View from Hantane


By Malinda Seneviratne

Looking down from Hantane

night and Kandy

full of candles in silence

and the time carved mood rode

on across our skies

no pity for the collective dead

and scattered flesh on the roadside.

But our hands have been too full

of blood and entrails

to permit mourning.

No time for sadness,

we have no time for love.

Only anger,

Riding along our veins,

Aching blood

of having been born

in the sixties and early seventies.

We have had to watch the slow ceremony

of charred bodies flowing down history,

marking time.

But there were eyes that once gazed on Hantane,

eyes that saw beauty and brutality;

shining eyes that had captured

the sparks of revolt,

hearts that crept into her shades

and were swept by her breeze

youth that did know love

and injustice

and mothers and others who loved

these children.

Hantane, September 1989

From the collection ‘Epistles: 1984-1996’


BACKGROUND: Where is Hantane?

Hatane hills are in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Check out this video to savour its splendour

The Forest of Anykščiai

Photo by zhang kaiyv from Pexels

By Antanas Baranauskas
Translated from the Lithuanian by Peter Tempest

How fine are forest sounds, not only scents!
The forest hums, resounds with eloquence,
While midnight brings a silence that is so
Profound you hear each leaf and flower grow,
Hear tree to tree in gentle whispers call,
Each star through heaven move, each dewdrop fall.
The heart is hushed, such peace reigns everywhere
The soul soars heavenward in quiet prayer.
But when the new day dawns with gleaming brow
And blades of grass, dew-laden, earthward bow
The forest wakens, night-time silence flees
And day again resumes ts melodies.
That rustle? It’s a leaf the breeze has stirred
Or, stirring in its nest, a waking bird.
That crackling? It’s a homebound wolf who, loath
To hunt by day, breaks through the undergrowth.
A captured duck the fox bears to his lair,
A badger scurries from his burrow there,
A roe bounds past, a squirrel neatly takes
A flying leap onto a bough that shakes,
A stoat or marten rummages about…
The forest creatures are all up and out.
Who taps? A woodpecker up in a tree.
Who splutters there? An angry snipe, you see.
Who whispers? It’s an adder you hear hiss
Or it’s the river laps her banks in bliss.
Who’s talking? By the water gabbling geese.
A stork its long beak snapping without cease.
On marshes ducks are landing one by one.
The whooping hoopoe asks his wife and son:
“What-what-what-what to bring you? Speak in turn!
What-what? A grain of wheat? A fly? A worm?”
The cuckoo glancing round cuckoos for us
And laughs and chuckles, weeps and makes a fuss.
The forest rings. The oriole teases Eve:
“Eve, Eve, believe me! You this field must leave!”
The snipe call by the stream. Then in a throng
Of voices birds galore burst into song.
More calls and melodies from more throats gush:
The chiff-chaff, tomtit, siskin and the thrush,
The magpie, jay–each adding its own tune,
They laugh, lament and some play the buffoon.
The nightingale calls louder than the rest
In song full-throated, varied, full of zest,
Forever changing, ever reaching to
The heart as Lithuanian folk songs do.
Each rustling, stirring leaf too joins the surge
Of sound in which these varied voices merge
T sing a most melodious roundelay
In perfect harmony, no note astray.
The ear through not distinguishing each voice
Delights, as in far fields our eyes rejoice
When flowers in profusion intertwine
To make a single carpet woven fine.


Source: The Amber Lyre, 18th-20th Century Lithuanian Poetry

Photo by zhang kaiyv from Pexels





What Are Learning Disabilities?


In earlier articles we have discussed learning and how our brains and learning methods affect the learning process. Today let us talk about learning disabilities.

The first person that comes to my mind when thinking of learning disabilities is Richard Branson of Virgin Group, with over 400 companies.

“I left school when I was 16 years old,” says Branson, “partly because of my dyslexia. I couldn’t always follow what was going on, so I didn’t find the lessons interesting and became distracted. My teachers thought I was just lazy because back then; people didn’t understand as much about dyslexia as they do today.”

Although things are different today, the average person, including most teachers around the world, are unaware of learning disabilities, what they are, the early signs, how they come into being and whether they can be cured. But the good news is that there are people like Richard Branson who have proven learning disabilities do not doom you to a life of insignificance and inactivity. “On one of my last days at school, the headmaster told me that I would either end up in prison or become a millionaire,” says Branson. It was quite a prediction and he values the recognition that the master could see that he “seemed to think in a different way from my classmates, and had from an early age.”

In reading more about learning disabilities I also came across this comment from a young American, HB, who had been placed in the class with learning disabilities from the time he/she was six (in 1996) and kept in that class for much of elementary school. Today HB is still wondering in what capacity he/she has a learning disability.

