A prayer to live meaningfully

Living meaningfully is an individual choice and a personal responsibility.
Yesterday I saw a post in the Chennai Bloggers Club where a young lady Janani announced that she has launched a “Make it Meaningful” campaign around her wedding. Her fiancé and she have invited their family and friends to avoid lavishing them with gifts and instead donate to the cause of funding the education of 200 children.
I think the idea is not just innovative and compassionate, it is super cool. I wish more people take inspiration from this young couple and make their celebrations meaningful.
Whether it is a wedding, birthday, anniversary or just about any celebration, gifting is an integral part of both traditional and contemporary culture. But if you dispassionately observe the whole process of gifting, it has somehow stopped being aesthetical. Gifts are, unfortunately, brandished more as status symbols. Who gave what seems to have overtaken the art of giving. Besides, the big, fat, Indian wedding has gone beyond being just big and fat – it has become a pompous show of wealth. So much money – and food – gets wasted at our events in the name of ceremony and tradition. In a world where so many people die of hunger, where so many don’t have a roof over their heads and where so many more don’t have the means to education, all this spend can be better utilized than wasted.
Young Janani and her fiancé promise us light though. I know of a gentleman who plants trees on the birthdays of his friends. For several years now, Vaani and I have been donating to www.rasaindia.org and to Narayanan Krishnan’s www.akshayatrust.orgon the birthdays, anniversaries or weddings of people that are very close to us. I am sure several people out there are doing something very similar. The Bhoomika Trust has a program called www.truegiftsindia.orgwhere people can choose gifts from Rs.200 to Rs.10000 and above – all funds gifted will go to the specific needs of participating NGOs. Yet, so much more public participation and groundswell is required.

Gifting is not a bad idea. Spending on celebrations is also not a bad idea. But splurging and wasting precious resources – time, energy and money – definitely is! Each of us has a responsibility to leave this world a better place than we found it. And we can do that only by living meaningfully – starting, well…Oh! Yes! Abhi! 
Advertisements

Romance Life to see how loving you really are!

Just as you can learn swimming, cycling, writing, you can learn loving too.
Overcoming small irritations and injustices by giving the situation and the perpetrator love, instead of anger, is how you practice loving. A motorist tries to cut past you and creates a small traffic jam but ends up blaming you. Don’t respond with a how-dare-you look. Smile and say it was just an ‘oops!’ situation. At a busy check-out line at a store, someone edges past you and the cashier does not insist that you must be allowed to bill first. Don’t agitate. Smile and say these things happen! Your boss holds you singularly responsible for the team’s poor show though you have put in several extra miles. Don’t grieve. Pray for your team and your boss.
Our daily Life is peppered with several hundreds of opportunities__or call them nanosecond tests__to practice loving. In that nanosecond you have to make a choice. Do you want to respond with anger or practice loving instead? When you practice loving, you learn forgiving__or, as Richard Carlson would say, you learn how not to sweat the small stuff. How you deal with the small things in Life is what determines how you deal with the big things. The interesting aspect of practicing loving is you don’t have to become loving. You are love and you are capable of loving. The only thing that comes with practice is that you become more aware of this capability.
Just like Mother Teresa and Gandhi and now, Narayanan Krishnan, personify love, so can you. Because you are that already. Just that you don’t know it. The love in you doesn’t just need some lemon and honey, it needs practicing. Romance the travails of everyday Life, and see how loving you really are!