Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Making Friends with Myself

Many of us know the story of the poor boy who couldn't tolerate his hunger anymore and stole the leftovers from a restaurant and was beaten up when caught and labeled a thief. It wasn't the physical abuse that did the biggest harm but the branding of 'thief' for the rest of his life, not only in the eyes of the society but also his own.

When we hear his story, it is easier for us to release him from the label of 'thief' because we know that his poverty was the culprit not him. But when it comes to ourselves we continue to think of ourselves as 'loose charactered' even though we were the ones who were abused, or 'bad child' when we were the ones that were abandoned or 'too independent' when we took those steps only because there was a lack of support, or 'insensitive' because we are tired of feeling for others without any returns.

Even if we made mistakes just out of utter ignorance or stupidity, we can't continue to live with the guilt forevermore. Let us take the corrective measure and move on.

It is time to free ourselves from all labels and brands, forgive ourselves, begin afresh with love and enthusiasm.

Meeting other people is fun,
Meeting 'me' is vital
Forgiving others is good,
Forgiving myself is essential 

Living with guilt is worthless,
Acceptance cures, not denial 
To live life is to fly free,
It is not merely about survival 

The diary of my heart stores 
all my experiences big or trivial 
whether good or bad,
they all make me special 

By grieving and sharing 
my wounds I will heal,
By blaming myself forever,
I become my own rival 

Today, I take the responsibility
that God gave me for my soul,
I forgive, accept and celebrate
my life as a whole

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Are you in pain?

Pain that is not processed usually keeps away peace. The more we ignore it or send it to the back of our minds and delay in addressing it, it becomes more profound. Yes, it takes a lot of courage to look at our pain and make sense of it in the light of our current reality but it is essential for our well-being and sometimes for the well-being of others.

So, one of the ways to do it is to take time to feel the pain and its roots. What originally caused it and what all (experiences, people, words) made it worse. Then try to find out how much of it is still relevant in our current lives. Remember a lot has changed from then till now. Those things that are not relevant anymore bury them with the flowers of forgiveness.

Some painful memories remain relevant for the rest of our lives and we must accept them as part of our lives in a decorative way. We can let them hang on the walls of our hearts like merit certificates because those experiences made us stronger and more mature persons. Look at them with a smile and know that we survived them. When smiling is not possible and tears find their way, let them flow.

Let me tell you a secret (known to all, applied by few) concoction of tears and forgiveness has a divine capacity to heal any soul. Try it :-)

Pain ignored is more painful but pain addressed is new life...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Education for Peace

Currently, I am doing an online course entitled 'Peace Education: Theory and Practice' from the University of Peace, Costa Rica. Recommended readings and wonderful sharing from the professors and the fellow students inspired a poem that I am sharing here.

Come, let's teach peacefulness
to our friends and to our children,
Come, let's bring smiles
to faces that are grief-stricken   

Education takes us to peace,
Education takes us higher,
Education is the way to well-being
Education makes our futures brighter 

Tears will turn into joy
Hope will replace despair,
Wounds will be healed
with compassion and care 

Let's open the windows of our hearts and minds
Let the sunshine of understanding come in,
Let our souls be wet in the dew of tolerance,
Let more of humanity sink in

Let us choose to focus on similarities,
Let us talk about shared needs,
Let us plan for a prosperous tomorrow,
Let us come together in thoughts and deeds 

Respect for all is possible,
Equal rights for all is possible,
If the vulnerable are educated and empowered,
Peace for all is possible

Women, for a change,
you lead the nations,
Children, let your innocent ideas prevail,
Grand pa and grand ma, inspire the generations

Let us revive non-violence,
Let us bring a new revolution,
Let Peace be our banner,
And our weapon be education

I know we can do it
because God's grace is with us,
With trust and togetherness,
We will be more than victorious!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Where are the real leaders?

So many conflicts around the world are continuing for a long time, some have recently begun and many more are brewing under the leadership of our national and international leaders. ometimes, I wonder if it is the lack of willingness to resolve an issue keeps it going. We all know that political and monetary gains for some result in long term suffering for many. How tragic!

I recently finished a paper on 'Role of women and religion in trauma healing and its impact' in Indian context. One of the things that I learned during my study was that it is the women who suffer and endure the most in an ongoing conflict and yet are kept away from taking the lead in the peace process at political and/or religious levels. In today's age too, they are considered mostly as passive victims of whatever is going on... thankfully, there is an increase in number of women leaders but it is not sufficient in any way.

Search for alternatives for violence has to be contextual and local women, elderly and even children must be involved in the process. While those who continue to fuel the conflicts have more than enough to eat and decent places to live, it is the women, elderly and the children who struggle to survive with dignity. Therefore, it is just common sense that they should be the leaders in the peace process not the international political leaders, looking at alternatives and implementing them.

Peace Seeks Justice

Yes, the country seeks peace. But the angry protestors seek justice, The grieving mothers seek justice, The oppressed generations ...