On Soaking in a Summer Day

Today, the boys and I headed out to a spring and natural water pool.
It was a long drive.
It was also a hot day.

When we reached our destination, the beautiful sight of bluish green water awaited us.
I walked down to the natural pool.
Under the rich green trees and blue water, the sun didn’t seem that hot.

I know only a tad bit of swimming.
I waded in the water.
Then, when I got to deeper part, Shakthi offered to ferry me across the water so I can stand under the water fall.
I took up his offer and rided on his shoulders to the other side of the pool.
Several people gave them their hand and offered to lift me off the water and up the rocks.
I gladly took their hands.

Then, I climbed up on the rocks and found my way to where the water came pouring down.
I placed myself under the pounding cascade of the cold waterfall.
I soaked in the water fall.

I turned around and gazed at the beautiful natural pool.
I looked at the tropical-looking greenery.

I let the water flow against my body and nourish by mind and soul.

I soaked in the water and the summer day.

Misogi – is a Shinto purification ritual of standing under a waterfall.

Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krause_Springs

The VibHuti – The story behind the white streak on my forehead

In many cultures across the globe, ash has a special spiritual meaning.

VibHuti (or Holy Ash), also called Thiruneeru or Vibhooti, is a word that has several meanings in Hinduism. Generally, it is used to denote the sacred ash which is made of burnt dried wood in prayer ceremonies.

Appa, Amma or Thatha would put VibHuti on my forehead when I was a child. Several elders in the family would also put VibHuti on my forehead as they blessed me during festivals. I also got Vibhuti when I visited temples.

To carry the practice forward, I put VibHuti on the boys forehead.

I am not very religious. So, as the grown up me puts on Vibhuti on myself, it is a reminder of how fickle existence is as we know it is. It is a reminder to me not to take anything too damn seriously. It is a reminder that I’ll return to the dust one day.

Because I went to Catholic schools where the nuns taught me, I am alsofamilar with Ash Wednesday
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Eccl. 12:7).

“In Life, Hinduism asserts, that one should be humble and remember his status, that is of his Mortality.

Accepting Mortality wholeheartedly calls for great effort, and once you accept this, you would not behave in such a way that hurts others.

Because the Vibhuti represents the Ashes one’s Body is turned into after death, the applying of Vibhuti reminds one constantly of his mortality.”
Source: https://ramanan50.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/what-is-vibhutithe-holy-sacred-ash/

Learn more:

http://www.indianmirror.com/culture/indian-folklore/Holy-Ash.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibhuti
http://www.spiritualresearchfoundation.org/incense/vibhuti
http://www.saibabaofindia.com/significanceofvibhuti.htm
http://shaivam.org/campaigns-of-shaivite/making-of-vibhuthi

5 Love Languages

We think everybody is like us.
We want everybody to be like us.

Not everybody is like us.
Each person is different.
Each person is unique.
Everybody wants to be loved in their own unique way.

I realized several years ago that I was using motivating “terms” that worked on me with Kumar and Adi. Didn’t work. It backfired so badly. It was very frustrating.

After several years of trying to figure it out..I hit a brick wall. That is when one of my friends pointed me to “5 Love Languages”. It was a Eureka moment.

I did the “5 Love Languages” quiz. I also had Adi and Kumar do the quiz. It lead the three of us to understand how each of us wants to be loved. We discussed and laughed about it.

For several months, we worked on using the “love language” that was needed by the other person and not the one we wanted for ourselves. Initially, it was hard work…because we were changing our auto-pilot natural way of being and doing. But, like building muscle or adapting a habit, it eventually came to us. We still lapse. But, we know now how to get back on track.

You would think it is common sense to love as somebody wants to be loved. But, alas, as you know, common sense is not so common.

Do yourself a favor. Take the quiz. Have the family take the quiz. Have a discussion afterwards. Laugh about it and promise to each other to honor them and love them as they want to be loved.

And, tell me how it goes.

Even if you don’t believe in this, go through the exercise to see things from a different perspective than you would normally see.

Trust me. It will be one of the best things you did for yourself and for your relationship with the ones that truly matter in your life.

Reading List Interchange

Usually, I am the one to pound Adi’s email inbox with must-read articles.

Nowadays, he forwards the most interesting stuff about latest research,findings and articles.

Here is one that caught my eye.

How To Live The Good Life: 4 Easy Secrets Backed By Research

Here’s how to live the good life and easily boost the positive emotions in your life:
Smile: Flex that happiness muscle. (Feel free to thank me repeatedly over the next three decades.)
Laugh: How many things prevent divorce and can help you deal with the passing of a loved one?
Touch: Telling them how you feel need not involve telling. And you’ll be a better team.
Tease: Free your inner snark. A little teasing makes things fun. And it makes things last.

Nietzsche once wrote:A person’s maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play.

And what do kids do a lot more often than we adults do?

Smile.
Laugh.
Touch.
Tease.

Today, resolve to approach life like a big kid. Now that’s the good life.