Enjoy the little things

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
These days, when we keep rushing to fill our hours with as much action that we can pack, our homes with as much possessions as we can and our bank account with as much balance as we can, every one remains busy all the time and everyone is exhausted all the time. There is no time for anyone to stand and stare so to say. We have our big dreams and this time should be productively used to propel us towards our dream. And we remain focused towards our dream, with our complete attention on that big goal. But in this process of trying to achieve it, we miss out the opportunity to enjoy the small joys that life has to offer every moment.
Our priorities are misplaced. We do not value to fill our days with love, hours with laughter, and enjoy the living minute. We forget to cherish moment or even observe it. We do not care to observe the way the small boy in the elevator laughs or the gratitude in the eyes of that old homeless man to whom you tossed a coin or the way the water we drink taste. Sometimes, we forget even to acknowledge presence of others around us. We are so focused on our passion!
There comes a time in life when all our dreams are through. We have either achieved them or buried them or we have tried but could not and they are dead, or we chased new dreams and forgot the old ones in the pursuit of new dreams. If we achieve our dreams, we leave a legacy for others. If we do not achieve, we may not. But what is it that we gain from the pursuit?  At the end of the day, when one has some time to reflect back and take stock of what one have gained from the pursuit, one feels that the journey was important, not the destination. And that should be our priority. The journey comprises of a string of little things in life, one after another. It comprises of each small interaction we have, the way we talk with others, the way we listen, we see, we understand, and the way we maintain friendship and relationships. Each moment is to be tasted, savored and enjoyed. Finally, our life is a tapestry of these moments. At the end of the day, these small things are the ones which bring fulfillment to everyone. And thus these are but the big things in life.

Like a Postage Stamp

I have been trying to write something for the last 2 hours. Initially, it was difficult for me to come up with a proper topic to write about. The first article that I churned out was a write-up on the traffic jam that was witnessed near the Hi-tech city railway station underpass, last Monday. After spending a good part of an hour on it, I did not like the way it was shaping up.  So, instead of discarding it, I just managed to get it to a logical conclusion and again started thinking on other topics to write about.
What are the topics that I can write about? I can write about the weather at Hyderabad. I can write about the antics of my little daughter. I can write about the happy and fulfilling moments in life. Or the frustrations and insecurities in life. Or may be an imaginative story. Or a story heard from someone else. Thus, there are innumerable topics on which I can write.  Since I was still confused thinking about what to write , I decided to come back to the raison d’être for this blog to get a dose of clarity.
One of the main reasons to start this blog is to document my journey to the new me. I have been working on establishing some habits and on de-addicting myself from some habits. This journey started more than a year ago, when I decided to take charge of my physical health. I decided to get some healthy habits. Now that a habit of running has been established, I am focusing on getting some more good habits. I will document it here. Hence this blog.
There is a second raison d’être as well that has to do with one my childhood dreams. When I was a child, I dreamt of becoming a multi-faceted person. I dreamt of becoming a scientist, industrialist, politician, writer, environmentalist, zoologist and many more. It was anything that captured my fancy at that time. I couldn’t understand why should someone just have one professional interest? As I grew up, the zeal to become a writer stayed with me. I wrote few articles while in school. I also maintained a journal for more than 10 years. Then with advent of blogosphere, I tried my hand there too. But I was not consistent. Today, I am a writer who is trying to be a more committed and better writer. To do anything, one has to be like a postage stamp. Stick to the envelope till it reaches its destination. The small postage stamp is the one which pushes the envelope so to say, to reach the final destination. If the stamp is not there, the letter will not be delivered. The stamp provides the power, the thrust for the envelope to move. Hence, I decided to pursue stickitivity. I made the decision that I will stick to posting a blog every Saturday for one year. This will help improve my writing skills. And what better way to get committed to it than to make it public!
So, coming back to the main topic of what to write when you do not have anything to write, or when you feel you have nothing to do, you can always go back to the raison d'etre and then build up from there. If the reasons for your mission are clear and important to you, you will remain motivated and persist in your stickitivity which will lead you to your goal!

To run or not to run


I try to run at least four days in a week. Running has become a routine. On those days when motivation is high, the mind is swamped with feeling of going out and enjoying the run. But this is not the case on a daily basis, but only on some days. On other days, I still find myself not feeling like running.
It seems like a difficult struggle between two parts of my mind: One part not wanting to go for the run, and another part not wanting to break the discipline. And the struggle is interesting. The part which does not want me to go out for a run, tries to cook up several excuses in my mind: I am not feeling well, the weather is not conducive, running shoes have worn out, etcetera. It is also a master at recruiting help and support from my body. It influences my calf or knee to be sore. It influences my shoulder and back muscles to ache. And they send signals of pain and injury back to my mind to support the cause of not running. This is like a complete coordinated attack on me, by a part of my mind with support from my body to win over their cause of not going for the run.  And when such attack starts, the strength of the antagonists is very high. If given a chance, they also conspire with the weather and my surrounding environment to make me believe that they are right; that I should not go out for the run. It does not leave me with any other option, other than not running.
Then, there is the protagonist, that part of my mind that does not want to break the discipline.  It wants to go for the run because it knows that it is the right thing for me to do. But it is not very strong at that time. The motivation to go for the run is low. And the antagonists look for exactly such time to raise their pitch. 
But the part of the mind that is the protagonist has a few tools to help its cause. It talks to me directly. It gives me options. It tell me to start small. It tells me that I can quit anytime, but why quit even before starting? It prods me to wear my running shoes and get out of the door.  And even if I don’t feel like running the entire distance planned, maybe I can come back home after a short run. If my body pains and does not permit me to run even the short distance, maybe I will just walk instead of the run. And once I put on my shoes and I go out, it tells me to start running and focus only on the next small landmark like just one lap around the block. It tells me that I have option to complete the one lap and then stop, or if after doing that one lap, I still feel like running, I can take the decision to continue running. So, basically, it tells me to postpone my decision making. And if I am not able to run at all, at least walk for the single lap and then take the decision to stop if required. And I thus start running and postpone my decision on whether to stop running till I complete one lap. But by the time I complete the lap, the momentum comes from within. The chorus of the antagonists subsides. The antagonists hide behind some nook and corner of my mind and fail to raise their head.  My body starts supporting the protagonists and I start enjoying my run.
It is just the little push, one step after another which helps me overcome this daily battle between my two ears.

