Personhood

By Sindhujaa Kumar published in her monthly column for The Pioneer




As a creative person with a curious, enrapt mind – many things may tug at your heartstrings!


You want to write that novel, paint with your bare hands, play that rock guitar…


You want to spend a semester in France studying Renaissance sculpture, apprentice at Le Cordon Bleu to make tarts that dissolve like sweet mist in your mouth, forage for wild herbs to concoct some healing magic.


You want to climb The Andes and incant in the citadel of Machu Pichu, work at the New York atelier of your favourite designer, write songs about race and culture, learn archery from Mongolian shamans, or just dance under the Turkish moon to the drumbeat of your heart…


Oh, the places you could go, the things you could do – if only you could stop thinking in terms of ‘making a living’, ‘climbing a career ladder’, ‘fitting into society’.


What would happen if you refuse to adhere to labels and norms? Who would you be?

You drift amongst the gossamers of your dreams all through the night, and then scratch your head in confusion waking up to morning’s cold light.


You brush your teeth, dress your kids, clean dog poop off your doorstep, race to work, you have an appointment with your dentist at lunch break – where you make frantic to-do lists and anxious phone calls in the waiting room. By day’s end, you are exhausted. Head home, spare your wife a view, down some dinner and collapse into bed! The demands of your ‘normal’ life have swallowed you whole – along with your passion, creativity and joy.


Your dreams get cornered into the ‘maybe someday’ recesses of your mind, alternatively enticing you with longing and dunking you in a mouldy pond of guilt. So what’s really going on, when the things you want the most are the things you make least time and efforts for, in your life?


Crafting your art, chasing the sun and new ideas, new cultures, new ways of showing up in the world – are acts that not only change you, but change the world around you. You and the world will not be the same after you’ve broken stigma through your art, after you’ve defied strongholds of career trajectories, planted that organic garden, burned your hut for your boat or burned your boat for a hut…


The world will not be the same after you’ve sung your song, fought that wrong, chiselled your body strong. Your adventures in Uzbekistan, your romance with a tall Turk, your story of selling hand-made sweets in an Indian flea market, your spending that week with tribal children telling them about a big world out there… will not only transform you profoundly, but will leave a dent in humanity.


How will your life change if you can take small, creative risks daily? What if you slowly start stretching your capacity beyond so-called constraints? What if you gathered courage to cross off labels just for one day each week, and be someone other than who you’ve been all along? What if you build up courage and confidence brick by brick, and soon one day, end up standing on a bedrock of faith in your possibilities? Maybe not just standing, but dancing on it?


The world offers itself to us in every moment, quiet in it’s promise, savage in it’s beauty, unbounded in it’s essence. What will it take, to raise our eyes past our selfies and judgements and incessant fears? What if the world we’re bent on ruling has its own soul and pulse and divine intelligence? What if evolutionary harmony is restored by the agency of our hearts and voices?


Liberation is always personal, yet always more than personal. When you free yourself, you contribute to freedom in all forms of life. Serve this emergence with your love, your strength, your joy. And you will open a portal for all others.

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