Archive for April, 2013

Disciplining the SELF

Its 8:30 a.m and I open the windows of my room to let in some light and fresh air. Over the next 15 minutes or so, I have to get ready for work. Like most of my contemporaries, I do not rush to office at the early morning hour, thanks to my desk office setup at home – the destination of my writing pilgrimage. And like any other standard office it runs between 9 a.m and 6:30 p.m (sometimes extended and no compromises on that). It’s a typical journo’s desk mind you! The left hand side of the table is filled with stacks of journals and press releases and other reference materials. The center part of the table is occupied by my PC, an office contribution to motivate employees to perform even better and with gusto. The right side is again piled with visiting card holders, card folders, a pen holder and my notebooks. That’s it about my cozy home-desk office.

Self-discipline takes time to master

Self-discipline takes time to master

A freshly prepared steaming hot cup of coffee (sometimes its ‘chai’ ) waits on the table, – which takes away all the morning fatigue and gives me the oomph to sustain. I am ready for another long day at work!

I quickly slide into my chair, take a sip of coffee or chai and turn my systems on. I unload a sigh, and begin to plunk keys. Boss needs two exclusives every day, which is a challenge no doubt. Besides, editing, interviewing industry experts, tracking and uploading every supposedly flawless story online as senior editor keeps me occupied the entire day. My friends often call me a ‘workaholic’, a tag which I often cherish.

Writing on enterprise technology and meeting business stalwarts is something I enjoy – that’s been my realm for the past several years. However, my decision to blog occasionally gives me a different level of confidence, a kind of ‘creative accomplishment’. I can write whatever I feel like in my own creative space. But, in the midst of so many commitments and some sense of accomplishment, I often wonder, do I live up to the tasks I’m supposed to do? And for that am I self-disciplined enough? Sure, why not, I reasoned. Self-discipline is in my nature, and since I also value goal setting, I impose a schedule each day. I love to research, play with words, write and rewrite stories with utmost focus, as I charge up my spirit by drinking some extra cups of tea/coffee.

I found out with each passing day, I become more self disciplined. I remember some time ago, I was not so much interested in self-discipline, self-awareness, self-discovery, or any other possibilities. But over time, I’ve noticed that successful people share one thing in common: an ability to mobilize themselves and their talent to achieve goals. Accomplishment is not a passive entity. One must work at it. History reveals self-disciplined individuals with an impulse to connect their imagination actively in their chosen field are accomplishers. In other words, to become an accomplisher, you have to be self-disciplined.

Admittedly, its not an easy task. Self-discipline takes time to master. It requires retraining the way you think and organize your life. It can help you ask questions, seek answers, set goals, and achieve them. Most importantly, you will also discover how quite awesome it is to know what you want in life, make plans to achieve it, and actively move forward in that direction.

This reminds me of an interesting quote I came across a few days back: “No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined.” Think of it, the whole idea makes so much sense to me at least!

New Year, New Beginning and the Phoenix

On the traditional Bengali New Year dubbed as Poila Baishak, I was reading an article on the Phoenix. This may sound not only weird but for many completely off the beaten path. Where’s the connection? I understood the allegory and though it was not a conscious decision to read about Phoenix on the evening of Bengali New Year, (it was very much a coincidence), I enjoyed reading the piece.

Phoenix - a new beginning

Phoenix – a new beginning

Just like the New Year, that marks a new beginning, the Phoenix as explained in Greek mythology also signifies a new epoch, as we all know. The mythological bird was offered in sacrifice to Ra, the Sun god in ancient Egypt. The Phoenix was the symbolic representation of the death and rebirth of the sun. This is said to be a living manifestation of Osiris, springing forth from its heart. The bird, which was similar to an eagle, possessed a splendid golden-red plumage that made it look like as if it was wrapped in flames.

According to some versions, the Phoenix was shown in flames rather than in feathers. The Phoenix lived in Arabia. Some legends say that only one Phoenix lived at one time and lived for 500 years. At the end of its life-cycle, the Phoenix built a nest as it was dying and set the nest on fire and was consumed by the flames. After its death, a new Phoenix would then arise from the ashes and thus the Phoenix was reborn. This cycle was repeated over and over again.

