Umpteen Shades of Grey

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A “note to self” for many of us who look at things as black or white a lot of the time; and to those of us who are constantly judging what we experience, through ‘our’ perspective towards life. And also to those of us who are reading this now, and making a quick mental note with pride, telling ourselves “I don’t judge !” Let me gently break that bubble for you; If you are human then you fit the bill, you are one of us too.

Judging is an essential life skill that helps to discern and differentiate the various experiences we encounter, enabling and aiding us in making healthier choices. How we use it in life or how attachment to our judgements tie us down is a different conversation,

We usually seem to have an opinion on how someone ought to conduct themselves or live their lives. We become moral police of the ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ of humanity. As long as we are looking outward, we avoid looking inward. As long as we are making it about someone else, we avoid looking at ourselves.

I went down this path a couple of weeks ago when I started to judge a friend on her choices about various aspects of her life and about something she did that hurt me. Not only did I judge her but I also wanted to fix her. I am sure that at some point I even thought it was my duty towards humanity to have her see the “light”! It all sounds ridiculous, right? That’s only a start. The follow-through of that thought is even more ridiculous. I also got on a mini-mission to build evidence to support my views. When we get on the Ferris-wheel of moral high ground, it does take us for a big spin.

And then, it suddenly hit me once again that it’s not my business to fix her or change her. I had to revisit a couple of old agreements.

  • People are fully capable of making their own decisions.
  • People are naturally, creative, resourceful and whole. Nobody needs to be saved, not even us.
  • We cannot change anyone. That was not in our manifesto when came to this life. We might be able to influence change by walking our talk or leading by example, but that’s as far as it goes.
  • We each have our perspectives towards life. We don’t know what motivates someone’s actions. We don’t know their story or their pain. We don’t know their ‘whys’, and it’s arrogant of us to make assumptions. So let us not take anything personally.
  • Each of us here is on a unique process and journey. We have our demons to face, and many layers to shed as we walk our path. We have our challenges, and lessons to learn from the consequences of our choices. Why would we want to take away from someone’s natural life experience by interfering in the process? That’s a gift life is giving them. Why are we controlling or manipulating the natural flow of life?
  • People, things, situations and LIFE cannot be classified merely into just categories such as right & wrong, or black & white. That’s just an automatic way our mind works to sort uncomfortable information to avoid confusion within ourselves. There is no black and white. There are umpteen shades of grey, seamlessly blending with one another.

So, finally, after a few weeks of trying to play God, l finally came to my senses, I let go. I dropped my attachment towards how she ought to be. Yes, good for her. No more advice and subtle manipulation from my end. But it was the best act of service I did for myself as I felt so much lighter about not carrying so much mental baggage and responsibility.

If an act of one, is not hurting or causing harm to either us, them or another or taking away from the core of humanity, do we need really to have a say? Do we have to have an opinion on everything?

There is a blindside to this, though. These feel-good larger than life ideals can have us have us embrace the Utopian philosophy. Get slapped on one cheek and show the other one because we have so much compassion for the world. When we are striving so hard to not to take anything personally, and are accepting of humanity, we might end up being passive observers and recipients of another’s behavior at the cost of our well being.

That is why boundaries are so essential. If boundaries could speak, I imagine, they would say, “I accept you, I understand you, I don’t judge you, I don’t take things personally AND….this does not work for me, and I would like you to respect that”. The dialogue would begin from there.

We need boundaries to feel safe enough to be open and authentic with others. I mean boundaries, not walls! Our values, the awareness of what does or doesn’t work for us and shades of grey we can currently tolerate can/could/will/would drive and influence our boundaries. If we stay conscious and present, our tolerance to the range of greys will keep getting higher. And in the end, it all comes down to love right?

Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there.”― Rumi

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Going around in circles?

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Have you ever asked yourself why you face some specific challenges over and over again, tripping over the same stone? Why does something hit you over and over again that you feel battered, beaten and cannot take it anymore? And if that weren’t enough, you go into a ‘poor me’ mode feeling sorry for yourself. Or even step into the “entitlement box” where you believe you deserve so much more from life, people and circumstances. Or you think that you have been dealt the same lousy set of cards, feeling enough is enough, and you cannot take it anymore?

