Bonds of the Heart

e663a1f6-f5c9-45f0-b9ac-8de9bdaa5cd6It is surreal as well as magical how we meet some people by chance, soon that meeting turns to acquaintance and friendship and before we even realise, they become family to us, our family by choice. I feel blessed and grateful to have such a diverse family that’s been expanding over the years.

This boy I met, way back in 2009, while I was at an ayurvedic retreat for a few weeks. I was there to address some of my health challenges, nothing serious, but it did turn out to be a huge turning point in my life afterwards. He was this 17-year-old boy, a bystander helping his uncle, who was recovering from a stroke. His uncle could barely walk, he had trouble speaking, and was learning to communicate all over again.

I welcomed the opportunity to get to know other patients since there was a pretty good mix of people from in and around the country and abroad. Shabeeb was cheerful, friendly and was eager to connect. He would walk into my room now and then, and we would have long conversations on anything that was on the table. He had an endless curiosity, childlike wonder and an air of quiet confidence around him. Our conversations topics would range from my work, photography, his family, his dreams, perspectives about life, my children, his siblings, music, about the books I was reading, and much more. He would accompany me on my photography walks, sometimes oblige by being my subject.
When my boys came to visit, I introduced them to him. He was about four years older than my oldest son.

When we parted ways after our stay at the retreat, we stayed in touch on and off. He would email me, sharing stories about his college life, and friends as years went by. At the time, I lived in Dubai while he lived in India. When he visited Dubai two years later, he called on me again, eagerly introduced me to his immediate and extended family. I admit, it felt a little awkward, being introduced as his friend, especially since I was twice his age. But he didn’t seem to care. To him, I was a very dear friend and was excited that I met his family.

Our communication continued via chat and email over the years, but fewer and far between. Even when we were connected, it was because he made an effort. We also lost touch for a year or two in between, but he tracked me down. Every time we reconnected, I felt more and warmer and affectionate towards him.

When he came to visit me about two years ago, he was no longer the boy I had the mental visual of. It took me a while to readjust the present Shabeeb. He was a grown man now, taller, bigger, but still had the wonder in his eyes, that very same innocent and captivating smile and aliveness in his being. I was now in India and him in Dubai. I am living in a city he lived and worked for a few years ago. Since the place was new to me then, he gave me a quick tour and took me to lunch. It was heartwarming to reconnect and reminisce on our history. We have barely met four or five times in our lives yet had a deep human connection that couldn’t be described in words.

When he called again a few months ago, sharing that he had met this girl, and was looking forward to beginning a new chapter of his life, I was excited and happy for him. I felt grateful and honoured about witnessing him on his journey.

He called me again last week, letting me know that he was going to be in India for a week and that he was getting married the next day. It was a beautiful surprise, and I noticed it was not an invitation to the wedding, but he was calling me for my blessings. When I called on it, he said it was just going to be a Nikah now, a mostly men-only event, and that the wedding reception would be a few months later, where he would bring his bride home. He said that is the event I shouldn’t miss. When I playfully complained that I wouldn’t get to meet his bride, he laughed and commented that we were both on the same boat, since he would be flying out in a few days. He promised to visit me before he flew out.

He called me again a few days ago, to let me know me that he was coming into town for a few hours and wanted to pay a quick visit. My son Aman hadn’t met him until now, so when I told him about this friend’s expected visit that evening, he wanted to know more about him. I gave him a five min account of our story leading up to the present, including his wedding. When I was done with my storytelling, Aman quite sweetly told me, ‘ You mustn’t miss his reception, I will join you too, let’s go.”

0818113c-ff30-4d05-bcef-2df7dcbb4c18A few mins later, the doorbell rang, and when I opened to door, I found him there, standing with his new bride, gleaming with excitement as this was a surprise he had planned. I wasn’t expecting to see her at all. As far as their families we concerned they were out on a drive around town for a few hours after which he would drop her back to her sister’s place. But they drove, two hours and came to meet me instead. He introduced me to her as his ‘oldest’ friend and shared some of our stories from the past.

