For The Race Called Life

“For The Race Called Life” – That’s what is imprinted on the little satchel that was given to all participants who registered for a fun run to celebrate Women’s Day.

I participated for the first run ever in my entire 4 decades+, old life. The 5 k was what I opted for hoping and praying that I would be able to complete it before I collapsed, gasping and frothing at the mouth with sheer fatigue.

Guess what? I completed it in 45 mins. My first ever, give me a high-5, yay!!! What did the race for life teach me? Well, like Haruki Murakami, who wrote about life really, when he ran, I too thought to myself: I can run. I can walk and run, I don’t have to run all the time. I can run at my pace and not worry about others who are behind or ahead of me. I don’t have to worry about taking up someone’s space, as space gets created for all, runners, walkers, old, young, infirm, men, women. As I moved slowly at a really gentle trot, there were those who got off the block with a lot of firepower and soon ran out of breath and I was able to overtake some of them. My mind was focused on completing the run. I was determined. I stopped to hydrate myself as I realised that it’s important to look after one’s body and listen to the mind and heart when it says, “pause”, “thirsty”, etc. I walked, without feeling guilty after the initial guilt of giving in (to walking) was overcome. I focused on the finish line and I was able to pick up running again where I’d left off without feeling the need to sit, stand, roll my head down in abject surrender. I was able to admire the grit and sheer determination of all the others who were also focused on crossing the finish line. I was non-judgemental and totally appreciative of other’s efforts. I focused on my breathing. I was able to hear my mind tick. I was in awe of my own determination at wanting to complete it. I was happy to hear the voice in my head that said, “you can do it, don’t you give up on me now”.

When I saw the Finish sign I couldn’t resist pumping my fist and almost bursting into tears of joy, relief, accomplishment and breaking the barriers of my mind. I had endured. I had triumphed against all the naysayer voices within my head that asked doubtfully, “can you really do it?”

Yes I bloody well can and did. I ran For The Race Called Life and triumphed. I didn’t come first, it wasn’t a competitive race, so in actuality, I was really racing against myself. I was awarded a medal at the end of it, same as every single participant there. Yes, it was symbolic. You run your own race, keep taking deep breaths, stop at pit stops to hydrate yourself, listen to those who egg you on and draw inspiration from those who’re running the same race of life, in different shapes, sizes, ages and abilities. No one is jostling you, toppling you or causing you any insecurity. There’s no urgency to win, no one to sneer at you because you didn’t have a podium finish. You ran, focused on the task at hand and the Finish sign came up on you quietly, unimposingly and you slipped by the gates with a big Whoosh! Yes, you ran, and you just did it. By Jove! Happy Women’s Day!

For all the women out there, you’re not just phenomenal, but a phenomenon. Wake up, rise up, reach out and shine your light and shine in your glory. There’s no one quite like you. Xoxoxo!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a question of Questions!

  1.  What would you do if you had for the girl child if you were given half a school and no teachers back in your home country? (If a contestant was asked this at the Universe pageant?).
  2. Who has been your role model while growing up? (Does everyone have one or is it necessary to have one?).
  3. Who would you be stranded with on an island for 10 days, an island no one knows of or has heard of and you are well and truly ‘Lost’? (Like the ‘who’ is more important than survival right?).
  4. What is your ritual before you go out to speak in front of a large audience? (Imagine this being asked of our Prime Minister!).
  5. Given a choice, would you be born as Shakira, Hillary Clinton, Monica Lewinsky or Justin Bieber? (Get a life!).

:). When you pause and think about some of the questions that get asked of celebrities or people by others in the media or by people, you realise these are tough questions to crack. I mean, be honest, don’t you start thinking of Your answers to these questions when you read or hear about them? Don’t you visualise yourself being out there in the public eye and answering these questions? Come on, it’s natural, it’s a human reflexive action. I know I do. And I haven’t ever been able to come up with clever answers and if I have, then that has been after some deliberate effort and time. So hats off to those who manage to be quick on the uptake and clever and smart and aware.

