Sreenath Sreenivasan

Thriving Mindfully

Category: Perspective (page 1 of 18)

The flight of a sunbird

When the little bird
With a faith blind
Embraced the whole world
With its delicate wings
It flew.

An Antidote to Depression- The Habit Loop

Depression.
A state of mind that we all face at some point in our life. And sadly, it is something we dread accepting, and confronting the way it is.

I am not talking about clinical depression here. I speak about a general discontent and disillusionment towards life, that makes one feel inactive and despondent.

This feeling plagues us all at some point in our lives. While we cannot do away with it altogether, can we design a scheme that helps us swim out of the pool of passivity?

Today, I would like to suggest a method that has helped me overcome despondency and realign my focus in life.

It is a four step process called ‘The Habit Loop’.
The steps are as follows :

1) Acceptance

A couple of days ago, as I was sharing my somber state of mind with a friend, she told me something that changed my perspective towards the issues I was facing.
She told me that it is but human to feel the way I was feeling at some point in life. One cannot be motivated and enthusiastic all the time. In fact, would it even be desirable!

That insight gave me the courage to accept my state of mind as it was.
It is normal to feel despondent from time to time. It is best to avoid to whirlpool of ‘why me?’ and stay clear of self pity.

2) Resolution

The most important question you must answer in a despondent state of mind is :

Do I want to come out of this phase?

Only when you have made a deliberate decision that you want to come out of this phase can you move forward from where you stand.

The resolution to change things, a decision that comes from deep within, is paramount.

3) Confrontation

Now that you have accepted your state of mind and decided to bring about a change, what should be the next step?

In my experience, the most obvious symptom of depression is when one stops to confront himself.

There is a tendency to :

A) disrupt all systems one adhered to that brought a sense of structure to life

B) cave to desires of decadence, marked particularly by over-indulgence in consuming data, food, sex

C) not confront yourself, look into the mirror, or create art

We do all of this while being fully aware that it doesn’t serve us best.

The easiest way to come out of this state is by confronting yourself.

Here’s a few ways that might help one do that:

1) Take a sheet of paper and write down what you have been doing and why.

2) If writing is not your thing, make a voice note, speak what exactly what you’ve been up to and why

3) The most effective one, is to make a video, speak into the camera about your current state of mind and what you’ve been doing while you were stuck in the rut

This is the step that will truly test your resolution, whether you want to really get out a depressed state of mind or not.
But as soon you start doing this, you will realize that you have enough self respect to not bullshit yourself to no end. Within a few minutes, you will address matters that have been responsible for your despondency and find ways to come out of it.
It is self diagnosis, and it works better than anything else I’ve come across.

4) Repetition

Of course, you will need to repeat the whole process over and over and build your resilience.

With enough practice, you will be able to
face the vicissitudes of life with equanimity.

It might take a while to crawl out of a somber state, but the more you repeat the four step habit loop, the easier it will become along the way.

I hope my suggestion helps you in times of trouble.

Feel free to share your experiences, reflections and feedback in the comments below.

If you feel this article will help someone is need, please feel free to share it with them.

Good luck on the bumpy roller coaster ride of life!

The Power of Everyday (February-March 2019)

Spring time is here !
Isn’t it the perfect season for rejuvenation, realignment and realization of what we can truly achieve?

As it is the beginning of a new month, let me apprise you of my performance in my Power of Everyday challenge for February, what I learnt from it, and what challenge I am planning to undertake for the month of March.

The two challenges for February were :

1) Write and Publish a blog Everyday (9/28)

2) Write a page about an Object Everyday (17/28)

As evident from my blogging frequency, one could tell that I hadn’t been the most productive last month.
This has been my most dismal performance so far, with just a 33% success rate. However, on closer inspection, I realized why this isn’t that bad a record.

When I looked closer at the frequency of my posting, I realized that even though I was not showing up for many days at a stretch, I came back and tried to start again.
Had I posted blogs for 9 days in a row and then stopped altogether, even if the success percentage would still be 33% , It would have reflected that I had given up on the exercise after a point.

But this month, I tried posting even after I took long breaks in between. Post dates ( Feb 1, 2 , 3, 4, 6, 16, 18, 19, 25)

Even for the second task, while I had a 60% success rate, I tried to keep up the consistency, and not get demoralized after a few days of inactivity.
Dates when I succeeded in writing a page about an object a day ( Feb 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ,8, 9, 11, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22 ,23, 24, 26)

So, even though I want not successful at completing either of the task, I learned that I still wanted to come back and try again.

I realized that just as much as consistency matters in cultivating a habit, so does resilience.
The act of showing up again, even after a few days of lull, is still a valuable sign.

For the second activity, I have written about objects as diverse as a blackboard, a microphone, a wallet, a table, a toothbrush, a pressure cooker, a football, a blanket, a curtain, a bulb, bricks, airplanes, televisions, a zipper, a cup, shoes, a pen….

