Friday, 25 July 2014

Vol 33: The Arts of Giving and Being

Good tidings to you, fellow Peeker (Positivity Seeker).
This week, we will peek into the Art of Giving and the Art of Being. The latter expands the former and the former promotes the latter. These two underrated art forms seem to be quite intertwined. Shall we explore them this week through some amazing true stories?

News from the public domain

Happiness and unhappiness are not opposites
Trust the New York Times to occasionally come up with an article that serves a dire need of the hour. This article by Arthur C. Brooks is worth many reads. But for those who don’t have the time for even a single skimming, here’s the gist: if the mantra of your life has, subconsciously, been Love things, use people, then it’s time for a reversal. Love people, use things. Simple. If you are interested in how the writer traces his thoughts to that nugget of wisdom, please… please… read the article.
McCall Smith and his islands
Have you read Alexander McCall Smith’s wonderful novels set in Botswana? Oh, the sublime simplicity of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series gives me Goosebumps!! God bless the publisher who decided that such an offbeat concept would win hearts the world over.
Well, last June, McCall Smith bought uninhabited islands north of Coll in the Atlantic Ocean. But this bestselling Scottish writer admitted to being “embarrassed” to be referred to as their owner and now states that he is looking after them for the nation. Two things popped right out from the story:
One, he realized pretty soon that owning something beautiful and “virgin” gives limited pleasure. Two, such pristine pastures actually belong to Nature.
Better to appreciate than to own, as this article strives to demonstrate.
The fisherman and the businessman
Parables remind us that life is, in fact, simple. Some of let us know that it's okay to just be.
Most of you have probably heard of this parable of the fisherman and the businessman. Even if you have, you are likely to enjoy it.
The father who gave
Due to a technical problem, I was not able to enjoy the audio in this film. Yet, it pulled me in. I daresay the same will happen to you.
The extra dollop of happiness came from the discovery that this film was made in Singapore - not a place known for such things.
The acronym for blame
Sometimes, we acquire a positive outlook when we realize the pitfalls of the negative. So how about devising an apt expansion for B.L.A.M.E? The idea builds into a short and sweet Art of Being story.

This happened to me

Regular readers of the Positivity Weekly will remember that my friend Priyamvada runs a free Primary Health Centre in Madanapalle in Andhra Pradesh as part of the Satsang Foundation. She has unfailingly contributed to both News from the public domain and This happened to me. Heading an institution that practises giving has exposed her to many challenges as well as moments of great tenderness. The story below, told in her own words, belongs to the latter category.

Wanted to share a very positive experience during this medical camp. This time, an ophthalmologist participated. We were getting our school children screened for correctional errors and we had let it be known that the general public would be seen only after the school children left. However, a lady was persistently trying to get in. Because of this, she was brought to me. She wore a tattered sari and was very unkempt. Looked more or less like a beggar. I asked her what the issue was. Being paralyzed, her speech was not very clear. It took me some time to understand what she was saying. But when I did, I was overcome with emotion and my heart was filled with gratitude.

She wanted to reach the eye doctor to tell him that she wants to donate her eyes and that if there was a form to be filled, she would do so right now and put her thumb impression on it. She wanted no legal hassles when she passed away.  This was a lesson for me in the Spirit of Giving.

Since the doctor was not carrying copies of the form, I reassured her that I would bring the same when I next visited an eye hospital. She profusely thanked me and left. What a lady! Maan gaye Guru...

In conclusion

I'd like to convey my gratitude to Sowmya for diligently contributing stories to this newsletter from behind the scene. Three of this week's stories are the result of her groundwork. With such strong support, Positivity Weekly is bound to go from strength to strength. And all of us can continue to experience an uplifting dose of content.
Meanwhile, I will continue to hope that you too write in with your feedback, story ideas and personal anecdotes. You can reach us at

To read the previous volume of Positivity Weekly, please click here.

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