‘own’ you at death.
The living do not occupy my mind today though but the dead and they surround me with their tombstones perfectly erected and some already falling apart as in life… some are firmly focused on their journey and some fall apart along the way. So here I am sitting down wondering: How did they live… all these names and dates and lovely inscriptions and epitaphs? What did they live for?
My friend struggled a little bit on this journey but that is a struggle only friends know. She had a big smile always and that is what people remember. As I write this piece, I paused to think if and the times that I’d seen her cry. Oh yes she cried…
She had an abusive husband…she cried. She wanted children…she cried. She struggled with her health…she cried. But as much as I remember the times she cried, I also remember the she laughed so much. The times she triumphed and the times she lived.
Death is an end, a window for faith based dead but an end of a particular journey albeit.
Margaret had a dream I’d learn in death but a dream she had. She had a vision and she was headed somewhere… that surely is much like us still living. Did she get there? Did she park on the way? I do not know and we can never tell. Life is about purpose and longevity is promised to no one. No, no one at all but to all of us a dream, a talent has been given.
In the end, death becomes us and that is all of us… Do not put off until tomorrow… today is all you have. Live like it is the end because it is the end in essence…

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The joy of the big bus

What makes you smile?

What excites you?

Although it may appear a simple question but adults will find it difficult to immediately and jubilantly jump and give the answer? Life has choked out whatever it was and now we are not even sure so we look for it in all sorts of places… shops, malls, luxury goods, electronic gadgets, food etc and yet it eludes us so very much.

Recently, I read a number of unusual books ant they are the books I am likely to remember for a very long time, one of them is Life is a Verb by Patti Digh… please get it, read it and pass it on. It talks a lot about the simple things in life and the simple ways we can enjoy the journey and it may be the reason that I started noticing little things and understood for the first time in my life what it means to stop and smell the roses.

On a recent trip to the US, I took my two year old son Popo with me. We first stopped in London and because of I have always seen the London buses, it was part of the city. It did not stand out until my son almost jumped out of the stroller at the sight of his first bus. From then on, we could not take any step further, could not enter any shop or restaurant because we need to watch the buses. Unfortunately, we were on Oxford Street and the bus stream was endless. I was there jumping like a crazy woman to share in his excitement which could not be contained in anyway. Until I convinced him that the train which we need to take to head back to the airport in order to catch our connecting flight to the US is one big bus and so we got on it.

Getting to the US only heightened the new discovery of buses and the excitement continued with the metro buses. His face lights up, he screams “mama big bus” as each metro bus passed. I decided that we will go to as many places as we can via buses. He would not get down when we get to our bus stop. He will scream “no mama, popo not getting down”. Eventually, I will get him off carrying him with him kicking and screaming. We were a sight. Even though it was cold, he never minded as long as we are waiting for the big bus to arrive. If he sees a bus coming even when I say that is not our bus, it will not deter him from yelling “mama see popo bus”.

The mention or the appearance of a metro bus stops him from crying, gets him to behave and a trip on the bus is the highlight of his day each day and if we get off at the end of our trip, he was sad until you tell him that tomorrow is another day for adventure on the big bus.

Although my to do list was utterly changed on this trip on a daily basis, I decided to see the world through his eyes and find joy in little things like rides on a big bus.

Happy new year to all of you that stop through this blog site. In this new year, look around you for the little things that can help you forget the sorrows, the stress, the anger, and everything that weighs us down on this journey and laugh more. See if you can enjoy the ride on the big bus even with your Rolls Royce parked in the garage.

Enjoy the journey!!!

Searching for your purpose

Life is journey we are thrust upon at birth.
As we grow up we are guided, supported, we are trained, and we are educated in several ways and diverse fronts all to get us ready to embark on the journey for which we have already started.

As we journey, the search for who we are and the purpose for the journey faces us and tries to stop us or slow us down. When the purpose shadows comes at you along the journey, it stops you and you will never move until you have cleared it out. This is a point in everyone’s life where we ask questions and get hollow echo back at us and we keep asking, digging, searching until we find it or never find it.

The search can be torturous, and people destroy themselves in the search because it is fearful and the answers are not forth coming so we turn to the side for help and destruction comes and we pack along the way and never make it.
Some people search once and find the ace and journey to the end. Some people search several times as one find leads to a dead end and the search continues. Whether you are searching for the first time or you have to search several times, do not despair… you are about a purpose, you have a mission and in searching you will find thus.

