Take care of the animal in you

The last two days have been stressful. To our utter horror, we found  three of the four birds  we have, lying dead. They had been pecked at and mangled mercilessly, while no one was at home. The culprit was a hawk; it flew off immediately when I reached home and opened my balcony door. The last bird was silently sitting in one of the corners. I could see it shivering out of fear. We call the bird cage their home because that’s the place where they have a swing to play on and a ladder where they go up and down. They would chirp, chirp and CHIRP till we stop talking and look at them. Which is when they suddenly become quiet. It’s a place where they feel safe and secure. They are lovebirds, one of the most demure and pretty birds, and easily fall prey. I still can’t talk about my birds in past tense.

We were devastated. ‘This is why you should not have pets’, my mother said with tears in her eyes. ‘It’s too painful to watch something happen to them.’ We all cried.

Our immediate attention went to Moli, our survivor. Turn by turn, we went and sat near her. We kept talking to her. I read my book the whole evening sitting next to her. My husband and I gave reiki to her. My mother kept calling her ‘kanna’. I kept asking her to eat and drink water. My husband missed his violin class just to be with her and worked from home for one day. The kids kept checking on it and shed silent tears. We left everything important for her. And that’s when it struck me.

I had read this article some time back. It speaks about something so simple yet profound. I understood what it wanted to say, but couldn’t relate to it practically. But when I took care of Moli, I perfectly understood what it meant. (Pets are a deep catharsis to the soul) It is a beautiful write up on what it actually means to take care of oneself.

Let me quote my favourite part of the write up:

I try never to forget three words the great Cole Porter wrote: “We’re merely mammals.” Hundreds of thousands of years before we developed our complications and neuroses, we were just another warm-blooded life-form trying to survive in a difficult world. When we forget that fact, we suffer. We get trapped in the shame and blame of our human minds and neglect “the soft animal of your body” (as Mary Oliver so beautifully calls it). But what makes us think we’re so special that we alone—unlike any other animal on earth—do not deserve loving care?

Sometimes the only way I can pull myself from the edge of terror or self-hatred is to ask myself, How does my animal feel right now? Then I notice my racing heart, my trembling hands, my shortened breath, my knotted stomach, my shaky legs, my clenched jaw…and I say, “This is no way for an animal to live.” I ask my animal what would make her feel better. A walk in the sunlight? A friendly voice? A treat? A nap? My animal teaches me how to take care of her, and she shows me how to care for myself.

Isn’t that so simple yet breathtaking? It was for me. I asked myself when was the last time I asked my animal how I feel right now? (I feel the most honest answer comes to our mind as soon as the question is asked.) The answer that came up was ‘not in a very long time’.

I admitted that I have been quite busy asking others about myself, letting them create opinions about me and in turn get hurt, and this includes very dear ones too. I have also been self critical, a tad too much, pushing myself when I actually need not have.

I do go through these phases of self probation, when I read a lot and feed myself to understand myself better. Each time the result has been positive. I am sure this phase will also will fruitful.

P.S: We got three new birds last evening and we have a happy bunch again. Amen!

BTW, do catch up with the complete article here. Savour it and devour it word by word. It’s worth it.

 

 

Story Session @ Atelier: Folktales from around the world.

Folktales have two distinct features. One, it has been shared from one generation to another. Two, it teaches a virtue, a value.

Folktales were told for two reasons: One, to teach young children Values in life. Two, for entertainment.

Personally, I am not a huge of panchatantra stories. The reason being, the moral is direct and is given away too easily. I am of the belief that morals should not be given away in any story. It must be personal to each. What I learn from a story could be different from your take away from the same story. This is something I am quite careful about.

Folktales are of various kinds. Panchatantra and Jataka tales are filled with animals having human characteristics. Fairy tales are filled with magic and fantasy. Tall tales are filled with exaggerations. There is no dearth of folktales.

I also feel folktales is a difficult genre of story telling for many reasons. One, it can get preachy if one does not pay attention. The story teller has to be conscious of every moment to ensure that the listeners are up with the morality as well as the curiousity part of it. I say curiousity aspect because I have observed that children/audience enjoy stories with talking animals and fantasy a lot. And out of the four stories I chose this time, three of them had just human characters. The humour component, I would say was less which made it all the more challenging.

But as a story teller, I decided to challenge myself and I would say I fairy succeeded. From being skeptical, critical and doubtful about myself, I ended up being happy and satisfied. I will sleep a happy story teller tonight. A big thanks to my lovely audience.

Stories taken:

  1. Mouse Deer and Tiger: A tale from Malaysia and Indonesia about how it is necessary to be smart and fast to survive.
  2. What About me?: A lovely Sufi tale that tells us that the biggest knowledge in this world is that true happiness is when we think about others as well.
  3. The Millionaire Miser: A Buddhist tale about how important it is to be giving and kind.
  4. Push the sky away!: A very sweet tale from Native America about how the skies went all the way up!

Sharing some pictures 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Stories to you!

The 3 kinds of people you need in your life.

Last week I watched the movie The Lincoln Lawyer. Those of you who are not a Matthew McConaughey fan must watch it, and if you are his fan, then you must watch it! Check out the review here.

Coincidentally, I watched his Oscar acceptance speech too last week and it left a deep mark within me.

He spoke about three kinds of people one needs in his/her life.

  1. Someone we look forward to: He says that is his family. His father. His mother. His wife and kids.
  2. Someone we look up to: He says he looks up to God for bestowing him with opportunities.
  3. Someone we can chase: This one was what caught me immensely. So this is a person you look up to as your hero. A person you would want to be.

When he was 15 years old someone walked up to him and asked, ‘Who is your hero?’ McConaughey asked for two weeks to think and after two weeks he was again asked the same question. And this time McConaughey had the answer. He said, ‘My hero is me in 10 years.’ When he turned 25, he was asked, ‘So, are you your hero?’ He said, ‘No, not even close. My hero is when I am 35.’

So, every day, every week, every month and every year, his hero is always ten years away.

This statement has not left my mind since.

Sometime back, I had read an article which said one must always have a role model. I flinched. I did not have one! I was thinking if I don’t have one at 36, when will I have one! And why don’t I have one?

I took it up as a task. I kept thinking. Like I say in my story sessions, ‘I huffed and I puffed and I thought and I thought.’ But no one came to my mind. It has nothing to do with being vain. I am a huge fan of some writers, artists and actors. But are they my role models? The answer is clear in my head. No.

I kept thinking something is wrong with me till I heard McConaughey. And I said to myself, ‘Yes, this is it. It has always been like this. I have always looked ahead and thought about myself 5 (not 10) years from now. And that person has been the one I have been chasing. And this is why probably I never feel satiated. This is what that has kept me going.

So, do you have these 3 people in your lives?

You can catch his speech here.