His bride, Arshii, a third-year student of Dentistry, turned out to be as sweet, warm and open-hearted as him. Since I wasn’t expecting to meet her, and I didn’t want her to leave without a wedding gift, I gifted her with something that I loved. I showed her my bangle collection and asked her to pick anything she liked. I love how she so readily received without any hesitation.

They shared sweet stories about how they first met,  the impact on each other, their first impressions of each other, their first conversations, her dreams, his dreams, their  combined dreams and more. My son was an eager participant in these sharings. It was amusing to watch him. I love how my son welcomed these new people into his life, without any hesitation and how and Arshii did the same with such an open heart, just based the stories we shared with them.

It was an evening that ended too soon, and we soon parted ways but not without filling each of our hearts with love, laughter and warmth.

‘The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched. They must be felt with the heart’, Helen Keller

 

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

sheenayusuf@gmail.com
http://www.sheenayusuf.com
http://livingwabisabi.org

Separate Yet One

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Each of us is on a unique journey. We might begin in different places, have diverse experiences and gain completely different insights. Nevertheless, we are all on the journey.

At times, in our relationships, we might want to see the change in another and believe that we have to show them the way. When we know something to be the truth, it is only right that we do so.

And then there are times we might look at another, especially a loved one and say to ourselves – “It is their journey, and I do not want to interfere with their process’. To a large extent, that is so true. We are getting in someone’s way by forcing help or bringing our stories to them, hoping to show them the ‘light’. They need to walk that path alone.

I have functioned from this premise a lot. Not interfered or spoke my piece because I feared that I would get in their way or create a mess. There is another perspective I have been exploring recently. The times we silence ourselves and not speak up, in fact  might be a disservice to the other. By not being open and authentic, we deny them of our feedback or perspective, which would have added value. We get caught in our own stories of who we are and how we want to be perceived.

Yes, we have our separate journeys, but we are also a part of a collective whole. We are all interconnected in the invisible web of consciousness. We are impacted by each other and have an immense capacity to create an impact in another too. The analogy that comes to mind is that we are each a piece of a gigantic puzzle. We matter ! Where and how we choose to place ourselves, makes all the difference.

When we do our inner work; We hold ourselves with love, kindness and compassion, even towards our imperfect selves and we naturally become accepting of imperfection in others.

We speak our truth to ourselves and others, not in blame, but as an authentic, vulnerable expression of ourselves, with our heart at peace. Let us be mindful and conscious of our expression.

We do not hold ourselves back with fear; from fear of creating chaos, fear of hurting the other or fear of facing ridicule, fear of rejection or abandonment.

We stay curious and open to life so that we can co-create with the unknown, discover more about ourselves.

When we show up wholly and authentically, we are also inviting others to show up the same way; we are impacting that collective whole. It is, therefore, our responsibility to show up not only for ourselves but for the sake of the impact we want to have and what we want to in our relationships, our communities and the world.

Let us be the change we want to see in our worlds.

 

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

sheenayusuf@gmail.com
http://www.sheenayusuf.com
http://livingwabisabi.org

The Lotus Lady

unnamedI was feeling a bit rushed this morning. It was already 8.55 am. I wasn’t anywhere close to being ready, and I had a dentist’s appointment at 9.40 am. My son was helping me book an Uber, but none was available at the time. Amidst the rush of drying my hair, finding clothes to wear that felt right and packing warm socks to wear on the dentist chair, I coaxed or should I say ordered my son to go down and call a rickshaw.

As I approached the gate to leave home, I realized he hadn’t had any luck in finding me a ride. I saw many rickshaws pass by and I anxiously waved to each of them, only to soon enough discover that they were already taken. The time was already 9.20 am now, and I started desperately scanning for neighbour friends, heading out of the apartment hoping to hitch a ride with them to a rickshaw. I decided to call the dentists office to let them know that I would be late, and the receptionist asked to reschedule to another date if I wasn’t able to get there on time.

Just then, a rickshaw stopped across the street; I noticed a frail old lady sitting at the back. She and the rickshaw driver waved to me. As soon as I walked towards them, the woman motioned me to get into her rickshaw; she said not to worry and offered to drop me somewhere I would catch a cab, even though she was going in a different direction.