As I searched some days and listen to people searching along the same journey, I wrote the piece below…

What am I about?
Some days I feel like an ant with dead antennae so I hit my head and it is a wall
I try the other direction and it is another wall

What am I about?
What should I be doing?
What am I wasting my time doing?
How should I go about it?
I do not believe that I am just a floater or meant to go through this path without an impact.
I feel like a failure but even that does not help
I fear… I worry… I am not even sure that if I see an opportunity, I‘d recognize it because it seems I have no clue what I am looking for

What am I about?
I ask again and again and I get no answer
But I hear a voice
A voice so clear and loud
You are about … about … about
Keep on

Wings 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Political Correctness and the Disappearance of Truth

Sometimes I laugh out loud when people tell me that I am smart or that I am more than an average person intellectually because it takes me a while to understand things and sometimes truly I never quite understand some things and these are not usually complex concepts or theories for that matter… I mean not rocket science as they say.
One of the things that I do not understand is the term “politically correct”. I mean, someone says something and you hear things like “That may be the truth but it is not politically correct”. Thinking about this for a while now, I wondered if there is anyone out there who is struggling like me to understand how the truth can be clouded by being politically incorrect.
I heard myself laughing aloud as I was driving that it will be possible to have a conversation like this:
Person A : “Good afternoon”
Person B : “Why would you tell me good afternoon this time? It is my morning and I am offended. How can you say it is afternoon because that is how you interpret the time of the day?”
“I think it is politically incorrect to say good afternoon to me when you do not know what time I think it is”.
Believe me a conversation like the above will have some people on this planet arguing that because someone set the time that after 12noon, it is afternoon does not mean it is for everyone even if they are in the same time zone. You know such senseless issues in the name of being politically correct. Oh you may think a person is nice or wearing a nice dress, please do not comment because while it okay to give compliments, it is not politically correct to tell a lady that she looks nice…. hoohoohaa what is the world turning into??
No longer can we say black is black and white is white because it is politically incorrect to say someone is black or white or something is black or white . Pretty soon, we will stop talking to each other because the very next person is offended just seeing the other person.
If something is not correct, it is not correct. How can it not be correct morally and be correct politically or vice versa, how can it be politically correct and be wrong in every other way. I am totally lost on this one.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Life is a Dance. Life is a Journey

Life is a dance. I dance. You dance and we all dance. Even with the best choreographer, we all dance differently as we hear the tune and as our bodies will let us move. Some with intensity, some with great agility and others just gracefully swinging from one direction to the other but dance we do.

In the same way, life is a journey and we are at different stages of our journey. Some just beginning, some very far gone and some at the middle, no matter where you are, we are all trotting along… and some have finished, reached the end and the destination and others have parked along the way.

Nothing can be truer as I look at the lives of my two boys now. One is getting ready to leave for high school and cannot wait to embrace this new stage of his life. Everything is about independence and the freedom of action that he believes high school will bring. No matter what I say about the boundaries and the unwritten rules of life, he still believes high school will take him away from the clutches of my discipline.

On the other hand, I look at my little toddler “Popo” who cannot leave me alone or take his hands off me. He holds my two legs so that I do not leave him and go out. He tugs at my clothes, pulls it and drags me around making sure we are linked and tied together somehow. He wakes up in the morning and pull me “pup up mama” no matter how much I tell him that I want a few more minutes of sleep, all I hear is “pup up mama”. There is no way he was leaving that bed and that room without me.

This is true of each of us every stage of our life and our journey. We need something different. Sometimes we want someone to hold us and never let us go and some point we want to be ‘set free’… (although we are free all the time). While one is ready to fly away to explore the world, one needs to hold me to help him explore his world, understand his world this time. For both there are lessons of life for us all.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The World is a Dance Floor

The world is a dance floor and we all dance differently even if the beat is one which it never is, we hear it differently.

This morning as I was sweating it away on the treadmill beside an older lady who was leisurely sweating it on the bike and dabbing her face at the show of any resemblance of sweat, a dashing young lady came in to say hello to the older lady. Did I say dashing? More like glamorous, elegant and all very well put together from her make-up to her bright scarlet red wrap around dress.

Every head (male and female) turned to towards the young lady and as she came around the older lady asked if her dress was a Von Frostein design and she said no but clearly basking in the attention and appreciation albeit with humility.

Just then we looked through the window as a reflection shone through the glass of another young lady whose glitter and style shone through the window in her gold and tube top walking towards her car with all pump and pageantry. The older lady shook her head and said but not maliciously, “that is not appropriate for this time” and then the well dressed lady with a big smile on her face “Oh that’s Jane. She always jams it all together… afternoon, evening even disco outfits”.

Even though that is very true, it reminded me of what I recently read that these differences and excesses are what makes the world what it is and makes the journey exciting.

From all indication, “Jane” was feeling very happy and beautiful in her disco outfit at 10.30 am and may be heading to the mall for all you care just like that.

While I do not diminish the appropriateness of styles and dressing but really life is a dance, the world a dance floor. We hear different tunes, we dance to whatever tune we hear and our steps are different but we are all dancing. Lets all just dance, dance and not worry about the dance steps of the other person