Conversations to Awaken … Marriage, Money, Life Design, Facilitation & more..

For long, I have been wanting to enable conversations and (for the lack of a better word) – offer programs on themes that are of concern to a lot of people, friends and humanity at large. One day I just sat and wrote out just a few bullets under each theme. That is some starting point.

I hope to use the site called ‘Group Gyaan’ of Hetal Rach to see how much interest there is in this. Often reaching out to people has been a challenge.

Baby steps will allow us to participate with emergence …

Marriage… What is Love?

• Often a great marriage seems like a mirage. What is the spirit of marriage and how might we not let the institution of marriage not destroy the true essence of it?
• Perhaps the heart of marriage, the ‘marital art’ has some parallels ‘martial art’ 😉
• Maybe the most profound gift of marriage and all relationships is to discover how the outer, the other is just an ‘otherness’, mirroring the inner, reflecting oneself.
• How do we make the most of that which is perhaps one of the greatest challenges and perhaps one of the most extra-ordinary opportunities!
• What is marriage as an institution evolving into?

Relationships … The heart of Living, Learning and Love!

• Why are relationships often so challenging? What are the hidden gifts in that challenge?
• How might we shift from what someone called ‘Relationshit’ to ‘Elationship’ 😉 by making contact with what’s ‘Real’
• How can we realize that the only measure of love is truth and the measure of truth is love.
• Can we learn this dance of Yin-Yang by loving what is and seeing how what seems attractive or repulsive is not just outside in the other but also precisely inside in ourselves!
• How can innocence, playfulness, a certain carefree abandon be brought into relationships!

Facilitation & Coaching .. The subtle art and science of Co-evolution

• The central part of my work and life journey has been to discover and share the joy of facilitation. Through one-to-one connections, the ‘Tao of facilitation’ program and the work that I have done with businesses, leaders and of late, communities also.
• Organically I have discovered many subtleties and nuances in this fascinating field. I have also encountered many great teachers, facilitators, trainers and leaders. I have also had the blessing of enabling and being enabled simultaneously by many such gifted and ordinary human beings.
• It is a great joy to offer this to whoever is interested in ‘byte-sized’ sessions to start with, apart from the in-depth program that I offer.
• Some examples of what can be discovered are:
o ‘helicopter viewing’ as one of the greatest skills and way of being
o the 4 dimensions of facilitation- listening, speaking, wondering and silence
o the mind (thinking), the heart (feeling), the body(action) all born from spirit (our magnificence!)

Life Design & Soul Purpose.. Discovering the Song you were born to sing

• There is a life we were born to live, a vision we were born to manifest, a song we were born to sing.
• And yet, in some crazy way, we also resist most deeply this song in our heart.
• What might enable us to embrace this genius, this magnificence that sits inside us?
• How may we allow the design of life to operate?
• Through the incredible lens of birth dates, listening to the voice of the heart, the winks from life, looking at our fears in the face and learning to make friends with adversity we may begin to sing the song a little more deeply.
• We can drop the struggle to ‘change’ ourselves by designing our lives. When we are free to be who we are.. we relax into our natural state.

‘The Work’ that enables Play, Lightness and a shift from Pain to Laughter!

• If I was to pick up one body of work that has touched my life most deeply, it is Byron Katie’s ‘Work’, also known as Inquiry.
• Three lines that came to me that summarise this powerfully are:
o Life is wise, even when it seems otherwise 😉
o Reality is kind, unlike stories of the mind.
o When we hold lightly, that which we held tightly, life shines more brightly.
• I had done a small blog post on this for those who want to know more.

• You will discover how the outside is merely mirroring what is inside. Especially that which irritates, frustrates, is repulsive, you may find you can not only live with but maybe even laugh at!

Let me know at kirangul@gmail.com if any of you who reads this is interested in one or more of these themes.

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Love – Friendship, Marriage, Commitment and beyond

Often I have had conversations in the last year or more with young friends struggling with the whole issue of ‘marriage’ and love. I see many unmarried youngsters grappling with it today (thankfully!). It is a big question. And needs careful attention. A related question which is more fundamental is about relationships. Is that not the central thing that we all grapple with- relationship with each other, and relationship with a lot else – money and sex being the two in which we humans are the most confused.

