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Every Closure Marks A New Beginning

Author: Asma Ansari

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“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one, which has opened for us.” – Helen Keller.

It’s a harsh truth that letting go is almost always painful and one of the toughest life lessons. Life is a constant battle where we fight, sometimes to hold on and sometimes to let go. We all have known sorrow and happiness, failure and success, disappointment and hope. We’ve seen closures and then new beginnings too. Good or bad, everything passes and eventually comes to an end. And it’s essential to note that when a stage comes to an end we need to identify and accept it gracefully and then move on. The more we try to linger, the harder it gets to close the door to the past. Not just it wastes precious energy and time; it does not let us appreciate the welcoming streak of light coming through those newly opened doors inviting us to step in.

Let Go of Whatever Holds You Back

Letting go of past is not just crucial at times, it is necessary. Leaving behind what’s already over in the past is essential and healthy. Search within yourself; are you holding on to anything which you need to let go? Anger, grief, regret, let down, rejection, frustration, guilt, disappointments, lost love or friendship? The longer you hold on to these thoughts and feed them with your attention, the longer they will stay with you. And it is just you who will be hurt. Anything or anyone that causes you terrible pain, makes you feel miserable, or diffuses toxicity in your life, needs to go. And you do not have to feel guilty about it. Let go of whatever weighs you down or holds you back. You, only you, hold the power to close the door to the past and move on.

Know When It’s Time to Close the Doors

Most of us are so attached to our past that we refuse to look beyond the pain, struggle and comfort associated with it. We replay the memories from past over and again in our mind and mull over it. Setbacks, whether professional or personal, are a part of life. Not every plan works, not every venture succeeds, and not every relationship survives. Moreover, brooding over bygones is pretty much wasted energy. When things are damaged beyond repair, and there is no fixing back, it is wise to close that chapter and never look back. And it is a life altering decision when we decide to move on. Closing a door never implies that you are inadequate, incapable, arrogant or disinterested. It means that this thing just doesn’t fit in your life anymore.

Never Open the Closed Doors

You might hear frequent knocking on the door, but temptation should never be an option. It is unhealthy and stops you from truly moving on. Revisiting those doors and dwelling in past keeps you chained and sabotages your capability. Remember that once your life was fulfilling without that thing or person or situation. Moreover, by letting go of past, you are creating space for wonderful new things to happen in life.

As hard as it may seem, but believe me, once you are determined to move on, closures are peaceful, absolving and detoxifying. Every closure marks a new beginning. So bit goodbye to the closed doors, turn around, take a deep breath, and then open your eyes to the vast opportunities lying beyond those new doors lined up along the hallway of life.

By the way, have you chosen the next door yet? Go on and enter into the world beyond that new door to see what it has in store for you. Cheers to a new beginning.


 

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Cricket and Me

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/cricket-and-me

I have never been a sportsperson. The only time I played cricket was when a team had absolutely no choice but to make me the eleventh man, and I batted last in a match we miraculously won. But my associated with cricket was quite strong due to my eldest cousin who was a role model to me.

A left arm spinner, handsome, charming and brilliant in his studies, captained our school team and started playing for the Ranji Trophy team when he was barely 17. I would follow him to the grounds and watch mesmerized when the likes of Pataudi, Jaisimha and Abid Ali spoke endearingly and encouragingly to him. He was the “chhotu” of the team, but to me he was ten feet tall.

Along with him I watched in admiration the players who excelled, played to their full capacity, and made us proud of them. We applauded our school team, our Club team, our state team, the South Zone team, and of course the Indian team – which played the rare test matches which were occasions looked forward to months in advance. The newspapers were out only source of information, and during the matches, the commentators, and the “experts” commentators kept us glued to our radio sets. We celebrated when our state or national team won, we felt sad when they lost, but we never equated match victory to the capability of the players – they continued to remain our heroes.

Our cricketers did not get any national awards or cash prizes. They mostly commuted on two-wheelers, sometimes borrowed ones. Between matches they worked in banks or government departments. They were thrilled giving autographs, and celebrations meant go9int to the nearby darshini for dosa or indulge in a biryani in an ordinary restaurant.

Days went by, and cricket changed. Today players are ‘bought’, they are ‘auctioned’ and they play for whichever ‘owner’ pays them most. They earn in crores in the normal course, and more than that if they are into match-fixing, huge amounts are gambled in every match. Many people watch cricket on TV more to ogle at the attractive cheer-leaders than to admire the players. Politicians get deeply involved in cricket bodies, courts are made to spend valuable judicial time adjudicating scandals. Top cricketers get more honors and adulation than the most courageous military men or the ceaselessly toiling social workers.