Feeling grateful for her generosity towards me, I settled peacefully into my ride. As she started speaking to me, I paid more attention to her appearance. She looked like she was in her late seventies. Even though she was frail and looked impoverished, the wrinkles on her face and the twinkle in her eyes, told a whole different story. I noticed she was carrying a walker and her feet was swollen, black & blue, almost double its usual size.

She started to make conversation with me, telling me that it was a no brainer, she just had to stop and share a ride with anyone who was stuck on the street. She mentioned that she was on her way to the hospital; she showed me her leg. It looked terrible. When I asked her how she would manage to go alone to the hospital, she told me that a friend was going to meet her there and also help pay for her medicines. The skeptic in me expected her to ask me money, for the help she was offering, but she continued talking about the other stuff.

Our conversation came to a stop as soon as I got to my destination. As I was getting out of the rickshaw, she looked deep into my eyes, smiled and wished me well for the day. Without any thought, I quickly dug my hands into my bag and pulled out some notes, handed it to her and told her she could use it for her treatment. Before any more words were expressed between us, we went our separate ways.

Less than a week ago, during my last trip to the dentist, I had offered to share my ride with someone who was desperately looking for a cab. And today I was the recipient of that same experience. Love how the universe works!

While at my dentist, I recalled that whole experience, feeling incredibly grateful. The divinity in her had bowed to the divinity in me during that brief interaction between us. I suddenly remembered asking her for her name; it was Nalini. I had to urge to look up the meaning of the name. Nalini means Heaven’s calm; Lotus; Sweet nectar. Lotus holds a lot of significance to me. I had been working around the theme of the lotus for a few days now, and today I witnessed one. Coincidence one would say. I say MAGIC!

 

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

sheenayusuf@gmail.com
http://www.sheenayusuf.com
http://livingwabisabi.org

Chronicles of Radha Bai

SYP_3923-Edit-3Meet  Radha Bai

I struggle to find the right word to to describe who she is. As I wait for my fingers to find some synchronicity  with my heart;  for the words to flow without thought, I become aware of the warm and fuzzy feeling inside me when I take her name. In the traditional sense she is my maid.  She spends a few hours everyday at my place, cooking and cleaning for us.  But to label her so, wouldn’t do her or our relationship justice. She does so much more !

She has been with me for over a year now. I was quite lucky to have found her almost immediately after I had to let go of my previous maid. I recall feeling very cautious of  her initial niceness. I wondered how long this ‘act’ last, feeling that eventually her true colours will start to show. And indeed it did, within the first 2 days

During our initial days, When I opened the front door at 7.00 am, I would be greeted by this ever so bright chirpy and loud woman. My senses would be rudely awakened as I am usually quieter in the mornings and  ease into the day with  soft music, yoga and  meditation. It took a while to get used to that level of aliveness that showed up at my doorstep every single day!. It’s an acquired taste,  and now my mornings seem incomplete without it.

There is so much to write about who she is, and more about the conversations she and I have everyday. Some are rib tickling funny, while some others are deeply philosophical and spiritual. We have out bad days too. And there are times what we take turns being the  all wise one. Some many stories, that I even considered starting a separate thread to write about her.

She is in her late forties, barely 5 foot tall, with so much zest, energy and character stuffed into that small package. She has a strong sense of self .She would say stuff like, ‘I know who I am, and I don’t need any validation of that from the outside’. She is quite hard-willed and is a go getter, knows what she wants from life and is ready to shift and transform herself into any form to create it. She is highly opinionated. She is all that and yet quite open to feedback. She doesn’t play small in life because she is ‘just a maid’.

I would like to share something she spoke about last evening. It is actually about her experience with an Uber driver.

There was this one day, that she waiting for an Uber. When it came, a stylishly dressed woman got out of the cab and walked away. She was wearing a long dress with a slit. As she walked away, her dress for caught in the wind, and obviously showed some skin. This was something Radha Bhai and the driver noticed.

When she got into the cab, 

The driver commented derogatively, ‘I wonder what kind of profession she would be in’

Radha Bai, ‘Why do you say that’

Driver, ‘Just look at her clothes and how she carries herself, its obvious! ‘

Radha Bai,  ‘What is your profession?’

