Category: Poetic Licence

Shadows have no color

13- 28 Mar 17 -Shadows have no colorThe image today has varied interpretations and perhaps it would also make us aware of how we can get in touch with our own self. It is also the first image in this blog without any words etched on it and hence I am free to interpret it my way. I am sure you too can discover new meanings in it too. Make your life colorful !

When I say hello to myself I discover me. This is perhaps the most obvious interpretation of the picture. In reality we rarely pause to take a deep look at answering questions like, Who am I? What do I seek? Where do I want to go? How can I change and become even more effective? Pausing occasionally to reflect about one’s own journey through life and the way ahead would often be invigorating, stimulating and eye opening. You could discover latent passions, uncover flaws that limited your potential and allow you to appreciate the blessings in your life.

My emotions help me touch myself – You shadow does not define you nor does it uphold you. It is an illusionary appendage that is neither harmful not beneficial. The shadow cannot reflect your inner core. It just outlines the exterior and that to, a distorted image depending on the light. For you to really understand yourself and touch your inner self, you need to understand and appreciate your emotions. Your feelings your sensitivity, your mettle have to be dug out from within you by introspection, observation, listening and interpretation. Perhaps you also have to realign your attitude, behavior and actions to get the best out of your physical and emotional potential.

I need to reach out and touch another – My shadow can fall on another but make no difference to the other person. If I want to touch another person, I will have to make the effort to reach out and touch him/ her. My shadow in fact begins from a point in my physical self; yet I am neither conscious about it nor do I give it any importance. The same is true about my shadow that touches around without them even noticing it. Yet when I stop and pay attention to others, when I listen to them, when I talk and share my thoughts and feelings I can get responses that matter to me and them.  I have a responsibility to reach out and have a positive influence on those around me.

Shadows reflect an outline; I reflect my life – A shadow just takes the form without any depth. It is my life that I lead, that projects the real me. My values, my upbringing, my education, my attitude, my behavior, my strength of character are all displayed in full measure by the way I lead my life. I would be judged (correctly or wrongly) by others by the example I set and the personality I reflect my real self in my interactions. Ironically the shadow that follows me everywhere is just a uni-dimensional projection of my physical self and even that is distorted.  When I say hello to my shadow, I am just making myself aware that there is a multi faceted individual within me that no shadow can do justice to. It also is my way of realizing that there are hues of grey within me that I need to paint brighter. I am responsible for who I am.

In the end thou art just a form but… – This is a chilling reminder that the shadow is all that you are. No color, no emotions, no attachments just a form that you can neither touch nor feel nor avoid. Yet, the form cannot be visible without a physical you and the power of light. As long as you are alive you are duty bound to make the best of your life and the light around; be it family, friends, colleagues or simply the presence of nature around you. The challenge for you is to prove Shakespeare wrong  when he said ‘ the evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interned with their bones’.

Don’t let your shadow define you; let your life be your epitaph long after you are interned.

Try these:

  • Try and write your own epitaph. It will give a purpose and meaning to your life.
  • Choose 3-5 sayings or proverbs that you can make it the bedrock of your life.
  • Click on the following links to see how people creatively use the power of shadows. Perhaps you too can attempt to do something creative in a similar way.

 Identify two special qualities that endear the following people to you

  • Your parents/ siblings / a special family member
  • Your two best friends
  • Your two favorite teachers / bosses / colleagues
  • Your favorite animal or bird

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The child in us

20-The child in you

As we grow up there is a tendency to think more rationally, behave more maturely and respond more circumspectly. The fact is that with age comes responsibility, pragmaticism and the need for socially acceptable interaction. However, in the process we often end being artificial, contrived and awkward for we have lost our natural grace, spontaneity and exuberance. We curb our enthusiasm, react with restrain and seek to fit in. The adult in us desperately tries to hide the child in us, fetters us with chains of social norms and nearly suffocates us as we behave artificially to meet social norms. Apparently life is fun but it is a put on, we project it as fulfilling whilst in reality it is suffocating and beneath the surface we crave to express ourselves unfettered, carefree and joyously.

