Archive for Peace

Effecting Change: Rebelling Against ‘Indian Woman Syndrome’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2017 by tivaniam

“Smile quietly” was in the contract I signed when I agreed to be born an Indian and specifically a woman. We are raised to smile quietly because of “what the people would say”, and we are raised to smile quietly “for the sake of the children”. Two principles that I ferociously rebel against, and which I refuse to subscribe to, something that has become such a pandemic that I refer to it as the “Indian Woman Syndrome” although it extends deeply to Indian men alike.  Even in progressive times, this seems to be the mind-set that Indian people STILL adopt.  And sadly, as a result, we stay as sick as our secrets – that which we refuse to acknowledge, face or speak about.

As an Indian, specifically a woman, I was supposed to stay in my marriage for the sake of the kids. Because, what would people say if I chose the alternative? So I stayed. For a while, until death became an option. And I realised that my choice to live my life in sacrifice, wasn’t serving anyone, least of all my children – MOST of all myself.

So I left. Twice. Two marriages, several relationships and jobs and people – everything that didn’t serve me or make me happy. I went against the grain of what I was SUPPOSED to be, and chose to be real. And yes, people judged. Harshly. I lost friends and family. The words I was called and the judgment thrown at me stung me terribly. Enough to make me want to shrink back.

But I didn’t. Because there was something inside me that screamed louder than any of the names I was called.

Saying “fuck-it” to the ideals society prescribed for me meant choosing to turn my insides out, and with that meant not only making different choices, but also doing it vocally. I began writing my truth, living my truth and BEING my truth. And as I shared my life through my words, my truth started setting others free to share THEIR truths. Because there are people, Indians specifically, who knew EXACTLY what I was feeling, who shared the same hopelessness and helplessness and despair but stay in bad marriages or relationships for the children and because of what people would say if they chose to be selfish and do what makes them happy.

This limiting belief system perpetuates the cycle that I see continuously with Indian people. The antiquated, indoctrinated beliefs predominantly stemming from religion that promotes patriarchy and teaches us to live in sacrifice. The need to put on facades in an effort to save face has caused so many Indian people to lose themselves and live existentially, miserable and hateful of the world. This in turn gets repeated with their children who emulate what they learn – the boys become misogynists, the girls, doormats – and without any concept of what authenticity, aliveness, freedom and love truly means. Ingrained prejudices are carried forward and we do not progress as a culture or the collective human species.

So why choose to live in that limiting way?

To try and be liked by everyone? What a waste of a life. Because no matter how hard you work or how self-righteous you think you are, you will never EVER make everyone like you. But, if you make yourself heard, if you live a life that’s true, you will find the RIGHT people to love and be loved by. You would encourage your children to be real and teach them, through example, about self-love and true freedom of expression. Can you imagine the possibility of what the world could hold for them or you if you expanded your belief system instead of following old ideologies that had no place back then, certainly not now, that only serve to make people conform?

Be a rebel. Live your truth out loud. And see the ripple effects of what that authenticity, peace and aliveness does for you, your children and then the world at large. When you choose YOU, you give others permission to do the same for themselves. I am a living testament of that, and so are my children who are happy, well-adjusted, emotionally stable, kind and loving kids NOTWITHSTANDING the fact that I left their dads. Or perhaps…because of it.

Rising Strong – My New Take On Getting Older

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2017 by tivaniam

My 36th birthday is looming and with it, the newfound excitement that I have for getting older. Yes, you read right. I am excited to be getting older.

For many years, I dreaded my birthday for different reasons, most important of which was the realisation that my lost youth could never be recaptured, as I inched towards “middle age”. That idea meant I had to finally step up into this whole ‘adulting’ concept, something I’ve waged a war against for many years. I do it grudgingly, and most often, badly. These days, I’ve learnt to embrace being a grown up and with that comes many privileges.

The last three years have been amazing for me from a growth perspective. Some of my toughest life lessons were the catalyst for such a deep awakening, so much so, that I still shock myself with the enormity of what I’ve managed to manifest in my life. This year, reflecting on my 36th year, I realised that I spent over two decades worrying about what people thought about me. And now, finally, I have zero fucks to give. Zero. I am so happy! I don’t care anymore about fitting in. I don’t need to please anyone except myself and I don’t need to conform to society’s idea of who or what I should be because no one knows, except me, the truth of who I am. Therefore why ask permission? Why ask for direction from people, for places they’ve never been! It’s no one’s job to know who I am becoming. That’s my job. So I don’t take on their fear because I choose to be brave about my life.

