Space

Okay so I am writing this post in the capacity of a singer. But I think it applies to any one doing anything creative.

Honestly I couldn’t understand the importance of deep focus. I used to do all my vocal practices, scales, breathing exercises but with a lot of distractions. Would take breaks every five minutes to check my phone or watch some TV show. And I had convinced myself that as long as I am doing the required practices, it didn’t matter what I did in between to keep myself going.

But my attempt today to shut off all distractions and only focus on my vocal practices made me realise how important it is for the creative process. Not to mention, the time I save and the number of things I could do today despite the brief period of depression in which I kind of lost control and switched on my phone. I think being forced to confront your feelings of boredom or fear or past issues can have that effect. But it also made me come out of my default automated settings.

I started thinking about what I was singing and what practice I was doing. I thought about how I could do these things in a better way. I spent time listening to music and observing how each emotion is represented in the language of music by different artists. My mind had the space to think about all these things instead of being focused on mindless entertainment fed from TV shows or mobile applications.

And getting the space to ponder over things and being able to confront emotions and channel them into creation is so important for the creative process.

Look at my blog too. I wrote three posts in one day. Because I have been thinking about things, I have been struggling with emotions and I have been thinking of solutions at the back of my mind. And some of it found it’s way into my writing.

Basically deep focus gives space for us to be human. The difference between human beings and any other animal is the thought and effort human beings put into everything they do. That is what I was able to do with my music, thanks to the space I gave my brain for thinking without distractions.

I think I have made my point now. Hope it helps some people. Have a good day 🙂

Saying NO

We have to say no. Have to say no several times. To parties, to people that only waste your time, to “opportunities” that’ll only keep you stuck doing things you don’t enjoy. And it seems as if you are missing out on something great because who would possibly say no right? But it’s almost as if the universe tempts you to fail. The moment you get resolved to do something it’ll present you with temptations. But if your resolve is strong you will say no. Otherwise you are fickle. And the fickle minded keep bouncing around reacting to people around them and blaming circumstances.

Pain

I always believe that we meet people because there is some message that they must pass on to us or we must pass on to them. And when we get an important message from someone we tend to feel attached to them. Nevertheless, they must leave when their job is done. And it hurts to have to move on from that. And we may ask why…why do we have to go through this pain of separation again. And I ask, if the separation had not been so hurtful would you remember for life what they taught you. It will hurt for as long as it must to change your life. And once your life is on this new path they won’t seem that special, that important because their job is truly done.

So we only have to surrender to the pain. Move on and open ourselves to new experiences. Every time we break down and rebuild ourselves we have become a better version. Pain is only a reminder that there are some things about ourselves we need to work on in order to grow. To feel proud of ourselves without needing the validation of another. And may be in the here and now things seem uncertain and hurtful but if I were to compare my life to how it was an year ago I have to acknowledge that life is much much better and more colourful and I have so much to be thankful for.

It still hurts as I type that life is better because inside me something is screaming no it’s not. And I respect that feeling. Life is not great, it’s painful and I surrender to that pain and let it be that way.

Powering your way through life

Got up late today. Thought it was going to be one of those lazy, unproductive depressing days. But guess what, I decided to just push myself to go for a jog. And though I couldn’t cover my usual distance I still had a good workout. Got back home, had a nice shower and awesome breakfast and got two calls for doing gigs. For those of you who don’t know me I am a singer who quit her job recently to get into music full time. I’m hunting for a job again now but pursuing music remains my number one priority and today just turned out to be a lucky day.

I believe in this sort of thing. Good things and bad things happen in a flow depending on our state of mind. If our state of mind is of positivity, happiness and gratefulness, good things just start happening and we start feeling lucky. And when we feel lucky we get lucky. And the vice versa is true too, which is why some days we go from feeling hopeless to finding and getting new reasons to feel hopeless. But I don’t want to focus on that today.

I want to focus on the fact that I have two gigs now. Definitely getting more and more opportunities for getting into music professionally.

So much for starting the day positively. I think working out every day is probably the best thing I have done for myself recently. It is difficult sometimes. To wake up in the morning and find the energy to leave the comfort of your house. But when you do it you find so much more energy. And that one act if pushing ourselves first thing in the morning, kind of sets the mood for the day. You feel more organised and disciplined, not to mention energetic. And obstacles don’t bother you as much because you are able to power your way through.

So moral of the story for today, work out work out work out, preferably outside the comfort of your home.

Difficult people, repeating patterns

I have three objectives for now:
1. Lose weight
2. Improve my singing and music sense
3. Find and learn something that will make me more employable

Three objectives. Simplifies life. So every time I take a step back or question a decision, I ask myself how has it helped me in any of the above three goals. If it hasn’t then it was probably a bad decision. And the same three objectives must help me make my future life decisions.

