My new year’s message last year was ‘I wish you a new year and new decade overflowing with abundance & purposefulness’. Having gone through perhaps the most ‘interesting’ year of our life, I wonder if this wish had an impact or not. I suppose it depends on how we look at 2020. While many of us had challenges in our jobs, businesses, finances, relationships and health, it is important to reflect on and find the hidden gifts.Continue reading “If you want God to laugh, tell her your plans.”
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?
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 May 2017. I got a call from the account manager from the company that manages my Mahogany plantation in the Ratnapura district of Sri Lanka. I have some bad news to share with you. What is it? I ask. One of your Mahogany plantations in Munihinkanda has got affected by the recent landslides. We have not been able to access the plantation yet as the authorities have restricted access to the plantations until they are able to confirm that it is secure. What is the extent of the damage? I ask. About ten acres of the plantation has slid down to the river below and we feel it includes one of your plots too.
As I digested this news my mind went to the time that a rubber plantation of a larger extent belonging to my father was destroyed due to a cyclone about 40 years ago. I remembered my involvement in the process of transporting the fallen trees to help my father recover at least a part of the losses. My mind wonders to the hundreds of lives lost due to this storm and thousands who have lost their livelihood as a result. I have watched with dismay so many natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunami’s, floods, landslides, forest fires and now a pandemic.
The question is, when will we humans learn to stop destroying nature? How many more disasters are needed before we stop damaging Mother Nature so that we can live in harmony with nature.
Image Credits: mdx.ac.uk
In the last 4 blog posts, we explored how the pandemic impacted four important pillars for purposeful living; spiritual, mental, emotional and relational. Let’s explore the fifth pillar, the ‘physical’ related to the health of people in this blog.The health pillar consist of three aspects exercise, nutrition and rest. As in the past four blog posts let me describe my experience during the pandemic.
After I got standard in dhaka, ehe time I spent converting delivery methods of our intellectual services online, engaging with the authorities about arranging passage home, conducting webinars, taking part in webinars organised by others, catching up on the covid updates, writing recommendations, and being in touch with my family took more time and energy than usual.
Let’s explore the ‘rest’ aspect first. While I used to sleep one our two hours before midnight before the pandemic, the new workload resulted in me sleeping after mid night and waking late most days. While I was conscious of how detrimental this was to my health, I was not able improve this. However after returning to Sri Lanka, this changed as my work load on getting back home was eliminated. I slept by 10 pm and was awake at 6 am the entire fortnight while undergoing quarantine at the Blue Waters Beach Resort. This trend continued after returning home for a while, but with the emerging demands the sleep timings became inconsistent. In addition to sleep timings it is important to take at least one free day a week and this was a big improvement area too, until I managed ot find the time to take the family down to a beach resort last weekend and take a proper free day.
The next aspect is exercises. I used to do yoga and meditation in the morning and exercises for at least 30 minutes a day before the pandemic. The length and quality of meditation and yoga varied based on the time I had in the morning before I headed off to work. After the pandemic began, my meditation and yoga sessions were longer and exercise were more intense. I ensured these practices every day even if I woke late when I was in Dhaka. It was easier and of better quality during quarantine and for a few weeks after returning home. However with my sleep patterns becoming inconsistent the quality of my morning meditation and yoga has also got adversely affected.
Nutrition is the aspect where I have been least consistent with, during the time in Dhaka and after returning home. Thankfully the quality and quantity of nutrition during quarantine was very good as we were provided well balanced meals planned by the medical experts.
The sense I make from this exploration is that the challenges of the pandemic has had an adverse effect on my health related practices although I am aware of what is required, have practiced such disciplines regularly in the past and have the intention get back to an ideal routine.
People I speak to lament about challenges in the various aspects. Many could not sleep on time or sleep well due to the information overload and the anxiety as as the lockdowns began in March. Many could not exercise as they were not allowed to leave home. However this should not be an excuses as I exercised indoors most of the days. Its only in the last 2 months that I started taking walks by the lake near my home in Sri Lanka. Some manage nutritious well, specially due to the compulsion of doing home gardening in the first two months with the fear of food shortages etc. This too is fading out and many find that managing the quality of food intake is also becoming challenging.
