Re Fuse

There is in the heart of acceptance, the beat of refusal.

To refuse is to decline anything that continually goes against your well being.

To say yes to wellness might mean saying no to the extra glass of wine or the third cup of coffee or the chocolate bar that is languishing in your fridge.

To say yes to wellness might mean saying no to the same old argument that you keep having with yourself, or with your partner or your children or your parents or your friends.

To say yes to wellness might mean saying no to the many hours you spend on social media poring over an endless feed of other people’s lives feeling dissatisfied about your own.

To say yes to wellness might mean saying no to the business that you started that is draining you of your good intentions and your bank balance.

To say yes to wellness might mean saying no to the many long hours you spend at work trying to climb higher forfeiting the chance to catch up with your family instead.

To say yes to wellness might mean facing the fear of insignificance knowing that your presence is more than enough to overcome your absence.

To say yes to wellness might mean facing the different ways we have willingly and unknowingly sabotaged ourselves.

When we find the courage to refuse, we start the journey to {re fuse} our lives in the many ways where we return to the world fuller and more embodied.

And in returning to ourselves we get another chance to move into the bigger arc and the fuller circle of our life.

Source: Stocksnap.io Olympus Digital Camera Photographer: Javi Corpa

Reluctance

Art: Vladimir Kush

I have been working with this word through the weekend and unbeknownst to me this has been a theme since last October.

According to the dictionary, being reluctant is to be “unwilling,” 1660s, from Latin reluctantem (nominative reluctans), present participle of reluctari “to struggle against, resist, make opposition,”

Reluctant, literally, struggling back from, implies some degree of struggle either with others who are inciting us on, or between our own inclination and some strong motive, as sense of duty, whether it operates as an impelling or as a restraining influence. [Century Dictionary]

On further contemplation, to be reluctant is a struggle externally as well as internally.

Externally, we drag our feet when we are pulled towards something that we are not quite ready to make a decision yet. For those of us who are tired of the accelerated pace of our world, where everyone talks faster, acts immediately and where hustling is some sort of admirable quality, reluctance shows up in various forms.

Sometimes it shows up to self sabotage or procrastinate. Sometimes it is in our best interests to preserve rushing hastily into realms we are not yet ready to undertake. It is born out of the fatigue of the past and in the confusion of transition. Sometimes reluctance is rooted in a deeper intuition around the importance of right timing.

Last Saturday, poet David Whyte spoke to us about reluctance and what it meant to each of us. How we could stop running away from it and instead sit with our struggle. For in our very resistance lies the way through the current that is swirling around us. In our ability to recognize our own reluctance, we develop greater compassion for the suffering of others.

All great movements, all inspired creations were birthed in the cauldron of opposition. Ideation and innovation spring from the push back to status quo.

If you are dragging your feet, feeling generally disobedient, it could be a good time to examine which area of your life lacks luster or where tiredness has robbed you of your inner vision.

Bougainvillea

Every winter the Bougainvillea withers
Her branches without leaves
Exposing thorny stems
Spiky and stern

She is chopped down to size
Leaving behind nothing
But a grey and painful
Stump

She is left to be
Ignored and incubating
Nine months it seems
Nothing to be seen

Every year through
Each winter severe
I wonder if she will
Reappear
If her roots survived
Will she win the fight

This morning I see
Her glorious form
Resurrected and wild
Throwing out wanton branches
With youth filled magenta blooms
Her spirit contagious,
Bold, fierce and resilient

Owning her brief time
Under the sun.

—Shaku Selvakumar August 2014

photo-37

Getting childlike with change

When I allow myself to relax and watch my girls, I walk away with some wonderful insights. Take the whole concept of change. It is everywhere. It is constant.

Who moved the cheese? Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

If you don’t change, you will not evolve. Right, we get it. Over the past decade, we have witnessed countries struggling, giants toppling, goliaths emerging, traditional strategies failing and unconventional wisdom prevailing. The “future” slogans come at you fast and furious. Jack be agile. Jack be quick. Jack be nimble.

