Archive for kindness

Love: The Only Religion

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2018 by tivaniam

It’s no secret that I’ve always been slightly agnostic about religion. I don’t subscribe to indoctrination. I don’t feel inclined to perform rituals based on antiquated beliefs and I don’t actually indulge in conversations with people about religion because it becomes so highly contentious. Also, I have little respect for hypocrisy and the people who advocate what is “right” and “wrong” but who choose to behave in unkind ways with ingrained judgment, hatred towards others, and prejudice.

More than that, I have no respect at all for people who use religion as a basis for harming others. So, for all these reasons, I’ve chosen to use the foundations of love, peace, kindness and compassion as my way of being, while having a reverence for a higher power that is evidenced around everything that I hold sacred.

Notwithstanding my sentiments above, I’ve had very profound experiences in my life, two of which stand out in my memory, where I’ve connected with something supremely powerful.

The first experience happened years ago, when I saw the face of Jesus in a dream. He said nothing to me, but just appeared and disappeared. It was the face that we’ve been taught to believe is the impression of Christ – white male, long beard etc. I was too young to fully understand it, but I woke up weeping from the recognition of something and an overwhelming feeling of love.

The second experience happened the other night, again in a dream.

I know very little about Hinduism, barring what deities I grew up hearing about. I never practiced any ritual and never performed any kind of service. Which is why, the dream I had was so confusing.

In my dream, I was driving down a road at night, in my hometown. In the middle of the road, was a frame with a photo of “someone” I couldn’t fathom, with “something” protruding out of the frame that I couldn’t comprehend, but which looked like an object of sorts. In my dream, I drove around the road again, and when I came back to re-look at the frame, a crowd had gathered and people were enclosing the frame with flowers and candles. I didn’t understand any of it, but felt a “pull” that this phenomenon was exclusively for me. When I woke up, the name “Durga” was playing in my head. A name I’ve never heard before.

I asked friends who are knowledgeable on the subject, about the meaning of this, and also tried to describe the weird feeling I had. It seems my dream was an auspicious one, an invitation of sorts to honour the divine Goddess in me, in whatever way I feel comfortable. Because, I was surprised to hear, Durga is a Hindu deity, a warrior Goddess, combating evil that threatens peace.

Peace.

Sidebar: For my Soar family reading this, you would know why that would give me the tingles.

There are lots of things to take away from this, but the one lesson I want to speak about here, is this illusion we’ve created as humans, that there is only ONE way in which to know God/the Divine/Source /the Universe (however you define the higher power you believe in). This is what sparks hatred and divisiveness – the belief that each religion is separate from the other and that we are all different. Religious fascists make it their mission to force others to accept and adopt their particular way of being, denouncing all other beliefs. This kind of behaviour is what continues to spur the divide we face as a collective species.

My personal experiences left me with an all-encompassing KNOWING of a divine spark that exists within and around me. This is an experiential knowing, based on the truth of my experience, and NOT on information fed to me. It is the feeling of oneness, a thread that forms part of the tapestry of all of us, without any distinction.

I’ve had similar feelings when my kids were born. I feel it when I listen to music that moves my heart. I feel it when I am lying next to the man I love. It surrounds me when I am among my Soar family. Divinity is omniscient. It is in everything, everywhere.

Those who perpetuate a separation with stories of “our God” versus “your God”, do so from a place of fear. Love is the higher law. It’s the foundation upon which all religions are formed. If you’re not operating from that point, you have no relationship with God, and in essence, no relationship with yourself. I am discovering that the deeper I get to know myself, the more I feel the divine.

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Honouring The Divine Masculine

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2018 by tivaniam

There’s an unspoken truth we’ve turned a blind eye to. Which I’m not prepared to remain quiet about any longer. I’ve personally witnessed the destruction this lie has amassed and I’ve seen many spirits break as a result.

