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 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.

Who Are You?

Do you really know who you are? Well I am still discovering who I am and I am not sure if I will ever find the answer. However everyday I live with this question in my mind I see a little bit more of who I am.

So how do we find who we are? Each of us might have our own way of defining ourself starting with basic aspects such as our gender, nationality, race, etc. and going on to more complex areas such as relationships, sexual orientation, spiritual beliefs, attitudes, beliefs, political aspirations, fears, struggles, intelligences, epistemology, ontology, world views, relationships etc. The aspects are much larger and this is only a few of them.

The quote from José Ortega Y Gasset; “Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are”, gives us an interesting method of finding out who we are. Take a journey of your day, from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. What are the things you pay attention to? What do you notice? Do you pay attention to your health, spirituality, relationships (which relationships?), social concerns, type of news, beneficial to self or others (who?), positivity or negativity, mutuality, aspirations, hobbies, habits etc. This will show you what your ‘values’ are.

Therefore ‘our values’ would be an interesting way of knowing who we are. I recommend you reflect on this question to figure out who you are and perhaps that can lead you to the next two questions; ‘who you want to be’ and ‘how do you get there’. I hope these questions will engage you and give you direction to improve the quality of your life, contributing to a better world.

Wish you purposeful living.

How Is The Pandemic Serving Us?

Image Credits: Wired.com

In the one before the last blog post (two Wednesdays ago) in the ‘Purpose Quest’ series, I attempted to list down questions that came up during my various interactions with various audience over the last 6 months of the pandemic. I started attempting to write about how I responded to those question and the insights I had regarding the first two questions related to goals, in last Wednesdays blog post. Let me attempt to respond to the third questions;

What is the purpose of the pandemic? How is it serving us?

I had already answered this question on my blog post of 30th March 2020. That was at the beginning of the pandemic and it is interesting to see how the answer to this question has evolved.

Six months ago we were wondering how the pandemic was going to affect our lives. Many of the conversations were about the materialistic impact such as health, economy, jobs, livelihood, etc. This has been visible all over the globe to various extents. However these challenges have made people think about their lives, livelihood, vocation, goals etc. Some have started their own business that they were procrastinating. Some have changed jobs to a one with a lower salary, but more in line with their passion and talents. Some have taken a bigger job. Some mothers stopped working to ensure they give time to their children who are studying online while the father earns the money or visa versa. Therefore for some people the purpose of the pandemic was to make them more purposeful in living.

While we felt that the bigger purpose, of the pandemic was to remind us that this planet belongs to all forms of life, not just to human beings, to remind us that our purpose is not to just enrich ourselves but learn to co-exist with each other and other living beings. We are one eco-system, one life process and there needs to be balance. However in many countries life is coming back to what it was with the traffic building up, factories emitting fumes, government not improving their policies on climate change etc. While aircrafts are not flying as usual, many airlines have started commercial flights and I feel that air travel will be back to normal soon. So six months later , I am not sure if we humans responded to the pandemics aim to make us value and protect our ecology.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw beautiful videos of how families are closer, having lovely conversations, playing board games, and watching movies together. We saw people helping each other, the rich helping those that are having financial difficulties, the poorer using their talents to harvest the crops and deliver to others who need it, healthcare workers caring for the sick, security forces and law enforcement officers maintaining quarantine centres and providing security, banks and utility companies postponing payment due dates and rescheduling loans. However all these things are going back to what I was with work re-starting in many organisations. While the pandemic liberated human values and reignited the consciousness of the need to coexist, my hope is that it at least stays at a deep level and guide the conscience of people.

At a higher level lets hope the eco-system that started regaining its balance will provide us better living conditions while we do our part to support that effort.

I wish you purposeful living.

Goals! What Goals?

Image Credits: Saba.com

In the last blog post in the ‘Purpose Quest’ series, I attempted to list down questions that came up during my various interactions with various audience over the last 6 months of the pandemic. I will attempt to write about how I responded to those question and the insights I had, in the next few blog posts. So let’s begin with the first two questions. Both of them are related to goals;

My goals have become irrelevant due to the pandemic? What do I do now?

Why do I need to have goals when they can become irrelevant due to uncontrollable situation?

I always felt goals were irrelevant without a bigger purpose. A goal becomes meaningful when it is connected with a higher, noble purpose. Therefore if someone feels the goal they had was irrelevant due to the pandemic, perhaps it was not attached to a purpose. If a goal without a purpose is difficult to achieve, we may use unethical, illegal, unhealthy methods to achieve them and we will get stress if we don’t achieve them. Goals attached to a purpose are easy to adjust and we do not get stressed if such goal.

For example I was in the process of starting to write my thesis to complete my Phd when the pandemic hit. Due to the pandemic, I had to focus on other priorities as I have written widely in this blog. This requires me to delay the completion of the Phd or even even not to pursue it anymore. I was comfortable with both these option as the purpose of doing the Phd was to inquire about the notion of ‘purposefulness’ and present to the world new knowledge that can help people become purposeful and thereby find success, happiness and peace of mind, while contributing to a better world. I was able to make this contribution to the world over the past six months through webinars, webshops, blogs, social media and other interactions. I also realise I already have a book to write on the topic, which will also help people live a purposeful life. I may or may not complete the Phd and that goals seems irrelevant when I think about the bigger purpose behind it.

