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2022: Here I Come

How has the year been, is a question we often ask our friends, acquaintances and relatives as we meet them, now that the year has ended, even as the memories flash past our eyes. Some that we cherish, some that we may want to forget in a jiffy, and some we never cared for. In fact, a lot of memories reflect the uncertainty that we seem to have accepted as a new norm in our lives. Uncertainty that is borne out of fear, anxiety and some passive depression all induced by Covid 19 the pandemic. If there was this fear of losing out on a job, there was also a hope of finding a new one. 2021 has been a year that was more bland than lively. The uncertainties of the previous years continued with some lockdowns ending, though in bits and pieces. We must be grateful to the year, that it allowed us to move on in spite of all the health scares, when many others were not as fortunate.  It had many lessons for me though.


Our life and living has 4 quadrants of wellness: spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical functions in unison. Each one of them differs in vibrational frequency, and most of us focussed only on the physical, more so because of the Virus that had its own plans. However, what happens in one-quadrant effects what goes on in the other quadrants. Let’s see how this has affected us, the whole of last year and if there are any lessons to learn. Many of us were also paranoid about the environment both outside of us and the inside. Actually, there are several viruses and bacteria inside us than outside. How many of us would have actually worried about the viruses inside and done something about it? Did we exercise? Did we do some Yoga that brought stability to the mind? Did we participate in community engagements and helped others come out of their anguish and pain? Being responsible to oneself and others is a great lesson from the past year that we must remember.


A wholesome life calls for coordinated effort of all our faculties. Doctors provide us medicine for our physical ills. The western medicine only alleviates and moderates the symptoms and seldom the cause. Hence though we get relief for a short period of time, it is never long lasting. Most of us have experienced this during the pandemic. Our mental state also has a bearing on some of our physical ills. It then calls for medicine for the mind as well.


Several of us, who otherwise have a great emotional maturity in matters professional, are found wanting when it comes to managing our emotions on matters personal. We know how to respond to tough situations in professional matters but not when it comes to managing the personal front. We won’t explore matters deep, everything is about us and us alone, we become defensive, often have commitment issues, we don’t own our mistakes, and feel more alone than ever. The pandemic has shown us that emotional maturity is a skill that we need to consistently work on over time. We must develop an ability to listen without judgement and show empathy to others if we have to live to be happy. Accepting life with all its incongruities is an art. Emotional wellness is the result.


Inherently, we are all spiritual. Even atheism has theism built into it. Do we need to believe in God to be spiritual?  Does being spiritual have anything to do with spiritual practices? These are questions that need answers to build emotional wellness. Our moral compass needs to be re-calibrated with value-based education to bring spirituality into lives. Our religion does not make a difference. It only guides us through what is right and what is wrong and consequently what we should or should not do. Has the pandemic not taught us that conformity, orthodoxy and an overdependence on spiritual practices are all limited in their use? It is now more of discovering oneself, understanding nature, the mother earth and its abundance and vastness. It is about breathing free and breathing clean air. It is about freeing the mind of the cobwebs of yester years.


One other aspect that the pandemic has taught us is the importance of mental health and mental wellness. It is about managing stress, being productive, and making a contribution to society. Mental wellness is our internal resource which helps us think, feel, connect, and function. It is an active process that helps us build resilience, grow, and flourish. The psychologists use the Ryff scale to estimate our psychological wellbeing which is based on six factors such as autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, and self-acceptance. In a mathematical sense, we must aim at higher total scores indicating higher psychological well-being, all of which indicate the extent of mental wellness. So, what must we do in these times of stress and uncertainty? We must exercise regularly, meditate, be mindful, build high self esteem and confidence and maintain communication with friends and family. It is necessary to connect all the four quadrants of wellness: spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical functions for mental wellness that automatically brings us physical wellness. If life style adjustments are required to be able to achieve mental wellness, so be it.


It is always a nice thought to reflect back on the year gone by and reminisce all the nice things that happened, overlook the bad, celebrate the good and try changing the not so good. Amongst several lessons, I learnt that we may plan several things and want them to work out the way we planned, but that they don’t. I learnt that several things will go wrong in spite of what we do and in spite of the best efforts. I have also learnt that I cannot fix everything and that some things will stay the way they are. Broken if they are broken. Stuck if they are stuck. Through all the gibberish, that life offers, I also learnt that life is beautiful and endearing with family and friends and the caring they offered. On that note, let’s welcome the new year. Remember what Alfred Lord Tennyson said: “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’.”

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