“How do clouds float so high? What’s in them that makes them light and wispy? Wouldn’t it wonderful to be like them, moving around in gay abandon?” I went on and on eyeing the sky.
“Basically, the Wordsworth magic is replaying in your mind isn’t it?” he said, without any hint of surprise. All I could do was share a reciprocal smile; just as the Solitary Reaper probably would.
It was a breezy summer’s day in 2014 when this conversation took place. Fast forward to 2020.
Both of us were picking flowers for the daily puja rituals in our back yard when I slipped into my ‘monologue best’ again. (It’s a boon in disguise to have a friend cum husband who is also a good listener–sometimes–isn’t it?)
How do clouds and balloons float so high?
My recent musings had introduced me to new insights and my early morning introspections had given my thoughts a few appropriate words. Before I archived them for posterity, I had to bounce off these lines with the one who knew me best.
“Do you want to know what I thought of soon after waking up?”
Did he have a choice?
I rambled away without a minute of hesitation.
“What’s within us that makes us glow and feel good about our being? Whatever’s filled in us, can it be changed? Why do we feel a high on some days and go deep into the pits on others? Aren’t we similar to the balloons that soar high when filled with the right gas within?” My uninterrupted flow needed interrogation marks to get streamlined into the next order of thoughts.
“Just like a balloon, we need the right emotions to grow and rise in life. Positive emotions are tough to hold on to at all times. However, they work better than their negative counterparts. It’s a chain reaction. If you are happy within, you care more, love more, and are empathetic to the needs of others. Your productivity increases. The bounce in your walk and the smile on your face lights up the environment and impacts other favorably.” I continued unabated and true to each word that flowed forth.
And then the unavoidable happens
You get pricked. The positivity in you starts oozing out, leaving you frayed in body, mind and soul. What happens? Just as a balloon that’s got a leak, you start dwindling. Your health–physical, mental and emotional–suffers inadvertently. You try your best to keep a grip on your senses but only to fail. In the end, like a balloon with little air left in it, you go whirling out of control. What remains is a droopy, dismal frame that lives on but only with the urge to live again.
Thereafter, a spate of efforts by self and others (who still care) begins. You are reminded of who you are, what you are and how you mattered. Damage control measures are put in place. The results are seldom encouraging. The more you think and overthink about what happened or how it could have been avoided, the more you shrink. You try in vain to shut off the leak and fill yourself up with what was in there before.
A Herculean task indeed
Fear and anxiety take over your senses. Depression clouds your existence. Every new episode dislodges you again. You find yourself in a difficult maze of the past, present and future with no respite in sight. Your smile vanishes and the figure droops further. The walk becomes sluggish and energy levels dip like never before. Mistrust and hurt take over and you become a changed person for the first time in your life. The how and whys of life continue to hold new meanings. You try to emerge from the depths of your thoughts, only to be pulled in further.
Why? Because what you filled yourself up with was not right for you. The toxicity you experienced left behind a bruised and battered self that needed a stronger comeback after the setback. The wounds had to be healed differently and soon. Your pain was making you bleed on those who loved and cared for you. Metaphorically speaking, your balloon needed another boost for higher air lift. What was used to give it a form was not worthy of the cause.
Slowly and sequentially, you start working on yourself again. The negativity engulfing you has to go. Only positive thoughts and actions should remain. You have to move on in your mind to get yourself to another level of existence. To enable the process, you have to start thinking again. Overthink if you must but find the chords that are tying your balloon-like-self down. Be it people, things, situations, tasks, activities or expectations – analyse them one by one and decide. Can they be a part of your current existence? Are they fit enough for your peace of mind and happiness?
You have to make ‘let go’ and ‘positivity’ your life mantras. Look beyond the past and before the future begins. Focus on your breath, that’s where the present lies. Start cutting down on oral and bodily communication. Self-love, self-care, grit, determination, positivity and happiness should become the favorite hashtags for whatever you speak, read, share or write. Resort to toxic positivity – the term used for a strong overdose of positive thoughts and vibes – for a while, before striking the balance. It works.
It all starts with you
The evolution begins when you choose to move inwards rather than outwards. Name it your spiritual journey, mindful living or higher learning – it is all the same. You have chosen to refill your being after fixing what was draining you. And this time, you are rebuilding yourself with a new set of experiences to guide your efforts. You are no longer on ‘ground zero’.
Now, you have vowed to emerge as a stronger, calmer and wiser person. Again, if you were the pricked balloon we speak of, you have decided to rise higher – higher than you have ever risen before. At least whatever got you down will not be able to do so any more. There will be adverse currants that will come and go but you will know how to make your way. You have already been though the worst. Everything else will be better manageable and easier to deal with.
“Right?” I turned towards him with a pause to my ramblings.
Was he even listening? Did he feel what I spoke of?
Thankfully, by now I know him well. If he felt I should stop my monologue, he would interject and say so politely. All he did was pick up the basket full of fresh flowers, put his arm around me, and walked me back into the house.
“You have matured,” he said lovingly.
Like a good wife, I prepped myself to fire the next salvo, “You mean to say I have aged in the last one year? How can you be so insensitive?”
His smartness caught on to my move in a jiffy.
“Not in looks or years but in your mind,” he hurriedly retorted, before receding into the safety of the newspaper that just arrived.