Many Indians know the Lord’s Prayer – The Our Father. If you went to a Catholic, or “convent”, school, it was part of the daily assembly session, and it is a wonderful mark of our secularism that so many parents and children think nothing of saying it in the spirit that, for them, it addresses their own god.In recent years, I have seen many Catholics, like me, recite The Lord’s Prayer with arms uplifted. I, in particular, always cup my hands to receive at the second part – “Give us this day our daily bread…”
You cannot receive unless you are open to receiving.
It is the same principle in Feng Shui – though I may be over-simplifying when I say this, and no offence is meant to serious practitioners of this science. If you want to share your life with someone, it goes, you can’t have so many pillows or stuffed toys on your bed that there is no place for that potential someone to come in.
It’s a simple idea – but it makes sense: to receive, you have to be prepared, first, to allow someone to help you, and, second, to believe that they will.
An old story goes that a village set off for a distant clearing to pray for much-needed rain. They all believed they had the faith it would happen – till someone pointed out that no one was carrying umbrellas.
Yet, there is a fine line between just passively letting things happen to you and helping them happen. The first option smacks of giving up, the second is proactive and worthy of your status as a co-handler of your life. I learned fairly early in life that some things were beyond my control – a particularly bad break-up taught me lessons in surrender to something greater than me. I’m still finding out about people who were born and who died in the six months from the day I walked away. I accept that that was my period of bandaging – akin to the way it is said field doctors in the great wars would sedate gravely-wounded soldiers for days or weeks to allow their bodies to heal.
Acknowledging that things sometimes move to the beat of another drummer, not your own rhythm, should not mean that you take your hands off the drum, or your eyes off what you should be doing.
To not take cues from your gut, from your own instincts, from even your dreams, is to fail yourself and your guiding presence.
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I have much to be grateful for this year on the work front – first, the award from Malaysia Tourism, and now, on August 20, 2014, the Canadian Tourism international media award. But more than by the awards themselves, because the writing is something you do anyway, I have been overwhelmed by and humbled at the outpouring of affection and congratulations from family, friends and acquaintances. I am grateful for the awards especially because they have allowed me to appreciate the warmth of the people I am privileged to have around me.
MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: SUNRISE/ 123RF