Tag Archives: connedtedness

Being REAL – The “Velveteen Rabbit” Way.

The slogans of  “Being Real”, “Being You” buzz around us more often these days. With a few quotes tweeted, some posts shared and by becoming part of the  forums of our choice – we think we are portraying our REAL selves. Honestly, being REAL (yes, the REAL in caps) ain’t that  easy in a world filled with “mirages of perfection”.

Sometimes when I feel lost on my quest to find answers, I take refuge in the timeless stories from my childhood, and these stories become my guiding stara guiding star that’s always reassuring and lights up to help me find my way. One such story is the children’s classic  “The Velveteen Rabbit” (written by  Margery Williams). Timeless as the book may be, it’s a story that speaks to our deepest anxieties about our quest for becoming REAL.

The story revolves around a stuffed toy – a velveteen rabbit that is gifted to a boy on Christmas. When rabbit is introduced in the boy’s nursery, he realizes that he is a simple toy among the myriad of toys that are more sophisticated than him – having moving parts and operate on switches and batteries. The poor little rabbit was made to feel himself very insignificant, and the only person who was kind to him at all was the Skin Horse – the oldest toy and hence the wisest one at the nursery.

Here is the piece of conversation between the velveteen rabbit and the skin horse that answers the question on “Being Real” in its most simple, yet profound way.

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Velveteen Rabbit : What is REAL?

Skin Horse –Real isn’t how you are made, It’s a thing that happens to  you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.

Love makes us Real. The love for one self and for others is what makes us Real. When we allow ourselves to be deeply affected by someone we are in essence, becoming more “Real” through our openness. The best way to understand the word intimacy is to read it as “Into-Me-See” – When we allow someone to see ourselves, as we overcome the fear that our real selves is unlovable or not good enough – is when love grows. As someone put it – Love is the mutual beholding of one another’s realness.

Velveteen Rabbit – Does it hurt?

Skin Horse: Sometimes but when you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.

Without our armor of pretence, we open ourselves to be disliked by some, ridiculed by others but only when we open up being ourselves  – true connections, creativity and meaningful life happens. Hence once you are “REAL”, you grow beyond the “hurts” from the ignorant few.

Velveteen Rabbit – Does it happen all at once, like being wound up or bit by bit?

Skin Horse – It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.

Being REAL is a process. It doesn’t happen all at once. It is a process that can be slow, painful, and hence doesn’t happen to everyone.

Skin Horse –

Once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

Once you are real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.

True that! Once REAL, you can never be UGLY and you can never go back to being UNREAL again! And I sum it up with Colbie Caillat’s  soulful song – ” Take your make up off, let your hair down, take a breath, look into the mirror at yourself –  don’t you like you? Cause, I like you.” 

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On the Same Wavelength – Oh! that’s Brain Coupling

When we deeply connect with someone, we often try verbalizing this feeling of connection using the term – sharing the same wavelength or that we “resonate”. Sounds more of physics than poetry right :).  But lets for a moment believe, may be that happens! An instance where two (or more) individuals  share similar brain waves with the other when they converse.

If the latest neuroscience is to be believed, that sense of connection is all in our head – literally and the phenomenon is called “Brain Coupling”.

Brain coupling is like a magic moment when you feel understood heard received by another person. You let your guard down and have an embodied felt connection with another. This is a “moment” of loving connectedness.

The Princeton University neuroscientist Uri Hasson’s specialty is exploring the dynamics of “interacting brains,” performing fMRI scans of human subjects and understanding the underlying neural mechanisms that allows the brain to integrate information over time and those that facilitate communication between people. His studies have shown evidence for synchronizing of two people’s brain suggesting that – in good communication, two individuals come to feel a single, shared emotion as well, one that is distributed across their two brains.  He Says – “Brain coupling, is the means by which we understand each other.”

In her book Love 2.0 social psychologist, Barbara Fredrickson states that in love three things happen – our gestures and facial expressions start to mirror each other, and our brains synchronize too. In fact she goes further saying ,  ‘a micro-moment of love is a single act performed by two brains’.