The lie I refer to is the way in which we’ve been taught to regard men and the standard in which we’ve upheld them. By “we” I mean society at large. I am not a feminist or fascist in any way or form. My advocacy has always been about truth, authenticity and conscious living. My personal belief is that men and women form part of the same energetic frequency with both masculine and feminine energies. But we’ve been taught to differentiate and prescribe certain roles and responsibilities on to men, exacerbated by antiquated stories of men saving damsels in distress.

We’ve all bought into the bullshit, and hyped it further with sayings like “cowboys don’t cry”. We’ve placed the responsibility of providing financially squarely on the shoulders of men. We defined success for them as a way to measure up. We’ve defined the meaning of a “real man” according to a carefully crafted script. We’ve negated their emotional wellbeing and suppressed their innate ability to nurture or comfort because it wasn’t the “manly” thing to do. We’ve given them the responsibility of taking care of our emotional wellbeing and blamed them for our unhappiness. We’ve used religion or posterity, loyalty and obligation as control mechanisms to get them to conform. We’ve scoffed at their desire to be vulnerable because boys don’t cry. And “real men” don’t behave like sissies. And what we’ve done is create very angry and very sad men who feel isolated, scared and depressed. But they’d rather kill themselves than ever admit their truth. And so they do. The recent spate of suicides by men bears testament.

So what are we doing here and why are we doing it?

The simple answer is conditioning.

As an Indian woman I’ve seen many men aspire to become the vision that was set out for them by their parents. Often this vision had absolutely nothing to do with who they truly were, but they executed that vision to satisfy their parents. They negated their truths out of duty and obligation. I’ve also been a witness to men who wanted to express their pain and yet had to suppress it, which suppression translates into anger.

It’s time we create a new context. There is no men versus women here. It’s men AND women working together towards a collective consciousness. That is the only time we can move forward as a species. These gender specific roles are an illusion. We are all exactly the same. Honouring the divine masculine means honouring parts of ourselves as women. As a collective. There’s no differentiation. There are NO templates to follow that govern how men ought to be.

Beloved masculine, today I invite you to hold a mirror up and take a stark look at yourself. Begin to embrace the real truth and not the bullshit you’ve been fed about how you’re supposed to be. Recognise the courage it takes to be vulnerable and break down those barriers to love. Speak and own your truth. Know that your power is inherent and doesn’t need to be wielded forcefully. Understand that you don’t need to win approval from anyone. Understand that love is not conditional upon what you can provide or who you need to impress. Understand that you have the power to create your own reality. Own the fact that you CAN choose yourself and your happiness. Most importantly, break down the stereotypes and free yourself. It’s okay to exhale.

I honour the divine in You, as part of Me.

Stepping Into The Arena

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2017 by tivaniam

I’ve always loved the excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s 1910 speech that goes:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”.

This resonates deeply with me because I consider myself to be in the arena, trying to make a difference. By speaking my truth and sharing my stories, I try to provoke thinking and honest, open conversations. This takes an enormous amount of courage because the vulnerability required to proverbially lay myself bare, leaves me open to massive amounts of criticism. Sometimes the criticism hurts, only because it triggers self-doubt and a fear-based belief of not being good enough. But, I have recently started to learn how to love myself through the process of owning my story and in this continued learning, I silence my inner critic.

As a writer I know that telling my truth, being vulnerable and living authentically means I can easily get my ass kicked. I am learning how to be comfortable with that, because the bigger picture is not about winning approval. It’s about showing up and being seen. That is part of my purpose. And this purpose is not static, it is dynamic. In the hope that my courage becomes contagious, the idea for me is about giving others permission to see that a rise can come after a fall and that it’s okay to be afraid but we need to start waking up and paying attention. Leaning in to our fears and taking a closer look at our darkness is where we start making space for the light and joy to enter our lives. If we are constantly judging and shaming others, we remove our ability for connection and love. How do we ever progress individually or collectively if that remains our default way of being?

