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Choices in Life
Your choices in life shape your destiny.
Choices in life are transformational trade-offs.
Life regularly places you at the cross roads of choices. The fork which beckons you in each direction brings with it a different set of options. Either you take this road or the other. Each has its own pros and cons.
The key is to decide which way and stay with that decision. The decision will be guided by where you are headed. What is your destination? What do you hope to achieve at that destination? Have you determined prior to starting off on the journey where you would like to end up? How will you determine that you have indeed arrived at your destination? Without answering these perennial questions that life throws at you it is impossible to assess your success. And all of our answers to these questions reflect our choices in life.
Good and not so good choices
It does not matter whether you have made good choices or not. It does matter however that you made choices and even more critically you know your motivation for those choices.
Mark Twain once said: "you cannot blame your eyesight if your imagination is poor."
Choices are a secret that is your own. Nobody is going to punish you for bad choices or reward you for good choices. But life tends to teach you lessons from both types of choices.
Why do we make choices?
We make choices in life for a myriad reasons the foremost of which is our priorities. We choose directions which we hope will bring us money, fame, fortune, peace of mind, self-actualization and so forth. These motivations are the barometers of our state of mind. They reflect our inner thoughts.
Our motivations in turn are shaped by our experiences. If we have grown up with positive experiences, we will tend to be optimistic about the future and will nurture that. This will result in priorities that reflect our deepest thoughts. On the other hand, if we have grown up with disappointments or betrayals even in small ways, we will tend to become cynical about life. This will impact our priorities as well.
But there is a great gap between what we go through as experiences and what we decide to do with that.
Aldous Huxley, the well known English writer said: "Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens to you."
One of the most commonly faced dilemmas with choices is whether we are satisfied with instant or short term gratification or we think on the long term implications of our decisions and actions. In short, are we expecting immediate results or we are willing to wait.
The Universal Law of Sowing and Reaping says you will harvest what you sowed but with a gestation period. You cannot sow today and expect to harvest tomorrow. You have not given nature time to do its part to the seed that you have sowed. Everything in life has its time frame. Unfortunately, a short term gratification mindset tends to expect instantaneous miracles. This is not reality. Short term gratification many times tends to embrace the superficial versus the profound. It just does not have the patience to wait. It is easily dazzled by what "appears to be" as against what actually "is."
But it is a fact that your choices whether short term or long term and whether superficial or deep do shape your destiny.
Duryodhana and Arjuna
In the Indian Epic Mahabharatha (having the honor of the longest epic in world literature), one of the mini episodes is a great example of this principle.
Having successfully completed thirteen years of exile facing many obstacles and dangers instigated by the Kauravas, the Pandavas as per the terms of the agreement, approached the Kauravas for their share of the kingdom. Duryodhana, the Kaurava prince however flatly refused to part with as much land as could be covered by the point of a needle. Thus war became imminent.
Duryodhana and Arjuna, representing Kauravas and Pandavas respectively, were sent to Dwaraka to seek the help of Lord Krishna in the battle. They both found Krishna resting on a couch in his palace. Duryodhana went in and occupied a seat at the head of the couch while Arjuna stood near the feet of the Lord. The moment Lord Krishna opened his eyes, he naturally saw Arjuna first and then Duryodhana sitting at his side. After enquiry of their welfare and the purpose of their visit, Lord Krishna, according to the prevailing custom, gave first choice to Arjuna because of his age and also because Krishna saw Arjuna first.
Lord Krishna gave Arjuna the choice between selecting him unarmed or his powerful army called Narayani Sena (the Lord's army). Arjuna, who was a devotee of Lord Krishna, expressed his desire to have the Lord with him rather than the powerful Narayani Sena, even though Krishna warned that he would remain just a witness, bound by the vow of not participating in battle and not taking up arms. Duryodhana was delighted at Arjuna's choice, which he felt was foolish and expressed his wish for the powerful army to help his side in the battle.
When Krishna asked Arjuna why he chose him when he was not for taking up arms, Arjuna said, "O Lord! You have the power to destroy all forces by mere sight. Why then should I prefer that worthless army? I have for a long time been cherishing a desire in my heart that you should act as my charioteer. Kindly fulfill my desire in this war".
