Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Do the Happy Dance!

Yesterday, I stopped to look at some flowers - little purple ones with white streaks on the petals. The white streaks made the flowers look like they were "smiling." There were tiny bees buzzing all around - not the regular honeybees, but smaller ones. I have no idea what they're called. One of them seemed happier than the others. She would sit on a petal, then fly up and do a "happy dance," as I like to call it, which involved her flapping her tiny wings at top speed and flitting from side to side, all the while hovering at one spot in the air. When she was done with her little jig, she would sit on the petal again. I'm sure there's some sort of scientific jargon that explains this behavior. However, "happy dance" works for me.

During those brief moments of looking nature in the eye, I was immediately drawn into the moment. For a few seconds, nothing else mattered - my anxieties, ambitions, concerns, thoughts, hopes, memories - ceased to exist. Life was just plain beautiful. And I didn't need to go to a forest, or a nature park to feel that way. A bunch of flowers outside the house did the trick. All I had to do was look.

When was the last time you did the happy dance? When was the last time you smiled like the purple flowers?

"Come on Sai! Get real." That's what they tell me when I talk about being happy just for the sake of being happy. Work. Career. Deadlines. Bonuses. Home loans. Big Car. Bigger Car. With goals as big as these, who wants to bother with purple flowers? Society tells us that we're "well settled," now that we have all these things, or at least that our eyes betray the hunger to someday have them at any cost. Even if it means sleepless nights and endless cups of coffee. Even if it means more trips to the doctor. Even if it means a painful marriage because one person is never around.

Society says we're well settled. I say we're well and truly lost.

We've learned to "manage" all kinds of situations and people at work. These days, everyone's being groomed to become a "manager." Countless career paths ultimately find their confluence in the ocean of "management". There's more categories of management out there than there are flavors of icecream. A visit to "Linked-In" will tell you that. But along with managing billion dollar companies, maybe it's time we paid a little more attention to "managing" ourselves. Even in the busiest of schedules, a manager takes out time to chat with her team members, to listen to what they have to say. How many times do we take out time to listen to our hearts for a bit? To be conscious of the spirit within us that guides, loves, and adores us?

As I emerge from my reverie with the flowers, I ask myself - is this how nature intended our lives to be? Chaotic, discontented, and restless? I don't think so. Perhaps Darwin did. Nature, however, intended us to live in balance. In harmony with ourselves and those around us.

At least that's what the purple flowers told me yesterday. So did the dancing bee. And I must say, I couldn't agree more!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Passing on the Joy!

It’s award time again, and… borrowing McDonalds' line for a second here… I’m loving it :-)! Marcella presented Waves Upon the Shore with the “Hanging out the Wash” award. She honors the spirit of writers who put their deepest thoughts out there for all the world to see, even though it makes them vulnerable. Thank you, Marcella, for this honor, and thank you for sharing your insightful stories at Belly Up to This Moment – they’re so honest and real, and often refreshingly hilarious!

Today, I will pass on the joy.

But first - take a few moments to observe the flame of a burning candle, or the flame of a diya (traditional lamp shown in the picture below). There’s a quality of stillness about the flame that calms you down instantly. It’s no wonder that observing the flame of a diya is how some meditation techniques start out. The glow of the flame is gentle, compassionate. Nothing about the flame is harsh, loud, or ruthless, even though the fire in the flame has the potential to rage and destroy. It chooses, however, to glow instead. Creates an “ambience” that allows us to connect with our finer emotions, be they spiritual or romantic! After all, a candle light dinner wouldn’t be what it is without a steady flame to lend its glow!

I liken this quality of the flame to the quality that many writers inspire with their writing. There are so many amazing writers, artists, and musicians out there – all of them lighting diyas with their stories, songs, and artwork. I’ve been blessed to be associated with many such individuals, a number of them very recently in the blogosphere.

So today I’d like to present the “Writer of Light” award to the following blogs. These blogs are ones that I frequent, and to me, each one of them, in its own unique way, is like a glowing diya

Saraswati’s By the Waterfall – true to its name, here’s a place to refresh and recharge. Her writings are delightful, powerful, and heartfelt. [Plus she’s my sister, and in my humble opinion, the bestest sister in the whole world ;-)]

Neha’s Tea Leaves ‘n’ Honey – Health food for the soul! Help yourself to some soul stirring concoctions, aesthetically served! :-) Beautiful pieces, simple yet so profound.

Katherine’s Lessons from the Monk I Married – Inspirational, insightful, and admirable! As if the fact that she writes a blog each day wasn’t awesome enough, it’s what she writes and how she writes it that makes it even more special! Her lessons are universally relevant. Like the steady flame, forever burning.

