When I Met Death…

Death quote

It was not a perceptual experience or a hallucination nor any feeling of detachment from the body; it was the sensation of being aware that ‘this is the end’…‘its all over.’

There were no questions, no anxiety, no eagerness to save myself; only a strange numbness and acceptance and a refrain ‘its all over.’

Another thought – Oh! My new car…probably this thought hit me before the numbness; not sure.

This was not what researchers call ‘Near-death experience’, according to which there is an awareness of being dead, peace and painlessness surrounded by positive emotions.

Let me reconstruct that moment for you. Intoxicated by the exuberance of youth and the arrogance of driving a new car, one morning when I was going to work, the speed of my car was nearly 80 (I was living in Delhi at that point of time) and it happened to touch the central curb…I don’t know how, probably the demon of driving turned the wheel. He had whispered into my ear a number of times to drive within a safe driving speed but who takes the advice of demons or even well wishers?

Obviously my car flew away and landed after three somersaults. I went completely numb, with only one thought in my mind: Oh… it’s all over!

It was early morning and the traffic was very light at the freeway.

I was amazed at the impact! How could I escape unhurt, just with a few bruises and blood at my face? How could I request the onlookers who offered to take me to hospital to drop me near my home? How could I walk home myself with a bleeding lip and hand? That was the day I started believing in miracles.

All fears evaporated as I had met the ultimate fear. The desires of acquiring material possessions waned considerably. All arrogance melted when I saw my new car in shambles and people refused to believe it had absorbed all the impact. My husband refused to believe that it had somersaulted three times! My mom told me it was the iron used in the car, which could be lucky for me!

This miraculous escape taught me:

  • Life doesn’t happen as we plan, it is more like a bubble. It can burst any time, live it with abandon.
  • Take out your favorite crystal glasses and use them everyday for whatever drinks you enjoy.
  • Plan that dream vacation right now as, tomorrow may never come.
  • Communicate what lies in your heart; unexpressed emotions may go with you into your grave any day.
  • Face your fears. The power of all fears recede when we learn to encounter them.
  • Learn to forgive. The moment we forgive, we feel confident and powerful. It develops and validates our goodness and compassion.
  • This fiercely competitive, engulfing world may be waiting to devour us but we have to approach it with calmness.
  • Success does not just mean a lot of money and power or the house of your dreams. It is living a meaningful life.
  • Savor little moments of joy everyday.
  • Feel the gratitude for this blessing called life, which can be snatched any moment.
  • Laugh out louder and learn to love people around you.

I was humbled by this experience, I changed, I came back happier, with deeper love for my family and friends. I have lived the bonus years granted to me, with profound gratitude“For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.” – Khalil Gibran.

send me flowers while I am alive

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Balroop Singh.

Outside and Inside #writephoto

#writephoto poetry

The wondrous window…
Her world, her only real realm
That connected her with clouds
Outside and inside.

The edges of the windowsill
Smoother than paths she trod
Reassured her that she was safe
In the arms of her benefactor

All fears receded within her
She licked her wounds and soothed herself
As she looked out…calmness prevailed
Outside and inside.

Starry nights churned the storm
Shook her out of her slumber
Wobbling towards the window
She looked out at the streaks of light

Which shrieked…‘coward!
How could you concede defeat?
How could you enter your own grave?
Cringe inside and outside’

The glow of each dawn descends
Deeper into her deliberations
She looks outside
To confine conflagration inside.
© Balroop Singh
All rights reserved.

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the inspiration.

You can click on Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh to read more poems.

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

Personal Transformation Secrets

Personal TransformationThere are thousands of stories about personal transformation and the oft-repeated word is – positivity! The word seems to suggest that the moment we write that word down in our journal, the moment we start thinking about it, change within us starts.

While the stories of personal transformation inspire, there are many people whose inspiration lasts for a few moments, who like to wallow in self-pity and don’t make any conscious effort to move on from the dumps of depression.

