A lot of people seem lost right now. Being confined to their homes is not something that they had factored into their schedules, and so it is quite uncharted territory. From sending in instagram videos of them performing daily chores like sweeping and cleaning, to ‘workout-from-home’ videos, people seem to be struggling to prove that they are filling up their time, and not wasting it. It’s ok to take a step back, and relax for a while. By relax, I don’t mean wasting time. At home, for three weeks, with the power to be in control of your time, your routine, and also the savings in travel time (at least an hour for most people), this does not seem to be as bad as it looks, does it?
Why is it that we think of a retreat, of going away from it all, we always tend to go closer to nature?
I am fortunate enough to live in a community that is very close to nature. We have low-rise buildings, larger terraces, trees all over and abundant green spaces. I wake up with the chirping of the birds, and this continues all through the day, until they retire at sunset. A couple of bowls of fresh water, a few pieces of tomato and a smile in the heart is all it takes to connect with these birds. They have nested many times, and I’ve been privileged to see more than a dozen eggs hatch, and young ones being fed by their parents…
We are all extensions of nature – hence the term ‘Mother Nature’. We are born from nature, we live by nature, and when we are gone, we become part of nature again.
This cosmic bonding with nature is why we feel so calm and composed when we are surrounded by nature in it’s abundance. Take a walk in the morning sun, feel the green grass under your bare feet, run your fingers through the flowing water of a stream, hear the sounds of birds and crickets – being in nature, and with nature, is the antidote to any level of stress that you may experience. Being in nature can restore our mood, give us back our energy and vitality, refresh and rejuvenate us.
I just heard about the art of Shinrin-Yoku, or the Japanese art of forest bathing. Shinrin means forest, and yoku means bath.
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And so it has been announced. a 21-day lockdown. Unprecedented in India, and anywhere else in the world. Reactions have varied, from support for the move, to criticism, to despair. After all, we are a generation that has largely seen growth and prosperity for most of our lives.
We have’t met a challenge of such enormous proportions yet. It is natural to fear the unknown…
Today is Ugādi — the first day of Chaitrā māsā, or the beginning of the new year. Largely celebrated in South India (where I am from), Maharashtra (as Gudi Padwa), Sindh (as Cheti Chand), and Manipur (as Sajibu Nongma Pānba). It is also the start of Navaratri.
Unlike New Year’s day as per the Gregorian calendar, the start of a new year in Indian calendars is largely marked by ritualistic celebration — early morning bath, followed by prayers and visit to the nearby temple. Celebration is characterised by new clothes, sweets and social gathering.
Ugādi is a derivative of yuga-ādi, which means the dawn of a new age. So, in a way, the festival celebrates new beginnings.
And today is the first day of a 21-day lockdown. Do we despair…or is there an opportunity lurking in the shadows?
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I witnessed something amazing today – a billion people came together to celebrate humanity.
Janta Curfew – how does that work?
A clarion call by the Prime Minister – rather, a request to all Indians to observe a self-imposed curfew today, and another request as well – to stand at balconies, terraces, doors and windows at 5 pm – and celebrate our healthcare and sanitation professionals for 5 minutes. Celebrate them, since they are at the forefront of the fight against Corona.
And boy, did we observe the curfew. Roads in India were deserted the whole day, shops were closed, people were indoors. And what happened at 5 pm?
Do see for yourself.
Being at home for an extended period of time usually gets us into vacation mode. This time, it’s different. Circumstances are not pleasant, and the immediate future doesn’t look very bright. Being self-quarantined means less or no access to some of the basics that form our routine – the neighbourhood gym, your favourite coffee hangout, and the biggest of all – your workplace.
While we may have experimented with working from home before, this time around, it isn’t business as usual. We feel that our lives have been disrupted, we may be struggling to get our short-term routines right.
Is this a crisis? Yes. Is this an opportunity – yes too. Depends on how you adapt to it.
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Group Sadhana for 11 days – Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, 108 times – for the country, for humanity.
From home, but not alone. We all can – collectively, harmoniously, pray to nature, recognising our true place in the scheme of things. We are just a fleeting glimpse in the unending vista of images – let us be part of nature and not against it.
ॐ द्यौः शान्तिरन्तरिक्षं शान्तिः
पृथिवी शान्तिरापः शान्तिरोषधयः शान्तिः ।
वनस्पतयः शान्तिर्विश्वेदेवाः शान्तिर्ब्रह्म शान्तिः
सर्वं शान्तिः शान्तिरेव शान्तिः सा मा शान्तिरेधि ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Pushing hard against a brick wall doesn’t help – walk around and you may just find that door.
Re-evaluation does not stop just with work. Relook at all aspects of your life. Are you happy living the way you are? What would you change, if given the chance? Use these times to search for methods in which you can alter your life in a way that you are better at the end of it. You may not be able to start on a new path right away, but you can at least recognise the way ahead, and lay the groundwork.
Download the e-book – Love in the times of Corona – for free here:
Some relevant thoughts on life, and the ever-elusive keys that we search for.
Gopal Gaur Das touches upon subjects that we all care about, in a simple, and practical fashion, replete with real-life examples. Do watch!
The giraffe population worldwide has fallen 30 percent in the past few decades, and very few people have seemed to notice. “Giraffes are all over the place in popular culture,” says the Atlantic staff writer Ed Yong. “I think because of that, we forget that, actually, they are endangered.” In a new episode of The Idea File, Yong explains why it’s crucial to channel our reverence for these beloved animals into tangible conservation efforts.
Do also read through https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/04/how-to-tackle-a-giraffe/606787/
Stillness is powerful. Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat any time.