If so, welcome to the CLUB! I have been here many times that I am now quite a familiar figure here  They even considered giving me a lifetime membership at one point as I was one of their frequent members in the early days, but I politely declined as I didn’t want to get too comfortable. Even now there are those special occasions where I will show my face at the club, just to make sure they haven’t forgotten me. (it helps to add a humorous spin to things :-))

The next time you are wondering why you’ve been going around the same loop for long, do remind yourself of this quote.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”― Henry Ford

I believe that life hands us lessons in the form of life circumstances or challenges we face in our day to day life. And as we work through these lessons; we move towards newer ones.We don’t all necessary do the same lessons, we each have different starting points but nevertheless they are lessons given to us to work on.

The good news is that we don’t have a teacher grading us or waiting to see if we have finished our work. It’s a self-study program. So we are liberty to skip some chapters that we find, tedious or challenging and move along towards easier and quicker ones.

The bad news is that cannot copy notes from anyone or have someone else do our work for us. Neither can we give an excuse that the dog ate our homework. Any lessons we have skipped will come back to us in the form of new challenges, possibly even harder ones, forcing us to work through before we find peace.

The good news is that we are not alone, we can always get help, we have access to teachers and masters, and get pointers from others who seem to have completed these lessons. And it is enormous motivation just to know that people just like us have found their way around the hard lessons or even harder ones, so there is hope.We are not working on the impossible.

The bad news is that some lessons are pretty challenging, and it will take a toll on us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, but if we stick through the hardest bits, we will see the value of it eventually.  One guiding question is  to ask ourselves, “What am I supposed to learn from this that will ease my suffering?. Sometimes even when we think we have completed the work, life will throw us a few more challenges that will throw us off guard.

The good news is we repeat some lessons again just to make sure have crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s. Its only small test so that we can evaluate how thorough we are in our work.  The better news is that the lessons we learn are tailor-made individually for each of us so that we can shed some old unwanted layers and polish our souls a little more every time. How lucky are we! I am not trying to throw an optimist spin on things, and this is not some utopian philosophy. I do believe it and have had the experience of it with many situations in life.

Some of my challenges were around fear, anxiety, death, loss and perfection. Or should I say that the most prominent lessons I did were on the topics mentioned above? Sure enough, I have worked through many challenging experiences, as I lost many loved ones to death and other reasons, I have had to come face to face with my fears, and also my obsession with perfection. Honestly, I don’t know how far along I am with the chapters, but I would like to believe that I am now at the level crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s.

When I find that I am stuck I ask myself these questions:

What am I afraid of?
What would I do, or how would I handle this if I wasn’t scared?
What action can I take to be at integrity with myself?

When I am ready to listen to the answers and choose act on them, they always guide me home.

Some tips from a fellow student, as you navigate through your lessons:-
Show up and do your work.
Ask for help; there is enough help to go around.
Try not to take the easy way out as it will most definitely turn out to be a long way out.
Don’t let your mind play tricks on you, convincing you to give up.
Be open to the learning
Go easy on yourself – Be kind to yourself
And finally, remember, at every point, you have a choice, you can always begin again!

At the end of it, it not like passing through different levels of a game to get to the BUMPER PRIZE. Our prize is in developing fluidity towards life, going with the flow, surrendering to what is, and having the tenacity, grace to live through it all and most of all being at integrity with ourselves.

Sheena Yusuf

Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

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

January 3, 2018

“How are you?”

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“How are you?”

An interesting question it is! I am sure most of us will agree that our response to this question is almost always an automatic one. Rarely do we blink an eye before we reply with an “I am good”, “I am okay” or “I am fine”. Even when we are feeling a bit low, our response to the said question might not indicate our actual state.

Likewise, we also don’t give much of thought when we ask  (or say) ‘How are you’. It is just an extension of a ‘hi’ or ‘hello’, and it not a question. Most of the time we aren’t waiting for an answer.

I recall my son telling me. “when I am walking across campus and run into friends, they casually ask me how I am, my response is, ask me like you mean it and I will respond!”

As a teenager, I had a friend who used to ask me how I was doing, every time we met and without pausing to hear a response, she would go on about what was happening in her life.  It bothered me for a good few years before I told her not to ask me how I was unless she was genuinely curious,  as I did not want to a meaningless exchange of pleasantries with her.

Since then, I have been pretty conscious of the how are you’s I asked, as well as the ones I have responded to.

With my inner circle of friends, this question makes a world of a difference to my day. It could help ground myself and get present,  bring me back to some feeling that I would have been avoiding or it would have me feel genuinely cared for. This question is not some passing phrase anymore.