“I have no problem with any form of learning today,” says HB. “I’m 23 and about two years from completing my Ph.D. in a field that requires me to traverse math, science, and the humanities, write extensively, and engage with people on a daily basis. Not to sound like a jerk, but if anything, everyone in the program seems to be having trouble but me. I find myself tutoring the students who were likely placed in the “gifted” programs in elementary school.”

Both these cases should offer hope for parents with kids who have learning disabilities. And it should inspire people who struggle with their learning disabilities.

What are learning disabilities?

Learning disabilities (LD), which are also called learning differences or learning disorders affect how we capture and process information. According to Dr. Sheldon H. Horowitz at the National Centre for Learning Disabilities in the US, LD is an umbrella term.

LDs can be defined as disorders of basic psychological processes that involve understanding and using language. These are disorders that affect our ability to receive, process, recall or communicate information.

Within the specific LD umbrella, fall a number of disorders.

Specific learning disabilities


Dyslexia, commonly known as a LD affecting reading is not just confined to reading words. It also includes issues with understanding what you read as well as the speed and accuracy in doing so.


Dysgraphia is the term for specific learning disorders involving writing. Dysgraphia could affect a number of aspects involving writing, and mean different things to different people at different stages of learning and in life. It is not just about how a person writes or holds a pen, but also about how they plan, organize and edit their writing. Dysgraphia includes anything falling within the domain of expressive written language.


LD involving spelling can affect both reading and writing in a significant way.


Dyscalculia or LD in math involves not just the ability to count, but also the way a person operates in the numbers domain including the fluidity and flexibility they show with figures, in estimating, measurement, money or in understanding rules and patterns that have to do with numbers.

Learning disabilities involve our senses

LDs are impacted by the ways we process information that we receive from our senses, says Dr Horowitz. “The way we listen, the way we view things and the way we organize information that comes in through our senses, through our ears, through our eyes, touch and any number of sensory processes.”

Auditory or visual processing

Some children, and indeed adults, may have very strong preferences about how they receive information. If they have challenges in the auditory processing area, they’d have trouble if the teacher comes to the front of the classroom and merely speaks or dictates notes without writing anything on the board or showing any pictures and other demonstrations. Those with visual processing on the other hand would prefer this method of instruction, as they’d be unable to fully and clearly process the information if the teacher silently writes on the board or tells them to copy something from a notebook.

The effective learning for each group depends on how effectively the information they must learn is presented, in accordance with their learning preferences. Not only will they have problems with understanding, but also in retrieving the information they heard or saw, in remembering that info and in processing it so some use can be made of that info.

And this is true not just for those with LDs, but for everyone.

Sensory and motor integration

This means how well we are able to coordinate what we do with what we sense and vice versa. Manual dexterity, fine motor control, eye-hand coordination are all affected when there are problems with sensory and motor integration.

There is a lot of research going on into how and whether learning handwriting, like many of today’s adults did affects our brains, including our capacity for sensory motor integration.

Social and emotional functioning

“Students with LDs are not necessarily those kinds of kids who have problems in the social domain”, says Dr Horowitz. But because so many of them often miscue language, mean something and say something else, or fail to find the right words, they could often be misunderstood or even ridiculed. They may also fail to pick up on non verbal cues when interacting with peers. They may not always know what is appropriate or inappropriate in a situation.

With maturity and practice kids with LDs can overcome these challenges. But educators have a key role to play in helping these kids develop self confidence. For example, if a teacher is going to ask a kid with learning disability in reading to get up and read in front of the class, that child is going to be fearful of this possibility. This affects both confidence and ability to learn in that classroom. By being sensitive to such issues, teachers can help children do well, and overcome the many challenges they face.

Children may have issues with transitions and changing class rooms and teachers.

What LDs are not

LDs are not a result of poor vision or poor hearing. People with LDs should not be confused with those who have Autism spectrum disorders. They are also not the same as those with intellectual disabilities, or mental retardation, as both the examples I cited above prove so clearly.

LDs should not also be confused with emotional disturbances, emotional or mental health issues.

Learning disabilities do not stem from cultural, economical or social disadvantages or your family background.

Nilooka Dissanayake is a Chartered Management Accountant by profession with an MBA from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. She is a freelance trainer with nearly two decades of experience. Her current focus is on providing attitudes, knowledge and skills needed to achieve personal, professional and business success. She is also a ghostwriter and is currently writing a book about success and related topics for a client in the US.

Nilooka can be contacted at | Twitter: @NVEDissanayake | Blogs: http://nilookadissanayake.wordpress.com

This article was first published in The Nation on Sunday 31 August 2014.

