Friday, May 29

Shubh Lab(h)

May 11-16, 2009 has been one of the best weeks of my life. So fulfilling, so powerful...

The ISABS event happened, as you know, during this time... I actually had a choice whether to go for the national summer event in Goa or opt for the more economic regional event in Karjat. I realized that if I put off my decision for now, there’s no telling what might occur in future. “Kal kare so aaj kar, aaj kare so ab” was playing on my mind, and when I got an attractive discount for the Goa event, I had no excuse to ponder anymore.

The lab has been a win-win decision every which way. A weeklong holiday in an excellent resort in Goa, many new friends and acquaintances, and plenty of time for reflection and solitude are some things I have enjoyed. I forgot the world, I forgot God even! I had to remind myself to say the Ramraksha and Hanuman Chalisa that I recite religiously everyday in Pune. Beat that!

I went thinking I’m a terrible person, always hurting others, completely misunderstood by society. I returned with a sense of peace that previously had been evading me. I also sense a feeling of tremendous joy and acceptance in me. A few objectives I had in mind were understanding myself and my triggers, building my tolerance and understanding of others, and a break from my mundane Pune life.

My impression about myself was that I need to undergo a complete transformation in order to be a better person. But I realize that I AM a wonderful person, unique and admirable in so many ways! In fact I am sweeter, more compassionate and polite than most other folks in society. I do have my shortcomings and irritants, but nothing that cannot be set right with a little tweaking and effort, determination and perseverance. I am happy to be what I am; I rock!!

An added bonus was the varied compliments I received there. Right from the regular “you’re bubbly and cheerful” to the flattering “you dance very well”, “you’re my benchmark for spontaneity” to “the girl I wanted to marry in college was exactly like you”... But the more official feedback came from my facilitator who said she found in me the potential to be an excellent facilitator, and she’d be more than glad to welcome me back for the Advanced and the PDP thereafter. (You have to be promoted to the next level, you can’t move up yourself. Pappu paas hogaya!! Cheers!!)

Being the feedback-lover I am, I got to know a few more things that people notice about me...
1. I’m a very genuine individual with an expressive face, and I have the ability to make others think.
2. Anyone can upset me easily, and I get defensive when challenged/interrogated.
3. I look strong (mentally), so people are shocked when I fall weak.
4. I tend to make others feel comfortable and I accept compliments gracefully.

A few insights that I had during the week are that though I am capable of taking care of myself, I like it when someone else stands up for me and protects me. Also, I get attached to people very soon, and then visibly detach myself when I see my possessiveness creating trouble for either me or others. I also take responsibility for the way others think and feel. It’s not my problem, dude! You deal with it!!
(This emerged as the most popular statement during the course of the lab!)

And hey, how can I forget the VERY IMPORTANT difference between thinking and feeling. We often confuse “think” with “feel”. For instance, “I feel like having a drink”. Where’s the feeling man? “You THINK you should have a drink” or something to that effect would be more appropriate. “I feel” statements ought to be completed with an actual emotion – whether joy or sorrow, anger or irritation, boredom or hurt. And every single phenomenon makes you “feel” something and “think“ something. Be open, explore, accept... And you’ll be amazed at the depth of seemingly plain things.

I’m planning to go back, not for the next 6 months of course, but surely sometime. When I attended the Basic Lab (BLHP), I had a rough idea about the objectives of the lab, but I was clueless about the methodology and expectations. All I thought was “This is a brand new experience, one that I would certainly like to have”. The trip has been worth every penny spent, and I have absolutely no regrets at having gone there.

If you’re encouraged to live through all that I’ve felt and shared, here’s a tip from me that will benefit you – just be yourself, and experience the lab fully. Don’t think about “what ifs...” and “but...” Speak whatever comes to your mind, and be truthful as you disclose yourself. Clamming up or faking isn’t gona help you here...

The return journey was mostly spent in catching up on my reading, ruminating over things I’d done / seen / said / learnt in the lab, and contacting my ISABS-mates. As on the previous journey, my bogie again had a cranky kid who had me wondering about the nuances of parenting and whether people really know how to bring up their kids. And then, back to the grind... Back to Pune, work, family, friends, routine... But with a changed outlook, a new zest, and a hitherto missing serenity...

One of the best weeks of my life. So fulfilling, so powerful...


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