As mundane as these objects seemed to me, once I started to write about them, I realized how alive they actually are!
The exercise enlivened my imagination to an extent and helped find new metaphors to relate with these objects.

A brick, red, as if it has borrowed the color from the fire in the kiln…

A blanket hibernates in the summers…

A wallet, a safe, that manages to contain a person’s worth and identity…

A wineglass lends the wine much of its panache…

 

These are just a few metaphors I could come up with while writing about objects. I might not have come up with these had I not taken up the Power of Everyday project.

The beauty of the Power of Everyday project is that it is a self defined, self monitored activity. The nature and magnitude of the challenge can be chosen as it suits an individual.

This month, my Power of Everyday challenge is about confronting a fear that I have had for a long time.

Facing a Camera.

This month, every single day, I am going to record a five minute video of myself speaking on camera.

I will keep you posted about my progress every weekend.

I hope you find enough value in my proposal and choose a power of everyday challenge for yourself.

It’s always fun to do this with other friends who share the same vision of self evolution.

I hope to hear about your challenges and progress along the way.

Until I write again,
I wish you great month ahead.

Best,

Sreenath

सूनी तलाश…

एक आंसू रोता है बंदा
रोता है आंसू बंदा-नवाज़
जो इंसान को ढूंढते भी खुदा न मिले
ना खुदा को ढूंढते मिला इंसान

Wisdom of the Rooster

Rooster Rex and Helen the hen,
Snuggle up, in their little den,
They warm each other, on a bed of hay,
And cuddle lovingly, in every which way

And when the world mocks the hen,
For sitting idle all day,
The rooster finds his zen
And keeps all the naysayers away

There are chirrups in the barn, a few weeks hence
The rooster wails aloud, from atop the fence

Little chicks, they snuggle up like Golden balls
As they coo gently, to mama hen’s calls

The rooster, the hen, feel vindicated
The gift of children, comes not too belated

The wise rooster marches, stomping his legs,
He calls all naysayers, he pleads and begs
‘If you must sit idle’ says rooster Rex
Make sure you’re warming, a bed of eggs.

The Value of Bad Poetry

When a lost  poet felt, he had exhausted, each idea, every card

In desperation, he knocked, on the door, of a saintly, old, bearded bard

The old bard invited his younger self in, and sat him in a chair
Lovingly, the wise man spoke, to ease the poet’s despair

“When poetry comes into being, through you,
Sometimes the words will be fresh, as morning dew
But do not expect it to be spectacular everytime,
For sometimes, the words might not be, even worth a dime

Poets are people too, and just as prone, to be a fool,
For most of us, do not realize, that not every poem, is a perfect jewel

But some fools are poets, for they only put out work, that is their best
Some poets are fools, for they never put, their worst work, to the test

But there are poets wise, who value, each and every line,
Who realize, that infact, even bad poetry, is a clever evolutionary design

They put out a jewel, just to kindle, a budding poet’s fire,
They put out their worst, hoping a lost poet, shall once again aspire

A wise poet, is a channel pure, beyond I, mine and me,
He knows, that poets shall perish, but forever lives poetry

So, put out every poem, as it comes, bypass the sense of self,
So that a young poet pens,
And fulfils poetry’s longing for itself.”

And so, the young poet learnt, and from the rocking chair he arose,
Beyond good and bad, and ego and self,
he penned down, the above prose.

 

 

The relevance of a drifter

Swelling with, a vanity vain
There burnt, a proud little flame
High from its heat, haughty, unmasked,
To the blowing wind, it jeered and asked

‘Hey, you wayward wind’ it slew
‘You aimless drifter without a clue’
‘On a fruitless search of lands new’
‘I wonder, how relevant are you?’

Solemn, silent, saintly, the breeze
Flew past quietly, with graceful ease
It left behind an answer, much to the flame’s ire
The breeze whispered, and the flame was a raging fire…

Getting in touch with motherhood

Cheeks are pale , Not rosy
A product of a sin

For her fingers touch a display
And not her baby’s skin

As a mother’s halo eclipses
By the glow and sheen of a screen

The child, lonely and forlorn
A complex grows deep within

Do we need a rosy cheek, a dimple?
A motherhood pure and simple?

A childhood filled with bliss?
With no gaze, no touch, ever amiss?

Don’t trade your time and touch
And save yourself loneliness much

Keep screens aside,
Slow down your pace
And accept your motherhood
With joy and grace

For every child
Should beam and smile,
On the journey of life
Every mile

Touch
Hold
Cuddle
Kiss

And leave behind
moments to reminisce

For Mother and child
Shall realise soon after

That life is an echo
of all your childhood laughter.

How deep is your love?

Can one
ever live
A Life,
Deeply

If he
hasn’t learned
To Love,
Deeply enough?

 

 

A Mourning Bloom

In a lonely corner
Untouched by moistness
Weeps a plastic flower

As it longs
Forever
To wilt…

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