December 2016 By Suma Varughese When you can be an accepting and allowing space, there is nothing else needed for the other to shift and transform, says Suma Varughese One of the best ways to support the other is to simply be a space that is peaceful and spacious, accepting and allowing. In that space, people flourish and grow, are nurtured and nourished, get healed and empowered. I first understood this in 2006 when I had gone down to the Art of Living ashram on the heels of the jamboree unleashed to celebrate Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s 50th birthday. Millions of devotees were converging from all over the world and the hoopla was unprecedented. I decided to do an article on the secret behind Sri Sri’s mystique. What I understood after a few days there was that Sri Sri was a giant space. Disciple after disciple testified to being allowed to follow their passion under the aegis of the organisation, whether it was starting an organic farm, or building toilets for villagers. He gave them the benefit of the resources of the vast organisation in order to serve society as they wished to. There were also stories of how he gave them the most outlandish assignments, such as getting someone who had never written before to write a book, and filling them with enough faith in themselves to realise that possibility. Little wonder that his people are so passionately devoted to them. In my own life, I have time and again experienced transformation when offered a space of acceptance and love. On several occasions, my mother healed me of guilt simply by accepting and forgiving my wrong-doing. My earlier publisher at Magna, Nari Hira, had this amazing quality of taking on a newbie for an editor and pelting them with respect and trust until they volitionlessly shifted and changed. This happened to me too. From being someone who had almost no faith in herself, I found my feet as an editor, and eventually had a spiritual awakening that changed my life. Which is why it is immensely gratifying when I begin to find sprouting within me, the same capacity to accept and allow the other. Recently, I held an Advanced Module of my writer’s workshop. And it turned out to also be a loveshop, a joyshop and a shiftshop. People reported all sorts of shifts. One person who had been stuck with how to structure a book, was given a download of all 15 chapters of her book with even titles to them. “I thought this task would take me decades,” she said in wonder. Another got the idea for a book and even wrote a detailed outline of it, a third cleared her block about story writing and so on. But even more powerful was the way the group melded into a whole. The 13 participants became one unit who had fun with each other, pulled each other’s legs, helped each other and enjoyed each other. Every moment, whether in the class or out of it, became joyous. I cannot remember even one moment of negativity in those two days. Overflowing with spirits, they would sometimes not pay attention to me. When I commented to one of the participants that they were an unruly lot, she responded that the best part was that I accepted that. I have time and again experienced transformation when offered a space of acceptance and love In retrospect, this overflow of love seems to have emerged from the space they were provided, where they felt free to be themselves without fear of being judged or censured. If that indeed is so, I am more glad than I can say. It would mean that the hard work I have done on accepting and loving myself is paying off, because it is only then that you can love and accept others. And there is no better gift to give the other than your complete untrammelled acceptance. I do not think I am fully there as yet, but to the extent it has manifested, I rejoice! About the author : Suma Varughese is a thinker, writer, and Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. She also holds writer’s workshops. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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