“Several years ago in a village around dusk time, a villager spotted a black bear on a tree. Word quickly spread across the little village and many villagers gathered to see the bear. The locals tried in different ways to bring it down the tree. However, the bear seemed oblivious to the chaos caused by the villagers and remained still. The villagers fear for the bear continued to rise while their efforts to shoo it away went futile. Slowly came the dawn, and finally everyone could see that “BEAR” on the tree. Much to everybody’s surprise, it turned out to be a big black bag of garbage although no one knew how it got to the top of the tree in the first place…”
Before Vasudha could finish reciting the bed time story, her little kiddo started laughing out loud. “Mama! It wasn’t a bear ! The villagers were fooled and were frightened because of a garbage dump.”
“True my dear, they were fooled,” Vasudha smiled and planted a kiss on kiddo’s forehead and made her go to sleep.
A little later while engaged in finishing the daily To-Do’s in kitchen, the bed time story that was recited to her little one struck like a lump in Vasudha’s throat.
“Garbage perceived as the bear”, she thought.
Many people live with a bear up their tree. Vasudha wasn’t an exception either. There had been countless times when she had replayed the same negative messages over and over in her head rehashing the worst fears and anxieties. Many a times, she invariably had let the fear of ‘BIG BLACK BEAR’ grow to an extent that it led to detrimental impacts to both mental and physical health in the interim and much later when the ‘BEAR’ was discovered, it always left her with an inevitable question – “Was this all I was worried about?”
Imagination of the future and memories from the past were majorly weighing down Vasudha and were cluttered in her brain piling up like garbage. Her brain needed a break to stop replaying the same film and it was time to play a different one. In order to achieve it, the clutter from the brain required a de-clutter. It seemed like an almost impossible dream to her. But, she was determined like never before and decided to give her fullest attention to overcome her fears.
In the next few days, she got indulged in working out a plan for the next one month. Her rule#1 was to make some simple lifestyle changes such as, shifting her wake up time a little earlier by fifteen minutes to slow down the morning from its hectic pace to peaceful beginnings, avoid usage of gadgets for the first one hour after she woke up, practice power yoga for atleast 10-15 minutes. This initial one hour of soul recharge in the morning’s helped Vasudha in a great way to stay energized for the rest of the day.
Her rule#2 was to make a conscious effort to live in the moment- ‘Being in the now’. Although initially it started rough to control her wanderlust mind and the cloud of thoughts, the practice of being in the present slowly and eventually gained momentum. Whenever fear or anxiety resurfaced, she ensured to shift her focus onto breathing. It was a simple technique yet a powerful tool using which all her concerns about past and future got replaced with simple awareness of the present.
Gradually, over the next few weeks she started to follow the last and final rule#3, ‘Meditation’. Vasudha practiced to meditate for short intervals no more than 1-3 minutes at a time and continued to repeat the same many times in a day. These meditations are termed as “micro-meditations” and have helped her to easily get in to the habit of living in the moment. The short moments of peace and calmness helped to rejuvenate her for the next few hours. A few deep breaths came as a substitute when there was not enough time to meditate.
Everyday practice of the above three thumb rules nurtured Vasudha to seize the day and live life to the fullest.
Living with mindfulness has taught Vasudha that not every moment can be positive or beautiful, and not every moment should be positive or beautiful. She learned the powerful mantra to control what she could best do with her capabilities and let go the rest. Rather living succumbed to fear, she learnt to embrace fears through persistence and mental resilience.
Eventually, the big black bear on Vasudha’s tree vanished forever.
‘If we could neither predict the path that life takes us down the road nor fear about the rocks and thorns that life unfolds at every juncture, we can experience the ultimate joy in abundance,’ says now Vasudha whenever she encounters people trapped in the BIG BLACK BEAR fear.