Abled or disabled?

Time has been running. Taking leaps and bounds and failing to stop for me to take a quick breath.

There is so much that I want to pen down, as I haven’t been able to write since quite a time. But I have often witnessed that when in an adrenaline rush, people fail to deliver the right quality and hence, I shall not commit the same mistake. I will take a deep breath, close my eyes, blaze over memories in the couple of months gone by and jot this blog down.

My dad used to say, sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever. I remember dreading the term “decision”. The entire process of weighing pros and cons, predicting outcomes, doing a cost-benefit analysis, is just so taxing. I used to try and evade the term and its reality, unaware of the fact that there will come one day when I will have to either cross the fence or remain on the other side.

The hourglass was running down and I needed to decide how to spend the next two years of my life – whether to continue something I’d been closely associated with, or let it go by. On nights and days alike, I was surrounded by these extremely existential questions – Am I headed in the right direction? Do I have the right team to go ahead with? Do I have the wrong products? Do I lack the skill set required?

To be honest, I still have doubts like these lingering in my head. But there has been one change. I started to neglect what I thought the outer world would perceive of me, I started to literally chase what I like, began delving deeper into processes I wanted to explore and areas I felt were closer to me.

This was all about a small venture, nothing big.

While working on the same venture I met a person, very driven, committed and drawn towards a concept that was surprisingly quite alien to me. His team had been striving to pull off a transformational campaign that aimed to revive the way a lay person thought about any human who was specially abled. At first I thought why should I even think about a cause which is no where related to me. In my extended family and my close relatives there is no person who is specially abled. I’ll be true to myself and declare that I have not even had any incidents wherein I had to be friends with or work with a man or woman who was specially abled.

When I first met this man, he told me that usually parents of these kids are the ones who care about the cause very deeply and have even laid foundation stones of India’s most famous NGOs working to empower the disabled. It was strange, but I somehow felt connected to the cause, when I read a story, after I came back home from the meeting.

I read an article written by the mother of an autistic kid. All throughout the blog, she mentioned that there was hardly any awareness or understanding of autism back then. When I tried to collate this with the current scenario – it stands so true even now. My friends and I did not know what the disability meant, before we joined hands in the campaign. Its actually a shame – the extremely privileged environment that all of us have been brought up in, failed to teach us the basic rules of inclusion and diversity. I remember rote learning that Geography lesson in Class 9 which proclaimed “Unity in Diversity”. Unfortunately, “unity in diversity” was only rote learned and not imbibed by any of us, so-called top rankers of schools and states.

In the story, the mother disclosed that many people around her told her that she was beating her head on the wall –  when she made efforts to bring her child to the mainstream. She was pushing the boundaries of the school, the society, her family and friends in order to make them accept her beloved child, the way he was born. On her path, each day, she was struck by skepticism, doubt, resistance, opposition from all quarters – home, friends, school, society and the list goes on. She managed to conquer them all. Today her son stands so proud holding a top degree in science from an extremely reputed institution. The degree brings with it years of hardwork, relentless efforts, pain and hardship of both the son and the mother. It is indeed rightly said, the best things do take time to come.

But in this journey, where do we all stand?

Society played no other role apart from discouraging the mother-child.

Connecting it with all my experiences and literally, joining dots backwards, I only see everything falling into the same place. I am wondering how difficult it would have been for that mother to take a decision and comparing it with myself cribbing over small decisions. It is all about courage and more than courage, belief in something. Belief in things you know will take their time to shape up, but will bloom the most when they fully mature. It’s about the courage of taking simple decisions of choosing teams, working on dreams and doing what you feel is right. If all of us start thinking about “Oh what the other people will think?” I fear there would be anything but duplicate and pirated samples of hollow work in this world.

Even if a so-called “able person” is unable to think independently, and moreover inclusively, I will literally begin to doubt their “ability”.

Each person is unique. Abled or disabled. Privileged or not so privileged. No one really needs to be empowered, they need to be made to meet their true confident self and the work is done. Through the campaign, we are intending to bring rapid awareness about the term ” inclusivity” in all its dimensions. I would request each person reading this, to not “rote-learn” this term like your Class 9 Geography textbook. But rather imbibe it in your day to day interactions with all kinds of people around you. Fat, anorexic, stunted, blind, autistic, retarded, dumb or deaf – no matter what, every person is intrinsically the same and deserves equal respect in society. Whether its about taking big decisions like that of raising a differently abled kid or something as trivial as choosing what to wear when out in public, each person should be capable of making and standing by their own decisions, unquestioned.