It was a dear friend of mine, let’s call her Tiya, who brought depth and meaning to this question. When I ask her how she is, her responses are always varied and not the standard ones. There are times that she would pause before getting into a deep conversation on a particular topic in her life that needed airtime, trusting that I was all ears listening to her, helping her unpack things. And at other times she would refuse to respond to the question and request that we come back to it later as she wasn’t in the space to go deep. Likewise, when it was my turn to share, she would show such genuine interest and curiosity in my stories that I always walked away finding more meaning in my own stories, let alone feeling heard and seen.

What is essential is, rather than it being a meaningless set of questions and automatic responses, our words should drive conversations into unknown terrains that call for more authentic interactions.

How are you?

 

Sheena Yusuf

Life & Relationship Coach (CPCC)
Professional Photographer

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

December 29, 2017

A dance of a different kind

A friend messaged me a few days ago asking if I had sometime to chat or skype. He also mentioned that it was about relationship advice. The first thoughts that went through my head were “Me and relationship advice ? Now ? Are you serious ?” Jokes apart, we got skyping in the next few minutes as I did have time on my hands that evening. 

When we spoke, he shared how he was feeling claustrophobic in his current relationship and wanted to unpack what it was all about. He was recently divorced after fifteen years of marriage and over the last two years, had been on a quest of finding himself. He was currently in a long distance relationship with someone who lived in a different country. They travelled to meet each other every few weeks. 

He spoke of how, lately he had been feeling wound up when it was around the time to meet up with her. He said that the last time they met, it took him a while to let down his defenses and when he did he loved the time they spent together. After their intimate time together, when he got back home, once again he found himself withdrawing from her and shutting her out. That’s when he reached out to talk to a few of his close friends, including me.

When I asked him about her, he shared that he enjoyed her company and that she was a light hearted and energetic person. He described her as one of those people who was always curious to experience something different and found enjoyment in the little things.

My question to him was, “What are you afraid of ?” It took him a while to respond. He said that he feared losing himself in the relationship, losing his time, freedom and space. He was afraid of giving in too much, more than he wanted to. He was afraid that she was more invested in the relationship than he was. He wasn’t ready to make a long term commitment and he was afraid of this leading to that. He found the distance between them long but also feared the closeness. He liked things as they were now and wasn’t ready for or needed more. 

I wanted to ask him (or react) at this point, “So you want to have your cake and eat it too? ” 😊

I did not ask him that though. What I did ask him was if she knew all of this? And shouldn’t he be having this entire conversation with her?He said he hadn’t considered doing that as he was afraid of losing her. What if she heard all of what he had to say and decided to end the relationship. At this point I should have told him, “So you do want to have your cake and eat it too ! But yet again I did not tell him that. 😊

I was useful though. I pointed out to him how “fear” ruled his relationship almost to that point where it seemed like it was Fear who was in a relationship with her and not him. His fear was impacting all his present moments with her and definitely killing any future they would organically have together or otherwise.   

It’s easy to stand on the outside and make such an observation about others and we often forget that we also function from that same premise a lot of the time. At least I know I have done that. If you are a regular reader of my blogs you would already know that about me. I recall sharing once that I have done a PHD in fear. 

Fear drives and ruins most relationships. A woman I was coaching a few years ago shared that even though she suspected something fishy was going on with her husband, she did not want to get too curious as she was afraid of what she might find out. She was in fact more afraid of the decisions she might have to take if her fears were confirmed. 

A client of mine was afraid of leaving her nonexistent marriage as she feared losing the security she had. She had a life already in place and she knew her way around it. She was afraid to step out and explore a life beyond what was familiar.

This obsession with fear takes away the spirit of being in the present. Living in fear is like living a lie. Most people choose to close their eyes and live in fear rather than face the truth, that is staring at their face. 

Another dear friend of mine feared conflict so much that he avoided having much needed conversations with his wife which hugely contributed to the breakdown of his marriage. He ended up creating the very thing he strived to avoid, because he let his fear take control.

I challenged my friend to have that conversation with his girlfriend, share his feelings, his dreams, his fears, his anxiety, all of it and at the same time urged him to keep an open mind to anything that was going to unfold from that conversation. She deserved that kind of transparency from him, and had the right to choose how she wanted be with it. Moreover she was a big girl and he did not have to protect her from his truth. 

He was so afraid of repeating the mistakes from his past that he was ruining his present with his caution. And at this point, even though they were a “we”, he was fiercely protecting himself, I, my time, my life, my space, my freedom etc. 

