Building Resilience on the “Surf-Board” of Life

Building Resilience on the “Surf-Board” of Life

If there is one skill that most of the people on this planet have been compelled to nurture, since March 2020, it is arguably RESILIENCE amidst change. True – there may be many different shades of color to this skill. While some of us have bid goodbye to loved ones, others have said a farewell to their old jobs and searched for newer avenues of work. If some have learned to push back at the panic of dwindling finances, others have welcomed new arrivals in their families – masks, vaccine shots and sanitizer in place. We’ve given up old habits and acquired new friends, stopped old routines and begun new hobbies, questioned old priorities and acquired guilt-free joy in the little pleasures of life! Amidst all these changes, we’ve learned to bend our knees and balance on the “surf-board” of life. Sometimes gracefully, and sometimes reluctantly. But there has been no escape from the learning!

While reflecting on my own journey of learning, I realized that there was a convergence of “A-ha” moments, drawn from several roles that I play – that of a daughter, a mother, a wife, and also that of a professional, an educator, a life-coach and a teacher-trainer. If the year 2021 could speak, what would it tell me? So, here’s a little list of what 2021 “spoke” – maybe you might find resonance with some of them? ????

  • Identify your “Circle of control” versus “Circle of influence” versus “Circle of no influence, no control”. The first refers to everything that is in your hands – your efforts, choices, emotions, thoughts, etc. The second refers to all those things that you can try and impact, but cannot fully control. This includes the actions and choices of your loved ones, workplace colleagues, friends etc. The third refers to the national or global events that impact you, but which are not controlled by you. These can be many!
  • Train your mind to consciously link your emotions to only those things which are in the first circle. Learn to gradually de-link your emotions from the second and third circles. This is tough! But possible…
  • When unpleasant and unexpected things happen, respond to them ethically, with the best of your efforts, without wasting time and energy in asking “Why me?”.
  • In any situation, ask, “What is the best I can do in the given circumstances?” Then do it!
  • Surrender the final outcomes to the universe. 
  • Let prayer and humility mark your efforts.
  • Understand that not all efforts bring immediate outcomes – but every effort definitely brings the commensurate outcome at some time, in some way. Therefore, drop the stress.
  • Instead of getting distracted by people and situations, ask yourself “How do I give value to those around me?” Then proceed to do that.
  • Make your peace with all the things you do NOT control and cannot predict! This is truly difficult. Yet, logic tells us that there is no alternative to this, if you want your mind to be calm. Then, that calm mind can generate creative solutions for any problem.
  • Remind yourself of these regularly, as intellectual understanding doesn’t easily translate into emotional acceptance. The mind is like a little child that has to be coaxed into learning. ????
  • Track your growth and see how the uncertainties and challenges of your life have made you a stronger, wiser, more compassionate person!
  • Breathe deep, smile at yourself in the mirror and pat yourself for every step of the journey you have walked on – only YOU know your battles, and you deserve to be appreciated for your endeavors.

May all of us learn the art of bringing the smiles back to our faces and our hearts, via the beautiful skill of resilience!

Photo credit: Piya Mukherjee

INDIA: Of Cellotape and Glue

INDIA: Of Cellotape and Glue

In this post, World Mom, Piya Mukherjee in India has shared an excerpt from her motherhood diary. Many of us have gone through this same experience with our children when they were small, but ever did we think a mom on the other side of the world was playing the same game?…

WMB 24Sep15 Piya

These days, I seem to be in the middle of an affair with scissors and cellotape (Scotch tape). Come rain or shine, be it noon or night, these two innocuous objects have inexplicably developed a strong attachment for me, and I, for them. Diapers, I can understand, baby oil and soap, quite naturally; and toys? – but of course. But cellotape and glue?

Actually, there is a simple explanation. Abhishek, my over-a-year-old-but-not-yet-two son, adores books. He loves to feel them, dribble on them and even chew the pages meditatively, if they seem interesting enough. He turns pages and stabs his tiny fore-finger below each picture, a cue for me to explain what it is (never mind that I had done just that an hour ago!). Once, he even subjected his book on animals to the indignity of a bath – in a warm puddle of his own making!

Given his proclivity towards books, it seems logical that pages will often tear under his enthusiastic but clumsy fingers.

And what happens to that poor little torn page? It is promptly placed in Mama’s hands, where, with immediate ministrations of glue, scissors and cellotape, the book becomes whole once more. Albeit in a battered sort of way.

Meanwhile, the guilty party shuffles on his feet and darts me repentant glances from beneath lowered lids. I launch into a lofty sermon on why books should be treated with care and respect. Next comes the message “This is definitely not on.” Finally, the tete-a-tete ends with a pat on his back and a “Be careful in future.”