Waiting for tables to turn and times to change.

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‘On what we do and why we do it’

To whosoever reading this, 

I hail from a background where I was protected to my very core. Never in the sixteen years of my school life had I ever stayed away from my family, let alone the possibility of traveling the world alone, boarding a public transport system so utterly crowded, or setting up professional meetings with complete strangers. 

In my freshman year of college, I was six hours away from home. Each passing day in the initial few months, I either Skyped or called my parents and cribbed about how I had to handle things all alone. Each time on the phone, my tone conveyed to them that I had been thrown into the big, bad world, and their little girl couldn’t help but just curl up in a little block in the corner reaching out to her parents and sibling to just take her back home.
However, somewhere deep inside, a voice whispered that I needed nurturing, I needed to shell out of my comfort zone. How I was supposed to do that, I had no clue. 
One day in the second month at college, I remember the guy who stood up for elections in our year walk up to our little batch at the Co-op area (as part of his solemn election public relations and vote-gathering duty) and talk about the Life on Wheels Project by Enactus SRCC. I was so drawn to this idea of helping rickshaw-walas earn a better living, that I began inquiring more about the societies in college to look forward to be a member of and particularly began reading up more about Enactus SRCC through their social media accounts.
The D-Day arrived and life just somehow turned tables. I got through the gruelling recruitment process of Enactus and was invited to the induction meeting!

I have been both shattered and transformed during my Enactus journey, and today I stand so proud for having been a part of this organisation. As I was preparing for what I knew would be a spectacular first year here at SRCC, I experienced the largest crisis of my life. Blaring differences in the way people function in this society can be daunting for a happy-go-lucky kid like me. “Too much of professionalism in Enactus”, I complained.. After two months of getting habituated to using no emoticons and disparately typing ‘Me’ or Okay.’ on the WhatsApp group, I thought I’d lost my ability to smile so wide or laugh so loud, at random situations.

We had an Enactus Marathon at Raahgiri, Inner Circle at Connaught Place in our first year. Some trained dancers were performing Zumba on stage and I felt the urge to just go join them. What kept stopping me from even looking towards the stage was the Enactus T-Shirt that I had donned. Enactus SRCC members must always be professional-  I thought, even at the most vibrant marathon. However, heavens struck loose when one of the seniors patted me, asking me to actually step ahead and join the stage. I had so much fun that day, I relived the times back in school when I used to extensively take part in dance and theatre activities. After this incident, I realised that Enactus SRCC has a human side for its team members as well, and not only for the communities it endeavors to empower!

 
I have visited almost all five-star hotels and covered almost all slums in Delhi, being a team member at this organization, happily leaving behind some malls still left to be discovered. My friends back at my accommodation used to “chill” at South Delhi, while I used to finish the research which the Project Director wanted ‘without fail’ by 11:59 pm that night. Having said that, I loved the work we all did. Although I haven’t been able to go to Nekpur even a single time, I am very passionate about the cause that our Project Azmat worked for. At Karnal for Project Sattva, for the first time in life again I vigorously knocked on doors of houses, hopping from one sector to another sector, carrying a demand assessment sheet and wearing an Enactus SRCC hoodie, convincing the villagers to buy milk products from our beloved community members- more lovingly called Didis- at Amritpur Kalan. 

Moving ahead to take the role of Project Director of Kayakalp in my second year, knowingly or unknowingly Kathputli Colony just become my second home. During my summer internship as well, I remember sneaking out for Kaya meetings during the lunch breaks at office. This time has been the most phenomenal one, it literally has been a ride. There was a point in my life where my mom convinced me to take a hostel near Shadipur instead of the current Shakti Nagar accommodation. 

Three years. I didn’t know that three years is all it takes to explore, learn, discover your passion- or pursue the one you have had your entire life, make lasting friendships, try new things, grow, and most importantly, learn so much more about yourself. As I reach the helm of my final year at SRCC, I am fortunate to say that I have accomplished all of these things.
 
