Monday, May 18, 2009


Gratitude is a highly underestimated virtue. We go through the rigmarole of life without acknowledging or thanking life for the various gifts that it showers on us. We accept them as pure coincidences or just a matter of good luck. 

I think gratitude towards our loved ones is becoming a thing of the past. Somewhere we take them for granted and believe that they were just doing their role. We often forget that they did not simply do their roles mechanically; they also  ensured that we were made to feel special and gave us the warmth that we needed.

I was reintroduced to the concept of gratitude when I was reading a book on Positive Psychology. In the book they talk about "Naikan" a Japanese technique of reflection. The technique can be used on a daily basis. The word Naikan means inside looking or introspection.It is primarily based on 3 questions:

What have I received from...

What have I given to...

What troubles and difficulties have I caused to...

The purpose is to use these questions to help one bring focus to how one has contributed and how one's life has been enriched by the existing relationships and interactions that one may engage in on a daily basis or over an extended period of time.

Try using the technique and see how it impacts you.

Will do the next blog on guidelines to increase one's sense of gratitude.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Theme

Wow! My last entry was in the beginning of January, which makes me think how fast the months have passed. Today I have decided to put aside all my laziness and instead channelize it in to writing an entry. Over the months the ideas have often come in but very rarely has the enthusiasm accompanied the idea and that's how lot of thoughts, insights were lost in the abyss.

Some weeks back, I was working with 2 clients regarding their personal concerns.The 2 clients who have different lives, different backgrounds told me their own stories, deliberated on the choices made and contemplated over their personal journeys. 

The fascinating bit was that they had an exactly common underlying theme. As I finished my sessions with them, the theme remained with me and I wondered how both of them were so similar yet so different. It was almost as if they were speaking the same language still what they meant was world apart. Both moving in a new direction and letting their theme guide them towards it. I wondered if their journeys would lead them through a common path and a common end.

As I ended the day, I wondered what the theme meant for me and how it affected my being.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year and Resolutions

For the last two days, ideas have been spinning in my head regarding a new blog entry. With time they germinated, and here is a new entry for the new year.

For me, the concept of the new year has assumed new meaning since the last few years. Earlier there were resolutions and plans on how to bring in the new year; now it's more symbolic. It's symbolic of newer beginnings, a time to introspect and a time to be grateful for the year that has gone by. Now it also symbolizes the time when my friends come back from the US, so it's time to reunite and write my yearly long mails to few people who have been special.

A part of me wonders if our new year resolutions are more steered towards attitude change (easier thought than done), rather than our actions. When someone says, "I won't smoke this year", maybe it's more about adopting a healthier lifestyle than just simply quit smoking. When a client says "This year, I shall think less", maybe he means that this year he will accept more and let go of extra emotional baggage.

It's amazing how these apparently simple sounding resolutions take a whole lot of effort to finally translate. It has more to do with the fact that changing our attitude is a long process and not just a knee jerk reaction. The desire to change needs to be intense and gradually the process of change takes shape.

So what's your new year resolution?

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This post comes a little late, but I have been meaning to write this for a while now. I was saving it for a statement or a phrase that could express all that I personally wanted through this post.

Abhishek Kapoor, the director of the movie Rock on quotes on the Rock On CD cover, 'You are only as good as the people you work with, and I am truly privileged'. This statement resonates what I have felt over the year and often shared with my students.

This post is a way of expressing my gratitude towards all my friends, colleagues and of course clients, who have trusted me and bared their souls to me. It's often been surprising how people share the most intimate of their lives, concerns and even vulnerabilities. It takes a lot to share with another human being, the things you may not accept about your own self. Thank you for trusting me and giving me a chance to share your lives.

A lot of what I am comes from the interactions I've had with people. Each very subtly defines me and has managed to influence the way I think and the way I am .

So thank you for being a part of my life and influencing it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Positive Psychology

About a year back, I was teaching a group of adult students and one of the topics I taught was 'Positive Psychology'. The most fascinating part of the process were the people's reactions to the subject.

But first, allow me to give you a brief description of Positive Psychology. It's a way of looking at human beings from a perspective of their strengths and abilities that help them move on with life. The way I see it, it celebrates mental strengths which all of us possess. These mental strengths can be resilience, hope, zest for life, love of learning and many more.

Dr Martin Seligman is considered to be the Father of Positive Psychology.

I asked the students in my class to share an incident from their personal life, which reflected one of their mental strengths. It could be a positive incident or a challenging situation that brought about a strength which they never knew existed within them. I gave the class 5 minutes.

It was amazing how every member had a touching story to tell. All of a sudden people shared the most intimate stories of their lives. Some of their eyes went visibly moist, but every face looked different, stronger, more confident and introspective. It seemed as if people's most vulnerable moments made them aware of their own personal resources and strengths.

I ended the discussion by saying that each of us need to keep our strengths constantly alive, not just in good times, but also when going gets tough.

A student after the discussion mentioned how she thought psychology was just about human suffering and now she felt that there's more to psychology. It's also about people's goodness, their personal capabilities.

This post goes to all those people who trusted me in the class and bared their soul, teaching me and the class so many strengths that will now always be a part of me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It’s interesting how interacting with people (includes friends, family and clients) can bring about personal revelations which can change one’s perspective on life. I don’t remember, but at some point I realized that people can be lonely even in relationships.

Loneliness is often defined as stemming from lack of companionship or being alone. Strangely I have seen and heard conversations where loneliness has become a part of people’s lives, in spite of their busy schedules and a family life. Their lives may be connected to so many others, yet deep down they may feel separated.

A friend once commented that when he gets off at CST station, where he sees hoards of people, he still feels lonely. He said “I’m lonely even in a crowd”. Sometimes the state of loneliness can help people contemplate on their desires, dreams and make them think about the life they would want to lead.

I think when people can be happy with themselves, their own space and their own being, they cease to be lonely. May be if we can be happy in our aloneness, we may not really feel lonely. As I write this post, I’m reminded of the existential school, which says that there’s a price we pay for awareness. Awareness about your state of loneliness can be discomforting to begin with, but can reap positive results, if you can find yourself in the process.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Finding happiness!

Movies and books over the years have an ability to help us get in touch with ourselves, possibly our unconscious as Freud would have put it. Over the years I have used both these mediums in therapy to drive home a point and they in very subtle was have contributed to my sensibility and openness to the world.

Recently I saw Rock On and left the theater feeling with a satisfied feeling.The feeling that Indian cinema has finally arrived!Even TZP did that, but this movie took the issue of our dreams, passion and unfinished business to a different level altogether.

One of the actors in the movie says this" Music is the only thing I know" and I'm sure it echoes the sentiments of a significantly large population.In the world of materialism, somewhere we do lose our passions compromising for better pay packages and trade off our happiness.

The movie just made me respect some significant people so much more, because honestly they love their profession and yes that's the only thing they know! Their satisfaction with their work has reflected in the way they carry themselves and this post goes out to them!