I shared with him something I had read about fear a while ago. It was something along the lines of .. “If you fear losing something, you are not yet ready to experience that in your life. Fall into fear and willingly let go of anything you are afraid to lose.” How liberating is that ! And.. easier said than done. 

There are so many delicate layers interwoven in a relationship. One truth is that we cannot be in an authentic relationship with another unless we are in a right relationship with ourselves. Most of us are looking to fill in the missing pieces in ourselves through our significant relationships hoping that would have us feel whole. Do read the book or watch the video, “The Missing Piece Meets Big O”. It’s a beautiful book and a quick read, which beautifully explains what I want to convey.

Here is the link. http://youtu.be/Af-jZUR3ua0

The other aspect is that we tend to focus on ourselves a lot especially when there is a difference in opinion, our individual wants and needs, and to a large extent our ego gets in the way of being fully present.

When we shift our focus to what the relationship needs, and not our individual needs, we would be naturally willing to stretch more. For example, if a particular relationship is important to me and when I see that some action of mine is going to positively impact that relationship, I would be more willing to do what’s needed to create that. On the other hand, the same situation would be a war of egos if it was about “what I want” vs “what you want”. 

At the end of the day, relationships basically boil down to taking that deep dive, baring ourselves, giving all of ourselves and yet not losing ourself or that thing people naively term ‘individuality’ and better yet becoming more of who we are. And through all of this, creating  magic together.

It wouldn’t be just on my part if I kept you people hanging. So yeah, my friend had the ‘talk’ with his girlfriend which actually turned out fine to his surprise. All is well in their world. 

 
Sheena Yusuf

September 2, 2017

Life lessons from my niece, Nyla


Nyla is my 6 year old niece. Every time I spend time with her, there always something she teaches me from her way of being. When we are together, sometimes asks me the same questions. One of her most favorite ones is “Why do we call you Shemama?” and I give a typical look as she has asked me that question about a hundred times already.  

She will then smile and say, “Ah I remember now, it’s because you have no daughters to call you mama and you were sad then, so you wanted us to call you by that name right ?” 🙂 
Another question is, “Who is Aqil kaka’s and Alif kaka’s father?” (my older boys Aqil and Alif are from my first marriage). She is just beginning to understand concepts of divorce and hence is always fascinated and curious about it. 

When my sister is away, on good days she would come up to me and tell me, “Now that my  mother is away, you are my mother, and I am so happy that you are here.” But that would shift the moment she was upset with me, where she would say stuff like, “You aren’t my mother, you are only Shemama. Only my mother is my mother.” Translation – don’t tell me what to do or you have no right to talk to me like that. 🙂 

It’s always a joy to be with children of this age as they say the sweetest and most profound things and there so much wisdom in them if we pay attention. I might even be biased to say that my niece says the cutest stuff. 
My sister has taught her to articulate her feelings very clearly. She would walk up to us and say, “I have a pain in my heart since you spoke to me like that” or “my heart is smiling and happy today”. The metaphors she uses to describe her feelings are just amazing. Such is her language of emotional expression. 

She is at that age now where she has lost her front teeth and the new ones are slowly but surely on their way out. Yesterday I accompanied her in the car to drop her off somewhere. Before she got off the car, She looked at herself in the mirror and we had this dialogue. 

Nyla: Shemama, aren’t these earrings the most gorgeous earrings ? 

I: Yes, they are and they look beautiful on you! 

Nyla: That’s what I was thinking too ! I look so gorgeous

I: Yes you are Nyla, you are absolutely gorgeous.

Nyla: “Isn’t everything about me gorgeous, even my front teeth? ”

I (smiling): Yes my darling! Everything about you is gorgeous and I am happy that you already know that about yourself”.

As she gets off the car, she looks me, smiles ear to ear,  and says, “I am so happy and lucky that I am so gorgeous”. She then gives me a tight hug and runs away. 

By now, I am guessing you’ve  already picked up that “gorgeous” her newest and current favorite word in her dictionary. What a joy it was to witness her in her gorgeousness, to see her so confident and sure herself, and just love herself the way she is. 

I do like the way I look. And, I have good days and bad days, There are days that I hate looking at myself in the mirror.