My education here at this institution has taken me within the walls of the most reputed Government Ministries, halfway around the world to the infamous Netherlands, the gorgeous North-East, mind-blowing Sabarmati Ashram, busy Mumbai (of course) and to numerous conceptual and intellectual locations. My mentor at Kayakalp today is a man who runs a multi-billion dollar company. When I first met him, I thought that I’ll probably faint or something, let alone having the courage to present an elevator pitch for Kayakalp in front of 2500 people at Ahmedabad. All of these are simply a small subset of the opportunities I have partaken of in my time here. All of these have profoundly impacted my learning, changed my view of the world I live in every day, and improved my self-confidence—and I have certainly forged many friendships and mentorships along the way.
 
Prior to my time here I looked at the world as a series of events that were, to a great extent, not connected. Now, with the intellectual exercises that all of my professors, our Faculty Advisor, seniors, colleagues and juniors at Enactus SRCC have taught me, I see the world inversely. It is not a conglomeration of mutually exclusive events, people, and concepts, but it is a beautiful interconnected community possessing within it many unseen values, traditions, and things that I can surely learn from. These intellectual thoughts that I have come to know and love at SRCC that have truly shattered and transformed me into who I am today and I am so sure they will endure in perpetuity into my future.
The twenty year old me is not sure of much, but I do know this: I was not letting the efforts of the past four batches go to drain in the projects we do and the communities we empower. 

From my time here, I have learnt that a thought, even a possibility can shatter or transform us. It is these moments that we will cherish throughout the rest of our lives which lie ahead of us, I think (not exaggerating here) until the moment we articulate our last words. 

We should be willing and able to shatter and transform. Only then we can truly enjoy this experience called Enactus SRCC.

Encounter with death

I held my friend’s hand and boarded the night bus,
Had already packed my bag with cake rusk
On the way to the bus we were surrounded by wary gazes,
Seemed like they weren’t familiar with the idea of four girls going out for races

We giggled our way throughout the thirteen hour journey,
And made sure that our experiences were funny
Little did we care about the way we spent the money,
As some of us had planned the trip enough for the budget to go awry

I was reminded of my Geography school textbook when I read the signboard,
It declared loud and clear the name of Kasol
At Kasol I discovered a ‘Mini Israel’,
Replete with food, hashish and music; the place was such a delight

We had to switch two local buses before we reached the final destination,
I’m glad our journey didn’t end in trepidation
We crossed Manikaran – the beautiful valley immersed in glee,
I was captivated by its famous Hot Spring that seemed to flee

At Tosh, I remember calling out the owner of the Pink Floyd Café around midnight,
As one of my friend had fallen sick that night
We woke up to a beautiful snow capped mountain drenched in glamour,
That moment made me forget all the clamour

At 7 am sharp, we began our journey uphill,
To Kheerganga – the notorious Himalayan 2900 Ft tall hill
We hired a guide to make sure we don’t get grilled,
Before he started off, he handed us over a huge bill

We didn’t care much about the amount,
As our lives were subject to tantamount
I encountered death for the first time in life,
It made me relish the little joys of afterlife

The magnanimous Beas River separated two hills,
It was my duty alone, to make sure that I cross the river and escape getting killed!

I chanted holy prayers while I stepped on the first stone,
The surroundings made me regress to times when I was blown
All that I recalled was the image of my parents, teachers, friends and our first puppet show,
I was also mesmerizing at the river that just kept up the fiery flow

I managed to cross the river with flying colours,
And was greeted on the other side with smiles and blooming flowers
What I saw when I reached the summit,
Was something I will never forget in any climate

It was solo paradise for me and for the other survivors of the trek,
I thanked God and my parents for giving me the chance to come here and not fret

Through this parable, I encourage everyone to not think much and take the dive. Life is too short to worry about time, money, sweat and tips to just survive!

When my mind feels like a Pressure Cooker about to explode

It wasn’t too long ago when I thought I had lost my ability to thrive. My life felt like it was stuck in a rut. I felt like my head is just being pushed inward because of all the pressure that life offered me and I felt like I won’t be able to come out of this.

In a routine day since the past one and a half year, I have been waking up at 6 a.m, rushing to the gym, grabbing some coffee, attending classes at college, keeping up with frightening internal assessments, forgetting to eat lunch at most times, answering client calls, doing a few Skype calls and going for four meetings per week on an average for a venture that I’m associated with.

I stopped meeting with any friends, apart from the few engaged with me in my venture. College life usually is considered to be a happy-go-lucky phase interspersed with sudden trekking plans, Saturday night outings, fun filled picnics and carefree movie watching binge. None of this happened to me.

