21 October 2010

Have a Look at Yourself...

Friends I want to share a quote that has changed the way I see things...

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? 

Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel unsure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. 

As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." 
~Marianne Williamson 

We all have potential deep inside us. Sometimes when life batters us and our spirits go down, we find it difficult to hold up to our dreams... And then there are times we do well in something and feel almost guilty for doing well. The truth is we need to let go of the pressures we put on ourselves and just do our best. If it is better than what others do... think of it as raising the mark. Don't make yourself small to accommodate mediocrity in others. Lift them and their standards up to another plane by being good and being the best you can be! 

I have learnt that each and every person I know and have come across so far... has some innate ability, some gift, some talent or skill in them. Sometimes they have been looking at others and their gifts so much that they didn't do anything about the gift they had! What a great loss, isn't it? For everything I can do well, I can also think of several things that I need to do better and I confess I am still a learner in some of them. But for those things I struggle with... I do know people who can do those things effortlessly!!! What a gift they have! What makes me sad is that they just don't seem to realize it... and they don't give it any importance at all. 

So take a good look at yourself... Appreciate the things that are good about you... be generous for a change! Give yourself the permission to be 'good' and start working at the things you can be 'better' in. Maybe there are people around you who make you feel miserable with their negative talk... maybe there were people who said you are good for nothing... Please remember that you can reject those statements. Please know that you have a right to protect yourself from such negative attacks on your person. Please care for yourself... Stand up for yourself... when you do so you will grow in confidence and be able to stand up for others too when they are in need of it. 

When we go through the storm and come out a stronger person... we become beacons of light to those who are struggling in similar situations themselves. Don't underestimate the value of your success. It is the light that inspires others to fight for victory in their own lives. No one can gain if you allow yourself to beaten and die in defeat... but everyone can gain if you fight your battles and come out a success!  

Friend, I believe in you! I believe that there is the seed of greatness sown inside of you. Won't you water it and bring out the best in you? Won't you shine your goodness and let it light up the lives of others too? 

So what are you waiting for? SHINE!!! 

20 October 2010

Success and the Teacher

When you look at the past what do you see? Do you see years of tiring service that were unrewarded; or being barely able to meet the needs of your family with an insufficient pay package while busily juggling classes, exams and corrections; or getting put down by the snobbish ‘success-stories’ from society while struggling to find reasons to continue teaching? Being a teacher is tough in a world that is wired to praise fame, money and ‘success-formulas to make it big’. Perhaps we need to look at success and define what this word means for teachers.

Can you imagine a world without teachers? If there were no teachers, no one would know anything more than what their parents taught them. We would go back to the stone ages because there wouldn’t be any ‘shared universal knowledge bank.’ Even if someone wrote books there would be very few people who would know to read anyway! Helen Caldicott said, "Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth."

Someone rightly said, ‘Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions’. (Author Unknown) Teaching is laying down the foundation of society. What teachers give to their students is more than just knowledge, they teach them ways to think, understand, analyze and most importantly – a way to life. "Those who educate children well are more to be honoured than parents, for these only gave life, those the art of living well," said Aristotle.

Throughout the history of the world, there have been many upheavals, revolutions, achievements and also grave mistakes that caused mankind severe grief and loss. The teacher is the only link between those lessons and the current generation. If there were no teachers to interpret these lessons mankind learnt at such a high cost, we might be doomed to repeat the experiences of loss and we would have to keep trying to achieve what was already achieved in the past. Teachers make this world move forward. It is the teacher who inspires good values and makes human beings out of those who are mere flesh and blood.

Henry Brooks Adams said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” If we want to know what the future holds for us, we only need to have a look at the quality of the teachers we have around us. Good teachers instil good values, efficiency and higher standards in their students that ultimately is aimed at the betterment of society. Tracy Kidder remarked, “Most teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum or choice of texts or special placement of students, but most have a great deal of autonomy inside the classroom.  To a degree shared by only a few other occupations, such as police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid.” 

Passing on the baton of goodness and virtue in a world torn apart by broken relationships, social unrest and corruption is nothing short of a mammoth task. John Sculley opined, “We expect teachers to handle teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, and the failings of the family. Then we expect them to educate our children.” Teaching takes a lot out of the teacher. “In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day's work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years,” said Jacques Barzun. Therefore it is true that, “A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others.” (Author Unknown)    

If you are a teacher, don’t look down on your role in society. You are of much greater value to the children you teach than you will ever know. A lot of children today live in families where their parents have no time for them. They spend their day in the company of a mindless television set, a servant or an empty house. There are others who have seen or experienced terrible things within their homes or in their vicinity. When their own family and loved ones let them down, it is the affection of a caring teacher that helps them get by through those traumatic years spent at home. One would not be overstating to say that a good teacher saves a child’s faith in humanity and helps them see that humans can be good even when their own life-experience has shown them otherwise.

A teacher is a beacon of light, lighting up and leading the way to a wholesome and fulfilling life. A teacher raises hope in a child that helps him to find the zeal and enthusiasm required to go through with the tough journey of life and come out successfully. Without the inspiration and support of a teacher, a child cannot make it through the maze of life. “The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called "truth,"” said Dan Rather.