And then of course the relationship with all that is ‘material’ – food, body, home, career, and more. Above all our relationship with our selves and with life itself! Some call it the divine. And at the heart of it all is the four letter word- love.

The word ‘love’ has become a cliché. And yet, it is a journey which is so completely human and so utterly divine. The society and human beings have classified ‘love’ and defined its appropriateness. And whether we are navigating our relationship with the one who is most precious to us or ‘The One’ (differently labeled as Awareness, The Divine, Universe, Existence, Being, Essence etc), it would help to appreciate what is possible. All our human relationships are an expression of our relationship.

While there is a validity in us humans categorizing love as romantic, parental, platonic, friendship etc., it may be worthwhile to really look and see .. does this defining result in a confining. And can true love ever be confined? I love the Shubha Mudgal song, ‘Pyaar toh musafir hai marzi se aaye jaaye’ (Love is a traveller, it comes and goes by its own will).

A few years back, I had read this piece by Swami Vivekananda in a booklet on ‘Bhakti Yoga’ which touched me deeply. The summary is..

“The lowest form in which this (divine) love is apprehended is.. peaceful – the Shanta. The next higher type is that of Dasya i.e servant ship; The next type of love is Sakhya, friendship. (Then) Vatsalya, loving god not as our Father but as our child… to detach all ideas of power from the concept of God… (The next) is known as Madhura, sweet, and is the highest of all such representations… where God is our husband… The true spiritual lover does not rest even there…” – Swami Vivekananda

What is the path of the true spiritual lover of the divine and its manifestation in human form- read on to discover

———–

HUMAN REPRESENTATIONS OF THE DIVINE IDEAL OF LOVE
– Swami Vivekananda

It is impossible to express the nature of this supreme and absolute ideal of love in human language. Even the highest flight of human imagination is incapable of comprehending it in all its infinite perfection and beauty. The whole universe is to us a writing of the infinite in the language of the common terms associated with the common love of humanity in relation to God and His worship through love.

Some of the great writers on Para – Bhakti have tried to understand and experience this divine love in so many different ways. The lowest form in which this love is apprehended is what they call the peaceful – the Shanta– When a man worships God without the fire of love in him without its madness in his brain, when his love is just the calm commonplace love. The Shanta- Bhakta is calm, peaceful, gentle.

The next higher type is that of Dasya i.e servant ship; it comes when a man thinks he is the servant of the Lord. The attachment of the faithful servant unto the master is his ideal.

The next type of love is Sakhya, friendship – “Thou, art our beloved friend.” Just as a friend will never chide him for his faults but will always try to help him, just as there is the idea of equality between him and his friend, so equal love flows in and out between the worshipper and his friendly God. Thus God become our friend, the friend who is near, the friend to whom we may freely tell all the tales of our lives. The innermost secrets of our hearts we may place before Him with the great assurance of safety and support. God is viewed here as our playmate. We may well say that we are all playing in this universe. Just as children play their games … so is the Beloved Lord himself in sport with this universe.

It is all really in sport; the universe is His play going on. The whole universe must after all be a big piece of pleasing fun to Him. If you are poor, enjoy that as fun; if you are rich, enjoy the fun of being rich; if dangers come, it is also good fun; if happiness comes, there is more good fun. How beautifully He is playing! The play is finished when the cycle comes to an end. There is rest for a shorter or longer time; again all come out and play. It is only when you forget that it is all play and that you are also helping in the play, it is only then that misery and sorrows come.

Then the heart becomes heavy, then the world weighs upon you with tremendous power. But as soon as you give up the serious idea of reality as the characteristic of the changing incidents of the three minutes of life and know it to be but a stage on which we are playing, helping Him to play, at once misery ceases for you. He plays in every atom; He is playing when He is building up earths, and suns, and moons; he is playing with the human heart, with animals with plants.