Driver, ‘This is my profession, I drive the Uber’

Radha Bai, ‘ Then I suggest you focus on your profession ! Your job to driver the passenger to their desigination, whether they are fully clothed or naked. What they wear or not wear is of no concern to you! ‘

Driver, ‘_______________’ (silence)

Radha Bai, “Did you get paid ?, did she pay you for the ride’

Driver, ‘yes’

Radha Bai, “Then my dear brother, mind your own business! ’ (translation,  ‘Appo ente ponnu chetta, ningalu swantham karyam nokkiyal pore?”’

That was her badass response !

More to come …

 

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

sheenayusuf@gmail.com
http://www.sheenayusuf.com
http://livingwabisabi.org

This moment in time.

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Pause

To enter the world of wonder
be one with the beauty of ‘this’ moment
Not a fragment more or less.
Just as it is !

No anxiety of the unknown,
nor regret for that has passed.

Heed not, to what the soul craves,
Cherish gloriously the beauty of now,
And beauty there is..
In the abyss too.

For, time stands still.
With all of eternity.
encompassed into this ‘one’ moment.
Holding potential,
To create and decimate.

This moment !  A seed so mighty,
sealing the fate,
Of all moments to come !

Embrace it ever so loving
As a baby on the bosom
and hold it as light as a feather
That falls to the ground
making room for the next…

Moment.

 

 

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

sheenayusuf@gmail.com
http://www.sheenayusuf.com
http://livingwabisabi.org

 

The Path of Least Resistance

Not everything needs to be possessed.

Not every love needs to unify.

Not every whim needs to be met.

Not every dream needs to be realized.

Not every beginning needs to have an ending.

Not every question needs have an answer.

Unfulfilled longings, cravings, wanting, desires, urges, also let-downs, disappointments and grief are amazing doorways to our vulnerability.

It takes us to depth of our core teaching us beauty of form without form, of having but not owning, of holding on and yet letting go. It also shows us the difference between love and attachment.

It stretches us our capacity to hold more than one position at the same time. We can be at peace and also conflicted. We can be grieving and yet experience joy.

Even though I can say that am the same person I was about 20 years ago, I can also confidently say that I have shifted so much over the last 20 years that I am not that same person anymore.

The ‘unfulfilled’ and ‘unrealized’ also breaks down our mental constructs about life and ourselves. It teaches us that we are constantly evolving, we are this and that and everything else. And we will continue to be.

When we make friends with the unknown, we open ourselves to embracing life for what it already is.

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

sheenayusuf@gmail.com
http://www.sheenayusuf.com
http://livingwabisabi.org

 

Divine Timing

IMG_9036Blessings come in different forms. We are all familiar with the apparent ones. And then there are others; so painful, like a kick in the gut that leaves you down for quite a while. It is worse when it comes when you least expect it, rocking your world and turning it upside down.

Such was my experience meeting her, in the most awkwardest and painful of circumstances; for me. I wished I hadn’t met her, and I was sure that my presence brought her also a lot of angst. Yet we had to work together eventually, which at times felt like the blind leading the blind. Getting lost, stuck, frustrated, getting mad at ourselves and the circumstances. We were not here by choice. We were revealed to each other by chance.

Even though we eventually experienced a sense of camaraderie on some levels, we were still pained by each other’s presence as well as pain. I cannot speak for her, but for me, it was a harsh reminder to question myself, my perceptions,  and my assumptions. It also brought me up close and personal with my own insecurities and fears. And that was not a pretty discovery.

Slowly, as I began to see more of her, I truly wished we had met under different circumstances. Had it been so, I would have loved her, adored her, she would have been my tribe, my buddy, my pal. But not now. Not in this lifetime. We eventually parted as neither of us could find a way to relate beyond the circumstances that played cupid.

And there was silence…. for the longest time. It was the time to heal, time to be. Time to reflect and eventually also to be grateful. Grateful for her presence, that it was her and not someone else.. anyone else.

It is said that when we meet someone under challenging circumstances, we bypass the usual niceties to meet at a raw, deep space of no pretension or masks. How we show up under these circumstances really speaks for who we are at the core.