According to other sources, the ‘Thunderbird’, a powerful spirit bird in Native America, is represented as the ‘Phoenix’. It is said that in China, Feng-huang (a bird) symbolises the union of Yin and Yang, a sign of both Peace and Disharmony. The Greek poet Herodotus wrote in one of his passages from his writings of The Phoenix’s legend that the Phoenix comes back every 500 years in order to search the body of its predecessor. After making a myrrh egg, the Phoenix puts the body of its predecessor inside it, and takes it to the Temple of the Sun located in Egypt.

Nearly 500 years later, Tacitus and Plinius agreed that many of the ancient myths were confusing so they investigated the chronology of The Phoenix. Through their studies, they concluded that The Phoenix lived an equivalent to a Platonic year; calculations determined by the alignment of the Sun, the Moon and the five planets known at that time needed to return to their original positions which in our time represent a period of 12.994 years.

The ancient ones believed that this enormous astronomical cycle was complete provided, all conditions of the planetary influence were the same. In other words, The Phoenix was considered similar to a mirror of the universe. By the end of the 4th century, Claudianus had written some verses about an immortal bird, able to reborn from its ashes, an heir to itself, and a witness of that time.

The Phoenix from another of the Chinese Mythology offers another description. Under another name, Feng – it’s depicted as a bird of shining colors, very much like a pheasant. In remote times, The Feng supposedly frequented the gardens and palaces of righteous Emperors. As with all mythological creatures the versions, significance and the characters tend to vary according to culture and their belief.

As far as its astronomical significance goes, Phe (Phoenix) is a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere of Earth near Toucana and Sculptor named by John Bayer in 1603. This constellation is almost universally recognized as a bird. The Phoenix cluster is a dense expanse of unexplored stars, named for the Phoenix Asteroids in the 20th Century film “Dark Star”, by John Carpenter.

The Phoenix in Future History – Aside from the name “Phoenix”, a city in the south-western portion of the former United States, The Phoenix’s future history begins on April 4th, 2063. The day Zephram Cochrane first launched his Phoenix, an old Titan V nuclear missile modified with small crew cabin and twin warp nacelle engines into history. Rising from the ashes of World III, from an abandoned missile complex in central Montana, the Phoenix was the first vessel to break the warp barrier, precipitating the First Contact with a group of Vulcans on a survey mission and as a result, a rebirth of prosperity for Earth was created as it spread its wings out into the stars.

With a name steeped in Mythology, Astronomy, History and Tradition, Phoenix remains legendary. And so the famous saying goes: It’s best to have failure happen early in life. It wakes up the Phoenix bird in you so you rise from the ashes. The beginning of a new year is also an excellent time for a fresh new start and just like the Phoenix that marks a renaissance. With this faith, I wish a very happy New Year to all those in India and abroad not only have their New Year calendar starting today, but to anyone who is setting out to start afresh!

Dull life!

I feel like I need to update my blog but I really don’t have a lot of news to share. Life is blissfully quite okay. One thing I have learned over the past few years is that when life is quiet, you must enjoy it. Eventually, something will surely go awry somewhere and needs to be fixed … so i say to myself “enjoy the “dullness” when you can.”

Celebrations of life

I was always fond of yoga – it helps me elevate my body, mind and spirit. I realized it’s the power of yoga that has given me a reason to celebrate life. I remember clearly the unusual energetic experience I had on the first day of my Yoga class when I was studying only in the eighth standard.  As the teacher was teaching us a posture, I felt a wave of incredible energy passed through my body.  It was really quite an amazing experience of an extra ordinary nature.

The power of Yoga

The power of Yoga

After class, when I had a discussion with my teacher, he told me that it was a positive sign to have such an experience of a spiritual nature.  So, yoga to me is not just about physical exercise, it’s about connecting the body, mind and spirit. Over the past many years, I have been practicing yoga and luckily such experiences have continued to be a part of my life.

Then, some time ago, I learnt Reiki, a Japanese form of spiritual practice that helped me heal my body and mind. Now, I find a lot of passion in the touch healing technique. I have also learnt Kundalini Yoga, a wonderful Yoga form that gives me the power to understand my inner potential.

I also read a lot of books on Yoga. The philosophy of Yoga makes so much sense to me, and helps me put my life into perspective.

I would confess that a glass of warm water and half an hour yoga session alongside Pranayam makes me feel rejuvenated, keeps my body working properly and most of all, keeps my mind peaceful and relaxed.

Yoga, meditation and spiritual practice to me are a celebration of life. Throughout my life, I wish to learn and practice yoga and intend to pass on my knowledge to others!

(the article has been published in a lifestyle magazine)