There was an exercise I did in a leadership program two years ago, where we were each given a small handheld mirror and we had to look at and appreciate ourselves for a good ten to fifteen minutes. I vividly recall that the initial five minutes was pure torture. I would look at myself and pick every minute detail that I did not like in myself, dark circles, pigmented skin, funny nose, scar on eye brows and so on. But after a while it began to shift, I began to smile as looked at myself. I could find what I liked about my face. I began to appreciate myself. I can now say with confidence, I have ‘gorgeous’ eyes and a ‘gorgeous’ smile too 🙂 

When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror for that long? A lot of us aren’t comfortable with the way we look, we have good sides and bad sides when we have our pictures taken. 

The mirror exercise is a great exercise to try. If you aren’t comfortable with your body, take off your clothes and stand in front of the mirror and do the same exercise every day. Soon you will see the shift. 

The hard truth is that,  this is the physical form we were born, there was no choice there. The sooner we begin to accept and appreciate our ‘gorgeousness’, and help our children see theirs the simpler life gets.

Sheena Yusuf 

August 26, 2017

Make Every Breath Count

It was a visit long due. My father had spoken about him the day before he died. He had wanted us to go visit and meet him as a family. And now that I finally meet him this morning, I understand why. 

His name is Sakeer. He is in his early thirties and we are related. My father’s father had remarried in his late fifties. He (my father) had eight step-sisters and one step-brother, all of who were much much older than him. Sakeer’s great grandmother was one of those sisters. Why is this relevant, you might wonder. It is relevant only because of my fascination for my roots. Fascination and acknowledgement now, but at one point it was denial.

 Sakeer has been bedridden for the past three years. He had been in an accident which injured both his legs. He recalls sitting in a little shop at a street close to home He saw a car collide with a two-wheeler and before he knew it, it crashed into the shop he was sitting in. One of his legs was crushed under the wheels of the car and the other one was stuck inside the bumper. 

Three years and close to ten surgeries later, this is how it is now. Most of the bones of the legs broken, and nerves damaged, he is practically immobile. He had to recently have his ankle bone removed from one the legs because of an infection. What you see in the picture is how he is now. There is also the metal frame that’s attached to his leg. He hopes to have that frame taken out in a few months. And hopefully he’ll be able to support himself with crutches or a walker, or have one of those three-wheel vehicles so that he can get around. All these last three years, he has spent his time in hospitals, operation theaters, intensive care units, or cooped up in his little room you see here.

 What blew me away was his spirit and aliveness! After he had shared about his current status, I asked him, “How do you feel?”. He started to respond by sharing how he doesn’t feel physically strong after being immobile for so long and about his backache. I then asked him again, “How do you feel about being bedridden for so long, how are you coping emotionally?” I was floored by his response. This is what he said. He felt grateful to be alive. He was grateful to be able to see his children and family everyday. He said it could have been worse. He then expressed regret over my brother who had died in a car crash, and was thankful that he was alive. He was grateful even though his previous treatment wasn’t professional enough and even though it delayed the healing of his leg. He is grateful to have found the right people now. He mentioned that, in the past when he used to be active, before this crash, he had always been present and ready to help anyone and everyone in need. And now he is grateful to see that it’s all coming back to him. He feels that he is where he is right now, because of the kindness and compassion of everyone around him.

His monthly visits to the doctor are organized by his brother’s friends who own vehicles, which saves him from spending about 3000 rupees each time. They have a little community of youngsters in that little town and that’s not limited to any specific faith. He mentioned that this group, the youth wing of that little town, his family and friends – they all have contributed hugely to his healing journey, and it’s solely because of them that he was here today.

There was not an ounce of self pity in his speech. His body might be weak and immobile, but his mind and spirit was alive and present. In fact he said he doesn’t sit and wallow in self pity and that if he could be useful to anyone in this condition, he still would be.

People like him and many others like give us the gift of reality check of what challenges in life really are. It teaches us that it’s all a matter of perspective and most are lucky to be where we are. If he can find so many things to be grateful for, considering where he is, then we bloody hell can and should ! 

This takes me to a conversation with friend who was describing a crash he was in, a few years ago. What moved and touched me the most was his presence and compassion even though he was injured and was in deep pain. While in ambulance, he noticed that the guy who crashed into him was also injured and was screaming in pain, bleeding from his ears and not being attended to. He said he urged the staff to attend to him quickly, and also personally reassured the person his injury was probably not so severe and that the bleeding from his ear might just be from broken glass and not from any serious internal bleeding.

