Savita’s* third daughter made the slight mistake of marrying a ‘Punjabi’. While considering matches for her beautiful sixth chick, Punjabis were definitely out of the running. There was this constant lena-dena (a usually incredibly long list of gifts for the boy’s family, extended family and even more extended aunts and uncles you never saw again) that went on in case of births, deaths and marriages. Discreet instructions were conveyed through the daughter and they hopped to it because the boy’s family was THE BOY’S family. Apart from that, Savita had no time for a son-in-law who had an endless stream of requests – “Swarna*, ek cup coffee bana de.” or “Swarna, meri pant press kar de.”
“Didi”, Savita would say with flashing eyes and no small amount of indignation, “doesn’t he have the hands and feet to make his own coffee and iron his own trousers? All my other Pahari sons-in-law cook, help out in the house and take care of such things themselves. Why can’t he do the same?”
“Not all Punjabis are like that. They are generally a hard-working people in other ways.” I would offer a tentative defence of the much-maligned community into which I was born. But Savita refused to be mollified or change her opinion about the supreme ineligibility of Punjabi men. Another daughter of hers was not going to marry a Punjabi. Period. However, that never prevented her from sending dear daughter and Punjabi son-in-law a huge carton of apples every year. Punjabis, she informed me with surprising neutrality, didn’t have apples, whatever else they might grow on their lands.
Savita is not about to upset the apple cart of old customs and conventions passed down from generation to generation, even if she’s had enough of the never-ending lena-dena. Most of us don’t buck the system either because it’s a useless endeavour, we have too many more important things to do and wasn’t life stressful enough?
Generally, we don’t buck our internal stressful system either, even if we’ve had enough of it. We usually continue with the same toxic patterns of thoughts, emotions and behaviour that cause the discord between us and our spouses, children or friends, we miss opportunities due to self-sabotaging thoughts we’re hardly aware of, we continue to be our harshest critics. And things never change even though months or years pass.
The good news is that there’s always a life-affirming movement within us that will at some time or the other cause us to actively seek solutions and act on them. If we refuse to go with that flow, there’s restlessness, dissatisfaction, boredom or depression. It tells us we’re missing something, that there is more to us than we are allowing ourselves to see or be. It’s when we tap into the tremendous potential within that we start living life from the higher octave of love, rather than fear.
Savita’s* eldest daughter ran away with a boy from a village some distance away, just nine days before she was to marry into an eminent family, who owned a hotel with “its own parking space”. This act of her daughter had heavy implications for the family, most of it was the scandal that would surely ensue – how would they face society again? Hearing this news, Savita’s husband, recently elected sarpanch, locked himself in a room and banged his head against the wall. Early next morning, Savita armed herself with a long axe that the villagers use to cut wood and set off in the general direction of the village the couple had eloped to. In those days, there was a Roadways bus (a rickety contraption that ran the interstate route, as opposed to local buses that plied between the villages) that trundled down the mountain every morning at 5 am but for some inexplicable reason it didn’t show up that day and she returned home. “Didi”, she laughs as she recounts that incident to me, “if that bus had turned up, God knows what might have happened that day, I was so angry!”
Knowing Savita as I do now, her venture that day would probably have ended up as a show of sabre rattling to restore some honour and that would have been that. Her reactions more often than not were extreme, as her 7 children have informed me on some occasion or the other. Whenever Savita was triggered, she would go down all guns blazing which usually didn’t help in solving the problem. She would just shrug it off after she let off steam, till another trigger made her as reactive, the knee-jerk response to fear.
For many of us, our default setting is fear. We have moments of happiness, hope, enjoyment, love but when they’re over, fear holds reign again. Like Savita, we know of incidents when we are reactive to an action and then we go crazy trying to figure out the solution. Savita could bring out her axe to show her wrath and in a calmer state realize that she could have done irreparable damage. When we ponder over her reactive behaviour and ours, what do we see is fear, and it is these fear-based reactions that create all our experiences in life.
Going purely by the law of attraction, in our inner fear-based world, we are going to attract people, places, events and things that will continuously give us fear-based experiences that we’re certain we don’t want, yet we attract them due to that lack of awareness of what is causing them in the first place. And then the cycle of conflict in relationships, low self-worth, disease, aging of the body, lack of money, friends, opportunities, growth goes on in a never-ending downward spiral.
How does one change tracks towards a happier, less reactive life? The answer lies in seeking to be the inward alchemist by being the master of your thoughts, you are the driver that can change the course whenever you choose. Over time, Savita who possesses a native shrewdness that has served her well, has learned to make that choice. She knows that if she just stops for a second before she flares up, calms down her reaction, she is making that conscious decision for a more harmonious outcome. And it could well be that as she continues her journey through life, it becomes her true nature not to be reactive at all. As things stand today, she and her eldest daughter share a close relationship that has been a source of great support to Savita in recent years, but more on that later.
Just as fear lies within us, its solution also lies within- love. Love is that powerful force that is the true essence of everything in creation, including us. It is that choice and exercise of free will that lead us out of stress, anguish, misery etc. And as we become aware of the root cause of all issues in our lives, do we allow ourselves to make that choiceless choice for a life well lived on a road less travelled?
*Name changed to protect identity.
Ochune has the proud privilege of living in the best room of Savita’s house, the ‘hall’. Her kitchen is occasionally borrowed back for holding pujas (various prayers for an astounding variety of petitions to God).
You can connect with Ochune on her Facebook page – Inward Alchemy
TWO DAY RETREAT ON HEALING FEAR
Date: September 23-24, 2017
Time: 10 am to 4 pm
# 2174, Sector 15 C, Chandigarh
Registration Link: https://goo.gl/forms/EFFvtRGeoD9YCRhn2
What will you gain from this?
~ How to tackle and manage fear so that it is no longer a dominant force.
~ Extremely effective practices and applications that will heal the fear accumulated over time.
~ How to protect yourself from the energy force of fear as you go about your day.
~ How to start living a love based life instead of a fear based one.
~ 2 powerful group healings and 2 group processes to release fear during the retreat itself.
When you start leaving fear, you start living life from a higher state of consciousness that is peaceful, joyful and fulfilling. Invest in yourself and be all that you want to be!
LUNCH AND REFRESHMENTS WILL BE SERVED
Charges per person: Rs 5000
For registrations, counseling, and confirmations please call Ochune at
Facebook Event: https://goo.gl/NwTkxt