Wednesday, February 27, 2008

the "JUNO" in all of us perhaps!

I have often described insights coming to me as snowflakes falling softly on my head. I don't know why i use this analogy as i have never experienced snow in my life. it is possible that the way i receive these insights are not like 'wham', 'crash', 'zing', but more like a soft whisper in my head.

i was thinking about my mood swings and irritation and impulses and wondering whether one gets a hang of handling these things or does biological changes overtake who you are. Just at that precise moment "the whisper in my head" told me that actually i have always been like that, moody, unpredictable, impatient, with little sense of boundary management, volatile, enthusiastic, impulsive, hyper, enthusiastic, ..... sounds a bit like a teenager with raging hormones!!

Except, I am no teenager, i am nearly 50 years old and this is by and large how i have been most parts of my life.

i guess, in a way, i never really grew up.

oh, i am not crying about it, nor do i regret it but it does seem like a long time to be in this state. what accompanies this state is a continuous sense of dissatisfaction of what life offered me and mostly what it did not; every point of receiving a gift from life is laced with a doubt of whether i was worthy of receiving it!

i cant remember for how long i have been in this state. seems like forever. my mood changes more often than the clouds changing their position in the sky! and it often changes towards being grumpy or feeling heavy or being restless ....

I also see the rage that has been my constant companion over the years. in fact it has a form, looks like a figure with a orange flame like thing around and it is moving, shouting, screaming in
rage. i can't hear what it is saying but i can see the colour and i can see the movement. it is very real. when i see it as separate from me, i can see my rage and then it is easier to manage but most times, it is smart enough to disguise itself as irritation or impatience or restlessness and then i give in. 'Wham'! it comes with its full blown attack and i realise only post facto!

in fact, people feel i am quite loving but at the same time they are quite afraid of me. their fear is more about my being not predictable. the worse part is i don't realise when i am not being that.

and i can see what they were scared of post facto and i don't blame them.

most times my lovingness come to me in gushes like a flow of a stream which is sometimes dry and sometimes overflowing with passion. people at the receiving end can not handle this. they are not prepared to be smothered by it or being bludgeoned to death with my irritation or indifference!

i think being a teenager also means not having received any valid parenting at all. which is true in my case. so how does one parent oneself? i guess the fact that i am in touch with this is a step.

sometimes i look at my daughter and see how similar and how different she is vis-a-vis me. there are times when she is parenting me like a mother i never had. i guess for her, having a mother like me has been tough. but she has grown up to be quite alright.

i miss not having a mother .... very very much .... and i have always stopped myself from grieving, saying what is the use? i guess real grieving has never happened.

I think time has come for me to start 'mothering' myself and being a person and not a perennial teenager!

Even 'Juno' grew up! :-)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

after a long time

I was working with an organisation last week who are in the process of bringing in internal changes in attitude, development of people, leadership roles and new paradigms in the organisation. They are in the areas of advocacy for change and bringing in social awareness, specific to young people.

While i was working with them i noticed their extremely high level of commitment towards the organisation and what they believed in and yet, their difficulty in working with each other as one voice. what was bogging them down was not their personal interests or need for personal gain, but i hypothesise was their clash of personal isms. this may become clear if i were to write about a triangle that i saw was at work within this group.

This is the triangle of three types of isms, (the credit for this frame goes to my colleague Ashok Malhotra who coined it), namely romanticism i.e. i wish my world was like this, idealism i.e. this is the way the world should be and pragmatism i.e. this is the way the world is. what i find intriguing that in the effort to act on one's conviction, one arm of this triangle is almost always the loser.

If pragmatism is joined with idealism, then we have strategic planning, defined boundaries, way forwards, new directions, etc. However, more often than not, the romanticism has to bid adieu from this. for in the search for pragmatism, romanticism inevitably brings in ambiguity and lack of clarity. for romantics dreams of wishes and desires, a bit like Lennon's song "imagine". They dream and wish for things and scenarios that have not happened yet and probably sounds no plausible in the current context. This often destabilises the way forward, and even dislocates the people from the path. and yet, without romanticism, most plans and visions become dry and lifeless.

when romanticism and idealism join hands, strong winds of change takes birth. urgency to change things, need to bring in changes in the current stagnant, unwholesome context becomes strong and may even breed impatience and intolerance. if this is not tempered with pragmatism, perhaps all voices can not be heard and often the ground reality sufferes.

in this group, collectively romanticism and idealism have joined hands and they are all for bringing in changes both in themselves and the context in which they work in. but simple pragmatism like living with one another's limitations was something they were finding quite difficult to deal with. every limitation had to be dealt with and sorted out, every difference must be sorted out so that amiability returns as though feelings like displeasure, dislike, impatience do not contribute to any productivity at all.

i have seen this in my personal life as well. I find it very difficult to live with displeasure, dislike, impatience, irritability towards people with whom i share intimate relationships and who i love very much. it seems as though i am betraying the other person along with myself. as though i signed some invisible contract to always remain loving towards the other.

in time i have discovered that while this orientation makes my life stressful, it makes the other's life more suffocating and artificial. in this way, there is almost no scope for growth for either of us nor is there any scope for the relationship to grow. evolution stops and what remains are empty shells of yesterday, which often leaves me with regret and longing/yearning for something that does not exist any more.

i still struggle with it, but find it much easier to look at it in the face and don't feel afraid that it makes me look ugly, uncaring and insensitive. it also makes me look 'real' to myself.