Positive thoughts need constant ignition. That’s why one appointment with a therapist is not sufficient. What does a therapist do? He just listens to our disappointing thoughts and veers them towards positivity.

I can say with great conviction that positivity does help but personal transformation is a very slow process. So slow that we don’t even notice it.

In many cases it doesn’t occur at all…why?

  • Negative influence around us impedes our first step, detrimental discussions about persons who work against our progress especially at work place sway our thoughts so much that we fail to see how much such people can harm our personality.
  • Getting stuck in the past, whining about who hurt us and why and submerging ourselves in the sea of sadistic thoughts doesn’t let us move beyond what we are and what we wanted to be.
  • Obsession of success can take us far into the barren lands of transience, which seem to be so alluring that we lose connection with our own self as well as our treasured relationships.
  • Arrogance of wealth and power refuses to knock us down its exalted pedestal, from where we see ourselves as perfect.
  • All those persons who ride high on the clouds of perfection refuse to accept that they could become better persons.

I know a few who don’t even possess the courage to acknowledge that they had hurt somebody at some juncture of life, knowingly or unknowingly. Some are those who continue to hurt and say ‘why should I change now?’ They believe that people deserve the treatment that has been meted out to them because of their imperfections. Ironically they refuse to see that nobody is perfect!

If you want to change yourself…

Accept your inadequacies:

Do you consider acceptance of your weaknesses equivalent to lowering of your self-esteem? Has self-love created a rift between you and your dear ones? If so, it is time to introspect. You may be aware of the reasons; the moment you acknowledge them in your heart; you could initiate personal transformation.

Get in touch with your inner self:Personal transformation quote

Do you sweep embarrassing issues and questions under the carpet? Do you postpone their discussion? Do you live in the world of denial? There must be some fears and insecurities, which could be hampering your growth. Unless you let them reveal themselves and make peace with them, personal transformation doesn’t ensue.

Cultivate kindness:

A kind heart overlooks all mistakes and forgives all. Do one kind act everyday. It could be as little as smiling at somebody. Kindness is immensely cathartic for the body and the soul. It calms our nerves and introduces us to empathy. It enhances our confidence and provides a strange satisfaction. Studies have revealed that kind people are happy and healthy.

Understand success:

Success may be an important goal of your life but it loses its meaning when we shoot past other aspects of life. Success is being happy, being at peace with yourself; being able to look after yourself and being content. A successful person is the one who is emotionally balanced. Addiction to success often proves self-detrimental. The corridors of success are illuminated more by our emotions.

“Transformation is not automatic. It must be learned; it must be led.” – W. Edwards Deming.

We have to allow ourselves to become a better person. You can read more about personal enhancement in my latest book.

Have you ever struggled with frustrations? Do negative thoughts pester you?

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

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Balroop Singh.

 

Timeless Poetry That Inspires Me…#NationalPoetryMonth

 

Poetry that inspires and awakens

I had written an Ode To Poetry and had expressed a similar emotion in that poem. Some poems carry a profound message, which remains eternally relevant.

Some poems inspire us to rise against injustice while some just sooth our disillusioned minds.

Some highlight the highhandedness of those who have always tried to oppress others. They leave an everlasting impact on sensitive souls.

All the favorite excerpts that I have picked up in celebration of National Poetry Month have been linked to full poems in case you want to read and gather what I am trying to say.

Please don’t miss another striking feature of these poems. Just see how simple the language of these poems is and can be understood even by those who find poetry beyond their comprehension.

If by Rudyard Kipling

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:

The above lines have always inspired me to maintain my uprightness in the midst of those who resort to mean tactics to belittle you for their own motives. I kept this poem under the glass of my table so that I could read it everyday.

The Chimney Sweeper by William Blake

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry ” ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!”
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.

While this poem highlights the injustice and brutality suffered by poor children in 18th and 19th centuries, what strikes me in the poem is the optimistic vision of the poet when he says:

And by came an angel who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins and set them all free.
Then down a green plain leaping, laughing they run,
And wash in a river and shine in the sun.

