Saturday, 24 August 2013

From Baby Steps to the First Big Stride.

One can either summon all of one's will power, resources and courage to take on a challenge and overcome it, or meekly surrender to it. -
 Vijay Nallawala

Thankfully, more often than not, I chose to fight back- and won.

It was on the 21st of May, 2013, that Bipolarindia was launched. At that time an audience of 10,000 would have been a pipe dream and on a distant horizon. Well, thanks to the support of all the readers it has clocked that figure in a mere 95 days!! 10,000 Visits in 95 Days!!
It is also a reflection of how timely, relevant this site is and that it fulfills a need that was possibly ignored all this while: a community for and by Bipolars. Where one can learn from experiences of people coming through and winning their battles, the methods they employ and similar inspirational stories. Also available are many practical Do's and Don'ts, Roadmaps to Recovery, Links to sites that could provide detailed medical information, etc.

How well fellow patients and their relatives have connected with it is evident from the number of phone calls and messages I received to seek advise and to commend me, from all corners of India- and beyond.

The one incident that is most relevant is a Journalist telephoning me from Bangalore. He happens to be a Bipolar from an early age and wants to write about it but can't muster the courage for going ahead. Reading my posts he feels he just might be encouraged to finally to so. These small victories matter to me more than just numbers: the site is serving the purpose it was set up for.

Puneet Bhatnagar, my Mentor friend, your Creativity Mission informally started with this initiative itself! Your brainchild worked and how!

Until now it has been a short, although exhilarating journey. Going ahead, the plan is to gather momentum by seeking the help of more fellow passengers, like Jaswinder Grewal who so graciously consented to and contributed an article for us. A sincere appeal to all Clinical Psychologists/ Psychotherapists/Counselors to pitch in and contribute to the cause by writing helpful articles and answer queries. That there could be an estimated 70 Million Bipolar afflicted in the world is a scary thought. About time we lent a helping hand.

I share with you here, a few of the popular posts of the Site:

An Outsider's View - by Jaswinder Grewal

Helping Hand

Managing Bipolar

Saturday, 17 August 2013

A Walk through a Raging Storm - A Poem

The rain, ferocious rain pours as I'm walking
Where am I headed, what am I seeking?

As the cascades get stronger, it comes down in droves
I can hear the thunder, feel a cruel storm brew

Seek shelter around me, left and right
Not a comforting nook anywhere in sight

My inner turmoil adds to my anguish and pain
Dread the thought of going through it all again

Falling apart, piece by piece
Show me a way out, I wish

Searched for the fallen pieces all around me
They had merged with the wet muddy path I had left behind me

It then came to me in a flash, to the fore
Hadn't I been through all this before?

With all my might pulled myself together again
Saw the new me coming up despite the pain

With my arms open wide, face up, dared the rain
Felt cleansed, renewed, my joy was insane!!

And then suddenly saw the path ahead gloriously lit up
Tearing apart the dreary clouds the kind, warm Sun had come up

After falling apart, disintegrating,
Was finally the whole me that I was seeking

Come on, rain, willing to take you on again
The fire in me has been lit, cannot be doused again.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

One does not require to be in a quiet place to Meditate.

I keep experimenting with the way I meditate. On a couple of occasions, have tried something directly opposite to what conventional wisdom would suggest. Learning this way stimulates the mind.

Was in my meditation position in the morning, seated on a low cane chair: no, I don't sit cross legged. It is easier if one sticks to a regular routine with a fixed time slot and place for meditation'

Before shutting my eyes, I took in the sight around me. The curtains on the window, the dark grey skies, the 
visible  top half of the palm trees, a few buildings and birds flying in all directions.

Then shut my eyes and paid attention to all the sounds I could hear.Since the windows were not fully shut, the sounds of traffic- tried to pinpoint where each sound came from. The 
revving engine of a bus, beep of a bike and the variety of car horns.  Its fascinating to pinpoint on a 360 degree mind-view the origin of the myriad sounds. Some from the vicinity, kitchen utensils clanging, voices..some external: birds chirping, a busy city's busy sounds. When one shifts attention from thinking to listening, the noise which disturbed earlier, does not seem intrusive any more.

My focus shifted on smell. Not much to notice but there were the faint aromas of meals being cooked hurriedly in the morning wafting up from the floors below. Some times the smell of smoke as dried leaves are burnt in the vicinity.

As for feeling my surroundings, there was the gentle morning breeze, the feel of the soft cushion of the chair and the cool marble flooring that soothed my bare feet.

All this with my eyes shut, all my senses fully immersed in the surroundings.

After a while, quietly, without a conscious effort, my mind slipped into a tranquil state. Where I could still hear the sounds around me, but they hardly registered nor did they intrude.

The conscious process of 'being' in my surroundings had robbed my mind of all thoughts that were furiously running through it earlier. 