Marcella’s Belly Up to This Moment – Shows you how this moment, right now, is where the lessons are at. So relish the moment, live it to the fullest, and as she says, Belly Up to it :-).

Jacqui’s Uplift Antidote – If upliftment from the everyday din is what you seek, here is your solace. When you start reading what she has to say, it’s impossible to stop! Delightful.

Tony Anders’ Artisan of the Human Spirit – Tony's writings are inspiring, thought-provoking, and heartfelt. He shares profound messages through everyday experiences. There's something here for everyone!

AngelGuided Mentoring by Angel Guided – words of wisdom and light, her messages are truly empowering.

The writers at Writers Rising – If only “light” levels could be measured, this community of spirited and talented writers would top the charts. Before you venture in, keep your sunglasses handy. :-) Not just one, but many diya flames in there.

Marty's Coffee with Marty – Simple, honest, and heartfelt experiences – so refreshing! The perfect read with your cup of coffee.

Beth Chapman’s Hope’s Breath – Here is your ray of hope when you’re feeling low! Beth offers a beautiful perspective on life, with a generous helping of wisdom.


To each of you, thank you for lighting the path with your diyas. Keep following your bliss!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Adorned

Look at the dewdrop
that rests upon
a leaf,
adorning it with a sparkle
on a cold winter's morning.

As the leaf sways
in the light breeze,
the dewdrop dances
and twirls
its way down
to the leaf below.

Breaking into ten dewdrops,
now a chain of pearls
on the leaf below.

A gust of wind blows
and the pearls
are tossed away
to a budding leaf that emerges
from a strong stem
as it grows.
Hopes. Believes,
in a day of sunshine.

Now greeted with a necklace
of pearls,
a glorious welcome
into this world.

No leaf is too small,
none too weak
nor a tad too yellow
to be the bearer of nature's jewels.
Each one precious enough
to be adorned
by a sparkling dewdrop,
on a cold winter's morning.

© Sai Ganesh Nagpal

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Happiness, the Hope way!

Hope. That's what Swapna and I named her. She's an adorable dog adopted by the people of Heritage City (a beautiful township in Gurgaon, India).

Here's how Hope introduced herself to us. It was late evening and I was getting into my car to go home. Swapna was standing right by the car. As I was about to close the door, we heard a rustle of leaves from the general direction of the bushes ahead of us. Not knowing what to expect, we stopped and stared at the bushes. Rustle.

Rustle Rustle.

Out from the bushes jumped... a very happy dog! She bounded towards us. As if we were long lost friends and this was our promised reunion. Her tail wagged so vigorously that she had trouble keeping her balance. She was grinning away to glory, exuding pure unadulterated happiness.

She looked up at us, beaming. She's muddy brown with a black muzzle, and has droopy eyes that steal your heart away instantly.

We knelt down and began to fuss over her. How she loved it, every second of our undivided attention. We asked her where she was from, and with a decisive thump of the tail she almost seemed to say "How does it matter, silly, where I came from? I'm here now! That's what counts. Now go on, scratch my furry neck!" As I scratched her neck, she closed her eyes in bliss and began to lift her head up, towards the heavens. Every few seconds, she would return from her trance to give my hand a couple of licks. Then, it was back to the heavens again. 

As Swapna and I patted her, she began to sit down ever so slowly and then, "shwick.." her fur rubbed against the concrete road as she turned turtle. Time for a tummy rub! Hope just loves tummy rubs. They make her so so happy; take her to a heaven much higher than the seventh.

After nearly fifteen minutes of pure happiness, I realised it was getting late and I had to leave. So I stood up.

Hope looked towards Swapna, hoping that at least she would have a heart and continue. After a final pat, though, Swapna stood up too and told her that this would be all for today. Hope refused to believe this. For a few moments she just stared into space. In belly-up mode. Dazed. Probably hallucinating that her tummy was still being rubbed. When she realised that we actually meant business, she gave me that look that said "You wouldn't really do this to an adorable thing like me now would you?" She was still belly-up.

"Yes sweetheart. I need to go home!" With those words to her, I reluctantly got in the car. And guess what she did. She went and plonked herself right behind the car so I couldn't reverse out! No one's going anywhere, said she. We tried to coax her into moving away. Pleaded with her too. But no. She wasn't about to let the party end. After quite a while and another tummy rub, she finally relented, with an "Ok fine, but just this once!"

I think that's perhaps one of the reasons why we called her Hope. Eternally hopeful that the good times will go on.

That was more than a year ago. Even now, when she spots us from a distance, she comes running towards us like she did that first day. The same smile, the same vigorous tail wag, the same enthusiasm. The good times continue.

