Lady L aka Lakshmi, is one of my closest friends, I've known this woman since we were kids playing hop-scotch, learning Bharathnatyam and some unfortunate singing lessons too. But a tragic accident brought her to the confines of her bed and wheel chair as all four of her limbs got paralyzed due to a car accident she was in 10 years back. But this has not stopped her from finishing off her college, getting her degree, then her masters all the while learning the many teachings of Buddhism. Mid last year I told her to start contributing to my website as a writer as she has experienced so many things at such a young age. We started 'The eighth day' series based off off many conversations we've had - from random topics to intense spiritual/philosophical ones. We are also huge fans of The Beatles :)
I met Lakshmi a few days back, and as expected we has a ton of things to share and vent about. We started talking about all the negative things happening and the many things happening around the world. We both talked about how, in a few months time, this year already looks to be full of twists and turns. So many negative things happenings around us, it is bound to affect us and get us down. She more so as she, with trying to get admission to do her second masters in Philosophy (M.Phil) and how that course was no longer available. She made the best of this frustrating situation after finding an alternative course - M.A in Philosophy - but things are still not going in the pace she wanted. You see, she's a quadriplegic and being a quadriplegic is frustrating enough as you can imagine, but all these years of knowing her, she has shown incredible strength and resilience to the many things life has thrown her way. She says:
"There were moments where I did feel like I was losing my mind and I did indeed feel like I was going to burst. But, in my case I did not have a choice but to sit through it. To just let it pass. And it certainly did because I have had moments where I felt like I was going to die but I would wake up the next morning and wonder what I wanted for breakfast. This made me realise that no matter how terrible I felt at certain times, it was still temporary. And rather than trying to fight my own negative tendencies I just surrendered to them. And by that I mean, I did not try to pass judgement about my own feelings. They are what they are. It also made me realise that all of this was happening only on the surface level. Deep down the undercurrent was one of peace. This is true of everybody. You need to understand that no matter what happens to you on the level of the mind, it cannot penetrate your core. The core is always in a state of bliss. And at some point you honestly discover that sufferering is pointless. I mean you still feel happy and sad and all that but you will learn to take it for what it is and not brood on any unnecessary thoughts. Its about breaking patterns really. Don't be afraid of your own emotions."
We talked about how to overcome hardships and situations where you may think it is the end. Times where you may feel helpless and lost. Times where the only thing you can think of is giving up. Times where you think life is just out to get only you; to get you and keep you down. But when life pushes you, you ought to push back. Push - write, talk, scream, eat, travel, drive, study, work, make love - push.
The other day i had the pleasure of meeting two incredible ladies - Usha and Gita. I wouldn't have met them if not for this one common factor - our hospital. The three of us had been called in by the hospital management to take part in this survey about our experience with the hospital and the doctors and nurses and everything else. I was skeptical going in, i didn't know what to expect. i didn't know what they wanted me to say, was it going to be video taped; i was anxious but I had decided to go anyway. The interview was conducted with all three of us at the same time, so in the span of one hour, we discussed everything from our diagnosis to our pain to our experience with the hospital and then some. Although we had met that day for the very first time, by the end of the session we had become like friends who met after a very long time. These 60 somethings and I, got along like a house on fire. The hospital conference room turned to a coffee shop with us talking about cancer and kidney disease and how these big events had taught us about the fragility of life and how important it is to be mentally and physically happy. And how having a positive outlook has got us through tough situations and how the people you surround yourself with makes a huge difference to how you feel. Times when we were in the eye of the storm, our doctors gave us hope. And how that tiny bit of confidence and positive words could ignite a spark in us to get up and fight.
There were so many things we all could relate to and felt the same way about and even though with the huge age gap and year gap between our struggles, the one thing we all agreed on was - when the time came to fight or flight, we picked up our armour.
When you have hit rock bottom, there is no way but up.
Gita aunty, me and Usha aunty :)