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Reflections of Compassion & Resilience during current times

The current pandemic situation has been reeling for over four months and has taught a lot of life lessons- patience, being available for someone to talk to, being a soundboard, being available for your family vis-a-vi how we used to tell people- I am so busy, don’t have the time for it.

We hear this sentence very often isn’t it! Whether it is clients, family, friends, extended family members. Whenever I would hear such a sentence from anyone, I would always respond to the person saying, ‘I don’t believe in this sentence’, the person would ask ‘why?’ I always say ‘time will automatically never be ours, we need to make time for ourselves’. And I would ask them ‘do you have time to do your essential routine of freshening up, eating, sleeping and even breathing?’ There would be an answer in a very defensive tone- ‘Ya of course’, and I would again ask them, ‘why do you say you don’t have time?’ And I would hear an elephant pause. 

On the contrary, since childhood, I have seen my parents being there for their family and extended family whenever required. This has been a very important life lesson. At times I would tell my mother, “you have the same things to talk again and again every day, and if it’s the same you want to repeat, let’s talk later, I am busy!” She would say “ok fine”. 

In my journey as a coach, one of the biggest learning & change for me has been compassion and resilience. For me, compassion is being there for someone when they need me. Even if they just want to talk the same things, it’s ok, they just want someone to hear them out, whether it is parents, spouse, or siblings. The moment I would just be there for them, not judge them, let them share whatever is there in their heart, I felt a shift within myself and experienced people sharing beyond what they wanted to share. I also recollected and re-learned how my parents listened to us with compassion, be it any kind of circumstance. 

The year 2020 has been turbulent, having heard, seen many deaths of loved ones in the family, especially my maternal grandmother and my mother passing away within five months. When my grandmother passed away, mom had a difficult time to go through, and when I would just hear her talking about grandmother, it not only helped mom share her thoughts, feelings, but also helped her grieve through remembrance, and I, consciously or unconsciously learned how to come to terms with the death of a loved one because when we are in our childhood, parents help us manage our emotions. As a child when I underwent the same experience of losing my mother unexpectedly, it was a very difficult moment to accept it and yet be there with my family. As a child, losing a parent is the most traumatic feeling as no one can take their place. This void will always be there. Family being together has been the biggest back bone. Restarting household work immediately the same evening post rites were completed, along with family arranging the next set of rituals for the next couple of days, and yet I always felt there was some energy system within which kept me going. In the Hindu rituals, there is a process where the soul is reunited with the ancestors. During this process, the ancestors are invited to take the soul with them and when this ceremony happens one can feel this energy of your ancestors and post the ritual an unexplainable calmness can be experienced. All this while, I saw myself being more proactive, patient, just being there in the moment, and yet sharing my memories and grief as well. 

Going through a loved one’s death especially during these pandemic circumstances has been in itself a challenge. I call this resilience for myself. Death has taught me to be more compassionate, how to heal within, patience, being in the moment, and how to take a forward movement. As I write this, I recollect a very famous Sanskrit phrase- “Mata Pita Guru Deivam”. Parents are our first teachers, mentors & coaches who direct us to Guru who helps us find God. God resides within us which signifies our awareness, consciousness, and who are we being for ourselves. Every time I went inwards, I discovered myself even more and this time, it has been compassion and resilience. When I reflect this for myself, probably these have been amongst the values bequeathed from the family I belong to. We might have not seen or met our ancestors but we inherit their qualities even though we may be many generations apart. We are their extensions and we will continue to pass on ourselves to our forthcoming generations. 

If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people. -Thich Nhat Hanh 

*This article was published in the ICF Bengaluru Chapter Magazine- Conversations….In Search of the Inner Self in October 2020

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