Feel your Feelings

Did you ever try sharing what you read with someone? Did you ever stumble and realize that it takes a lot more energy to share something you read rather than merely reading?!

Did you ever try teaching what you read to a small group of people?! How did it go?! Did you ever feel or realize it takes way lot more energy to teach someone what you learned from reading?!

That’s right. However the payoff you receive — the satisfaction, contentment, the energy in sharing, the gratification you feel are way high compared to the energy you had in merely reading or learning.

Get into this visual imagination. You are sharing a story to a small group. As you are sharing you notice everyone’s ears perked up. They are listening with amazement. You see a spark in their eyes. As you keep going, you notice their lips twitching into smiles, hear the giggles and laughter and they feel part of the journey of the story you are narrating. You watch the audience feel the emotions of the characters in the story. You observe the excitement in their yeah’s, you see the compassion and kindness as they become still and deep. You witness their feeling of pain/sadness when they drop their eye lids…

At the end you get an eyeful of the effects of watching a powerful movie in the audience.

You knew you fulfilled the purpose of your presentation! You were fully present. You relived the experience while sharing the story. You could feel the connection with each of your audience. You witnessed the expressions of the audience reliving the story you shared.

You feel so rewarded and enriched for sharing a good story and leaving a memorable experience to your audience.

Did you ever experience this kind? What do you think it took to make your presentation leave such an impact on your audience? Is it the content you presented? Or is it the way you delivered, or is it the words you choose to paint those visual pictures, or the voice inflections you used, or the gestures you naturally exhibited?

I, as a Toastmaster and an eager student to master my presentation skills say all these have a role to create that impact on the audience. However the most important criteria which clearly leaves an indelible effect on the audience is the emotions I felt while I was presenting it. When I feel the emotions, they will show through in an implicit or explicit way. Audience begins to feel those emotions too. Audience gets connected to the emotions more than the statistics or the statements or any of the beautiful words and quotes one present.

Each of us no matter whether we are public speakers or students of public speaking, we do use and need good presentation skills to convey our message in an effective way.

Whenever you want to bring out an impacting message to someone whether it is your loved one, your young child, your colleague or a good friend or even a stranger, I encourage you to feel the emotions of your message and convey it. If not the outer results of it, still you would feel the inner satisfaction and rewarding feeling that you did your best. You presented from your heart and soulfully!

Standard

My Loving Grandma!

AmmammasPhoto.jpg?a=70

My Ammamma is so special to us! She is adorable to our entire family. In Jan 2006, my Brother and Sister-in-law arranged to celebrate a family get-together to felicitate her. I couldn’t make it sad.png. All of Ammamma’s children, grandchildren, great grandchildren attended it, and had such a wonderful time. I wanted to send Ammamma something special on this occasion. I really wanted something special for my beloved grandma. I know I am over stressing ‘special’. But, you I know, I mean really something SPECIAL . I was thinking hard for ideas. Nothing flashing…Oh, its almost time for me to send it. I was in despair. I was driving to work that morning with these thoughts, "Today is the last day to send something, if it has to be reached on time. What should I do?!….". Time is 12:30 in the afternoon. Went into break-room to have my lunch. As I was eating, some words just spilled off from my mind. Finished of my lunch in a jiff. Rushed to grab a pen and paper. Fortunately, I had some nice stationery: craft paper I left at work. Went back to break-room and started jotting down whatever flowed to my mind. I knew I had to finish it off by 1:25 p.m at no cost, as I got to be back to work by 1:30 p.m. I came back to work by 1:30 p.m.

I now have something to sent for Ammamma. Next thing in question, how I got to send it. It will reach her, only I mail it to my brother before 5 p.m on that evening. Even if I do a priority mail. It’s just been 3 months since I am working at my current work place. My work timings are pretty rigid. I had to be at work until 4:30 p.m. If I start at 4:30 p.m, I might barely reach there before the post-office closes. Didn’t want to chances though. I mustered courage to go to my supervisor. I asked her if it would be okay to take off for 15 min, and leave at 4:15 p.m. She not only graciously agreed to let me go, also assured me not to worry about taking 15 min off. "There are several times you worked past the required time. Go ahead, Aruna. You deserve it!" It was truly nice of her, and her encouragement boosted my spirits further.

