Coaching- Rejection

Rejection has been a big theme in my life and my need has been to create more and more awareness in me as to, how do I handle it? I am a very sensitive person and even a if i feel somebody is trying to ignore me can make me feel rejected. Well rejection does sound like a big word but it has scalability. Small rejections if not expressed can become larger if the pattern continues. Some rejections are very minuscule and escape our awareness and also sensitivity radar, for example you want to go out for a walk and you ask your sister and she says ‘no’, there are chances that it may sound like a little rejection. Some feeling of hurt may emerge within you, but you will call yourself silly and move on. But when this continues to happen over a period of time and you notice that your sister says no to every idea of yours you will feel a much deeper sense of rejection coming your way. Then also there are high end rejections where a marriage breaks or somebody commits suicide rejecting life. So there are different degrees of rejection, the impact of each rejection depends on the emotional mould that we carry. If a person in childhood has faced rejection then this person would be very sensitive to any rejection, this person will evolve strategies to handle or avoid rejection either by creating too much space for others to feel good (Generally seen in 1950-60 housewives) or by rejecting the rejection (you don’t care, I don’t care syndrome like the hippies). Although at the core the pain is to deal with rejection, it might be very difficult for both these personality types to engage with each other or even understand each others motivation. They are alien to each others world, in spite of holding the same pain.

What I also want to bring to light here is that the genesis of our personality itself has rejection as a inbuilt part. When a child asks for something and we say no, it is rejecting the idea of ownership of that particular thing for the child.

So do we stop saying ‘No’ to our children,

of course not, but bringing to awareness that the thing is being rejected but not the child’s idea is an important distinction to make.

Will this help?

I believe that all we can do support our children have a healthy self esteem and personality and that their personality emerges from a core of acceptance and love. However facing rejection and developing strategies to resolve it, is an important part of our life journey, especially in a competitive world. In today’s world where worth of a person is either weighed in money, education, race and influence. Rejection constitutes an important part of this system, where one would be chosen and others rejected. Most of us keep working our way towards our acceptance by  either spaces or people or Brands who hold power. For example, a well known Ivy league university degree makes us more acceptable in the intellectual circles that are of interest to us, Holding position in a power brand makes us more acceptable etc. However if a rejection comes from powerful spaces or people or brands, it can make us feel small, lost, angry and hurt. The important piece in this case is to remember that we were seeking that acceptance from an outside entity, which may be beyond our circle of influence. What is in our circle of influence is really how do we accept ourselves and create challenges for ourselves, which are focussed on new learning and not on finding acceptance.

Rejection because of race or religion has been giving birth to wars and blood shed across the planet. Violence emerges when we reject the identity of a human being or an entire race. We are seeing this as a rampant phenomena, our morning news papers are full of this.  The hard part is that the strategy of crushing the rejection brings back more and more of it. If we look into ancient wisdom, in Hindu mythology Kali drinks the blood of Demon Rakt beej (Blood Seed), whose every drop of blood which fell on ground gave birth to another Demon, so he couldn’t be killed. He could only be devoured in a way that no drop of blood fell. I am not sure how can rejection be devoured, but I believe that the answer lies in the blood seed, the core that gives rise to rejection. If we are more and more aware of what is creating this feeling of rejection and not allow it to slip our consciousness, I am sure it will dissipate and not create dis-ease in our mind and body.

Let us see in today’s context what creates a feeling of rejection, and we could go from least to most, using few examples:

Rejection Triggers and Impact

Event / Trigger examples Possible Reactionary thoughts (Stronger when the event is a pattern) Feelings Beliefs Interference /Impact

 

(Less or no impact if one off case, degree of impact increases as the pattern repeats itself)

Shopkeeper says no to something I am looking for I never get what I am looking for Hurt, Sad, angry I can never find what I want I will never get what I want
A child says no to a sweet I offer Do I look strange, Children don’t trust me Hurt, Sad Even children don’t trust me There is something wrong with me
My children say no to the food I cook I am unable to cook food that can be liked Hurt, angry, sad Even my own children don’t like the food I cook, forget about others I can’t give or provide what others might like
My husband appreciates another woman Maybe other women are better than me Hurt, Sad, angry There is something others have which is appreciable but I don’t have that in me. I am not good enough
Everyone gets a gift except me Everyone seems worth that gift Hurt, Sad Nobody sees me. I am not seen. I am not worth it
My friends don’t show up for my party My friends don’t like me Very hurt, angry, Sad I am not likable I can’t have good friends
Everybody sits together but there is no place for me and nobody asks

 

I am not included Hurt, angry I don’t have a place in groups I can’t be a part of friends gangs or teams
My mother always talks how good my brother is Maybe my brother is better than me Hurt, Sad, angry There is something he has which is good, but I don’t. I am not good enough
I got less marks than everyone else I am not studying enough Disappointed in self , Hurt, sad, angry I am good at nothing I can’t ever reach where I want to reach.
I raised my hand like everyone else but the teacher picked someone else People are so happy and lucky Hurt, sad, angry Others will always win I am a unlucky loser
Every girl has a boyfriend but I don’t They are good looking and worthy of love. I am not Hurt, Sad, angry Life is incomplete if you don’t have a man who loves you. My life is horrible
Others have children/ or some other blessing but I don’t It is unfair, I am trying everything Hurt, Sad, Angry I am not getting what I want, How can others get it? Life is unfair

The impact statement is like a virus that infects our being and we start becoming a proponent of that statement. Example a person who deeply believes ‘life is unfair’ will propagate the same thought and energetically will also attract situations to validate the existence of the Virus. I know it sounds like an excerpt from a sci-fi movie but that is how it is. These rejection impact statements become drivers for how we life our life.

