Where do you find happiness? Quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Where do you find happiness? Quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh.

March 20th is the National Happiness Day.

How are you celebrating it? Do you share your happiness with those around you, because, you know, happiness increases only when we share it with others? And, the kind of lives we live today, each one of us is in need of a spark of joy that will help them go through it all.

Man has been in pursuit of happiness since the time he came into being. Although, back then, he may not have dwelled upon happiness as much as we do today, for life back then was comparatively simpler (or, was it?) and less stressful (??).

But, I am sure man was happier, back then, because each time we visit our past–our childhood–we recollect how less cluttered life was; how less stressful and how less complicated, and agree that, yes, life in the past was so much happier!

Progress and development brought along distractions and distress galore. Today, we may have the world at our fingertips, but happiness is something we fail to find on any app.

We scour places that boast of being the treasure trove of this elusive emotion; we seek it in people, in stuff we buy, and each time, return empty-handed and broken-hearted. Eventually, having tried our luck and failed, miserably, we give up on it all–on ourselves and our happiness, too!

However, Life is one tough cookie, who never gives up on us and makes sure we realise the meaning of true happiness and where we ought to look for it!

It introduces us to adversities, gets us caught in a storm, and almost pushes us over the edge into shark-infested waters, only to pull us back in time and make us appreciate what we have.

An appreciation that teaches us the meaning of HAPPINESS, and where it lies.

Over the years…okay, who am I kidding? Over the last year, I have realised that happiness lies right here, in front of me, and not somewhere else, where I was looking for it.

Happiness lies in my work, my art, the tiny everyday moments that I used to take for granted.

Happiness lies in being in this moment, in living this moment without thinking about what happened, and wondering what might happen.

Happiness lies in savouring the present that I have been gifted by Life; in embracing it with all my heart, and being grateful for it, along with its ugliness and its impermanence.

That, for me, is happiness, and HERE is where I find it!

What does happiness mean to you? And, where do you find it?

Sharing today, three quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh, that will help you find answers to these questions.

Happiness lies in the here and the now!

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

Where do you look for it?

I and my new year goal – How we work together.

I and my new year goal – How we work together.

Last year was tough, like every other year, but a bit more tougher in every possible way. However, after going through all the lows and the rough terrain, I ended up learning a lot.

I learned about Life, about how helpful those difficult moments had actually been and how I need to be grateful for all that happened. It changed me, my outlook towards Life and my reaction to circumstances good or bad.

Last year taught me to forget about the past and the future and focus ONLY ON THE PRESENT MOMENT–the moment that’s LIFE!

Ergo, my WOTY (Word/Words of the Year):

LIVE IN THE MOMENT

 

Just being physically present in the here and the now makes no sense if you aren’t mentally and emotionally invested in it. To be able to live fully and experience every moment in all its entirety, you need to be living and breathing the moment, focusing on it a 100%.  And, that is what I have been attempting since 2019 began.

I won’t say it’s easy, because it is not. We condition ourselves to forever look back at what happened and dream about what we would like to happen. Rarely do we forget the past tense and the future tense and concentrate on the present continuous. So, yes, it’s tough unlearning all that I was used to and learn something new, after all these years.

But, change, as we know, takes time to develop into a habit. It also takes a lot of hard work, patience and consistency. And, that’s what I have been working at.

There are times when I lose myself in the past, in comparing today with yesterday and how ephemeral Life is. But, after a while, I bring myself back to the present so that I experience well what the moment has brought for me.

HOW LIVING IN THE MOMENT HELPS ME:

Living in the here and the now helps me reduce my anxiety; makes me realise that, what I fear about tomorrow, is just my imagination and how I need to put my imagination to better use than conjuring all sorts of horrid things and ruining the peace I experience in this moment.

Living in the moment helps me focus better on my work–be it writing or art, or helping my nephew with his studies, or even managing my home.

Living in the moment helps me come up with ideas for my blog, topics I can write about or designs/illustrations I can work on.

And, finally, living in the moment helps me enjoy the present that I have, without worrying about the future that’s uncertain and ruing the past that can’t be changed.

It gives me peace of mind and a whole lot of sense about how I need to use my mental capacities for my well-being and my happiness.

How about you? Have you been working on your new year goals? Is 2019 in alignment with your WOTY?

 

Love,

SHILPA…

Is your new year in alignment with your WOTY?

