Sunday, October 11, 2009

Where is the Beach ?

On a recent holiday at a Beach resort we were surprised to find that the Sea had come in and claimed the vast stretch of the golden beach. To arrest further erosion the authorities had piled up huge black boulders on what was left of the sandy stretch. Not a pretty sight, worse still there was no way we could wet our legs in the incoming waves or sit back in the sand and admire the sea. Disappointment and anger were the first reactions followed by a feeling of being cheated and a host of questions followed . . . "Why didn't the hotel tell us?" "Had we known we would have cancelled and gone elsewhere" etc.

Fortunately the Hotel did not give us a chance to pose those questions or turn our anger on them! Even before we got to the Beach we had experienced their hospitality as we checked in and the personal attention they showered on us. We did not have a heart to 'fight' with them! Later as sane moments returned, we realised that the hotel had informed us as we checked in that the sea had come in and the beach was not accessible and had told us how to get to another beach little far away. We had not paid attention to that conversation as we were overwhelmed by the hotel nestled in the heart of nature. It was exotic! It looked as though the nature had moved out of the way for the construction of the hotel and then returned to cover up the brick and mortar. The staff were very friendly and did not seem to have the word 'No' in their vocabulary! The view from our cottage perched on the hill top was breathtaking. We could see the sea in all its splendour and the thick blanket of green vegetation running down to the sea was a real feast to our eyes. The room itself was so tastefully done and had every imaginable feature a hotel room can provide.

As we thought more about the missing beach we realised it did not matter, there was so much going for us. With that call taken and the disappointments pushed back, we set out to enjoy a great holiday.

Looking back I was reminded again of the fact that In life there will be disappointments . . . but we should not let those shut out other opportunities for Fun, Laughter, Friendship, Giving and Joy . What a waste it would have been if we sulked about the beach and were blind to the beauty around us and blocked out the people who were dedicated to giving us a memorable holiday. The other lesson was, when you are genuine and go out of your way to delight your customer, even the most demanding customer won't have a heart to take you to task if you are not able meet all their expectations. That applies to our relationship with others too. Be it a colleague, friend or a family member. If you treat them well and add value to them they are bound to overlook whole lot of your shortcomings!

So rejoice with what you have!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Joy List

Couple of weeks ago I started working on my 'Joy' List. The idea was to list out everything that I enjoy doing and see the possibilities of filling my day with those activities, so that I do things that I enjoy and have a great day. The very first surprise of the exercise was the length of the list. I did not have to wrack my brains to come up with the list, in the very first sitting I had listed 10 plus! Over the next two sittings the list grew and touched 30!! I suspect the list may grow with time as I experience new activities and begin to like it. The second surprise was that only 10 of the things in my joy list found space consistently in my Life. The third surprise was that many of the things that I enjoy doing bundled together would earn me a living. So if I planned well the word 'Work' would disappear to a great extent and would be replaced by 'Joy' as I enjoy doing it!

Let me introduce you to my Joy list, I have processed and categorised it into three parts, although they are not stand alone silos.

Category number one is about Relationship - First on the list is Bina the love of my life for 26 years. I enjoy her company and cherish what we have together as a couple. Then comes my two sons and my daughter, we have great time together as a family. Extended family, Friends and entertaining make up the rest of category No. 1.

Category two is centred around me. The list consists of activities that you may consider mundane or boring but I love doing them. Walking, Reading, Writing, Eating, Giving, Sleeping, listening to music, Interior decoration, Experiencing Nature, Having Tea, Weekend movie are some of the things that make up this category.

Category Number three is about those items that I enjoy doing and get paid for. I would not want to think of it as work because I enjoy doing them! Problem Solving, Facilitating learning sessions, Creating Learning Programs, Mentoring, Brainstorming, Public speaking, Planning make up the last Category.

Now that the Joy list is compiled and handy, I turn to it every time I feel life is becoming mechanical to pick up something that I enjoy doing and do it. Our day to day routine is made of many activities which may be mundane or unexciting but if you know your ‘Joy list’ you can make a better day with things that you enjoy doing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Turning Your Disappointments into Appointments of Joy !

Over the weekend I found time to leaf through my 2008 personal Journal and revisit few days of the past year. As I read my account of those days, memories came flooding back and the reflection that followed taught me  few lessons.