The quality of health related practices explored in this blog has a direct impact on our immunity, which has a direct impact on our ability to fight the virus. As such it is important for us to be very mindful about this aspect and I intend focusing on it more intensely and intently from now onwards.
I wish you purposeful living.
Life is worth Living – an inspirational song by Justin Bieber
As you listen to the song, reflect on the how you feel when you look at the long road ahead in your life, on who who gave you direction and help when you were confused, and on the mistakes you made and how you responded. Moving on reflect on how would you respond to such situations and how would you help others who are on the journey of life.
Today’s learning video is for anyone who is affected in someway by the crisis
Anxiety Releasing Meditation (17 mts) by Ranjan De Silva
Guided meditation, specially done to help release anxiety related to the Covid Pandemic. Follow it closed eyed or open eyed on a laptop watching the beautiful visuals of life. Do it in quiet place, using ear phones for best effect.
I hope this could be useful in providing online or in-room learning to your team members, family, friends and self during the current down time so that they would be kept positive, motivated and sharp so that all of you would be geared to perform with excellence during the crisis and after.
How to get best value from the video:
Click on the above link for the presentation related to the keynote speech to be given by me at NAFLIA 2019. Conference participants are invited to download the presentation and use it to follow the keynote speech.
This blog is written in service of life-Insurance Advisors in Sri Lanka, specifically the members attending NAFLIA 2019, the National Forum for Life Insurance Advisors scheduled for the 2ndof September. My attempt is to articulate the key messages of the keynote speech that will be delivered by me.
As I was reflecting on the topic for the annual conference, ‘Assuring Tomorrow Dream Today’. The questions that come up are, what is the action we need to take today to assure our dream of tomorrow? How do we know the action we choose to take today will assure our dream tomorrow? I realised this is a very complex question and that there is no standard answer to this as the action to be taken depends of the world each person lives in. What I mean by the ‘world’ is the immediate world of each person starting with him/herself, family, friends, organisations they belong to, organisations and people they interact with etc. The answer is personal.Continue reading “Living our Dream Purposefully – Purpose of Living – Part 30”
We explored the notion of purpose from various viewpoints in the first ten blog posts in this series. We then started making sense of our purpose in the last blog post, the eleventh in the series. I invited you to explore a model of purposefulness that has been developed over the past three years of my doctoral studies. This is still work in progress and will continue to evolve in this year of writing my thesis and beyond. However, I believe it has potential to help us make sense of our purpose because my professional practice over the past 20 years and my doctoral inquiry so far over the past three years has informed me of possible ways of making sense of our purpose.
The model as it stands now, presented in the previous (eleventh) blog post is based on the notion that our sense of purpose, that may evolve with life, is related to making a positive impact on the process of life using the talent, passion and compassion of each living being. I used the metaphor of the sun that provides us energy and inspiration, to explain purpose and the nine planets as the various aspects related to living purposefully. These aspects are related to each other through the space it resides in and I have a hunch that the space is the real thing. Continue reading “Purpose of Living – Part 12: Making Sense of our purpose – the space”
We explored the notion of purpose from the viewpoints of Abrahamic Religions, Eastern Philosophies, Early Sciences, Modern Sciences, Philosophy, Psychology, Ecology and Action Logics (pre-conventional) viewpoints in the past blog posts in this series. Let’s now have a look at this notion from an ‘Action Logics (post-conventional)’ viewpoint.
I started the previous blog post with an attempt to understand the notion of ‘Action Logics’, which tries to explain the ‘logic’ behind the ‘action’ we take. Most unspontaneous actions are based on decisions, which are rational, and therefore they could be based on an intention, reason or purpose. The four pre-conventional action logics; opportunist, diplomat, expert and achiever, explored in the last blog post was based on the degree of mutuality and expertise.
Let’s attempt to explore post-conventional action logics in this blog post based on the proposition by Greuter Cooke (2002). According to a research study in the USA of about 4300 adults, it was found that 18.2% belong to the post-conventional group. While it is difficult to define post-conventional, to me it seems like those who are more mature, wiser, selfless, seeking happiness through harmony, simplicity, generosity and spirituality, would fall into this group. Continue reading “Purpose of Living – Part 10: The Action Logics (Post – Conventional) Viewpoint”