Unravelling Life

Life is like a poem.

I discovered that, a few months ago. I say that because I realised life has been unfolding itself to me in layers, in much the same way as the lines of a poem do, with each new reading. So, between my first encounter with a poem and my nth, I’ve experienced an epiphany of sorts as new interpretations have left me with a fresh new understanding of the poem, beyond what I would have ever expected. 

Incidentally, life too has drawn me to a similar realisation, lately. I’ve found that with every new challenge, a unique opportunity has presented itself, urging me to arrive at my own interpretations of it, followed by new learning with every reflection. In fact, I’m no longer thwarted by these run-ins with life any more but have now begun to appreciate the process of making sense of it. 

In the past six months, everything has gone haywire in our lives. Ever since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020, we’ve come to find ourselves at the receiving end of an irrevocable cycle of fear and uncertainty, that has completely altered how we live out our everyday lives.  Nothing is the same anymore. 

Some days, it seems that we are all passing through a perpetual nightmare that threatens to leave us bewildered and terrified. At other times, it seems we are busy gathering nuggets of profound wisdom, whilst we grapple with new challenges and accept what comes our way with grace and new-found gratitude in our hearts. All this, whilst forging out new paths to move into what we now know as the new normal. Our very survival as a human race has never been so precarious, ever!

Like everyone else, I’ve often found myself struggling to make sense of the times, and sometimes even to make sense of my own life and where I’m heading in the coming days. Unsure of everything, I’ve started to see how my every day attempts to keep afloat mentally, spiritually and emotionally have begun to take on a whole new significance. It has never been so important to focus on one’s own well-being while being responsible for the rest of the family. Stressed, angst-ridden, worried beyond measure, my writer’s life gone for a toss, I’ve been through it all, the entire roller coaster emotional rides, day after day, only to realise that I’m just a tiny peg in the giant wheel of life. 

It was one such day, that I, caught in the throes of despondency, chanced upon a poetry anthology, that I decided to read to myself after a long time. The same old poems, that I had read many moons ago, now felt different, as they struck me with new meanings, that I hadn’t noticed earlier. The more I read, the more the layers that got uncovered. 

While reading those poems, it dawned on me that it was primarily my suffering that had become my access point to poetry. Ironically enough, it was again that suffering that had opened me up to experience each poem as it were, and draw my own understanding from it. Sometimes it would be a turn of phrase, at other times, a word, a simile or a metaphor, or even an allegorical reference to something, that would catch my attention, make me sit up and realise how closely human lives parallel one another, across time and place, sometimes running across a chasm between a world that was existing 200 years ago—far removed as could be, from my own immediate reality! It is this basic spiritual sameness of our existence that I realised, has been running through all humanity, from where the poem has emerged—the reason behind the universality of poetry as we know it. This, to me, has been such a remarkable eye-opener. 

It taught me many things, but one thing most of all—whether it is poetry or life itself, when we are ready to open our hearts, minds and ears, we begin to understand the underlying meaning behind the apparent, and this is when new understanding takes place.

Life unfolds itself, replete with lessons, learnings and experiences that shapes us and makes us who we are. We can only understand little at that moment itself, but a lot of our learning in life happens in hindsight. Just like the re-readings of the poem enlighten us, so does life, as we reflect upon the events, the situations and the little everyday encounters.

Bit by bit, they enlighten us, inform us, teach us and make us evolve into the person we eventually become. We are no longer the same person that we were, prior to experiencing that particular moment, because something new has entered our consciousness and left us with a unique understanding, so much so that when we leave our chair, we’re a few inches taller than what we were a few minutes ago. 

That to me, is how we evolve and grow, one step at a time.

Linking up with #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne of EverydayGyaan.


14 thoughts

  1. Never in our lives has there been a situation such as this. Forcing us to deal with our fears, or at least to acknowledge it. The fear, the helplessness, the determination to cope, the introspection are all changing us in ways we can not even imagine. My poems these days are tinged with both fear and hope. They are a refuge for me to pour my soul out on the pages and know the words and the pages do not judge me. It helps cope. It helps me grow.

  2. Hi Esha – you’re so right about looking back over difficult situations and finding the beauty and the lessons that were hidden within them. So many times I’ve found myself in a situation I wouldn’t have chosen, and yet it teaches me more about myself than any of the easy times do. I’m sure we’ll all look back on 2020 with memories that show us that we grew and changed and became better people through this crazy time.

  3. Beautifully expressed, Esha. These times haven’t been easy for many. They’ve also given us access points to deeper understanding, and hopefully increased resiliency too.

  4. I do believe that all of us are for once bound by a common fear and faced with a situation that we can’t fathom. It’s so true that our perspective on life has changed. We can only be open to learning and growing from this situation. Love your musings, as always, Esha.

  5. Beautifully written – thank you Esha! Our common humanity is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while and I find it fascinating how it can either alienate us or bring us together if we open our hearts. I just hope that more people realise this and hopefully also become less lonely by connecting through our humanity. Thank you for sharing #MondayMusings

  6. I agree with Anamika, this post flowed like a poem, Esha. Here you are talking about life and the learnings from it; I am mesmerized at how you are putting words after words with such effortlessness.
    I am not trying to understand life, at least not at this moment. I am not going with the flow always either. As you said, the lessons become clearer after the fact. Maybe, that’s all we are capable of.
    But you need to write more. Your words are captivating, Esha. <3

  7. Those last few lines really struck a chord with me! I have struggling with the whole situation too. This post resonated with me a lot! It is difficult to make sense of what is happening but we need to open our hearts and give ourselves some time.

    Hope you are doing well! Take care!

  8. Hindsight is that one super power we would all be happy to have 😉 I think when the lessons hit home, they are meant to, at that particular time only. No one, not even the most intuitive person can see the future and predict with accuracy whats going to unfold. So chill and take a break from this and let life take you where its meant to take you! 🙂

  9. The lows, the pains, the battles and the likes teach us a lot. The lessons we choose to learn unfolds a new us. That’s what we call growing or evolving as a person; spiritually it means inching closer to our true self. Life moves forward like the Hi-Lo of a graph. Lows thrashes, tosses and through it all teaches us. So in our highs we shine better & brighter than before.

    I am glad you are relating to poems in a new light. Acceptance of life as is important. The now is only leading us to the bigger picture of life & a beautiful self.

    Wishing you love, peace and happiness Esha.

  10. You have written so beautifully about life’s learnings during the last 6 months and the similaritities between the past and the present times. There was poetry for me in this prose. It is so true that each time we go through hardships, we emerge as a new person and this is our victory. I think this is the reason why when we learn our lesson from a particular tough situation or phase and make peace with it, we do not come face to face with that challenge again because by then we have graduated to a new challenging situation requiring us to put in a new set of efforts, different from the previous time, to enhance our soul learnings. What is life for us is like a video game with various levels. Each time you clear one level, you get a boost up in energy and get to unlock a subsequent higher level with new obstructions and villains. And, thus, the game goes on. And on.

  11. Life is better understood when we take a step back and take in the whole picture….on hindsight, as you say. I’m here after such a long time, Esha. I realize I missed reading your posts. How you express the mundane, the things we all feel in such a profound manner. All that you say about your feelings rather the roller coaster of feelings during this lock down, I feel like you are speaking from my experience. Reading this was like finding my thoughts in your voice. Thank you for that.

  12. Life is what we understand on hindsight…so true! How I wish we understood it and knew beforehand how to deal with situations that came our way. Life would have been a tad easy then, right?

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