The next is what is known as Vatsalya, loving god not as our Father but as our child. This may look peculiar, but it is a discipline to enable us to detach all ideas of power from the concept of God. The idea of power brings with it awe. There should be no awe in love. The ideas of reverence and obedience are necessary for the formation of character, but when character is formed, when the lover has tasted the calm, peaceful love, and tasted also a little of its intense madness, then he need talk no more of ethics and discipline. To conceive God as mighty, majestic, and glorious as the Lord of the universe, or as the God of gods, the lover says he does not care. It is to avoid this association with god of the fear –creating sense of power that he worships God as his own child. The mother and the father are not moved by any reverence to the child; they cannot think of asking any favor from the child.

The child’s position is always that of the receiver, and out of love for the child the parents will give up their bodies a hundred times over. The Christian and the Hindu can realize it easily, because they have the baby Jesus and the baby Krishna. The superstitions of awe and reverence in relation to God are deeply rooted in the heart of our hearts, and it takes long years to sink entirely in love.

There is one more human representation of the divine ideal of love. It is known as Madhura, sweet, and is the highest of all such representations. It is indeed based on the highest manifestation of love in this world, and this love is also the strongest known to man. What love shakes the whole nature of man, what love runs through every atom of his being- makes him mad, makes him forget his own nature, transforms him, makes him either a God or a demon – as the love between man and woman? In this sweet representation of divine love God is our husband. We are all women; there are no men in this world; there is but one man, that is He, our Beloved.

All the different kinds of love which we see in the world, and with which we are more or less playing merely, have God as the one goal; but unfortunately, man does not know the infinite ocean into which this mighty river of love, is constantly flowing, and so, foolishly, he often tries to direct it to little dolls of human beings. The tremendous love for the child that is in human nature is not for the little doll of child; if you bestow it blindly and exclusively on the child, you will suffer in consequence. But through such suffering will come the awakening by which you are sure to find out that the love which is in you, if it is given to any human being, will sooner or later bring pain and sorrow as the result; our love must, therefore, be given to the Highest One who never dies and never changes, to Him in the ocean of whose love there is neither ebb nor flow. Love must get to its right destination; it must go unto Him who is really the infinite ocean of love. All rivers flow into the ocean. Even the drop of water coming down from the mountainside cannot stop its course after reaching a brook or a river, however big it may be; at last even that drop somehow does find its way to the ocean.

God is the one goal of all our passions and emotions. If you want to be angry, be angry with him. Chide your Beloved, Chide you Friend. Whom else can you safely chide? Mortal man will not patiently put up with your anger; there will be a reaction. If you are angry with me I am sure quickly to react, because I cannot patiently put up with your anger. Say unto the Beloved, “Why do you not come to me; why do You leave me thus alone?” Where is there any enjoyment but in him? What enjoyment can there be in little clods of earth? It is the crystallized essence of infinite enjoyment that we have to seek, and that it is in God. Let all our passions and emotions go up unto him. They are meant for Him, for if they miss their mark and go lower, they become vile; and when they go straight to the mark. to the Lord, even the lowest of them becomes transfigured. All the energies of the human body and mind, howsoever they may express themselves, have the Lord as their one goal, as their Ekayana. All loves and all passions of the human heart must go to God. He is the Beloved, Whom else can this heart must go to God. He is the Beloved. Whom else can this heart love? He is the most beautiful, the most sublime; He is beauty itself, sublimity itself. Who in this universe is more beautiful than he? Who in this universe is more beautiful that He? Who in this universe is fit to become the husband than He? Who in this universe is fitter to be loved than He? So let Him be the husband, let Him be the Beloved.

Often it so happens that divine lovers who sing of this divine love accept the language of human love in all its aspects as adequate to describe it. Fools do not understand this; they never will. They look at it only with the physical eye. They do not understand the mad throes of this spiritual love. How can they? “For one kiss of thy lips, o Beloved! One who has been kissed by Thee, has his thirst of Thee increasing for ever, all his sorrows vanish and he forgets all things except Thee alone.” Aspire after that kiss of the beloved, that touch of His lips which makes the Bhakta mad, which makes of man a god. To him, who has been blessed with such a kiss, the whole of nature changes, world s vanish, suns and moons die out, and the universe itself melts away into that one infinite ocean of love. That is the perfection of the madness of love.

