This is the first time I am sharing my personal life which till now was shared only with a few close friends. What are the events in the past 9 years that have shaped me to become the man I am today? I can think of four, three in the past and the fourth one that is unfolding now.
The first was my separation in January 2005 from my ex- wife Ellen, after which I did not see my older children Virat and Jacqueline for nearly 7 months. I thought at that time that she was the worst thing that happened to me but what I learnt in those 7 months I could not have learnt otherwise so now i look at it differently because it completely changed my outlook on family and children.
The second took place in 2007 when my wife Markéta fell seriously ill and had to undergo a long and complicated Surgery leading to some severe consequences. This was when my younger daughter Jasmine was 6 months old and younger son Shaan was 2 years old. Markéta is a strong woman. She was able to overcome her health problems and is today back leading a normal life. This completely changed my outlook on living for the future.
The third was in June 2012 when I fainted in the south of France and had a severe case of 3 slip discs and was supposed to undergo a surgery to put 2 titanium nails in my back bone to protect the functioning of my legs or other parts of the lower body. I refused to undergo surgery and resorted to Meditation and Yoga & that put me on a course of spirituality that has completely changed my outlook on life itself in the past 14 months.
I did not think any of these events was a good thing happening when they actually occurred. Today, I know that they were the probably the best thing that happened to me and my family because every time it took us out of our comfort zone. I have now realized that real growth takes place only when you are out of your comfort zone. Life always brings us what we need, not necessarily what we want.
Let me share with you a story about an Indian trader (that I have borrowed from Dr. Wayne Dyer) that signifies to me my path of spirituality today & some of the things I have learnt and that I feel make the basis of the life I live.
Once upon a time there was an Indian trader who went to Africa to acquire some local products and animals. In the jungle, he saw many colorful talking parrots. He decided to capture a talking parrot and take him back as a pet. At home in India, he kept his parrot in a cage, he fed him honey and seeds and treated him very well. When it was time for the man to return to Africa two years later, he asked his parrot if there was any message he could deliver to his friends in the jungle. The parrot told him to
Convey to his friends that he was very happy in his cage and that he was enjoying every day, and asked him to pass on his love. When he arrived back in Africa, he delivered the message to the other parrots in the jungle. Just as he finished his story, a parrot with tears welling in his eyes fell over dead. The man was very alarmed but he thought the parrot must have been very close to the parrot in the cage and this was probably the reason for his sadness and his death. When the traveler reached home, back in India, he told his pet parrot what happened. As he finished his story, the pet parrot’s eyes welled up with tears and he kneeled over dead in his cage. The man was astounded but he figured that his pet died from the grief of hearing the death of his close friend in the jungle. The trader opened up the cage and tossed the dead bird onto the trash heap. Immediately, the pet parrot flew up to a branch on the tree outside. The trader said to him: “So you are not dead after all, why did you do that? You tricked me.“ And the parrot responded: “The bird back in Africa sent me a very important message.“ “What was the message,“ the trader wanted to know. He told me that “IF YOU WANT TO ESCAPE FROM YOUR CAGE, YOU MUST DIE WHILE YOU ARE STILL ALIVE“
We must indeed die while we are alive in order to look back at our waking consciousness and see ourselves trapped in our cage (in our case that of our EGO). So I am sharing with you the lessons that I have been fortunate enough to have learnt over the past few years and you are ofcourse fully entitled to discard them.
1. HUMILITY: I have learnt that if one is to lead a life of Humility and without entitlement, it is sheer joy and peace. Going from a state of “Notice me“ to a state of living humbly in obscurity. The sun never says to the earth “You owe me“. Imagine what happens with a love like that – it lights up the whole sky. I have also learnt that the most important trait of a leader is when everyone else says “we did it ourselves.“
2. TRUST: I have learnt that to let go and give up control just like we did when we were still in the womb and wonder through life with Curiosity instead of a fear for tomorrow & without any attachment to the result, is sheer fun.
3. KINDNESS: I have learnt (very, very recently) that whenever there is a choice between being Kind and being right, I get more happiness out of choosing “Kind”. (Earlier I was obsessed with being right).
4. MORE IS LESS: I have learnt that I don’t need anything to be happy (it is my true nature as I am anchored in the source) but I need something to be sad. I feel today that till I realized I had enough, I always needed more and felt really poor but now that I have realized I have enough, I feel really rich.
5. FLEXIBLE: I have learnt that water is always stronger than the rocks as it wears them down. It is soft and flexible but very powerful. Life is change, Flexibility is life and rigidity is death.
6. I DON’T KNOW: The thing that my four children as well as the Dalai Lama have taught me are the three most powerful words in the world “I don’t know“. It was nearly impossible for me to say these words a couple of years ago.
7. THIS TOO WILL PASS: Life is about change. Storms never last forever and hidden behind every storm is peace and tranquility. People come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. They are not there to make us happy, nor are they there to give us what we want, but to give us what we need. Earlier, I never realized this fact but now I am glad to see people moving into my life and out of my life and I know it is all for the best.
So, the last major event is unfolding in my life now as I write this. We have agreed to separate with my wife Markéta & to stay close by and bring up our two younger children Shaan (8) and Jasmine (7) together as responsible parents, even if we dont live together. She is a very intelligent and mature woman and I am fortunate to have spent 9 wonderful years with her. I am grateful for everything that life is unfolding around me and I am convinced it is in everyone’s best interest as we are all anchored in the source and have the source flowing inside us.
Life is change and that is a rule of nature – sometimes, we want it to be constant and create expectations that lead to disappointment. I say I am grateful for the change and live and enjoy every moment of the present as Master Oogway (the turtle) rightly said in the movie Kung Fu Panda, and I quote: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a Gift, that is why it is called the ‘PRESENT‘.“ Just Love, no attachment, no expectations (this is the toughest one but Meditation helps a lot).
I wish you enjoy your life in the present moment, every single day and have lots of fun this autumn.