Right! Smiling are we? Ruminating over your brew of choice? Hmmm…! I’ve been watching a whole lot of great Internet TV shows, by Chase Jarvis, Marie Forleo and a few others, I am struck by some of the questions that get asked and answered by thought leaders, entrepreneurs and brilliant people essentially doing their own S#%t as they say nowadays. Take out a diary, notepad, piece of paper and a writing implement and actually do this with me. I am sure of one thing: not many of you’d have done this. Get ready to expect the unexpected. Ready?

The Must-List of Questions that ideally every single human being should, at any given point in time, ask themselves.

  1. What moves you? I mean really moves you? Seeing a dog crushed under the wheels of a car, a romantic movie when the woman runs to her man and is hugged by her man like his life depended on it, 2 children holding hands going to school, an old man being shepherded by a young teenager across the street, song, dance, art in any form, your family, Mother Earth? Yes, what moves you, makes your eyes mist over, or skip a beat or feel a rush of emotion come hurtling through the bottom of your feet to the top of your crown. What gives!
  2. If the word “Fear” was erased from your vocabulary, if the “feeling of fear” was obliterated from the repository of human emotions, what would you do now with your life?
  3. Growing up, did you ever visualise your life, like a movie, with a beginning, middle and end? Every credit, every song, every frame clearly etched? No? Why not?
  4. If yes to the above, what happened to the movie? Did it bomb at the BO of your own life? You mean your own movie was worthless even for you where you were the producer, director, actor, screenplay writer, songstress, composer, special effects genius etc.?
  5. Do you ever make promises to yourself about the life you want to lead? You do? And what happens to those promises? Ahem…better not talk about it is it?
  6. Is envy a part of your current makeup? Envy at your best friend seemingly living the life you dreamed about? Or at that peer, or school mate or colleague who is doing ‘well’?
  7. Wait a minute, have you ever stopped to define the meaning of ‘doing well’ and ‘success’ for yourself? Sorry, you’re not allowed to look it up in Merriam-Webster. Your definition is what I want to hear.
  8. What does freedom mean to you?
  9. Give me an example of ‘taking a risk in life’. Remember there are no right or wrong answers, just your answers :).
  10. Now here are some rapid fire ones:
    • Do you believe that ‘friendships for life’ can also chafe at the bit and can become rancid?
    • Do you think that all parents are the best and always have their children’s best interests at heart?
    • When was the last time you had a ‘goal in life and goal of life’ and have actually achieved the same?
    • What is the meaning of ‘comfort zone’ and have you ever defined it, understood it and leapt out of it? Share your experience of the same please, I’d be delighted.
    • Do you still believe that your life here is ‘forever’ and you have ‘forever time’ to live the ‘life of your dreams’?
    • You’d rather believe your ‘screaming gut’ or family, friends and sundry others when it comes to doing something you ‘believe in’ but are hesitant because you are afraid of: rejection, failure, being seen as a fool, success, happiness, grief, pain, death, joy, being alone,bankruptcy?
    • On a scale of 1 – 5 where 5 is the highest, how would you rate the importance of money in your life? Please be honest at least with and to yourself.
  11. Have you ever wondered (yes back to the mainstream, the rapid fire was just to keep your interest alive), about ‘luck’ and its importance in the lives of people who are insanely successful?
  12. When people are critical of your behaviour or decisions or even about what you’ve worn or how loud your voice is, or the way you walk or the way you slurp on the tea, what do you feel about those making those judgements? Do you shrug and have a sang froid attitude, smile or do you actually want to shove something up their arse?
  13. What gives you a buzz? Nope, I don’t mean a Black Russian cocktail or whatever else your poison may be, no, not that. I mean what gives you that feeling of such intense joy, that it’s actually indescribable?
  14. Great you identified the above. What are you doing about it? Why you sitting here describing it?

I think this is a decent bunch of queries to get you started off now, so will somehow restrain myself from going overboard. And you know what? While you reflect on these questions as I will too, remember just one thing that I keep waking up to –

Go on then. Shrug, turn over (like a lover with a headache or a grouse) and continue to exist. However remember, life is about living, existence is a given.

And yes, please share some of your questions that you have had occasion to ponder about. It’d be lovely to hear from you.