Call it brain coupling, neural coupling or sharing the same wave length, it is indeed a moment of bliss when  your brainwaves mirror those of the person you’re speaking to or lets rather simply say – when they just get you!

Here is a great video from Jason Silva the Emmy-nominated host of National Geographic’s hit TV series, Brain Games talking about brain coupling. Enjoy watching! Ciao!

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SoulCafe – Brewing Conversations and Connections

Opposites don’t attract unless we are talking about magnets

There are times I wonder about relationships, and the secret to finding and making them long lasting. I would have liked to crack that secret code. I study people behavior and from the confirmation bias to frequency illusion to the default syndrome, I have analyzed quite a bit to figure that one magic potion, if you will.

“It’s no good pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections disagree violently or if your favorite films wouldn’t even speak to each other if they met at a party.”
—Nick Hornby

And this is so true. Bingo. That’s it. The secret to long lasting relationships is being comfortable in our own skins with each other and loving one another’s company as if that all we ever wanted. Two people who have their thoughts synced up, desires matched, personalities tallied up, and hearts in tow, minds put together and souls intertwined will make the best couple ever. So, sorry, opposites don’t attract unless we are talking about magnets. Or let me put it in a more milder tone –  in human relationships opposites tend to attract and these tend to be our short term crushes. When it’s about love for life,  like-minded  partners work better.

I have seen people bicker, fight and fall out because of clashes and differences. Because they couldn’t agree on tomato sauce or potato fries. Because he wanted something and she totally hated it. Well, the common societal solution for this is compromise. Great one if the compromises were just about a tomato sauce or potato fries :). For matters more serious it sucks the joy out of life. Turns things mundane. Sets a routine. And rituals rob the fun out of everything.

But if there were two people who could agree on tomato sauce for one and the other can make art on the plate with it because it is something not of their favorite, we have got the alchemy of relationships in these two. Seriously, the best relationships revolve around finding someone who complements you. This is because unconsciously we look for someone who can improve us; so the person could be  different than us – “different” in a  good way – someone who complements us but not our polar opposite. Absurdly true!

I would like a partner with whom I can sync up in every manner possible. Funny pick-up lines to serious courtship – They need to believe and enjoy them equally. A universal appeal to facilitating a great love connection lies in how we can hold each other’s attention. Nothing like enjoying the same book series, TV shows, music genres, theatrical appearances, travel pursuits and the list goes on. Even in evolutionary and mating decisions perspective, there is always a look out to match (and not differentiate) on social, economic, physical attractiveness and emotional compatibility. The keyword being a “Match”. There is proven research that people are likely to prefer the same characteristics in their partner when considering sexual selection.

They are best friends first and everything else next. They can tell each other anything and everything and for any situation they go to each other first. They can never be bored because they are hanging out with someone who knows them well and understands them. People who cannot connect at the same wavelength almost fall out at some level or the other. They are genuinely attracted to one another. In each other’s eyes, they are the best anyone could ever be. They know exactly what they want in a relationship and they are courageous to wait and go after their hearts.

Some differences is common, acceptable. But a varying degree of differences is more harmful than being any attractive in a given relationship. A good sense of humor that both enjoy can be a highly attractive tactic in keeping the passion alive in a relationship. They are always laughing. Of course they have serious moments and life runs on those as well. But they can be so comfortable with one another that they learn to keep things lighthearted. They have their own set of funny jokes and one-liners. They continue to flaunt their funny and charming side all through out to keep the relationships alive. They respect and value each other and the traits that brought them together in the first place. They have a unique boundary of sorts on outside influence. They are sanctuary of togetherness in their own rights and standing surrounded by mutual admiration and respect.

There will necessarily be difference of opinion and they will each have their own sense of individuality. However, those will be very much shadowed by the illuminance of the things they both enjoy and the beautiful togetherness they share. Yes, that is the secret to long lasting relationships. Be with someone with whom you can enjoy the sunset in the same way as the other. The rest will fall in place on its own.