She and I had the privilege and honour of witnessing and holding space for each other under such circumstance, even though our journeys were different.. For sure there was the pain. But there was also love, authenticity, transparency, compassion, integrity, dignity and grace.

And then it dawned on me. We had been brought together by design. I saw the magic of it all, of how we meet the perfect people, under the  perfect circumstances at the perfect time.

Will our paths cross again?  It is all divine timing ! Will see

 

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

sheenayusuf@gmail.com
http://www.sheenayusuf.com
http://livingwabisabi.org

 

 

Navigating Break-ups

Paper.Project.29.PNGThis started off as words of insight to a young couple navigating a painful breakup. He couldn’t bear see her in pain, also couldn’t see a way for them to carry on, so he requested me to offer each them support through that period.  As I continued writing, it expanded to something bigger, which people who are in, out of and in-between relationships can probably relate to.

For him

It must be a really hard and kind of confusing, to love someone and, yet feel like you need to walk away. Sometimes not really know why. To feel like you cannot be yourself fully in a relationship, you become someone else when you are around her and eventually start feeling claustrophobic and feel the urge to get some air. A place where you struggle to find a balance between the relationship and yourself.

Honour where you are right now, without accepting the finality of things. There is a reason why you are here, why all of this is happening to you /why you are making these choices.

Be curious about what is here, ask yourself if you are running away from something because you are not willing to address it now. Or, are you walking out of something that’s no longer working for you, towards honouring yourself? There is a stark difference between the two. Be honest with yourself. Acknowledge that, at least to yourself.

Respect can mean many different things. You can only truly respect her when you are also respecting yourself. Respecting her means, not going back to fix the relationship because you feel sorry for her or find it hard to see her emotional. Respecting her means understanding that she deserves your honesty and vulnerability. And finally, respecting her means being with her for the right reasons, because you really want to be with her; because you are willing to stretch for her and the relationship (without breaking yourself).

Always treat her with love and kindness even when its scary and hard and all you want to do is run away from emotions. Be honourable and respectful regardless where the relationship is.

For her

Breakups are hard, regardless of whether it was your decision, the decision was made for you or it was a mutual agreement. Either way, the pain is inevitable. I am sorry that you are hurting.

If you did make the choice, it must have been a hard and difficult one to make. There must be a strong reason why you did so. Honour your values and choices. If the choice was made for you, then it probably seems more painful on many other levels as it triggers and questions your self-worth. Your self-esteem may have taken a huge beating. Now is the time to practise a lot of self-compassion.

The mind can make up many stories of being “left”. Please catch yourself when you do that, as that will only take you down a spiral. As hard as it may seem it was not personal You just got caught in the line of fire and are impacted by someone else’s process and life choices. Nothing was done to you, even though it seems like that. Remind yourself to not take things personally.

If you feel that you cannot be without a particular relationship or person, then know that this is precisely the reason the universe is orchestrating this experience as a GIFT to you. It wants you to learn some important lessons – You can be with anything, you can be without anything, you can be yourself, you do not need another to complete you, you are whole just as you are. Your self-worth is not attached to another person or a relationship. These are important lessons to learn in life for any human being

You might want to fight this outcome, kick and scream and try to control the situation, but the truth is you only have control and power over yourself. You have no control over anything outside of you. When you accept that, life gets easier.

Choose yourself. Respect yourself. Honour yourself. Not from anger and resentment or from a reactive place, but by merely choosing to focus on yourself. That’s an important job you don’t want to entrust someone else with.

You deserve to be with someone who wholly and willingly wants to be with you and is ready to go all the way, not by force, demand, pity etc You deserve that and nothing short of that.

Closure is something you will look for so that you can move on with peace. You might think, “If only things were a certain way, or certain words had been expressed” you would have been in a better place to move on peacefully. But that is not the case now, this is where you are now. Please don’t look for closure outside of yourself. Don’t wait for words and assurances from the outside. Give yourself what you are waiting for.

And then some

Endings are always painful because we are struggling to keep things just as they are, we fear change, but change is inevitable. We will take time to grieve what no longer exists. Allowing grief is also allowing ourselves to feel the full range of emotions, ride that wave, rather than take the high road too soon.