I understand the pervasiveness of fear and why it’s easy to default to self-preservation by becoming defensive and critical of others. But, as is self-evident with what is happening in our world right now, it’s become so much more important to take off the game face and armour and allow for our true selves to be seen. This means taking a step back, listening more than talking, and practising our values, rather than simply professing them. When we spend our lives performing, perfecting, pleasing and proving, we negate our truth and become as sick as our secrets. It is incredibly difficult to practice compassion and empathy if we have issues internally that we refuse to look at. Compassion is only real when we recognise our shared humanity and know our own darkness by name so that we can be truly present with the darkness of others. Choosing to live in judgment of others and engaging in shame-inducing behaviour only reveals the pain and fear inside you.

The bottom line is: all of us need to be in the arena. All of us. We need to shift our consciousness from fear-based behaviour into love. Our hopes for a better world for our children rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted behaviour of full acceptance of ourselves and others, which arises from beyond the mind.

Today, choose to walk into the arena, knowing there’s a chance you’d get bloodied and bruised, but also with the sense of pride that by living in your truth, you are giving others permission to do the same.

 

An Open Letter to Indian Men

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2017 by tivaniam

Disclaimer:

This post is guaranteed to offend someone and in that event, I invite you to take a long, hard look at yourself and consider why you find this offensive – perhaps there is some truth to what I’ve said, and if so, that’s the first step in changing patterns of behaviour that are harmful. Secondly, while this is directed to Indian men, solely from the standpoint of being an Indian woman, this does not preclude men from other races who adopt the same attributes.

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As a published writer, opening myself up to public commentary and judgment is par for the course. It’s something I signed up for when I committed my life to my craft: to live my purpose as a conscious writer.  I know I am not here to win points. I am here to create awareness through my writing by sharing candid and authentic stories of hope and redemption, based on what I have experienced in my life. This is the only reason I reference my past – not to focus on negativity, but to provide relatable stories that anyone can resonate with and be inspired enough to believe that life can change and get better.

Recently, a newspaper contacted me wanting me to highlight my story and journey with depression. I shared my story openly, and received some amazing feedback from so many wonderful men and women, who felt inspired and hopeful to overcome their own experiences. I’ve had a few people – men and women alike – tell me that I saved them from suicide, which for me was the biggest affirmation that I am living my essence and my soul’s calling.

That opened itself up to lots of interaction with a lot of different people. I received messages from broken Indian women, who are held captive by depression because they’re in abusive relationships with Indian men. The stories shared with me filled me with horror – stories of violence, degradation, humiliation and emotional abuse of the worst kind. It left me emotionally and physically depleted because I am totally ill-equipped to deal with this and all I could do was lend a comforting ear.

Over and above that, the brevity within which Indian men slid into DM’s on every social media platform that they could find me, to strike up random non-related conversations, ranging from complimenting my looks and my legs; to asking for my number; or pretending to need writing work done then asking for my number – culminated in this post. I realised that I may not be able to do anything for these women who are beaten down, but I can use my voice through the written word.

Indian men: many of you were raised in homes that predefined the role of a man. You were led to believe that being a man means negating your feelings and emotions and ruling with an iron-fist. You were raised in a society that promoted ‘manliness’ over sensitivity, relegating the latter to a solely female trait. You were taught to believe that you had to have a partner who was submissive and you had to be respected because you were born a male. Many of you were told that men don’t cry. And as a result, your emotions got suppressed and you became hardened, and suppressed sorrow can only turn into rage. Rage that gets taken out on those you love.

Indian men: many of you were raised as misogynists, considering women as second-class citizens, sex-objects there for your glorification and people of lesser intellect and strength.  This is why you continue to objectify women instead of seeing us in God-form and equal. This is why some of you can confront a woman through social media, commenting on what she looks like, rather than what she is looking AT or trying to achieve. Many of you violate women based on your internal deficiencies and illnesses. The way a woman looks, dresses or carries herself is not an invitation for you to proceed – violently or otherwise. And, ‘single’ does not mean ‘available’.

