This post is dedicated to celebrating our loved ones and in particular those who have passed on.
In life you may see it as winning some and losing some but don’t see it as a race or a contest. See it as a journey with lessons that is meant to be lived to the fullest. Things may come unexpectedly and we can all agree that none of us is sure what tomorrow will bring.
Let us look at it like this: Life is a journey and on that journey there are many experiences. Just as people come into our lives so too we enter other people’s lives. Just as we make our entrances and exits so do they and the exits we make or they make are in preparation for a new chapter of the journey. Not all exits are the same and some are understandably harder than others.
The time we spend with each other gives us time to experience and to learn. In essence it gives us time to do good and to be good. It gives us time to learn, time to love, time to make the most of. It gives us time to celebrate the time we share, the opportunities we are given to learn from each other and to create memories while celebrating the opportunity those in our lives have given us to become better and do better.
This being said it is important to live each day as your last, make the most of each moment, do the things you need to do and give it the absolute best that you can. Life is uncertain and unpredictable if you want to call it such so get in the habit of making each moment matter.
Photo Credit: Mandy Hale
If you cannot for one reason or another (such as health or immobility) be thankful for all that you have and all that you have done and keep praying. Celebrate all that you are and all that you have accomplished. Take the time too to celebrate all your loved ones and all they have accomplished and all they stood for.
Photo Credit: loveliveson.com
Though we are taught to accept that when there is birth, death is inevitable, life’s journey may shake us in some unexpected ways. God, regardless of how we refer to Him, is caring, loving and forgiving. He nurtures, He protects and He guides so being angry with Him is not an option. Instead ask Him for courage and strength to deal with your loss. I know it is easier said than done but I maintain that I am no expert and I hold firmly to my belief that you cannot tell someone how to feel if you are not in their shoes.
Grief should not be bottled so don’t bottle it.
Just as you celebrate you, take the time to celebrate the loved ones who have passed on.
Remember their smiles, their words, the love they showered you with and the lessons they taught you. Remember the moments you shared and the impact they have had on your life. Thank God for the time you had together. Ask for peace of mind for yourself and courage to face the realities of what is.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/plastic-pollution/ A simple click on the above link would help to paint the picture of the reality that mankind faces as a result of plastic pollution. One very important fact we can all attest to is that the Earth is in trouble because of our use of plastics. This is primarily due to how humans pollute the Earth because of the way plastics are used and more so because of the way plastics are disposed of.
On October 17, 2019 His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda issued a call for all ashramites to stop using plastic. To each His Holiness provided an eco toothbrush. Those who are devotees and followers of His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda would surely understand that His Holiness does nothing that is against nature and He also does nothing that is against mankind. Instead it is the very opposite and His love knows no bounds. His actions are always filled with thought, love, sincerity and compassion and this is always directed at all of Creation.
His visit to Antarctica https://www.dattapeetham.org/events/2013/sri-swamiji-in-antarctica-29-dec-2013-to-07-jan-2014 is an example of this. The care given to animals wherever His Holiness goes is another indication of this. Shuka Vana which is home to over 475 species of birds, the koi pond, the Bonsai Garden which has a plant for each of the 365 days of the year, the Gau Shala and His visit to various places around the world is proof of this. One particular memory which stands out in my mind is seeing squirrels and monkeys up and down trees and running around the Ashrama. The way that they are comfortable and the way that they are at peace is evident. No questions need to be asked. The truth is they may not be able to live as peacefully as this in any other part of the country.
As humans we owe it to Mother Earth (Dharti Maa) to take care of Her because she has blessed us with the food which sustains and nourishes us and the land where we make our homes. However we should not take care of the Earth because we feel obligated to but it should be because we care and we genuinely want to. One very real way of doing that is by reducing our use of plastics. It is doable and it is very possible. All it requires is firm conviction (your thought and belief process) and action (actually efforts and measures to reduce your use of plastics).
Here as some ways to help the environment: 1. Recycle- ( glass bottles, plastic bottles, paper, unused books) You can do this by checking locally in your country of residence for this. Those who live in Trinidad and Tobago can refer to this previous post (https://rachaelathomasj.com/2018/01/23/celebrating-nature-recyling) 2. Reduce wastage meaning use just what is needed. Do not use what is not needed. Do not be complacent and mismanage. Such actions will not help anyone. 3. Support animal relief efforts. Provide help at animal shelters or render assistance by helping however you can – feeding, care and the upkeep of the homes of animals. Share information on protecting endangered species and lead by example. Whether it is leather back turtles, birds, fishes or snakes, help animals that you can help. 4. Switch to eco friendly products. His Holiness set a precedent at the Mysore Ashrama. No use of plastics now means eco friendly toothbrushes, compostable garbage bags and no plastic bottles. In essence it means an opportunity to now use eco friendly water bottles that are BPA free and greater use of copper water bottles. These are products you can adopt in your everyday lives. These products are available online and many businesses in Trinidad have eco friendly bags for when you purchase goods or they allow you to bring your eco-friendly bags.