Because otherwise it’s so easy to be lost on the road when you are walking alone. Everything seems attractive. Everyone’s trying to pull you towards their path, but they are just trying to make their life work, not yours.

There are of course other things that I was wondering about today while I was jogging. Do I give up too easily in a situation when I have to deal with tough people? Is that why these situations keep repeating in my life. Like I am finding that my present music teacher is taking it very slow for the kind of fees she has taken from me. And I am feeling that may be I should stop going and wasting my time there and instead do something else in that time. But isn’t this happening too many times. May be I should express this to her and get her to do what I want instead of just signing out from the situation. It seems like an impossible thing to do because she will definitely not react to this well.

But may be I am facing the same situation with my parents, my previous boss, few friends, my ex and now here. I always give up when I feel I can’t deal with the person. It feels like too much effort, waste of time, and frankly it seems impossible. And so I let go of the situation, thinking may be it was not meant to be. But is there some pattern here.

How do I deal with this? I wish I knew if there is a magic formula to deal with difficult people!

Morning madness

I have a problem with starting the day right. I spend most of the first half sunk in my bed with empty cups of tea and breakfast lying around. Even if I do get up for an errand I sink back right in. I’ve tried a hundred different things – morning exercise, early morning music practice routine, stretches, doing my bed, talking on phone with good friends, yoga, meditation and what not. But nothing seems to be a permanent solution that sustains for more than a few days. And before I know, I get into the other feeling of uselessness and depression for not having accomplished my music, job search and weight loss plans.

Up until yesterday, when I decided to restart all my blogs. I am thinking I may have come up with a solution. Reading and writing seem to be activities that I can accomplish even while I am lying around in my bed. So my physical passivity won’t come in the way. And it will definitely take the edge off the feeling of uselessness that I end up with.

I can end the first half with some exercise and start music practice in the afternoon after I am out of my morning lethargy problem.

May be this will work. May be this won’t. The answer to this question can only come in the next few days when I do or don’t post new stuff here. And if there is no more new stuff, then it means it’s not working and you can refer to my previous blog “The never ending loop” 😛

P.S. I have also started working on a music blog to share whatever I learn through my experiments in music. All you music lovers and well wishers, please follow if you like it:
https://thepathofmusicblog.wordpress.com

The never ending loop

Feeling good for nothing.
Depression.
Mood swings.
Making each day work.
Sticking to the plan.
Not sticking to the plan.
Feeling everything tumbling down.
Getting a grip and making a new plan.
Sticking to new plan.
False hopes.
Stumbling over an unseen problem.
Falling sick.
Stop Following plan.
Lose your grip.
Realise how much time you have spent and how much you have really achieved.
Getting up and trying again any way because you have no choice.
Calling it brave.
Telling yourself that you finally have it figured out.
Depression strikes yet again.
Chuck everything try to reset things.
Realise that it’s too late.
Go back to square one.
Make a plan.
And the cycle continues.

I am really stuck in this loop. But if there is anything that MBA has taught me, it is that at first nailing the project seemed like an impossible task to everyone. But those who stuck on and kept working on it without giving up somehow did nail it. And I was always one of those who got intimidated, who felt this was impossible to do. The solution always seems simple when someone gives it to you.

But what I learnt was that not giving up and consistently trying something was the way to go. A solution has to come out.

And so I shall go back to my never ending loop with this one ray of hope that may be not giving up will somehow magically give a solution. May be.

Negativity talking..

So here’s an update for all those who were following my blog from the start. In case you still read my posts, I got through with my goal of completing my MBA and finding a job away from home. I was finally financially independent as I had always wanted to be. But I couldn’t really get myself to work as a manager. My heart was always on pursuing the things I am really passionate about – music, psychology, working against child abuse. If any of my old followers are still reading, you know how much these things meant to me.

I finally got the opportunity to start working on my music passion. And I guess I got too involved with it. Too carried away. I don’t know. I just couldn’t see myself struggling to work in corporate anymore. I just didn’t belong in the position that I was holding in my previous company. Didn’t feel I could do justice to my job. On the other hand I was doing fairly well as a singer. Not financially. I was not earning anything, but I was having progress, I knew that this was one place where I could contribute. I truly had some potential here even though I was not qualified.

So eventually I quit my job. Thought that somehow I would find a way of earning through music itself, because I wanted to be genuine. I didn’t want to be that fake MBA person that was just wasting the time of the company because they needed money to pay off their loans. So I tried to take the honest path. I told myself, I am being honest so a path will open up. Because that’s what I believed. That if we are true to ourselves and if we have the courage then somehow we will find a way to make it work.

But as on today, I feel stuck. I don’t think music can start earning so soon. I need to give it more time.

Just remembering how I used to write motivating posts on how every small step matters and how one must never give up on their dreams. Keep trying, keep working, one step at a time. It made sense then because saying that gave me hope. But I don’t know what I would say to that young girl who wrote all that. Is the future really bright? Is their truly an escape?

