Decluttering My Life this Pandemic

My Decluttered Home Work Space

Many things have been written about the impact of the pandemic, positive and negative. I have reflected on the pandemic from various view points in my blog posts over the past 10 months. I choose to share one aspect of the pandemic, decluttering my life.

I had developed the habit of filling all documents such as bank statements, a habit I learnt from my father. This was way before personal computers entered our life. Once computers arrived I was used to storing all files I created and received as well as emails that I thought would be required I the future. This habit started when I started working in 1982 and has been going on for the past 38 years. I realised my house, files, laptop as well as external connections were continuously getting filled up. Multiple computer crashes over the past few years has also resulted in my files getting scattered, lost, getting stored in to external drives etc. When we had decided to work from home 14 years ago many files, documents and books were shifted to my home office. Due to my extensive overseas travel that occurred about twice a month, I had not paid too much attention to the cluttering taking place. Perhaps my busy-ness prevented me from noticing the clutter and doing much about it.

After having got trapped in Bangladesh due to airport closures I finally arrived in Sri Lanka on the 24th of May and got home on the 8th of June after two weeks of quarantine. Meanwhile I had got busy doing online work and the need for decluttering did not occur. However things took a sharp turn when some of our windows that were open during a severe storm, broke for the pressure. We had a choice of repairing the broken windows or replacing all windows with French windows to let in more light and air. The transformation was amazing. My life too felt lighter and brighter. That made me realise the need for decluttering.

This was around September 2020 and since then it has been one clean up after the other. Throwing old cloths, furniture, kitchen utensils, files, books, machines, etc .etc. Every time we clear some thing there was more space. I re-modelled my home office space by bringing together all my work related items such as books, file and equipment that were essential. Furniture and walls got painted. By Christmas the entire house was so spacious, decluttered, bright, airy and my life felt the same. I had also de-cluttered my finances by doing some financial planning and got my customer service processes organised. This has resulted in almost no anxiety, high productivity and feeling alive as I worked at home and spent time with family. From the beginning of January I started focusing on my computer files and organised everything, removing duplicates, deleting loads of unnecessary files and putting old files that may be need in cloud storage.

As I write this I feel a feeling of total clarity, lightens, and aliveness. I plan to continue decluttering as things arise so that it becomes an integral part of life and I believe that will continue to give me space, clarity and energy to do the purposeful work I am called upon to do.

Wish you a decluttered life and purposeful living.

Just Be Open to Receive Love & Abundance this New Year

As my little New Year present to you, I am delighted to share with love and respect a beautiful reflection with reference to many beautiful insights from my guru Omar S Khan.

One of them from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens about the gratitude we show for the conditionality and vulnerability of our happiness. Another from the Pastor of St Bart’s New York who shows that it is not that we are looking for God, but God is looking for us and we need to be JUST be open to receive the grace. As you let this message speak to you in a unique way based on what you are open to, let it nourish your soul. For me the conditionality of happiness, being grateful for everything and the profound meaning of ‘JUST’ were soul nourishing.

Enjoy this beautiful audio message with your loved ones and your team and have a conversation about how this message spoke to each one of them. This would perhaps generate a insightful conversation that can serve you all individually or as a group.

May you be filled with love and abundance. Just accept it.

Your Children Are Not Your Children

When I first read these lines in the ‘Road Less Travelled’ by M.Scott Peck, quoted from the original writings of Khalil Gibran, I was confused. What are you saying? My children are my children, I gave birth to them and I did what it takes to grow them in to purposeful adults. However, after listening to it and reflecting on it, I realised how profound these words were. I have created a video with these words of wisdom as you see embedded in this blog. I recommend you watch and listen to the words in the video, reflect on it and then read the rest of the blog.

I believe the impact this video creates is different from person to person. I also believe the impact this video creates for you is determined by the journey of your life so far, where you are in your life now and your aspirations for the journey ahead. Therefore I feel the best contribution I can make is to write about what this poem means to me. Perhaps that might give you another perspective for you to reflect on, perhaps nourish your perspective and move you on to further reflection.

Let me reflect on the verse in two parts;

“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts for they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward not tarries with yesterday.

As I saw my three daughters growing in to become beautiful, graceful, intelligent, confident, loving and caring young ladies, I realised that they were all unique and had amazing lives they were longing to live. The three of them had their own passion and purpose in the areas of political science, fashion and culinary respectively. What an amazing contrast. Thankfully I had read these words when my daughters were very young and had been a student of the notion of purpose. These helped me to let them to grow into the life they were born to live, not to make them follow my profession or do what I believed was best for them.

I realised they belong to the process of life and came through me and not from me. They are miracles that cannot be created by me. It was my responsibility to provide them a secure and nourishing environment to grow, but not to give them my thoughts. They had their own unique ways of thinking. Parenting them was educating for me and my wife, learning how they think and learn. We only housed their bodies as their souls belonged to a higher energy force.