Though cricket has a unique charm which is so different from other sports, and there are such thrilling and unpredictable moments in the game, what is happening outside the field has saddened me. It was called a ‘gentlemen’s game’, which sounds like a joke when I see the behavior of today’s players. However much I cherish and am nostalgic about the game, I somehow cannot bring myself to overlook its degeneration, so I change the channel and watch comedy serials.


 

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Loneliness is… something you cannot share

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/loneliness-is-something-you-cannot-share-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Loneliness is… something you cannot share

It is said that at any given time, one out of four people suffer from loneliness. And the number is growing significantly. Behavioral scientist have warned us that loneliness is likely to be the next greatest epidemic that will hit mankind. UK has appointed a Minister in its Government specifically to deal with loneliness last month.

No one is immune to it – rich or poor, your or old, active or retired, living alone or in a huge giant family. The good news is that there is a vaccine available for it…..by reaching out and reducing someone else’s loneliness!

You may have heard of the story where the King told all his citizens to come in the night and fill his huge tank with a tumbler of mild from each household. One person thought that in thousands of litres of milk, no one will be able to notice, so in the cover of darkness he brought a tumbler of water and poured it in. When the next day dawned, the city found that the entire tank was full of pure water! Everyone only poured water in the tank.

Something similar is happening in our urban lifestyle. We all want friends, we want to be pampered, we are looking for people who understand and care for us – but we are not reaching out to people who need our love!

Learn to identify those who are lonely. It requires some amount of sensitivity and practice, but you can do it. Once you learn this skill, reach out to such a person whenever you find him or her …. and you will never be lonely.

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Feel Nice

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/feel-nice-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Feel nice

I am a firm believer in the proverb: “You will forget what people said, you will forget what people did, but you will never forget how they made you feel.”

I get reassured on this fact very often. If I make it a point to focus on the positive people instead of the negative ones, I find that there are so many who make me feel so warm and loved, by very simple gestures. It happened recently when an old (almost forgotten) student of mine sent me a touching and appreciative email saying that I have been instrumental in changing her life, and that she is doing very well in the past few years. And what made me appreciate her reaching out to me even more was the fact that the mail had no other agenda. She just thought of me and sent the message.

Feel nice

It may appear to be a small gesture, but it really, really made me feel wonderful. And believe me, if we keep track of such moments, cherish them and keep them fresh in our memory, life becomes so beautiful.

And most important – don’t forget to
make the other person ‘feel’ nice in return.

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Let us accept that we are a minuscule part of creation

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/let-us-accept-that-we-are-a-minuscule-part-of-creation-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Carl Sagan, famous science producer said: “Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.” And yet we have so much pride and self-importance. We think that we are so great because of our petty achievements or wealth. Let us accept that we are a minuscule part of creation, and do our little bit.

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When facing any opposition

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/when-facing-any-opposition-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

When facing any opposition or when there is a need to prove that we are right, I wonder why we focus only on pointing out the negative aspects of the opponent, instead of highlighting where we are right or what we have achieved. It is done by politicians, religious gurus, business competitors and even in family disputes. Actually a neutral person listening to such put-downers is not interested in the unpleasantness and wants to keep away from both parties. I feel that if I am confident about myself I should stop accusing the other person and emphasize on what I have done or why I deserve better treatment. Try it out, and make it a habit.

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I have a friend called Aab

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/i-have-a-friend-called-aab-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

I have a friend called Aab (it means 'water' in Arabic). Like water, Aab has been around for centuries, and he is not generally visible to people. But I have learnt so much about life from him, and keep learning even now. He is like a mongrel or even like a piece of scrap paper that flies in the wind here and there. These are around us but we never notice them. Hence Aab gets a chance to notice everybody silently. And how much he learns about human behavior! Particularly since he has no likes and dislikes, no ambitions, no attitudes, and he follows the theory of the old Bollywood song, "bazaar se zamaane ke, kuchh bhi na hum khareedengey, haan baich kar khushi apni, logon ke ghum khareedengey."

I'll introduce you to him some time......

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What happened to people who used to read books

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/what-happened-to-people-who-used-to-read-books-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

I am slowly starting to wonder what happened to people who used to read books. In my 'good old' days books were rare but we would somehow borrow and read. Today books are plentiful but hardly anyone seems to read them.

A book does not need to be 'booted', no recharge is necessary, it stays quietly in the corner till you pick it up. You can read even one page at a time and put it away. You can read at your own pace unlike TV programs, you can lie down, relax and go deep into your thoughts when reading.

When our library had 500 books years ago, we had a hundred people borrowing from it. Now we have more than 4,000 books and not even thirty people read its books.

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Bangalore Community College - Including the Excluded

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/bangalore-community-college-including-the-excluded-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

I was invited to preside over the Convocation of a small institute known as Bangalore Community College. They provide vocational training to children who cannot go through mainstream education, and empower them to become employable. I was very touched with their motto: "Including the Excluded" because they take in those who have failed or those who are not accepted by any other college.