Or do we really come with a destiny? May be not all are destined to find happiness and the better thing to do is to just resign to fate? May be I should never have dreamt of a better life, may be I should’ve stuck to the job where I could at least contributed something. May be I should’ve stayed with my parents and accepted that freedom and pursuit of happiness was not in my destiny? But I did, I made the choice of getting into a field not meant for me, just so that I could escape from home. And I guess I was wrong, it was not an escape. May be once we started going downhill, once one thing goes wrong and we stumble, may be we just keep tumbling and falling and getting weak and eventually have the big fall?

I don’t know. This is not a hopeful or positive or motivating blog post. This is just a honest, very honest thought flow that is probably good for nothing, just like the writer of this post..

The Distorted Learning Curve

Today I noticed a lady at my workplace looking really tired and worn out. As general courtesy I asked her if she was all right.

“I am fine,” she replied, “just that I didn’t get to sleep much last night. I had to work on my daughter’s school project; these kids have so much to do. And I had completely forgotten that she had to submit it today..”

“You mean you made your daughter’s project report?” I asked surprised.

“Yes, these children are given a lot of project work these days; I don’t know why they give the little children such difficult work. It is such a headache for parents!” she said disapprovingly.

“But isn’t the project meant for the children. Don’t you think you should just let her work on it?” I tried to reason with her.

“But she is so little. How will she know what to do?” She asked perplexed, as if that was an answer that was understood.

“No what I meant was, let her use her head, let her try something on her own. You can help her but let her do the work. Let her work on the project at her level of understanding. It doesn’t have to be the best, but she will learn something isn’t it?” I tried again.

“Yeah, I know got what you are saying, but all other children make such wonderful projects then the teacher will give her low grades.”

“You mean their parents make wonderful projects.” I smiled and said. She smiled back. “That’s how it is dear; there is so much competition at such a young age!”

I just smiled and said nothing. I realized there was no point reasoning. The whole thing was wrong at so many levels.

What was the child learning by watching her mother complete her project for her and taking credit for it in school? The project in my opinion was well meant. It would have pushed the child to think; maybe she would have spent some time struggling over it. May be she would have come up with useless ideas or pestered her mother with lots of questions. May be this particular project would not have turned out fancy but she would certainly have used her brain a lot. Don’t these parents know that a child’s brain is still developing a lot till the age of 7. If she uses the creative part of her brain at this point, she will certainly be very creative when she grows up.

But here, all she really learnt was how to copy the best stuff off the internet and stick them together on paper, take credit and be appreciated. In fact she was not even doing that. She was just watching her mother do all the work. How would this child grow up to feel capable? She would always grope for someone to help her out when faced with a tough problem in life. She would never be able to think that she should sit and brainstorm for possible solutions, because since her childhood she has been taught that she should ask someone else to do her work when she can’t do it on her own.

But is the mother wrong. I think she is, but let us try to understand the situation from her point of view. She didn’t want her child to take a bad project report to school. Why not? May be because she didn’t want her child to feel left out when all others were submitting fancy projects. Valid. But wouldn’t the child learn from what she saw and come back and think of better ideas for her next project. Isn’t that the process of learning? Isn’t it more important that you help your child back on her feet when she falls instead of not letting her walk on her own for fear that she may fall? But the mother can still argue that the school teacher would compare and give the child low marks. Then the child would get used to getting low marks and will never strive hard to be the best. But isn’t this the root of all evil in education system? Striving for marks and not learning!!! Why should there be marks at all at this age?

And competition? While I am personally against the spirit of competition at any level, others may not agree with me, which is fine. But competition at this age? When children should be focusing on learning, understanding, improving, thinking creatively and not limiting their thought process to getting good marks?

Sadly that has become the state of child development today. Instead of helping our children become capable and confident, we teach them to live superficially. We teach them to give value to marks that are a representative of their intelligence as against learning the hard way that may fetch them low marks but will make them much more intelligent.

I think the education system must work on spontaneity. Don’t ask the children to get the work done from home. Ask them to spend more time in school and give them on the spot assignments. Let them roam freely in school and come up with ideas. Let them experiment with their color pencils and crayons and make clumsy drawings. Let them fiddle with paper, scissors and glue and try to make anything they want. Let the older students look through books in the library and search for their answers. Let them get curious, let them come to you asking for answers and wanting to learn ways of doing something. When you teach them now they will remember the lesson for life. That’s the way anyone would learn. Let the parents not worry about the child’s marks and position in the competitive world at least till the age of 11 or 12. Let the child develop his intelligence and not his stature. Once you have taken care of the intelligence I can assure anyone that the child will take care of his future. Because this child would be trained to tackle problems not by knowing all the solutions in the world, but by his ability, and more importantly, confidence of being able to find a solution when he needs it.

I wish parents and teachers understood this. I wish I could do something that would show people how important this is.