I realised that I was trying to be like them as they were much more talented than I was and it was a joy learning from them many times more than they would have learnt from me. In the middle of writing this I paused to play a card game with my youngest daughter while watching a talent show going on TV. It was amazing how much she knew about types of dances, musical instruments, methods of singing, names of coaches and the best coach/performer fit etc., that I did not know.

The other part of the verse is;

You are the bow from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and he bends you with his might that his arrow may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; for even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he loves also the bow that is stable.

My life experience confirms that I am the bow that is responsible to send my children, the arrows in to the future. The more the bow bends the further the arrows travel. Me as the bending bow is synonymous with the ‘stretching’ I had to do to give the best grounding for my daughters. It was about stretching in the areas of learning, balancing demands, dealing with challenges, working, earning and teaching to ensure they, the arrows go far and wide. And as in the last line of verse I realised that the ‘archer’, the God Almighty, loves me as much she loves my children.

I hope this helps you to reflect and make sense of your life.

Wish you purposeful living.

Being The Person You Are Destined To Be

Six questions you need to ask yourself to be the person you are destined to be – A presentation by Marshall Goldsmith.

Engage in this sincere presentation by Marshall Goldsmith and reflect on the six powerful questions he is prescribing. You may at-least start thinking in a manner that leads you to discover who you are meant to be. Enjoy the journey.

The following process can be used to create a learning experience for your team using this video.

Step 1 – A moderator (an expert from your company) to open the session, explaining the importance of the session.

Step 2 – Show the video – let participants absorb, take notes and write down questions to ask later

Step 3 – Have a Q&A session and a discussion

Step 4 – Agree on actions to be taken based on the video

Step 5 – Participants to say how the session was useful.

Rays of Enlightenment

A photo taken at a rain forest in Kandy, the hill capital of Sri Lanka.

This is a photo taken during a nature walk with my team. I remember sitting down on this bench to take in the energy of the beautiful rain forest. As I reflected I felt the paradox of the place; the sounds of nature and the voices of people, the trees and the cement bench, the forest and the road, the cool wind and the warm sun rays. One of my colleagues had taken this photo at that time and I was fascinated with the rays of sunlight coming towards me, as if the universe was sending me rays of enlightenment.

The Courage To Fail – Path to Success

A Thought Provoking Talk by Les Brown

As you watch this video, reflect on your attitude towards failure, rejection and setbacks etc. What steps would you take to reinforce your attitude or change your attitude to enjoy success?

Purposefulness in Team Members – Can It Be Developed?

Developing Purposefulness in Team Members – My presentation at the Asian & African Retail Congress in Mumbai India,

A presentation made to leaders in the retail industry at the Asia & Africa Retail Shopping Center Congress. Practical application of leadership and personal develop ent methods delivered with powerful concepts and personal experiences.

As you watch this video, reflect on steps you are taking and further steps you can take to develop purposeful team members in Your organisation.

The following process can be used to create a learning experience for your team using this video.

Step 1 – A moderator (an expert from your company) to open the session, explaining the importance of the session.

Step 2 – Show the video – let participants absorb, take notes and write down questions to ask later

Step 3 – Have a Q&A session and a discussion

Step 4 – Agree on actions to be taken based on the video

Step 5 – Participants to say how the session was useful.

Emotions that Motivate you

A Power Packed Talk by Tony Robins

As you watch this video, reflect on your motivation (motive to take action). How does emotion (energy in motion) creates that motivation from within that helps us make a difference?

How To Create Delightful Self-Sustaining Service

Ron Kaufman discusses his New York Times bestselling book Uplifting Service,

A proven path to delighting your customers, colleagues, and everyone else you meet. The book exposes a massive wound in a subject area that has become buried in weak distinctions, inadequate practices, and popular but shallow clichés. Ron explains the 5 key elements to build a self-sustaining service culture that can uplift an individuals, transform an organization, and ultimately change the world.

As you watch this video, reflect on steps you can take to engage the fickle minds of your children, team members and yourself.

The following process can be used to create a learning experience for your team using this video.

Step 1 – A moderator (an expert from your company) to open the session, explaining the importance of the session.

Step 2 – Show the video – let participants absorb, take notes and write down questions to ask later

Step 3 – Have a Q&A session and a discussion

Step 4 – Agree on actions to be taken based on the video

Step 5 – Participants to say how the session was useful.

Can The Fickle Mind Be Engaged?

Engaging the Fickle Mind

A post-lunch keynote by Ranjan De Silva that kept an audience of almost a 1000 professionals entertain, energised and engaged at the National HR Conference of Sri Lanka, organised by the Institute of personal management (IPM). A real life testimony of how to engage the Fickle Mind.

As you watch this video, reflect on steps you can take to engage the fickle minds of your children, team members and yourself.

The following process can be used to create a learning experience for your team using this video.

Step 1 – A moderator (an expert from your company) to open the session, explaining the importance of the session.

Step 2 – Show the video – let participants absorb, take notes and write down questions to ask later

Step 3 – Have a Q&A session and a discussion

Step 4 – Agree on actions to be taken based on the video

Step 5 – Participants to say how the session was useful.