Ay, the true spiritual lover does not rest even there; even the love of husband and wife is not mad enough for him. The Bhaktas take up also the idea of illegitimate love, because it is so strong; the impropriety of it is not at all the thing they have in view. The nature of this love is such that the more obstructions there are for its free play, the more passionate it becomes, the love between husband and wife is smooth; there are no obstructions there. So the Bhaktas take up the idea of a girl who is in love with her own beloved, and her mother or father or husband objects to such love; and the more anybody obstructs the course of her love, so much the more is her love tending to grow in strength. Human language cannot describe how Krishna in the groves of Vrinda was madly loved, how at the sound of his voice the ever-blessed Gopis rushed out to meet him, forgetting everything, forgetting this world and its ties, its duties, its joys and its sorrows. Man, O man, you speak of divine love and at the same time are able to attend to all the vanities of this world – are you sincere? “Where desire is, there is no room for Rama; these never coexist- like light and darkness they are never together.

CONCLUSION

When the highest ideal of love is reached, philosophy is thrown away, who will then care for it? Freedom, Salvation, Nirvana- all are thrown away; who cares to become free while in the enjoyment of divine love? “Lord, I do not want wealth, nor friends, nor beauty, nor learning, nor even freedom; let me be born again and again, and be Thou ever my Love. Be Thou ever and ever my Love.” “Who cares to become sugar? Says the Bhakta. “I want to taste sugar.” Who will then desire to become free and one with God? “ I may know that I am He, yet will I. Take myself away form Him and become different, so that I may enjoy the Beloved.” That is what the Bhakta says.

Love for love’s sake is his highest enjoyment. Who will not be bound hand and foot a thousand times over to enjoy the Beloved? No Bhakta cares for anything except love, except to love and to be loved. His unworldly love is like the tide rushing up the river; this lover goes up the river against the current. The world calls him mad. I know one whom the world used to call mad, and this was his answer; “My friends, the whole world is a lunatic asylum. Some are mad after worldly love, some after name, some after fame, some after money, some after salvation and going to heaven. In this big lunatic asylum I am also mad, I am mad after God. If you are mad after money, I am mad after God. You are mad; so am I. I think my madness is after all the best.” The true Bhakta’s love is this burning madness, before which everything else vanishes for him. The whole universe is to him full of love and the love alone; that is how it seems to the lover. So when a man has his love in him, he becomes eternally blessed, eternally happy. This blessed madness of divine love alone can cure forever the disease of the world that is in us. With desire, selfishness has vanished. He has drawn near to God, he has thrown off all those vain desires of which he was full before.

We all have to begin as dualists in the religion of love. God is to us a separate Being, and we feel over selves to be separate beings also. Love then comes in the middle, and man begins to approach God, and God also comes nearer and nearer to man. Man takes up all the various relationships of life, as father, as mother, as son, as friend, as mater, as lover and projects them on his ideal of love, on his God. To him God exists as all these, and the last point of his progress is reached when he feels that he has become absolutely merged in the object of his worship. We all begin with love for ourselves, and the unfair claims of the little self make even love selfish. At last, however, comes the full blaze of light, in which this little self is seen to have become one with the Infinite. Man himself is transfigured in the presence of this Light of Love, and he realizes at last the beautiful and inspiring truth that love, the Lover, and the Beloved are One.

—————–

Lets not misunderstand the word ‘illegitimate love’ … the true spiritual seeker.. the seeker of truth- (which like J. Krishnamurti says, is a pathless land) must necessarily question all that society calls right and wrong. Only then might we transcend polarity, duality and reside in oneness with what is.

There are no easy answers to the question of marriage. Or love, for that matter. What matters is are we asking the right questions.

Recently I put a status message in facebook a quote that touched me:

Love is an ideal thing, marriage is a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It seemed it touched a chord in people also as is revealed from this conversation on Facebook:

The only question is:
Are we engaging with an honesty and an openness the questions that really matter.. .. as the world is profoundly shifting in consciousness. In this engagement, it would be useful to discover love, to negate what it is not..

