Validation

Life is a celebration of freedom if you are able to see it that way. I mean I want to say this. But what’s really on my mind is this. Life is a struggle, it’s a pain. On most days. On many days. On some days. This is that struggle between the part of me that wants to be positive and the part of me that wants to express. Both are important. I think expressing is important because it’s important to know what’s really on our mind.

But yes I want to be free and it’s possible. When we get rid of any fear we feel liberated and then we realise that anything is possible. Anything can be done. But in the course of living life in this society that fear tends to creep back in. And so it becomes necessary to be in touch with ourselves once in a while. Take a break from humanity, lock yourself up in your room, go to a village, mountains, whatever it takes. It seems like a dramatic step of escapism. Yet I feel, it’s not dramatic or extreme at all. It is actually rejuvenating and should be treated as a necessary periodic ritual and nothing more.

I say this, because today I feel the need for this. I yearn for human company to validate me, to make me feel wanted and needed and appreciated. I think this is an indicator of the fact that I have lost touch with myself.

Learning to not care

Should we write or perform for likes and praises? I have been guilty of it. Every writer or singer or dancer or actor must be. But what works in the short term, doesn’t always work for the greater cause of creativity or skill development. Many actors / writers have been known to wish that they were not famous, so they could be free to experiment. And writers often take the cover of anonymity and pseudonyms perhaps for the same reason.

Yet today it is easy to be famous. If not on national TV, we can be famous in our own social groups, schools, offices, friend circles, etc. While praises and likes from our friends (turned into fans) is a great motivator to keep churning out content, it makes us want to stick to what works. We may become skilled at being liked, not so much at the art itself.

I believe that the habit of producing content regularly itself is not so bad. It keeps us on our toes. We keep learning and improving. It stops us from becoming complacent. But to do so one must first learn to cut out the flow of both positive and negative comments. CEO of VaynerMedia, Gary Vee who has a following of 8M on Instagram, and has become a source of motivation for many entrepreneurs and artists, often talks about not caring about the opinions of other people. In fact he even believed that Instagram should take off the likes button.

It would make a lot of sense then to have a time for posting content and a different time for logging in again and going through notifications for that post. Just so that we can remember that we were not performing or writing for the sake of likes.

Just a diary entry

The best stories come from a place of honesty. That’s why it’s easier to write a good story than narrate a good story. Because you cannot be as honest when you are talking. Atleast I cannot.

I am feeling especially angry today, may be because I realised yesterday that I have friends with whom I can have fun, but I don’t have real friends. No friend who will listen to my boring shit, my practice routine, my stories of what makes me want to go on, my past and why it affects the decisions i take in the present. A friend would be someone who would listen to it all when I speak and be interested. Because he / she is interested in getting to know me. It’s funny how people are not interested in the real deal.

And yet I find that hard to believe. May be my stories are not inspiring yet because they don’t have a successful ending. But when it does have a successful ending I will have many friends admiring my stories. But they also won’t be real. Aren’t friends supposed to be people who stick with you when no one else believes in you?

What was the point of it?

I lost all this time in my childhood when I was struggling with many things. And now that I am finally free, I still feel that others have an upper hand. And somewhere I keep wondering what advantage must I have gained by what I went through in my past. If I lost out on precious time, I must have gained something. Wisdom? Empathy? I don’t know what it is. But I find myself desperately holding on to my past for this reason. Trying to search for some unique quality I may have gained by my time spent on it. Because while others were busy honing their talents, I was busy overcoming struggles. So that seems like my talent?

That doesn’t mean my share of struggles have come down now. Far from it, my struggles have caused unhealthy behaviours in me that still make me more susceptible to struggling more in life. Unfair isn’t it?

Perhaps one way is to switch off expectations. Let each moment, both good and and bad happen as an experience. And keep watching my own life like a TV show. Because it probably isn’t getting better by a huge degree. Or maybe I’ll manage to make one or two changes that will bring some shifts towards good. But it will always be unfair. There will always be others who got a better start, as there will be others who got a worse start.

So here’s to smiling every moment and experiencing it without feeling disheartened.

Art

I think the first time I wrote something good was when I was reading and searching for something that would help me ease how I felt inside. Something that expressed what I felt. And when that didn’t happen I wrote it myself.

