For You, Daddy!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

What Forgiving Gives Me

Filed under: Giving,Personal Beliefs — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

In my last post, I told you about Justice Sach’s magnanimous forgiving spirit.

Forgiving people who have hurt us is something Daddy and Mummy advocated and practised. Growing up, I did not realise the exact painful ramifications of what my parents experienced, so I easily accepted their reasons for forgiving a wrongdoing.

The Gold Medallists

                                                       Mum          Dad        Me                Big Sis

This was taken on 24 August 2002 (yes, 10 years ago) at their Golden Wedding Anniversary celebration.

In my late teens, I began to understand the grind my parents were put through by some unscrupulous people. Worse still, people they knew personally and had close bonds with. A few examples next.

i. A relative who reneged on his financial commitment when the fledgling business that was started by Daddy, this relative and a common family friend began to flounder. When Common Family Friend began baying for blood, Daddy was saved from landing in the slammer by his three younger brothers who paid Common Family Friend off.

ii. The supervisor of Daddy’s construction arm of the business who fled the state with the workers and equipment. It was Daddy’s reputation that helped assuage his angry clients as Daddy scrambled to put together a whole new operation to complete the projects he had started and had promised on paper. As a result of those enormous losses, our family endured a lean decade financially without the frills we had had all our lives until that point.

iii. During that dark decade, a whole group of (former) friends who did not invite my parents to their celebrations because my parents could no longer afford to reciprocate or socialise at their usual highfalutin hangouts. (When we bounced back, Daddy and Mummy were civil to those people, but did not renew social ties.)

iv. Clients who did not pay Daddy. My father was not the sort to push either because “he/she is in a far worse situation than us, so how can I ask him/her for the money?”   

v. A (now deceased) relative who was part of a religious order who told Mummy that she would “go to hell” because she bore an offspring who married a person outside our religion.

Relatives, friends and prayers helped my parents during those dark times. And my parents’ spirit of forgiveness.

Although I saw my parents forgive people, I couldn’t quite understand it. They talked about the anguish of betrayal and we all experienced the pain of deprivation. And then, they’d say they understood the person who caused them grief. And prayed for them!

When I left home for university at 19, I got a knife in my back for the very first time in my life.

Not the backstabbers.

With my closest group of friends in our final year at uni. All aged 22. 

I overheard my (supposed) friends at uni making fun of the way I walked upright and spoke crisply. All because of my academic and extracurricular achievements (that I slogged for, d#mmit!), and the trendy clothes I sported despite me telling them that most were Big Sis’s (admittedly very cool) hand-me-downs.

Decades on, I can still hear the words that hurt like I had never been hurt until that point. After the pain subsided, I tried to do what Daddy and Mummy did, that is, forgive them.

Uh uh.

Not so easy.  

This image is from http://www.etsy.com/

For a good decade and a half, I ignored Daddy and Mummy’s practices and their advice each time I shared my problems with them. Because I just could not forgive the people who hurt me (fuggedaboutit!) and I just could not pray for them (not a prayer!) as my parents did and suggested.

Instead, I seethed. I railed to my inner circle (other than Daddy and Mummy). I flooded my mind with horrid thoughts about the person who played dirty. I tried to think of ways to hurt that person in some way, got stunned for thinking along those lines, slunk around in shame, and simmered under a façade of ‘I’m golden’.

Until my mid 30s.

Then I understood that Daddy and Mummy had a point about forgiving and letting go.

Finally.

 

It was a fairly easy transition because the resultant changes in the way I felt physically and the way my mood lifted were immediate. And addictive.  

Today, I’m mostly a ‘forgive and let go’ kinda person. But I’ve taken it one step ahead of what Daddy and Mummy taught me.

I try to understand the other person.

I still get angry instantly, but soon – sometimes a day, sometimes an hour, sometimes right away! – I begin to conduct a postmortem of sorts. I have learnt that looking to understand the motive before the deed was done helps me deal better with the fallout.  

I have found that I feel lighter, better, freer when I turn the focus away from the ‘What’ to the ‘Why’.

This image is from http://nancybattye.com/

  Thank you, Nancy, for permitting me the use of your image.

A little side story.

When Nancy responded to my request to use this image with a wave of the green flag, she signed off with

loving intentions and deepest gratitude”.

Simple words, profound impact.

I look to figure out why someone hurt me instead of they hurt me doing such-and-such.

I choose this route because I am more interested in finding out how I can prevent a repeat.

How I can avoid being in someone’s line of fire again.

Or even how I can avoid becoming the perpetrator of a heinous deed myself one day. 

Anyone else take this ‘Why’ approach?

What do you do to dissipate anger, hurt, resentment or revenge when you are wronged?

 
 
 
 

This image is from http://frugal-science.com/

Thank you, Gustavo, for permitting me the use of your image.

 
 
 
 


Thank you, mj monaghanThe Book of Terrible and Elvie Rose for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, mj monaghanThe Book of Terrible, Ellis Nelson , and Zen in the City for liking my last post.