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just ‘being in love’ which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left when being in love is burned away…
– Louis de Berniers, Corelli’s Mandolin

The whole challenge and opportunity of Commitment requires a deep understanding of how Deep Commitment and Real Freedom are two sides of the same coin. Human beings may have required a legal ritual to ‘ensure’ commitment. But as we evolve to higher levels of consciousness, we may discover that true commitment is free of any bindings and yet there is an honoring of truth. Moment to moment. Just like love, beauty, truth, even commitment and freedom can be understood by being willing to ‘not know’ what it truly is. It may be discovered by constantly seeing what it is not. And hence making it a living, pulsating reality rather than a dried, stale idea, ideal, concept or a ‘should’.

Separation & Love …

‘Only to the extent that man exposes himself over and over again to annihilation can that which is indestructible arise within him. In this lies the dignity of daring’
– Karlfried Gras von Durkheim
… a favorite quote from my IIT days (around 1983-84):

Often separation is seen as opposed to love, to connection. Death is seen as being opposed to Life. And Relationship opposed to being Alone.

And yet, the truth is that without embracing separation, love is reduced to a needy attachment; until we see the beauty of aloneness, relationship is merely an entanglement and without learning to die, life becomes a burden.

By and large, Separation is experienced as painful. Whether it is the separation during the birth of the child from her mother, the separation between a husband and a wife, between lovers, professional separation after partnership in business; Or, for that matter, separation from our dearly held beliefs and indeed the separation that death brings from our near and dear ones.

Separation is death. Death of the past and birth of the present. Of something new, fresh, alive and pulsating. A newness we sometimes avoid for a lifetime. The comfort of familiarity is too alluring for us to embark on the adventure of aliveness. The pain is because we resist dying. Dying to the past, dying to our beliefs and stories, dying to what is so that what might be is born.

And yes, the deeper truth is that Separation is never painful. It is the story we believe about ‘separation’, it is the wanting to hold on to something that has died, it is the trying to bring something that has lived its time, back to life. Am reminded of the wisdom of the Tao..

‘When you let go of what you have, you receive what you need;
when you let go of who you are, you become who you might be’

It is one thing to understand this wisdom, quite another to see its depth and then again, to realize it existentially, is an ever deepening journey. And also something about awakening irreversibly to the truth of this.

Separation can deepen Love

I have seen and have been told that the greatest strength that is expressed through me is ‘Connection’ – in my experience of life, I find that what I spontaneously and effortlessly do is connect people to other people (a dear friend-mentor, GD calls me the ‘cosmic traffic cop’, directing the traffic of people in the right direction ;-)). I also enjoy connecting ideas, visions and paradigms with other possibilities and openings; connecting paradoxes and polarities; books and people. Above all, I love connecting people to the beauty that sings inside them.

When I started making a story of this great gift of connection, life had to bring to be the pain and gift of separation. Separation seemed truly painful at times and not so painful at other times, depending on the intensity of the belief in stories.

And then came a loving relationship, which invited me to die again and again to any attachment of how it ‘must’ be! It provoked, cajoled, invoked me to see the beauty of what is .. every day. It made me make friends with uncertainty. And amidst the many deaths, it seems, there was something that kept coming alive more and more. Inside me, in the relationship and inside one of the dearest friends I have had.

Some separations I have walked through

Some separations in my life are worth mentioning. To see how they brought forth a new life. A greater aliveness. A certain lightness of being. As I lived through the pain. Sat in the fire. And I still do. A bit subtler perhaps. A little easier, maybe. But it seems very real.

An early separation was when I moved out of home to join IIT Bombay. I was all of 17 years old. There was an excitement of living in a hostel. A certain innocence. And I remember I felt quite home-sick in the early days. Today, I can look at those days with fond nostalgia.

