There was this person, who was so fed up with life, trying to be a perfect parent, perfect friend, perfect everything. Making it a first person account – The problem was in trying to live my life on someone else’s terms and making a mess of what I was, masking my strengths and gradually forgetting my true self.
Why live life on terms as defined by others. Other’s perception of perfection should not and does not indicate true perfection. Perfection is a very personal characteristic based on our own abilities and thoughts – so why lose sleep over our inability to match to standards prescribed and set by others. It is better to dance to our own tunes and not to other’s. Concept beautifully demonstrated with the following story and read on…
The little rabbit stood alone, watching the other rabbits around hop and skip in the forest. They were playing her favourite rabbit game. Try as she might, each time she attempted to join in, she tripped about awkwardly. When this happened, the other rabbits laughed at her and called her “Riya” (Graceful in Sanskrit).
Soon even she forgot her real name. In moments when Riya was alone, she danced around the trees with ease. She was as smooth and graceful as any ballerina. An old owl sat high above one night, watching her intently. The moonlight streamed through the treetops like a soft spotlight and he sat and watched as little Riya moved in and out of the moonbeans.
Finally he said, “Riya, you are more graceful than any creature I’ve ever seen.” Riya was startled that someone had been watching her; but listened carefully to the wise owl’s words as he continued. “You have carried this beauty within you all this time, but locked it inside when you tried too hard.”
Often we are too intent on proving ourselves and pleasing others. The harder we try the more impossible the task becomes. We begin to lose our identity and all sense of who we really are and what we can do.
Then comes the power of robbers who through negative talk, remarks and jibes would rather have us believe that we cannot. Some of us may be fortunate to run into those like the old owl, the power enablers and facilitators, who bring back to us a sense of who we really are and what we are really meant to be. They help us see the beauty that is locked away inside, the potential that we all have. Others finally realize that they have two who can always be counted on. The first themselves and the second-nature, which never call us names or whispers behind our backs. We come to a point when we begin to be honest with ourselves.
We see the truth that we are all creatures of our times, that imperfections and faults are part of every being’s life tapestry and that all elements are woven into our lives, some frozen in time and others still open to inside work and shaping out. Then in a moment of great discovery we embrace all that is part of ourselves.
Like Riya we learn to dance and celebrate our wholeness. We become less obessed with the scorn that can be heaped on us by others. The negative is drowned by positive images. We realize like Riya that nature is our friend. Nature waits patiently. There is no pressure to be anyone else than who we already are. We relearn the dance of life. All the while we have just tried too hard.
Grace is not some sophisticated word used only for artists or models on a catwalk. It is the ability to live life on one’s own terms, the ability to kindle true life in others, the strength and courage to overcome those who would control and manipulate us. Sometimes grace in living comes after repeated failures. The rabbit Riya picked herself up when she came to a sense of her true self.
Many walk through your life, but few leave footprints on your heart. Take long spells of rest in nature. Become like Riya the rabbit who found that she had an identity of her own, so precious, that she had to first discover it by herself. And then when you discover your true identity and your own voice, become a power broker in this world, for gentleness and understanding.
Yes this is what His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar and The Art of Living did to me – transform me into Riya, the ever graceful.