October 19, 2020

How to Honor Ourselves Every Day—amidst our Pain, Grief & Suffering.

Priya Tandon

Have you ever tried listening to the heartbeat of life?

The heart creates the most beautiful symphony.

Just place your hands gently on your heart, close your eyes, and feel the pulsating waves of your heart as they wash ashore.

Slowly, listen, and hear the music coming from deep inside the ocean of your heart. Smile and begin to look for the shells—you may even find a shiny white pearl.

Did the above sounded meditative? If it did, then I am glad—this is not a secret, but we often don’t want to believe in it.

“You, who are reading these words with your eyes smiling and widening, are the creator of your life. You get to play the divine for your happiness. And that pearl that you are looking for is the happiness inside of you. And the shell is your physical body and your emotional mind. This shell has to be broken open with painful lessons of growth to let the joy in.”

One may wonder if happiness is for real. I too asked this question when my heart and life were ripped, broken, and tossed. A marriage that involved more sweat, blood, and tears than cherished moments would do that to you.

There is no quick fix or medication for grief. And there is no blueprint on how to handle grief. The only way out is to feel it inside—from the pits and depths of the soul.

And, through this, we learn gradually to love the dark just a little more than the light. The darkness we hold inside us is the key to our strength, which is unseen in light. Many dark nights of the soul would unfold the greatest lessons.

So, the pain, anguish, and sorrow that slithered like a serpent in my mind, body, and soul did not break me. What set me free was that I knew I matter and am here on this planet, even though, for a short time. I may be a mere speck on the surface of this immense width and depth of the earth, but I matter and after I am gone—I was “here,” and I did count.

My eternal spirit loves life more than the agonies because if I suffered, then I lived, and if I lived, I was alive in suffering and joy.

How does one find constant happiness or joy in suffering?

“It is so simple to be happy, but so difficult to be simple.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Life is simple and astounding—approach it by utter amazement for its subtleties and details. We can find joy in the most mundane, usual, and straightforward everyday experiences if we open ourselves to life.

When we tend to make life more complicated, it is because of dwelling in the past or being anxious for the future. Often, our insecurities, and our memories, thoughts, and expectations for the future leave us feeling anguished.

How is a joyful being realized?

Happiness comes when one is not striving for it, and gently, but fearlessly passing by the world. It comes unannounced when we are not trying to be somebody, when we are not looking for anything or anyone. When the mind is still, when we are present in our life, by just being—happiness appears by surprise.

Happiness is realized when we learn about ourselves.

Know who you are. Appreciate yourself. Forgive your past. Be who you are unapologetically—it is the only way to love and live. In the process, we become non-expendable, boundless, and alive.

Here is a snippet and view from my everyday window to finding joy. I hope it may be of benefit.

My simple practice to invite joy is to look up to the sun in the morning and stars in the night. Looking up reminds us of the vastness and sensitivity of life, leading up to gratitude and joy for existence. Isn’t it astonishing? We live on a spinning ball that we call Earth, which is precariously hanging in space—my head bows down in gratitude. And where there is gratitude, there is joy.

For me, often, in the summer, happiness is walking alongside the river, finding a spot to lay down a blanket under the umbrella of a tree with the sun peeking through.

In the autumn, it is the golden and reddish hues of an eastern bride; in the winter, it is the white diamonds of snowflakes. The buds of spring are reminders to me to be joyful in the constant of change.

Happiness is also when I wake up and put my feet down on the carpet without opening my eyes as I feel the silence in the house and say a quick thank you for being alive and making it to another day. I rub my hands to generate a little warmth and put them on my eyes, so my eyes are not jolted to open, but open slowly with tenderness.

My eyes are eager to see the faces of my children still sleeping in their rooms. My dogs always climb up to my bed and snuggle with me. I say a thank you again for my loved ones who are all well and alive. Soon they will be up.

The children get up and come straight down to give me a morning hug, and a kiss—their hugs inspire me to keep on going even when, sometimes, my world is falling apart to pieces.

From gratitude to a prayer to the sun for holding this universe together, for being the source of life for every being on this planet—the sun salutations inspire me and bring me down to my mat to meditate and soak up nature’s song around me.

The birds, with their sweet melody in the morning, inspire me as they fly down to my bird feeders and the little pond filled with water. I see them frolicking in the water, and I thank them for visiting me. Their dance and song inspire me and bring me joy to begin the day.

Amidst disappointments and dreams unfulfilled, weighted responsibilities of everyday happiness transcend to a permanent state of joyfulness when we participate in our lives—we and life around us are nothing short of a miracle, a divine creation of which we are the creators.

May we honour ourselves every day, and take each day as a blessing.

Each blessed day started afresh is a new life in the making.

In the end, love fiercely and live joyfully, because death is the only reality knocking at the door of life.


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