Another significant separation I remember was very painful. I remember being in love with a girl, we had exchanged many letters- in those days the internet was not quite there, several intimate conversations- I particularly remember the endless flow of deep sharing we had when we were travelling in a bus one night. And then I remember that when I expressed my love to her, she said, I was a day too late! A close friend of hers had proposed to her and she had said Yes. Such a close shave. I was broken. And tried to put a brave front. Interestingly, I met her again after a few years on the eve of her engagement with another man- she had also broken up with her first friend! And then just a few months back (2012) I reconnected with her and discovered she was divorced and had remarried. Recounting this still evokes in me a bitter-sweet feeling of the tenderness of human life.

Separation in Nature births New life

The separation from the corporate world happened when it became clear to me that I was being called to join this world of learning and human transformation, personal evolution. A new life beckoned me. I joined Pragati Learning in 1996. And when I began, it was like coming home to what I was born to do and be. Fulfillment, contribution, discovery and more. And then a day came when I had to let go of that. As I discovered that my vision was different. Eternale Learning was born. In 2000.

Recently, I discovered a photograph of the Pragati team at the Pune university under a grand banyan tree. I think it must have been 1998. That one team and one organization has become 5 organizations. Much like the banyan tree from which many trees are born and connected with the parent tree. The only difference being that in nature separation is celebrated. The human mind has yet to learn to celebrate separation. It can be a source of joy to the parent tree to give birth to so many trees and create a forest.

‘The Alchemist Ark’ inspired by Paulo Coelho’s book, ‘The Alchemist’ was born first. Today it is very successful company designing e-learning solutions. This tree branched very soon and the ‘World School of Creative Learning’, was born- friends who have been doing amazing work in the field of enabling learning using the various arts. ‘Eternale Learning’, now. ‘CoEvolve’, is an ecosystem that is enabling facilitators and through them the emerging communities like ChittaSangha and Learning Societies. Eternale Learning enabled the birth of ‘Seven Eighths’, an Organization Development initiative and ‘Athanor’, a business that builds mentors and leaders. ‘Tatva Leadership’, the most recent bird that has flown (‘separated’) from the nest, is blazing a trail in developing leaders in the business world. It can be a matter of such pride that a parent has given birth to so many radiant children who in turn are giving birth to more. Ah! The painful joy of separation.

Letting go, Letting God

Separation from my parents brought numbing anguish. My mother died a very painful death- not only physically but also emotionally. In and out of hospitals. One day, she called me and literally begged of me, ‘Please let me go. I have suffered enough.’ And I realize today that we were forcibly extending her life by taking her to the hospital. Until the time we actually put her on a ventilator! We knew no other way. We were confused, I can now say. She wanted to die peacefully at home. My marriage was going thru a very deep churning and profound pain which got accentuated due to this extremely stressful situation. She had been the one to enable, even orchestrate the alliance. And I had just gone along, not listening to my intuition. All hind sight. That creates insight. And perhaps foresight!

My father also died of a galloping cancer within 3 months of its discovery. But it seems it was less painful for him. He was in the US and was put in hospice care and also morphine as a pain killer. He wanted to be taken to the hospital, wanted to live, unlike my mother. But it was not India and hence we could not take him to a hospital once they decided it was over. Such irony. Mother did not want to go to the hospital and she had to. Dad wanted to and could not. Strange are the ways of life.. even in death.

The End of my 17 year marriage

In some ways, the most significant separation perhaps was the end of my marriage. Today I feel so grateful to my former wife, a dear friend who walked with me and in some ways continues to in our journey with our daughter. Our relationship had many beautiful moments but largely it was a pretty difficult marriage. Hardly any marriage is easy and yet, to me, to us this seemed particularly challenging. The most precious gift of the marriage has been Sufii, our now-not-so-little angel. She is 9 years old as I write this (2012). A divorce can be very painful especially after having been married for 17 years. And I can tell you, it can also be liberating. Fortunately for us, it happened largely in a peaceful way.

I had a lot of help from dear friends who helped me to stand in a place of responsibility. It is so easy to blame at such times. They showed me the big picture. And also there were many messages from Shirdi Sai that made the journey simpler. And smoother. Specific instructions about the division of property. About who should Sufii be with. Often the conflict in a separation is about division of assets. The last message from Sai that brought profound peace and clarity was: ‘You are my channel of gifts for her. Give her what she wants. I am there to take care of you, why worry?’ Perhaps it was my higher self. Who knows. But I listened. And in the midst of deep inner conflict of the mind, something in me relaxed, and said ‘Yes’ to the new life that beckoned me.