Perhaps creating art is not a straightforward journey of learning a skill. It is a journey of appreciating and finding life in other people’s art and then living your life. Talking to people, getting your heart broken, feeling joy, feeling pain. Allowing yourself to feel and deal with extreme emotions through art and then one day that emotion will express itself through whatever art it is you are using to deal with your emotion.

May be. It’s just a thought.

Facing and fighting

These are some very difficult days. The temptation to get netflix or amazon prime is also high, because I would love those hours of distraction when I would be taken to a new world. But I have been avoiding this temptation. Whatever this feeling is, I don’t want to distract myself from it. I want to face it head-on, deal with whatever emotion or unhealthy behaviour is going to surface in this time and turn myself into a better person.

Having said that, I also realised today that I may have been getting too hard on myself. It’s alright if I miss out on few things during this time. This is not about winning some championship. The lockdown is harsh in many ways – I cannot outsource cooking / cleaning / washing, I have to deal with more documentation work in office (the kind of work I hate but I need to still feel grateful for), and then there is all this practice that I have always wanted to do. it’s ok to skip one thing out of all this every day though. I don’t think it’s possible to do everything everyday.

I wish I journaled everyday though. It will really help me to stay in touch with my emotions.

Wisdom

Some say we are nothing but tiny dots like any other rock or sand particle. One day we will cease to exist and just become one of those rocks again. Others prefer the more mysterious “the universe exists for us and events in the universe are connected to events in our life” theory. You cannot deny that everything about us, our brain, our society, the things that drive people to do great things, makes you suspect that there is more to us than we are able to see or understand with our limited abilities.

I like to believe this. That we are more than we understand, and an important part of universe. I also believe that when we die our understanding will expand and we will see things very differently from how we see it now. But I am not sure I understand why we put ourselves in this situation of narrow point of view.

Most of my understanding of life comes from experience and observation. I don’t think I ever had an “I just know it” moment. But I have noticed that some people are just wise. As if they are born with it. And I wonder how that happens. Did they have experiences in their past life that made them wiser and they just know that to win at this life they have to remember that wisdom. Is it like a game we keep playing till we get everything right? Or is this a very human way of thinking? I for one get obsessed with redoing and rectifying till I get the process right. That I could never manage to actually get it right in the second, third , fourth , millionth attempt is a different point. I mean every time I think I know the answer, and I will get it right this time, life throws a different variable into the equation. And I almost always get that part wrong. So do experiences really make you wiser. Or is there something else here that I am missing? Some Zen level understanding of everything without actually having to go through an experience. Some access to collective wisdom?

Power of identity

I see myself as someone who can produce written content very easily. And with that end in mind, I am planning to have more extempore writing in my life. I see many hurdles here in making this a reality. Unpredictable and busy schedules, volatile moods, etc etc. But I think this needs to be a part of my identity. What I do every day. Write on a topic. Any topic. I can expand this later to include a poem or news comment or something like that. Just to extract more benefit out of the routine. But for now it is a preparation-less writing. To keep that outlet of expression open and active. I don’t want to discover later that lack of use has made it impossible to get anything useful out of my writing without getting a tonne of junk along with it.

I bought one more book on my flight back from Chandigarh. For the thousandth time, I bought a book that I would never read again later. Can you blame me. The book called “Reflections” is a compilation of Swami Vivekananda’s speeches, both speeches by him or about him. But I didn’t finish the book, so don’t take my word for it. It’s a difficult read.

Reading is a bed time activity for me. Yet somehow I fall asleep more with my phone than with my book. That needs to change.

So yes this writing exercise, is around the idea that I attract more situations in my life that revolve around how I see myself. Do I see myself as someone who can write easily. Then I will be presented with more opportunity for writing. Same with singing. When someone asks me to sing a song I feel unprepared and unpractised. Also right now I have very less singing videos online. (You can check it here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGZlBikGn-b1oh1Q6oMFD0A?view_as=subscriber).

But the reason for this is, I feel I have to prepare a lot before posting each video. I want to be someone who can sing off some song every day on demand. So I plan to make videos every day where I sing a song that comes easily to me. That way I’ll slowly have an identity of someone who can sing a song easily.

Of course this means that the quality of my content may seem to suffer in the beginning. But I think it’ll catch up in time. Also I can always keep deleting content.

Keep going even though it seems dark. You have nothing to prove to anyone. You just owe it to yourself to complete what you have already started. Don’t give up just yet!