By Vijaylakshmi Nadar August 2011 Entrenched in the trauma of a difficult marriage, the author slowly came to life through the support and care of her Facebook friends It is amazing how help can come from the most unexpected of quarters, as long as you are in receiving mode. For me it came from friends on Facebook, an internet social networking site, which I initially dismissed as a teen time pass. Just like a single, lit matchstick can quell the darkness in the deepest of caves, my Facebook friends too helped dispel the darkness that I had allowed to envelop my life. From school to college to a career as a journalist was an effortless transition…even my growth as an investigative journalist was effortless and hence what followed took me by surprise. I found my waterloo in matrimony, thrust on me because “it was the right thing to do”, without equipping me with any marriage skills whatsoever.What followed was a period of absolute darkness, which I myself did not quite understand and so was unable to deal with. So quick was the slide from light to dark, that I was not even aware I needed help, or that help was on hand if only I reached for it. The darkness was occasionally dispelled by happy occasions, but was too overpowering to allow me to live a full life.Since I had time on my hands and found the internet the least intrusive of companions, I spent quite a lot of time browsing, and created a Facebook account too for a lark in 2007. I realised that the blame games I played, and the victim mode that I chose to be in, were indulgences which kept me from seeing the light. It took a couple of years for me to actually warm up to it. Initially, I resisted it, assuming that every one of my friends would be doing a lot better than me in life, and so shied away from adding them. Someday I thought I would do it, when I was back on my feet.So my first friends were actually Americans (I lived in the USA for a few years) – neighbours and friends whom I had managed to `impress’ enough to be friends. But I had still hung on to my internal conversation that I was not good enough anymore, that I had somehow fallen off the tracks.But soon enough, some of my friends found me and the years and the walls just fell. It felt like yesterday when we were still in school, college, jobs, before matrimony intervened. Happy memories were revived, and before I knew it I was able to contact quite a few friends and acquaintances who had meant a lot to me at another point in time.In the sharing that followed I realised that I was not the only one ‘chosen’ to live a life of doom. Quite a few of us were leading less than flawless lives and learning not to make a big deal of it. I realised that out of sheer ignorance I had chosen to wear my circumstances like a cloak to guard me against other possibilities, which would have enabled me to flower. From an investigative journalistturned sports journalist, Mumbai-based Vijaylakshmi Nadar is nowon a spiritual quest as the deputyeditor of Life Positive. Gradually, constant interactions with not only old friends, but newer Facebook friends already on the path, helped me to see a crucial truth: I had created my situations and if I could create them, then surely I could create something better too.A couple of more knocks in life followed pushing me to look for more meaningful answers, which I was guided to with all the sharing that was happening freely on Facebook.Finally, a couple of years back, after yo-yoing for 12 years between darkness and gloom, I decided to seek a way out of my negative, morose thinking. Ready to make a fresh bid at happiness, I was guided to the right people. What followed was a series of transformational workshops. All of them stressed on how to take responsibility for yourself, for your actions/decisions, for your life itself. I realised that the blame games I played, and the victim mode that I chose to be in, were indulgences which kept me from seeing the light.Facebook helped crystallise the learning further as I found more and more friends on a similar journey; quite a few of them lost souls like me, others life coaches, trainers, teachers, who had learnt to put their life experiences in proper perspective. Regardless of how sorted they were, all opened up and shared their truths.Despite my worst fears, no one was interested in keeping an account of my successes and failures. My friends viewed me as a fellow passenger on the journey of life, each sharing generously so all could benefit.A whole new world opened out for me, where I could express and share my views too. I marvelled at the love and respect that flowed, all of which I had shut myself off from, thinking that I had lost my rights to stake a claim to it.As I stacked up on all my negatives so diligently, I had even blocked myself to the possibility of ever getting back to journalism, something which was closest to my heart and being. It took just a few compliments from friends and ex-colleagues on Facebook to shatter that belief.Slowly and hesitatingly I sent out feelers, after being cut off for almost 12 years, during which time my daughter and just a few occasional assignments kept me busy.Though I kept myself mentally chained to the thought that nobody would even consider employing me after that long a break, I simultaneously worked on eliminating the negative beliefs and it finally paved my way to a succession of note-worthy and personally satisfying assignments; and am presently poised as the deputy editor of Life Positive. A fledgling friendship between the editor and me bore fruition on Facebook, when on my page, she saw a picture of my doing the firewalk and asked me whether I would like to share my experience in Life Positive (Feel the heat, drop the fear, July issue of Life Positive). I was more than willing and lo and behold, she dropped an opportunity to join the magazine literally in my lap, which I gladly and unhesitatingly accepted.A deep sense of gratitude then to all my friends on Facebook, who were able to sense my potential to rise above all the negativity and held my hand every time I faltered.
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