Be compassionate and kind to yourself and each other, Be grateful for the journey you have had together. This relationship has served its purpose. Acknowledge and express that to each other. This person came into your life with a gift and is also leaving with a gift. You might not want to open the gift now, nevertheless, it is a gift.

We each bring our own set of luggage/garbage (depending on how we use it), our perspectives, our belief systems, our expectations from life and each other. Unless we find a way to align as a ‘WE’, and also acknowledge that we are two separate entities, we will continue to have pseudo-relationships where each will drift and lead disconnected or separate lives.  Endings are also a reminder to sort through our garbage so that we don’t keep carrying it with us moving forward.

It is normal to want to point fingers at another, to find someone to put the blame on. so it’s always good to remind ourselves that we only know half the story.

Endings can be anything. They could be temporary pauses to begin fresh, end of behaviours/patterns that are no longer working, end of disagreements, end of suffering, the end of the relationship itself or anything else. Walking hand in hand with ENDINGS are NEW BEGINNINGS.

At times we need to let the chips fall as they may and be open to what happens next. We might probably have some new insight and put them all together in a different way or all the old unwanted pieces will shatter and disintegrate so we can begin again with what’s left. Stay open.

Stay open to life my loves.

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

sheenayusuf@gmail.com
http://www.sheenayusuf.com
http://livingwabisabi.org

Life Lessons from my Niece Nyla – 2

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This is a photograph of my niece Nyla and I. She is one unique human being, and I don’t say this because I am biased. There are so many words I could use to describe her but I will stick to the context now.

Oh and if you are wondering about her shoddy hairstyle in this picture, she recently chopped off the front of her hair a few weeks ago as she did not like the way it was blocking her view. At the time did not have the patience to wait for her mom to take her to the hairdresser.

I have always been aware that Nyla is naturally talented when it comes to singing.  She is a born performer. This is something I have observed in her when she is as little as 2-3 years old. I love to sing and it used to be my dream as a child to learn music, learn to sing and perform in front of an audience. (That dream, I am still working on). When I hear Nyla sing, I am always in awe of her talent. She needs training but she is definitely gifted. She needs to listen to a song just once to be able to memorise the notes and reproduce it fairly accurate to the original. What is an effort for me, was a piece of cake for this young girl.

It was my cousin’s wedding a few days and this post has been inspired by an incident that happened at the wedding reception.  The reception was a huge event with hundreds of guests and also a live band. Towards the end of the event, the family put up some performances for the bride and groom. There were dance and singing performances by younger cousins and their children.  We were then given a wireless mic for anyone who wanted to do individual performances. As much as I imagined myself taking the mic and walking up the stage to sing a song, I just couldn’t get myself to do it. Too many negative voices, and wanted to save me the embarrassment and the awkwardness of failing miserably in front of many known and unknown faces.

Meanwhile, I sent for Nyla as she had been asking me all evening if she could sing too.

Nyla walked up to me to know why I had called for her. I asked her if she wanted to sing, She was excited by that question. She took the mic from my hand. I expected her to stand next time and quickly start singing. Instead, she took the mic and started walking confidently towards the stage. She stood right in the middle of the stage, looked at the audience and smiled.

And then,  in the sweetest voice, she said, “Good evening everything one!. My name is Nyla and today I am going to sing a song called Kanmani Anbodu Kathalan …… , If you like the song, then please tell me so, after I finish the song.

After that for the next few minutes, all that existed in her world are her music,  her love for singing and her pure joy of performing.

And during those minutes, time stood still for me. At that moment, my niece became my teacher. I was watching her in her presence and the impact she was having on the crowd. She enchanted them by just merely showing up as to who she was.  I could see it in their eyes, as they watched her in awe. She taught me a lesson in presence, of being in the moment and enjoying oneself rather than getting caught up in one’s fears. She taught me the beauty of vulnerability and innocence by simply introducing herself before she started singing.

And finally, when she finished, she looked up at the audience and paused for a few seconds, in anticipation.

“So, how did you like it?”  The loud applause said it all!

Another lesson learnt: know and value one’s worth. And don’t be afraid of acknowledgement.