Indian men: many of you perpetuated the cycle of dysfunction that you were raised with, modelling the role of your own father who was absent or conditioned from his personal experiences and childhood.

Indian men: this is the cycle you will continue with your children – sons who become hardened and angry, and girls who learn how to become doormats.

But, Indian men: cycles can be broken. A new reference point can begin. It starts with you. It starts with talking openly and honestly about stuff that men are told never to speak about – feelings and emotions. I’ve witnessed first-hand the amazing transformations of so many Indian men, who were once plagued by cyclical dysfunction, but who were brave enough to transcend it and pave a new way for himself and his children and the generations to follow. We need to shift into a new way of thinking and Being in this world. We simply cannot operate as the generations that came before us. It is self-evident that they fucked it up. We have to begin afresh and create a shift in consciousness by returning to innocence and purity.

Indian men: my invitation to you is this. Change how you view the world and yourself in it. Let go of preconceived ideas and ways of conditioned thinking and indoctrination. Stop regarding men and women as being separate. Instead, consider all of us to be the same thread stemming from the same tapestry. Teach your sons and daughters that gender specific roles are an illusion – anyone can do anything at any time. Indian men, start believing that a house is made a home by both parties and that domesticity is not confined to a woman, neither is raising kids nor cooking. Understand that women can be the fiercest opponents in business and are capable of running our own finances and getting shit done.

Indian men: understand that violence of any kind is an explosion of the pain that is internal. Deal with the pain and not the trigger of what set you off.

Indian men, the time for restoration is now. The world needs more comforters, nurturers, peace-makers, truth-tellers and game-changers. Indian men, it begins and ends with you. What you do today can alter the course of generations that follow, which collectively is the change we need to see in the world. It’s time to step up and be about something.

Soaring

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 1, 2015 by tivaniam

This year has been the best and worst of my life. I have been tested in unimaginable ways. I have seen loss and devastation that most people wouldn’t have survived and put myself in a space where faith and hope couldn’t find me.

Yet through it all, walking through the fire, I came out through the other side a little worse for wear but emotionally stronger than I’ve ever been.

I have said it before, that my lack of tangible success in no way deters from the success that enlightenment brings. The wisdom is immeasurable. However, like my friend Viv always reminds me every other day, to know and not to do, is not to know.

I have always been afraid of stepping into my own power. I have always felt the need to convince others that my life situation is not a reflection of my self-worth and who I am as a spiritual being. It has always been difficult for me to know my own worth without feeling arrogant, so shrinking became easier. The cycle of failure perpetuated through my fear. I was equipped with the awareness but my own head prevented me from moving forward. 

This year has proved to be an awakening for me. During the forgotten hour where love is transfixed, I have met people who have demonstrated love and kindness to me in profound ways.

It is endless conversations with compassionate people who remind me of my awesomeness in ways I’ve yet to even see. It is being serenaded with music that fills my soul, bringing me to tears with the enormity of the gesture. It is being given a lifeline when I don’t have the strength to ask for it. It is messages from random strangers who tell me that my words move them.

Few people in this world can say with certitude that they know what authentic love feels like. I do, and I wouldn’t have known this or felt this had my life not spun out of control. There is always a silver lining.  The journey of self-discovery is never ending, the timing of all things,  perfect.

I am blessed beyond measure to have attained the wisdom that I’ve needed to release my own fear but more than that, it is the acceptance and being loved exactly where I am that allows me to walk fiercely into my own authentic power. As a result, I will never again fade into insignificance. This year has been the worst of my life and yet that too has been a gift.

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Sending love, light, gratitude and blessings to my SOAR family who have allowed me to be free. To say I love you all is an understatement. It is an honour for me to participate in your lives, as you do in mine.

Love and kindness will change the world.

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