The human spirit has a natural attraction to celebrate life, as it ebbs and flows through the dark and light of our lives. Any excuse for a party hey?
Celebrating life is also about stopping, taking time watching as the sun sets, as a dog plays, a horse eats in a field. Mindfulness – not easy to do as our mind races quickly from one thing to another - problem solving and conflict resolution. I have to be honest, I struggle with this a lot. As soon as I reach a place, or end a task, my mind is already on another. A perpetual move forward – to the next thing… then the next adventure.
How do we take stock of that, paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. Bringing one's complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis. Observing death, being grateful, inner honesty, brute force, meditation? Meditation - good luck with that, I have had a love/hate relationship for 35 years as I practiced on and off mantra meditation. Rising at 4 in the morning, using a mala bead (like the rosary) to count around (108 of a 2 stanza mantra) – said 108 times. Daily, that’s roughly 2 hours in anyone’s life, my struggle was always the “work” I should be doing!
The basic meaning of this meditation is “Please Lord (Universe if you prefer) engage me in your service”. A very similar prayer to which Oprah has used for decades “Please Lord use me as your instrument”, it seems to have worked pretty well for her.
Back in the day, I was considered a bit of a weirdo for my philosophical choices, it wasn’t the done deal in the small New Zealand town community that I was raised. I am happy to say that today in February 2018 – mindfulness and meditation is all the rage. God, who knew I’d now be following the trend!
I had the great privilege of helping her transverse this planet for places unknown. She was a force of my nature my old mum – she gave to birth to 11 children, yet was artistic, fashionable, driven, hardworking, straight talking and had a wonderful eye for all things aesthetic. She was in her 90th year and ready, she was looking forward for what lay ahead. No regrets – well, maybe a few – she told my niece that there was clothes she should have bought!
Before the great celebration that is Christmas and New Year, my son Sharm and I also attended a celebration of love and union. If you ever get the invitation to an Indian wedding – go. It is done there like nowhere else, everyone is celebrated and considered. It goes for days as the various ceremonies are planned with beauty and attention.
It is also a celebration of two families joining and the new shared journey they take together. We were very honored to be there as guests and extended family of the Narains – the marriage of Karan their youngest son to the beautiful Sheena. I met this amazing family (Mithoo and Sweety) when I was 26, collaborating to work with craftsmen on this product of Bandhini – which for me celebrates all that is handmade beauty. Our kids were little then – now they are grown men who have taken up the reigns to now run what we started all those years ago. A celebration of tradition and Unity.
Image (Left) was taken in 1999, featuring Sharm (Tai's son) Mithoo & Sweety and their sons Karan and Sharan (who have now grown to run the business)
Wishing you all the mindful, celebrations of joy and possibilities for 2018!