It was 4:15 p.m. And I was out from work the next sec. As I came on to the road, roads seemed pretty bear with literally no traffic. A desire thought popped in me. If I can go home by 4:30 p.m, I could quickly record whatever I wrote into an audio cassette and mail it along with the written poem. That way, Ammamma could even hear to the poem in my own voice. Wow! Felt pretty cool! Excited. And I was crossing my fingers to reach home fast. Sure, I reached home by 4:29 p.m. I rushed in. Grabbed a blank audio-cassette, and recorded what I wrote into it.

Before stepping out to post-office, I ran to the copier to make a copy of the poem I wrote. The link here "Written Poem to Ammamma" is a copy of the original poem I wrote to Ammamma in Dec 2005. The audio link "Poem to Ammamma" is a my recording of the same.

This gives a slight glimpse of My Loving Grandma. She is a true treasure!

Friends, Those who don’t know my mother tongue language, Telugu, sorry you can’t read or understand the audio and written speech of this poem. Also "Ammamma" means Mom’s Mom. Ammamma can only read and speak in Telugu, and so I had to do it only in Telugu, though I am not so good in writing Telugu. I can speak well, but regards writing I lost touch, and I hardly write in Telugu since the time I am in US (13 years).

Written Poem To Ammamma

Poem to Ammamma

Standard

Online Journaling

Jim Rohn, one of my beloved authors stresses so much about "Journaling". He says, the biggest treasures we can leave for children and grand-children are: Our journals, photographs, and books we read. Jim Rohn demised recently. I am so glad that I got to personally meet this remarkable man, and even have a picture with him! His works are beautiful. You got to read some of his books, and watch his videos. He teaches: Use your mind for thinking. Don’t use it as a filing cabinet. Instead use journals to write your ideas, memories, dreams, goals, notes… I am in the habit of journaling. It helps me in many ways like: To vent out thoughts, to think clearly, to express gratitude, list accomplishments, etc. When I go back and read them years later, I used to be happy to read all the good stuff. Sometimes used to feel amazed with the personal growth I have accomplished. However, going back and reading, I don’t do it very often. And stuff keeps growing, as I quickly used to fill up journals. Not sure where I have written what.

May be doing online blogging will help dig into what we want much easily, as we could save them into different categories, use titles, keywords, tags etc. I registered for a blogger almost 4 years back. But didn’t use it lot then. Now with the encouragement and ardent support of my classmate, and friend, Ravindra, I am starting this. And I hope I will continue blogging in some interesting stuff which will leave some memories for my family and friends, even long after I am gone! I hope it brings in more fulfillment to my favorite author’s soul too.

Here’s my picture with Jim Rohn!

WithJimRohn.jpg?a=31

Standard

My Writing Skills

Hearing some positive comments about my writing skills, started pondering about how and when they began. Looking back, I figured that they began taking shape before stepping into my 3rd grade. I attribute this credit to my Mom. For almost every summer holidays I used to be at my Grandma’s place. I used to go either with my grandparents, aunts or uncles, whoever is going during that time. As I begin packing my stuff, my Mom used to come and handover a stack of ‘Inland Letters’ for me to communicate with them. It was probably in the start of 1980’s. No telephones back then. Communication used to be mostly through letters or in person. As soon as I reach my Grandma’s place, I used to write my Mom a letter. My Mom used to be so good at giving such a prompt response inspite of the myriad things she is involved in at home. To this day, my Mom is the only one who keeps up with the timely-response I expect, or indeed even faster. And I used to write back to her again. It used to be a loop, and at the rate our letters are transmitted, we used to exchange 6-8 letters in 6 weeks time. So probably, that’s when my writing skills began. Of course, apart from the academic ones. And I don’t remember exercising my creative writing skills in school back then.

