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The Battle Within: Revisited

Listen to thyself

I’m writing after a really really long time. To be very honest, I’ve been giving myself excuses. Don’t we all? It’s the easiest thing to do, right? No explanations needed. Today I’m writing about a being, who is nameless. Not because I can’t come up with a name for it, but because it resides in each one of us and takes different identities. It settles into our skin, and starts to feed on us so subtly that we feel it was always a part of us.

It’s been a part of me too. Want a rendezvous?

Let’s take a look at my not-so-happening day.

I wake up early, rush to the metro, listen to music, get off with the crowd, board another metro, mingle in a newer crowd, read a book, get off another metro and board another metro. I deboard and finally walk to my office, thinking, today, I will do my best.

There’s a catch: The ‘let’s go for the kill’ vibe in the crowd has rubbed off on me. Hello, new being. My shaken confidence has given it an entry into my head.

Work and other commitments eat up about 80% of my day. The left over 20% which is supposedly my own time, with myself, gets invested in either complaining or questioning my next steps or fighting an inner battle to come to terms with what I really really want to do.

There’s another catch: The new being is grinning.

90% of my vocabulary is made up of words like finances, travel, work, deadlines and time crunch. The frenzy was crushing, almost suffocating leaving me gasping for air. And when I wanted to come up for air, when I wanted to release myself, this being that resided in me, convinced me that now is not the right time. And so, a year passed. And the frustration level, just went up. (Observe: Switched to past tense)

I had enough time like each one of us, to complain, to be cranky, to be lost, to build a glorious LinkedIn profile, and what not. If I didn’t have time for something, it was to catch up with myself. To sit with myself and say ‘Hey, how have you been? Do you like where you are?’ I have the answers. All of us do. But, I never asked myself the right question! And eventually, I came to the conclusion that I was trapped, and being held back.

There’s a catch: Being held back by who?

Myself. Bah!

For me, this being took many names starting from routine, to job security, to safe zone to relationships to learning and at some point, deadlines and responsibilities as well. I was running against time to catch up with myself. There was too much clutter.

In a very moving quote, Dr. Daisaku Ikeda says, “Human beings are inherently endowed with the power to bring out the best possible results from the worst possible circumstances.”

These words gave me my release.

I didn’t lock myself up, or take a day off, or listen to music the entire night, or read 3 books at a stretch (Okay, this I did :P), or go on a trip, or write in a diary (some of these being extremely effective ways). In my case, I just heard myself out. And I made my case.

There’s a catch: What part of myself did I hear?

The part that was in denial. The part that was too crass and too rude to be believed. The part that was forced shut in the name of ‘C’est la vie!’

And I took action, to consciously make an effort to find and do things that genuinely made me happy. I held on to myself. And I let go off the nameless being, that had taken shelter, without my knowing.

As my favorite man puts it, “Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive.”

So I let go. Because holding on was harder, and hurtful, and not worth it. And that has made all the difference.

There’s a catch: I accepted, but I didn’t settle for less.

And so, after more than 330 days, I found my words back.

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Originally published at coffeedrafts.wordpress.com

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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