Do you crave a Soulmate Connection?

3cb3fbf78b2839d78aa4173ad25880bc--white-art-black-and-white

The forest screamed with darkness. The rain pelted down unrestrained. Trees bellowed in the stormy wind, whooshing with eerie sounds, enough to wake the dead. The lone woodcutter huddled in a threadbare cottage, filled with memorabilia of a life well lived.

A moth took refuge, petrified by the surge of gusty wind. Lightning flashed in the distance. Thunder decided this was a good time to announce its arrival. The startled moth crept up a decrepit table and launched itself between a cup of half drunk coffee and mealy bread.

A fuse burst somewhere and the cottage was plunged into darkness. The moth shuddered, while the woodcutter scrambled clumsily to find a candle. The candle was found and lit.

Suddenly, there was life. The moth looked up in wonder at the golden glowing ball. Fascinated, it stared as the flame kept changing shapes; high and flickering, soft and steady, round and glimmering. Never had it come across anything so capricious, so utterly captivating.

It couldn’t take its eyes off the flame and flew closer to have a look. The flame caught sight of the moth and smiled shyly, casting uneven shadows across the wall. The moth grew bolder, and flew even closer. The flame danced excitedly, flattered by the attention of this quirky creature.

The moth began circling the flame, and the flame became aware of a rhythmic buzzing sound, that was like music to its ears. They began a dance of their own, with the moth flying closer and the flame flickering breathlessly in anticipation.

Round and round went the moth, in a delirious frenzy. The flame glowed brighter drawing whimsical patterns across the floor. The moth had come so close. The warmth was unbearably beautiful. The flame burned with longing. It implored the moth to keep away. It couldn’t belong to anyone. Except the darkness.

The moth would have none of it. It backed off only to fly even closer to the flame. It looked at the flame with a heart alight with desire. The flame tried to recede, shy away from that gaze heavy with raw passion. The moth now emboldened, waltzed even closer and looked straight at the flame.

The flame blushed, dizzy with rapture. The moth looked around wildly. It could barely see through a haze of flaming fervour. The flame made one last feeble attempt to ask the moth to step back.

The moth, hysterical with ardour, was now only a millimetre away from the flame. While the flame lay wait in flurried arousal, the moth drove itself into it with such force that the flame was put out instantly. The candle stand tipped and fell.

The moth lay besides it burnt to a crisp. The flame was no more.

Two souls burnt to death with a passion that couldn’t be restrained.

Has your soulmate connection felt this way? 

Quick Facts :

There are various interpretations of the moth and flame story. I list a few of the interesting ones below :

  1. In its simplest form, the moth-flame metaphor is a simple allusion to the well-known attraction that moths have to bright lights. The word moth was used the the 17th century to mean someone who was apt to be tempted by something that would lead to their downfall. This is referred to by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice, 1596: “Thus hath the candle singd the moth.” [ Source : The Phrase Finder]
  2. It is also one of the most adored metaphors in Sufi literature. The moth’s annihilation into the flame has been drawn as an analogy for a seeker in the sufi path who seeks annihilation into Divine Essence.
  3. The moth and flame story is also likened to the process of self-transformation – adopted from the book “Essential Sufism.’
  4. The Bible also likens love for God as a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29: “Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
  5. In the book Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid, Daru reflects on his feelings to towards Mumtaz. ” She’s drawn to me just as I’m drawn to her. She can’t keep away. She circles, forced to keep her distance, afraid of abandoning her husband, and even more, her son for too long. But she keeps coming, like a moth to my candle, staying longer than she should, leaving late for dinners and birthday parties, singeing her wings. She’s risking her family for me, her marriage, her reputation. And I the moth, circling her candle, realise that she’s not just a candle. She’s a moth as well, circling me. I look at her, and see myself reflected, my feelings, my desires. And she, looking at me, must see herself. And which of us is moth and which of us is candle hardly seems to matter. We’re both the same. That’s the secret. “

Relationship Lessons on a Kayak

 

Kayaks

The breeze was gentle. The mild sea mirrored the deep blue of the sky. The afternoon seemed perfect. A client who specialises in water sport services, had invited a colleague and myself to try our hand at kayaking.

Before I proceed, I have to warn you that this is not a story on what a ripping sport kayaking is. Or its health and fitness benefits (though I’m sure there are many.) Rather, it’s about what I learnt while sharing the kayak with another companion.

We were strapped into a kayak built for two. In the beginning, it was easy going. It seemed simple enough. All we had to do was paddle in unison and edge our way in the direction we chose using the paddles.

The sea was calm, making it easier for two beginners. So we began paddling. Fast and excitedly at fast. A little slower when our arms began to strain. Our elbows and core were soon aching and we found it harder than ever to propel the kayak forward.

