Strength, STRENGTH, STRENGTH!!! What does it mean to you when you see this word? What does it really mean to you when you hear of it? How do you feel about it though? Let me help you with some words, Power? Strong? Invincible? Undefeated? The ability to take on anything? Right?
Strength for me was all of the above, and I could add a few more words to it. That’s what I think, and that’s what I thought through my years, from teenage to 20’s,30’s and more so now in my early 40’s. My checkered roller coaster life so far has been a test of it, every single time and I am sure it’s the same for most of you out there. To combat something, to fight for something you believe in, to fight against something you don’t believe in, to fight, fight, fight.
Last year and the last month of the year I was in Nagaland with a dear friend and as the year was about to end, I made an intent. To be STRONG, to have that STRENGTH, to CHALLENGE myself to tasks I felt was daunting. It was a long road ahead. 2020 would be the year to work on my fears, physical and mental weaknesses, work harder on myself. I felt like a baby starting all over again and that thought itself made me invigorated.
So what did I do?I wrote in my diary – 2020 Goals! And here it was. A calendar filled with challenging running races, a goal to tackle a tough physical obstacle course, a life changing backpacking plan, and definitely tougher treks to my favourite destination of all – The Himalayas. I was geared, I was super charged because for me, A New Year meant a New Milestone. A milestone to look back at what I had done and to look forward to the next year.
As I looked at my diary with pride, my determination grew further, I was going to be that person that I aimed to be. Challenge every fear of mine that I harbored for years. I had attended an intense meditation workshop during Christmas and during that time, my intent surprisingly manifested into SOFTNESS, TENDERNESS. I was taken aback, what was this? I asked for Strength! And yet time and again came that intent, BE SOFT. BE TENDER.
Like a new born, I came out of the workshop holding it tightly in my heart. There was a smile, there was love, tenderness and yes I could feel my strength. And as usual when you least expect it, it happens. Whatever lightness I felt so far, that floating feeling of being in that ‘perfect zone’ crashes, and it crashed hard.
It started with ground realities, because I knew I had changed, that something inside me had shifted, but the world remained the same, the thoughts of friends I was meeting after New Year remained the same. With my new awareness, meeting them now truly disappointed me, I was even hurt . Why? Why was I feeling this way? Did they change? No. I did! In fact I saw them clearly for the very first time. What do I do with it? It’s still January and yet here I was flitting from conflict to indecisiveness about the people/friends in my life. Who is real? Who is not? Should I keep my expectations low? Was it only me? Lots of questions and I had no answers..
Added to that came my first injury of the year. Yup just like a brand new present! It was a chronic one that resurfaced after almost 2 years like, Hi ! I am right here, I didn’t go anywhere! And that was it, it pulled me down to an all time low. I had races lined up, I had goals lined up and all that went flying out of the window. BOOM!
Out went the first goal I had scheduled for the 3rd week of Jan, being in Bombay and running, I struck that off from my diary. Then just a couple of days ago, I struck off another one, a hill run in March which I was eagerly waiting and training for and amidst all this, it hit me, it hit me hard as I sat and wallowed within myself. Goddamn it You fool! You are such an Idiot. That’s precisely what I thought.
This was strength. This is Strength. The strength to let go, the strength to STOP. The strength to pause and wait. This was the intent. The strength to see through people and forgive them. The strength to forgive myself for being so hard. The strength to appreciate others, the strength to applaud them for they were going through shit just as I am. The strength to let go off some friends gently, and the strength to invite others in as the heart can only do one thing, Be Open..
And yesterday night when I looked at the same diary, I saw something else I wrote which I completely forgot. It simply said, ‘BE KINDER’. How did this pass me by? How? There is only strength in kindness. And when I say kindness it doesn’t mean that people can take you for granted and you remain benevolent, NO. It means I can try each and every day to practice that in me, to be kind to people, and kindness also means cutting away the ties that no longer matters to me. The difference is, I do it gently, I do it with an intent in my heart. Our paths are not the same anymore and before we hurt each other, I am letting you go. And that is also strength.
And that’s what the Universe exactly gave me. Strength, not in the narrow physical terms nor the broader sense I was using and intellectualizing it. It cut the bullshit out.
Today I can tell you from my heart, if I am in touch with you, it is because I truly want to be in touch with you. And no offense, if I am not responding to you, it simply means I let you go with lots of love and there is no hard feelings. It’s time to move forward. You, me and everyone around us.
And I leave you with this, ‘ YOU ARE ENTIRELY UP TO YOU’.