Life is but feeling at home with oneself and with the universe

Life is but feeling at home with oneself and with the universe. What better way to enjoy the feeling with someone who can relish life the same way as you do. Find the one who can walk with you, run with you and fly with you as you soar the skies of life.

Shameless Plug 🙂 :  At SoulCafe we recommend complimentary personality matches and that is someone who “gets you” – someone who will not make you feel an outsider in your own world and someone who could be slightly different from you but “different” in a good way!

 

 

 

Down the memory lane of magical handwritten letters

Beyond the constraints of the 140 character limit, the ease of copy paste, undo, spell check and our instincts for instant gratification of the double blue tick & the ….is typing display on screen – is the  ethereal joy of writing and receiving a handwritten letter. In an era where “convenience” reigns  – expecting a handwritten note is pure indulgence. The extravagance of someone’s undivided attention is indeed a luxury. Each time you read it, its the joy of traversing through the sender’s thoughts as he or she wrote it–while the ink smudged, some words struck and the little doodles here and there.

The little creases & stamps on the envelop telling the distances it traveled to reach you and the familiarity of the handwriting being the proof of how well you know the one who sent it, adds to the magic that sometimes outlasts the very love expressed.

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On a piece of paper the thoughts you poured.

In the twists and twirls of letters your heart unfolds

Random ink smudges, doodles, few words struck.

I followed your thought wagon

as it flowed, and the moments it got stuck.

Beyond the distance of time we meet

At the time you wrote, and each time I read.

We might never go back to that era of taking the pain to write a letter, but here are some beautiful love letters that has outlived the ones who wrote it. And believe me while you read it, you would feel exactly what they felt while they wrote it.

Johnny Cash’s letters to wife June Carter Cash

(Man in Black, music legend Johnny Cash wrote his heartfelt note to “the greatest woman I ever met” on his wife June Carter’s 65th birthday.)

“Happy Birthday Princess,

We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.

But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realise how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much.”

FROM ELZIE SEGAR, THE CARTOONIST OF POPEYE, TO HIS THEN-GIRLFRIEND (FUTURE WIFE) MYRTLE JOHNSON

FROM FRIDA KAHLO TO HER HUSBAND DIEGO RIVERA

 

 

Diego, my love,

Remember that once you finish the fresco we will be together forever once and for all, without arguments or anything, only to love one another.

Behave yourself and do everything that Emmy Lou tells you.

I adore you more than ever. Your girl, Frida

(Write me)

 

Mark Twain thanks his love, Olivia Louise Langdon

“Livy Darling, I am grateful — grate-fuller than ever before — that you were born, & that your love is mine & our two lives woven & melded together! – SLC

Stieg Larsson to Eva Gabrielsson

(On November 9th of 2004, Stieg Larsson — journalist and author  passed away after suffering a heart attack. He was 50-years-old. The next month, Stieg’s long-term partner, Eva Gabrielsson, found the following letter amongst his belongings. It was written in 1977, and concealed in an envelope reading, “To be opened only after my death”)

This is the first time I’ve written to you knowing exactly what to say: I love you, I love you, love you, love you. I want you to know that. I want you to know that I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone. I want you to know I mean that seriously. I want you to remember me but not grieve for me. If I truly mean something to you, and I know that I do, you will probably suffer when you learn I am dead. But if I really mean something to you, don’t suffer, I don’t want that. Don’t forget me, but go on living. Live your life. Pain will fade with time, even if that’s hard to imagine right now. Live in peace, my dearest love; live, love, hate, and keep fighting…

I had a lot of faults, I know, but some good qualities as well, I hope. But you, Eva, you inspired such love in me that I was never able to express it to you…

Straighten up, square your shoulders, hold your head high. Okay? Take care of yourself, Eva. Go have a cup of coffee. It’s over. Thank you for the beautiful times we had. You made me very happy. Adieu.