The breeze suddenly grew stronger. Our already painful limbs were now miserably overstretched, trying to gain some ground against the wind. If that wasn’t enough, we spotted a wave in the distance, threatening to break right over our kayak. Inspite of the aches and pains, we paddled furiously. But regardless of our best efforts, the wave crashed onto us with all its might.

We almost capsized, but managed to stay afloat by sheer will and some desperate paddling. We had finally had enough. The next minute, we gestured to the instructor and got ourselves and our tortured limbs out of the confounded thing.

I didn’t know at the time that I would carry this experience with me. After all, I’ve had better days.

But off late that memory has crept onto me. Stealthily at first. And then a little more urgently. It’s knocked on the recesses of my quiet time, until I’ve had no choice but to relate it here.

Imagine that the Kayak represents the relationship you have with your significant other. In the beginning, it’s all fresh, new and exciting. Smooth sailing. But once life gets monotonous, the cracks begin to show. Just a minor little strain here and there. Until the strains turn into persistent disquieting pains. And there are more bad days than good. More disagreements. And less hunky dory. The quiet romantic dinners are replaced with grumbling across the kitchen table. The long conversations turn into cold silences.

And when the first crisis hits, things begin to reel out of control. You want to put the paddle down, but you can’t because your partner is tired too. And if you don’t stay afloat, you’ll die. It takes a lot of effort from both sides to keep going. But it’s taken it’s toll on the both of you.

You are just about congratulating yourselves on surviving the first obstacle, when you are hit by a wave of trials, worse than before. An affair, a financial crisis, errant children, sickness, loss of trust, troublesome in-laws. And now you have no idea how or if you’re going to make it.

Even if you want to, you’re not sure your partner does. And if both of you do, you don’t suppose that you have the mettle it takes. All you can do is hold on tight, sometimes in desperation, until the storm blows over.

And when the storm recedes, you have three choices:

  1. You can choose to get off the boat and never get back into one again. You may prefer the solitary exercise of swimming to sailing.
  2. You can choose to stay in the kayak and mosey along until both of you learn to get past those obstacles. Together!!
  3. Or you can choose to paddle with a brand new partner. But you would still be sailing the same old stormy sea.

What about you? If relationships were kayaks, would you sail, swim or sink? 

4fe76880fba82354c7301d871f70342c--beachy-quotes-surf-quotes

 

 

Why Client Servicing is a pain in the ****

I began my advertising career as a copywriter (on paper at least!). Since our agency consisted of only four people at the time, I soon realized that this was a “do-it-all” kind of job.

As the days wore on, I was performing all kinds of tasks in varied situations. Including marketing, secretarial jobs, attending to phone calls, accounting, brewing coffee and client servicing as well.

I didn’t mind most of these tasks. What I disliked the most and still do to this day is client servicing. It’s thankless and soul destroying. And that’s an understatement!

For instance, this one time, we were invited for a brief by a client in the Government sector. Actually, my boss took the brief directly from the concerned Government official. This is how it was conveyed to us.

Boss : “The client needs a campaign”

Me : “What should the campaign entail?” 

Boss : “He didn’t say.”

Me : “Does he have a broad idea of what he is looking for?” 

Boss : “I don’t know.” 

Me : “What did he say were his objectives?” 

Boss : “He’s not sure.” 

Me : “Ohhhkay!! So what should we do?” 

Boss : “Just come up with something.” 

So, we began working on a campaign with no idea of what the client was looking for, had no direction and no objectives.

After a week of discussion, deliberation and some very hard work, we developed four creative possibilities.

A meeting was fixed. Yours truly was supposed to lead the pitch.

At the designated time, we arrived at the client’s office. We waited in the reception area for a good three hours before the said client bothered to even acknowledge our presence.

Lethargy descended on my limbs and my colleagues were getting fidgety as well. Finally, after those three long hours, we were informed that the officials were in a meeting and would be with us shortly. “Shortly” turned out to be another hour and a half of cooling our heels.

Finally, after all that time, we were hustled into a conference room with some expensive looking equipment. We set up our projector and display, and got into some modicum of preparedness.

We were then subjected to another wait of some twenty minutes.

Eventually, three officials walked in, looking all important.

As we made to begin our pitch, one of them waved an impatient arm in the air and grunted, “I have only ten minutes. So, please be quick.”

Four collective gulps sounded across the room.

We had only begun running the slides, when he interrupted with,” I don’t want to see any presentation. Just tell me the main idea.”

We related the key ideas behind each of the creative possibilities. As we waited for a reaction, we realized two of the officials were attempting to stifle their yawns (in vain.)

Finally, the third official announced, “This is not what we were looking for. I don’t think it meets our objectives.” 

My heart leaped to my shoes and settled there. My mind was all over the place. “What objectives? You didn’t have any in the first place.” 