I wish all of us can make that as a slogan in our life -- including those who are excluded (for any reason). What a wonderful world we will be creating !

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I was wondering how we recognize someone as a Guru

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/i-was-wondering-how-we-recognize-someone-as-a-guru-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Today is Guru Purnima day. I was wondering how we recognize someone as a Guru. Is it someone who taught us with a chalk and duster in the classroom? Is it a religious or spiritual person who can give us gyan and lead us on to moksha? I look upon many people outside the classrooms and religious garbs as my gurus. Some have taught me humility, some forgiveness. Others have inculcated patience in me, while some others have taught me empathy. One thing is clear -- I have learnt much more from people who have taught by practicing and being role models rather than from those who have given lectures and sermons. Let us all together salute each of these unsung and unrecognized Gurus !

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Great Indian Woman

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/great-indian-woman-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

There is an amazing species existing on earth barely recognized or appreciated: I call her the "Great Indian Woman" GIW for short. A woman born and brought up in the Indian culture and environment is willing to do anything and everything for her loved ones. She makes severe and continuous sacrifices and does not even expect a reward. Her love is so unconditional, and her willingness to forgive, adapt, give significance to the other, and the fulfillment that she gets in taking care of her family, is perhaps unparalleled. I really wish we can declare a "International Day of the GIW" to let the world know that such a phenomenon exists all over our great country.

I wish I could quote examples (which are innumerable) but confidentiality restricts me. So, GIW, Tussi Great Ho! My salutations.

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The true relationship

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/the-true-relationship-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

Have you had occasion when you were suddenly feeling very lonely and just wanted to reach out to a friend? Did you have occasion when none of your "close" friends seem to be available, no one was taking your call or calling you back?

If yes, then let me share with you a simple mantra to overcome this possible hurdle. Nurture a couple of good friends. They may not be people you meet or talk to regularly, but you know they are compassionate, caring and that they genuinely love you. Tell them in advance that if you feel down and out you will probably reach out to them, and you just want them to spend a few minutes listening to you.

If they agree, don't forget to tell them that YOU too will be available if they want to reach out to you. That is a true relationship.

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Goodness not only exists but is thriving

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/goodness-not-only-exists-but-is-thriving-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

While so many people keep lamenting on how the world is full of greedy people, corruption, politics, terrorism etc, there is a small set of humans who walk into my life every year at this time and reinforce to me that goodness not only exists but is thriving. These are people who come to enroll for our counselling course -- highly qualified persons, people holding eminent positions, people giving up luxurious comforts of their homes to come and become students, people who have had so much experience in life that they can teach me more than I can teach them. They all make a commitment to spend the year with us learning counselling and basically taking up an activity that is totally selfless and only to help others. But nature has its way of rewarding -- and almost all of them at the end of the year say that their quality of life has improved !

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Creating water bodies for birds

Author: Dr. Ali Khwaja

Perma-link for article: https://www.banjaraacademy.org/creating-water-bodies-for-birds-by-counsellor-author-life-coach-dr-ali-khwaja

I am not an expert on birds, and cannot identify them by their breed. But I do find them intriguing because they are so unassuming, they fit in anywhere, and do not disturb anyone else in any way (mostly). I feel bad for them in summers because there are hardly any water bodies from where they can drink water, and I am told many die of thirst. So I do my little bit by keeping two bowls of water on the balcony, and refilling with clean water every day. You should see the way some crows come and complain loudly if the water is over, and I have not refilled !

They are harmless but they do contribute a lot to ecology. Let us do our little bit to support them -- for after all we are the intruders who have taken away their natural habitat

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FREE Online Psychological Counselling by Banjara Academy for anyone, anywhere in the world FREE online counselling for the depressed

  • Are you stressed about your child?
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Just mail your counsellor now, sharing your problems, your worries, your anxieties, your fears. Your counsellor will reply to you, and be there for you until you need her to help you cope and get going.

Leading Banjara Academy's online email counselling team of volunteer-counsellors, I realize it is not an easy task reaching out to a person one has never met, never seen, without the added advantage of gestures, eye contact, a gentle reassuring touch, tone of voice and yet providing empathy, positive strokes, making the person feel heard and understood.

With the aid of only written words, it is quite a task building trust, making people open up and share and helping them cope and feel better. So when in many instances they write back saying thank you and that they feel so much better, the feeling one gets is priceless and incomparable - knowing one has done something right, something good!

Hats off to all the volunteeer-counsellors of Banjara Academy who have been carrying on this work silently, anonymously for the last couple of years. Truly commendable! - Ali Khwaja

 

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