To create awareness first become aware of the thoughts you commonly have, these thoughts are emerging from certain core beliefs that you may hold, get in touch with the emotion that they create in you and finally what is the statement that creates the ‘Drive’, the ‘Impact’. When you have become aware of this Virus, this Rakt beej, then you are at a point of choice, do you want to explore this and dissipate it or just let it be…

The choice is yours, you create your being. You could Self coach or hire a life coach to create awareness and energy for well-being. These days we have several competent coaches bringing the ignorance to light and making choices about who we are and who we want to become possible.

Who the F* is Alice? Leadership lessons from Alice in wonderland

Global Leadership:

(The process of Organic Emergence)

My thoughts for those who would like to facilitate True Global Leadership, because there is other type of Leadership facilitation. I call it the Band-Aid methodology to suit the corporate dashboard. So this one is for those would like to explore true Leadership and are ready to wait for its emergence.

Global Leadership has today become a buzzword, where every organization wants to crack the code, find the potion and order it for their Leaders.

What is missing is the consciousness of organic emergence, in this quick fix corporate world…and more time that we spend on the quick fix the more we lose time, which we could constructively put towards developing the true leadership consciousness.

Here I would like to quote Dan Malloy’s book “Slow is fast”. Allowing the process of Organic emergence of Leadership is the key to the ‘wonderland’ we all are looking for.

To explain this further I would use the characters and setting of  ‘Alice in wonderland’. For me there are four key frame works, which could evoke a Leader’s thought process:

Stage 1:

Risk fall into the unknown:

This is the scariest of all, but once you take the plunge you are already into your journey of becoming a Leader par excellence. This fall will tutor you into showing consistent courage of getting out of your comfort zone time and again. This space builds your resilience and self- confidence. When you get into this dark unknown burrow, you have only yourself to bank on. Everyone else will look too busy and too fast, just like the Rabbit in a waistcoat. You may feel you are too slow and not getting anywhere but once you are here new paths will emerge from your uniqueness. Innovation happens from this space; new ideas, processes and structures emerge from this space.

Stage 2:

Explore your wonderland; it is ‘OK’ to be lost:

Be open and curious to the exploration. You may feel some fear in that exploration but keep moving and you will find your co travelers.  It is ok to feel lost, stay with it. Some of the folks you meet may be strange, rude, indifferent and some filled with deep animosity. But remember this is your journey and it is worth all the risk. You will find your reflections all the way, some you will recognize and some you will banish. Explore your parts and meet them, converse with them. Until a Leader has been on a Journey to his internal wonderland, his connect with self and the world is fuzzy. This fuzziness creates confusion in his communication with the world and his real message remains elusive. He then may hold a Leadership position but can’t deliver Leadership and Leadership remains a jargon.

Stage 3:

Listen to the messages and the messengers:

It’s the code in your wonderland that will attract you the most, which will send you most messages. It may be something that you will react to. These messages may occur as lessons that you learn as you move or there might be messengers, who will cross your path.  They will say something about your purpose, a prophecy, which you will never believe in. But when you chose not to listen, you become restless and uneasy. However when you listen to the message and move towards it, you experience freedom from unnecessary stress. Learn patience and wisdom of few chosen words. Observe and play with connection to self and parts of self. Laugh at the messages, Play with them, experiment with them, and observe the emergence.

Stage 4:

Be flexible, vulnerable and humble:

Leadership is not about being Big or small. Leader’s flexibility of Mind, Body and Spirit, will help move towards the desired Goal without the perceived blocks.  There will be times when you will feel big and times when you will feel small use all times as opportunities to move towards your goal, without being perturbed or judgmental about self. Your calm- curiosity and display of pure vulnerability will support your journey all through. It will help establish deeper connections and create meaningful collaborations.

“Yes you are mad, you have gone bonkers, but all the best people are”- from Alice in wonderland

Leader, Team and Murder

Today I write this blog with a new consciousness, I just feel like a new person who has taken rebirth post a violent murder. There is sadness of a victim that I carry, but I am not sure who was the persecutor, past life seems to have faded away.I am not even sure if it was a Suicide. There might be patterns that I may carry from my past but now I see myself being more aware of what I really want from Life. I have come to realize, that team work is one of the most difficult thing for a creative person who may also be an introvert. Yes I am talking about myself. Although my profession requires me to be a certain way and most people would believe that as a coach or a facilitator I would be an extrovert, I can say that I live the Polarity.

From that polarity, which also holds chaos inside of me, I bring you my learnings of team work.

Let me begin with the my understanding of ‘Murder’ in Team work, please hold patience while I reel out the details.

As we all know team work involves many or few people, it could also be a partnership of two. As soon as two or more human entities are in close proximity, even before dialoguing happens there is a gauging at subconscious level. The limbic brain starts looking for patterns that can be related to instantly between each other. When the relation is with a positive memory or a positive past experience, we feel joy in relating to the other human entity. However sometimes the brain is more programmed to look at data that could threaten survival and wellbeing. This is the point when we start looking for patterns that have harmed us in the past. Tuning in to this data and mining it for gold may have its own plus points and may help in risk management, but this gauging  needs a higher level of consciousness. Any Human entity has a tendency to magnify fear so that the reaction can guarantee survival. A consciousness of self is a must so that the creation happens from a neutral Space (usually this is like infinity, we all want a neutral ground, we are all walking towards it but we may never reach it, we all carry ghosts of past, which pull us away from a neutral space. Self work is the only way to walk the journey, this is your own journey for which each of us has to take responsibility. Don’t expect others to walk it, you walk it). The space of neutrality transcends Blame, Shame, Guilt and Estrangement ). When we tune into the experiences that have not served us, we are energizing those experiences at a subconscious level and at that point in time we may not be aware of our own Amygdala* hijack. many times we project our past into our future validating our old patterns and hence murdering our own potential to create new. Also at very subtle levels we will or may start projecting our past negative experience into the team space and onto the people whom we are in constant interaction with in the team. This is an extremely violent process, because in the team members we then start projecting people and situations from our past which have not served us. For e.g. if a team member has had a bad relationship with an authority figure, like parents, teachers or other significant elders, the chances are that at an subconscious level this person detests any authority. So whenever there is a trigger related with any form of authority for self or others, this person would exhibit either a victim, rebel or rescuer stance. The point at which the projection starts in the mind team dynamic begins.

