Monday Memories 15 – The Phoenix Rising


This is a different memory post. It is about rising from ashes. Letting go, reclaiming your rebel self, not settling for anything  that hindered my evolution as a woman. This is about defining my worth ,taking control and saying – FUCK.THAT. SHIT. I am the author of my life and I decide which path to take or not take. A discussion with some friends prompted me to write this. All lives are not full of exciting adventures.

There are lives which resemble a lonely boat tied to the post conversing with its shadow and looking out into the vast blue ocean , yearning to escape.  Mine was such a life.  Until I decided to leave the comfort zone that meant being ted to the silken chains and trust me it is hard to take total control. Many people prefer to drift through the BS that surrounds them just for the sheer comfort of not having any responsibilities. Be a puppet , dance the dance and shrug your shoulders, curl up. Do nothing. Conjure up some very solid reasons for doing so, one of them being not looking into one’s own eyes.  Don’t rebel  because rebelling means pain, agony, loneliness and hard work. Rebelling means confronting oneself before anyone else. Reclaiming oneself. Do what you always did. It is easy. Say what you always said. Never go beyond the known. So many of us do it.

I lived that life so I know. Don’t ask for the reasons for I do not wish to go there but I put my dreams and desires in a pretty little jar, closed the lid and kept it in a vault.

Sometimes when the shadows stretched long and thin and a slight breeze nudged me I would set free my mind and think what it would be to throw open that lid and let those dreams breathe. How would they smell when brought out into sparkling sunlight. It took me many years to realize my mistake of handing over the pen to others to write my story and that day I decided to break free.  It is not easy. We are not birds and do not have wings , we are women living in a society that tells us to bow down and stay tied to the post.

I am writing this to share how I began to write. It was my first step to claim myself. I had never opened myself to the world and it made me nervous to step out and expose. It is like being nude. If you are not comfortable in your own nakedness then you can’t be comfortable at all. Simple as that.

I was born against the wishes of death. Life had snatched me from it and put me on my feet not to sit around in a little box of velvety thorns but to get out and do my own thing.

Writing helped me expand my horizons , to get connected to people with similar passion for life. It helped me bleed out the pain, hurt, It helped me release old scripts, reject old plots, say goodbye to those characters in my life story who had done nothing but scarred  it, to erase, edit, chop out those bits that did not fit. It began to fill my lungs with the oxygenated air of freedom and self-worth.  After all this there came the time to write the ending. There is nothing more impossibly difficult than ending for it means snapping off with one clean cut all that is not you. It is a heartache and many times the voice from the little velvet box will pull you to come into its folds but that’s where courage lies. It is a phoenix rising. Death and birth, fuck up and bliss, heartache and joy all at once. We have to go through the annihilation to emerge again – victorious. Once you have cleared everything that did not serve you can bring in all that is yours, all that has been already yours just not claimed till now. It is a home coming of  the self.

To begin anew, afresh on a clean slate. It is a drudgery, a painful uphill ride, Alone.  I was lucky to find  friends who constantly stood by me like a rock and along with the patient love and care kicked my butt when the need arose. They helped me polish my dark side. Helped me break my mental barriers. They had my permission to do so and frankly they would have done it without my permission too. It is actually I permission one gives to oneself. To be totally in the hands of the sensei.  That is the way for the student. There is no other way.

You have to be uncomfortably grounded to start again. It starts from the bottom, from the scratch always. You have to release the past to move ahead. The lesser the baggage the easier the journey.

It’s been four years since I began to do serious writing. exposed myself completely, shed all inhibitions and surrendered myself to vulnerability of life. It has been worth every courageous risk. The changes were evident and they shook the world around me. The rope that tied me to the post began to loosen and break  with the strain and strength of my desire. It gave away finally two years back.

It was the night of storm and suddenly I found myself being tossed into the open waters but by this time I was prepared. The right thing to do on a stormy night is to lie still till it passes and the day breaks. These are the testing hours and if you survive those the ocean is yours for ever. These  times are life altering.  It takes courage to start clean to let the slate remain empty for sometime and not rush into filling it with the familiar. It takes immense strength to step into the unknown, to push yourself over the edge, to leave things behind that may have at one time been the only source of your reason to be. It is like the cutting of the umbilical  cord.