I kiss you goodbye, Eva

From Stieg, with love.

If you loved reading these letters why not grab a pen and a paper and try writing one – your long forgotten handwriting awaits being recognized!

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www.SoulCafe.co.inBrewing Soul Relationships

Not the knight in a shining armor or the dainty damsel

The concept of ‘perfect’ and ‘ideal’ is ever so enchanting for many us to chase after. A perfect home, an ideal job, a textbook definition life, a seamless situation and what not?!

When it comes to partners, we often start building castles in the air about the perfect one! We create invisible checklists often inspired by what we see around in real life and reel life and all those romantic scribbles, tear jerking of course, by Nicholas Sparks and many others like him.

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When we talk about our soulmates, we assume with an abandon that it would be a perfect match. 100% perfect. This person would always be the best fit to every essence of our life and we would be theirs. Now, this all seems great in proposition. But this is not always the case. Although soulmates waltz into our lives with such a swing that matches our rhythm in every step, taking our breath away, they are not always the knight in a shining armor or the darling dainty damsel we always think they are. They can be that but they are also the villains who wreak havoc in our otherwise normal lives.

Now this must have caught your attention!

Our minds are accustomed to the ideal concepts of our twin souls, the perfect partner and all the rose-tainted-glass of love shows us. We are conditioned to believe in a magical world where we find that someone who accepts us for who we are, as-is and unconditionally. We believe in this and we wait. What we always believe in is for some miracle and magical “perfect” partner who will always be accepting and accommodating to our every wish/our core/our style. Isn’t this the best? But is there someone like that? Do our soul partners always compliment us in every way? Do they always walk with us, every step of the way without conflicting with our own perspectives of life and the way we live? No!

Soulmates actually can break us, shatter our cores, and can be totally disruptive.  They are our inner warriors of light who can destroy us, fracture our hearts in order to seek out our inner desires, dreams and all the demons that hold us back. They not only give us the happiness of our lives but sometimes teach us to shake ourselves up, rattle our beliefs and free ourselves from our hidden fears and inhibitions. They will divulge your inner true self one piece at a time. They are enchanting but at the same time they are critical. They may embark on a journey of realization and drag us along. Inspiring us and transforming us into the best version of ourselves.

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They are our inner warriors of light who can destroy us, fracture our hearts in order to seek out our inner desires, dreams and all the demons that hold us back. They not only give us the happiness of our lives but sometimes teach us to shake ourselves up, rattle our beliefs and free ourselves from our hidden fears and inhibitions.

When we find the ‘one’ who truly resonate with our innermost selves, then they are given a cosmic license to tear apart our egos and help us unwrap our heads from the idea that we form about our own selves, our identity,  our persona, our needs, our pet peeves, our everything. Then, they will inspire to rebuild our jigsaw puzzle one piece at a time. They can hold out hand to us when we are afraid of breaking the age old shackles we bind ourselves in, they will be ready to make you tread on eggshells making you let go of your deepest fears and teach you to fly. They simply will let you discover your own inner strength and peace as you trudge along the paths of life with them. Their part is not of the always-nodding, ever-so-obliging and lovey-dovey partners. Their actual part is to be a mirror showing you what you look like and a crystal ball showing what the best side of you looks like.

They simply will let you discover your own inner strength and peace as you trudge along the paths of life with them.

How easy it is when we end up with the ‘one’ we always wanted (for the lucky few of us) and come face-to-face with someone who can wrench our cores and unveil that part of us that we never thought we are or we could be? What happens when they shatter every idea we have in our minds of our own selves and they challenge and wring them in every contorted manner possible so that we can reveal our truest beautiful selves? We realize love in its purest form. We embrace life and we rejoice life. We experience light. We grow and evolve into beings who can feel their home in the universe and be in tune with the entire creation. This is how true strength and grit to deal with life is built. Once we are sculpted this way, we face life with a renewed energy and a force that no one can shake – not even time!