He then said, “You’ll need to do some in depth research. Come back to us in two weeks after you have understood our needs properly.”

I decided that this was as good a time as any to attempt some damage control. So I requested him again to give us a detailed brief. I relate the conversation below :

Me : “What should the campaign entail?” 

Official 1: “You should tell us.”

Me : “Do you have a broad idea of what you are looking for?” 

Official 2 : “The campaign should be unique. “

Me : “What are your main objectives?” 

Official 3 : “Give us some time to think.”

Me : So what should we do?” 

Official 1:  “Just come up with something.” 

At some point, I gave up!

 

It’s God’s plan anyway. So, why pray?

 

images

It’s Sunday. I’m just back from church and I’m inspired to write this.

For the last eight years, I’ve been a regular church goer. I attend mass on Sundays come hell or high-water. Before that…not so much. Well, I wasn’t an atheist but let’s say that I didn’t really fully “believe”. I would visit at Christmas, Good Friday and Easter. But the rest of the days, I guess I was just an ‘as you like it’  Catholic. Mass was just something to get through. Something I was forced into doing by my parents and other elders in the family.

I didn’t really get it. I had no complaints about my life. Life was ticking along smoothly. There were ups and downs. But I attributed this to the natural course of life. And I had the rest of my life to make mistakes, correct those mistakes and make some more.

I believed that I was a good person. Well, after all I wasn’t an axe murderer or a thief. I had no reason to believe that I was ‘bad’ and needed God’s forgiveness and graces. Even though I didn’t dare say it out aloud, I subconsciously thought that only the unfortunate, the criminals and the desperately broken needed God.

I prided myself on my talents and was convinced that I would make it in life with hard work and intelligence.

Enter Crisis Number One and my whole life went spinning out of control. A situation which was not of my own making, left me with staggering debts and I couldn’t find a way out. I was in such a bad place that I couldn’t bring myself to even confide in my family and friends. It was simply horrible!!

What was even worse was that I was not directly responsible for the situation I was in. I was baffled, disappointed and in utter pain. It’s like my whole world came crashing down. My finances were in a mess. And so was my career.

Eventually, I came back home because there was nothing else that I could do. And I’m ashamed to admit this…but because I could see no option, I turned to God. I began praying fervently. I would see my devout neighbours, family and friends attending retreats, visiting church and making offerings. This inspired me to do the same.

So, I would pray, pray, pray. I would pray all day. Read the Bible. Visit spiritual websites. Ask people online to pray for me. Well, in short, I tried everything.

What I didn’t realise was, that I was praying in desperation. In retrospect, I came to understand that I wasn’t praying from a position of strength but one of weakness. I was praying selfishly. Just so that I could get whatever I wanted from God at that time. I was in a hole and I wanted Him to bail me out.

And what did God do? He rescued me!!!

He really did. He’s wonderful that way. He gave me a life much better than I could have ever dreamed or imagined. He restored my finances, set my career on the right track and gave me a great relationship as well. I was living the life of my dreams, doing the work that I was proud of. Everything was running smoothly.

Up and until the next crisis. This one really left me devastated. I couldn’t wrap my head around what happened. I was doing everything right. I was working harder than ever. Going to church regularly. Not doing anything majorly wrong. Why did I have to face this then? The biggest trial of my life until now.

There wasn’t anyone to blame either. So, I did the ugliest thing that one could ever do. I blamed God. And I haven’t said this out aloud, until now. I didn’t even know I was doing it at that time. But I know now. It’s not like I stopped praying or anything. I did whatever I was doing before. Yet, it wasn’t the same. Something had changed and I didn’t know what it was.

I only recently realised what had actually happened. While I prayed and prayed and then some, I have never really tried to cultivate a relationship with God. I was only praying to meet my urgent needs. It was only..”God, I need this to work in my favour..so please bless me.” ” God, I have an interview today, please give me a positive outcome.” “God, be with me at this meeting”. 

It was always about me!!!

And I have to hand it to God. He did answer many of those prayers. And not because I deserved them.

So I asked for more and more and more. Until He put a very timely stop to this. And tested me.

I’m right now going through one of the biggest trials of my life. It’s tested my faith, my endurance and my perseverance. Yet, this has also been one of the most peaceful times of my life. Because I think I’ve finally understood what God really wants from me.

I am praying through all the pain but it’s different this time. I’m praying with faith, with a certain trueness and quietness that wasn’t there before. I’m not desperate anymore or asking for what I think is the solution to this problem. I’ve only asked God to show me the way, if it is his will for me. I’ve not received a clear answer yet, but I know that He is with me in the little and big things that He does everyday.