A year back, my friends in my hostel used to ask me to accompany them for a fun night listening to the refreshing Qawalis at Nizamuddin Dargah, or go to shop and eat at Chandni Chowk, or just randomly chill in South Delhi. They have almost stopped asking me for anything now. They know I’ve been keeping busy and each time that I turn down their offer, I am the one who feels really really sad because deep inside I also want to go, but the work doesn’t allow me to. Some people at college even bully me for the weird reason that I don’t take a break in life. They mock at me, and I just stare at their face. My old school buddies now remind me of their own birthdays and express each time how I forgot to wish them year after year. I used to never forget to wish them when I was in school, in close touch with them, but the work load here is maybe playing with my memory.

Life hadn’t been a bed of roses before entering college and starting a venture either. I had to study day in and day out for my Board Examinations in high school. There was too much pressure. By the age of 16 years, I already had a Bachelor’s degree in Kathak (Indian classical dance), headed my school’s students’ council, had topped class consecutively since the past 4 years, ran a little school for kids with HIV aids and had managed to badge hundreds of extra-curricular activities. My Geography professor expected me to be the first student in our school’s history to score a 100/100 in the subject in the Boards. My class teacher made the naughtiest kid in class sit next to me, in the hope that he would gain from some positive externalities by being in my company. Each time I stepped out of my school classroom, my juniors used to look up to me with bright eyes, expecting me to completely nail the board exams and secure a perfect score.

Returning home subdued under the weight of the heavy school bag and strenuous aspirations, when I entered the kitchen and saw the pressure cooker, it looked exactly like my head. Pressure cookers are known to be hot, dangerous and capable of blowing their lid. My head resembled the poor cooker so much, burning and steaming with fire.

You know, over time, I have come to realize this one fact. Each of us has a multitude of things to do. All of us eat, sleep, work and dream. Each night we lie down on our bed and just out of the blue, beautiful thoughts of the favorite vacation spot that we have always craved to go to, magically appear. This happens to me so much. In the toughest of days, I get the best of dreams. I dream of a clear sky, scintillating blue cold waters, high rise mountains, no phones and internet, no work and office. I dream of my own self, striding my path wading through the waters and finally reaching the summit. You and I, all of us are going through a crazy maze of trials in our life and each experience is just testing our capability to hold on.

Now what makes me survive the bullying remarks of my acquaintances? What makes me steer through the pressure and still manage to put a smiling face at the end of the day? What make me bear the wrath of my friends who feel that I am not paying much attention to them?

It’s the satisfaction that I get from the work I do!

My motto since forever has been to do what I like to do. My parents and my sister taught me to listen to my heart but work with my mind. I have stopped caring about what other’s will think of me when I pursue my passion, which is seemingly something different from what people of my age do. Of course, I do care about people and about their opinions on me, but I take it as a learning. If I agree to their notions, then I end up imbibing them but if I am against their thoughts and ideology, then I do not consider it because it wavers my focus and my personal ideology.

Even right now, as I am sitting and writing this blog in my hostel, my best friend comes and hands over a pamphlet of the next street play she and her team is going to perform. Its been three years in Delhi and I haven’t been able to see her play even once. The time for both of us, just didn’t match. I know that I won’t be able to attend the play even tomorrow because I have to go for work, but still I accept her invitation and say I’ll try my best. I do that because I don’t want her to feel bad and I don’t want to feel bad myself.

IMG_20170331_153320_591 (1)

A lot of times when I feel stuck in a rut, I forget that I actually have the ability to change things. I now have started to think of ways to strike the right balance and stop complaining about life.

Sometimes, it’s easy to believe that the world is determining your path for you, like you have no say in the matter, and the only thing you can do is wait for the world to change it. However, it wasn’t too long ago when I finally took the plunge. I became fed up with my life and decided to take it back. I buckled up my boots and started to tackle my issues one by one. I stopped hiding behind my fears and started asking for what I wanted and what I believed I deserved. And when I did, I felt alive—as if I’d just awaken from a year long coma. To be honest, it was scary to do, but in the midst of the doubt I imagined what my life would be like if I didn’t make those changes, and, frankly, it scared me to my core. So while I’m still developing the strength to lead the life I want and strike the right work-life balance, I wish that I am able to help empower people to free themselves from feeling stuck in their own life and enjoy the process with flying colours.

Let’s talk 

Here in India, just three days back all of us were immersed in hues of pink, blue and green. We celebrated Holi with a lot of passion and high spirits. 