Walking to the hospital

Photo by Felipe Cespedes from Pexels
From: Three Poems for My Husband

How the autumn dawn burned through
the misty broods and settled down in fire;
how quickly the sun glittered my shadow,
how my shadow cried, a moment, with joy.
A light frost, a vision of light crackling
down the maples, down the tinder ash.
I was the good thief. I held my Love’s
sweet breath, his beautiful, intelligent gaze.
I closed my eyes and he woke inside me.
When I saw, he saw the inflamed world.
A bird sang deeply from the gutter eaves.
When I closed my eyes I was elsewhere.
I walked through the fire of his sleep.
Source: Poetry (September 2015)
Photo by Felipe Cespedes from Pexels

“Hope” is the thing with feathers…

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

The Blueprint of Success Formula

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GUEST WRITER: Shantanu Das Sharma, author of Awaken The Incredible Within – Incredible is the New Giant, an Amazon #1 bestseller

Success is a lousy teacher.
It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.
– Bill Gates

Okay, now that we get to understand that we all have the identical bio-hardware, the identical mental resources and it’s just a choice of our installing the appropriate programs, let us begin by treading in the footsteps of the winners, the people who produce extraordinary results… the people who have learned to direct their resources in an optimal way. If we can just model the patterns of excellence they exhibit, then certainly we can reproduce the same outstanding results they have!

Is it that simple?

Is there a formula for success?

Well, a question that I have always asked myself is this: Is there a formula for success? Do all successful individuals follow a pattern that enable them to get what they want? After studying sufficient number of role models from books, interviews and seminars, I got convinced that although many successful individuals, in all fields of their endeavours, appear to make very different decisions given similar situations and they also use very different approaches and strategies, yet all of them have something in common. And it is just this. All of them take a series of distinctive steps to get to what they want. I call these series of steps the Blueprint of Success Formula.

Moreover, it does not really matter if you want to be a whiz inventor, successful marketer or a salesperson, inspiring trainer, pioneering entrepreneur, top-notch doctor or journalist. The universal steps remain identical. And from it emerges a pattern which necessarily involves six major steps. Follow this pattern or success formula, and you will be able to achieve anything you want. Miss any of these steps, and your dreams will never become the reality that you deserve.

Step 1. Be Very Specific About Your Goal


The first step to getting what you desire is to know exactly what it is that you want.

This sounds simple and obvious enough. Yet, unfortunately, most people never seem to get what they want, simply because they are not clear with specificity about what it is they want in the first place! Most people say that they want to be successful in life, yet ask them what they want to achieve specifically and most would say, ‘I am not really sure’ or they will give vague answers such as, ‘I want to be happy’, ‘I want to have more money’, ‘I want a better job’, ’I want to have less worries‘- all of which are generic in nature and hence in reality nonspecific.

Well, know this. Unless you have a specific goal, there is nothing tangible you can focus your time and energy on. This is why most people find themselves going in all other directions, ending up nowhere.

Unless you have a specific target, you cannot develop an effective strategy to get there. The strategy required to make Rs. 200,000 is uniquely different from the strategy needed to make Rs. 20 Crores in all obvious terms.

The moment you can clarify your goals, you can see them in your mind’s-eye (it’s called creative visualization) and you will begin to have focus in your life. It will then become crystal clear to you what it is you must do to get there.

Biographies of the most successful and legendary people, again in all pursuits, show time and again that their outstanding achievements are rarely outcomes of accident or chance. They did not have success thrust onto them. Their phenomenal successes are the results of clearly defined outcomes that they had predetermined, and worked towards unwaveringly, often at a very early stage of their life.

Biographies of the most successful and legendary people in all pursuits, show that their outstanding achievements are rarely outcomes of accident or chance.

Their phenomenal successes are the results of clearly defined outcomes that they had predetermined, and worked towards unwaveringly, often at a very early stage of their life.

Rarely few successful experiences happen by chance… whether it is winning a position or a race. Most of all happen by design. Yet, the unfortunate fact is that most people do not have a plan for their lives, and hence they end up falling into somebody else’s plan. It’s only when we know what we want very specifically that we are able to focus all our talents and energy like a laser beam honing in on its target. And in moving unwaveringly towards it, we develop the resources necessary to make it happen. Wherever you are in your life right now, you must begin to set specific goals (instead of generic goals) on what you want to actually achieve in the different areas of your life. In subsequent articles we will focus on how you can design the ultimate destiny for yourself!

Step 2. Develop a Strategy

Everything is possible. It is only a question of the strategy used.

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Goal >>> Strategy

The second step in the Blueprint of Success Formula is to develop a strategy that will move you towards your outcome. Again, the more specific your goal is, the easier it is to develop an appropriate strategy. You can have all the drive and energy, but without the right strategy, you will never get what you want.

By the same token, every outcome is possible, given an effective strategy.