This being said it is advisable to do some research and find out what is available where you live. Go through the internet, go through social media and see what is available for you! Here are some other things you can also look into using: 1. Bamboo cutlery 2. Compostable plates 3. Bamboo fiber cleaning towels 4. Recyclable storage bags 5. Dissolvable due free detergent 6. Reusable bottles 7. Reusable coffee cups 8. Metal straws 9. Paper wrapping Every step counts! Every action matters! Do what you can and make a difference! Save a life, help protect our Earth!
Deepavali 2019 is nothing short of a blessing. It is a first for us as this is our first trip to India and thus our first Deepavali in India as well as our first with our dear baby girl who is also celebrating her first Deepavali. In every sense it is a true celebration of life and understanding self, it is filled with priceless moments and being showered by an abundance of blessings. More so it is in every sense a day of being thankful for all blessings and a day filled with great humility and gratitude.
October 27, the most celebrated day of Deepavali, began in prayer, first with humble prostrations to our Sadguru, His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji and it continued with prayerful supplication throughout the day. We were able to join with hundreds of others to witness His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji perform Puja on the auspicious day of Deepavali 2019 and to participate in Puja. A great blessing this most certainly was!
As the day unfolded it presented so much that needed to be experienced with the heart and soul and not captured by phone or camera. It just needed to be experienced in its purest form, with energy at its purest and fullest- another step in understanding the self and the path being travelled. Energy, we can all agree comes in various forms. Energy, at its purest, is peaceful and calming. More so it is soothing and incomparable to anything else. There is no pressure, no stress, no pain, no negativity- just positivity!
Then came an opportunity to see the pieces of a puzzle (if one can call it such) come together as the Divine Master provided answers that for years I have not fought to find but accepted that faith would bring answers to if indeed they exist. It was like the unravelling of a story that for years has gotten the better of so many and has also denied them their true existence.
On the auspicious occasion of Deepavali 2019 He did exactly this! He provided answers and direction. Western Doctors who have resigned one’s fate to medication and dependency on medication they prescribe are no match for His greatness and knowledge, His compassion and His commitment to humanity. Being in the right place at the right time is one thing but being exactly where the Master wants you to be is another. It is absolutely the best part of the story ever! A way forward is what is received and it is better than being stuck which has been past reality.
Then to add to an already perfectly blessed day where your day begins with you seeing the Crowning Glory of the Universe, Nada Brahma, the epitome of Truth, Knowledge and Bliss, where it continues with you understanding how blessed you are by seeing more of what makes Him great, the epitome of perfection and the Master of the Universe you get your first real taste of Kriya Yoga which echoes the need to take care of oneself. Blessing after blessing most certainly! This is how I choose to see it and it is also how I choose to describe it.
It requires no searching, no stress, no fighting! That is not my life! No energy for it!
Then to bring Oct 27, 2019 to a close we had the beautiful opportunity of having a parent who lives downstairs where we stay do a rangoli design for our baby girl. Baby Sumanasa loved it and seeing how happy the daughters of these parents were made the occasion even more special.
Mere days earlier, on Dhanteras, Oct 25, 2019 this year, the first day of 5 days of Deepavali celebrations, we were fortunate to witness His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Sri Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda perform Abhishekam for Lord Venkateshara. It was a sight to behold and truly an experience to be experienced through one’s own eyes and one’s own heart.
Then today, October 28, 2019 being able to witness Appaji’s return to Ashrama was certainly a most memorable occasion.
Can anyone walk in your shoes or feel your pain? Truth be told and in all honesty, they cannot! Life is full of experiences and you can agree, that more often than not, we walk forward, not the other way around. It may be baby steps but it is still a step forward. Look at a flame- which direction does it go in? Upward, right?
Being real and being practical is always important! Do not let anyone make you think otherwise.
Do not expect that what we want is what we will get. We get what we deserve and sometimes what we do not. Every time someone says something harsh to you, they are ignorant of the pain you feel or the hurt it causes. Clearly they know nothing about treating others as they want to be treated and it is not your loss. Instead it’s theirs!
I am not lecturing but always be proud of your achievements and your sacrifice. Be proud of the time you put in and the obstacles you overcame. Be proud of the fact that you had the courage to face it!
If you need help please use what I call the scissors of life. According to this method it means cut out negative people and cut out negatives in all form and fashions.
Say for example people throw negatives your way- it does not mean you return it. It means keep your faith and don’t give up. Trust that God is always with you and will help you through every situation.
Remember it is not tit for tat. That doesn’t work. Hold firm to your beliefs and be unwavering in your stance.
No matter how small your success may be to you, celebrate it. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Celebrate all the effort and energy you put in to accomplish what you have and know it will in essence make you stronger and it will make you a better person.
As I always urge, it is yours for the taking! Be your best friend and do not be your worst enemy. Do what is right though it may not always be easy! Make today count and celebrate every moment!
As we bid farewell to 2018 and welcome 2019 here is to wishing you a Bright, Blessed and Happy New Year! Here is to hoping that we can celebrate 2019 together and take it one experience at a time and one opportunity at a time!