To detach completely so that you can carve new potentials. I am proud of my evolution. I am proud of my mentors, guides, friends who gave me rock solid support just enough to get going.  Always around in the shadows somewhere watching me chart my path.

Nature teaches us about our fragility and our strengths. There is no better teacher than the universe.

I learned that it is not about just staying in the light or seeking it ,, it is also about owning our dark, befriending it, polishing it, making it shine. You got to love your shadow that is the only way to be complete. Unless we learn to accept and be at ease with our grief, pain and destruction there can never be a movement.  I am grateful to the universe for the storms in my life big and small. They brought me to the shore or else I would have been drifting aimlessly in the ocean or crashed into pieces on some forlorn island and the purpose would have been lost for good. Meeting the darkness, facing the shit storms, taming and getting better of fears, insecurities, illusions, limitations (many of them self-created)  is all it takes to forge the path ahead. Never deny, suppress your dark side. Get into conversation with it.  You can never step into the light if you have not walked through the dark.

Shit happens . Move on. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve.

You lose some you win some. That is life. Write . Write your own story and keep the pen in your hand. Always.

I know this is not a usual memory  post but the time has come to grow new leaves, to flower and claim my place under the sun. I shed the old leaves, I bared myself to the harsh winter just for this spring. It is mine and am gonna make the best of it.

Memories will always be there , Good and bad. Imagined and real.  The trick is to never lose sight of he ” tip of the cold mountain” as my friend and teacher Kris says.

Onward we go.  Each ending is a new beginning. Each rejection a step closer to acceptance. We attract what we give. That is the law of attraction and the universe recognizes it. It worked for me , it will work for you.  Launch forth your heart. Create, co – create, stay vulnerable.

You are a woman. Sexy , beautiful, intelligent and totally awesome. Recognize it and take control before you get swallowed by others perception of you. Fuck everything Be yourself.  The strength of your desire will bring you what is yours and much more. Be pen and receptive and let me tell you this is not a discourse in some ‘New Age Teaching’ it is first hand experience.  Go get your shit. It is out there waiting for you.

I want to thank my readers, my mentors, my friends and each one you who contributed and continues to contribute to my life in one way or the other. Look for those who need you and be there for them. We all need each other. Never still your voice , never give up the student heart. Never limit yourself.  At least try not to. I am trying too. Join me.

2011- Courageous risks are life giving ( A New Ending Post )


You have given me wings with which to fly
Now I breathe in deep and spread them wide
as we lift off from the silken petals
into the wind where the butterflies glide

This is not a year-end post or may be it is.  A requiem for the past  and a song of  courage for the future.

I wanted to wrap up this year and all those before them and bury them for good. 2011 has been a year of extreme highs and lows in more than one ways. We lost some of the most loved, immensely talented artists/musicians and many other luminaries from diverse fields. Let us say adieu to those who left us in 2011. Bhimsen Joshi , Jagjit Singh, Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Satyadev Dubey , Bhupen Hazarika, Anant Pai, M.F.Hussain, M.K.Pataudi,  Hargobind Khurana, Jehangir Sabavala, Mario Miranda, Steve Jobs, Elizabeth Tylor, Amy Winehouse, Ustad Sultan Khan, Navin Nishcol, Gautam Rajadhyaksh, Indira Goswami and football player Socrates and Gary Speed.. the list seems endless.

Year 2011 also took away the fierce tigress Shehla Masood, Nighamanand and RTI activist Nadeem Sayeed. Any voice that rises against the rotten corrupt system, the age-old orthodox so-called values and norms  is silenced. Sometimes one pays with one’s life and at others one has to take courageous risks to stand for one’s dignity, pride and right to live as a human being , as a woman.

