Welcome to Spring Coaching and Counselling.

Wishing you all a very very Happy 2012 !

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year !!!

Over the years, I have this habit of encouraging my clients to write a resolution … purpose statement, for themselves as the New Year rolls in. Most of them question the need for a purpose statement and just do it because I tell them to do so. Interestingly, in the beginning of 2012 one of my clients had a compulsive argument why he does not want to do it.  
Said he, “You know Doc I see no sense in this exercise this year. After all the Mayan prophecy says we all will not be there after 21 December 2012, so what is the purpose of having a purpose for the year”.
I must admit he had me stumped for a minute, before I could collect my wits and respond, “Ok, write the purpose for 2012 till December 21”.
Jokes apart, writing a purpose statement for the year, gives one a chance to introspect. We get an opportunity to introspect.
My own experiences with my annual purpose statement have always been positive. Over the many years I have noticed, that I must be probably achieving 60% of what I said I will do in the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, I have learnt to draw a lot of joy from the introspection and finally experiencing a sense of determination to pursue the goal.
In our day – to day chore, very seldom do we get time to step back and introspect and ask ourselves, What I am doing? Why I am doing this?  Am I at peace with myself? … some questions which can trigger a deeper journey into one self and rather than the outside world.
We are in a paradoxical situation today. We are all in the middle of some or the other activity. We are all in the pursuit of what we believe will give us comfort, power and love. We are constantly engaged with our cell phones, mails, IM’s and SMS reaching out to more and more friends, relatives and acquaintances, believing that the more we connect the more we network. We believe that today’s digital world connects us to the past, with friends and colleagues whom we had forgotten. We believe that, the digital world will open the doors for new friends who will make our lives more colorful and interesting.
As we pursue happiness, wealth and joy we are becoming increasingly detached from our own selves. We do not have the time to look into ourselves.
 My master and guru, Jung summed it up when he said:
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
So spend time with yourself before this year ends today !!!
Wishing You a very Happy New Year !

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Year !

The twelve months of year 2012 are over and only ten days later we enter in 2013. Everytime a new year begins, I have a feeling that this new year will be different than the old year ... and it is different !

Spring Counselling Centre is going to be twelve year old in 2013. Each year has been different than the earlier years. Every new year is like a new chapter in the story of Spring. This year we are reaching out to as many and more as we can.

We are going to reach you!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


 Nothing that Nature creates is unnecessary or bad. ‘Fear’ is organic and therefore necessary and not bad.

However, we do express a desire to live a fearless life. We praise people who are powerful, fearless and daring. 

History is replete with civilizations, emperors, kings, sorcerers, magicians, and political leaders who are praised for their ‘fearlessness’ and ‘power’.

Yet the truth is that all of us carry fear with in us. It is the most important emotion we carry with us. Fear is a cloak given by nature to empower us. It absorbs the shock that we may experience while facing difficult situation. We often distinguish fear in near physical terms. So we are afraid of heights, afraid of dark, water - the list can be endless.

Nature has given us fear so that we can think through - we learn, we protect ourselves and take care of ourselves and fear can help us to see things in perspective.

Our survival instinct helps us get over most difficult situations such as tsunami, floods, earthquakes and countless setbacks. We have seen all around us collapse and yet we come back to normality.

Difficulties of life we can face … but fear of difficulty we cannot face.

By itself fear is not a problem. It is only when we think of fear that the mind starts to take away the power. And you start getting anxious.

People who suffer anxiety or ‘fear of fear’, end up inviting the other person to get scared too. They do not empower people to face situations and difficulties, but take away his / her power of facing difficulties. Anxiety is passed from generation to generation.

The method of empowering a child or an individual is by inviting him/her look at the difficult situation and think it through – letting them know that feeling fearful is not wrong.

It is possible to encourage them to think on how he / she is going to handle the situation, is there anything he can do to protect himself and overcome the situation. When it happens we know how to swim it through, we know how to take care of ourselves. Just that we need inner strength and belief in ‘self’.
At an emotional level - loss of loved ones, rejection, ridicule or somebody snatching things from us or loss of loved relationships - when it happens we know how to come out of it. But, the very thought that it will happen to us, will make us helpless and powerless.

Many families and organizations instead of inviting people to handle their fears, increase them. They render them powerless, hinder the progress, and take away the survival mechanism. At times they fail to empower us with the various fears that our minds create.

What we are taught wrongly is how to pass on the fear and anxiousness to others. What we do not know is how not to take away the survival mechanism because, in reality, we can survive accidents, illness, and any set back.

 “People are disturbed not by difficulties, but the way they view them.”

