ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD
By Ramya Kamalakannan
Trading what you cherish the most—your happiness—for something which seems promising or attractive is counterproductive, says Ramya Kamalakannan
Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful princess. Her skin was as white as snow and her hair, the colour of gold. Her hair was the best in the kingdom. Dense, soft like silk, it glittered in the sunlight and shimmered in the moonlight. The princess loved it and took good care of it. Princesses and princes came from far and wide to catch a glimpse of her hair, which was famous for being the best in the kingdom. During one such visit, she met a princess who wore the most beautiful bow. It was like nothing she had ever seen before. It had diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, all woven together in an intricate design with thin strands of white gold. A desire to own it took a deep root in the princess’s heart.
The foreign princess was cunning and jealous. She was willing to trade her precious bow, not for money or jewels but something much more. The price of the bow was to be paid with the princess’s hair. The proposition was met with shocked silence. Everyone expected the princess to decline the offer. But blinded by mad desire and in utter desperation, she willingly traded her hair for it. Finally, holding the bow in her hand, she felt triumphant. For days and nights, she simply admired its beauty, and only when she finally decided to wear it did she realise that she no longer had the hair to tie with the bow.
Yes, what a foolish princess, to have traded her hair for a bow that was meant for the hair! How does one trade the very thing that one is seeking and not even realise it? This was my life for a very long time. I started my corporate career in 2008, and, for long, traded my time, my energy and, most days, my peace of mind for getting a good performance review, better increments, promotions, awards, a better lifestyle, and social status. All I ever wanted from my life was to be there for my loved ones, give them enough time, and create happy memories. Yet, here I was, firefighting every day at work and going back home exhausted and drained of energy, only to wake up and continue this drill.
It was at a spiritual retreat I had attended, to get some clarity on life, that I had my very first experience. Tired of the day-to-day drill, not experiencing the depth I was seeking, running all the time, balancing all the time, not knowing what next, and always being a cat
Everything about my life changed once I understood peace. We associate peace with wars, battles, and fights but seldom think of it in our day-to-day life. Yet it is that which most of us seek in our life. While doing anything and everything, all we wish for is some peace of mind. Be it at home, at work, in our relationships, or in all the desires and goals we are chasing, at the end of the day, we want to be peaceful.
This realisation hit me hard and made me rethink the way I was living my life. Coming from a middle
class background, I had commitments, and leaving my job was not an option. But it helped me plan the future with this new realisation in mind. I was able to draw specific goals both in my professional and personal life, and work towards them with a peaceful acceptance. Today, I am living my life the way I wish to live it. Giving time to the things I love and creating memories I’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Is life any easier now? Are the challenges any fewer? Definitely not. Moving from employed to self-employed was not easy.
From getting lakhs as salary every month to scrambling for a few thousand is not at all rosy Shifting professions was not easy. Having worked in an office all my life, to suddenly be at home was difficult. Exploring possibilities outside my comfort zone, treading unknown territory, and diving head-on into things I knew nothing about was an arduous task, to say the least. So, what has changed? Has life got any better? I still chase my goals and go after my desires. But the peace with which I live my life has changed. Nothing seems a drill anymore; everything seems like an opportunity to try, fail, learn, and succeed.
Peace is the underlying thread of my life. In all my decisions—right from the simplest, like the dress I wish to buy or the food I wish to eat, to the complicated ones, like the job
I wish to do or the path I wish to tread—the single mantra is peace. I ask myself, Does it make me peaceful? If the answer is yes, I do it. If the answer is no, I don’t.
Life has become simpler and easier with this realisation
There are times I get agitated, there are times I am tempted by the rewards, and there are times my expectations from my loved ones are not met. There are times when I feel the world is thankless and wonder if it is all worth it. During such times, I ask myself this simple question, Am I trading my hair for a bow?
Holding my peace above everything is my mantra in life. When you realise what it is that you are seeking, you realise what you are trading it for.
What is it that you seek?
A passionate mother and a trader in the stock market, Ramya left her corporate job to explore her in ner self. She is currently pursuing her passion for writing.
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