Thursday, April 14, 2016

L is for Let Go

Picture clicked on Tuesday, 12th April 2016, at Margaret Island, Budapest.

'Life is not a pony farm.' My daughter and her friend used these words so many times over the last few days that when I sat down today to write about L, the phrase jumped out of my fingers and settled on the computer screen. 

The girls spent their Easter break volunteering on a farm in Hungary run by a young Swiss German couple. Apparently, the man was extremely fond of this idiom. Like them, I'd never heard of it before and like them, I liked the sound of it. 

It's the German equivalent of 'life's not a bed of roses', or simply put- suck it up and carry on.

The question is: Do we have to suck it up? Can we not let go? And then maybe, we can dance with the ponies we raise or smell the roses we plant?

These are the things I let go of (some as recently as this year and some not too long ago):

1. Expecting my husband to make me a cup of tea in the morning. It ain't happening. And his tea doesn't come close to mine anyway. The way I make it with freshly grated ginger and crushed cinnamon- aah! you gotta taste it. So I've stopped comparing him to my friends' husbands who do. He's happy and I'm really pleased to sip tea just the way I like it, first thing in the morning.

2. Hiding behind Vitiligo. 
'Why do you wear long sleeves to practise? I feel hot just looking at you.' said my yoga teacher almost three years ago. 
I wore my first short sleeve t-shirt in more than ten years to class the next day. When I first went out in public with my patches on display, I kept waiting for people to react with disgust or curiosity. No one did. Slowly, little by little, the rope that I'd tethered myself with to this rock of Vitiligo, disentangled. I set myself free. Yoga helped and so did the speed with which the rest of my pigment vanished. These days, I can be spotted in a sleeveless summer dress.

3. Being the prefect host. I used to get so wound up when I organised dinner parties or lunches or hosted my in-laws that extreme exhaustion would plead me to cancel the plans all together and curl up in bed. Not anymore. I do what I can, when I can. I cook what I feel like with love and care to nourish family and friends, not to impress them. Life's easier this way.

4. Believing that I'm the sum total of the labels I wear: mother, wife, sister, daughter-in-law, teacher, student. I'm not. These labels are mere parts in a play (like Shakespeare said). I have to play my part and recite my lines. But one day, the curtain will fall. I have this life to find my true self, for only my true self will leave the stage with me. The rest will stay here. Only I will move on, on my own, just like I came here. The more attached I get to these labels, the further I go away from the true me.
"Know then that the body is merely a garment.
Go seek the wearer,
not the cloak."
said Rumi.

The list of things that I have yet to let go is longer. Rome wasn't built in a day and a lot has piled up over the years in my baggage compartment. It will take time. Life may not be a pony farm, but I hadn't expected it to be. It's okay the way it is. In fact, it's good and keeps getting better as I keep lightning the load.
Pictures taken at Buttermere, the Lake District- Summer 2015.

If the dandelion doesn't let go
how will she grow?

If the boat blames the rope
and stands at the edge of the lake
always hoping 
and 
sighing what ifs,
how will it know
the limitless expanse,
the light,
and
the life
that lies beyond
the pole it's attached itself to.

Let go.

12 comments:

  1. I like the expression, too!
    I'm not a relaxed hostess either. Still working on that...

    Yvonne V

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    1. Thanks for visiting Yvonne. Relaxed and hostess was an oxymoron for me too - for a very long time. I still slip up. All the best.

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  2. Awesome post Arti!

    1. Expecting my husband to make me a cup of tea in the morning. Go girl! My husband brings me iced tea in the morning before I get out of bed. About a week ago he got back from working in Chile for 35 days and this morning was the first time he brought me iced tea. Aww it was so sweet.

    2. Hiding behind Vitiligo. I see plenty of people with vitiligo, I think it's not a big deal at all. More power to you for finally breaking free and wearing what you want to wear!

    3. Being the prefect host. I struggle with this myself. It's hard not to think everyone will judge you. I've found the feared judging rarely happens and everyone normally has a great time.

    4. Believing that I'm the sum total of the labels I wear: This is a really hard one to shake. I'm realizing once my kids are all grown (25, 20, 18, & 16) I'm not going to know who I am.

    Fantastic post and fabulous pictures Arti!

    Shelly @ http://hangryfork.com

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    1. Thank you Shelly for such a lovely comment.
      1. You lucky thing:)
      2. Vitiligo comes with social taboo in India and even though I don't live in India any more, it's hard to shake off ideas one grows up with. Also, dark or brown skinned people can see this as a disfigurement. It has deep psychological impact on people. It took me almost 12 years to finally let go.
      3. Just your delicious food will be enough to keep your friends happy.
      4. Yes, it's the hardest and needs working on everyday.
      So happy to have found you on this challenge.

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  3. aaj rulaaney ki kasam ley rakhi hain :) between you and Josna.... i am one bawling baby :P specially the one about seking the wearer not the garment... i guess because i feel suddenly entangled in lots more of garment then i had bargained for or had to wear in all my life.... but maybe thats what is needed , a little entanglement with the world, it brings its own learning. Where is the line between rejecting entanglement and facing your reality, not running away? hmm.. going to answer my own question, the difference is in the mind.... being in the midst of a Mahabharata, doing our duty and not getting attached to its fruits.... who wrote about Krishna? you na!

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    1. Hey Erica. Your musings here are a carbon copy of what goes on inside this head of mine at times, too. Yes, karma to karna hai, but uske phul kee apeksha kar ke is aatma ko dukhi naheen. We all know this, but writing and reading and sharing reminds us that our journey is our own (mostly internal) and the choice to be entangled like a victim or disentangled like a witness is also our own. Reminders are kind hearted. They don't say'I told you so', they smile and nod and say---we all go through this at one time or another--inhale, exhale, this too shall pass.

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  4. First of all, your post reminded me of Frozen! :-)

    Arti, I have enjoyed your sumptuous meals and the superb atmosphere you created every time I was at your place. You set the bars of hospitality so high that I just gave up trying :-) You are a very attentive and pleasant host. But I can imagine the toll it takes on you. You are right, spending time together is more important than making it a perfect occasion according to some vague standards we try to follow.

    Letting it go......very difficult to practice. But one must try. On the other hand, sometimes, it may get labeled as 'careless' or 'unfeeling'. I often get asked 'How can you not be ruffled by .....?' and the only answer I have is 'it's the amount of importance we attach to ideas/possessions/relations. Ultimately, we need to let it go'. Krishna and his teachings in Geeta come to rescue here, don't they?

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    1. You are a gentle influence Ruchita; A calm lake compared to my tumultuous brook.
      Why Frozen?
      Krishna crept into L, too...naughty Kanha...he's everywhere:)
      Thank you:)

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  5. What a beautiful post, Arti! Hugs! Letting go of expectations takes us closer to happiness with each step! I used to have a lot of expectations, until I realized that I was the only one stressing over it. When I stopped to pause and decide I was okay with those not coming true, I found myself feeling quite relieved! So liberating it turned out to be! :)

    Thank you for this wonderful post and the gorgeous pictures. Life is definitely not a pony farm. And I kind of like that, because it means we get to enjoy so many different experiences and learn. Hugs again!

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    1. Thanks for the hugs and for stopping by Vidya.

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  6. I have to learn to let go, specially the pressure of being a good host....aargh!

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    1. Work-in-progress...WIP...we are all WIPs:) I'm struggling with letting go of the henna tint. I almost don't cover the greys for a few weeks and then fail at the altar of vanity. So WIP:)

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