• Piyumi Kapugeekiyana

Once we're dead

Updated: Sep 25, 2019

Every day, I catch a three-wheeler—one of those quintessentially Lankan contraptions—to the co-working space where I try to breathe life into ideas that have been dancing in my head for a while now.

Every day, my route takes me past the Borella cemetery. As I whiz past the tombstones of the dearly departed, it never fails to impress me of that old Goethe quote, "Life belongs to the living..."

The dead are lost in their repose. It is only we—the living—who have the privilege of seizing each day. Soon, it shall be our turn to join them in that slumber.

If that seems patently obvious, let's also consider the rest of what Goethe had to say "...and he who lives must be prepared for change."

Change is an imperative. The old must give way to the new. Yet, if we're honest, none of us are really happy about it. We like the warm solidarity of our comfort zone with its familiar nooks and crannies. We crave the security of a steady paycheck. We prefer the faces of those we're well-acquainted with, the routines we've grown accustomed to, the path we've walked a thousand times, the words we've spoken so often they've now become glib.

Because change is akin to having the wind knocked out of you. It's messy and painful. One step forward, three steps back. That's the way of change. Bounds of faith haunted by gut-wrenching doubt. Minds soaring to the heights of possibility only to have bodies shackled by temporal realities. Change activates that ancient survival instinct in the best of us.

We find ourselves paralyzed by thoughts like: If I do <insert big scary thing>, I will surely <insert worst conceivable outcome>.

Resistance always rises to the fore, at the start of any grand adventure. But, often, it's an indicator of the path you must traverse.

What would it look like if you began to embrace change in your life? To not just wait for it to come knocking at your door but to pursue it with a vengeance. To feel that rush of 'flight or fight' kick in but hold your ground, time and again. You can be certain of this: Once you've crossed the Rubicon, you will find yourself carried away by the joy and momentum that it brings.

Don't wait too long.



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