When you are soaked in gratitude and love the Life you have, its beauty and fragrance are magical.
I turn 50 today.
In the normal course I would have been still been drunk – hung over – on alcohol from the previous night’s binge! But today I am drunk on the love that is pouring in from all around. I feel awed, humbled and grateful – all at the same time.
Way back in 2004, when we had met a Siddha yogi, on the advice of one of our friends, the yogi had told me, “AVIS, your Life will completely change after you turn 40!” I was 37 then. On my 40th birthday, in 2007, when Vaani’s sister and her husband from Phoenix, Arizona, had called to wish me, I remember telling them both this: “Oh! This is one birthday that I have so eagerly looked forward to.” I was thinking then, keeping the yogi’s remark – which I considered to be a prophecy – in mind, that post-40 we would get all the money that we so badly needed through some quirk of destiny and we would be able to bounce back from our “tight” (back then) financial situation. But nothing of what I thought of and wished for has really happened. In fact, within a couple of months of me turning 40, on December 31, 2007, we realized that we were bankrupt. We were left with no money, no work, and we owed Rs.5 crore, US $ 1 million then, to 179 people. (Read more here: Fall Like A Rose Petal)
A decade on, we continue to be bankrupt. We still owe the 179 people the money we owed them then – Rs.5 crore! So, just reviewing the Siddha yogi’s remark may lead to the conclusion that my Life and Vaani’s has changed for the worse in the last 10 years, ever since I turned 40. But on a spiritual plane, at an evolutionary level, nothing’s the same about my Life. The Siddha yogi was indeed right. My Life has changed dramatically in the past decade.
I have learnt, in this time, the art of being non-worrying, non-frustrated and non-suffering. This essentially means that I have learnt to be happy despite our excruciating circumstances. I have recognized the value in being calm and stoic, and to trust the process of Life. This means, I cherish and practice faith and patience. I have learnt to live my Life meaningfully – choosing always to also be useful than just trying to only be successful. This means living Life with a Higher Purpose – Inspiring Happiness among all those who care to pause and reflect. I have learnt that there is no destination that you must strive to arrive at in Life – and that the journey is the reward. I have learnt to rise in love. This means Vaani and my companionship has thrived through this tumultuous decade only because we continue to be loving, in the present, continuous, sense. This has meant also that our children have seen our friendship evolve, grow and glow. So, they too now value companionship over a mere relationship. I have also learnt that everything happens for a reason and everyone’s a teacher. So, I don’t complain about anyone or anything anymore. I may have an opinion, a point of view on what people say or do, or on whatever happens to me, but I don’t resist anything, I don’t ask why or why me – and therefore I don’t suffer. And yes, I have learnt to say ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’ to Life for all that I have – I recognize that being eternally grateful is an incredible way to be soaked in peace!
These learnings make me feel so special, so blessed. I feel my Life, despite its attendant practical and physical challenges, is very liberating. It is filled with abundance and happiness. I am sure others my age – and older – feel this way too. But this is the first time I am turning 50! So please bear with my sharing these thoughts today. For this is what I am experiencing at this stage in Life, at my Point 50!!!
Life’s beautiful – as it is! And I am lovin’ each moment!
The Master Plan has no flaws.
Yesterday, just ahead of a very important workshop that I was leading, the sole of my decade-old pair of shoes came off – as in, there was a yawning, gaping crack on the sole of the shoe on my left foot. I was already dressed up and set to leave home. It was raining. And the car that had been sent for us by our host had arrived. I could have changed into another pair of shoes. But they were brown in color and would not match the trousers that I was wearing. So I decided to just go on – broken sole, that uncomfortable, worn out, feeling in one foot, et al!
Just a day earlier I had revisited a Japanese concept – wabi sabi. It basically means that Life is transient and imperfect; and that it is in embracing our imperfections that we must find beauty and inner peace!
As I walked on to centre-stage at 9.30 am to anchor my day-long session, I decided to celebrate that imperfect, uncomfortable feeling under my left foot. I didn’t try to push it away or forget that discomfort. I just accepted it for what it was. And I had a whale of a time delivering my 7-hour marathon workshop! The audience was fantastic and I immersed myself in doing what I love doing.
It was only when I finished closer to 6 pm that I actually realized that I had all along, throughout the day, been walking around with a broken sole below my left foot! When I reached home, and literally put up my feet, I thought back to my favorite poet Jalaluddin Rumi’s lines: “Live your Life as if everything has been rigged in your favor.” Vaani and I should know the value of this line. In a material sense, our Life over the past decade (Read more here: Fall Like A Rose Petal) resembles that broken sole of my left shoe. We know it is broken. But we clearly have been unable to fix it. And yet, like the workshop yesterday, our Life in the same decade has been miraculously flowing along – beautifully. At most times it has been painful, yes, but there’s a beauty, an indescribable sense of liberation that accompanies that pain. In every sense we have been, like yesterday’s shoe episode and workshop, celebrating wabi sabi – the impermanence and imperfection of, and in, Life!
This morning, on the eve of a very important milestone in my Life, my 50th, I recognize, yet again, that the Master Plan clearly has no flaws! Every minute of my Life I worship this truth and celebrate it!