Team work is more complicated as there are more brains involved in an hijack, and the projection of our inner wars with self get projected onto the space. This can make the space very violent, team members consciously or subconsciously pick up wars from their past or a war for another team member. Once the war begins the human entities will try to kill each others spirit consciously or subconsciously, a drama of Murder mystery and suspense gets created. Sometimes there are no evidences and death of spirit doesn’t leave a dead body, only no spirit inside the body.

Most of the projections would be on the leader or a human entity perceived to be in power, The projections could also be on specific few team members who are perceived to be close to power. The team space then represents a deep forest, where each one is protecting themselves from the violence of the other and each one is just surviving.  Many wounded sprit team members who escaped the Murder attempt, either leave the team or learn to live underground never bringing in their true potential or self. This leaves the leader sometimes feeling very lonely, also if the leader gets wounded due to constant bantering of the team members, this human entity may resign both in reality and metaphorically. There is constant denial of violence, which can make matters worse, only its acceptance in various degrees can lead to self realisations for the team members. In most instances everything gets clubbed under team dynamic and statement that, “it happens, everyone has to deal with it”. The team spaces hence end up being transactional, where keeping emotions and feelings at bay is easier than to deal with them. Sometimes only a few members in the team may be functional and the others may have either lost their spirits to a disempowering past or might have been murdered in the current team.

Different organizations in the past have found that keeping emotions and real conversations is effective in achieving short term goals that need to be focussed on. So real conversations between human entities may not happen also may not be required for an organisation to be able to achieve its short term Goal. An intervention is generally sought, when the team becomes dysfunctional and evidences or Murder of spirit  start looming as ghosts in the organisation.

How then can the team be more functional? How can then the team bring in more performance and productivity in a sustained manner?

Organizations with a bigger and long term goal will work towards creating systems and processes to energize the spirit of any Human entity serving in the organisation. This begins with the recruitment process and the panel, which gets the human entity membership into the organisation. Every organisation has a spirit and it has a consciousness frequency, getting a match for this is an important part of an hiring process. If the process is not clear or is not followed there can be mayhem. Once the right Human entity is into the right organisation, a system which has health, well being and resilience check, would help in ensuring that the organisation or the leader has a feeling data for the team. The non-negotiables and values of each of the team member when brought into the team consciousness can help a team manage each other with respect and necessary care. Self-realisation interventions can support the team members to understand their projections, introjections and the violence towards self or others. The whole process creates deep engagement and long term membership. Standards of conduct in the organisation has to be clear to the organisation, a fall from the conduct should be dealt with fair, compassionate and equal manner. Allowing Self realisations to emerge through various projects or programs, Self-disclosures to happen in a safe and non-pressure environment, Healthy and positive Feedback mechanisms to bring light to the blind spots of team members, will bring more potential into the action zone where achieving a stretch goal is no big deal. Also remembering that not all individual high performers can be great team players, so don’t put them in a team without proper guidance and support.

This is not all I know there must be much more, and I am sure you hold some stories, I would love to hear your experiences and perspectives.

In the Frame of Love

“Love nurtures and helps us to grow into compassionate and loving beings” this is something that we have heard, known for a long time. We look for friends who will accept us for who we are and love us all the same. There is so much love between us or so we believe, but most of us like to stay in a neutral ground. We end up talking about neutral topics, which could also be personal but usually something, which continues to maintain the relationship. We shy away from most crucial conversations, even in close relations. So other than the initial relationship fizz, most relationships end up being maintenance relationships, the high maintenance ones fall of naturally as very few people have time and energy to keep nurturing them. In our daily routine we get so used to the maintenance pattern, that all we end up doing is maintaining. So where is Love?

When someone shares their vulnerability with us, it is so difficult to stay and listen to that person fully, our tendency is to make the person see reason and move on quickly. We are so scared of being in the mush pool. The tendency to judge or give advise is so strongly coded into the maintenance program, that anything outside of neutral is an alarm. Our lack of courage to bring our vulnerability out in a safe space and our lack of courage to stay without judgement of others vulnerability, keeps us away from each other. It keeps us away from expressing love.

I have developed a mid level resilient model, around maintenance. It simply helps maintaining things as they are. If everything fell down my mental model allows me to come back to maintenance. What this mental model does is to keep me from exploring what is outside of this frame. It allows me to stretch to a certain point to the boundaries of the frame, but quickly brings me back. So I would never explore outside the frame, I would judge what is outside this frame, I label it, I may even condemn it, sometimes I may gossip about it, but I will definitely keep away from experiencing it. The conversations that I will have in relationships would be safe conversations and I won’t even know that I am having a safe conversation. This keeps my status quo as it is, it becomes my identity. I need to maintain a certain identity to be in the society and my life goes in making sure that this identity doesn’t crumble. Some of us may choose an rebel identity and keep maintaining the status quo of looking outside the frame, there life will go in making sure that they keep looking outside the frame, that is there ‘frame’.

These frames help us stay where we are and also help us grow into the frame. It is a fallacy to believe that people who stay in the frames can’t grow or love, of course they can within the frame. We also contain our love within the frame just about the right quantity which is required to maintain the dynamic of relationships. If we feel more love towards someone, we share it within the frame so as to not overwhelm the other person. This overwhelming is perceived to threaten the balance of the Frame. This is true not only for love but also other emotions, but Love is something we need the most yet we fear to share it and also accept it. With children it is different they have the ability to love with complete vulnerability, and that evokes us to venture out of our frames and show more of our love. In any relationship tin which you want go beyond the frame of maintenance, intentional expression of love evokes the connection. This helps the relationship to evolve into a more richer and wholesome place, where we can discuss matters of heart, with vulnerability and ease, without fear of judgement.

Love is not neutral it is mushy

“Time flies” myth busted!