I was surprised by the presence and response by my friend at that time. I make the assumption that if I had been in his place, I would have been completely self absorbed. He, matter of fact, said, “I couldn’t physically move, and the only thing I could do at that point to help him was speak to him, put my hand out, reach out to him and let him know he that was going to be fine, and that’s what I did.”

He spoke of it as it was his duty to do so and not something out of the ordinary.
This brings me to this, phrase, Make Every Breath Count. That is how Sakeer is living his life now, living in the present, making the most of his life. Not being stuck in the past of how it used to be, not worrying about the future.
And that is what my friend did too, while he was being driven to the emergency when he was in a critical condition. He was present to another who was in need.

And this is how I strive to live my life. By making every breath count.

Sheena Yusuf

August 25, 2017

On Discussions and Dialogues.

While speaking to a friend last evening, the topic of meditation and yoga came up.I mentioned to him that I had restarted practicing meditation last week. As soon as I told him that, he immediately brushed it off, and went on to say that meditation and yoga were useless and he did not believe it added any value.

 As we talked more about it, he asked more questions and I could sense that those questions were more from a place of ridicule or to hold on to his opinion or give a counter argument , than from a place of curiosity to know or understand more than what he already knew and felt about this topic. 

I responded to his questions by sharing my experience, my current awareness to to the one million thoughts scrambling in my head, moving and intermingling faster than light, and how I was slowly but surely beginning to experience more and more moments of space between those thoughts. And how that felt like floating in space but yet rooted to the earth.

Funnily enough, he had more ridiculing comments like, “so basically you go into this hypnotic space ? How do you come back from there ? And what’s the point of getting a just few moments of space in 24 hours of a day? The rest of the day is filled up with thoughts anyway. What difference will a few moments make ? And later he concluded that .. he had a list of things not to explore in life, yoga and meditation were on that list. 

Side note – right now I am contemplating on whether to shift the intent of this writing to meditation and my dance with it or stick to my original topic.

Anyway to yesterday ..

So, this went on for a while. He held on to his point of view, and I was surprised at how he could be so closed about meditation and yoga. From the pedestal that I was sitting on, I even told him how I was so disappointed in him and his views and that, this was not what I had expected of him. I felt as though he had ended up labeling something as negative without personally exploring it. I have fierce and strong arguments when it comes to categorizing things (whether a thing, feeling, thought perspective, action, deed, person) as right/ wrong or good/bad I can see a hundred of shades of grey between white and black. 

So back to my friend … the more he held on to his anti yoga / meditation view, the more I pushed and tried to convince him otherwise. In fact the visual I have in my head is of dragging him out of his house, pulling at his feet, while he kicked and screamed, holding on to anything and everything to keep him from being pulled away from what was home to him. 

At the end of it, he said ” You win, you are right, I give up”. I am convinced that it was my debating skills that made him say that, not because he got any new insights from the conversation or discussion we had. 😊

That is when I realized I was being no different. I too was being adamant about my view and on convincing him about it, not to mention ridiculing him for the position he was holding.

Why do we hold our perspectives so strongly as though that is THE right way ? More so why is there the need make someone else buy into our point of view ? And why do we only accept whose views are similar to ours ? And why do differences make us feel defensive ? And finally why do we label, define, categorize and everything we encounter into boxes. What can’t we just let things be ?

The key is to shift from discussions to dialogues. When we approach from the perspective of discussions, we are discussing about a particular topic, the focus is out there, so each of us feels like it’s our responsibility and duty to share our views and opinion on it, And if this happens to be group discussions, the popular and stronger opinion gets precedence. It has its own benefits in different contexts like planning etc  but sometimes the ‘heart’ element gets missed out. 

 On the other hand when we have dialogues, they happen between people. Even though there is a topic, the meaning of a dialogue is sharing between people, hence we listen for more, we are curious about what people say or do, why they do what they do, what had them come to a certain conclusion etc. In a dialogue we suspend our view, regardless of whether we agree to what’s being said or not, we stay open and curious. A dialogue gives room and space for differences. 

David Bohm introduced the concept of a dialogue, stating that a dialogue can be considered as a free flow of meaning between people in communication, in the sense of a stream that flows between banks.These “banks” are understood as representing the various points of view of the participants.

…it may turn out that such a form of free exchange of ideas and information is of fundamental relevance for transforming culture and freeing it of destructive misinformation, so that creativity can be liberated. – David Bohm

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi

Sheena Yusuf 

19 August, 2017