Since I was a kid, I have always wondered what is it with these festivals that carry the power to break the monotony of the day and bring to life dull and ignorant people, re-energise the youth and galvanize human existence. 

Imagine a world where everyday is treated like a festival, a world where evey child blushes out of excitement for what the day has in store for her/him, a world where one learns from the errors made and approaches each new day like a fresh and blank brand new page. 

Wouldn’t things be so much better off in a world like this? Only if all of this was real, sigh. 

Today, I’d like to talk about an incident which has left me to think fervently about issues deeply engrained in the society we live in and how they affect the mental health of the people so close to us. 

Shanaya (name changed) is my cousin and is exactly my age. I’m closer to Shanaya than her own siblings. Shanaya has two sisters and one brother (all younger to her). We played together since we were in nursery, studied together till we changed schools in Grade 5 and till date we watch movies together. 

When we were both very young, I remember Shanaya was the quiet – meek little girl, shy of performing in public but extremely creative and artistic. She liked to be in her own world but what the world said to her, did matter to her. I think this holds true for a lot of people out there. 

Shanaya’s parents run a huge business and are based out of the busy streets of the walled city of Jaipur. 

Her parents always wanted a baby boy. They wanted an heir to their age old family business. A son to take care of the mammoth network of business executives whom they were in touch with, a son to foster the business and grow it manifold, a son to take the operations of their national entity to a multinational level, a son to ultimately take charge of the wealth that they would leave behind. 

Whatever I’m talking about is insanely routine in India. Not only rural India, but also urban India. Modern India I’d rather say. 

Shanaya has grown to have a lot of interpersonal issues. She is unable to communicate her thoughts freely to her parents because she doesn’t trust them to understand and empathize with her. Since she was a child, she has felt unwanted. Unfortunately, unwanted is the word that she quickly associates with. Her family had always desired a son and they did get a son. But in the process, knowingly or unknowingly they neglected the aspirations and rights of the three daughters they had, before they had their son. 

At times I fail to believe that I’m living in the 21st century. Its difficult to absorb the truth, but incidents like these remind me of the bitter and hard-to-digest reality. 

Shanaya also has had body image issues. Her siblings were younger than her and so were unable to fathom what she meant to say. I was away because I’d shifted to another school away from Shanaya’s locality. The fact that she didn’t find the right trustworthy friend in her parents further aggravated Shanaya’s search for someone to house her secrets and issues in life. 

Shanaya started becoming conscious of how she looked more than ever before. Although I know that 46% of 9-11 year olds in today’s world are sometimes or ‘very often’ on diet, but back in 2009 it was difficult for me to accept the fact that my cousin (exactly my age) was so focused about what she ate, what she wore and how she looked. 

The school that Shanaya went to was extremely elitist. Almost all kids were from extremely well off families, just like hers. Unable to enjoy herself at home, Shanaya yearned to get more and more time out with her friends. Tutions (coaching classes) were her calling from Grade 7 onwards. When Shanaya was in Grade 9, I remember her going for tutions from 8 am in the morning and returning back home at 8 pm in the evening, even on days right before her final semester examinations. I always wondered how did she ever get the time to self study, as in my times I had never even stepped out of my room the night before the final exam. 

One day when Shanaya and I went out for a movie (this was the time when we were stepping in Grade 11 and choosing subjects to major in), I asked Shanaya which stream would she be opting. Without an iota of doubt, she uttered Business & Commerce – even though I knew how deeply inclined she was towards Arts & Humanities. When further interrogated about the reason to do so unflinchingly, Shanaya replied that she’d seen her father fix business deals and that she fantasises over the thought of being able to do so one day. That day I’d seen the glitter in her eyes. 

Today, Shanaya has grown to be extremely capable of handling everything related to her father’s business. She has received an offer for pursuing a Masters degree in Management from the extremely reputed London Business School, a diploma in fashion jewelry designing (her father is into traditional jewellery business) and the unique business instinct that her domain requires. However today she isn’t even slightly involved in the family business and has never been allowed to develop an interest in the field. On the contrary, her younger brother has started to sit at the shop in his leisure time, even though he is just 12 years old. 

Three days back on the day of Holi, on dinner table I asked my mom if Holi meant anything more than immersing our near and dear ones in bright and happy colours. My mom instantly replied that yes, Holi meant so much more. She talked about how this festival is a reminder to always keep the flame of truth and higher consciousness burning bright within our hearts and minds. No matter how hard the evil may try, truth possesses an innate quality to come out shining, as does gold from the test of fire. 