The Lord, who is himself drawn to his devotees, accepted his request with pleasure and thus Lord Krishna became the sarathi (charioteer in Sanskrit) of Arjuna in the battle of the Mahabharata. This was a turning point in what was to be the war between good and evil which good wins but at the cost of bloodshed and great pain.
This episode personifies the fact that the choices that you make in life indeed shape your destiny. Everybody makes good and bad choices in life. Whatever choices you do make must be based on values and passions you hold dear to heart for we saw in this illustration how appearances could be deceptive and choices based on superficiality can prove costly.
Let me leave you with this thought.
Have you reflected on the choices you have made in life?
Have your considered that where you are today is the result of those very choices in life.
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|The Craft of Writing|
Imagine drawing on the canvas of your imagination with word based stories?
A blessed craft
The craft of writing is a blessed one. The ability to freely express the thoughts milling round our heads into a coherent essay is something exciting, challenging, liberating and highly fulfilling. Writing manifests itself in various ways and for different purposes - you could write to report something, you could write to clarify thoughts in your own head, you could write to create a record of various things you did and felt (journalling), you could write to educate, entertain, motivate, criticize, empathize, and even awaken entire communities and generations. Writing has that power.
I have felt a oneness with writing right from childhood. It seemed to transport me to a world of imagination, possibilities and creativity. When I wrote my first article in school in fifth grade, it was an awesome experience. I got the feeling that I had created something new which was not there before. More importantly, it conveyed that I was capable of creation. This was huge. Most of us are not aware of our own capabilities and talents and almost all of us internally feel a sense of low self-esteem about writing. We think writing is meant only for the lucky, privileged few who indulge in it and who are super good at it. But that is precisely why writing is a blessed craft.
Writing makes no demands of you to produce that next literary magnum opus, that best seller or that award winning work. In fact, writing may be one of the greatest methods to slowly unburden ourselves, to divulge our inner most thoughts and yes fears. That is why writing is liberating.
How to start writing?
So, how do you bell the cat? How do you start off writing?
Firstly, start with the belief that you are capable of writing. Never mind if you have never done it before. It probably will be better if you have not done it before since being on a learning curve is a wonderful way to stay motivated.
Secondly, give yourself a purpose or goal for writing. Are you writing for yourself, your family, friends, co-workers, or any others. Are you writing to teach, clarify, entertain, criticize? What do you hope to achieve with your writing? It can be as simple as clarifying your own thoughts and philosophy in life.
Thirdly, write down some key words to start with as possible topics to write about. For example, key words could be career, finance, family, personal development, fame, wealth or ideas/concepts like visualization, hope, freedom and so forth.
Fourthly, write a synopsis for your writing piece. This means encapsulating all that you will say in your writing in a precise manner. This will provide some parameters for your essay. Moreover, it will ensure that you do not stray away from the topic on hand and stay focused.
Finally, try and visualize your writing in completed form. Feel the pride when readers comment about your effort being such a well crafted one. This is the art of visualization and it creates miracles. Your self-image will get such a dose of motivation and inspiration that it will last for days Emotionalize these with all your senses.
Awaken the sub-conscious
Writing is one of those means of communication that can awaken (and actually should too) the sub-conscious. When you write from the heart and close to your motivations, the output is spontaneous and eloquent. Nothing matters more as an ingredient of writing than being sincere to what you are articulating. It connects you to a greater force than you could ever imagine. You will surprise (and even shock) yourself when you read what you have ended up writing. You may find that you never knew such thoughts existed within you. That is indeed writing with the flow. It indeed makes writing such a blessed craft.
Julia Cameron, the author of the best selling book: The Artist's Way - a spiritual path to higher creativity, says: "We should write because writing brings clarity and passion to the act of living. Writing is sensual, experiential, grounding. We should write because writing is good for the soul. We should write because writing yields us a body of work, a felt path through the world we live in.
We should write, above all, because we are writers, whether we call ourselves that or not."
Click here for Julia Cameron's unforgettable inspiration for writing.
Consider this thought:Have you explored your inner most thoughts through writing?
Have you dug deep into your sub-conscious mind?
Try it. It will be a life changing experience.
Leave your comments about this article by clicking here.
|Next Issue (see you in December 2012)|
|The road to your passion|
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