Meditation is nothing but giving your ceaselessly working mind a break from conscious thinking. Connecting with you inner self, your soul which is the source of eternal energy, inspiration and creativity.

That reminds me. Whenever we are on a vacation (invariably at quiet places such as in the mountains) I always at first think: Isn't this a great place for meditation?

Guess what? The mind finds the total quiet disconcerting. To the extent that the thoughts refuse to die down. Not that I mind it at all. Feeling, enjoying the silence and natural surroundings is in itself a cleansing process for me.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Pros and Cons of 'Pro Something' and 'Anti-Something'

Mother Theresa when once asked if she would participate in an anti-drug rally, replied:
'If it is a cause for pro-health, I'll surely support it, not an anti-something rally.'
This theme resonates with the Law of Attraction, popularised by Rhonda Byrne's The Secret.
Irrespective of whether the cause is worthwhile or not, 'Anti' is negative energy whereas 'Pro' is positive energy.

When we lend our energy to 'fighting' something, we create more and more such circumstances in our lives, which could be more challenging and draining than the previous ones. 

I'll share my own experiences.

Although I have been a vigilante for over a decade now, I'll stick to recent incidents.
A couple of months ago our Housing Complex and the Co-operative Society have been at the receiving end of things. Being a resident, it would have been cowardly to turn my back and ignore the dire situation.

What had happened is the Municipal Corporation had illegally demolished our main entrance gate in the month of June 2013. Ironically, this gate was part of the plans approved by the corporation itself, way back in 2002. Naturally, this had caused anguish and anger among all the residents. This barbarous act was indicative of the frustration vented out by vested interests against our momentous victory in The Bombay High Court (a resounding culmination of our twelve year struggle against the powerful Developers lobby). As they were left with hardly any legal recourse, such desperate means were adopted.

In pursuit of justice, I too was actively involved as a dutiful resident. I even got the demolition story covered by the press and television media. The final outcome of this fresh struggle is awaited.

A snowball grows in size and momentum as it hurtles down a slope..

A month ago, a friend of mine visited my home as she needed guidance regarding a placement offer for her daughter in an upcoming Airline. 
The only catch was that a grand sum of Rs.1,20,000/- ( $2000) had to be deposited in a Bank account! One thing led to another and my vigilante mind made me unearth a huge fake jobs scam that lured job hopefuls with 'guaranteed placements'.  The Airline officials shrugged off the matter with disinterest and did not even respond to my emails for three days. This led me to bringing the matter to the notice of the press and television media so that other innocents would not fall victim.

If all this was not draining my energy, just last week, got a call from a dear friend, whose identity I choose to keep secret for the sake of privacy. The same 'snowball' was engulfing him, it appears. He had been served an Arrest Warrant and had asked me if I could accompany him to the police station. I readily agreed and off we went and were greeted by the cumbersome, bureaucratic paperwork of law. I readily agreed to stand surety for my friend of high stature who I hold in the great esteem. This incident enraged me even further, since aspersions had been cast against the noblest of souls. It took all my recently acquired self-control methods to keep my emotions in check and not let them cloud my judgement.

These incidents, all within the short span of two months brought back memories of my being involved in ugly battles for justice against all sorts of people including greedy Developers and my own distant relatives. Every single time, it had ballooned into more serious repercussions.

By saying this, am I suggesting that one should shy away from the duties as a responsible citizen? That's not my intent at all.  

'Be the change you want to see in the world'
the words of the icon I look up most to, Mahatma Gandhi.

Every time I think about this statement, it's relevance grows. Whenever I have attempted an activity to help people (rather than fighting people, again, despite the cause), I have found fulfilment and am inspired from within to go one step further. Have shifted my focus to being the best I can be. Positive actions result in positive energy, creating circumstances that bring us joy, peace and fulfilment.

My small endeavour in the community space, is an example. Am a new person after this initiative although it is barely three months old. 

It has reinforced my belief that we are all born to serve. Wondering how can we achieve this? By rising to our fullest potential so that the abundance spills over to benefit all around us. An abundance of love, energy, resources and creativity.

My dear friends on the Social Media networks are shining examples of this.

Take Paul Polak, for instance. 

His selfless dedication to eradication of rural poverty in
developing countries has met with unprecedented success. A vision of gigantic scale beyond an ordinary mortal's imagination.
SunWater Project, his brainchild has helped lift twenty million people above the poverty line! In pursuit of his work he often visits countries like India and more importantly, ventures into hinterlands where we have never been to. His project is sustained partly by donations and on cost-plus pricing of the radically designed, affordable solar powered water pumps for irrigation that boosts agricultural productivity.
How can I not be inspired by such legends who are literally changing the world by their positive action rather than fighting the system? 

Time to refocus, realign my goals. Target decisive, positive action for which I've been created.

Thank God for such fine friends who inspire me across continents.
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