Ask yourself when are you most happy. The weekends for sure especially when there is a policy to drop the veneer of power dressing. Picnics and outings come a close second for there are no shackles of do’s and dont’s. Informal social gatherings, where you are at  liberty to be your own person. Holidays, when you fully control your life and do pretty much as you please. When you are enjoying a social event be it a musical program, a theater event or a party with friends. Don’t forget the treks, the boys/ girls day out and the ever favorite class mates meets. Pause and ask yourself what makes these events special moments for me. The answer is obvious, you drop your mask of being someone you really are not and become the real you.

The challenge is to seamlessly integrate that child like enthusiasm, spontaneity and exuberance into daily life and balance it with the social norms and pressures imposed on you as a professional, an executive and an adult. It may look a tad difficult but in reality it is the child in us that we often curb that allows us to retain our sanity, allow us to cope with stress and most of all make life fun. We discuss the latest headlines with colleagues giving it our own touch of interpretation, we argue and differ with others, we plan a meal out with colleagues spontaneously and we get all agog when we talk about something passionately. We can do more; we can personalize our workstation to reflect our individuality, we can surprise others with a gift or a treat most unexpectedly, genuinely appreciate something about another person, personalize a sharing with individuals (example you know a person is an avid gardener and you come across an excellent article/ book / clipping on gardening and you make it a point to share that with the individual concerned).

One danger though, of bringing out the child in us, is our over enthusiasm that results us in misusing social media and irritating others. Mindlessly posting, forwarding and liking just to garner attention to ourselves, simply because of the ease of doing it, is a very real issue for then we are childish not childlike. There is definitely a need to balance our adult like maturity with our child like enthusiasm. Life out there is fun because the adult in us takes care of our future needs and the child in us allows us to experience the wonders around us that makes life colorful, magical and enjoyable.

Try these:

Revisit old photo albums and make a collage of the pictures that bring out the special moments from your life. Share it with family and friends at a special occasion like a milestone birthday or anniversary.

A week or two prior to your birthday, review and list out all the fun times, high points, special moments, awkward moments and people who made the year gone by special for you. If inclined to, share them with your friends and family.

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Familiarity breeds contempt

The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.  Foe Ancis

The generation gap is perhaps the one of the most vivid examples of how there is a polarization in views for people in close proximity.  The generation gap, is perhaps most obvious, amongst children and their parents and can encompass the whole gamut of daily living right from clothing, to leisure tastes and could include food preferences, study habits, career choices, friendships, keeping pets, choice of hobbies etc. While the parents insist that with their experience and foresight they can chalk out the pathway for their children, the kids often interpret this guidance and advice as overbearing intrusions into their lives. The children are invariably convinced that most ideas and views of the parents and elders are caught in a time wrap and are choices made based on minimizing career risk and maximizing security. Their objection is primarily that their individuality and aspirations are not considered and so is an imposition of parental expectations on juvenile dreams.

Similarly, both parents and children are guilty of selectively comparing other children and other parents and drawing the conclusion that while we at home are dysfunctional most times everyone else is normal. In the same way, be it at our social gatherings, our work place or classrooms we exhibit the tendency to compare and contrast others with ourselves. Invariably we end up seeing half truths, selective facts, surface polish and glitz & glitter in others and contrast it with our own limitations and imaginary demons. Obviously everyone else seems to be normal as compared to yourself.  The truth is that most times the other party is too far for us to make an informed judgment, often  we see things with the lens that we want to see it with and at every stage we move with the preconceived notion that we are abnormal while the others are normal.