The answer to the second question is that we could still have purposeful goals that we are willing to change, adjust or let go when the universe sends us a strong message, as in the case of the pandemic, calling us to be of service to this world in a different way.

I hope this is food for thought. I will be delighted to hear from you the answers that you came up with and engage in dialog, purposefully..

I wish you purposeful living.

Questions about Purpose

Image Credits: thamarathorpe.com

The last six month opened up amazing opportunities for me to reflect on the notion of purpose. These opportunities arose during conversations with family, team and clients in trying to make sense of the pandemic. These opportunities arose during webinars conducted to help people with their concerns, anxieties, stress and other psychological challenges. These opportunities arose from the 150 plus participants from 15 countries taking part in the four ‘Mastery of Self’ through NLP, online certificate courses over the past few months.

In this blog post I will attempt to list down the questions that came up. Some of these questions were already asked earlier, some of these are modifications to the old questions and some of these are new questions.

My goals have become irrelevant due to the pandemic? What do I do now?

Why do I need to have goals when they can become irrelevant due to uncontrollable situation?

What is the purpose of the pandemic? How is it serving us?

Is our purpose changed due to changing realities?

I am struggling more due to the pandemic. Is it helping me to find purpose?

Am I struggling more during the pandemic because I try to live purposefully?

Do our values change with situations? Arn’t they supposed to be fixed?

Isn’t values an important component of our purpose?

My purpose is clashing with the purpose of some of my family. It is prominent now because I spend a lot of time with them. How do it deal with them?

Are religious people more purposeful than non-religious people?

Does spirituality become more important than religion for purposeful people?

Does the notion of Purposeful living taken a new meaning with the pandemic?

Are world leaders being purposeful in the way they are handling the pandemic?

I will reframe from answering these questions to provide you the opportunity to reflect and answer these questions. I am not sure what that process will do. I will be delighted to hear from you the answers that came up and how these questions and answers served you.

I wish you purposeful living.

How You Lived Will Epitomise Your Death

How Did You Die? – Edmund Vance Cooke

Reflect on the deeper meaning of this poem as you listen to it and read the lyrics below. How did you respond to trouble times? What did you do when you fell down? What is real success & failure? How would you face life’s challenges from now onwards?

Read by Shane Morris – Full Poem:

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way

With a resolute heart and cheerful?

Or hide your face from the light of day

With a craven soul and fearful? 

Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,

Or a trouble is what you make it,

And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,

But only how did you take it? 

You are beaten to earth?

Well, well, what’s that!Come up with a smiling face.

It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,

But to lie there-that’s disgrace. 

The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce

Be proud of your blackened eye!

It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts;

It’s how did you fight-and why? 

And though you be done to the death, what then?

If you battled the best you could,

If you played your part in the world of men,

Why, the Critic will call it good. 

Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,

And whether he’s slow or spry,

It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,

But only how did you die?

Something Inside So Strong – To Make You Rise Above the Odds …

Something Inside So Strong – Lewisham And Greenwich NHS Choir

As you listen to this powerful song, let the strength inside you awaken and fight against the odds so that your bright light will blind the darkness.

Lyrics

The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The further you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me, you can decide
To turn your face away
No matter ’cause there’sSomething inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone, oh no
There’s something inside so strong
Oh, something inside so strongThe more you refuse to hear my voice (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)
The louder I will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)
Your lies will come tumbling
Deny my place in time, you squander wealth that’s mine
My light will shine so brightly it will blind you
Because there’sSomething inside so strong, strong
I know that I can make it
Though…

Living Life To The Fullest as the Captain of Your Life

O Captain Mu Captain – Walt Whitman

Reflect on the deeper meaning of this poem as you listen to it and read the lyrics below. Who is the captain of your life? How will you live to be able to be happy on your last day feeling that that you lived it all.

O Captain, my Captain our fearful trip is done
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people are exulting,  
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring  
But O heart! heart! heart!  
O the bleeding drops of red,  
Where on the deck my Captain lies,  
Fallen cold and dead.  

O Captain, my Captain (x3)

O Captain, my Captain rise up and hear the bells  
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding  
For you they call (the swaying mass)
their eager faces turning (their eager faces turning)
Here Captain! dear father!  
This arm beneath your head  
It is some dream that on the deck, 
You’ve fallen cold and dead. Dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still  
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will  
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done  
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with this object won
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!  
But I, with mournful tread,  
Walk the deck my Captain lies,  
Fallen cold and dead. Fallen cold and dead.

It’s a Possibility, with Your Heart the Hunter, to find Peace and Happiness

It’s a possibility – John Denver

As you listen to this beautiful song reflect on how you can use your heart, the hunter to fight off hatred and help find peace and happiness in your little world, thereby creating ripples to make this world a better place.

Lyrics

For all of the times that you’ve wondered why
The world turned out this way
And all of the times that you’ve asked yourself
About the games that people play.

About the politics of hunger
And the politics of need,
How the politics of power
Seem to be the politics of greed.

For all of the times that you’ve struggled in an effort
To work your way back up stream,
And all of the times you’ve held on to it,
When most of us had lost the dream.

And for all of the ones who have walked with you,
By your side or way back home,
Maybe much more than any of us
You know that no one is really alone.

Because the heart is still a hunter,
It’s like a beacon in the night.
Though the heart is just a lover,
It’s never afraid to fight.

We are fighting for more than survival,
We are…