Empowering young girls for a brighter future. #BalanceforBetter

Empowering young girls for a brighter future. #BalanceforBetter

Every year, on the 8th of March, the world celebrates women on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Women being the backbone of every family and our society, are honoured for their contribution to the society, for their accomplishments–be they in any field–and their grit and determination to make a mark despite every hurdle, every barrier that they come across. It’s a day dedicated to challenging gender bias apart from felicitating women for their achievements.

This year, taking into consideration the skewed ratio of girls to boys in schools, a Mumbai based organisation, ‘Salaam Bombay Foundation‘, has organised a special campaign planned for young girls, to motivate them and empower them to achieve gender equality. And, in doing so, they aim to encourage them to continue their education and aspire for a better and a brighter future.

Children belonging to the underprivileged sections of our society prefer to drop out of schools to help their parents improve their financial condition. Many of them also get entangled in the evil web of drug menace, thereby ruining their entire lives.

Organisations like the Salaam Bombay Foundation help such children by guiding them, helping them return back to schools and continue their education so that they have a better chance at a respectable career and a future they never dreamed of.

The foundation offers girls vocational training in beauty, wellness and bakery so that they become independent and help supplementing their family income.

This year, the NGO has planned on presenting the young girls articles like pressure cookers, baking moulds and other starter kits which will be handed over to them by women entrepreneurs. The motive behind this wonderful gesture is to inspire the young girls to overcome the obstacles they face, and work hard towards achieving not only financial independence, but also improving their morale and self-esteem.

This year, around 1900 girls from Mumbai were imparted training in skills relevant to today’s modern lifestyle. About 493 of these girls have begun working and are helping out their families financially.

Helping mould the children at an impressionable age makes all the difference, not only to their confidence and overall development, but also to their lives. They are offered precious opportunities to educate themselves and enjoy a better standard of living. Through their foundation, the organisation also aims at increasing job opportunities for adolescents belonging to the underprivileged sections of our society.

The campaign theme for this year is, #BalanceforBetter, an initiative for spreading the word about gender balance around the world. The event will be held on the 8th of March at Worli Sea Face Municipal School, Mumbai, between 10 to 11 am.

If you happen to be in the vicinity, do attend the event and encourage the young girls. It’s all they need to work harder at fulfilling their dreams and living a better life.

 

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY!

Education and women empowerment

 

 

 

 

So what?

So what?

Have you been asked this question when you complained to someone about certain stressful events from your life?

Let me share this conversation, as an example:

“My dad used to thrash me when I was a kid.”, a person shares with his friend, who replies, “So, what? My dad disowned me!” 

What’s the thought that comes to mind, instantly? Doesn’t it make you shudder, looking at the other person’s situation in his Life?

It’s something I saw in a film, the other day. An exchange between two people, one of whom has carried the trauma of being raped during her childhood, for years. An exchange that makes this woman realise that despite having had such a terrible thing happening with her, she might still be in a better place than the other person, who has gone through something worse.

She also realises, how futile it has been, carrying this burden with her all her life, ruining the relationship she has with her very loving and caring husband and living with the ghosts of her past.

I know, it’s really not easy letting go of certain memories–events that took place in our lives that shook us to the core, traumatised us and transformed the person we were until then.

We keep holding on to those memories, keeping them alive in our heart for years together, and in the process, hardly finding any peace in our present Life–the one which we have, today.

We hold on to grudges against someone who wronged us, hurt us, tortured us with their behaviour; we hold on to stressful incidents that were, at some point, a part of our lives; we keep those wounds afresh, for ages. And, what do we get in return? Nothing, but heartache, and endless pain that makes us blind to the good that is happening today!

And these wounds, they ruin not only our mental health, but also our physical and emotional health, our relationship with others, and, most importantly, our relationship with ourselves.

The severe aches and pains we experience are very much a result of the stressful memories we hold on to, as they are a result of the physical wear and tear our body goes through as we age.

Why don’t we understand one thing that Life is never, ever, going to be smooth-sailing? That, Life is always, always, going to be a bumpy ride, which might, sometimes, offer us a beautiful view, and just as we begin to enjoy that beauty, will shove us in a pothole, the size of a crater, and shake us out of our reverie, turning our world upside down?

That’s LIFE, isn’t it? Ever-changing, never easy, always tough.

But, the one thing that can give us some solace is the game I shared in the beginning of this post. The game of, “So what?”

it’s a game you can play with yourself, too, you know, when you find yourself cursing your misfortune and grumbling about everything going wrong with your Life.

