For me and my family, yesterday was a day filled with melancholy, gloom and silence. One of our uncles, my father’s best friend and a gifted man passed away due to a sudden heart attack. As the night lurked inside the house, my thoughts started jumping from one end to another. Stories, emotions, people and roles, everything prowled inside my mind. How an able, humble, intelligent, social and a perfectly functioning man was reduced to a frozen dead body? What is it that actually makes your life peaceful till the time you perish?
Today, I’ll sum up some of these thoughts (gathered from my favorite authors & psychologists) my ideas to live a wholly contented life before the time runs out (though I myself don’t follow all of them, but that just means I need to try harder) 😀
Should I go for it?
The first thing that I consider as the biggest problem of life is ‘dilly-dallying’. You keep on vacillating between two decisions, two opportunities, two issues and two choices. A lot of time this irresolution gives you either regrets or takes a good chunk of opportunities away from you. So, when the time comes just believe in your thoughts, calculations & instincts.
Paulo Coelho says:
“ When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life doesn’t look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny”.
Is This All You Want?
“The culture doesn’t encourage you to think about things, until you’re about to die. We’re so wrapped with egotistical things, careers, family, money…trillions of little acts to just keep going. So we don’t get into the habit of standing back & looking at our lives saying, Is this all? Is this all I want? Or is something missing? “
These are the words of a man Morrie from the novel ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. An old man, lying on his death bed and going through phases of a dreadful disease explains the few things learned in his lifetime.
All of us have a lot of passions, aptitudes & inherent capacities, but many of us either live delving into just one of these or perhaps none of these potentials. The spirits that we had, of becoming a thought provoking artist, achieving a scientific invention, superstardom etc, just get buried under the pressures of a good lifestyle. The pressure is high rather nerve wrecking, but endeavor to take up what you want to do. As a freelancer, volunteer or a part time worker, do what you always vied for (I’m struggling to do so :D)
Someone, Somewhere is there…
If you don’t have someone who shall always give you a sense of security, you will always be in a condition of insecurity, instability and anxiety. Carl Rogers calls it Unconditional Positive Regard & Morrie calls it Spiritual Security, but the meaning implied remains the same.
So, all I’m saying here is that build at least a few relationships on the foundations of true meaning and honest intentions, rather than fake and momentary attractions. A family and a few buddies are the ultimate necessity of having a contented life.
To exemplify this lets again explore Morrie in his days of his physical despoliation. He appreciated this time of helplessness because he had a cherished group of friends & pals with a loving family standing by him. These loving relationships constituted his never ending vivaciousness till he passed away. Morrie at one point in the novel says:
“It’s become quite clear to me as I’ve been sick. If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don’t have much at all….Say I was divorced, living alone or had no children. This disease…what I’m going through would be so much harder”.
Who Are You?
The last parameter of contentment for me is ‘knowing yourself’. It sounds easy but it is the most difficult yet praiseworthy accomplishment of one’s life. Many a times I see people doing what they think is ideal and then rationalizing it for the sake of self-approval. But the rationalization doesn’t really help when we are at the verge of losing our life.
So, what’s better than sharing a story with you? A friend always wanted to be an artist, infact this is how she imagined her future. Family pressures or destiny, she ended up becoming a doctor. This was an outright contradiction of the ideal painter image she had of herself. Bouts of depression, silence & undue sobbing was the result of this contradiction.
Gradually, she started coming back to life. Finding her creativity in dermatology, she once again found her identity. Accepting that she is and will always be a doctor; now she’s perfectly fine and spends a few free hours drawing what she wants to.
Your reality can be in contradiction to your persona, but this doesn’t change you. You should always realize that your individuality is the niche which separates you from others. The earlier you accept it, the better it is!
Sometimes what you want and what you stipulate is actually not congruent. But the crucial point here is to accept rather than deny the veracity of your innateness. The incongruity is just for the outsiders as you and your loved ones will stick to you whether you’re persona matches your designation or not. Self awareness is the penultimate tool of living a wholesome life, the last being love.
The concept is beautifully summed by Walt Whitman as he says:
“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
This is what I summed up from my observation and reading. Once again, I am struggling to follow and think on those lines before the time runs out. I hope some of these lines will inspire you to read these authors and reinvent yourself