For example, imagine yourself as the small business owner of a fruit shop that makes Rs. 10,000 in profits a month. Let’s say that you decided to set a goal of increasing profits to Rs. 15,000 a month.

Would that be possible? Probably. You could work a lot harder, raise prices, increase trading hours, sell on-line or create a loyalty program.

What if you set a goal of making Rs. 3 crores a month from your fruit business? Would it be achievable?

Most people would say, ‘Of course not, there is no way you can make that kind of money from a fruit business like that!’

True enough. Making Rs. 3 crores a month from that fruit business is impossible, if the owner continues to use the same business strategy. Yet, if he were to completely change the way he now does his small localized fruit business, would it be possible?

For instance, the strategy he could use would start by his studying how to greatly expand his market: he would write a dynamic business plan, raise capital through investments, invest in R & D to develop a superior brand of fruit (for example, Organic Certified food products are seeing phenomenal growth everywhere as people become health conscious) and widen his range of fruit (e.g. offer sun dried fruit without sulphur, candied fruit using organic sugar, pureed fruit rolls for kids), support reliable new suppliers, build a franchise system and then license thousands of business owners around the world to sell his fruit.

Would it then be possible for him to earn Rs.3 crores a month? Of course it would! With enough flexibility in our strategy, we can achieve just about anything. You still wonder how a local fruit shop can possibly expand and go global. Impossible?

Step 3. Take Consistent Action


Goal >>> Strategy >>> Action

The third step is to get yourself to take consistent action, using the strategy you have crafted. This will move you, step by step, towards your goal. Consistent action is what separates the thinkers or dreamers from the doers. Many highly educated people know what to do, they think they know how to do it, but they never do anything about it.

That is why many of them end up as professionals and consultants, working for successful entrepreneurs who had mediocre grades in school. Fine, if that’s what they want in life, there is nothing wrong as long as they are fulfilled.

But if you are not satisfied with your status quo, then DO something about it.

Do you know someone who may be less talented and intelligent than you are but is a lot more successful?

Have you ever asked yourself, ‘I know I am better than they are, but why are they so much more successful?’

Well, you may be smarter, but they take a lot more action and that is why they get a lot more results! And one of the actions they take may well mean their learning rapport/social building skills and teamwork skills, all necessary tools for any kind of success.

The third step is to get yourself to take consistent action, using the strategy you have crafted.
This will move you, step by step, towards your goal.

So why do so many intelligent people fail to take consistent action towards their goals?

Well, first understand that what drives our actions are the emotional states that we experience. Emotions like fear, inertia, anxiety and uncertainty paralyze us from taking action.

On the other hand emotions like enthusiasm, motivation and confidence excite us and get us to make things happen. The ability to direct and manage your states for peak performance is what is called Personal Mastery.

Author’s Note

I facilitate Thought Leaders, Change Makers; Professionals & Business Owners translate NLP concepts into actions to achieve and elicit personal excellence. I conduct NLP Lifestyle Coaching Certification programs for individuals, corporate and celebrity clients. In the next article, I will reveal about ‘Neuro-Connections – The Key to Human Behavioural Patterns & Thoughts’ and after that you will come to know in the following articles, how you can utilise concepts of NLP+ in all walks of your life to replicate the success blueprint of a winner mindset. So, stay tuned every week to this series and fasten your seat belt to ‘Enhance Your Lifestyle With NLP+’

About the Author

Shantanu Das Sharma is the creator of the concept NLP Lifestyle Coaching with NLP+, founder of Neuromind Leadership Academy, India and author of an Amazon #1 Best Seller, NLP Lifestyle Master Trainer & Coach, Clean Language Facilitator & Strategic Interventionist. He is a Senior Associate Editor, ICN Group.

This article was initially published by the ICN Group under the Patterns of Excellence in Lifestyle, Enhance your Lifestyle with NLP+: Part 3

Previous Articles in This Series

You Got Every Resource You May Ever Require To Succeed In This Lifetime

Neuro Connections Are the Key to Boosting Your Brain Power – Here’s What You Can Do Today

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Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric from Pexels

Types of Disbelief

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This is a short note I received from Jayadeva De Silva.

Everyone, without exception, has found some things to not believe in.
Things that are demonstrably true that we just don’t want to accept.

A bit like a fingerprint, each person’s pattern of disbelief is probably unique.
You might believe that water is made of atoms, but that the moon is made of cheese.
It’s hard to predict.

But the interesting question is:
What has to happen for you to change your mind?

What standard of proof, from what source, is sufficient for us to accept that something we’re sure wasn’t true, is true?

That’s a great place to begin.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

What is this life if, full of care…


Leisure by W H Davies

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Cow for What is this life

And of course, this reminded me of Ferdinand the Bull.
Check the short version here.