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.

Taking a Break – Is it Purposeful Behaviour?

Image Credits: Humanperformancepsychology.com

I decided to take a break from social media, blogging, tweeting and newsletter writing during October. This is partly to allow my mind to settle down and rest after the extensive online work done in the past 6 months from April to September. It is also due to my calendar getting filled with corporate sessions for clients in UAE, Africa, Solomon Islands. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.  

On the personal side, it was my second daughter’s wedding which gave us a lot of joy and I needed to release myself from work for this important life event.  We also had two other wedding anniversaries and four birthdays in the family during the month. It looks like October (my birth month) is becoming a month of family celebrations and this perhaps would be the month I take time off from work in the years to come. 

Attitude of Gratitude For Those Who Raised You Up

You Raised Me Up by Westlife

Reflection Guide:

As you listen to this song, reflect on those who raised you up so that you can stand on mountains and walk on stormy seas, specially during times of troubles and heart burn with an attitude of gratitude.

Lyrics

When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I…

Songs for Growth

The Pandemic and Temporal Aspect of Purposefulness

Image Credit: Nationalpost.com

In the last 8 blog posts in the ‘purpose quest series’, we explored how the pandemic impacted eight important pillars for purposeful living; spiritual, mental, emotional, relational, physical (health), financial, environmental and societal. Let’s explore the ninth pillar, the ‘temporal’ aspect in this blog post. As in the past eight blog posts let me attempt to describe my personal experience during the pandemic. 

The word ‘Temporal’ has two broad applications; relating to worldly as opposed to spiritual affairs (secular) and relating to time. I use the word in relation to the use of time. The temporal aspect of purposeful relates to the use of limited time. The purposeful person attempts to utilise most of the time for purposeful activity, which requires letting go of non-purposeful activity.

The last eight weekly blog posts in the ‘purposeful quest’ series illustrated how my time was allocated to purposeful activity in spiritual, mental, emotional, relational, physical (health), financial, ecological and temporal areas. These activities took most of my waking time and there was rarely any time remaining for non-purposeful activity during the approximately 16 hours of waking time.

The sense I make from this reflection is that the pandemic gave me so much opportunities to be purposeful, that it left me with almost no time for non-purposeful activities. This way of life has kept me occupied in meaningful and energising activity, giving me inner success, happiness and peace. My purpose is to inspire others to live a purposeful life and I hope this series of blog posts will inspire you too to live a purposeful life and find Success happiness and peace.

Liberating Empathy

Can empathy be developed or Liberated? As you watch this video, reflect on this questions. Consider how important empathy is for leadership success. Is there an ideal amount of empathy? Could empathy be too much or two little? What steps would you take to liberate the ideal amount of empathy from within you for your leadership success.

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.

The Pandemic and Societal Aspect of Purposefulness

Image Credits: shethe people.tv

In the last 7 blog posts in the ‘purpose quest series’, we explored how the pandemic impacted six important pillars for purposeful living; spiritual, mental, emotional, relational, physical (health), financial and environmental. Let’s explore the eight pillar, the societal aspect in this blog post. As in the past seven blog posts let me attempt to describe my personal experience during the pandemic. 

With lockdowns being imposed, offices closed, and people starting to work from home, my clients either took the assigned transformational work online or postponed them. This gave me the illusion that there will be a lot of free time. Since I was in Dhaka, while engaging with the foreign ministry and the high commission to arrange repatriation flights, I joined my friend I was staying with to distribute dry rations to people who were financially affected due to lockdowns. In addition I arranged some help for some relatives and friends who were looking for financial assistance and guidance.

To help with the psychological challenges faced by many, my team in Dhaka helped me to produce some videos with mental tips to deal with challenges and anxiety releasing meditation. While using social media to get these to people who needed it we started conducting free webinars to help people deal with the present and gear up for the future. After returning to Sri Lanka I had the opportunity to join my team to conduct psychological first aid for the medical staff of the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), the command center fighting the pandemic in Sri Lanka.

I believe most of the above opportunities were provided to me to help be purposeful during the pandemic. My purpose to inspire others to live a purposeful life and these opportunities helped me share the idea of ‘purposefulness’ and show how it can help to make sense of the pandemic, deal with anxiety & stress and adjust their way of life to respond positively. While all these were related to giving, my time without any financial benefit, I enjoyed the happiness of giving, learning & building relationships in the process. I feel purposeful.

Simple and Unassuming life for a better body and mind.

Eric Berne’s – Transactional Analysis presented.

As you read this quote by Sir Albert Einstein, reflect on a baby step you can take to go towards a simple and unassuming manner of life that has potential to have a positive impact on body and mind.

Getting Your ‘Adult’ into the driving seat of your life.

Eric Berne’s – Transactional Analysis presented.

This Video is created to learn the secrets of understanding Self and others. Eric Berne is the founder of the Transactional Analysis. In this video you will learn about Ego States and Transactions that will help you improve communications and relationships.

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.

What’s Your True North?

Anne Hathaway Keynote Address International Women’s Day 2017

As you listen to this speech, reflect on how it speaks to your heart and mind. Is it about the rags to riches story? Is it about love? Is it about parenting? Is it about gender equality? Is it about speaking out on behalf of your concerns? Is it it about your sense of direction? Is it something else? Reflect on what matters to you and the baby steps you would take to make a difference.