An interesting story about T'ao Hsin :
There once was a sage, T'ao Hsin, who lived in a lonely temple high in the mountains. A wandering monk visited him once. As the two were talking a wild animal roared close by, and T'ao Hsin jumped. "I see it is still with you," said the other ... referring to the instinctive "passion" of fright.
Shortly afterwards T'ao Hsin inscribed the Chinese character for the Buddha on the rock. When the monk returned to sit down he saw the sacred Name and hesitated to sit. "I see," said T'ao Hsin, "it is still with you!"

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Helping Others

 All of us seem to have an inbuilt genetic code that makes us to help others, at least that is what we believe in. We do believe that we always help others, but do we really help others?

We understand help as –‘what we give to others’. So if we give some money to another person or solve his/her problems we believe that we are helping them.

A few years back as a part of counseling process, I asked this client of mine: “ What are the few traits in you which you want people to remember about when you pass away? What foot prints you want to leave behind?”

Interesting enough, he replied, “I want to be remembered for my helping nature.”  Very often I do come across this reply with many of my clients. I often question them about what they mean when they say, “helping others”. More often than not most people are confused about what they understand about helping others. Some of the typical examples of helping others: “Walking an old person across the road”, “contributing to charities”, “advising somebody on what he should be doing”…. all activities which I will classify as courtesies, a part of civility and civilized society.

I had this client - a “compulsive helper”. She will offer help at the drop of a hat. She had the need to be accepted and being in the center of attention. Helping others was her way of getting accepted by others. Many found it as big nuisance and there were times when they would make a lot of efforts to avoid her.

There are many ignorant concepts about helping. We believe we are helping but more often than not we take over somebody’s life and end up directing, converting them into ‘thinking’ as we want them to think.

Helping is much beyond this and in fact beyond human capabilities.

Ask yourself when you felt ‘helped’ ? Go into the place where you felt helped. You will discover, somebody said something that you needed to hear at that point of time and you felt helped. You were in a trouble zone and somebody listened to you and you felt helped.

Helping is putting yourself out there for somebody else without you thinking for them or planning for them. Let them dictate and direct and take you in. All you need to do is to put yourself there and experience the other person. Let the other person dictate and direct you in a particular direction.

Helping means losing control of your self, learning to flow with the other person. In helping you have forgotten yourself, go beyond boundaries of self and your own ego. You have to just put yourself out there for the other person to experience you.

You help others as much as you can help. There is no point in stretching yourself thin. You have to help others in a consistent level, equal level and sustain it. If you try to stretch beyond your capability you will end up not doing good to yourself.

Sometimes listening to somebody who wants to be helped and being there is all you have to do. Sometimes you may have to excuse yourself when you cannot listen. You should be upfront and say “I heard you, thank you, but please excuse me as I cannot do anything more to help you”.

It is important we understand where the other person is.  For example when you lift a small baby and carry it from one place to another you are helping the baby to move. As the baby grows up it may not require you help in moving about. When the child grows into an adolescent he/she looks for different help. They want somebody to help them in validation of their thoughts without confusing them.

With a young adult, you need to talk and interact differently.  Young adult goes through different experiences, some good and some bad. When he faces bad experiences he feels down and he needs help of constant dialogue that makes him/her accept the bad experiences as a part of life. With a mature adult helping could be sharing of ideas and thoughts.

In an organization, a leader cannot help his entire team. The more he starts to help the more he interferes in the process of growing and learning of his team. The only way he can extend sustainable and equal help is by dialogue and discussing constantly with his team, by partnering with the team. That’s is the best way the leader helps his team.

Helping is more to do with others than your own self !

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monkey on the Back

Those were the times when life was care free and uncomplicated. There was no television, no pressure about home works, we were just an ordinary group of care free children who were happy with small things and had perfected the art of discovering joy with things which otherwise never made sense to any adult. Like many children, we were a curious lot of rascals, impish, mischievous and at times tiring to our parents. We had our own groups, own issues, own likes and dislikes, our own play games most of which were rustic, come to think of it, many of these games have become extinct in large cities.

Among the many fascinations we had, the novelty about the ‘madari’ ( monkey man) and his monkey. He has always stayed in my memory. Even as I write, the image of the ‘madari’ flashes before me - a darkish medium height man with a pencil moustache on a fluid face that always had two-day-old stubble, a white dirty cap with a ‘jari’ lining always tilted and a ‘beedi’ hanging from his lips. His loose fitting pajama - kurta had never possibly been touch by water for weeks.