Have you ever stopped to hear the sound that dogs' paws make when they run on a hard surface?

"chik chik chik chik chik chik..."

That's what it sounds like when she comes running towards us. Each time from a different direction.

Hope's capacity to love can put any philanthrophic human to shame. Unconditional love. That's what she gives us and that's what she makes us give her. When we go for walks in the evening, she always walks ten steps ahead of us, clearing the road ahead for us. Like the pilot car in a VIP convoy. Her definition of clearing the way also includes chasing away any cats that had the audacity to so much as contemplate crossing our path. As she marches ahead, charting our path, she has this unassuming air about her. Like she's just doing her own thing, isn't really with us or anything. Every ten seconds, though, she steals a quick glance back, just to make sure we're there. Sometimes, in her excitement to chase away audacious cats, she goes too far ahead and takes a turn away from the road. We continue walking, though.

 "chik chik chik chik chik chik..."

She comes bounding back. Racing ahead of us to continue her "pilot car" run.

She's such a happy dog. I love how she surrounds herself with people who love her, and people who are able to accept her love in return. There's always the odd person out there who shoos her off, or scares her away. But that doesn't get her down. She sticks with the ones who make her tail wag. And the ones who give her tummy rubs!

Don't we all have a lesson or two to learn from Hope. Hope. Now that would be a good one to start with.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This Time












This time I will not
sit back and wait
for the leaves to turn yellow
and another winter to dawn
so I can relegate
my dream to a new spring.

Nor cast away the swirls of
myriad feelings
that wash over my soul
and speak to me
in ways they never have
before.

This time I will not
shy away
in fear and allow
walls
to be built
around me
to protect me from
the storm that has not
and may never come.

And should the storm come
this time
I will not choose to
be fearful
and run for cover to the closest
shelter
but look the storm in the face
and continue moving forward
until the winds relent
and the rivers part
to show me my path.

This time I will not rest
until I have tasted
the freedom
of lasting happiness.

 © Sai Ganesh Nagpal

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

More Joy!

Today it's my turn to say "it never rains it pours." I happily accept Jacqui's "Thumbs Up" award for my blog. I'm truly touched by the outpouring of goodwill and appreciation that I've been receiving. Thank you Jacqui; the waves rushing upon the shore just got happier!

Jacqui has a blog called Uplift Antidote. I find her articles refreshing, and very thought provoking! There's always something in them that you and I can relate to. Each of her pieces is very... clear - yes, that's the word I was looking for. Clear, like crystal. Clear, also, like the pristine water in a stream that gushes down the mountain side. So pure. So honest. 

To be clear, is to be empowered. Have you ever experienced that rush of clarity, when you just know inside what the answer is; when you know what you should do next? It's like muddy water going through a filter. The doubts get left behind, clarity is carried forward. I feel most empowered during such 'clarity' moments. The trouble is that they don't always last, and often give way to confusion again, this time about something else. But while they're there, I feel like nothing, no force on earth, can stop me from doing what I need to do. I wonder what it would be like to live those clarity moments ALL the time. And then I wonder if the mud is, perhaps, necessary because the process of filtering the mud out is empowering in itself. Exhausting, at times, but empowering nonetheless.

I applaud every writer, every artist, every person who, even in the smallest of ways, helps someone, somewhere feel empowered; allows someone, somewhere to live a clarity moment.

Thank you once again, Jacqui! Thank you all.

Monday, February 1, 2010

An Award for Joy

Dear Readers,

Tony Anders, an inspirational writer, has honored Waves Upon the Shore with the Best Blog Award. I’d like to thank Tony for his gracious gesture, and I’d also like to thank all of you for your love and support; for your constant encouragement that means so much to me; and for enriching this space with your comments and presence.

Like I mentioned in my introductory post on Writers Rising, I created this blog as a space where I could write just the way I felt, without the fear associated with writing for a topic that will be graded by an ‘expert’. I initially didn’t think I would share the blog with anyone, thought of it more like my own little space. But then, as I began to feel the joy that came from expressing my deepest truths just the way I felt them, I couldn’t help but begin to share. After all, love is expansive… it cannot be restricted even if one tries!

There’s so much light just waiting to shine on our lives, and writing is a powerful medium to bring forth this light. I encourage all of you to visit Tony’s blog at Artisan of the Human Spirit, and experience the light that he shares through his simple yet profound messages. He calls it “dropping the spiritual pebble in the pond,” which is a very apt way to describe what we’re all trying to do on our spiritual journeys.

Thank you once again.

Love, Light, and Peace,
Sai