Let me share with you a small incident which tickles me to this day as I recall. I was visiting my Grandma’s place. It’s a small village named Govindapalli in Nellore District. During that time, Dad was working as Assistant Engineer and was involved in the massive construction of Somasila Dam Project for which Dad even received a prestigious award "Uttama Seva Pathakam" from the chief minister. As my Grandma picked the newspaper, she screamed in excitement pointing at a picture in the main page. Chief Minister visited Somasila Project, and there was a picture of him with few others. They didn’t list the names of all people in that picture. And it wasn’t a very clear picture, unlike the clear digital prints of today. This gave scope for my Grandma to interpret one of the person’s in that picture is my Dad. Focusing on the picture, I said, "That’s not Daddy". She gave a little sharp look and said, "You know your Dad may be for 7 years, but I know him for 30 plus years. I know better, and it’s your Daddy." She showed it to my uncles around, and everyone agreed with her, saying it’s my Dad. I didn’t say a word. Just listened quietly. Okay the conversation ended.

That night, after everyone went to bed, I sneaked through and wrote a quick letter to my Dad. This is how it went. "Dear Daddy, In 14th Eeenadu’s paper, main page, who’s the 3rd person on the right to the chief minister? Every one here is saying it’s you. I said it’s not you. Who is it?" I mailed it the next day. On the 5th day, I received a letter from Dad. He said, the person in the picture is …"Not me". I was happy that what I believed was right. I passed on the letter to my Grandma, she read what Dad wrote. Trying controlling her laugh, she took it to my uncle, and he started laughing too. And quickly my other uncle’s and aunt’s catched it too. LOL!!! It filled in with a roaring laughter.

No body had a clue that I wrote to my Dad about this, and how strongly I took it. I was elated when the whole family showered me their love with their hugs and nice words, "We had no clue you took it to heart so seriously. We agree now that you know your Dad better, that we do!". Wow! Makes me feel proud of myself, that I was able to express my strong feelings in writing since my childhood. Tooting my own horns, huh?!

This is getting lengthy. I will catch up again regards how my writing skills got honed.

Have a fun-filled day!

Standard

The Most Beautiful Attire

Following is one of the speech I presented in Little Rock Toastmasters club, on February 26, 2007. I am including the original presentation video, as well as word to word written text of the same. Thanks a lot to Stellus Pereira, my fellow Toastmasters, who graciously recorded the presentation, and made a copy for me. Because I which, I am able to share it with you guys today. I am dedicating this speech to my niece, Mona, who triggered the thought for this speech.

Mona15.jpg?a=64

The Most Beautiful Attire

Title: Most Beautiful Attire

Intro: Aruna would like to share with us about one of her greatest assets. Some of the content of her speech is taken from the famous book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People”, by “Dale Carnegie.”

Speech:

What’s your most beautiful attire? (pause)

This is a question asked by my twelve-year old niece in her letter to me. She wrote hear answer – “A Smile”; and she asked me what my answer is….This is a pretty inciting question from a twelve year girl. My response to her is – “Mona – I completely concur with your opinion that a smile is the most beautiful attire anyone could ever wear.”
An expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wear.

I will share with you some facts about a smile, and let you decide if we all need to smile more.

Actions speak louder than words. A smile says – “I like you, you make me happy, I am glad to see you.” I am not talking about an insincere grin. No, it’s mechanical and we all resent it. I am talking about a real smile, a heart-warming smile, a smile that comes from within.

You all might have heard this – “Our environment is a reflection of us.” What happens when we smile? People will smile back at us. Smile is contagious. By smiling our attitude changes. It brings us more happiness. It’s hard to find someone smiling cheerfully, and feeling unhappy at the same time. Even if you are not feeling so happy, or not in a pleasant mood, force yourself to smile, and you will be soon happy. At least you will be happier soon than if you didn’t smile.

We all say cheese when we take photograph for someone or when someone takes photograph for us? Why? We all know that we look much better when we smile. If smiling a lot is not something natural to you, make a conscious effort to smile frequently until it becomes as natural as breathing in and breathing out.

