I have for the most part of my life believed that happiness is a state of mind, that is achieved when goals set by our mind are achieved. The goals may be big or small, but the crux was relating happiness with achievement. It took me many severe blows and failures in life to realize that tying happiness with the shackles of conditions is not the right way to achieve it.
Among many wrong habits and beliefs, the one that I have been constantly working on has been, scrutinizing my priorities in life. It may come across as a habit we should naturally be in control of, but for some people, like yours truly, it takes a mammoth effort to achieve.
I am leaving the thought process I went through to make it happen, for another post. Today, I wish to record the joys, changes in my priority list brought my way.
1. Pari has been fond of dancing right from the time she started crawling. I have been well aware of her passion but on most occasions I have been too occupied (in my cluttered head than physically) to sit and watch her dance for longer than a minute.
On analysis, I realized, I was missing out on precious moments, worrying about problems that didn’t solve even on my endless mulling. From that moment on, Pari and I turn on the music at whim and dance away like there’s no tomorrow. On many occasions we shoot videos to watch later. I must add, its fun, has helped me bond with Pari like never before and beats stress wonderfully.
Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place. But there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around. ~E.L. Konigsburg
2. My love for cooking and baking has always amazed Pari. From indulging in creating beautiful food using play-dough, she often raids the kitchen, playing with the bake-ware and the dough and imitating me. My mom’s love for watching cookery shows had added to Pari’s fascination for food. You can see her do pretend cooking singing “Namak shamak, namak shamak daal dete hain” (that’s the catch line chef Harpal Singh Sokhi uses in his show on FoodFood).
Not very long ago, you could see me get irked with Pari constantly messing the kitchen, raiding the pantry like a mouse and spilling everything she got hold of. While I had full understanding it was child’s play, letting her indulge in play with forks, glassware, china and more used to get on my nerves. Not anymore. With introspection, I have learnt to take a deep breath and join her. This has yielded miraculous results.
Pari has stopped being stubborn. She lets go of the glassware, china or anything I request her to (most of the times). Ever since I have joined her play in kitchen I have learnt a lot about my cooking skills seeing things from her point-of-view. The joy of cooking has doubled ever since I have teamed up with my little helper. The tiny rotis she rolls out, make a tasty treat when I roast them on the griddle, gifting us delicious reasons to smile.
The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us. ~Ashley Montagu
3. If you know me or have read about my OCD for cleaning you’d be well aware how much I love to keep my world clean, orderly and clutter-free. This (bad) habit too has died a slow, painful death owing to the fact I gave birth to one of the naughtiest brats born in her time.
From scribbling on our freshly painted walls, to coloring with crayons on any paper, to doodling with flour and painting the mirrors, glass surfaces or the fridge with milk, to tearing apart wrapping papers, Pari is capable of creating mess even in an empty room.
Initially, I tried chasing the disarray, the mayhem. Tried beating the fatigue and re-arranging the house many times in a day just to feed my OCD for cleanliness. The result was the obvious. I ended up being dead tired, cranky and pouring my agitation on my baby. The worst bit was, this was in no way helping the situation. It was only adding fuel to Pari’s stubbornness.
This was when I decided to let go. Let go of my mania for cleanliness. I let go of my strictness for things to be in order. I started letting Pari have things her way, gradually but with set rules. It was a bitter pill to swallow but it did work wonders. I started being less tired, learnt to see the genius in a three-year old’s mess and most importantly learnt the much-needed lesson to be a patient parent.
I have to confess, I still get the overwhelming urge to clean up the clutter and yell at my child, but I have learnt to tame these cravings, slowly and steadily. Now I can calmly sit with a book rack having books lying in a disarray (for longer than an hour), have the Lego set pieces all over the floor while Pari is playing, resisting the urge to put things back in place. As a return gift, my little one takes extra care to put things back in place in an attempt to please me.
At the risk of repeating myself a hundredth time I have to say, I am a slow learner. Lessons that come naturally to people, take years to make an impression in my mind. But, I am not giving up. I am enjoying learning to being open to happiness in every form, laying foundation for a content life for me and my family.
Happiness depends upon ourselves. ~ Aristotle
The song on my mind: Aati rahengi baharein ~ Kasme Vaade