William Blake has also made an emotional comment on racism through his poem The Little Black Boy:

My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but O! my soul is white;…
.….
And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love,
And these black bodies and this sun-burnt face
Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

I marvel at the relevance of this poem even today when we grapple with discrimination all around us!

Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers by Adrienne Rich

Aunt Jennifer’s finger fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer’s hand.

What tugs at my heart is the message of subjugation that these lines convey in a very succinct manner. ‘Massive weight’ symbolises aunt Jennifer’s ordeals in an unhappy marriage.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

I often quote these lines not just because of their lyrical quality and aesthetic effect that they cast upon the reader but also because they actually transport me to those beautiful surroundings that the poet has captured in this poem and which gives him perpetual joy.

Where the Mind is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depths of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the
dreary desert sands of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening
thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

‘The heaven of freedom’ that Tagore yearned for his countrymen has always been eluding us. Our minds are still haunted by ‘fears’ and ‘narrow domestic walls.’ The universal appeal of this poem is amazing and truthful.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – A highly acclaimed masterpiece of Robert Frost calls upon the reader to focus, to brush aside the distractions and temptations and move ahead.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

These are just a few memorable poems, which made a mark on my persona but there are many more like these in the annals of Literature, waiting to be explored.

To have great poets, there must be great audiences - Walt Whitman

Is there any poem, which has touched your heart in a special way? Please share it.

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

 

Which Is More Enchanting…Sunrise Or Sunset?

Winter Sunset

I have always found sunsets more alluring as I could watch them without making any special effort and I had some time to spare in the evening. I saw most of the sunrises from the windshield of my car, while driving to work and that too only in winters.

When I rummage through my childhood memories, none of them is connected with sunrise but I remember walking with the moon and wondering how it could accompany me everywhere!

While on a vacation I have always found the warmth of my bed and early morning sleep more charming than stepping out to see the sun!

The first real sunrise that I saw at Kasauni (a hill station and village situated in Bageshwar district in the state of Uttarakhand, India) is still embedded in my memory.

It is the most memorable one not because we were told that we must visit Kasauni, “the Switzerland of India” and watch the sunrise and inspired by the exuberance of our youth we took it more like an adventure!

It is memorable because of getting up before dawn in freezing cold, with a little baby of six months in my hands, all bundled up with a cute cap and watching the panoramic view of snow-capped Himalayan peaks, slowly changing color seemed like a dream in those days. One of my albums holds this beautiful memory but it belongs to that era of cameras, which were not digital.

“Saw the sun rise. A lovely apricot sky with flames in it and then solemn pink. Heavens, how beautiful…I feel so full of love to-day after having seen the sun rise.” – Katherine Mansfield

sunset

Despite that heavenly view none of the vacations to picturesque places could impel me to move my butt out of my balmy bed to watch the clouds turning soft pink to peach.

It is blessing to catch an early morning flight because the hues of yellow, ochre and orange reveal themselves with all their glory, which can be watched effortlessly from the window seat, I love to occupy.

I may whine a lot about why is the flight so early but all those words melt and merge into the hues of spectacular sunrise.

Sun peeping into my living room
Sun peeping into my living room!

But I love sunsets and nature has conspired so lovingly to place me here. Now the direction of my little abode is such that the sun peeps through my French windows before going down.

The golden hour extends as the orange and the golden glow lingers longer for me to capture its mesmerizing charm and I watch it from my couch everyday, deriving unfathomable pleasure of lifetime.

The window of my bedroom presents the view of sunrise. Since I befriended eight, I hardly ever see it.

Colors of sunset
“A sunset is the sun’s fiery kiss to the night.” ― Crystal Woods

All the pictures of sunset have been taken from one place, the patio of my home. I have many more!

Do you like sunsets? Do they evoke any memories?

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

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Balroop Singh.

Sunset hues
Sunset hues!