Eighteen years
Swiftly have they fled
I want to hold you tighter.
Stay. I want to say.
So much I wish to tell you.
I thought I had more time.
Listen. I was once
Where you stand today.

This love that flows
Through mothers and daughters
Like a river unending
Carrying ancient memories
Scrapped knees and tears
Of courage that sears
Of lessons unspoken
And strength emerging

A little of us, a lot of you
Eye to eye
Heart to familiar heart
As I wish for a world
That welcomes your presence
As you walk tall
As you pursue your ideals

To dare and to do
With kindness and compassion
With foresight to envision
Hindsight to learn
Patience to wait
Through the seasons
As they turn

Clarity that illuminates
A discerning mind
Faith that protects
When the spirit is low
Wisdom to navigate
Paths unknown

Happy birthday,
Gentle child of mine.

—Shaku Selvakumar, February 11, 2014

In Transit

There is a place so well known
Where travelers wait for the path to unfold
Some are uncomfortable, squirming and uneasy
This place of no plans is dangerous to them

Are we there yet

Some fall asleep, hoping to turn off the mind
Of endless questions without answers
Of checklists and nostalgia
Of connecting flights, delays and baggage claims

Wake me up when we get there

The lucky ones, get up and stretch
They look around, as the ground shifts
They find a thread, they pause and pull
As it takes them along
Listening, absorbing, feeding the muse

Here is where I am

In transit
Is where the embryo grows

~ © Shaku Selvakumar, November 2012

Born From The Sea
Picture courtesy VladimirKush.com

On transitions, choices and a four year plan

Picture courtesy http://www.fotosearch.com

I wrote this last year while I was helping the girls plan their schedules for the new school year.

When January finally bid adieu and Feb came skipping along, I thought let’s hope this month is not attention deficit and hyperactive. While Feb is the month to muse on the path with heart, it has also been the month of transition.

A month of reviewing, clearing and creating space. With two daughters heading into new grades in August, I watched them start to gather information about what they plan to do next. It is not easy this place of transition.

My FB status update went something like this. “This is transition week. We have schools giving me input on what we need to know so our kids will have a smooth move into their new schools in August. And they have it so well mapped out. How come adults never get any transition training to deal with work and life?”

In retrospect, the information is out there. There are enough career fairs, open houses, information interviews. Planning is everything. I completely agree, but the toughest part is to sift the information and pick up what is relevant for you.

I still remember my transition period during school. I had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew what I couldn’t do. I couldn’t get the least bit motivated to study commerce. I had signed up for it. Spent a week in that class when I knew by the end of Day 1 that this was not me. Picked up my bags and scooted over to liberal arts to study literature and sociology where I kid you not, my heart sang.

Funny thing happens when the heart sings. You actually spend more time doing your work and less time feeling tired. This was what I wanted my girls to understand about transition week and making choices that push them gently forward. One step closer to defining what would tickle their interest.

I also liked the fact that my first born gets to look at a four year plan. While she focuses on her immediate future, she also gets to plan the next three years. Hopefully it will give her the chance to experiment, eliminate, extricate and emerge a little closer to understanding how to find that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

  • Experiment – Think buffet. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to see the array of food heaped in front of you. But you get to taste variety instead of a la carte. Then go back and and eat more of what you like.
  • Eliminate – If you can’t figure what you want to do, work backwards and try to figure out what you don’t like. Then remember to write that down. Many people get stuck in repetitive cycles and wonder why nothing has changed.
  • Extricate – If you have made a choice and that doesn’t sit well with you, then have the courage to acknowledge that you have made a mistake and course correct.

So while she is heads down, figuring out her four year plan, I am revisting mine. And in the words of Jon Bon Jovi, we will both

“Map out our future, but do it in pencil.”