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P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 



Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Few Good Men

Filed under: Giving,Personal Beliefs — by For you, Daddy! @ 4:30 am
Tags: , , , ,

 

 

Over the past year or so, I have attended talks by a few people who were in town for various reasons. I am going to highlight the three who wowed me the most.

 

First, I will list their names and the topics they spoke on.

 

1. The Dalai Lama
Ethics for the New Millennium

 

2. Justice Albie Sachs
Light on a Hill

 

3. Dr.Karan Singh
The Relevance of Vedanta* in Today’s Context

*A brief explanation further down.

 

Each one of these speakers impressed me, and I learned a little something from all of them. Also, each of these speakers had experienced personal hardships, either in their childhood or later in life. Despite covering various subjects, I found a common theme among all three in their talks:

 

– All human beings are equal. There should be no divisions of any sort in the human race.

 

– Each one of us has the power to make changes in the world. The changes don’t have to effect large sections of society because it is not the amount of change that’s important. It is making that first small change that is most crucial. The rest will follow.

 

– Materialism does not bring happiness.

 

Each of the three spoke well and each was humble about his accomplishments and his stature in society today.

 

Having heard him speak several times earlier on TV and YouTube, and being a bit of a fan myself, I had expected good oratory from The Dalai Lama. I went in not expecting anything in particular from either Justice Albie Sachs or Dr.Karan Singh. In fact, I had not heard of either of them until a few days before I went to hear each speak.

 

And boy, did these boys blow me away! They were soft spoken and those sort, coincidentally (or not), are my kind of guys. 🙂

 

 

1. The Dalai Lama
Ethics for the New Millennium

 

This image is from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

 

I chose this picture deliberately because it captures that mischievous twinkle in his eye as he is about to slam dunk a purposely playful response.

 

As I said earlier, I had heard The Dalai Lama speak a few times before, but this was the first time I saw him speak live; 6 rows away from me.

 

I am not going to tell you who The Dalai Lama is and what he is all about because he is a bit of a rock star. What I will share is that I found him to be quick witted, humourous (although he admitted to having a bit of a temper), shorter than I had imagined and not pudgy at all, as I had imagined. In fact, he struck me as lean; muscular even. He needs to fire his stylist for draping him in those shapeless tents swaddling robes. 😉

 

 

2. Justice Albie Sachs

Light on a Hill

 

This image is from http://www.zimbio.com/

 

A South African Constitutional judge, a Human Rights activist and the former dean of Harvard Law School.

 

Justice Sachs, 77, was a victim of a targeted bomb blast in Mozambique in 1988. He lost his right arm and right eye in that attack, so he is slightly bent in posture, but his peaceful aura stands tall.

 

Shortly after he recovered from that gruesome attack, Justice Sachs asked to meet the man who deliberately planted the bomb in his car. He wanted to tell him that he was not angry with him, that he did not hate him.

 

When they met in the prison where the man was incarcerated, Justice Sachs told him that he forgave the man for his heinous* deed.  

*My opinion; not the word Justice Sachs used. In fact, when recounting this experience, he abstained from all judgmental words.

 

What left the deepest impression on me was this.

 

At the very start of their conversation, Justice Sachs apologised to the perpetrator for using his left arm (instead of the traditional right arm) to shake hands with him! Wow.

 

How blissful he must be to be rid of the burden of revenge and resentment that we typically tend to harbour!

 

In my next post, I will share my experience of the power of forgiveness.

 

 

3. Dr.Karan Singh

The Relevance of Vedanta* in Today’s Context

 

*This is the simplest explanation of Vedanta that I found on Wiki:

“A group of philosophical traditions concerned with self-realisation by which one understands the ultimate nature of reality.”

 

Still confused? So am I.

 

This image is from http://article.wn.com/

 

A former member of the Indian parliament and a champion of interfaith dialogue.

 

Dr.Karan Singh, 81, was my absolute favourite! 🙂

 

He was born a prince in Jammu and Kashmir. When he was old enough to understand his privileged position, he consciously discarded his royal title, thereby ending the royal lineage in Jammu and Kashmir. He lived like a commoner, chose to be an educator and worked towards dispelling barriers to allow those at the very broad bottom of the Indian pyramid have a chance at a better life.

 

As if all this weren’t fantastic enough, he is the most wonderful orator I have heard in recent memory. Frail and mild to the eye; but strong in the convinction of his beliefs and practices. He had me in a trance as his rich language flowed from the very first sentence, and he whisked me away for the rest of the all-too-short-a-time that he waxed eloquently.

 

You know how some lucky winners, celebrities or contestants (usually) are asked which idol of theirs they would like to have dinner with? I don’t fall into any of those categories, but if I were handed such a momentous opportunity, my answer, without a moment of hesitation, would be Dr.Karan Singh!

 

I’d actually make a special request – I would ask it not to be a dinner meet.

 

Because by God, even to an avid gastronome such as myself, food would be inconsequential when I have his eloquence to drool over! Sigh.

 
 
 
 


Thank you,  The Book of Terrible  and mj monaghan  for commenting on my last post.

Thank you, The Book of Terrible, for liking my last post.

***********************************************************************

P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.

 I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat! 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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