Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Learning From #Water

Water is a life-giver,we all know,but it can also be a life-changer,a guru,to inspire us when we,or those connected to us come to a rough patch. 

The most obvious and universally appreciated function of water is that it not only quenches our thirst or soothes tired aching bodies through a bath but also propagates countless kinds of vegetation to satiate our hunger.Yes,we all know that, but how many of us can similarly extend succor and relief to tired beings near us who may be facing a tough situation in life?

An admirable quality of water is that it adapts beautifully to any given situation.Pour sea water in a cup and it is now a cup of water--quietly taking the shape of it's container.Does anybody hear it remonstrate that it had such a grand origin and it shall not stay put in a measly cup;or whine and rant about it's degradation?By contrast we humans always have something to crib about.

Now look at it's perspicacity.Put it in a tight container,if there is a tiny hole in it, water will find it's way out--much faster than a human does when he is thrown into a tight spot.

When water comes across a boulder it cannot cross over,it gently goes around it--a valuable lesson for us again.Certain obstacles cannot be surmounted;it is best to circumvent them and learn to LIVE with them.

What happens when water is thrown into a ditch?This is a situation where it cannot find a way out--but it does.It simply elevates itself,goes up in the form of vapor and comes down again in the shape of blessed,beneficial rain.Given sufficient time,even dirty,disease-ridden water will transform itself into pure unadulterated rain water.How many of us can evolve and refine ourselves,post a serious lapse or misconduct?

Another commendable quality of water is it's tendency to move on,go forward.It does not go back but always on and on,till it reaches the sea,it's final resting place.Emulating water in this aspect is difficult for many of us because sometimes we waste a lot of time and energy ruminating about the past or obsessing about an unpalatable event which we cannot get out of our mind.Go with the flow.Do not fight incontrovertible changes.Forgive,accept and move on,is what water teaches us.

Water maintains it's level.We too can do this by being equanimous in all weathers-avoiding peaks of emotions-- whether good or bad.

Tiny trickles of water come together to form a stream and then a mighty river.They combine,join together and make a powerful,unified whole.If we could put aside our egos to connect and collaborate we too could find a never before strength.

Water is something we touch and utilize every day.If only we paid attention to it's unique qualities and took inspiration from it to reorganize our life we would find greater fulfillment and satisfaction.Do you agree?Tell me if I have missed something.

Image courtesy google.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Apply The Brakes ; Take a Break.

It is a paradox indeed that despite the many time-saving devices which we use,our lives today are busier than ever ; and despite the umpteen labor-saving gadgets at our disposal,we are pooped out by the end of the day.Our physical and mental health is tottering under heavy demands and as a result we often find ourselves in the clutches of stress,anxiety and depression.There is a dire need to adopt some relaxation techniques in order to replenish our energy--tiny diversions which break the monotony,uplift our spirits and energize us to finish the day's toil comfortably.

* A brief nap or a shut-eye is what we all crave in the midst of a grueling day but if you do this in the middle of an important meeting you could become talk of the town ;) .

* Deep breathing is something you can do on the sly,even if there  are people around you.Stress increases the heart rate and blood pressure while deep breathing helps them to come down to normal.A nervous system which was on the edge,stabilizes and helps you to relax.

*Try Visualization if you are desk-bound and need some change. Close your eyes and transport yourself to a place which  captivated you with it's beauty.If it was a garden then visualize yourself sitting on a lush green lawn amid beautiful bright flowers emitting heady scents.Try to recall all the details of that scene.In no time at all you will forget your worries and feel much better.

*If you are not good at imagining scenes then make use of Mindfulness-the latest buzzword  in relaxation techniques.Just gaze at the various objects around you minutely,as if you are seeing them for the first time--go into the details.For example,take that glass of water you are drinking.Savor it fully.Appreciate it's taste,enjoy it's cooling effect,take your mind back to the place it must have come from.These idle thoughts will divert your mind from your work-load for some moments and then you will return to it refreshed and energized.You can play this game with anything around you.

* You must have heard that sitting is the new smoking.Whenever you feel that you need a break get up,walk over to a colleague's table,exchange small talk with him and come back refreshed :) .

*Feeling tired?Drink a glass of water.It has an amazing rejuvenating effect. 

* Or maybe you need some nourishment.Have a cup of tea or any other drink you fancy.It is a good idea to keep a pack of almonds,walnuts or biscuits in your drawer ;nibble at them as you resume your grind :( .

*Another way of taking a break is to organize your work station.Believe me it is not another spell of drudgery.As you sort out the essentials from the disposables,you will feel less overburdened and more in control.A dishevelled work place is not only counter-productive but also tiring and irritating.

At the end of the day it is for the person to decide which relaxation technique is feasible and which one works best for him;but it is essential to give some sort of respite to your tired body and mind in order to avoid a burnout.

Video and image courtesy google 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Adolescent Turmoil and Suicide--a True Story---Part Three.

This is the concluding part.If you want to start at the beginning please go here.

As I had guessed,Jagan came next time and confessed that he had been unable to get his gf out of his system.They communicated through common friends and she urged him to wait for her.He requested me to give him some practical suggestions to help him forget her.The poor boy was trying but his hormones were getting the better of him.He also wanted a medicine to calm his mind.I sent him to a homeopath who claimed that he could ease this sort of nervous tension.

Regarding the scene at home,he disclosed that his father did not scold him directly but he took out his anger on his mother and sister.This too perturbed Jagan.

