If you want Nature to be kind to you, start by being compassionate to her

Be compassionate to Mother Nature. Because she is the reason why we are.   

Yesterday evening, when driving into Chennai, through the blinding rain, it just occurred to me that if Nature has struck back, it is only because we have been inconsiderate, irresponsible and reckless – as individuals and as people. Chennai’s been battered with seasonal rains, of a fury that has been not been seen so far – in at least a 100 years. I belong to this city. I was born and raised for most parts here. I have leave here 20 years on the trot. I have not seen rains like this in my lifetime – in 48 years!
Picture Courtesy: Outlook/Internet

And the reason – individual greed, lousy urban planning, poor civic administration and government’s lack of vision apart – is that we, as a people, are irreverent to Mother Nature. As my friend Sruti Harihara Subramanian posted on Facebook: “Mother Earth is angry. Let us go back to worshiping her and begging for her forgiveness. Let us promise to be tender and kind to her and no more take her for granted.” You can’t but agree with Sruti’s perspective.

Of course, when the rains stop and the floods recede, in a matter of weeks, when the blame game begins only to be drowned in the next big crisis, this episode, albeit historic, of Nature’s fury will also be forgotten. Sadly.
But there’s an opportunity here. Can we make a small beginning by being compassionate towards Nature? Reuse. Recycle. Save water. Save power. Plant a tree on your birthday or wedding anniversary. Send out positive energy through your daily prayers – thank Nature for all that you have been bestowed! Only when more of us do this, consistently, we can hope for Nature’s continued compassion. Only then can we hope to leave a better planet for our children to live in!  

Come Alive. Stay Alive. Be Purposeful!

If you do something that makes you come alive, every single day, your purpose will soon find you. And when it does, Life becomes meaningful!

Preethi Sukumaran and Srinivas Krishnaswamy
Pic Source: Internet
I learned a lot listening to a wonderful young lady, Preethi Sukumaran, co-founder of the “sustainable goodies” venture, Kyra (www.krya.in), yesterday. Preethi and her husband, Srinivas Krishnaswamy, founded Krya in May 2010 with the idea of creating the best plant-based products for helping urban folks, like you and me, make an easy transition to a more sustainable Life. So, the entire  Krya “sustainable goodies” range today, which includes a popular detergent and dish-wash, is made on five principles – it is recyclable or re-useable, it has a minimum ecological footprint, it is made only from natural ingredients, it is entirely vegan and it is easy to adopt and embrace. What drove Preethi and Srini, who had spent the first 15 years of their careers with MNCs, leading popular global brands, to embark on this “creative partnership” called Krya is, as Preethi shared, this: “We wanted to leave the planet a better place.” So, apart from being cruelty-free (very unlike many leading brands in the detergents and personal care space) and staunchly vegan, the Krya team thinks about each product from the sourcing to the manufacture to the disposal stage – incorporating sustainability into every part of its lifecycle. Preethi is, as she confesses, fanatical about this focus. She envisions that Kyra will soon be an institution that champions sustainability and leads by example – living on even after both of them, the founders, are gone!

Running an enterprise with that kind of monomaniacal focus – “where you are clear and principled about what you will never do” – is not easy. For one, scalability is an issue. Second, consumer preferences, which are currently steeped in self-gratification and are not necessarily sustainability-driven, are unlikely to change significantly even in the next 50 years – at least not in the lifetime of pioneers like Preethi and Srini. Third, should sluggish market trends impact profitability in any manner, then sustaining the business venture itself becomes a challenge. But people who come “alive” in every moment that they are living, are ready to face whatever comes in their way! That’s because their purpose has found them. Jim Collins, the management guru, and author of Good to Great and Built to Last, theorized (through research spread over 25 years) that organizations (led by people) with a core purpose – which is the reason why they are in business apart from making money – were far more likely to survive in the long run, despite market upheavals. These are the ones that will go on to become institutions, Collins has postulated.

Similarly, individuals too, who are driven by a sense of purpose – a deeper reason for being – do end up leaving behind a lasting legacy. Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela are classic examples of people who led a Life of meaning, because their purpose had found them. And that’s the other point. Your purpose will always find you if you are open to and are aware of the idea that there’s a larger reason why you have been created. That your Life has a meaning – which goes beyond meeting your selfish desires and your obsession to provide for yourself and your family alone. When you start asking how you can be useful – than be merely successful – then you are, in every sense, purpose-ready. Of course, when you choose to do something that makes you come alive every day, then your purpose will surely find you.

Preethi’s and Srini’s journey, and the Krya story, reminds me of the value that being purposeful creates. It drives you to make each day count even when you are faced with a zillion challenges. It makes you come alive and stay alive! As Howard Thurman, (1899~1981), the African-American author and philosopher has said: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

So, when are you coming alive?