We listen to all these mantras and continue to resist change in all ways possible. Why? Because change is a tough six letter word. True change is to re-fashion, re-mould, renovate, recreate. This is hard because we programme ourselves to resist and love to settle into the habit of reproach. Darn, I do not want to give up my cozy armchair of old habits and use that new wooden chair with no cushion. Like Goldilocks, it’s too hard, it’s too soft, and I want it just right.

Children, however, are faced with change constantly. Every year, they have new teachers, new classrooms, new schedules, new friends, new enemies and new challenges. My daughters go to different schools every few years. Even if they are not changing schools, they change classes. They go from familiar to unfamiliar with manic schedules, new faces, new bus routes, more homework and new projects. If your kids are a little older, change comes when the first semester ends and another one starts with new electives. I am in awe of their resilience and their ability to weather movement.

Adapting to change is not easy, like the inverse bell curve, you will bottom out but when you climb out of it, your reality shifts. As we grow older, we tend to relegate discovery to the basement. We become hard-wired and rigid. Fear replaces wonder and we lose our agility along the way.

Mourn

When you hit the trough of disillusionment (I just love the Gartner Hype Cycle), reach out to your family and close friends. We have no trouble with the happy face, but would rather suffer alone than admit that the curve ball that life just threw at you is more than you can handle. That cold, clammy whisper that tells you that you cannot cope is very real and the sooner you talk about it, the easier it becomes. Little ones come home and rattle off their woes. “Hey mama, I hate xyz. She made fun of me in class.” Or “I don’t want to go to school anymore.” The issue is still there, but sharing it is great therapy. Everybody hurts, everybody cries.

Accept

Voluntary or involuntary, the more you fight the change, the harder it gets. Like the Chinese finger puzzle, you sink deeper and deeper into the stronghold. Downsized. Laid off. New job. New home. New country. New friends. It is done. You look at the cards you have and figure out how to work the deck. Kids walk into a new class every year. Yes, they do complain about their teachers, but they know that this is a fact of life.

Face forward

Or like that Greek myth, you turn into stone. Which is what happens when we stay in the past, we cannot move forward. The past is always sepia coloured and despite the flaws in the pictures, we knew the past so it was safe. If you have moved to a new place, embrace it whole-heartedly. Don’t hanker for your old home. We cannot live in two worlds at the same time unless you know a lot about time travel and the string theory. Children rarely stay in the past or worry about the future. They might miss it, but they are too busy being in the present. And they just don’t have the bandwidth to fear the future.

Experiment

My 3-year-old nephew is always “pushing buttons.” He is ready to go anywhere with little or no notice. He runs after a butterfly, grabs the neighbour’s dog by its tail and lives completely in the moment. Instead of fearing change, we can practice flexibility by starting with small practices like taking a different route to work, joining a multi cultural group or learning a new skill.

Awake

There is a big difference between paranoia and alertness. When you are paranoid, the paramount thought is that the world is out to get you. When you are alert, the focus is often about seizing the opportunity. Adapting just means changing the lens of your own perception. Kids are naturally alert. A cardboard box can become a fort. A walk can become an adventure.

In the words of the greatest change management guru, Darwin,

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change”.

My column in the Financial Chronicle, Dec 7, 2013
My column in the Financial Chronicle, Dec 7, 2013

International Day of the Girl

GirlRising IDG

Today is the UN’s International Day of The Girl.
Join the movement in any meaningful way.

Talk. Teach. Share. Join, Give. Be. Care. Do.

If you have a mother,
an aunt
a grandmother
a daughter, a sister,
a wife, a girlfriend,

Your voice matters.
All our voices matter.

One Girl Rising
Is the start of a revolution.

Malala took a bullet to her head.
Other girls take abuse to their graves.

We can take their messages to the world.
Make a difference.
Pay it forward.

#dayofthegirl #girlrising

Find out how you can help here.
UN International Day of the Girl Event page
Get Involved. Join the Girl Up Movement.
Start a campaign.Join Girl Rising.

—Shaku Selvakumar, October 11, 2013


Girls Interrupted. http://www.mydigitalfc.com/knowledge/girls-interrupted-412
Girls Interrupted. http://www.mydigitalfc.com/knowledge/girls-interrupted-412