When I was 18, I entered a beauty pageant because I thought that would make me feel better about myself. Midway, I lost the lines to my speech and had a real life “drop the mic” moment and ran off stage. I don’t think I ever got over the judgment I thought I faced amidst the hordes of people who witnessed that, neither was there a bigger affirmation that I was not good enough. That narrative stayed with me and intensified over the years and needless to say, I created that reality of judgment and the perception of not good enough was revealed to me because that’s the literal way the universe works. And, for two decades that’s how I’ve lived.

Now, at almost 36, I am finally unbecoming. It’s only taken 36 years. I am finding my way back to innocence, purity, childlike joy and wonder and wide-eyed hope. It’s taken 36 years to return to myself instead of being what the world told me to be. With each year, I become more and more of who I’m meant to be. I embrace the fact that I’m a grown up and nobody is the boss of me anymore. I don’t need to audition for life because there are simply no more judges in front of which to freeze.

I am finally allowing life to live through me and I am finally listening to the call of my authentic self. That for me is the greatest gift of getting older.

An Open Letter To My Daughter

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2016 by tivaniam

This was originally meant to be a private conversation between my daughter and I, but, in line with what I was saying on Facebook yesterday, the truth is like a boomerang. And this is a concept you would hear repeatedly from me. I decided that there is nothing shameful about being human. There is no way to be a perfect parent but there are a million ways to be a good one. One of those ways, for me, is to free my truth and allow my children to truly know their mum. I believe that we all share similar longings, feelings, traumas, flaws and fears. And if we remain silent about these things, we would never learn how to be better. Or to accept ourselves. I turn my insides out when I write. And with that, I try to help the world become a bit free-er. That for me, is the part I play in this world. I refuse to profess to live out loud if I only do it when things are going well. Who learns anything then?

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Hello, it’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet. To go over everything…

Just kidding.

So this note comes from me with much love for you. Not just as my daughter, but as a young woman forging her way in this world. I wanted to say that I know I have been a mediocre mother. I know that there are times when you don’t understand me, my choices or my decisions. I also know that you are not at any level TO understand it, but I am hoping this letter gives you some insight into some things – the rest will come as you grow and evolve.

As women, our lives are generally and typically governed for us. We need to be a certain way. I have never been that way. And how lucky are you to be born to an unconventional mother who will teach you a different way of being??? Right???? [I see you roll your eyes kid].

You see, I knew I was different from a young age, and I knew that I was destined for more. I knew that I couldn’t live the life that society wanted me to live and I knew I had to pave my own way. When you and your brother came along, I KNEW it wasn’t only me to think about, but my strong desire to be more, sometimes overshadowed my role as a mother.

For me, being a mother boils down to one thing only – loving you unconditionally and being present in your lives daily. Which is what I believe I am, regardless of distance, circumstances, domesticity, cooking or cleaning or making lunch or doing homework and the rest of it. Love is love.

I know that there are moments you felt shameful for choices I made. And sad at having to explain those choices to others. I am sorry for that. But you will never understand those choices now at your age. But I hope with every conversation or every post you read of mine, you learn to understand ME.

Every “bad” decision was a catalyst for me to grow. It HAD to happen. Every heartache, every failed relationship or divorce, every move we had to make or even now, our separation from each other,  has become a fire in me that burns even stronger. I KNOW that God intended to use me and my story to share His love and hope with people who mistakenly believe themselves unlovable and hopeless. Maybe God loved me back to life for a serious purpose. On the outside it looks like nothing has changed. I have still not achieved the “success” that other people consider important. But [pay attention now because this is vital info here] – crises in life shakes out excesses and leave only what’s important. Crises shake things up in such a way that we are forced to decide and hold onto what matters most. And THINGS don’t matter. Not the money, cars, houses, clothes, stuff. People matter. And who you ARE matters. I am getting to become who I have always wanted to be.

As women, we are creative enough to handle anything and everything that comes our way. That’s what women do. We create. And then we re-create. Then often we have to re-re-create what we thought we were done creating. Makes sense? Probably not. But again, remember the words because it will make sense one day. So while NOTHING has changed. EVERYTHING has changed.

So while it feels weird now, I know that my story is a redemption story and I know that you and your brother will get to know that you have a mother who may not be a mother in conventional terms, but she is a mother who loves her children and who will teach them the art of being true.

Love you my girl. Be a good human.

xoxo

Peace, Orlando and Soul Shifting

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2016 by tivaniam

I am not a fan of propagating negative stories. I don’t subscribe to ‘anti’ this or that and have been fortunate enough to learn the importance of creating my own reality through words that I use. I have learnt that I create more chaos and more trauma when I perpetuate the belief that I need to be ‘anti’ something in order to give it traction – it only serves to create the reality of that which I am against.

However, in honouring my own essence, the recent Orlando shooting has affected me deeply and warrants some mention because of the nefarious act in itself. There are certainly a ton of these unmentionable horrors that happen all over the world that do not receive any publicity. I know that there are instances of these unspeakable acts that happen within our own communities. But the fact that the Orlando shooting has been in the forefront of anything else today, is where the reference comes from, and this post is to that end.