Scratch the surface, then the gloss and polish in others would peel off quickly and perhaps then you will realize how much more better stuff you are made up of. What looked apparently normal and perfect now takes on a different hue of mismatched colors, confused mindsets, artificial bohemia and farcical appearance. That is when one realizes that closer home the differences are not so much; the polarization of views is actually individuality jockeying for spaces and the incongruence in action is symmetry of styles. Normalcy then is best appreciated when seen as controlled chaos like firecrackers that explode and yet dazzle the night.

Remember:  Admiration and familiarity are strangers.  George Sand

Try these:

  1. If you are a parent write down 10 things that you appreciate in your child and your parents. Please write it down for each child and parent separately. The others can write 10 points they appreciate in their parents.  What are the qualities you wish your child / parent had? Can you work on a ways to help your child acquire those qualities without forcing them into it?
  2. Choose and idol (preferably a well known personality). Write down his/ her name. Now write down all the reasons he/she is your idol. Now try to find out 5 things that people did not appreciate about your idol. Were you aware of these weaknesses in your idol? Now has your affection for your idol gone down?

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Every Moment

Nothing in business is so valuable as time. John H. Patterson

We often lament that we are always short of time. The reality is that each of us is blessed with the same amount of time 24 hours a day and whether you are the President of the country or just an ordinary citizen, in terms of time we are all equal. It is therefore reasonable to assume that people who use their time well benefit the most in terms of knowledge, power and money.

More importantly, of all the resources we are given, time is the most perishable and time once lost can never be got back. Timeliness is of utmost importance, for if we miss the opportunity there is alwasy the competition who will swoop down and grab it. Self discipline is the answer to our personal riddle called time management.

To master time will take a life time, but planning is good beginning. Very often we do things impulsively and hence there are cost overruns, delays and frustrations. Poor delegation is another weak link in our personal competencies that leads to poor time management.  What annoys us most is our slip shod ways of daily life, which more often than not results in us wasting precious time searching for lost things, tracing misplaced items and even missing on crucial bill payments resulting in interest charges etc.

Remember :“Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.”

Try these

  • Spend more time planning / making time a time table/ outlining designated places for tangible items
  • Have a birthday list / anniversary list / contact details / payments outflow list etc. and ensure you update it and use it wisely.
  • Try to account for how you spent a day for at least a 2 weeks. This give you clues as to where you are wasting time. You can then take remedial action.

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God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Reinhold Niebuhr

One of the most quoted words, this little sentence contains wisdom that is hard hitting, deeply invigorating and profoundly philosophical. Parents in particular can benefit a lot from this saying if they look beyond the words and see the depth of meaning in it. Most parents are obsessed by academic grades of their children and secretly desire that their dear ones stand first. Reality tho could be quite different and our children may excel in many different areas other than academics. sport, arts and craft, music, acting, mischief, creative pursuits of varied kinds. Yet, most parents fail to see these sparks of talent and instead focus on what they want to see in their children- frustrating the kids and the parents in equal measure. Teachers too are not far behind in having unrealistic expectations from their wards and they need to be inspired by the wisdom of Niebuhr.

We need to accept the reality with calmness and gratitude, for things could have been a lot worse – just look around and you will realize it.

Remember : You can make a difference – ALWAYS !

Try these:

  • Ask yourself am I being unrealistic in my expectations from others particularly my kids.
  • Can I honestly list out matters that concern my society and environment and can I in some way take a proactive stand on it and help change matters for the better?
  • What are the changes that I need to make in myself  in order to benefit from the wisdom of  Niebuhr?

Igniting your thoughts – Encouraging you to ACT SPOnTaneously

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There is no duty so much underrated as the duty of being happy.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Every one wants to be happy, but there are many of us who love to wallow in self pity. The easiest and most stupid  way to do that is to compare our shortcomings with the strengths of others. We display our exasperation at the raw deal life has given us by cursing our fate, ruing the missed opportunities and blaming everyone and everything except ourselves for  what we perceive is our ill luck and misery.