In this blog we bust the myth of flying Time.

As we all know ‘Time’ is a precious resource, sold as a commodity in a capitalist world. How we spend our time on this planet defines who we are and what we are becoming. Time, prima facie seems like a simple concept to understand and we allow it to run our lives without deeper consciousness about it.

There are two basic belief systems around time, one that says it is finite and the other which says it is infinite. Where the belief of ‘time is finite’ exists, there are structures around time and a sense of hurry and a sense of lack of time. In some other cultures where there are beliefs about re-birth and ‘time is infinite’, the pace is slower and sense of time almost negligible.

Whatever your belief may be, becoming aware of it and how it impacts your pace, your goals, dreams and your life is important. What spaces do you want to spend your life in, so you feel more fulfilled, more satisfied. Feeling that time has been wasted creates much anger, blame and guilt. So to understand how and what impact we want to create in this life depends on, How and what we spend our time on.

There is a simple yet Dynamic tool, that can be used to divide, measure and utilize time, It is the time quadrant. This quadrant holds the essence of time and its relativity to our lives.

FullSizeRender (28)

This quadrant says that time can be divided into four categories, and every quadrant has its own energy. Our being in every quadrant is different and a higher consciousness is needed to be in the centre of these quadrants and observe ourselves.

The quadrant of High Importance, High Urgency holds crisis and high pressure energy. These are crisis situations, related to health, death, relationships and breakdowns of all kinds. If we end up spending too much time in firefighting situations, we would be either freaking out or becoming numb to what is happening to us and around us. Health issues like abnormal blood pressure, vertigo, heartburns etc. could arise out of being in this space.
In Low Importance, Low Urgency quadrant, there are activities which are complete time eaters, like gossiping, watching television or spending time playing mindless video games. Too many such activities create a hole in the time bucket. This quadrant holds the energy of inertia, stiffness and heaviness. Too much time spend in this can cause us to detach socially, sometimes it can cause us to put on weight and associated physical and mental health issues.

Low Importance, High Urgency: Activities which are interruptions and need immediate attention. These could be activities which we need to pay attention to but could be someone else’s high priority. Such distractions when increase they start holding energy or frustration and hopelessness. There is anger and a need to create boundaries when the time increases in this quadrant. Any important Goal or objective can never be reached in this Quadrant.

High Importance, Low urgency: These activities are easy to put in the back burner, as they don’t require immediate attention. These could be creating a financial plan, writing down a will, finding time for positive and meaningful networking, getting trained on a new skill, writing your short term and long term goals, spending time with relations, which matter the most, exercising to maintain your body rhythm etc. Being in this quadrant creates much growth and feeling of self-worth. The last quadrant is the one that creates opportunities of growth for us, It gives us time for self awareness and introspection. Infact if you are reading this article you are spending time in this quadrant, become aware of its impact on your awareness and growth. If you are spending less time in this quadrant then your crisis situations would be more as you don’t have time for planning.

The key is to cut down time from any quadrant that is not serving you, and that usually is the Low Importance, Low urgency quadrant. Start putting time saved from this quadrant into the High importance low urgency space and you would see how dramatically the quadrants start working for helping you achieve what you wish for.

These quadrants are very dynamic and alive in nature, any quadrant that you feed would grow. If we had to sit down and list our activities and put them in the four quadrants, we would know what is eating up our time. Everyone in this world has twenty four hours and there is time for everything, we just have to know where we want to put our time and how? Creating time consciousness and giving due time to all the quadrants, with our choice and complete awareness can liberate us. 

Creating your Response- Creating your Life

Viktor Frankl so beautifully said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”~Viktor E. Frankl

I have been a very passionate and reactive person, Over the years of working on myself, I feel life has improved considerably for me. Yet there are times when I feel disturbed and also am clamored by the question, “Why does this happen to me ?”. There is a lot of inner work that is still to be done. Recently when I watched the movie, Inside out, many things became alive in me, and I just loved the portrayal of emotions in the movie. In this blog I am sharing somethings that I have learnt over time.

Whenever there is a stimulus or a trigger in our life, we tend to react. In this reaction there is no thought, in fact the reaction happens first and then the thoughts follow. It could be delay in a project, or a statement made by somebody or something that we read about. This is a common phenomena and keeps happening with us until we start questioning the pattern. These patterns create our life story and the reactions become a part of our personality, we also start believing that we are a certain ‘type’. We hold judgements about self based on our reactions and sometimes end up holding, rage, guilt and shame all our lives, unable to forgive ourselves.

To recognize our patterns and how they are governing our life is a must to be able to break them. For this we must be aware of our triggers and how they impact us. This observance is an important skill to develop in order to live a desired life, else our life goes on as an reaction to situations that we keep encountering. Our life is over before we even realize that, we did have a choice of thoughtful response.

Developing this response skill is a matter of practicing observance, and also being aware that our reactions are coming from the way our Brain is wired or programmed. Our brain carry’s our story from the mother’s womb and as our brain develops the different stages of its growth determine our traits depending on the situations that we encounter in our developmental stages. It is difficult to compartmentalize the brain as everything is connected to everything else and it is a complex circuitry that Neuro scientists are still researching. But for ease of understanding there is a simple classification that can be shared. The reptilian brain is the one that develops first, it takes care of our heart rate, breathing, balance, body temperature and other involuntary functions of the body. The mid brain or the limbic brain stores pleasant and unpleasant life experiences and memory of reactions for protection/ self preservation. This part of brain has an almond shaped gland called Amygdala, which acts as a watchman and watches out for potential threats or triggers, which could be real threats or could be illusions created by old memories. However as soon as the amygdala encounters any potential threat it engages a reaction based on previously stored mechanisms of protection and creates a similar experience of familiarity with situation. This is almost like, “You have been through this before, you know this is the best way to go about it, there is no other way and no choice, act now”. Thus causing us to get stuck in a pattern of reactive behaviors. The third and the most evolved part of the brain is the Neocortex, which is the thinking brain, it has helped us develop language, reasoning, consciousness and holds infinite possibilities of learning.

