Being Right vs Being Happy

All our lives, we are taught to do things that are defined as good for us, not things that make us happy. We carry the same attitude to our jobs, trying to do things that would be ‘right’ for our career, doing things to get close to the ‘right’ people, getting that rating, or a role title that would further our careers and all this while we forget to be happy, just who we are. And while we are at it, we analyze other people’s behaviour, manage our reactions to them to cause least damage to our ‘professional interests’. We don’t just make ourselves miserable without knowing it, we continue to analyze other people’s misery and determine our reactions to it.

We tie our self-esteem and happiness to a client appreciation email, to a number at the end of the year that is determined by more factors than we can count, and to a promotion that supposedly ‘expands’ our reign. Yes, the same ‘reign’ that didn’t make us happy to begin with.

So, what are we doing to our lives we are not happy? What is the damage to our lives if we become inauthentic to become ‘right’?

The nomad with an empty backpack…

I have travelled to the dusty corners of lives hidden in closets

I have loved the smell of old newspapers on the shelves in the closet

I have lived the solitary fields running past our bus on the highway

I have touched the tiny white flowers in the waterfall

I have never known what I wanted

Except travel with you to the light at the end of this tunnel…

A toothbrush, a sweater, a diary of prayers, a candle, a jumbled head, songs of yesterday and some more empty space in my wardrobe… i burnt it all last night…

My backpack is empty now… got to fill it before life books me a ticket to another unknown destination… yeah life is the best Travel Agent I tell you:-) It puts you on the best flights that time can buy…

Ghost Stories…

Were you scared of ghosts when you were a kid? I was. I was scared of the ghost of darkness and the ghost that used to push me from a height. sometimes this pushing ghost would make me trip on a stone and I would fall down.

When I was five or six years old, whenever there was a powercut, I would never be the one getting up to light a candle. I would sit wherever I was, my arms wrapped tightly around me, tight jaw, clenched fists, waiting to protect myself from hurt if the pushing ghost came over my back and pushed me to fall down on the floor. Sorry, did you talk about fighting the ghost? No, not really. I was prepared to save myself from getting hurt if I fell down, I never prepared myself to be aware of the ghost’s footsteps and fight it when it came.

Thankfully, the ordeal lasted only a few minutes. Ma used to be pretty quick in lighting candles. My own shadows on the wall would become playmates and I would lose myself in making flowers with my hands on the wall. The ghosts would be gone as my brother would join me in catching the playful shadows.

The ghost of darkness caused more trouble for my parents. I would have a nightmare about the pushing ghost and wake up to sounds of snores and occasional traffic in otherwise silent, blue night. Papa would comfort me and put me to sleep again. Ultimately, I started sleeping in my parents’ bedroom and I was there till the time I became a rebellious teen of 15 years of age.

The ghost of darness also caused musch trouble for my brothers. They could never put a blanket or a bed sheet over me and leave me in the dark or even ask me to explore the darker corners of our house. I would be so petrified and screamy that they would surely get a beating from Papa. Any games that involved climbing the walls or playing hide and seek in darker corners or even putting bedsheets over each other’s head were out.

I was watching an old episode from ‘Sex and the City’ last night and it reminded me of my fears. This episode was about the four friends having a fear and living with that fear like a ghost. In the end, they all confront their ghost, accept that it exists, and release it.

It made me think about all the ghosts that I have carried. Were ghosts and spirits were for real? Or did we project our fears so hard on to our environment that the events around us made us believe that a ghost really existed? I do not have the answer to that question. But I don’t think I have ever grown out of my ghost of darkness and my pushing ghost ever. In every thing I do, in every relationship I have, one thing I look for is freedom from these two fears.

I want to be comforted every night with a reassurance that these ghosts will not come and hurt me while I am sleeping. It may sound vague to you but to me there are a lot of other ways that these fears guide my behavior. If I don’t egt my quota of reassurance, I am jittery. If I am in the dark about lives of people I care for, then I am jittery. And no while writing all this does become a little exaggerated:-) I am pretty chilled and lead a normal life… LOL… But the fears reinforce, fears come back in certain situations. I am not sure exactly which situations but they do. The fears make me controlling, love sets me free. I wish I could love without feeling a nagging fear that I am going to get hurt in the process, a pushing ghost is going to push me to ground, pull a bedsheet over me, and suffocate me to either being permanently damaged or being suffocated to death.

Is there a way that I can release the ghosts and live with love? I would hardly ever get over my selfishness, accept that I am a part of the whole and live responsibly if I don’t release my ghosts. But these ghosts are my companions, lovers, confidantes, family. It’s time I let go of them and learn to see darkness for what it is, a beautiful self-exploratory phase before the light sets in. I need to learn to see the pushing ghost for what it is, a friend that saves me from getting hurt just by pulling me back from places hwere I might have fallen and hurt myself badly. It’s only then that I can release these two and let a new friend, a new family, and a new companion come into my life.