Updated: Sep 9, 2021

And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine. And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night. - Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is no ordinary book. Not reading it is being blind to the wisdom of life.

I went to get my brother’s guitar serviced yesterday at an age old store in Panjim. I noticed that the actual people running the place were very much in sync with their tasks, generous with their support and love to both the instruments and customers. They probably would have been there as part of a culture originally set by the founder but the desk was helmed by someone who is new, likely the heir of the founder and very much out of tune in a place so synchronously charged. I didn’t get my guitar back as there was still work to be done but the way it was being tended to was like a baby in a healing spa. Anyone wise enough should bypass the owner to reach the sanctum of the store where one can actually feel Love through work.

Many a times we tend to forget how privileged we are with the work that we have gotten into. Its not hard to get lost or overwhelmed by the logistics of the trade and see work as drudgery. But every work we do badly, when we let the drudgery, the resentment, the regret, the lack of something else, the myriad problems of life, when we allow it to flow into our work and let it infest our work, we take it away from someone who could do it better, more happily.

Its not so much that you have to love your work for that means they are two different things. Applying something to something else. And it especially doesn’t work when you have signified through ages of conditioning that ‘work’ is something unenjoyable. For joy and love are companions and taking joy away from love nullifies it. So instead, work up your love, like you work up a gentle flame for your beloved and express that through the task at hand. Yet again as Gibran puts it:

It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth….It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.….It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit. - Kahlil Gibran

I’ve noticed over time that working as such not only makes the outcomes better but allows me for much more gratification in the things I do.

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

Maybe its because I learnt Swimming much later in life that I somehow go back to the swimming analogy time and again. Coz I so strikingly remember everything about the process of learning through it.

I started swimming when I was about 24 as that's when I really got to spend time after work hours. It was beautiful to see people swimming but the thought of swimming intimidated me crazy. Over the course of a month, I went on from pretty much not being able to float in water without support, to breast stroking across the pool diagonally (and doing a reasonable freestyle and dive). And I also discovered that I had just learnt to Learn, anew.

So whenever I approach learning I have a swimming analogy going on in my head. It translates as follows.

  1. Like swimming, its important to get knee-deep into your topic of choice. Things will always look intimidating if you’re standing at the edge of a pool.

  2. Once in it recognize that, whenever learning something new, our brain fights with the new idea left, right, center. Its a good thing, it tries to cope up hard until it finds the thing that works perfectly for the challenge.

  3. Expect to be really tired during the initial days of Learning. You can and will be extremely tired either physically and / or mentally depending on the task at hand. In swimming there have been instances where I’ve had to swim with cramps in my legs from the middle of the pool only using the hands as the body over-engaged in the wrong muscles.

  4. Once a new thing is learnt one can perform it with minimal exhaustion as the body + mind duo optimize their settings. Even swimming diagonally in the pool about 35-40 laps didn’t feel much like a workout. Expect the same ease to be at work once through this phase.

  5. Last but not the least. Swimming can become boring after a while, don’t leave it yet. Your mind needs to be stimulated with the next achievable challenge to keep it busy. Keep learning incrementally, new advances, refining your existing process, new styles, etc.

Well, I had to leave swimming shortly after a year as I went further for studies, but I keep swimming through the large unpredictable pool of life, reminding myself of the lessons I learnt when I learnt swimming.

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

I wrote these lines somewhere in my journals:

Its so important to consume what one desires to create. Books come from other books, films come from other films and music comes from other music. One needs to be a good consumer or connoisseur of these things and the kind of books, films, movies or music you like will be your guide to what you would love to create. This is a simple but very important rule to life.

Expanding on it I also feel that at times one can’t help but create what they consume. So one also has to be quite careful about mentally consuming junk the same way as physically consuming something nasty (I’ve read this idea somewhere but can’t recollect where). If one eats junk food they will have problems with their body and if one consumes junk content the same with the mind.

For us creators though sometimes we are bound by the quality of content that we are exposed to. Eg: Animation in India is not a big scene and that can severely restrict the things one consumes from their peers. When faced with this we need to earnestly find things that we relate deeply with, be it writings or films or art, no matter how hard we have to look for them. Love it, collect it, consume it and you might end up creating things you love too.