Abhi gives me a smile of relief, which clearly says, ”Won’t happen again, Ma!” I grin back and hand over the pieced-together book. Grabbing it gleefully, he toddles off to his favourite corner. Soon, he happily retreats into a cozy, private cocoon of books, imaginary friends and one-sided babble. Sighing in relief, I turn back to my work. Feeling the contentment that comes from a job well done, a clear message given to a young, impressionable mind.

I laugh, remembering the time I caught him in the act of throwing a torn page into the waste-paper bin. To avoid the inevitable reprimand, he had decided to do away with the evidence! The crumpled picture of a bright green spinach was duly rescued and given its rightful place in its book – with the help of the omnipresent duo, of course.

I start dreaming of the day when Abhi will use his knowledge to make a positive difference to his world. Information will no longer be restricted to books. The ubiquitous computer will occupy prime space in his life.

But books are likely to be his loyal companions for a long time to come…Will he then remember his first books and their colourful pictures? That picture of boat with its sail under cellotape? And the gentle lamb in his book of Nursery Rhymes, its tail in tatters? Maybe he will…

The peace is abruptly broken by the sound of ripped paper. A curly-haired head is bent in contrition. Two little hands are guiltily fingering a torn bit of paper, as if to ask, “How on earth did this happen again?” Sigh! It’s time to reach for the cellotape and glue once more!

(The little reader finds shelter in his mom’s cupboard, after one episode too many of ripped pages.)

Have you ever wondered about all the mothers around the world facing the same day to day as you? Where are reading this from? Leave us a comment!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Mom, Piya Mukherjee of Mumbai, India.

Photo credit to the author.

INDIA: Interview with Piya Mukherjee of #WorldMoms

INDIA: Interview with Piya Mukherjee of #WorldMoms

piya mukherjee - pic 2

Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

I live in Mumbai, India and have lived here since birth. However, work and leisure have taken me to many different pockets of India and of the world. It’s a tad ironical that someone with “wanderlust” should also be a happy citizen of a single city for a long time!

 

What language(s) do you speak?

I speak English, Hindi (the national language), Bengali / Bangla (my mother tongue), some Marathi (the language of the state where I live) and a sprinkling of words in French remembered from my school and college days! 🙂

 

When did you first become a mother (year/age)?

I had just turned 26 when Abhishek was born.

 

Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you work inside or outside the home?

Surprisingly, the answer to this question is – both! When my son arrived, I moved into full-time parenting and slowly progressed to weaving my work around his schedules. Later, this took the form of freelance and flexi-time work. Over the years, my son grew – as did my work. However what remains constant is my “being there” when needed – exam study times, “I need to discuss with you” times, ill times, sad and happy times.  So yes, I work, but if there is a toss-up between parenting and work, parenting would win hands-down! Hence I like to think of myself as a professional who also works with the mind-set of a stay at home mom.

 

Why do you blog/write?

Because the thoughts in my heart and mind wear the words of their choice and seek expression in my diaries, journals and laptop! Because they will not be denied. Because they echo my deepest, most sacred beliefs. And because I believe in the power of such words in forging and linking like-minded souls across the planet.

piya mukherjee - india - pic 1

What makes you unique as a mother?

Every chuckle and laugh that motherhood has brought me, every tear I’ve shed, every epiphany that seemingly simple moments have brought me, every dream my heart has nurtured, every fear that has kept me awake and every hope that I’ve cherished – these have all contributed to the tapestry of this special, challenging, wondrous and joyous journey of motherhood. That makes me a unique mother – like the other mothers on this planet (no, that’s not a paradox!). Aren’t we then all unique mothers? 🙂

And oh, I must mention that over the past 18 years or so, I’ve been very active in the education domain. Being a teacher-trainer, allows me to bring some much-needed understanding into the classroom and some objectivity in terms of dealing with growing-up milestones, in my home! The cross-pollination of experiences and learnings helps!

 

What do you view as the challenges of raising a child in today’s world?

The world today probably offers more choices and faster time-buckets for changes and decision-making than ever before. The flipside is this: emotional resilience and intellectual maturity don’t quite grow at the same rate as techo-skills and expressions of individuality. Which leads to a world that teeters between the “I” and the “We” paradigms of identity. Raising a child to navigate this course is what makes parenting a challenging task today.

 

How did you find World Moms Blog?

I was searching for some “soul-food” for mothers on the Internet. Some random clicks brought me to this website, and I was interested…then intrigued…and then hooked. But then again, Vedanta (a school of philosophical thought of India) teaches us that nothing is truly random! So this was meant to be. 🙂

Piya On Writing At WMB

Do you you have any questions for Piya? 

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by new contributors, Piya Mukherjee of India.

Photo credits to the author.