love · schizophrenia · Spirituality

What do you think love is?

14th February, 2017. The highlight in most people’s lives and the question that has more answers than any other: What is love?

I’ve been going through my own churning, with the personal, the political, the social and work at school. The answer to all that churns me arises from what the heart has been acting upon…and that is love.

Love is a funny word isn’t it?

There are a million claims over the meaning and understanding of it.
To my knowledge and experience love is the simple act of courage found buried in our hearts.
It’s easy to love but not easy to act upon the necessary outcomes of love.

Love makes us do things we wouldn’t otherwise do. It makes us look deep within a kaleidoscope of illusions to muster up a kind of strength that we wouldn’t otherwise have found in ourselves.

This strength is called courage. It surpasses all illusions and the heart begins glowing. This glow invades all our fears, purging it by telling us to act upon what troubles us.

But it is not a sacrifice. It’s a choice made instinctively by our hearts.
For when our hearts are hurt and we cannot any longer rely on the subtle projections of our egos we begin experiencing anger.
This anger shakes us, makes us weak, make us immobile, makes us silent, makes us yell, makes us churn, until we get around and do something about it.
But that something must come from what our heart truly feels. The intent in what exist within us will kindle a courage necessary for us to move to our next step. The kind we never thought possible.

Love doesn’t blind you. Love opens your eyes. I’ve read this somewhere! So I know I am not the only one stating that which I believe in.
Love requires courage and courage is born from the heart. It cannot be found in any other way. It is not found in books, in movies, in our heads, in our biceps, in our thoughts, in our intellectual wisdom or in our self-proclaimed understanding of it. It is a wisdom found in our hearts which bear fruits of profundity. This courage is what delivers two individuals in existing together as it becomes a conscious choice made in full awareness of their respective strengths and weaknesses.

Such love is not just limited to romantic couples but it exist in all relationships. Such love is kindled by a knowing that it requires two to tango. It’s team work. It’s selfless yet selfish. It’s a high with a low coming with a sense of belonging yet not ownership. And it can never fade away because such courage when found becomes the light that will always glow for another even when they’re unable to find their own.

Such love is crazy, unfathomable and almost something alien. Alien only because it’s not something that was allowed to enter your life.

To me my madness is the same. They draw me…both love and madness. It is not a romantic notion I’m laying claims over. It is something that has to be lived to be understood.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! Have the courage to love. I am not speaking of romantic or sexual love but the kind that makes our own secret world spin in happiness and abundance of recognizing such love. It’s the best path towards being a good human and doesn’t require any spiritual explanations of enlightenment as love is the essence that already exist within us all.

© Reshma Valliappan 2017img_20170208_092846032

Art · Shamanism · Spirituality

I got mentioned by someone I admire!

I stumbled across this post yesterday while I had to search for some links of mine to give someone else. It reads ‘The Importance of being Reshma Valliappan‘ (missing a ‘p’ in it)

It caught me by surprised cause I have yet not read The importance of being earnest’.

The writer Mr. Randhir Khare is himself someone I personally and silently admire. [ I don’t need to social media all of those I look up too. I think they just know it ]

And as the universe would have it, I was going to be visiting his gallery Gyaan Adab the same afternoon. When I mentioned the article to him, he just said [ like any other ninja would ]  “I like leaving stuff there and have it be discovered by itself”

So I leave you to read his piece. He is one of the few people who I could say has known me for 10 years now, watched me and work at different times and can keep me engaged with his stories or talk without me getting bored. [which happens most of the time with me if I had to listen to another]


Art · Mental Health · schizophrenia

Death anxiety

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2



There are souls that stink
I can smell them from mile
The deceits and lies
Make me curl my necrophile

–  The Schizophrenist

Image and words ©Reshma Valliappan


Art · Mental Health · Shamanism · Spirituality

Visions & Voices

Hey all! I haven’t posted in a while as I have been really busy with my exhibition, work at school and some crazy home incidents. I’m still running on a sleepless night although I managed to get a few nights rest in between.

Here’s sharing with you a short walk through of my exhibition. It’s not professionally shot so bear with me on this until I revamp my sites and take you into the real deal. 🙂




Mental Health · schizophrenia · Uncategorized

Handwritten book review in a letter

It is such a joy to open a hand written letter sent across from Indonesia after having my book tour and talk on Mental Health in February. What makes it even more special is that it comes from a woman older than my mother who has lived through many paths and experiences in life and is a painter herself. I thank such women for simply existing.

Like many feedback I have received before, I am not surprised to the confusion some readers have about the book. To me, that is the experience of schizophrenia in relation to the world around. To me, it is not necessary that we have to know exactly what makes schizophrenia what it is. I often wonder how I could have written my book any other way. Must I really write it in such a way that every person who reads it will get the perfect idea of what schizophrenia is?

But maybe that truly is the nature of what schizophrenia is. It is not for you or anyone to GET. Life is uncertain and there is beauty in the uncertainty of language and what we can’t give words to because it forces us to change our perception and understanding of things. It forces us to cultivate a different way of human connection. We cannot limit our understanding of life based on verbal or written language. And schizophrenia is forcing us to go beyond this.

I guess I wouldn’t write my book in any other way because it will imbibe the very emotions necessary to understanding schizophrenia…which is: making meaning and sense out of chaos and confusion.


The letter reads:

Dear Reshma,

I’m not as good with words as you are. My story is simple and lacks the struggle you had to deal with. Trauma came your way and you are dealing with that in a way I can only admire. To me the book was confusing and an eye opener.

Very rarely people are able to get an insight in schizophrenia. You live in a world of constant impulses, which you try to silence through work of art (writing and painting).

At…I met a woman who managed to create space for herself through hard work. Somebody with the capacity to live with difficulties in an honest way. True to herself. Your speech that day created an atmosphere of togetherness. That is how I felt anyway. You have something to give and you mentioning acceptance will always be in my mind. In the hope I will be able to act accordingly when necessary.

Conclusion: The book is an unique insight into the turmoil and social challenges of people with schizophrenia, something which could happen to anyone. Not an easy read, but the symptoms are well written, including the perception of the medical system and how treatment really affects a person. Most people have little idea of how bad drug side-effects can be and the book is therefore a real challenge to medical establishments. Determination, tenacity and resilience illustrates a strong character with strong feminist and social justice views, giving a voice to many people without a voice.

All the best…