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No religion teaches people to act in ways that harm others.

No religion on this earth serves as an indoctrination so entrenched that acts of murder, intolerance for others and a lack of humanity on a basic level, are principles upon which that religion gets displayed.

I do not believe that certain classes of people are predisposed to murder.

I do not believe that God in His wisdom would EVER encourage anyone to take the lives of others in an effort to promote His teachings. The shooting in Colorado is the act of one individual who lived in a state of absolute ignorance and darkness and his act was a demonstration of the illness that he suffered.

That being said, collectively, as humans, we are ALL responsible for the shootings in Colorado. All of us. In a spiritual sense, we are all connected. We are all Spiritual Beings trying to navigate in this human world. We possess the entire spectrum of human conditions within us – from the purity to the evil. Some of us are fortunate enough to be in tune with our spirit and choose not to act in deplorable ways. There are other people who choose to demonstrate their internal chaos, externally, and as a result kill people.

Notwithstanding the sadness and the senselessness of it all, all of these tragedies create an even greater awareness to those of us who are already aware and we have an obligation to now step up and be the change we want to see in the world. My personal belief is that God resides within me, as me. And in that belief comes the responsibility to demonstrate my Godliness in ways that serve this world.

Many years ago, I was in a perpetual state of anger. My anger consumed me. I never became violent – but I could have if I hadn’t reached a state of awareness and healing. My victim mentality and hatred of my past and all its experiences was something I had to learn how to make peace with. I didn’t ‘turn around’ my story – I ‘turned towards’ it and honoured my own shadow, inviting it to consciousness. To the extent that I chose to work through them, accept them and forgive myself for everything, I was able to use this for my soul’s expansion.

Those who don’t deal with their traumas and bypass them or apportion the blame onto others, remain stuck and confused. And end up killing people.

To all those who have lost loved ones through acts of violence, my heart cries with you. The time has come to expand our hearts and stop living in the shadows of prejudice, racism, intolerance, hatred, bigotry (it’s all the same thing really).

It is time to live in the light of our own souls. And that is where ONLY Love resides.

The Shift

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 22, 2016 by tivaniam

We are a species fixated with ‘labels…Christian, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, Black, White, Gay or Straight…and following the wake of the recent Brussels attack, I can say with certainty that these labels only serve to become more and more divisive.

Now, on the face of another tragedy, while some propogate anger and hatred, we find some of us falling to our knees, united through our prayers. The evidence of a collective yearning for peace is palpable.

Is this what it takes to inspire conscious evolution? Perhaps.
These terrorist actions serve to reveal the underpinnings of a seismic shift. More of us are choosing to focus on leaving this world in a better state in which we found it. And despite the horror of what it takes to get us there, the fact is that it’s happening. And massive change is imminent.

As with life in general, it takes a complete sense of ruin in order to rebuild. And whether it’s a nation or one human, ruin is always a road to transformation.

If we expect to rise from the ashes, we sometimes have to learn to live with the burn.

Forgiveness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 2, 2014 by tivaniam
Forgiveness

Forgiveness (Photo credit: Celestine Chua)

I have been a victim of abuse, the worse kind that leaves no physical scarring, just a completely battered soul. My dignity and self-worth has been vandalised, but I realise now that I willingly surrendered it. I used to be a self-righteous woman, condemning other women who stay in bad situations until I endured it myself. It is said that a frog will jump out of a pot of boiling water. Place him in a pot and turn it up a little at a time, and he will stay until he is boiled to death. That frog could have been me. I could have been boiled to death. I just had the courage of conviction to jump out at the right time.  It took everything I possessed to leave and now there is nothing left to carry me forward. I am at rock bottom. 

A few days ago someone I love dearly lost her battle with cancer. That was a huge wake up call. It is so easy to remain a victim. So easy to be embroiled in bitterness and hatred, having that hatred spur you on until the viciousness becomes a cycle and everyone around you becomes enmeshed in chaos. I made a choice today to choose something different. I choose to forgive.

Forgiveness makes you grow beyond what you were. I am reclaiming my power that I unwittingly relinquished by holding onto anger. I am facing the world with trepidation but at least I do so with the knowledge that I am in control of my destiny. A simple choice is by no means simplistic. I forgive with the knowledge that one day I will be free from the internal pain that holds me captive and I can only break free once I release the anger, forgive wholly and make peace absolute.

Today, I forgive you completely and am moving on to the next chapter in my life.

I live in hope and still believe in love because I know that emotion which has the potential to break me is also the only thing that can heal me. I will not stay still now. I will act and hope that the universe will follow through.

 

 

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