The Song Of Life

daybreak
Sue Vincent’s #Writephoto

Wrapped in a dark cloud
Chained but free
Suffocated yet breathing
They join everyday charade

Reveling in the celebrations
The song of life gets louder
Than expectations
Today is their special day!

Hues of dawn smile
But demons of time linger
Fraught with feral fog
Scraping at her diffidence

Would the cloud open?
Would she soak in the grandeur?
Would she breathe at will?
Living in the cauldron of questions!
© Balroop Singh

Thanks to Sue Vincent for an inspiring Thursday #photoprompt Daybreak.

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Expectations Of Writers And Readers

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When a writer puts the first word on paper; a dream world opens before him, a world that ignites his creativity as well as fantasy. Former makes him produce his magnificent work but the latter makes him a celebrity overnight (in his dreams.)

You may be writing out of creative compulsions or the satisfaction of venting your voice could be your trigger, most writers harbor a secret wish – to be read, to be reviewed and admired. Admiration comes easily but you never know how hypocritical it is. Reality hits you when you see how much money you are earning from your books.

You may stay determined with the cliché – “never give up” but when you read others’ work and feel that many average books are overflowing with 5 star reviews; you wonder whether something is wrong with you when you feel like dropping a book that has been fetching 5 stars… (for whatever reasons!)

However, there are critical readers too. They know what they want, their discerning eye can’t be escaped. Their expectations are immeasurable.

You think you have the most original ideas, you would be the best seller but your readers feel you ramble, you repeat and the setting of your story is vague or the title of your book is a misnomer.youtuber-2838945__340

You think you write perfect English, your beta readers are excellent helpers and you have a long list of friends under the acknowledgements but your readers find typos and structural errors in your book.

Each reader expects an amazing book; he doesn’t want to think what were your compulsions or exhaustions. He doesn’t want to buy your excuses. He doesn’t want to digest your lack of finances for hiring an astute editor. All readers are not writers and they have every right to judge your book according to their own parameters. All readers are not kind enough to overlook imperfections in the plot, style of writing or characterization.

Then there are writers who focus on money. They write just what sells. The day writing becomes a chore for you, you are no longer a writer, and you become a businessperson, churning out book after book, devoid of any real emotion.

Your writing may not be “like a windowpane” or “impenetrable fog” but it has to be an “exploration,” it has to “enrich the life of those who read it.” If it is just inconsequential chitchat between a few characters, going around in circles, you may befool a few readers but not all.

Robert Frost’s definition is worth pondering: “The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader. I know people who read without hearing the sentence sounds and they were the fastest readers. Eye readers we call them. They get the meaning by glances. But they are bad readers because they miss the best part of what a good writer puts into his work.”

Are you an “eye reader” or a critical reader? Do you drop a book if you don’t like it? What do you expect from your readers?

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.

 

Do You Strive For Perfection?

Chasing perfection?

Do you strive to be perfect? A flawless skin, a curvy model-like body, a project that could win you accolades, a loving and understanding spouse, a perfect home with smiling children. Do you think it is possible? If you do, you are following a mirage, as nothing is perfect in this world.

Why perfection? Who creates this myth? How do we start believing in perfection? Probably people around us impel us, expectations of our parents and challenges of our peer group sow the seeds of this illusionary idea of chasing perfection. We want to excel, accomplish all our aspirations and self-belief propels us towards putting in our best efforts and time.

You may reach the zenith but life is much more than just being successful, as no success is eternal and no life is perfect. Relationships go awry, marriages hit unknown boulders, unforeseen circumstances throw you overboard, and stress tells upon your health.

That perfect score of your child might be hiding a deep grudge against you for pushing him into academics. That zero size model might be starving herself into depression. That perfect moment of love loses its significance with time. That nagging habit could be alienating your spouse.

The wizard of perfection rests on ski slopes, smiling at us only till the snow melts.

I too, was fascinated by the perfect home settings shown in movies, magazines and advertisements and even tried hard to keep my home in perfect shape, yelling at my children to keep their toys and books where they belong. Any book left here and there carelessly was confiscated, and returned with the promise that they would be more careful in future…till they flew away to accomplish their own dreams and nobody spread things around!

My endeavors of creating a perfectly organized home robbed me of many moments of joy with my children. I am more tolerant with my grandchildren, never coaxing them to pick up the things they love to scatter around their house. Sometimes they clean up but most of the time they just walk off to their next activity and that is perfectly okay with me, now.

Do not seek perfection, as:

  • It encourages unrealistic demands
  • It fosters frustration
  • It creates stress and unnecessary arguments
  • It wastes energy
  • It derails dreams

Please don’t confuse perfection with excellence. You may try to excel, which leads us to better avenues and inventions. It also fills our heart with contentment but putting in your best efforts should be in coherence with self-love and personality building. When we try to accomplish something at the cost of relationships and health, when we ignore the core values of life in our pursuit of excellence, it could eventually prove detrimental for us. “The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection,” said George Orwell.

Haven’t you heard that legend about Draupadi, (of The Mahabharata fame) who wanted a perfect husband and asked Lord Shiva to bless her with one? She was told that all the five qualities she wished for in her husband couldn’t be found in a single man. Her wish was granted but she was destined to marry five brothers.

Quest for perfection culminates at weird destinations! What do you think?

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Balroop Singh.

Expectations and Attachments Define Life

 

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Recently I came across this statement, “The best way to get what you want is not want it.” The cynicism embedded in the above statement kept me awake for many hours. I had to pen down my thoughts to calm them. How can you call self-denial the “best way”? How can you quell your desires?