Triune-Brain

When we wish to live from choice and liberation, it is important for us to engage our Neocortex. The moment Neocortex is engaged, we have a choice, before engaging Neocortex, an action could be a  completely thoughtless reaction, which causes much blame, shame and guilt. In order to engage our Neocortex, we must be aware of our triggers and what is it that causes emotional imbalance in us? Being in observance allows us to see our selves and our interactions in a very detached manner, thus creating a non judgmental space, where everything/ everyone is a subject. Practicing mindfulness and meditative practices enhances our ability to be in observance of self and surrounding without reacting. A mindful response can then be chosen. However this requires practice of holding back and engaging the Neocortex. Once you feel a trigger, become aware of what is happening to you and ask yourself,”What is the meaning that I am giving to this situation?” “Is the meaning that I am giving to it empowering me to make a choice or is a mere pattern that I might be following?” When we ask questions from higher consciousness, we engage the Neocortex and the Amygdala is bypassed, thus bypassing any old reaction stored in our Limbic brain. Practicing observance and questioning can help us detach from the reactions that hold us slaves in our own lives.

chained_slave

Response consciousness is not a summit to be reached but a daily practice, without which, the illusion of life and what it should be, will continue. Staying with your breath and observing in a detached manner, allows us to see beyond our old beliefs. Action which emerges from a thoughtful inner deliberation from your higher brain creates the full circle of  awareness and alignment that helps in deeper connect.

How to ride your lows

Written by Rashmi Dixit, Edited by Suma Varughese For Life Positive Magazine, Log on to lifepositive.com for more articles by different authors.

All of us go through slumps in the form of ill-health, accidents, relationship problems and financial difficulties. But the wise know how to get out of these slumps, says Rashmi Dixit

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When I was asked to write about how to ride the lows, the first question that arose in my mind was, how do I ride my lows?

In retrospect, my life has been like a sinusoidal wave, full of highs and lows. When I am at my high, you would see me hugging more, laughing more, and connecting more. But when I hit a low, I detach and disappear.

Most of my lows are triggered by a sense that I am not wanted. This feeling of being rejected creeps into my soul, and makes me slower and dimmer. I stop communicating and lose my energy. I start sleeping a lot, or just walk around aimlessly for hours. Those who know me as a vivacious, effervescent girl would not recognise me if they saw me during my lows. When a low hits, my heart feels heavy, and my throat chokes; I feel like crying and breaking down all the time. My immunity to rejection has improved over the years, but it has a fragile break point.

In my childhood I had experienced a sense of abandonment and loneliness, which continued into my early 20s. I always felt that being a girl somehow made me less. My father died when I was eight, and for me it was the final rejection, of my mother, my two sisters and me. Life was teaching me how to stand my ground with no earth beneath me. For seven years I was emotionally numb, embarked on a school routine which chugged along mechanically. When I was 13, I had a terrible bout of tuberculosis, and I had to be quarantined for almost nine months. This was the time of metamorphosis and growth, when I learnt who I was, and came face to face with my feelings.

My experiences as a child made me extremely sensitive, but I grew up to be a very successful corporate leader.  My belief in self and trust in the universe supported me in my growth. In the corporate world, sometimes I would judge myself as being incapable of handling my emotions, but I have learnt to lovingly accept the part of me which still feels rejection and hurt. When I acknowledge these feelings, I am able to come back to my centre, function energetically, and get back into a high.  My journey of self-acceptance and awareness of my conditioning has helped me ride my lows.

All of us go through challenging life situations – bankruptcy, a serious illness, a relationship breakdown, loneliness, and the death of loved ones. Whether we can craft happy and successful lives will depend on how we weather these problems.

Even the gods are not immune to lows. The ancient Hindu text, Astapati, talks about the deep pain that Krishna felt after separation from Radha. The Sakhi who narrates Krishna’s longing also documents the stories and observations, which help heal the two lovers burning in the flame of separation. Krishna’s life story itself is full of deadly challenges, and every challenge threatens to eliminate him! However, he overturns each disaster into a triumph. Just like Krishna’s challenges, the challenges that come in our life may create lows, but can we too triumph over them like Krishna did?

The will to overcome

leena

In April of 2014, Mumbai-based Leena Haldar sensed a lump in her breast, which was diagnosed as cancer. Despite her trauma, as a facilitator of Louise L. Hay’s Heal your Life work, Leena started connecting with her body. She started speaking to her body, her medicines and her body cells, letting them know that she wanted to get well and wanted their support. She focussed her intention on getting well, holistically. She listened to chants and used aroma oils to stay calm and relaxed. She also used Bach Flower Remedy to peel off layers of emotions to get to the root cause so that the cancer would not recur. She did body work. She also got operated and went through chemotherapy. However, her application of alternative healing helped her avert the side-effects of Chemo.

When she lost her hair to Chemo, she made beautiful henna tattoos on her head, instead of hiding under a wig. Today, Leena has recovered fully from cancer and is sailing into her life even stronger than before.

monicaMonica Lahiri, counselor at the Institute of Psychological Health, Thane, cited the case of her patient, Anita (name changed), who would get suicidal during her lows. Despite being a successful and highly educated woman from a financially stable background, it became evident to Monica after putting her through Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy  (REBT), that Anita considered herself to be only as good as her last success. Failure at any point meant devastation. Although there was no sign of a major failure, Anita’s inability to express her emotions created an emotional crisis. Her inability to take on a lucrative job assignment because of familial responsibility, combined with the shock of her husband leaving his job, filled her with an anger she was unable to express. She projected that anger against herself, and tried to commit suicide. Through patient counselling, she was able to come to terms with her situation and her emotions concerning them, and became more conscious in her relationships with family.