Those who know me and who follow my work and my writing would know that this year has been a year of interesting sorts! It has been a combination of happiness, sadness, growth, learning, acceptance and an abundance of blessings. Clearly this has not been the reality for me alone but it is also the reality for many the world over. As we move forward let’s continue to take it one day at a time and remember that every time you feel down there is always something positive here to help you through a tough day.
For 2019 I urge you to do the following:
·Take the good with the bad
·Find a positive to every negative
·Always be true to yourself
·Be the best that you can be at all times
·Live life without regrets
·Value every moment
·Count your blessings and be thankful for all that you have
·Never waste an opportunity
I urge you once again to please download SGSPosts for positive and uplifting messages if you have not already done this. It is an app which delivers messages by His Holiness Param Pujya Dr Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji that are based on ‘peace, love, brotherhood and universal co-existence’ across the world.
It’s been a long time since I posted a message I am sure you will agree! In this post I am opting to focus on life’s experiences. The thing is that I have learnt the hard way not to depend on many persons. I am also sure this will be agreed upon.
My circle is small but the lessons I have learnt are many. Thankfully my faith has never been in man but in God! My belief has always been in Karma (not in thinking of others suffering for the wrong they do as I do not have energy for that- with me I just pick up and press on- but I believe that we are all responsible for our actions) and being good and doing my best. This is what I always give to the world.
Some things to remember:
Have confidence in yourself.
Never give up.
Know that many people will show you want they want but the reality of what they are depends on their words and more so, their actions.
Remember that with every negative experience you should always look for the positive that comes out of it.
Change comes when people make a conscious effort to want to change.
If anyone makes you angry do not give them that anger. You suffer the most as you work yourself up and they do not deserve that satisfaction. Take care of yourself and pray for them to learn from their bad ways or pray to have less of that to deal with.
Nothing lasts forever. Believe that today is a present and tomorrow will get better. Today is your challenge for tomorrow and helps you better appreciate the good things when they come your way.
Being afraid never got anyone anywhere. Believe in yourself.
Take it bit by bit and day by day!
Make every moment count.
Putting of something always makes it harder to do it.
When in doubt always work with what you are sure about. This helps to clear away the uncertainties.
Take care of yourself. Nobody can do this as well as you really well as you can.
Today makes it one year since my dear grandfather passed away. We, his grandchildren, called him Baba!
We miss him but we know his pain and suffering are over. Our love for him and the love he showed us is something we will never forget. He is gone but will never be forgotten.
Have a look at this video and listen to this bhajan by His Holiness Dr. Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji:
Here are two pictures I am happy to share:
I have been thinking of all the things I wanted to share with Baba in this past year- my graduation, my internship, our fishes, our plants etc! He has given us so much memories and now his pain and suffering are no more. That is our comfort and the fact that we have each other!
I called him as often as I could and before marriage he would ask about everyone at home and after marriage he would always ask, “How the boss?” referring to Shiva. I enjoyed those times when I was able to sing Happy Birthday to him and when I was able to talk to him and spend time with him.
I would always value the time I was able to spend with Baba in his last days at the hospital. Even then we were being taught valuable lessons-every single one of us who was there!
Knowing that when there is birth there is death is a reality we have always been taught but what matters is that we have made the most of the time we had Baba and all our other loved ones in our lives and we keep doing that for all those who are still with us.
We were fortunate to have Baba, our grandpa, around for the time he was here. He was able to see us all grow up- children and grandchildren. He was also able to see some of his great grandchildren and each of us has similar memories but also different memories. Either way there are lots of memories for each of us to remember!
This is a post I wrote last year to celebrate Baba’s life:
Maybe you might also remember this next post! It captures the relationship my grandparents shared. On the day Baba passed away I had a presentation to do for one of my courses, Critical Analysis of Media and TV Coverage with Mr Roddy Batchasingh at COSTAATT. Baba had passed away in the morning and I had class in the evening. My presentation was dedicated to the bond my grandparents shared and my song of choice was “Thinking out Loud” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQLqu-ThMOY by Ed Sheeran.
Gone but not forgotten: The late Ramlal Dookie: November 14, 1933- March 19, 2015
Father of seven (7) children born to Jassodra Celia Dookie- 6 girls and 1 boy- Doris, Dora, Dolcie, Devi, Jaggs, Bena and Rajdaye, my grandma is the mother-in-law of and my grandpa was the father-in-law of Ranjit, Winston, Fyzal, Sharaz, Hosein, Rosemary and Rajesh.
He was the Brother-in-law of Mynee, Bissondaye (Betty), Bharose, Doodnath, Sita,Vinda and the late Sookraj Ramlakhan (my grandma’s siblings). Grandfather of 15 (Rishi, Savita, me, Adesh, Ria, Ricky, Sarah, Imran, Candice, Premnauth, Susan, Joseph, Josiah, Vincent and Leah), he was also a great grandfather of 5, uncle of Dilip among many others and he was a friend of many.
Apart from loving his family, anyone could associate him with riding his bicycle which he did for many years and with fishing with his seine which he enjoyed a lot.