Finding God

Monday tips: Starting off with imperfection

I’ve quit my job, and what I am going to miss most is the opportunity to be a mentor (not just a boss). I have cherished my ‘Monday tips’ sessions with the boys and girls at my office, and they’ve made me promise to write them down if not speak them out every week. So here’s my first of the lot, my Monday tips to my former team across the Internet, instead of real life.

  1. A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow. – George Patton

A dear friend of mine was sharing her ideas for scaling up her enterprise, which is just a year old but has been getting great feedback from her clients. She was worried about the amateur quality of the videos and photos she has clicked, and the lack of a professional marketer to handle her social media. She said she needed lakhs of rupees to achieve that level of perfection before she could begin to scale up.

I shared this quote with her, and told her: “If you wait for perfection, you will wait forever.” Besides, I said, there’s nothing wrong with being a little imperfect in today’s fluid economy. The vendor who can give you a human touch is increasingly a rarity at a time when everything you read on your timeline appears hyped, polished, fake. Our imperfections are our strengths. Your non-Photoshopped promos will be far more appealing to genuine clients, and you don’t want the other kind anyway. Start with whatever resources you have – your internet-savvy kids, your knowledge, your skills, your friends – and just do it. The best time to begin anything is today. (Which is why even though I haven’t put much thought into how I want to structure these Monday tips, I decided to just go ahead and post whatever I had today, instead of waiting till next week.)

  1. You build a new body every eleven months. Change your body by changing your thoughts and keeping them changed. – Dr Joseph Murphy in ‘The Power of Your Subconscious Mind’

Our bodies are the matter of our minds. Ancient wisdom and modern science tell us that we become what we constantly think about. In this book, the author says our body is made up of lots of individual cells, which reproduce by passing on the knowledge, so to speak. The genetic material that is passed on includes our ‘habitual thinking patterns’. So we have a great opportunity at any given time to look, feel and become whatever we want by literally brainwashing ourselves that we are already there. Keep saying ‘I am happy and complete’ and you will be so. Keep saying ‘I am useless and sad’ and you will be so too.

And it’s not just psychological states of mind. You can even change your body with consistent thought patterns; everything moves in the direction of the intention. Some physical changes can take longer than others, but they will happen if you are firm about it, if you believe that it is true. Haven’t we heard stories of people who were healed overnight by a saint’s miracle? What is that all about? It’s about the direction of the intention, the strength of the belief and the consistent, new thought pattern. It’s not that I cannot become slim in real life – I just haven’t thought myself into it yet!

  1. Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end. – character in the film ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

John Lennon said something similar, and we also have a variation of this quote in Hindi. It’s a universal belief – that life is meant to have a happy ending, and if things aren’t looking so hot, don’t worry, a twist in the tale is around the corner and things will brighten up soon. I know we’ve all been through a lot lately and life seems to be upside down for most of us. But remember, ‘this too shall pass’. What does the heart-monitor look like when a person is alive? The graph jumps up and down. That’s life – it’s meant to go up and down, that is the beauty of it. Don’t expect every day to be consistent, for everything to look the same. The only time the monitor of our lives will be a straight line is when we’re dead!

Keep the faith and repeat this quote to yourself daily; things will begin to look up. I promise.

Picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost.

Finding God

Gate to heaven

The gate to the driveway of my home is designed to slide open on metal channels. For the past many months, however, the ball bearings that support its weight have broken off and fallen away, and to add insult to injury, rain has rusted the metal channels on the floor. And so one has to defy all laws of physics to get it to open—a heavy object being pushed over ungreased, rusted tracks; human might against metallic friction. All pleas to my landlord to have it fixed have gone by in vain.

Now, most of the time, the burden of the onerous duty of opening and shutting the gate falls on the frail shoulders of our slender little guard. He’s devised a way of leaning his body weight on the gate, and pushing forward with a foot strategically placed on the wall behind him (yes, plenty of shoeprints now line the wall to our home). Sometimes he needs help, but mostly, he gives me a brave look and says, “Shall I do it?” and then, when I confirm, he takes a deep breath, leans, pushes, and rolls forward like a man on a sacred mission. I can hear him roar “TARRRRZANNNNN!” in my head.

There are times, however, when I have to open this gate myself, such as when I reach home late from work and he’s already left for the day. I’ve noticed a strange thing about my capacity for shifting this abominable contraption. On days when I’m in a rush (such as to pee) or am simply very pepped up, or am angry about someone having cut me off on the road, I storm out of my car, go up to the gate, wedge myself in the open end and push it open in one huge heave all the way to the end. Aaarghh she goes.

But on many other days, the mind is willing but the flesh is weak. The same gate that I can push open effortlessly becomes an unflinching wall of concrete, and I look about helplessly. The neighbour’s guard sometimes comes to help. But sometimes, there’s no one around.

Yesterday was one of those days when my arms hung by my side like jelly. The gate wouldn’t budge. I thought of calling my daughter down to shove with me. Then I reminded myself of the days I’d managed to get the gate open single-handedly, driven by nothing but high spirits or driving passion, using the very same hands and back muscles. “Strength lies in the mind, not in the body,” I told myself sternly, and heaved. The gate moved an inch. “YOU CAN DO IT!” I screamed at myself in my mind, and with a mighty wave of fresh energy, I pushed and pushed till the gate opened all the way. Satisfied, I got back into my car.

It is an interesting lesson, girl, I told myself as I reversed into the driveway. We are all capable of superhuman strength in both physical and psychic dimensions. Never underestimate your capabilities. Have a mission, have a purpose, follow your calling. The strength will come. You’re stronger than you think you are.

Smiling like a cat that got the cream, I turned off the engine, gathered my handbag and clicked on the door look. Then I turned and saw the gate standing wide open, exposed to passers-by and stray dogs, beckoning me with a sly grin: “Come, close me.”

I turned on my heel and ran up the stairs. Superwoman was off duty.