Monica Lahiri explains, “The main reason we feel low or depressed is because of how we perceive an issue or ourselves, rather than the situation itself.  Guilt and self-blame lock us into the situation instead of causing us to look for solutions, and create a long drawn-out low in our life.”

She adds that our belief system is what causes a reaction, which may take us into the survival modes of fight, flight or freeze. Suicide, for instance, is a flight from life reaction. The fight, flight and freeze reactions emerge from the amygdala gland which is like a meaning-making machine in our brain. The neocortex, which is the thinking part of the brain, doesn’t work at that time. When we are in a low we do not understand that a thought is just a thought, and a belief is not the truth. This where a technique like REBT, founded by Albert Ellis, comes to the rescue, by enabling us to let go of disempowering belief systems and perceptions and move towards the acceptance that will free us of the lows. Monica also advocates bodywork, because it helps shift energy, by increasing the release of dopamine (the feel-good hormone) in the brain.

Sages and philosophers have always known that it is the attitude to the situation and not the situation itself that determines our levels of happiness and health. In the first century AD, Epictetus wrote in the Enchiridion: “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them.” Shakespeare, many centuries later, rephrased this thought in Hamlet: “There’s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

To gain more perspective I spoke to Bhavesh Bhatia, now a successful entrepreneur, who lost his eyesight due to a childhood illness. Bhavesh believes that problems or challenges are as  necessary as speed breakers in life.

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Certainly, he has had his fair share of them. When he lost his eyesight, his schoolmates sidelined and bullied him.  Every day, he had to choose between being a victim of circumstances, or a victor. Every day, he would break into fits of tears or spells of anger. It was at this juncture that his mother, Hasumatiben Bhatia, told him something memorable, “You can’t see the world, but let the world see you.”

Her belief in Bhavesh became a powerful source of energy, which propelled him towards his goals.

Today, this dynamic achiever urges people to find their true calling, make it their goal, and work relentlessly towards achieving it. ‘There is no time to lament,” he says, adding, “Lamenting is a luxury for people who have lots of time and money at hand but no goal.”

Bhavesh’s journey has been excruciating. When his mother died of blood cancer, not only was he left penniless, but he had an emotional breakdown. Fighting his way past that, he started doing odd jobs for financial support, and learnt a candle-making course from the National Association for the Blind. He made candles at home, and started peddling candles on a handcart. Today, for a person who did not have money to buy 20 kgs of wax, his company Sunrise candles uses more than 200 tonnes of wax per month, and exports all around the world. He has participated in the 1999-2000 National Paralympics and won many medals. He plays discus throw, shotput, javeline throw and swims. His goal now is to participate in the Paralympics event to be held in Brazil 2016. Bhavesh writes poetry and songs in his free time. Today, just as Hasumatiben had told him, the world truly sees him. And what they see is a man who has the guts and gumption to make his dreams come true, for he comes from the belief that anything is possible.

Quoting a well-known saying, he advises: “Don’t tell your destination that you have a problem, tell your problems that you have a destination.”

Neeta Bhatia, his wife, is the backbone of his business. She fell in love with him when she met him while on a holiday to Mahabaleshwar. He was peddling candles on a handcart. She asked him if she could help him sell, and he agreed. For eight days she observed Bhavesh and his passion for his goal, decided to marry him, and proposed. Today, they are a happily married couple and have a son, who studies in the eleventh standard.  Bhavesh’s company, Sunrise candles, employs blind people and their target is to become bigger than the Chinese market.

Shivani Vaswani is a talented singer of many forms of music, including fusion, ghazals, devotional/spiritual music and Sufi. Coming from a family of musicians, she has sung for many Sindhi ballets, musicals, films and serials. Yet, like most of us, she played safe when it came to a career, and joined the TV industry.

shivani

In her final leg with the corporate world, she was an Assistant Vice President heading content for Digital in the Star Network. But after 19 years she decided to return to her first love – music.

Like all transitions, there were highs and lows.

Leaving a lucrative and secure job for the uncertain world of music was made all the more challenging by the chorus of nay-sayers who advised her against her move. The lows sometimes did take over and made her feel defeated, lost, and doubtful. But she strove on, driven by a faith in her journey, and a firm conviction that this was what she was meant to do.

What helped her most, she says was her own self-belief: “I was there for myself as a dedicated friend. I never left myself alone. Even if I had no support, I would be there for myself. I was closely watching my ups and downs. Being a witness helped me stay grounded. Some other practical tools that helped me were positive affirmations. I started taking baby steps, each day a little push.”

She continues, “It has been tough at times. But it has made me more self-reliant and independent. The dependency on situations  or a person to help me through has become almost zero. I feel grateful if I have someone but most of the time I become that someone for myself. It’s all in the mindset. Whether I want to become empowered by a situation or feel like a victim is a choice we have.”

Looking back, she says, “I am grateful for all that has happened. The challenges that I faced have made me who I am. It has opened me to my full potential. The lows have been my teachers, a part of the cycle of growth. I get better with each low. I believe everything is happening for me, and not against me. From this space I welcome every experience and I live it fully, thanking it for my growth,” she adds with a peaceful smile.

meherJournalist, fashion consultant, former model and beauty queen, Meher Castelino had taken some hard knocks in her life. When she was 42, and her children, Christina, and Carl, were seven and five, respectively, her husband Bruno, had a sudden heart attack and died. Distraught as she was, she recouped her strength for the sake of the children, and took back the reins of their lives. Meher’s mother became an important anchor for her. The next jolt came when Meher lost her mother in 1995. In 1996, while she was still grappling with the loss, came yet another crushing blow – a legal problem. She literally had her back against the wall and didn’t know what to do or where to go.  In this deep, dark period she went for a ‘séance’ with a friend, Veera. This was a turning point; the guidance that she received from Meher Baba helped her overcome her sorrow and her bitterness.

