Notes From A Second Life | December 2013

Dear Friend,

[These Second Life updates are what I send friends – some from my first life that lasted 18 years in the corporate world, some
from my second life when I decided 
to quit my job, come back to India and work with children on the values and skills that will prepare them to be leaders with a difference. To read my first Newslet for context and later ones click]

Greetings !

First off, wishes to you and your family for the season. Hope you had a very blessed Christmas and wishes for a joy-filled New Year.

The end of year is a great time to look back on the lessons learned from the year past. Let me just share one.‘Being’ vs ‘Doing’. January
this year saw the whole family of the 18 of us get together. We had spent Christmas and New Year together and it was a reminder of the
wonderful gift of family. We did quite a lot on that holiday but some of my most precious moments, were when we were just hanging out
with each other-doing nothing.

The big lesson for me was the advantages of sometimes just ‘being’ and ‘doing nothing’. Most of us spend pretty busy lives. We feel guilty
when we actually find that we are forced to spend some idle time, or when we are not in pursuit of something useful. Even on holiday we
aren’t too pleased if we’re not actually ‘doing something’. We often define ourselves by what we do, rarely by who we are. And so ‘doing’
often becomes a treadmill we can’t get off. But the insight for me was that sometimes ‘just being’ is much more meaningful and often more
difficult than our constant ‘doing’.

One practice I have been following for close to 5 years now is of SSS –
Silence, Stillness and Solitude. We believe in it so much we teach it to all the children and young adults in our leadership programmes. Twenty to thirty minutes of silence and stillness time by myself every morning and every evening. With the occasional failures I’ve been fairly regular with it. It is terribly difficult because at first it seems such a waste of precious time. As those who know me will testify, keeping silent can be quite a challenge for me :-). But as I have kept at it, I cannot recommend it highly enough. In that brief time of doing nothing, I feel that I am quietly charged with the power and energy to go through a busy day. To do everything in that busy day with the perspective that I do not need to ‘do something’ to ‘become anything’- I already am.

I found a great example of this in one of the young leaders we work with in our HeadStart programmes. At each of our sessions we come away inspired by the openness and enthusiasm for leadership that these children and young adults display. Don’t we all worry about how today’s children are hyper-sensitive to criticism and can’t take failure. Don’t we struggle with it ourselves? Read this blog post from Samyu on our portal – She’s a School Pupil Leader and National winner of the Teen of the Year award and she had to face up to a moment of public criticism. I was blown away by the maturity and courage with which she handled the criticism and grew from it. A great example of “I am” winning out over “I do”

May there be more like her, and may we learn from her example!

One more year has gone by and each of us may feel a year older- but as Bill Clinton put it “We only grow old when our memories are stronger than our dreams”. So as we end 2013, let me wish for you fond memories from the year gone by but much stronger and meaningful dreams for the year ahead.Here’s to staying young by daring to dream and living those dreams!

Warm Regards,

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