When I think about girls like Shanaya who are denied involvement in ancestral business, even though they’re so deserving, interested and well equipped to carry forward the profession, I feel bad. Really bad and sad, to an extent. Why so much injustice for no concrete or well thought out reason? Why deny her the right of enjoying an untroubled childhood? Why forbear her from excelling in the field she likes? 

Why not let her shine and strive for what is her forte? Why not let her cherish fond memories of a lovely childhood? Why leaver her to find solace in fake – good for nothing friends? Why make her grapple with mental health issues when she doesn’t deserve to undergo any of them?

Why?

When today I speak to Shanaya, I only remind her of how wonderful she is. I try to keep motivating her to go ahead with her further studies in business and choose to do what she really likes to do. One day I’d even suggested to her to start something of her own. She loved the idea and has been thinking about it for a while. However, she never had the guts to go speak up to her parents about the same. She fears they might just dismiss it, as they’ve previously done for almost everything she asked for.  

This fear will just keep hanging with her for life until her parents talk to her. Talk to her with an unbiased mind and an open heart. They have to talk and listen. I think all of us need to talk and listen. 

Pace of Life

I hear the endless chatter of the sea, and the murmuring of the birds on the tree,

I gaze at the moon shining so bright, and the stars twinkling in the limelight,

I ponder about what the street lights want to say, and what the racing cars want to display

When I look back today at all that has passed, there is some respite and some regret, not forgetting a lot of things still left to fret

What this day has in hold for me, I am unaware

I look forward to uncalled for joy

Somethings that arrive and pass and somethings that promise to never go

I appreciate the pace of life and the spontaneity of all that’s happening around, but there’s a little fear in mind

Fear of what?

That I’m unaware of. 

I’ll keep appreciating life for all that it has in store for me. I’m waiting to throw open the Pandora’s Box that is reserved by the almighty, only for me

In all that I’ve done so far, never have I ever let go of people who’re important to me

Never will I ever desire to get lost in this pace of life, 

Never will I ever plagiarize to reach glorious heights,

‘Always stay grounded and right’, this is what I’ve been taught by the pace of life

Reactive World

​We live in a reactive world. 

Woah. At the face of it, the word reactive sounds so intense but if you think about it for a while, much of what our governments, businesses, or we as individuals do is shaped and determined by others. 

Governments react to the perceived intentions of other governments, or to what the opinion polls are telling them, or what the newspapers said this morning. Businesses react to what their market researchers say the customers want, or to what their competitors are doing, or to the latest business craze – because businesses are as susceptible as teenagers to the tyrannies of fashion. 

We as an individual spend much of our time reacting to those around us: to the behaviours of our bosses, families and friends etc. Most of the time we live reactive lives without realizing it and feel a spark of envy when we read about someone who has defied convention to sail alone around the world, start a yak farm, follow their dream and succeed against all odds. 

Between the stimulus and our response to such happenings there is always a moment of choice. It may be only for a heartbeat, but is a moment nonetheless. This is the moment in which we choose to be victims or villains

The work of growing and maturing as an individual never really ends. Learning to have confidence in your own judgement, discovering sources of strength within and outside of yourself, incorporating differences in opinions, taking care of meeting stakeholder needs and the list just goes on.  

Robert Fulghum once said:

Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school. These are the things that I learned: share everything; play fair; don’t hit people; put things back where you found them; clean up your own mess; don’t take things that aren’t yours; say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody; wash your hands before you eat…

So what’s the way out and how do we perceive the world in its best form?
Broadening Perceptions

It is very easy to view the world through a mental periscope and steel blinkers from deep within your own little bunker. Do that for long enough, you will begin to notice just how limited those views are; how constrained your perceptions of the world have become. Soon you will only understand the world which you see from this limited viewpoint, and it will become very frightening because you will not be able to make sense of what you see. With fear will come hostility to everything which is unfamiliar – and fear and hostility fuel the villain/ victim cycle. 

Open your eyes and absorb as many and as intense impressions of the world as you can. Enjoy it in all its vigour and complexity. 

Don’t take yourself too seriously. 

Be ready to laugh with others and at yourself. Laugh at yourself and care about the things which really matter – that’s the motorway out of self inflicted victimhood. 

As the actress Ethel Barrymore put it:

You grow up the day you have the first real laugh – at yourself