2021 has been a soul-wrenching year for a variety of reasons. I bet I am not alone in feeling this way. Ironically, it has also been an emotionally fulfilling and spiritually enriching one for me.
Starting the year with a 10000% focus on caregiving for my ailing (and now) late father. To see him pass away in the first month of the year.
Then to deal with the heavy languish of pandemic induced ‘stay at home and sink into the quicksand of boundary-less days’ to dealing with doubts about my mental state.
Then learning to acknowledge that I am not alone and many of us were sinking and sailing in similar boats.
To finding refuge in my Kriya Yoga practice. Not to harness but submit to the energies that be. Not to ask something but offer everything that was left in me.
Learning to embrace the brittleness of who I was and welcome the person I was becoming.
Learning to unchain, delimit and unbecome.
To seeking and dissolving in the love of those who bring meaning to my life.
To offering loving service to those in need.
To doing something meaningful to improve the COVID situation in the city.
To spending time in the mountains. To hugging friends, dogs and trees in the mountains.
To acknowledging and cherishing safe spaces. To creating more.
To making a steadfast effort to get going again.
To succeeding organically and exponentially in so many aspects.
To failing humorously in many others.
To accepting both with folded palms.
To allowing my purpose to emerge ‘to positively impact 1 million lives by 2031’
To realizing how much this global catastrophe has offered to our planet, to our human race.
To boldly and unflinchingly creating the new ‘now’ for myself.
As I sit and write this on a lazy Bangalorean afternoon, I am beginning to accept what an intentional sabbatical or vishram from the anarchy of daily machine has done to me and can do to our lives – past, present, and future.
Yesterday, I was driving down for a spa appointment on a beautiful sunny morning and it hit me. It is not the absence of work or commitments for the day. But deep and true rest that we all deserve and need that is going to bring unfathomable and bountiful new patterns to our lives.
Our lives should have little resemblance to machine parts that run on certain RPMs, require periodic maintenance, and then are eventually discarded.
Our lives mean more. I am contemplating on a sense of sacredness about slowing down, not moving, about truly living and not getting by or reacting or even responding to situations.
I am rooting.
I am questioning most things, most days, most decisions, most discussions, most moments of this year gone by. I am questioning all of it to surface the days, decisions, discussions, and moments that really mattered. Mattered to me, to others.
And I realize, I could have packed all that really mattered in a time bubble of fewer than 3 months – that too since I am generous with time.
That leaves me with a sigh and a big question mark, what the heck were the other nine months all about? Fillers?
There is a significant chance that this pandemic could be one of the few reset points our generations will get to question our life patterns, question what gives us meaning, and learn to discard what does not.
To question and renegotiate realities – economic, emotional, social, and spiritual.
And to those who are in a hurry to get back to the ‘normal’, any ‘normal’, I offer my intrigue and suspicion.
I realize, in general, the world is hell-bent on making us forget what just happened to our planet, to the very membranes of lives.
Extreme things happened.
People died in droves. Loved ones, those we grew up with, those we relied on left us, suddenly. Like the fizz that leaves a cola bottle. What remained is perhaps sweet memories and an unhealthy drink.
Lives were wrecked – economically and emotionally. Many will never recover from it.
But I also witnessed birds and butterflies making swift comebacks to our cities. Arresting clear blue skies that remind us of what could be if just slowed down and harmonized.
I witnessed humanity rising up to the occasion and delivering when needed the most.
I am also witnessing people rediscovering what matters to them.
People rediscovered what it is to live with their families. To create life once again around our loved ones instead of creating a life around workplaces and patterns.
People have rediscovered that they have agency over their life.
People have discovered they can work from mountains, jungles, beaches or wherever their heart sings.
People have rediscovered that they need a community when shit hits the fan.
People have rediscovered that they are better human beings than they gave themselves credit for.
People have rediscovered that they actually do not need a lot of ‘things’ to live and experience grace and gratitude.
People have rediscovered that they are fragile and regenerative. And so are others.
People are rediscovering what it is to be alive.
To those who are suspicious of this ‘warm and fuzzy’, I am suspicious of you too 🙂
I understand that you may not understand any or something of this. And that is fine.
So here is to say goodbye to ‘once in a generation’ year.
You have taught us well, I hope we have learned equally well.
I am intentionally and unapologetically choosing the big rocks that go into my jar.
I am intent on keeping enough breathing space in my life for greater meaning to emerge.
I will intentionally do less and do what is needed really well.
I will go where my spirit moves me, you are free to tag along or not.
I wish and pray you find your big rocks, find the meaning that fills you up, and the rhythm that moves your spirit.
My deepest gratitude to everyone who afforded me safe spaces, encouraged me, discouraged me, made it easy for me, made it difficult for me, listened to me, were patient with me, brought a smile on my face, stood by me, were indifferent to me, moved mountains to be with me when it mattered, those who loved me and those who couldn’t care less. I have a growing and warm space in my heart for all of you.
You know who you are. You know you are greater than who you think you can be.
I will see you in 2022.