I’ve always been one to question things, people, religion, tradition amongst many things. Recently, I was thinking about kindness and asked myself, how kind is your kindness? Not just me but other people, both here and back home. Are we all self-less beings? Do we sometimes have expectations from others? I know some people who think if they have done something kind then, it is a given that the other person will return the act of kindness. They sometimes have high expectations whilst others have no such expectations. Is it bad to have such expectations? To keep score of how many acts of kindness were given to others and to then expect the same or more in return? For me, I have no such expectation, if I help someone or share my time, I never expect anything in return. But, if then that individual returns the act of kindness, I’m appreciative. I also believe the universe sees all and feels all, so any act of amazing kindness never goes unnoticed.
Something else I learnt, first impressions are not always the right ones. Just because some people seem kind, warm and friendly, it doesn’t always mean that they are. Sure, initially everything is peachy and wonderful. But then the true colours come out when the situation changes or hard times come. This is when you see who really has your back and who was just talking shit. The thing is some people give a really good, convincing first impression so, you buy it. I’ve learnt to trust people a lot quicker than I would like and this too doesn’t help. Once this trust is broken, it is hard to regain or to even repair.
That said, even when trust is broken or first impressions are misleading, it is good to stay put. It is so easy and natural for us to blot when the shit hits the fan and when things don’t turn out as we expected them to. I for one am great at blotting, when a situation gets uncomfortable or sticky, I’m the first one to have out. I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to try and understand, no I would much rather just go, take a break and then re-evaluate the situation. Generally, when a situation gets tough, my default position is to move and I never thought this would change. But, I have managed to stay put, to grin and bear in situations which are not my cup of tea. Of course this is not easy but I learnt, as unpleasant as it is at the time, I could do it. I also learnt to stay with the uneasy feeling and uncertainty. Indeed, in hindsight, the situation never seems so bad. But I realised that each and every one of these awkward encounters or moments have taught me something.
With every unwanted or unwarranted experience, I’ve continued to search for the silver lining. I’ve maintained my belief to live now, love now and to give now, no matter who tries to rain on my parade. I try to be happy and enjoy every moment, to maximise it because that moment is never going to come back. I continue to try and be fully present, even when I don’t understand exactly what is going on or what is being said. I appreciate people giving everything they have in the moment, sharing their story, their food and most importantly their time. So, in the same way, I do the same, I don’t have my phone on me at all times and even when I do, I don’t have wifi so there is no possibility of surfing the net or sending messages. I like that very much, I have real conversations in the moment and give my undivided attention, something which was unheard of before and still is for many of us. Most of all, I try and get my head out of the clouds and to engage as much as possible with the people I’m surrounded by. Easier said than done, I know, for some people.
My positive energy certainly draws people and energy. More so, it makes things happen, things work out and are timed to a tea. For instance, I have never had a pet, always wanted one but never had. I love animals, dogs the most and would love to be a dog owner but I never had one. But a few weeks back, some friends (Chris and Val) went to travel and asked me if I wanted to take care of their dog, Ash. Of course, I was over the moon, I didn’t stop to think, my automatic response was yes, yes of course! I had Ash for two days and I learnt a lot about having a pet for sure. I fed her, washed her, took her for walks, played with her and even made sure she slept. Ok, for those of you who have had a pet for years, this maybe no big deal but for me it was huge. I couldn’t say no or ignore her beautiful puppy dog eyes because my heart simply melted. I felt a connection with her which also made it harder and I sensed her energy.
I believe energy is everywhere, we are surrounded by it, everywhere we go. It’s not just within people or animals but in the air, as we walk down the street, in the house we live in, in the food we cook and in the plant pots on the windowsill. I believe if we love the house we live in then the our house loves us back. That if we plant, water and take care of all of the seeds we plant then they grow and flourish and generate energy. Of course, this energy is not always visible and we can’t hold it but we can feel it. I sense it everyday as I walk on to work. I believe it is this energy that is recycled, multiplied and shared amongst society. Also, it is the energy that attracts opportunities and people. It is these connections that I love and crave for. I realised that we don’t need to speak a common language, have the same culture or eat the same food to be able to understand and connect with someone. So much more is said and done without the presence of a spoken word. It is sometimes far easier to fit in and belong amongst others who may appear to be so different but in reality are so similar because you share the same energy, vision and values.
I continue to believe in karma, to do good when and where I can. As a teacher, for example, I don’t simply teach the material, rather I get my students to think outside the box. I get them to question the meaning of normal and to understand that what we deem normal now, once upon a time ago, wasn’t. I had one class give me their definition of perfect which for some, included never failing but then for others involved chasing your dreams and living them. I have some very young but bright students with their entire life ahead of them but some of them are already out of gas, exhausted and ready to settle. For me, there is nothing more frustrating so I spend every class trying to plant a seed and try to get my students to see all the endless, amazing, possibilities their lives hold. I water this idea as much as possible because once they can see their true potential, they really will be able to move mountains, to make their dreams come true and change the world in their own way.
My students made me think just how greater of an impact primary and secondary socialisation has. The influence their family, friends, community, media, politics and their surroundings have. How does a fifteen year old stop believing in himself? How is a student unable to imagine her ideal job? Why is it, that they are not able to consider the possibility that they could have a great impact in the society they live in? I thought about my school days and my teachers and words of encouragement I had. I also had a lot of words of wisdom from my parents which helped immensely. It made me question where would I be in life without all of this? I certainly had doubts, sure I had dreams but I was anxious and constantly thinking- what if I don’t make it? What if it all goes terribly wrong? But then being surrounded by people inspiring you, encouraging you and cheering you on, helps. I find myself wanting to do the same and more for my students. I want them to believe in the impossible and to make it happen in years to come. It can be anything and everything, wanting to study aboard, wanting to travel or to open a business. I believe we should never stop chasing our dreams and most importantly, we should never settle.
I’m forever encouraging my students, friends and family. It is something very natural, to support and listen to dreams and then trying to work out how to turn them into realities. My initial response to any dream is nearly always positive no matter how crazy or far fetched it seems. I believe it is better to be supportive than blunt or very honest. I empathise a great deal with my friends and family too. I am the shoulder to cry on and the one making others laugh. It is my nature, it is what I know and something I do well. I’m not one to moan, bitch or rant, sure on a off day, yes but on the whole, no. I like analysing people, trying to figure them out and determining why they are the way they are. We all have emotional baggage, stories and some scars and this can forever shape us. I like to peel back the layers and to make people question everything they believed in especially if it is different to what I believe in. To sum up, I’m not a bad person, I was raised well, I made sure my sister, Seema was also the best person she could be. I’m not perfect, I have been and maybe will continue to be young and stupid sometimes but that makes me me and so I would never change that part of me.
All I know for sure is we have the chance in life to create and share some amazing moments with the people we love and care for. We have the chance to spread laughter and give love. I believe for those of us who manage to do this, it will come back and multiply in more ways than one. It always does, sometimes it just takes time but it will happen. No act of kindness or love goes unnoticed. We are all truly rich in so many ways, with all our knowledge, experience and qualities. We have so much to give to others, if only we could all see our own wealth. If only we could truly recognise our true potential and believe that we are more than good enough right now. If we told ourselves what tell our best friend then our lives would change dramatically. But the more we listen to our own voices in our head, the more we continue to doubt, question and criticise ourselves unnecessarily. It’s not easy to switch this voice off but once it is under control, our life will change.