Her spiritual button had been pressed and thereafter she made steadfast progress on the path. A significant step was on December 24 when she received the book, Sounds of Silence, by Nan Umrigar, as a Christmas gift from her children. Meher read the book in one go and decided to write to Nan Umrigar. It was synchronicity that Nan happened to be Meher’s fashion model colleague from the past, and had dealt with the tragedy of losing her son. The two connected and Meher’s journey from then on became that of spiritual healing, acceptance, forgiveness and love.

As the wheel of karma moves, our experiences of life will shift. There will be times when everything will look dark, and bereft of hope. That is the time when you accept the dark and love yourself completely like Leena, light a candle inside your heart, and allow the people to see that light, like Bhavesh. These low times are the times when you become a compassionate friend to yourself, supporting and holding yourself with generosity, like Shivani. Or reach out to the Universe and ask for help, like Meher.

Most of all just trust; trust that what visits you is here for a reason and bears rich gifts that you will find only when you embrace it, surrender to it, and allow it to transform you.

Rashmi-Dixit-

About the author : Rashmi Dixit is a Life coach and a Leadership Facilitator

PS: This article was originally written and produced for Lifepositive magazine. It can also be found on Lifepositive.com

The Code to Wealth, examining AshtaLakshmi

We all have a relationship with wealth, whether it is good, bad or neutral. It is our beliefs about what wealth which decide how we live our lives. We need money to feel secure. As a young employee that amount was twenty thousand rupees and now it is two hundred thousand rupees. Nothing much has shifted other than one “zero” and of course there are possessions, which bring a certain social status, and I would not downplay the importance of money. A certain social status and money has its own importance and brings in certain independence, even to those people who say it is not important. However, as many of us know, money is not the only important thing. Building relationships, contributing to social causes, being there for friends or family are other very important aspects of life too. I have been wondering about “wealth” and what it really means.

Curiosity about wealth took me to reading about AsthaLakshmi,

This is not a religious text and I do not consider myself to be religious, at the same time I am keen to bring out interesting facts and belief systems that were there in our ancient Indian society. This awareness is very relevant in today’s world and can create insights for a better life.

‘Lakshmi’ in Hindu mythology is the goddess of wealth. The name “Lakshmi”, could have different origins, Lakshyam, meaning Goal, Laksham, meaning Characteristic, Lakshya meaning Target and Laksh meaning sight or Vision. Eight forms of Lakshmi is about, how big your vision is? The Hindu mythology talks about wealth much more holistically and not just in money form. Ashta in Sankrit is for eight. Lakshmi is considered to be a Goddess, who gives generously, awareness and alignment with her eight different forms allows us to tap into her abundant resources.

Aadi-Lakshmi is the primeval Lakshmi. She was there before time, she connects us with our creation, our Spirit and to the esoteric unexplained wealth that existed before formation of civilizations and societies. Dhana-Lakshmi is the goddess of financial and material wealth. Dhanya-Lakshmi is the goddess of food and agriculture. Gaja-Lakshmi is the one born out of the ocean, she brought with her nature’s abundance and servitude. Santana-Lakshmi is for fertility, health and children. Then there is Veera-Lakshmi, a reservoir of courage and resilience in difficult times, Vijaya-Lakshmi gives strength and success towards Dharma. Finally there is Vidya- Lakshmi, goddess of knowledge, awareness and growth.

AshtaLakshmiAshtaLakshmi

If we ask empowering questions about these eight forms of wealth and create that for ourselves, I am sure we can live a much more fulfilling life. These forms of wealth are not just impacting an individual but will help create a connected society and a much more wealthier and healthier world.

In today’s world we focus on only one form of Lakshmi, Dhan Lakshmi and berate the other forms, thus not caring for Nature, agricultural land, children, courage to break illusions, health, awareness and spirit. Also I wondered, that there is no mention of society or community in this, and suddenly I realized that , if all individuals are able to work on all eight forms of wealth for themselves they will be naturally creating a wholesome and dynamic community.

Love, Morality and Betrayal

Today I was interviewing a woman, whose husband had an extra marital affair and left her alone to find her means. Of course the experience has made her grow wiser and stronger but there was so much pain in the story, that I actually became aware of a part of me that holds insecurity in my marriage. This interview had triggered something important in me, something that makes me question the integrity and longevity of my marriage. It makes me ponder in the institution called marriage and its relevance in today’s society. The new generation looks at marriage as a unwanted responsibility. For me marriage is a companionship vow, and it is supposed to help us evolve into a more compassionate and wholesome being. However, due to patriarchy the norms of marriage have been flouted and there has been a power struggle between the man and the woman, where the masculine has mostly emerged as the victor. In my marriage we have always shared a space of equality and respect until now, but the deep seated trigger button of betrayal is untouched. I don’t know, what would happen if this button is pressed either by me or my husband. Hence I decided tonight to nudge my husband into a conversation about betrayal, he said something very interesting. He said , “I am not the type.” I wonder if I am the type, but mostly the answer that is alive for this question in me is “No, I am not the type, either.” Does this make me and my husband cowards, who are not able to express our needs and have the courage to go beyond social boundaries? Maybe, yes. And at present that is what is important for us.
Betraying is about letting somebody who loves you, down, somebody whom you have loved too at some point in time, but drifted away. Drifting is interesting, it creates a sense of lightness, a sense of freedom, a feeling of freshness. So for most marriages going through a mid- life crises, drifting could add a new flavor, new pleasure. However, I believe this pleasure could be short lived, and drifting may become a pattern. In some cases just to mask the pattern the individual may continue to live a compromised life, with the second lover after separation from the first. Always hoping to find what he or she couldn’t find in the previous relationship. I am not a religious fanatic, or a moralist, I believe I am a free thinker and am looking at this whole point from a very rational perspective. Here, I hold some beliefs, I believe that a person who has developed the capacity to handle bitter separations from parents, dear and loved ones, also has a capacity to create separation from a perfectly loving spouse. This is no judgement but a logical way of saying that once you have found a certain way of being, it is easy to access the same, until something has drastically shifted in your way of being. We start living in a pattern. There is no right or wrong way of being, and everyone has a choice of who and what they want to be. A person who values his or her freedom more than family or relationship might find a relationship to be a burden and may struggle to keep a relationship. Thus sets in a pattern of betrayal and pain, to break away from the pattern doesn’t need a different experience of sex and intimacy, it could just be an illusion that you might reason as personal freedom. This is a behavioral pattern, which needs deeper introspection and acceptance. Denying it and giving it exotic names won’t change the pattern, soon you will get bored again of the monotony and will be looking for something else, someone else. A deep nourishing marriage is the one, where there is a practice of mutual respect, admiration and connection. There are many ways in which you can escape from yourself and trying to find love outside is a exciting and thrilling adventure, which can create enough drama to keep you and your family occupied for a life time. Awareness of your patterns that you hold will bring you to a new consciousness and choices that you have. Looking for an external anchor to nourish your bored veins, is never going to be a solution. Communicating about your feelings, needs and connecting authentically to self and your spouse can give you and your family all the nourishment you need. Then of course, if there is no alignment and there is disconnection, then please pick up your part of the mess and move, don’t shove everything down your spouses throat and let him or her wallow in self doubt and rejection. Don’t run away, cutting all cords and leaving your once loved one to bleed. That is being coward and being irresponsible. Remember it is you who have found someone and moved on, but the person whom you are leaving behind is still living in the world that both of you had created together. You are an important part of that world. When you leave that world the person will be very lonely and wounded from the devastation that you initiated, to get more from life with another partner. Have grace and courage to express, accept and truly love.