R.L.Stevenson puts things in perspective when he states that we are obliged to be happy. He underscores the point that we have a duty to ourselves to be happy and this means that we need to focus on all the blessings that have been showered upon us. We ignore this aspect of our life and mistakenly believe that happiness is an external thing – money , fame, beauty etc. are but one of life’s numerous blessings. We need to cherish the mundane but critical blessings in our lives -good health, strong family bonds, a wonderful citizenship, a thriving democracy around us, the good fortune of being educated etc.

Try these
  • List out your blessings- anything from good looks to rich family background counts. So be liberal in making your list.
  • Make a list of the regrets in your life – relook it and ask again if they are really regrets. Also ask if some of those regrets (eg.poor grades in exam) are due to your own follies.

Remember : ‘ Happiness is an inside thing ‘

Igniting your thoughts – Encouraging you to ACT SPOnTaneously

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The mind is never right but when it is at peace within itself.
•Lucius Annaeus Seneca
We begin this NEW YEAR 2010 with a fresh perspective on Peace of Mind. We may have no riches in monetary terms or in tangible assets but money does not guarantee Peace of Mind! What is most needed by the world is the greatest riches possessed by the enlightened and those who sleep well – peace within ones heart. Our mind is always wandering and seeking gratification – often the key lies in our pursuit of the seven deadly sins Pride, Greed, Envy,Anger,Lust, Gluttony and Sloth.
If we make a determined effort to overcome these 7 deadly sins, there is a very bright chance that we will focus attention on the seven positive virtues Humility, Generosity, Love, Kindness, Self control, Temperance and Zeal. Once we start focusing on these, we would reduce our desires, minimize our cravings and actually start enjoying the riches that we are blessed with.
Try these
  • List out 3 of the seven deadly sins that tempt you the most.
  • Outline a plan of action to resist giving into the temptations from these sins.
  • Outline a plan to practice one of the virtues on a weekly basis.

Remember : ‘ A clear conscience is the Best Pillow ‘

Igniting your thoughts – Encouraging you to ACT SPOnTaneously

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New Year 2010

You are here, possibly because you clicked a link on our website where we have put up a PPT received by us, and which we thought had to be shared with all. As you would have noticed the PPT gives you a succinct message for each day of the year ahead.

In this blog, we shall attempt to give you our interpretation of each message so that it becomes easily understood, efficiently utilised and positively impacts you! We hope to share appropriate examples, pointed tips on effectively using the learning and be a channel to inspire and motivate you.

The blog will effectively start 1st Jan 2010. Have a wonderful Christmas Season and a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year !


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Igniting your thoughts – Encouraging you to ACT SPOnTaneously

2- The challenge called CHANGE

CHANGE is permanent – sounds ironic, but the reality is that this is a the pivot around which the human race has made progress in leaps and bounds. Yet change posses a challenge – the challenge of accepting change. In our growing up years, we found it easier to accept the change because we did not rationalize too much. We accepted our bodily change to adult hood as a natural progression of life. In any case there was very little that we could do to stop those changes and so we accepted the pimples and warts as also the realization of our sexuality with curiosity and a wee bit of anxiety.

However as we grow older, we prefer to cling to the tried and tested, avoid the discomfort of learning anew and anxiously bypass the challenges posed by new technology. Unfortunately, we can neither avoid the fury of change nor ignore the discomfort of being called outdated in the fast paced world. So the only option is to make friends with change and make change an allay in our personal pursuit of excellence.

So how do we embrace change wholeheartedly ? The first thing we must do is acknowledge that change is permanent and will be our allay. The next step is to adapt and adopt it at the earliest. Only then can we experience the wonders of change. See the revolution brought about by the internet or an ATM machine or a digital camera. Mobile communication and the mobile hardware and software industry are driving change at a supersonic pace and while the heart of the technology would be quantum mystery to the lay man, the use, ease and pace of change are something we can easily identify with.

The message is Don’t fight change – change our attitude !

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Igniting your thoughts – Encouraging you to ACT SPOnTaneously