His Holiness The Dalai Lama will be giving a speech at KJ Somaiya College tomorrow. When I heard about it, my first reaction was, “I cannot miss this at any cost!” But my second reaction was: I’m just too tired to change two trains and travel. My third reaction was, “Come on! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!” but my fourth reaction was, ” I am just too stressed out! I just want to curl up in my blanket and read a book.” So I finally decided that I will not go. My first reaction after this decision was, “Shit I am missing out something really awesome” but I will stand by my decision despite all the F.O.M.O.
1. Children are expected to worship adults. Questioning/ calling adults out for inappropriate behavior is considered a sin.
The other day, I caught myself writing an extremely ordinary line for a social media post. When someone pointed it out, I felt extremely guilty for not trying my best, for not pursuing excellence in everything I write. After all, I chose this career because I love creativity! However, there are many things at play here. My colleague works from 9 30 AM to 12 30 AM (during movie promotions) and the clients still feel that she is not committed! Anyone who has worked in entertainment (or even advertising) will know that the sheer volume of work can overwhelm your brain. People don’t give a damn about your mental or physical health. When you work in such a culture, it is obvious that you will write ordinary stuff once in a while. As long as it doesn’t become a habit, it is okay! At the end of the day, you cannot be creative if you are not healthy, mentally (All the mental illness-creativity connections sound romantic but somehow, I’m not convinced!). I will keep pursuing excellence but I refuse to feel guilty for not giving my best sometimes. I forgive myself for not giving my 100 percent all the time. I will also try not judge my favorite artists for not putting in effort, once in a while.
Parents (especially Indian parents) are afraid of their children discovering self-love. Teaching your children self-love is in a way giving up your power and authority. If they don’t love themselves then they will forever try to please others. This desire to please can be used for manipulation (which is quite rampant in Indian culture). If children start loving themselves then they will start saying “no” and it is a sin to say “no” to your parents. If children start loving themselves, then they will start questioning traditions. They might start creating art without worrying about the imperfections. They might start saying no to abuse which is quite common in Indian culture. For many Indian parents, parenting is about power, not love.
Maybe, we have to be a little innocent to believe that we can create something that never existed before. Being too clever perhaps gets in the way of creativity.
Maybe that’s the reason why many artists suck at “duniyadari”. Maybe that is the reason why we cannot ‘cunningly’ use our life experiences to make art
Shame traps us in a dangerous vicious circle. Because of shame, we desperately try to please others to prove to ourselves that we are worthy. But shame is smart. It makes us feel ashamed of seeking validation from others. So, we desperately seek validation because of shame and then feel ashamed for seeking validation!
Perhaps, the wisest among us are the ones who accept that we cannot hoodwink life. We can prepare for the worst but ultimately, no amount of preparation is enough. Unfortunately, our culture is full of messages that teach the opposite. We are taught that a mature adult is the one who doesn’t feel vulnerable (It is interesting to note that this message is similar to patriarchy’s message of “Don’t be a pussy”). So, when we grow up, we numb ourselves, devise strategies to outsmart life and death. Since spirituality is male-dominated, we have many teachers who talk about “permanent bliss”. But life is smarter than us.
The problem with passion is that most people don’t have one. Very few people know what they want to do with their life and very few actually do it. What about those who haven’t found their calling? Is it necessary to dedicate yourself to a singular passion? Is it the only way? Like many people, I had these questions. Even though I chose a profession that I love, it’s not the only thing I love. I have multiple interests which are not exactly related to my profession. If you are like me, you would have criticized yourself for not devoting yourself to a singular passion. But what if there is another alternative?
Elizabeth Gilbert has a solution to our woes: She says that those who have not found one “calling” can instead choose to follow something more gentler and accessible: Curiosity. She says that passion is all-consuming, head-shaving-going-to-Nepal-to-start-an-orphanage kind of drama. Curiosity on the other hand is about the small things, those little clues that we find everyday. Those who religiously follow this curiosity live rich lives. If you have found your passion, then congratulations! But if you haven’t found one, then you can build an interesting life too. Watch this Super-Soul session with Elizabeth Gilbert (click) to know more.
Telugu-speaking people often use the words ‘Amma’ (which means Mother) and ‘Nanna’ (which means father) in daily conversations, even when parents are not involved (Like you may say to your friend, “What happened to you, amma?”). In Hindi, we often use the word ‘yaar’ in daily conversations. I’m wondering if the way we use these words describe the kind of culture we live in.