I sense his presence when a hymn that means a lot to me is prayed in Church, when a stranger is kind to me for no special reason, when I get that special parking spot when I’m running late. And a thousand other moments, that are too many to mention in this space. And I thank Him for this. Because, He is giving me not everything that I want, but everything that I need in that moment.

So, why pray, if everything is God’s plan anyway?

I can’t claim to know the exact answer to this question. But if I were to hazard a guess, it would be because sometimes He really wants to give us everything that we want. But He also wants us to know the true value of what we take for granted and bring us closer to Him!

227d7272438bc8f03696d7ffd7bec3a4--god-prayer-prayer-quotes

What about you? Do you pray? How does God answer you?

Have you dreamt of a parallel life?

Picture1

What are the things that haunt you the most?  Is it the youth that you’ve outgrown? The love that you let go? The people you hurt? Or the people that hurt you?

Is it the career that you could have had if you went the extra mile? Or the extra mile you walked when you didn’t need to, for someone who didn’t value you?

Is it the helplessness you feel when you see your children repeating your mistakes? Or the regret that you didn’t encourage them, when they pursued a dream that was not yours?

Is it the one night stand that you had last month? Or the relationship you could have had, last year?

Is it the dream you let go because you thought it was too hard to reach for? Or the life that you reached for, but didn’t work out in the end?

Is it the spouse you settled for, because the one you really wanted was way out of your league? Or the love of your life you married, but don’t love anymore?

What keeps you awake at night? What niggles at you even when your life is comfortable, nothing seems wrong on the surface, yet if you peel off the layers, everything would potentially come crashing down.

Do you get the feeling that you’re simply existing? Floating from one day to the next. Living a good life. But not a great one.

Do you dream of a parallel life?

I know that I have. I dream of it every other day.

If we had to pinhole our lives into boxes, we would have categories : Career. Love. Children. Travel. Family. Lifestyle.

While I’ve managed to be somewhat happy with the way my career has progressed, I often dream of a parallel life with respect to everything else.

It begs the question. How much of what we are today or where we are today is due to circumstances, things beyond our control? And how much of this is because of the choices we make?

Choice is a strange and powerful thing. The moment you make one choice, it’s often the end of another. And it has the potential to change the course of your whole life.

Have you thought of where you’ll be five, ten or twenty years hence? Look at your choices today. And the sub-choices you’ll probably make tomorrow. And in between, make provisions for life to happen to you along with all its uncertainties.

In short, it’s practically impossible to know where we’re going to be even one year hence. Given that so many things are simply beyond our control.

Can you tell if the one who sleeps besides you at night, will be there a year from now? Or if the job you hold so dear will still be yours? Or if the friends you see everyday will be hale and hearty always? Or the parents that you hardly visit anymore, will be around?

Perhaps, it’s because our lives are a mixed up mess of choices and circumstances, that we so often dream of things that we can never have or could have had.

A friend who often complains of marital problems regrets her early marriage. Yet, her life seems fine on the surface. A wealthy husband, a normal happy child, holidays to exotic destinations and nice clothes. But she complains of a feeling of restlessness. Of wanting more. Being more.

A colleague wishes they had left their fiancee for their first love. Another grumbles of wasting their academic years in meaningless pursuits. Yet another wishes they hadn’t wasted their youth studying for a degree that they now have little use for.

If I could live my life all over again, I would travel more in my early twenties, be more adventurous, take bigger risks, date more, write more and in general, just be braver about living my life.

Are we in fact all restless souls, trying to live many lives in one life?

Do we feel that this life is our last chance? That we may never get to experience all that we think we ought to? Do we always need new stories to give ourselves?

I love what Cheryl Strayed says in her lovely book, 
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Someone Who’s Been There

“I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.” 

What about you, gentle reader, have you dreamt of a parallel life?

My first post

Placeholder ImageI’ve thought about blogging. I’ve dreamed about it. And well, I can’t contain myself anymore. I need to just…write. Get it all out.

I’ve thought about how to introduce myself. Nothing seems to sound just right. So, I’m just winging it. Here goes…

I am a copywriter, advertising and branding professional, a presentation designer and a whole lot more. Most of all, I’d like to call myself a storyteller. Because I think that’s where my talent lies in most. Telling stories. Making them up in my head. Discerning the hook. Moving them round and round in my mind, tweaking them and then pushing them out on to presentations, speeches and conversations.

Subconsciously, I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can tell. I use stories to market, to sell, to persuade and to push.

So, here goes. My first post. What am I going to write about? Well, I don’t know just yet. I’m guessing it’s going to be about stories, writing, my life, my spiritual inclinations and a whole lot more. And if it’s not about these; then I’m just going to surprise you.

Till then, if you’ve read this and you’re still tuned, I’d love for you to stick around, keep reading and do write to me if you feel like it.

Your feedback is always valued.

Thanks.

Karen