Causes of Procrastination

Procrastination is delaying or deferring an action to a later time. In many cases, this is habitual. No one likes to procrastinate consciously, but it happens. It happens by delaying one action at a time. Over a period of several days, we defer many actions. Over course of months, the habit of procrastination takes over. People who procrastinate, defer most of the type of actions. They may be important tasks but those that are not urgent. These are mostly the ones that get deferred. Some may be in the habit of delaying the important and urgent tasks also.
The most common cause of procrastination is laziness. Due to laziness, or sloth, we do not want to do something. Every act requires some initiative, some effort from our side. If we loathe to take the initiative, then, we postpone the job to some other time. Most of the times, we allow ourselves to be run by our feelings and emotions. And if we do not feel like doing something, we submit to that feeling and do not do it. We do something else. This breeds procrastination.
We should not allow ourselves to be ruled by our feelings. We have to do what we have to do whether we feel like doing it or not.
If we keep doing what we feel like doing, then most of the things will remain undone. Comfort breeds laziness and our comfortable life has brought in oodles of laziness into our lives. It has soaked through our skin, seeped into our body and has clogged our veins and arteries. It makes us feel like not doing anything. We feel jaded and numb in the face of anything that has to be done. Hence, we have to kill this laziness. We have to exorcise this demon from our mind and body so as to heal the disease of procrastination.
The other cause of procrastination is fear. It may be the fear of failure which stops one from doing something. Or it can be the fear of embarrassment due to the failure that stops one from doing something. Fear a very powerful. It has been developed by nature so as to protect us. But the same protection mechanism sometimes becomes a barrier for us in doing something and taking action. many a times, we shortchange ourselves due to our own fear.
We do not attempt something. We do not go the full throttle. We remain fearful and in turn, we do not achieve what we could have otherwise achieved. We need to understand that victory is in overcoming the fear. Once we realize that, we feel lighter and energized. And we will not feel like procrastinating.
Sometimes greed may be the root cause of procrastination. This is a very subtle cause and very difficult to identify. Greed may sometimes stop someone from buying even essential things. Even if the person knows that the need is there to buy it, due to greed for money, he may keep postponing his buying action. Here I am not talking of the person who does not have the resources to buy the thing of desire. Here the person has enough resources, but being of a miser mentality, he is unwilling to part with his money and postpones his action.
Indecisiveness is also one of the causes of procrastination. In many cases, we are bombarded by so many choices that we become quite confused on our need itself. Without a clear parameter on which to evaluate our choice, we remain indecisive and hence keep postponing our action.

Mind in the Present

Oh! Where are you my mind
Do not day-dream and run with the wind
Or ruminate and be left behind
Just be present and enjoy the find
Life is beautiful when love is blind.

One of the greatest assets that humans have been endowed with is their thinking mind. Undoubtedly, our mind is the engine that has propelled and carried us forward in the race of life. Mind is the thinking faculty of our brain. Our mind helps us in various ways to evaluate situations, judge the options, make our decisions, and provides us alternatives by means of creativity and imagination. This mind has thus been a great ally for us. Amongst all the living species, human mind is the most developed and we have been using it to our advantage in the struggle for survival. It has served us really well.
Mind is also the instrument using which we centre ourselves on the time dimension. It allows us to move back and forth and even surge forward in the time. Moving back in time, our mind helps us ruminate over past events. It can bring up all the old memories, feelings and thoughts associated with the past event, whether good or bad. Good thoughts and events from the past further ignite pleasurable feelings. Bad and uncomfortable thoughts incite hard feelings. Our mind also allows us to move forward in time to a future with help of our imagination. It creates daydreams or nightmares based on our thoughts. And these seemingly innocuous thoughts shape our life. Thus, our mind keeps swinging like a pendulum between the past and the future. It has been compared with a monkey that is always jumping from one branch of a tree to another. It is quite unstable in nature and is cause of most of our misery.
Spending too much time either on the past or on the future robs us of the time we need to spend on the present. In order to shape our future, we need to work on the present. But our restless mind makes it difficult for us to focus on the present. Our mind, though a good servant, is a bad master. We have to have our mind serve us faithfully than be subservient to it. Our life can be free of stress and full of happiness by always being in the present, living here and now.
I ask you a simple question: Is there anything troubling you at this present moment, now? There can be nothing troubling you if you are fully present, if you are reading this article and focusing completely on enjoying this moment. If there is anything at all that is troubling you, it will be in your mind which would be an event which has already occurred or something that you imagine would occur. By learning to focus our mind completely in the moment, surrendering our self totally to the demand of the present, getting fully involved in the now, we can stop the mind from wavering between the past and future.This would channel our immense potential to be concentrated in the present activity. We can then produce masterpieces in our life.