All along my family was not able to see or understand why I was acting the way I did. Especially with regard to finances. I had to hold my ground and see what was true for me. And not get swayed by the values of my family- though they were the ones who were holding my energy and supporting me in the best way they knew. It was painful. And something helped me walk through the tunnel with grace and grit. To me what was most important was the relationship. Even in separation, to remain friends.

One day in a learning conversation with my dear friend GD, I was genuinely wondering with him, ‘Why doesn’t my family understand?’ Aware of the ‘turnaround’ that there was something I was resisting to understand. Effortlessly, he said, they are aspects of you screaming at you, what certain parts of you believe and hence not letting go of. I could see that the day I stopped believing those stories and investing in them, either they will stop saying what they are or I will be able to smile from inside as I notice how the human being is caught up in fascinating and frustrating stories.

Key Lessons

The key lessons that I learnt from this huge separation – and I need to mention them here – are:

– To gracefully and gratefully exit from a chapter of life that is over without prolonging and stretching something that has lived its life. I am reminded of this beautiful wisdom:

GRACEFUL EXIT- Ellen Goodman

“There’s a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognise when a job, a life-stage, a relationship is over -–and to let go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or it’s past importance in our lives.

It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving on, rather than out. The trick of retiring well may be the trick of living well. Its hard to recognise that life isn’t a holding action, but a process. Its hard to learn. Its hard to learn that we don’t leave the best part of ourselves behind, back in the sports field or the office. We own what we learnt back there. The experience and the growth are grafted onto our lives. And when we exit we can take ourselves along quite gracefully”.

– To see how the moving on is serving each of us.. and the whole. Life is indeed wise, even if the mind cannot quite wrap itself around it and see what is.

– To be very vigilant about the tendency to blame. The outer very faithfully mirrors the inner. And to be able to see that is precious at such times.

– To be willing to reach out for help to people and friends, even professionals who will not take sides and will make you see in the mirror- both your patterns and your essence, the greatness and love from which you can respond and even create/generate the future!

– Being true to what one is feeling and being kind to what the other is wanting. e.g. My value was no conflict and keeping the relationship as healthy as possible was a non-negotiable. I was willing to compromise or let go of the money. In the long run, I feel money can be recovered but relationships broken are much more difficult, often impossible to repair.

– Discovering what the inner voice is saying, and for that I needed to stand in a place that seemed ‘opposed’ to what many near and dear ones – esp. the family were saying and advising. Ultimately no one, I repeat NO ONE can ever know another’s truth or pain. Ultimately, I saw that only I will be facing the consequences of my stand and decision and that also applies to all. And today I am at peace. Yes, struggling financially but that’s nothing in comparison to have had to struggle with the relationship having ‘broken’, with my truth and with and yet for someone else the money may be more important. And that’s fine too.

There have been more separations. Especially one from a client which was very painful. A dear friend asked me: What is it that you really want from this? What are you attached to? I could see intellectually but the pain seemed very real and even today, though it has largely healed. And it seems some residues remain.

< Updating the blog with this status update from Sangeeta Bhagwat today- 16 Jul 13- exactly a year after this blog post:

Having received several messages sharing a general anxiety over travel and separation, I wonder if these are reflections of our fundamental sense of separation from Source, from One?
What if you recognised and honoured the call to reconnect within – now, no longer postponing it for a ‘more convenient time’?

I have seen that I cannot wish away the pain. To be nakedly honest with myself at least is vital. And being willing to see the illusion, the story .. the only thing that can ever make one sad, hurt and cause pain. Reality is kind. It knows no other way.

When we see the inter-connectedness of separation and love, life and death, relationship & aloneness, apparent opposites, we also are shown that separation can deepen love, learning to die can enhance life and being alone brings the true dance to relationships.

What can die but that which is not real.

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