Expectation is a natural human instinct – a child expects attention, love and care. If he doesn’t get the basic care, his expectations don’t end there. He seeks them elsewhere.

Those children who grow up in misery and penury don’t get immune to expectations. Their eyes are always at the sky, anticipating all that they yearn for!

Our expectations flow like a stream that keeps widening as it touches the plains. The seeds of expectation are nurtured at a very early stage of life by our parents, teachers and friends.

This so called positive assertion of “giving up what you want” may have some spiritual connotation attached to it but tell that to a child or an adolescent and you would get the real looks! They may call you cynical; scoff at your advice and consider you too old to even interact with. Buddhist philosophy appeals only to the elderly.

Wants and desires are innate. They make us human. They are those streamers that inspire us to hang out despite the windy weather. They push us toward our goals, ignite a fire of excellence and lure us toward accomplishing more. Some of them lie dormant, waiting for the right opportunity.

Life would become meaningless and hollow without desires. True, they keep on multiplying; they may even disappoint us but without them all fun flies out of our lives. Expectations and attachments define life for us.attachments

Why attachments are essential: Initial attachments introduce us to people, they underline love for us and acquaint us with the basic values of bonding, care and respect. As children grow out of those attachments, ready to face the world, they feel connected with friends; they learn the value of love and nurture relationships to live a meaningful life.

What would life be without any attachments? All human emotions germinate from attachments, which may bind us emotionally but they keep us grounded to ennoble us. Only when we feel attached do we learn compassion. Solitude seems good only after having experienced all that human beings can offer to each other. Detachment is a mere word that has failed miserably despite its valuable aspects. When we try to detach, we have to snub what our heart says. Who would like to do that?

Needs have a profound connection with attachments. Why do you need a smart phone? Our grandparents could do without it yet somebody thought of better connections. Needs, however absurd they may seem, lead us to progress, to a better society and fulfilling life.

Desires keep us motivated; they encourage us to strive, to keep going despite all the odds. They shape us into better human beings. They add fresh dimensions to mundane aspects of life.

Giving up expectations and attachments is like giving up your hold on life. I am sure all of you would agree. Please share your reflections.

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Balroop Singh.

Self-deception And Suffering…Do we have a choice?

Self-deception and suffering

Self-deception is nobody’s intention yet we allow ourselves to live in its throes without reflecting or contemplating about it. Probably we don’t have any control over delusionary thoughts.

Self-deception may be therapeutic but only for a little while! The longer we choose to hide behind the lies we tell ourselves, the greater is the suffering.

Recently one of my friends was talking in a very depressing tone. My conversation with her revealed the same old dilemma…letting yourself into the realms of expectations and getting drowned in those thoughts.

Thoughts make us what we are. They guide us into unknown territories of depression, which starts slowly. We don’t even realize where we are going. Nobody steps into the dungeon of depression willingly. It just happens.

Most of the time others dominate our thoughts. We are worried about others – our siblings, friends and family. We try to please them when we are growing up. Failure to come up to their expectations may drive us into those moments of melancholy and loneliness. When we don’t share our frustrations, they get deep-rooted.

Those unresolved issues manifest themselves in the most surreptitious manner. We become controlling freaks and don’t even know it. We live in the world of our exquisite expectations, which are sacrosanct to us. We call them our dreams; we present them in the garb of our love and can go to any extent to get them fulfilled.

The clear victims of those expectations have to be our children as they are the most vulnerable, readily available quarries around us. We try to mold them according to our own thoughts, we try to impose our way of living on them and we expect them to follow our diktats.

We forget that they have their own mind. We overlook the fact that we resented all this when we were growing up. We disregard the importance of free thoughts and when they start taking their own decisions, we remind them of our own expectations from them. Our cravings and anger towards them makes us unhappy but we indict them, we rub it on them so much that they start drifting away.

All children drift away as they are guided by their own aspirations. It is not necessary that they should match yours. We worry more about the happiness of our children, forgetting that nobody can give happiness as a gift. Serenity and peace cannot be given, it lies in self-discovery, in acceptance but nothing sinks in when you are mired in angst, unnecessary worry, which does not lead you anywhere.Self-deception quote

Expectations are the biggest culprits as they let us believe the unthinkable. Mindful thinking can only be possible if the person concerned is ready to think otherwise.

Suffering may be inevitable and essential to understand life but self-inflicted suffering, which comes from thoughts can be avoided.

‘Easier said than done’ is the constant refrain to this advice but the moment we say this phrase, we are paving the way for continued anxiety as we assume that it is difficult to attain that state of mind, which can exalt us from self-inflicted thoughts of being miserable.

“Man’s capacity for self-deception is strange.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

A beginning has to be made and only we can make it.

The choice lies with us because the thoughts and expectations are also ours. Negative thoughts take precedence. Let them. When they have poisoned your mind, it is your turn to rebuff them and replace them with generosity, humility and peace. Nurture empathy and self-love.

Some take solace in meditation, others immerse themselves in prayer and some may even derive peace from the fact…life is like that, it throws up various kinds of painful challenges and it is better to accept them than fight.

Yet we have to fight the negative thoughts, which lead us into self-deception.

Thoughts are very powerful. They create; they shape our lives and beliefs. A major part of our personality is molded by our thoughts. Our happiness and success depends on the quality of our thoughts.

Have you ever felt entrenched in the maze of your thoughts? Do you live in the world of self-deception?

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.