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

sheenayusuf@gmail.com
http://www.sheenayusuf.com
http://livingwabisabi.org

 

 

 

 

When the going gets tough, start mining gold! Part 5 of 5

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Take a chill pill. Easier said than done, but there is a lot of wisdom in this phrase. Taking things lightly is second nature to some people. I have an aunt, who takes things so lightly, that she makes a joke of crisis situations. I could make assumptions about her emotional intelligence, but I am in awe of the ease with which she handles emergencies and crisis. It is pretty straightforward, the way she looks at it. ‘We do our best about things that are in our control, the rest we let go.What the point in worrying/being about something that is beyond our control.‘  By and large she has the presence to navigate through pretty much anything, without her world crashing around her. And, she is the odd one out in our family. The majority of us are worriers, we make life difficult for ourselves, we panic over the littlest of things, and we put our lives on hold indefinitely during crisis.Most our decisions are driven by fear and emotional impulsiveness. We have learnt the hard way though, since we have had lots of opportunity to practise. 🙂

We are always at choice; we only need to accept it. Certain events drastically change our life situation where some tough decisions might need to be taken. We might have to quit our job, relocate to a new place, move to an unfamiliar location, give up our career temporarily, start caring for a sick family member, scale down financially, all of which will throw our life for a spin. We find ourselves doing what needs to be done or the right thing to do, but also feel stuck and not at choice. Eventually, we end up feeling resentful.  I recall complaining to a friend about something I felt stuck and resentful doing. She then told me, “If you don’t want to do it, and you are feeling miserable, don’t do it.” I then argued and gave her reasons for why I felt convinced that I had to do it. She then pointed out that I was choosing to do it. And if that a choice I was making, I had to accept that choice and do it gracefully and stop torturing myself. Sometimes we need to make hard decisions, They don’t necessarily feel good, but they feel right as they are driven by our values. If we continue to feel miserable, then it is time to get curious and revisit those values.

We are moving, even when we are stuck.There was a time when  I felt like my life was in limbo where all I was doing was recovering from one crisis only to be pushed into the next one soon after. When I looked around, it felt like everyone else I knew was moving forward, going places, accomplishing things,  while I was stuck in the same spot. Truth is I was still moving, just that it was along a different dimension. Forward movement is not the only way forward. Sometimes we need to go deeper. Each of us is on a different journey, and there is no point comparing our path with someone else’s.

It’s all made up.This might be a contradiction but here goes. We unconsciously make up stories to make life more dramatic. We are attached to drama. This is a hard one to accept, but we tend to create stories about everything. An event is an event, that’s all it is. How we respond to life depends on the stories we tell ourselves about these events and more so on the climax we create to those stories. The key is to keep dropping the story and sink into the present moment.

Complexity is simplicity dressed in costume. What we experience as complexity is more so because of our attachment to how we want things to be. Learning to navigate complexity is much like training for a marathon as opposed to a sprint.

Once we increase our  tenacity and let go of expectations of how life should be, we get creative and also learn to juggle more balls effortlessly. Complexity then becomes simpler and more natural! Complexities are just life’s way of simplifying itself if we allow ourselves to be guided by it.

My brother makes his this funny joke all the time. He would tell someone, “Don’t worry,   it will be quite challenging and difficult for a while but after that its going to be fine”. Just when the the listener is about to sigh in relief, with a naughty grin he will quickly add, “because, by then you will get used to it ! “

So how do we know if we are mining gold? I don’t have an answer to that as it’s not a destination, it is only a perspective towards life. I guess the key is to check in with ourselves and see how we are feeling. When our hearts have opened up, and we can feel it’s  tenderness and warmth; when we are allowing flow into our lives; when we feel that our experiences have been humbling ;  when we’ve turned our lives around; when we are feeling grateful; when we feel lighter about life; when we can experience joy, music and laughter despite all of the complexities, when we still forward with HOPE, then we most definitely are on that path.

Life is unpredictable; we never know what the next moment has in store for us. So what are we waiting for? Why not live fully until we die, and make every breath count, especially the challenging ones!

Sheena Yusuf
Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

sheenayusuf@gmail.com
http://www.sheenayusuf.com
http://livingwabisabi.org