An employment manager of a large NY department store once said, “I would hire a sales clerk who has no graduate degree, but has a pleasant smile, than a person who has a PHD degree, but a somber face. ” Wow! What an enticing statement it is. What can we conclude from this? We are loosing some valuable opportunities by not smiling enough.

I receive compliments from almost everyone I meet, one time or other, that I have a beautiful smile. It’s a great asset to me. It’s a feather in my cap. Fortunately, it’s something natural to me.

A smile is a messenger of good will. It brightens the lives of those who see it. To someone under pressure, it gives hope that there is joy in the world. A smile is a better teaching device than a frown.

I like this quote so much. It’s an autograph I received twelve years back. I don’t have that autograph with me, but the words in it are written in my heart. It goes like this…
“A smile costs nothing, but enriches those who receive
Without making poor those who give.”
Enrich people around you with your beautiful smile.

Standard

The Power of Unconditional Giving

I made this speech in Advance Toastmasters club, Little Rock, AR on May 10th 2007. Again thanks to Stellus for recording this presentation as well as the evaluation parts. Below here are the video clips of my speech and evaluation for my speech. Also I am including the text I wrote during the process of my preparation.

The Power of Unconditional Giving:

Not until Jan 29 of this year, I realized the tremendous power of unconditional giving. Unconditional giving is a true blessing.

Mr.Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters, and distinguished guests

It was a Sunday morning, Jan 28th. I sat down relaxed and contemplated about unconditional giving. I decided to do one selfless act everyday during the coming week. As this thought pervaded me, I picked up my journal, jotted down Monday – Sunday, with dates beside, Jan 29th– Feb 4th. I left few blank lines between each day. After giving some careful thought I filled in each day with what I intended to do.

And here’s a copy of my journal page. Of the seven, I would now like to share two of them – Monday’s and Saturday’s, which are really special and had a remarkable effect on me.

My first experience is about the sheer joy of making some one happy.

Jackie is a lady who works in my office. I don’t interact with her with work related matters. But, I get to see her on my way to lunch,and talk in the break room occasionally. Jackie’s work area is on second floor,and mine is on 3rd floor. We have internal stairs connecting 2ndand 3rd floor. Once Jackie and I along with few others got to attend a training session where we got to share about our interests and hobbies. Jackie mentioned that she enjoys reading motivational and spiritual books. As some of you know that I am an avid reader. Having common interests, we immediately got connected and from then on used to share about our interesting readings.

When I was thinking about something to make Jackie happy, an extra copy of the book – As a Man Thinketh by James Allen quickly caught my attention. I picked the book, wrapped in a beautiful gift-wrap, and kept in my handbag so that I wouldn’t forget to take it to work on Monday morning. The moment I started thinking about giving Jackie something she likes, pleasant thoughts started permeating across me. Finally it’s 12:30 in the afternoon on Monday, Jan 29th. It’s “My Lunch Time”. It’s time when I can go and meet Jackie. With those thoughts, I chuckled gently. Got up and started walking down the stairs. Having sprained my ankle couple of times in the past, I pay caution to each of my step on stairs. So, I walked with the head bent. As I got off the stairs, I lifted my head. Jackie’s cubicle is located right in front of the steps. As I walked towards Jackie’s cubicle, I saw “Happy Birthday”decorations. Oh my God! I felt ecstatic! I couldn’t believe what I am seeing. Still in astonishment, and with half-belief approaching Jackie, I asked “Is it your Birthday?!” She answered “Yes", with a blush on her face”. With a Big smile, I said “Happy Birthday Jackie!”, with a slight pause, opening my handbag, I said “I have a little something to give to you”. I took out the beautifully wrapped book gently and handed it to Jackie. I didn’t know it was your Birthday. I just thought of doing little something that makes you happy. With a tinge of puzzled look Jackie said “You are so thoughtful, and have given me so many books. I owe you so much.” Holding Jackie’s hands, I told “No Jackie, please don’t ever feel so. I am doing this for my own pleasure. Please do not ever feel obligated to do something. Elucidating my thoughts, easened Jackie. She thanked me with a bright smile.” I felt this act was such a true blessing to me. It rose my spirits to a high degree. Guess what, after a few weeks, one day Jackie stopped by me and aid “I greatly enjoyed that book. It’s a tiny little book, but of great value. I bought one more copy of it and gave to my brother-in-law. Wow! I am on the top of Himalaya mountains now. It’s so amazing to experience the profound effects of giving something without any expectation.

