As grown-ups we all go through moments of self doubt, uncertainty and cluelessness. We are suddenly unsure if the path we are on is what we are meant to be on, or we need to change tracks.
In moments such as these, when we feel our mind is too muddled to throw up a plausible answer, we turn to friends and family for advice and guidance. The varying opinions and advices can sometimes leave you far more confused and farther away from reality than you actually were before seeking such counsel.
Over the years, I have realised there are just two pieces of advice you give or get that are priceless and worth remembering through this journey called life.
And this, too, shall pass
I think the most sensible advice I have received and have passed on to others who sought my opinion on matters of the heart or otherwise had to be this little phrase, that continues to be my guiding light - "And this too, shall pass."
When we go around looking for a shoulder to lean on during difficult times, or a patient ear, or an understanding heart, on most occasions, what we are seeking are not answers or solutions to our problems, but a sane voice reassuring us that we have it in us to find those answers, to sail through the tough times and emerge a winner. That if we persist, we will wake up to see the sun shining brightly at the end of the stormy night.
In moments of sadness and grief when it becomes unbearable to endure the pain, when everything around looks grim and hopeless, it is very empowering to remind yourself that no matter how grave the situation, how deep your troubles are, how severe the heartbreak, how dark the roads ahead seem, "this too, shall pass".
It is believed that once an Eastern monarch challenged his wise men to invent him a sentence which would be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: "And this, too, shall pass away". The wisdom of a lifetime stored in the meaning of this simple phrase.
Nothing lasts forever, good or bad. If we can understand this truth, we will find the strength within, to cruise through the best and worst times of our lives with dignity.
The phrase reminds us to be humble and graceful in our good times and resilient and persistent during our troubles. It doesn’t matter where you are, on an operation table or stranded in a desert, think of the good times to follow. Picture yourself in the happy scenario once you are through with the bad times. It will help you work towards it and give you the courage to fight any situation that threatens to bog you down.
The next time you are feeling low, remind yourself, nothing lasts, certainly not your worst nightmares...
Follow your heart
The other day, a young friend who had, long ago, sought advice on building his career and planning his Life in general called and during the conversation said, "I have stopped looking at people to tell me what to do, I just follow my heart, like you said and all is going well."
I was elated. It was the simplest advice and yet the most powerful that I had shared with someone.
I think the best thing about growing up was the realisation that I have within me immense power and strength to design my own destiny. I can either rely on other people’s advice to bear me the results I desire and complain when I fail, or I can understand my own strengths and weaknesses and work towards my own goals, creating my own path.
No matter how absurd it may sound but we all know best what our heart desires. Many a times we set aside these desires because we fear failure, or are bowed down by social pressures, or by the pit-sickening question "What will others think?"
Talk to an aged person on his deathbed and he will tell you none of it matters. Given a choice to change something about their lives, they would want to follow their heart, fearlessly, this time round. Do everything they wanted to: travel, paint, learn to dance, start a business, fall in love, but shied away, because they could not muster the courage to "follow their heart".
Last year a nurse who worked in palliative care for many years and had been taking care of her patients in the last three to 12 weeks of their lives, stated that when these patients on their deathbeds were questioned about any regrets they had, one of the top regrets that surfaced again and again was, "I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."
When you dare to follow your heart’s calling, it backs you up with passion and courage. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, it could be your career choice, it could be your love life, it could be your relationships. When you listen to that inner voice of yours, you find the courage to run with it to the finish line. The best takeaway is that you will be happy and at peace.
If we can tune ourselves to listen to our heart and follow its solemn advice, we would be saved from so much trouble and those "I knew this was coming" moments of self realisation.
We all can hear the voice of our conscience, we all are born with an intuition, one that guides us through our day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, with age and over a period of constantly ignoring that little voice, we lose our ability to see, to gauge and understand situations the way our heart already knows they will unfold.
Take a moment and look back at some of those instances: whether it was a friend backstabbing you, or someone cheating you, the signs were there, you knew in your heart, something was wrong, but you chose to ignore it until the moment you stood face-to-face with the unpleasant reality.
Whenever in doubt, follow your heart; it will rarely fail you, if you are truthful about what you hear.