Make this a Happywala New Year!

Flow with your Life to experience the abundance and grace in it!
We had a meaningful New Year’s Eve. A few of us friends had got together. Through the evening, as the best of R D Burman and Kishore Kumar songs were played, and sung, we also had an interesting activity on. Everyone got a word from Santa’s big red bag that was passed around. Each person had to talk about the word in the context of the year gone by and what they hoped for in 2016 in relation to what the word meant to them!
So words like ‘Celebrate’, ‘Miracle’, ‘Serendipity’, ‘Awesome’, ‘Magic’, ‘Learn’, ‘Unlearn’, ‘Inspire’, ‘Happiness’, ‘Love’, ‘Be Yourself’, ‘Poetry’ and ‘Let Go!’ popped out of Santa’s bag! Most people who spoke related beautifully to their words, pausing to reflect on what the word had meant to them in 2015. Someone shared how the year had been full of celebrations all through! Another spoke of being awesome and celebrating awesomeness. The gentleman who got the word magic asked us to consider the magic in the moment when the year changed! Another talked about how spending time with his father, before he passed on, was an opportunity to re-experience unconditional love. Vaani talked about her inspiration that led her to resume learning music in 2015. And there was this friend, who did not exactly know what serendipity meant but realized upon reflection that everything in our lives is, uncannily, serendipitous.
The word I got was, interestingly, aptly, happiness. To me happiness is not just a state of mind or an attitude, it is a state of being. Over the last few years this state of being has helped us as a family face – and survive – what can be described as, to put it matter-of-factly, a cathartic phase in our Life. To be sure, we continue to grapple with imponderables. But we have learnt the art of being happy despitethe circumstances.
Being happy does not guarantee that your problems will disappear. Or that solutions to your problems will immediately appear. Being happy, we have discovered, has simply helped us feel and experience the abundance and grace that surrounds us. When you are happy, you magically see only what is – and don’t get stuck only complaining about what you don’t have. So, as we enter yet another year when our financially uncertain situation endures, we celebrate that we all have good health, we have a home to come back to, we have each other and that we have friends who treat us with love, compassion and dignity. Through this celebration, we recognize the grace that fills our lives, always giving us all that we need!

Really, it is not what happiness is. It is what happiness does. It makes you live a fuller Life, no matter what’s happening to you!  What comes between you and your happiness is you. You are unhappy only because you are trying to control what’s happening to you. When you try to control Life, you are not in it. You are looking at Life as if it were a problem that you have to solve. As if it is a third party that you have to deal with. Instead if you flow with Life, you will find that it is filled with abundance and grace every step of the way and you too will, as one of our friends last night exclaimed as the clock struck 12, have a Happywala 2016!

Being depressed for too long is an unevolved response to Life

If you are feeling depressed about Life please know that you are experiencing something normal. Just don’t allow the depression to pin you down and hold you hostage.
Recent media reports suggest that Bollywood star Deepika Padukone has talked about battling anxiety and depression last year. She reportedly felt a ‘strange emptiness’ in her Life and her close friend’s suicide only made matters worse for her. Deepika has said she shot for much of the climax for Happy New Year (2014, Farah Khan) feeling “this way”. Now, this confession by the actor may make some people wonder why she, of all people, has to be depressed. After all, doesn’t she have it all – a glamorous Life, success, money, a fairy-tale relationship with a co-star and what not? But that’s the way depression is – it strikes different people for different reasons. Even so the fundamental cause why people tend to feel depressed is the same – they are depressed when they don’t get what they want. Since people’s wants vary, the reasons for depression vary too. But since everyone out there has unfulfilled wants, depression is inevitable at some time in Life or the other in everyone’s Life.
The way to deal with depression is simple though. First accept that depression is a normal and natural response to not getting what you want in Life. Sometimes your wants may be well defined – money, a car, a vacation, a relationship, a child…whatever. Sometimes your wants may be tangible; you may have all the material wealth but what you may be looking for is something intangible – better understanding from family, inner peace, joy in the work you are doing and such. In either case, know that most often you will not get what you want in Life. So, feeling depressed over a want not being met, or granted, is a juvenile, unevolved response to Life. Now if you learn that the nature of Life is such that all your needs will be fulfilled, but never your wants, then you can rise above your depressed state and move on. But if you allow yourself to be depressed for too long, then suffering isn’t far away. Because depression is like a wave. If you stand there too long, you will be drowned by the high tide. Then depression will hold you hostage. This when you will not find motivation to do anything – to face people, to go to work, to believe in yourself or even to just be alone – by yourself. You will become irritable, you will grieve and you will suffer.
The first wave of depression is natural. But the second one is self-inflicted. You can’t avoid the first one. But you can ensure that you keep the second one away. Be wary of depression. For every second in your Life that you are depressed, you are not living. You are merely existing! A simple truth worth remembering when depression strikes you is that if you are not getting what you want, then perhaps, it is the way it is meant you be. Instead, simply, accept what is and go on with your Life.