Relate (and be grateful)

When I was sixteen, I lived in a small town called Palghat, in the southern Indian state of Kerala. I was happily living my middle class life with nothing much to worry about when I became involved with the Rotaract Youth Club. As a community service volunteer I got to connect and relate to young boys in an orphanage. Many of them had no memory of their parents and spent their school holidays at the orphanage since there was no home to go to. I not only had a home, I had parents and siblings who loved me. For the first time, I realised how fortunate I was and how much I had taken my life for granted. I started to say “thank you” for all that I had in my life.

Over the years, as a social work professional, I got to connect and relate to people from all walks of life…each person had a story to tell. In 2014, I was in Victoria, BC. I was waiting for my bus and I noticed a woman beside me. She looked tired. I started a conversation. She shared that her ex-husband was terminally ill and did not have the resources to have someone to help him out. So, she decided to go over and help him few days a week. She said this was her way of making peace with the past and saying thank you.

Every year, in December, I get a bit pensive and reflect on the calendar year coming to an end. I end up feeling immensely grateful, especially for all those people I have a connection to. I am glad that’s how I feel. Apart from being good for the soul, gratitude has now been proven to be good for your health too.

This festive season, ask for the gift of being able to relate to others and the universe.

What Makes a Good Life?

In the last few months since returning to Vancouver from overseas, I have realised how fast and furiously our world is changing. There’s disruption in every sphere of our lives and the future of work is at a crossroads. In the midst of all of all of this – people continue to ponder on the pursuit of happiness which seems more elusive than ever.

Dr. Waldinger’s  TED talk, titled “What Makes a Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness,” in 2015,  has been viewed more than 13,000,000 times and is worth watching.  It’s good to be reminded that what matters most is meaningful relationships and connections to communities.