On his right hand was a rope, loosely held and the other end of the rope was tethered to a red color collar around a monkey’s neck. On his left had he had a ‘dumroo’ - a small drum with a small rope on both the ends. Whenever he used to turn his writs rapidly, the dumroo would make a cracking noise as the small rope hit the each side of the drum with speed. The madari used to always announce his arrival with the cracking noise of the dumroo and always followed it up with a high nasal pitch shout inviting you to come and watch the antiques of the monkey. As soon a small group of children gathered, he used to tug the rope in his right hand, a sort of signal to the monkey to start his antiques. Different tugs of the rope meant a different signal to the monkey, who used to dance, do somersaults, smoke a beedi, comb hair etc.

We used to religiously clap and shout with glee for every act of the monkey, never bored with the repetitions. Sometimes, we used to reward the monkey by throwing peanuts and at other times tease it by calling it names. The signal for the show to have ended was a hard tug by the madari on the rope and the monkey used to quickly scamper up and sit on his shoulder or back and clap his hands.

Monkey on our back!!!

Today as a counsellor, I often have to tell my clients, “get the monkey of your back” and every time I say it, the madari and his monkey flashes in a jiffy before my eyes.

All of us have our own monkeys on our back; in fact we love to have them. We want to keep with us all our pain, fear, guilt and whatever has hurt us in past as a monkey on madari’s back. We not only love them but also feel proud about the size of the monkey on our back. We know it adds to our burden, makes us heavy, often depresses us, but still we do not want to let go. We realize that sensibility dictates life never stops, keeps moving on, but still we would like to pause all our pain, bad experiences, broken relationships, guilt and fear on our back.

One of the common challenge I often face is “how to invite my clients see reason to let go and get the monkey off her/his back?”

Only when we come to terms to our current reality and learn to accept, will we get the monkey off our back. We often forget that the end of the rope tethered to the collar on the monkey’s neck is in our hand and only we can get the monkey off our back!!

Saturday, December 31, 2011


We, as human beings, occupy an important position in the chain of evolution as we can emote, see, sense and think. What however makes us different from other species is our need for contact and relationships.

Relationships are very important for human beings. Relationships helps us to keep engaged, talk, create ideas, share thoughts and ideas, express and receive love and care, enjoy the beauty of nature - the list is a long one. We need people around us, people with whom we want to share. This contact and sharing gives us an experience of joy and happiness. In a way, it validates our existence. We look for acceptance of ourselves, of our pain, love and sense of existence. This is only possible with help of other human being – a relationship.

The desire for relationship is so strong, that sometimes people relate to cats, dogs or other pets and transfer all their emotions for the need for relations ships to these pets. It is not uncommon to hear about persons who talk to plants to get over their need to relate.

Despite the strong urge in humans for establishing relationships, there is a pathological side to these relationships. Relationships, at times, are cause of pain. An unhealthy relationship can often cause hurt, ridicule and shame. They become the power games with one party in the relationship finding faults, putting down the other, making the other person dependent or being at mercy of other. This results in an expression of power on one hand and powerlessness at the other. The hidden agenda in such relationships often leads to unconscious, repetitive behavior patterns between two people leaving both of them unhappy.

A lot has been written on why people play games in relationships.  Psychological games often result in a high emotional charge and some attention.  In such cases, the individuals prefer this negative attention to no attention at all.

True relationships result in closeness, security and growth – maturity. A good Counselling relationship creates a healthy pattern of behaviour that finally helps the client in developing sustainable and healthy human relationships.

Friday, December 23, 2011


Words express human beings. Words help us to say what we think or feel.

Words can create trust or mistrust.  If value our words then there is no difference in what we say and what we do. But the moment, we do not mean what we say, we end up creating mistrust.

Communication is not about using flowery words or fantastic English or using quotations of great thinkers and poets. Communication is a flow of what you say and mean. For example, if I say that, ”I will meet you on Monday” and I do meet you as expressed -  I am creating a bond of trust. When I praise a person for his or her achievement, unless I mean what I say, my words will get lost.

When we use words and express ourselves, we tend to ignore the fact that the other person is recording every word we are saying, he is trying to collate whether there is any discrepancy between what I say and what I mean – my actions. Any doubt or disconnect between spoken will result in halting the character building process. With many gaps between words and actions, we become fragmented people - the character building stops.  You collapse into becoming a random structure. Nothing builds on random structure, no character, no trust, no team and no effective action. Your foundation is weak and one cannot build a huge tower on a weak structure which is fragmented.

We often come across people who talk a lot but they fall short of action. The deluge of words by these people really means nothing, in fact it dissolves into thin air, even before it reaches our ears.

On the other hand, history is replete with great masters whose words still carry a lot of strength and character. We are able to still relate to their words and thoughts. We get motivated and charged when we read their words. The strength of their words have resulted in creation of strong institutions which have stood the test of time and have become a beacon of hope for all of us.

Such is the power of the ‘words’ we use!