Are you turning Better or Bitter?

I usually don’t fall sick. When I sense the onslaught of a sickness, I use the power of my mind to fight it.
Perhaps, that is what is keeping this terrible cold that wants to torture me at bay. That combined with coat, socks, scarf and being dressed like an Eskimo inside the house.

Anyways, we are about a month away from the year to end. So, here are my reflective thoughts.

bitter-or-better-ambal-balakrishnan

Over the last few years, I have realized only 2 things happen to people as they grow up. They either become BITTER or they become BETTER. That is it. Those are the only 2 things that happened.

That is my hypothesis. You don’t have to agree with it. In fact, I much rather that you go through your own reflection and prove me wrong.

So, let me explain my thinking.

I went through a lot of hardships when I was my younger self.
I think those experiences have left me very resilient.
I laugh now more than I ever did .
I take on challenges with a rather playful attitude.
I have also had the fortune of meeting many cherished souls that despite so many hardships, have become better over the years.
They have seen tough times and have done the “Phoenix Rising” act many times over. I adore these people. I look up to them as my role models. I learn from them. They inspire me to get better as I age.

Sadly, that is not everybody. Several people become bitter over the years. It is very sad to see. But, that is the unfortunate truth.

I think not facing adversity in life during early years possibly has something to do with it. They might have not built the “I-have-digged-myself-out-of-deep-shit-and-can-do-it-all-over-again” muscle. But, here is the good news. It is never too late to build that muscle and turn out better.

I also think that not planning for one’s life in early years or placing importance on things that don’t actually matter…leaves one very susceptible to “issues” later on in life.

One of my favorite Tamil poets Vairamuthu says:
Chinna chinna tholvi ketten
Seekkiram aarum kaayam ketten

What it means is the following:
I ask for small failures.
I ask for wounds that will heal soon.

I recite this poem to the boys often.
I wish failure and wounds for them and myself.
I want them and myself to continue to build resilience.
I fight hard to control my motherly instinct.
I let them fight the good fight for themselves.
I step back more often than I should.
Trust me, it requires a lot of self control to step back.

My mother in law used to tell me “Ambal, only keep the good memories”. That is also something that I teach the boys.

Do yourself a favor. Find somebody that really knows you, cares for you and is a straight shooter.

Ask them, “Am I getting bitter or better?”

I hope I’ll only grow better.
I hope that you’ll only grow better.

Because, after this game ends, I would so want to see you on the other side in the Better Camp.

Alrighty?

5 LIFE Changing Poems YOU Should Read

IF 

By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;

If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943)

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Desiderata (Latin: “desired things”)

By Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Our Deepest Fear

By Marianne Williamson

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 enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And 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.

Bag of Tools

By R. Lee Sharpe

Isn’t it strange how princes and kings,
and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
and common people, like you and me,
are builders for eternity?

Each is given a list of rules;
a shapeless mass; a bag of tools.
And each must fashion, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block, or a Stepping-Stone.

Hat tip to my friend Dr. Mani who introduced me to the last 2 poems.

Featured Photo: Ramunas Geciauskas (Creative Commons)

Every Day Life is very Interesting

Many of you ask me – “Ambal – How do you have so many things to say about every day boring things and occurrences?”

I don’t know quite know how to answer that question. So, let me do a show-and-tell.

life-is-very-interesting-ambal-balakrishnan

Top: #dominantalleles (or something of that sort)
Gets the fix-things-and-help-Amma genes from both sides of the family.

Bottom: #toomanyboys
How many boys (and how many hours) does it take to put a tiny writing table together?

See? There is so many things to say about everyday boring things and occurrences.