We usually are like the proverbial blind man in darkness. We need our inner light and we need to believe that we can forge ahead fighting darkness that try to enter through various crevices in life. Let us open out and hold out for our truest soulmates. Who can walk in with a breeze, sweep us off our feet, give us the best of the best, love us truly and beat us to death shaping us into the best person we could ever be. Let them come in and wipe the smoky mirrors in which we see ourselves and let them make us grounded. In that destruction of our egos, we will fear less and we will find our humble abode in life and a new power to conquer the world. We would have then arrived to ourselves.

Let them come in and wipe the smoky mirrors in which we see ourselves and let them make us grounded.

Shameless Plug : No Knights in shining Armour, No dainty damsels – we believe in keeping it real at  www.soulcafe.co.in .

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Scuba diving, Onions and Relationships – Connecting the Dots


Movie
– Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, 

Scene – Scuba Diving

Katrina Kaif (Scuba diving instructor) says – “Your life is gonna change after this”

Hrithik Roshan (an aqua-phobic) responds – “Only if I survive”

If you have seen the movie, you might recollect this scene and Hrithik’s transformation from there on. He never felt he was missing on something until then. His life was the one that most of us could wish for in our 20’s – the high-flying ambitious corporate guy who aims to make it big by his 40’s. My favorite part is the moment after the scuba diving, when Hrithik is with himself (with his true self) probably for the first time. A moment where he breaks down (like meeting a long-lost friend). The only way he could meet his true self was to break the shackles of his fears and be ready to take the plunge. The plunge to a world so true and quiet, that he could hear his own breath and  feel alive to the core. These are not just any fleeting moments but moments that gets etched into one’s soul. (I want you to take a moment to see this video)

Relationships are quite similar, aren’t they? We may be using “floaters” and floating through superficial relationships and we can do this forever. With the multitude of connecting tools that we have at our disposal  we might not even realize we are missing on anything until we find a relationship so true that makes us feel alive to the core. It’s enriching in life to experience the much deeper ones. This could be a friendship, a brotherhood, sisterhood, a love relationship or whatever you call it. What we call these relationships are irrelevant, what matters is the experience of deep connectedness.

Deep Conversations leads to True Connectedness

True connectedness comes from deep conversations. Dr Matthias Mehl, a psychologist at the University of Arizona who published a study on meaningful conversations and happiness states that   “By engaging in meaningful conversations, we manage to impose meaning on an otherwise pretty chaotic world. And interpersonally, as you find this meaning, you bond with your interactive partner.” He adds – “Substantive conversations don’t need to be driven by emotion; It could be about politics, environment or a certain TV show but they must involve some personal disclosure.”

Now when I say personal disclosure, it doesn’t necessarily mean you lay it all out there at the first meeting. Similar to  scuba diving, we simply don’t dive right away. It’s a step by step slow process.   Psychologists Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor in 1973, formulated a theory called social penetration theory (also referred to as Onion Theory) which proposes that, as relationships develop, interpersonal communication moves from relatively shallow, non-intimate levels to deeper, more intimate ones.

oniontheory

What then stops us from such conversations and henceforth experiencing such relationships? Most of the time, it’s the fear of being judged, lack of trust and  sometimes the fear of rejection. Opening up to someone can make us feel vulnerable and exposed, but it is the most important ingredient of a trusting, intimate relationship. Researcher Brene Brown in her book –The Gifts of Imperfection writes – ‘We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives”. She also mentions in her book that her research participants when asked to talk about their most important relationships and experiences of connection, would keep telling her about heartbreak, betrayal and shame – the fear of not being worthy of real connection.

Deep down are the wild currents that could stir us up. Trying to explore the currents needs heart that is ready to dissolve our own mental barriers and fears of being judged and rejected. As Brene Brown states –  “The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” The currents deep within the other person could stir us up.  But it would enrich our existence, make us feel alive

This is exactly why SoulCafe strongly holds on to its philosophy –  “Honest conversations lead to Soul Connections” when the world  trend is towards just “swipe left” or “swipe right”.

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