Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Unforgiving Sixty Seconds

1 year 2 months 23 days. This is no statistic or a cryptic riddle. This is how long I have been living since I defeated my brain condition to come out 'normal'. A new kind of normal. As most would agree the real journey of life begins when the surgery is over. Its my journey and I have to walk it for the rest of my life. I came out and living is the greatest achievement for me. How I made it, is a separate story and a long one. I will write it someday for sure but right now there are more important thoughts that are keeping me awake.

As per psychologist Maslow and his theory one can attain self actualization only after all the other lower levels have been conquered. I am not sure whether I have crossed and conquered all the levels but what I know is that I am at a stage where I can see things clearly. Crossing or no crossing the levels. This clarity has come about after a lot of pain, soul searching, help, realizations etc. The truth has been overwhelming and tough to say the least.

For quite sometime now life is forcing me to take decisions I ought to have taken anyway. These decisions or stands have pushed me towards paths less travelled and sometimes unknown altogether. In either scenario I have not been comfortable because I didn't know how to walk on them. At every corner and turn I have been searching for familiar faces, events, landmarks but have been disappointed most of the times. All that I learnt through my growing years has been challenged. I will not lie that on so many occasions I have been completely lost and defeated. Today is one of those days. The poem IF by Rudyard Kipling couldn't have been more relevant to me in my present mental state than at any other time. This is where the lines of the poem come to my rescue.

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, 
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, 
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken 
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings 
    And never breathe a word about your loss; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you 
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, 
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, 
    If all men count with you, but none too much; 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute 
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Source: A Choice of Kipling's Verse (1943)
   
This poem has the same relevance to me what teachings from my parents or any guru or learned person would have. It has pushed me to introspect on everything that I have held so dear to me. Its like the essence of all my growing up years reading and soaking from the good people around me. I just forgot it all in the storm of life I had been living. Dealing in lies was never taught to me and nor did I practice. A good human being and a survivor for all seasons is how I had viewed myself. Life threw so many surprises when I least expected them. I could take them all in my stride. Just can't understand how did these people crawl in and I got sucked-in. I know no one can make you feel inferior without your permission. I know I gave the permission and so the fault rests with me. 

Now I have to bear the truth I spoke twisted by knaves to conveniently meet their ends. My truth. Now I have to pick up worn out tools to build what I broke. My tools. Now I have to start at the beginning and not say a word about my loss. My beginning. Now I have to fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run. My minute.   

Its like I have started my walk yet again on a new path. Long and winding with no end in sight. This time its taking me back to my fundamentals. There is no fear because I can't go wrong with my basics. Its really important to disconnect with all that doesn't agree with my being. As famously said by Rick in the movie 'Casablanca' - "I stick my neck out for nobody"....