A friend shared this really insightful talk on Ted

Relationship Consciousness for a new world

Relationships

Relationships are precious, they are like the branch that holds the leaves together. We all have seen relationships die and new relationships emerge. We are social animals and need our pack of friends and family for connection, validation and growth. It is interesting to note how a relationship can actually die, I have a few perspectives on it, which I am sharing with my readers.

1. Purpose of relationships:
Emotional health, connection, validation and growth are the purpose of relationships. Our relationships with our friends, or relatives, whether good or bad can make us emotionally alive. Some of them bring us out of our comfort zone and hence leading to growth and self realizations. The questions, Who am I? What is it that I don’t like and what it is that I like? become more relevant in relationships. Any relationship, which does not fulfill any of the purposes, starts sapping the time and energy and more so in the current context, where people have less time. Relationship prioritizing becomes a important social skill, where we must connect with self and see beyond the layers of societal conditioning, and become aware of the intent, which keeps us in the relationship. Some relationships will make you feel good about yourself, they may create spaces of collaboration, fun, social activities, love, nurture, healthy criticism, mutual admiration and learning. These relationships have more awareness and usually have a very long life. I believe the most important ingredient in these relationships is equality, authenticity and vulnerability. Any relationship, which seems inauthentic or guarded is bound to fail. Another important piece is willingness to communicate at both ends. I have experienced long years of friendship, just by writing with authenticity and bringing more of myself, my daily life, my realizations into my letters. Some of these relationships either continue even today or have disintegrated slowly due to no communication. The stage of no communication is arrived when one or more people in the relationship are unable to see the value it creates. Also if in a relationship you feel you are holding a higher or lower hierarchy, either due to power, position or money, it will fail to nurture you.

2. Our view of relationships:
Sometimes we are in a relationship because in our world view, that is how it should be and there is no other way. Such relationships get tough to handle and require a lot of energy on both sides. You may feel that it is only you who is working on the relationship, because you feel obliged in some way. However, in reality the other person is also trying hard to maintain the integrity of his or her world view, breaking of a world view actually may mean invalidating someones thought process. These relationships stop being equal as, there is always a point to be proved by both the ends. It could be a entertaining mind game for some time but it defeats the whole purpose of a human relationship. Blood relationships are even more difficult to maintain and to nurture, as the society binds it into certain rules and people end up assuming a lot in the relationships. This is really sad as sometimes the people whom we spend our childhood and most of our growing up years, are the once whom we are most guarded against. They know our vulnerabilities, they have seen our shadows and scars, they have broken our trust as kids, can we still trust them? can we have heart to heart conversations with them? We hardly share our vulnerabilities and issues which are impacting our day to day lives with our brothers, sisters and parents. In some households one or two people may hold the role and would be expected to listen and resolve issues all the time. We take most of these relationships for granted and expect them to grow without water, without care, without food. Assumptions about people, their situation and the relationship itself can kill the relationship. Some of the relationships are actually dead even before declaration of their death, sometimes people may carry dead relationships for years without any realization. Acceptance plays a key role in this scenario, acceptance of what stage is your relationship in, accepting your expectations from the relationship and naming them, acceptance of existing issues and most importantly listening to yourself and those whom you love.

3. How we engage:
We have discovered the role of authenticity, vulnerability, acceptance and listening before. Here are my ideas to bring some simple tools of application into our day to day life. Letters or emails of gratitude to people who have helped you in your journey of life. These are much more than thank you notes. These letters are more graphical and have specific examples of how the intervention from this person impacted you.These letters have the essence of the relationship that you wish to nurture. Believe me, if you don’t remember instances, it is not worth writing a gratitude note. Hello letters or emails, just to stay in touch. They are not mere pokes but give an insight into ones daily life and emotions that are being experienced. Also these communications excite the other person to write about themselves and create a virtual healing space. There are times that you feel guilty of a mistake that you haven’t yet opened up and apologized for, so go ahead and say sorry, to get rid of the unnecessary luggage. No need to say sorry if you are not feeling it. Writing a sorry letter, may be a new beginning or a great closure to a relationship. Thought letters, are letters, which just talk about your current thoughts or imaginations with your friends or relatives, this sharing opens a door for relationships to enter a subconscious level and creates intimate bonds. These bonds don’t need constant nurturing and can survive for long as their roots are really deep. It is my faith, that through mutual respect and understanding of each others perspectives, relationships that we value can blossom and make our world more wholesome and creative.