We had two sessions in the same vein and then his board exams arrived. Jagan did not contact me after that.I tried to follow up a number of times but his father had sold off his mobile,so I was completely in dark as to what was happening in his life.

Then one fine day after eleven months,Jagan arrived with a (male) friend in tow.He had failed the last board exams in Maths and Chemistry.Now again his exams were only a month away.He had broken off with his gf.He told me that he had prepared hard enough to get 60--70 % but his mother nagged him relentlessly.It culminated in long fights wherein he would pull his hair,bang his head and so on.When the news reached his father he would explode 'I will burn this house,all of us will die.'Jagan was at his wits' end.Then he said something which alarmed me--that he felt like jumping into Chambal river.

As his parents had been incommunicado since long, I made a home visit the same day.I told his mother that Jagan was trying but her persecution was in fact spoiling his chances and giving him a lot of stress.I requested her to just let him study undisturbed.She acquiesced.

Soon after this Jagan's board exams followed and he stopped coming to Sahyog.I rang up his father after about five months,when the results had been announced.He was very happy with Jagan's result.About other issues,he said that there had been a small problem but he had resolved it.Obviously this was the end of our association.

Today that young immature boy must be 28 yrs old.I wonder if he has found his feet,what he is doing and if they form a harmonious family today.I certainly hope that he has got over his suicidal tendencies.

Often when a youngster is brought to me for behavior problems I find that the parents too,need extensive counseling.It is not lack of education alone which leads to faulty parenting.The parents might be facing other stressful situations or they could be too abrasive and aggressive by nature.But it is the child who bears the brunt.Whatever his mistakes,he should never be made to feel that he is not loved.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Adolescent Turmoil and Suicide--A True Story--Part two.

This is the second part of a true case history.If you want to read the first part please go here.

Jagan's parents and sister arrived at the due time next day.They told me that Jagan had left home the first time because his father had refused to lend him his bike--he enacts such dramas so that they do not refuse him anything.If he commits a blunder he will either run away from home or sham suicide to escape bashing or severe rebuke.He has neglected his studies for full one year because he was obsessed with his girl friend (gf).Now during exams he will demand undue favors,spoil the atmosphere of the house and then blame his poor performance on that.

His sister was two years older than Jagan and doing an I.T.I course.She told me that she maintained a distance from Jagan because he  tended to involve her in his plans to meet his gf and fought with her if she told her parents.She was a sensible girl and I guessed that the contrast between the two siblings must have added fuel to the fire.

It was clear that they were united against Jagan and had little sympathy for him, but he too had committed many mistakes.I told them I would talk to him,but they too should be more forbearing and understanding so as not to spark off another crisis.They ought to discuss the various aspects of this imbroglio with him in measured tones.They agreed to this and I asked them to send him over the next day.

The next interview was with Jagan alone.I asked him what the main bone of contention between him and his family was.He admitted it was his gf.A number of leading questions later he admitted that his poor performance in school,fights with his parents,consequent abscondings or suicidal attempts--all those factors which were making him and his family miserable-- stemmed from his pursuit of his love life to the exclusion of all else.I made him realize that he had to choose between building a career under the tutelage of his father,or carrying on like this,or forking out with his gf and living on his own steam.He replied that he could do nothing without his family's support.

I pointed out that his family's love, support and all other allied privileges entailed certain responsibilities on his part too.At the end of the day;what stood out loud and clear was the fact that continuing like this was not only spreading poison all around,but also ruining his life.The sooner he finished his education and built a career,the sooner he could live life on his own terms.Till then it was in his own interest to adjust, without going into who was right and who was wrong.I said this because firstly I had seen that his father was quite an adamant soul and secondly,Jagan lacked the sagacity to maintain a balance between his romance and studies.

Jagan listened to all this with a solemn countenance.I could see that he did not like the thought of breaking off with his gf although he did realize the harm it was doing him.He took leave,promising to come again.

To be continued :--

Image courtesy google search.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Adolescent Turmoil and Suicide--a true story--part one.

What propels a youngster to run away from home or attempt suicide ?Whenever we come across such news in the media we feel sorry for the boy (or girl),and wonder what led to it.One such boy was brought to 'Sahyog' some years ago.

Jagan,an eighteen year old student of twelfth standard was literally dragged into my office by a furious looking father.'Look at this boy',he said.'He has run away from home twice and twice he has cut his wrists.He has fallen in love with a girl,does not listen to anybody,is doing poorly in school and his life is all but ruined.'So saying,he plonked him before me and stormed out of the room.

This dramatic start to an interview was quite earth-shaking.Though Jagan had been dragged forcibly into my office and derided in the strongest possible language,he was not at all reluctant to talk to me.Perhaps he too wanted to put a closure to this sad chapter in his life.

He told me that he had taken Rs 500 from home and taken off for Mumbai after a tiff with his parents.But half way down,he realized the futility of this step and returned. Instead of coming back to his home he went to his paternal grandmother's house.There he met a girl with whom he fell in love.His uncle-of whom he is very fond-talked him out of this and persuaded him to return home.

He intended to catch up with his studies.But according to him,the atmosphere in his home was very tense and hostile towards him.Every 8-10 days something or the other happened to distress him and his parents,instead of trying to understand him,got angry; and then he would feel like ending it all.He craved their sympathy and trust.

All this took a lot of time because I allowed him to pour his heart out.This session was mainly aimed at giving him catharsis and winning his trust.There was very little counseling involved.I told him I would help him to put his life back on track provided he cooperated and did not attempt suicide again.

Then I called his father in and asked him to return the next day with his wife and daughter.

To be continued