Of the many children you teach, there will be many who will move on with life without sharing about what you have done for them. Just like the story of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus and only one returned to thank Him, there will be only a few who realize the important role you have played in their life. Yet we need to understand that those few are spokespersons for all the others who wouldn’t know how to express a word of gratitude for your contribution to their lives. Carl Jung said, “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” 

It is important to understand that there are many kinds of teachers. William Arthur Ward explains, “The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.” However, a teacher who goes beyond the call of duty and speaks value and worth into the lives of her students is a ‘great teacher’ who inspires. It is for this very reason that Karl Menninger said, “What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.”

As teachers let us take ourselves seriously, let us sow and cultivate within our hearts the inspiration to achieve the highest goals and purposes in our lives and the lives of the students we teach. Our students are with us only for a set time, let us make optimum use of this time, to build them, to entrust them with knowledge and skills and whenever needed to reassure them about their own goodness and the goodness of human kind. 

A successful teacher is first a good human being who has a heart that warms up to the needs of her students, she teaches her students not just subjects but also about life; she entrusts her students with skills and abilities to make it through the difficult path of life and come out of it successfully. She juggles the roles of a teacher, mother-figure and friend to perfection while earning the respect of her students. Ultimately a successful teacher is one whose students find inspiration and success because they were taught by her words and her example.  

12 October 2010


Selah! Pause and think of that...

I struggled with the pause...
Didn’t know what to do
I fiddled with my fingers
Looked up at the ceiling...
Looked outside to see if I would venture out
But the mood just didn’t set in
I wondered what was wrong with me
Felt so odd, so.... lost.

We were in a conversation
Words dancing to a rhythm
When suddenly a speed breaker came
And threw me off balance!
I fell flat on the ground...
Hands, legs... splattered everywhere
Oh! What on earth is happening?
I screamed to no avail
The pause had struck
The devastation begun...

I sat down a while
Silently breathing
While my mind calmed down
Took a note of what I was feeling
Hey where are you my friend?
I called out
But there was only silence
I called and called
Till my voice wore out
And wearing out became still.

I looked into the mirror
The image mocked at me
She said, ‘You silly goose!
You have time for everyone but me!’
Ah there! It suddenly hit me
I had just not understood
My friend needed a break too
To meet himself alone
Just as my ‘self’ was craving                             
To meet with me alone.

Selah... now I understand
Pause and think of that! 

08 October 2010

A Roller Coaster Ride

A roller coaster ride
Emotions taking charge 
Going places 
Dragging me along unchartered waters
Oh! It is exhausting... 
To say the least. 

Dreams I had dreamed
Put away in cold storage
Even learnt to ignore
Pretending it was okay to let go
Suddenly wake up
I see them staring me in the face
I break into a run
Scared to look them in the eye
Scared because last time 
I had got badly bruised
I cannot afford to let that happen
My mind screams within me. 

Help! Help! Someone help... 
My voice returns to me in the void
Grow up girl, my mind tells me
Yesterday is gone and over with
Let bygones be bygones
The past doesn't belong here
But you... you do
What about those dreams? I ask
Hmmm... what about them? 
Why are you afraid?
What have you to lose but your fear? 

The Search for a Stranger

Years have gone by...
There is someone I am dying to meet
Someone I used to know so well
Almost like my own self
I venture out on a journey to find her
Knowing that this time too
The pain will be unbearable. 

Yes, I have done this before
And had to come back unsuccessful
The weight of carrying this load
Almost broke me down several times
Feeling vary about the whole exercise
I had given up.

I try to search for her
I try to pick up the pieces
Some strands here
Some mangled shards lying there
A mosaic they make
Glistening in the sun
Beckoning to me, ‘Come!’
I pull back feeling shy
Then a song, a film, a memory
In a flash something comes back
I flow in the wave of that emotion for a while
Till hard reality hits me again.

I tire easily
This is heart wrenching
I feel like giving up
But my soul doesn’t let me  
Because this person I’m looking for
Is far too precious to me.

Perhaps it is a jigsaw puzzle
I need to solve to retain my sanity
A crazy storm rages inside me
I lie down exhausted
While my eyelids droop down
A visual flashes inside my eyes...
She was singing in the rain
She was up on the terrace
Talking to the sun and the wind
She loved the sea
She loved the mountains, their breeze
She longed for life...

I freeze
Tears flowing down
As I see images of the dreams she had
Her yearnings still move me
Her groanings still echo inside my mind
I look up at the endless sky
Pleading for mercy
Pleading for her sake and mine
Crushed and mangled somewhere within
Are dreams she dare not bring up
Dreams that gave her meaning to live
Dreams that made her sacrifice everything she was
Everything she had and hoped to be.

I stand between two time frames
The years when her dreams were alive
Then a long excruciating pause
A numbness that feels endless
Followed by a journey
A getting out of that insane hole
It took years for the wounds to heal
A prisoner of circumstances
It took years to breathe free again.

I need to go back through time
To find her who used to smell the roses...
If only there was another way!
You may wonder why all this effort
You may say why bother about a stranger
Well don’t you see?
She was me.

She was me
Years before the vagaries of life
Crushed my heart and my dreams
She is that me
Whose only possession
Was her dreams
Her little joys and trivial imaginations.

I find her and embrace her
We dance together in joy
The beauty of life returning to me
Songs and feelings begin to fill my heart
A parched land sings after blessings of rain!
 I reminisce those bygone years
And wonder
“Can I dream again?”