In every class that I conduct, I repeat the phrase ad infinitum, ‘ Nurture your passion’ and go on to tell my students that if they are great dancers, or mediocre dancers but have a liking for the art, they should spend time pursuing it. If you are singer, choreographer, designer, a rangoli expert or a web designer, do it again and again, and remember that like a plant that you nurture, in your good times and especially your bad times in life, this tree will present you many fruits of uninhibited joy. It will give you strength when the ground feels shaky and you are looking for succor. Because we all need to be like rivers.
You see, no river is sustained by a single rivulet or stream, we all need multiple inlets of joy in our lives. So when you love, love your lover but love yourself and find other people, places and hobbies to pursue with love. When you work, work with all your heart, but don’t do it like a blind obsession, along with your work practice your art, pursue your hobby, grow your network , if nothing, at least go for daily walks and spend time with nature. Look often at the limitless sky and wonder of what it holds…dream…keep up the dreams.
Some of us tend to do the error of being of single-minded focus on a role either professionally or personally and forget everything else. Then of course, slightest disappointments are harsh or life -threatening because this role has been your lifeline.
Should it be so, really? Is the role of a mother, sister, wife, manager, teacher so life consuming that you find it necessary to cut yourself of all joys of existence of which this role is but one of the many facets. How narrow minded can we be? How blind to the many joys of living?
It happened to me that post marriage I was not allowed to connect to my cousins or friends with whom I shared a beautiful bond. When this was followed by years of my only brother’s illness and his passing away, I was left with no one to even turn to in my life. Those were tough times. When my ex decided to quit his job, and the added responsibility of running the home fell on my shoulders, I became what I call in malayalam an ‘otta buddhi’, a woman of single minded focus on financial sustenance, emotional support to my parents and daughter and fighting for my sanity, which was the only thing I focused on. During these trying years, actually before events took a more serious and dramatic turn, a dear friend advised, ‘write’ and I took it up, because I always wanted to be a writer but also because I knew it would help me heal. And it did.
During the most trying times in life, I could put up a poem and feel a bit relaxed because there was no other let out that was accessible to me besides spending time with my chirpy kid. Yes, the occupation of teaching is a healer too, as it gives you as much as you give. So I held on to my core and stood strong despite the winds of adversity that kept testing me. Many years later I discovered a happy company of like minded speakers in Toastmasters International whose camaraderie and constant cheering lent me much courage and strength. Besides, I had also discovered the magic of expressing gratitude which the universe was kind enough to acknowledge every time.
So, I came out of a very manipulative and trying relationship with a smile intact and a heart devoid of hurt and rancor, well almost and still continue to work on my inner self.
But the point is the significance of a hobby, a passion , a cause close to your heart, which you should nurture at any cost. The value of this is intangible but life saving more than any other form of vaccine you might want to take.
I write this today as I see so many of my friends who go through this stage of going through an utter sense of loss or despair when things do not go as expected.
Life never promised to follow a google map, either. All life does is to take you on a journey of life experiences which can range anywhere from good to bad , knowing that then we should all work on our sense of joy, our anchor which will help us withstand the winds of change.
My suggestion then, do not be an ‘otta budhi’, go pursue your passion, many passions in fact and breathe easy as you go about living your life.
If you are a parent, don’t dissuade your child from pursuing his interests. You never know when and how it will aid him, professionally or personally.
Besides, that is perhaps the only activity he looks forward to doing and derives joy, satisfaction and a sense of individuality, so let it be.
Dancing engineers do make better humans and better bridges too!