Just think about the situation you are in, that’s unpleasant and stressful, and ask yourself, “So, what?” .

Then, compare it to the time when things were wonderful, or, to how someone else is in a worse situation than you, and how they are tackling it, better than you are.

You will realise how fruitless it is, complaining about your situation, for the simple reason that….

Some day, Life will change, and it will be better, all over again.

The cycle of good times and bad times will go on and on, until we leave this world.

It is so necessary that we let go of what happened; let bygones be bygones.

And, learn to live in this moment–this moment that is LIFE!

 

 

Try it and let me know how you felt. I know, I am going to play this game, for sure!

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

How holding on to stressful events is harmful for our health and our Life.

 

 

 

The school that gave Mithu an identity. #HelpMithuSaveSchool

The school that gave Mithu an identity. #HelpMithuSaveSchool

Sometime back, I met a blogger friend whose passion for her writing and a cause dear to her heart left me amazed. Damyanti Biswas introduced us to the Project Why that works towards providing educational support to underprivileged children under the guidance of Anouradha Bakshi.

It’s a non-profit, after-school support program that works towards the all-round development of children apart from imparting education and equipping them with life skills that help them in securing a decent  future for themselves.

Project WHY has, so far, reached out to almost 1200 children and 160 women. and since 2005, they have also been conducting a computer education programme which is in need of funds for its survival.

Damyanti proposed this Valentine’s Day Blogathon to spread the word through our blogs and find the much-needed help for the centre and for Mithu.

Sharing today, the heartwarming story of Mithu, from the computer centre and his fearless attitude towards life that has made him a real life Hero. A Hero who, today, needs your love and support to help him continue with his work as a computer teacher.

MITHU’S STORY:

When he was a little kid, Mithu lost both his legs to Polio. A student at the Project WHY Okhla centre, he was never interested in formal education, but developed a liking for computers.

The centre, which was established about 14 years ago at the site of a dustbin, provided formal education to 350 children from the nearby underprivileged communities. Working on his passion for computers, Mithu climbed up the ladder of success with his hard work and is now a computer teacher at the same centre that gave him a new life.

A centre that worked towards saving the children from the demons of drug addiction, it was started at the dumping site with only a plastic sheet and four poles to offer the students some shade and a place to bring a change in their lives.

WIth the tireless efforts of Anouradha Bakshi, Mithu and other teachers, the centre went from strength to strength and today is a proud structure that offers primary and secondary education as well as computer education to the children and employment to the adults.

However, the school is in dire need of funds lest it has to close down and Mithu loses his job, his passion. And, it is our responsibility to spread the word and find the help for Mithu and the school, for the simple reason that it is a place that saves children from the negative elements of our society and nurtures them so that they bloom into responsible adults and make a life for themselves.

 

THE NEED FOR FUNDING:

The centre needs sustainable funds to meet these needs:

  1. 4 Staff Honorariums for 6 months:      379, 104 (5,330 USD)
  2. Electricity for 6 months:                           9,000 (125 USD)
  3. Learning aids & Stationary:                    15, 000 (210 USD)
  4. Laptop for Mithu:                                   33, 700 (475  USD)
  5. Internet:                                                   3, 000( 45 USD)
  6. Bank fees for Fundraiser:                        48, 379 (680 USD)

 

    TOTAL:                                                   488, 183 (6, 685 USD)

 

I am sharing this post on my blog to spread the word about this wonderful centre and an amazing computer teacher who need help so that they can continue working for the underprivileged and save many more lives.

If you wish to contribute, just click here: #HelpMithuSaveSchool

You may either donate to the centre or spread the word through social media, either ways your contribution will be valuable for the teachers: Mithu, Sophia Tirkey, Pushpa Kumar, Naresh Bharadwaj and their school!

 

DONATING ONLINE TO THE FUNDRAISER:

Let’s help Mithu raise Rs. 488, 183 (6,865 USD).

If you would like to know more about the school, click here to read some inspiring stories of the teachers who work at the centre and the Valentine’s Day Blogathon–Save a school here.

 

 

I am writing this post for We Are The World Blogfest where we share true stories of real life heroes from around the world, who make a difference to the society they live in. Do join in with your own posts if you come across such true stories that strike a chord or move you with their humaneness and their beauty!

 

We Are The World Blogfest