One such lesson was about turning our disappointments into appointments of Joy!

Bina and I had started the practice of a date many years ago. The idea was to have quality time in each other’s company, once a week, away from parental responsibilities and professional pressures.  It had worked out well for us and both of us look forward to Friday evenings, when we could be out on our date. The evening is spent window shopping, sitting around in a cafĂ© sipping tea or coffee and finally dinner at our favourite restaurant.

The page that caught my attention was a Friday when I was down with a back problem. The problem had started a couple of days ago and I was on medication. I was hoping that I would be well enough to take Bina out on our date but by Friday afternoon, it was evident that my back was yet to heal.  An extra dose of medicine too did not help. I was disappointed and felt sad thinking of how disappointed Bina would be, when she learned that the date has been cancelled. 

The disappointment and sadness were all set to paralyse my brain and help me wallow in self pity.  I however   managed to break free and think of alternative activities which we could do together at home.  A number of ideas came through but the one that I liked the best was about having our date at home! Soon pieces of the plan came together   and I set to execute it. . . 

As soon as Bina came home I told her that  I had planned a very special date at home.  She was very understanding and said that my health came first and that there were many more Fridays in the pipeline and that she was OK with staying at home. When she went to another part of the house I managed to get off the bed, have a bath and dress up. Next I limbed around and immersed our sitting area in candle light with a dozen or so candles and called out to Bina.  She was surprised to see me dressed, and the room flooded with candles, but lost no time to catch the mood and kick off our date. 

 Friday is the day off for our house keeper, our children too have their own plans and so we had the house to ourselves.  Bina made some tea and we sat sipping tea and chatting. Later as it started raining, we watched the rain and felt the magic it created for us. At some point of time my date excused herself  and called our favourite restaurant and asked them to deliver our dinner home. Even though it was outside their delivery area and it was raining heavily, they obliged!  

 Soon we were having a candle-lit dinner with some great music in the background.  Overall it turned out to be a very memorable date for us!  We enjoyed every bit of it and wished that the night would never end!      

Yes we can turn our disappointments into appointments of  Joy if only we try!  





Thursday, April 30, 2009

I AM Back !

Wow! Time really flies . . . It has been more than a year since I keyed in my last  post.    I did not plan on such a long absence from my blog . . . The truth is I have procrastinated a year plus in getting back here. Why did that happen? I suppose my main reason for procrastination was the excuse that I needed to have some quality time to get my post created.  I realise now that such a time never happens, I need to go the extra mile to create it.   Now that I am back, I am tempted to do a quick re-run in my mind of the 14 months that I was away with the question, ‘Did I really rejoice in those months?"   


Looking back couple of events stand out, first was the passing away of my dad in April 08. I took time to recover from that,  but looking back  I rejoice in the fact that he had lived a full life and has been a role model in many ways  for all of us in his immediate family, among his friends, relatives and in his neighbourhood. His concern about my welfare in terms of whether I was being taken care of by his domestic staff as I camped in his house, and he lay in the hospital bed in pain, is something that I will always cherish as heights of selflessness. 


The next one was more of a process than an event, the long road to achieve my dream of launching my own learning organisation. The preparation was more to do with moving out of IBM, where I worked for 12 years in various Senior positions.  At times it looked like I would never get around to doing all that was needed to hand over my role to my colleagues who were to take over from me. Then in the middle of it, with 90 days to go for my last day, recession made its ugly presence felt and a period of uncertainty followed. Everyone was asking me the same question, “Is it the right time for you to throw up your well paying job and go on your own?". Even my boss asked me to rethink.  


I thanked everyone for their concern and going out of their way to help me and   with faith in my God, I went ahead and launched my dream in Feb 08. I rejoice at the many lessons that I learned through that transition and I can say that 'a peace that passeth all understanding', envelops me as I work on marketing and getting business for my dream venture.


The other ‘Rejoice’ items were my Friday date with Bina, family night on Saturday and Church times on Sundays.     I continue to look forward to the weekends; it is great time with family and friends.  In-between all this there was a great holiday which Bina and I pampered ourselves to, in the heart of nature in Kumarokkom Lake Resort. I loved every minute of it.


Yes I have been rejoicing . . . tough times and hard times will come and go. We have no control over it but we can find reasons, create events and process to rejoice!