When I co-initiated the Wellbeing Movement, I felt nervous I had more questions than answers. When I look back at everything that has unfolded over the past 21 months, I feel grateful I did not have all the answers.

There is a lot that has contributed to this shift in perspective.

We started by holding one question: What would it take to create a movement for wellbeing for all in India?

We listened to people who worked on wellbeing of others and to initiators of movements serving diverse causes — citizenship, environmental conservation, urban mobility, youth leadership, education, restorative law…

While initiating the Wellbeing Movement, we heard again and again from other movement builders — don’t fundraise from institutions; live with what you have; unleash other forms of capital. I was surprised when we received this advice, but my team and I decided to trust their wisdom as we initiated the Wellbeing Movement. After over a year of work, I understand why people asked us to choose differently regarding funding, and I wanted to share my realizations with you.

Had we followed the traditional fundraising approach, we may not have seen the emergence that unfolded before our eyes over the…

These are difficult times. We all need certain perspectives to help us understand and respond to our reality. I chose five that have worked for me.

Instead of writing an elaborate piece, I thought I will attempt something I have never done before — express through a haiku. In simple terms, a haiku is an unrhymed poetic form with seventeen syllables in all. A haiku has five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third and last.

The pictures used are of things I have seen, nurtured or created in these times. …

It is a dystopian time to be in India. The pandemic is raging. People are dying every minute because of shortages of oxygen and essential medicines. Social media and Whatsapp groups are filled with messages of people seeking help for their loved ones, their family, and their friends. There is little good news on any front, except the incredible effort and deep kindness of common people in helping each other find a way through this suffering.

On Maslow’s Hierarchy, many have reached the bottom-most tier — survival that is rooted in psychological and physiological safety. If not crippled by illness…

Spurred by the success of the gratitude practice, we decided to host a practice community on kindness. Our motivation was twofold:

  • Firstly, kindness has many benefits on one's own well-being. It uplifts emotions. It can help decrease pain and reduce stress. It creates a feeling of meaning and self-worth. It even improves physical health in older people.
  • Secondly, the timing seemed right. With a raging pandemic, we often feel helpless and insignificant in the larger scheme of things. If there is one thing we can always do in these times, it is to be kind to ourselves and to others.

I was fortunate 2020 was a lot kinder to me than it was to some others. I did feel the occasional ambiguous loss (click here to read more about ambiguous loss) thanks to the circumstances. I felt it in small things like:

  • The perpetual stress of taking COVID19 precautions — wearing a mask, washing your hands, being mindful of not touching your face, etc
  • The drop in face-to-face interactions with family and friends and my suspicion of strangers who ignored following the norms
  • The absence of travel from my life, which had been one of the ways to reconnect with…

Three years ago, my wife and I were sitting by the beach in Mirissa, Sri Lanka, ready to watch the sunrise. I was ready with my smartphone to click a photograph. Instead of enjoying the stunning view that lay in front of me, I was looking at my phone screen thinking about my next Instagram Post.

One of the sunrises from the trip that I ‘captured’ on Instagram but ‘missed’ in reality.

That was the moment I became mindful of how I was not savouring what was in front of me. I put my phone away. I had a rapid flashback of the many beautiful moments on that holiday I had missed because I was thinking…

There are a few practices that I have found life-changing and gratitude has been one of them. My journey with gratitude started in 2013. I had started teaching a group of children in a community in Shivaji Nagar, Mumbai. I was privileged and gifted in many ways and yet I was unhappy and angry about many things in my life and society. On the other hand, my children, who faced a lot of daily struggle and a dearth of material resources, were often able to see the bright side and be joyful every day. The time with them reframed my…

There is a lot that has unfolded in the last few months. Each of us has faced different levels of uncertainty — whether it is with health, jobs, education, finances, or running our businesses or social programs. Any clarity that we have seems to be short-lived. All of us have had our own struggles in charting our way forward.

While there is plenty of good analysis and opinion available about the pandemic, it has rarely helped me move beyond intellectual understanding. What has helped me the most is participating in safe spaces that allow me to surface my thoughts or…

To protect my own sanity during the lockdown, I have avoided opinion-based, political debates and panel discussions, whether they are on Whatsapp with family, or on news channels on television, or on social media. I make up for the lack of diversity in perspective by reading from multiple reliable sources. What I have been missing is the collective voices of politicians across the spectrum in one space. The Open Field last week offered me the opportunity to explore how our elected leaders are processing the pandemic.

You should not read this article if you want to understand my critique of…

Kapil Dawda

Weaving for Wellbeing and Transformation of Education | Learner | Community Builder and Facilitator

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