When a woman decides to break the shackles that chain her to submit to the will of others, when she walks out on a relationship that smothered her for years , when she decides to be fearlessly herself , to not be a “trophy wife” , when she shows the inner strength and moral courage to defy submitting to what society defines as ” excepted rules and code of conduct for women” then she is born again and trust me this is a difficult birth. This metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly is a slow painful process. A process which for some means shedding layers and layers of borrowed hurts and burdens. This journey from darkness to dawn requires an inner courage  which is unmatched and unbreakable especially when one is economically dependent. It is difficult to take that first step and say ENOUGH. Difficult to leave behind young children and  a large part of one’s life but when relationships stagnate  they rot and it is better to cut the rotting part before it infects and kills. It is difficult to stand for your dignity and face the filth flung at you by the society for whom a woman is merely a “puppet that can be fit into various roles with strings pulling her from all sides deciding when she should do what “.

A forgotten species not allowed to dream and live the life she imagines. Always subjected to ridicule, contempt and told to shut up, she is supposed to adjust , compromise, suffer, make peace, forgive the offenses and injustices inflicted at them and go through difficult marriages with ” patience and tolerance. She is “not allowed” to follow her dreams, aspirations and put them all on a back burner to make sure ”  a peaceful happy married life” and if she rebels against the established conventions and charts a path for herself then the situation is even worse.

But,

Courageous risks are life-giving. 

2011 changed  direction of my life. Sometimes it just takes a tiny spark to light a flame within.  I have already written about what made me step out and start afresh.  It took me many years to find my lost confidence, my voice that was stilled. Change is uncomfortable, new beginnings scary for someone like me whose world was confined.

I have so many friends to thank for this transformation, for instilling this strength in me , for believing in my potential and for making me love and believe in myself as a woman, as a human being irrespective of the roles assigned by the society. Each word, each gesture made me stronger than ever. Friends who showed me the mirror, who spoke their minds to make me see the reality as it is, who helped me get out of the closet and express through my writings, each one of them played a significant role in making me who I am today and my heart is filled with gratitude for them. The reason I write about me is again to be a spark in someone’s life , to light a flame of change in some woman’s life.

I realized that after that initial fear is conquered there is no turning back. At  the end of  2010  the embryonic plant encased in the seed coat was beginning  to prepare itself to break the sidewalk and  blossom into a flowering plant.  I have come a long way from the time I wrote ‘  The time has come to be fearlessly myself  ‘.

I took some bold steps just as Tara did.  For, If it hurts it is not love  .

It wasn’t easy for me to leave but I knew that nothing could be worse than what I was going through. Separation from my boys cut me deep. They put up a very brave front in standing by my decision. It was I am sure their energy that made me spread my wings and take a flight into the vast open sky through the tiniest crack in the walls that were closing in every moment. I know I could not have done without their never-failing love and support. They taught me some very fine lessons in life. The period of nine months since I stepped out were filled with extreme emotional upheavals but the fact that I did what was right for me  as a human being , as a woman , kept me going. It is not that the guilt of  leaving behind the children did not gnaw at my heart  but sometimes to survive and live one must take the most painful of  steps.

Now at the threshold of a new year , I find myself  heading towards a new ending, a much-needed closure that will be the new beginning for me. The road is rough and full of uncertainty but I know that the wind beneath my wings is strong and I won’t fall.  It is with this unsurpassed trust and confidence that I greet the new year. There is still a lot to be done and having taken this first step all I see is the summit. I know that to climb steep hills requires slow pace in the beginning and I am taking one step and a time.

There is no turning back.

I have the gift of life again and I want to cherish and nurture it with respect and love. There were times I cribbed about life being unfair and people being unjust to me but now when I look back I thank the universe for all those hardships and all those people who made sure I suffered for it is due to them I am stronger and sharper.

Life never gives you anything you can not handle , it is just that some flowers take time to blossom. Nothing goes waste. Those years gone by were my rooting years. Now with strong roots and stronger heart I am ready to take on anything that life offers.

I thank all my readers, my friends, everyone who helped me open my resilient petals. To all of you I owe my new self. Thank you for enriching my life.

Wish you all a very happy New Year. 

The two important things I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavor is taking the first step, making the first decision.

 

This post is dedicated  with love and gratitude to a very special person. 

Butterfly picture courtesy Google Images