Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Coping with Festivals

Oftentimes in the midst of revelry one finds oneself strangely detached, aloof even. Memories of a loved one who has gone before us and with whom you have celebrated the festival, or a hearkening back to old times, may get you down.

Remember to HALT, i.e. never to do anything if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Recognize that you are not functioning to your optimum and be open to the ways you can actively care for yourself, i.e. make a cup of tea; listen to some soothing music; call up a friend (never mind the time); or just sleep.

It’s normal to feel the way you are feeling. Looking around at the hype and hoopla around you, the media trotting out the usual (consumerist) clichés, you need to feel it is ok not to want to be part of this. Give yourself time to work with yourself.

Creating something makes you feel good. Paint something or just splash some colour on white paper. Write. Do crochet. It’s ok if you just don’t feel like it. Seeing the chaos around you makes you echo Coleridge: ‘All nature seems at work …/ And I …The sole unbusy thing / Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build or sing… /Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow…’ While others are working, the poet is at peace searching for leaves (amaranths).

Reaching out to children can renew you from within. As we grow older our lives become habits. We lose the freshness of the child. I am practicing a classical piece for two guitars with my nephew Russell. The Bach minuet in G is forbidding but challenge is what keeps us alive – and we’ve already done one page of two!

But had I not chugged along with my weekly classes for classical guitar over the last 3 months, I would not be able to experience the joy of attempting a Bach duet with Russell. I am happy I created a resource for me to key in to when I need to uplift myself – to steal away and pray. Or play.

Nothing lasts forever. Loss can offer us a new perspective on living. We begin to value people more. While festivals and their hype are static, it is we who go through change in life. Our dynamic nature makes us experience loss and feel sad, but it also gives us the capacity to heal ourselves by nurturing our core self.

Ride when you are ready, on the festive spirit. Take a plum cake for a friend at Christmas; go to wish a friend for Id, or enjoy Tukaram’s abhang (devotional song) on FM. Tapping in to cultures and creeds makes you feel part of every festival. You can choose to involve yourself to the extent you are comfortable.

Continue the good works of the person who has gone before you. Mum used to always send Christmas sweets to the neighbours. We try to continue the tradition.

Many times you can hit so low you literally need to kick yourself out of the rut. Know then that it requires a conscious effort to spin out of the spiral. Be ready to make that effort. Look at nature and how everything changes, sunrise, sunset, the seasons. Life waits for you.


This article was published in Goa as 'Life Waits For You' on the 'Life and Living' page of the 'Herald 2day' supplement of Herald newspaper (Panjim) on Tuesday, 30 December 2008, page 3.


vipin said...

This is a very nice piece written by you.I liked it very much.I specially liked 'As we grow older,our lives become habits.We lose the freshness of a child.'I think if we consider this world as an infinite reservoir of love ,we may be able to free ourselves from the debilitating habits that we happen to adopt over the years due to ignorance.But One major change that is required within ourselves to experience this infinite love is to grow up mentally.And that is one thing that does not come easily to us as a result of which what we see all around us is infinite misery.(See how the mastery of the creator transforms into misery of the loveless).

ambika said...

Dear Brian, your piece stirred me to anguish and understanding as well...very fine writing..! Its an analysis..a observation - a heartfelt article which deserves repeated readings,like poignant piece of music one can listen to time and again...
ambika ananth