My point here is it brings you sheer joy when you make someone happy.

The second story I would like to share is about the pleasure in expressing our sincere appreciation. I often go to a post office in West Little Rock on Huron Lane. I know even Roger comes to this post-office. Whenever I go there, I see each of the employee working with so much patience, no complaints, or frustration on their face even during the busiest holiday season when the queues are so lengthy almost extending until the entrance doors. I always wonder it would be so nice if everyone keep up that attitude of doing one’s work with pleasure, and no complains. As I get my turn to seek service, I usually ask “How is your day going so far!”. To my surprise, not one time I noticed someone with unpleasant face. Guess what? Almost always, I receive a response “Doing wonderful, How about you?” Wow! That response illuminates my face. I respond back it’s wonderful to hear, and I am too doing wonderful.

I even visited other post offices, and even there I noticed the same. I noticed the same pleasant, enthusiastic response and attitude. I shared about it couple of times with my husband as well as friends. As I was pondering, I thought why not I express my sincere appreciation for their attitude directly with them, and make them feel good. And it did fit my criteria of not expecting anything in reciprocation. I went to Hallmark stores bought five blank Thank you cards. I hand-wrote the message “Whenever I visit you and ask you “Howz your day, you always respond “Wonderful, with a pleasant face. Your response makes my day much sunnier. Thank you for such a wonderful attitude!” I wrote this message in each of the five cards, using my calligraphy pens, signed them, and enclosed in the envelopes. Still I didn’t write the names, as I wasn’t sure who will be working on that day. But, I knew one person so well, as I get served by him many times. His name is “James”. No matter what, I wanted to give one of my appreciation cards to him. So, I wrote his name both within as well as on the envelope, sticked the little crown sticker over the top to make each of them special, and that he is the king or the queen. I enclosed all the five cards in a file, along with the crown stickers, and my calligraphy pen to write each of their names. I also had an airmail envelope to mail. I headed to post-office. Standing in the line I tried to notice each of the staff members names. There were three people serving that day – Paul, Regina, and Richard. As my turn came quickly,I didn’t have enough time to write their names. Hence, as I got my turn I gave my envelope for having stamps, and mailed it. I stood to the side, wrote their names, and sticked the crown stickers, and again joined the queue. As my turn arrived I approached each of them, gave the card and said, “I always feel so good to notice your wonderful attitude of doing your work diligently and with pleasure. This is my little thank you card to express my appreciation". There faces beamed. You can’t imagine how joyful I was to see their elated faces.My face beamed 10 folds.

I had no idea that a simple heartfelt appreciation will bring me such immense pleasure and joy.

Why did I say that I didn’t realize the power of giving until early this year? Did I mean that I didn’t do any thoughtful things? No, I didn’t mean that. The difference lies in the word "Unconditional" Giving. I confess that until early this year, I used to expect from my giving. Not that I expected a reciprocating deed or a favor,but I used to look forward to hear to an acknowledgment. For eg. I received your card, thank you. Or I received your thoughtful timely gift. When I didn’t receive the feedback I used to be disappointed. But the moment I learned the joy of unconditional giving, I am happy not the moment I receive reciprocation, but the moment I did the act. I am inundated with sheer joy, happiness, and appreciation from even those whom I barely know, and from those I haven’t been in touch for years. Since I am happy with my unconditional giving, happiness is attracting me.

Everything in universe obeys the law of cause and effect. Whatever we do is sure to return back to us in many folds. We may not receive from our recipient, or the moment we expect, but sure it will return one day, from someone, in some unexpected form.

Experience the joy of unconditional giving. In my opinion it is a true blessing. It inundates us with joy, pleasure and prosperity.

Standard