I am not by nature a destructive person, quite the opposite. However I do believe that there are some things that really need to be destroyed. Like the boxes we build around ourselves and others. Please let me explain.
We are encouraged to ‘think outside the box’ to solve problems, to spur innovation and creativity. But how is that possible if we are still in the boxes we have created?
Best to simply get rid of the boxes.
Any idea we have about ourselves – our abilities and our limitations – is bound to box us in. Corporations and institutions tend to strengthen these boxes with titles, areas of responsibility, and levels of status. As a result, Innovation and creativity is muzzled.
What’s required is the destruction of the self imposed barriers of title, responsibility, status and perceived limitations. But how to do that?
One of my companies – Inward Bound – provides jungle activities designed to bring down the boxes, remove the limitations and turn groups of ‘individuals’ into SuperTeams.
One of our programs, our survival program, forces individuals to work together. Here there are no titles, no thousand dollar suits, just folks working together to accomplish something really difficult. And getting it done. Together.
Although many Inward Bound programs appear to be ‘outward bound’ they are really focused on the inner. Where real change happens. Programs are based on experience, not theory.
Once the boxes are destroyed, creativity and innovation comes naturally. Without any effort at all. The bottom line? It’s all about freedom. Freedom to create, innovate and maximise individual and group potential.
To that end, Inward Bound is ready, willing, and able – and would be delighted – to help your organisation begin the destruction – call 077 352 1448 or email me at email@example.com
Now, back to the jungle.
At Ella Jungle Resort our motto is “Go wild and let your Spirit fly.” But what does that mean? Does it mean that being in nature, in the jungle, is good for the Spirit? Being far away from the hustle and bustle of daily living? Yes.
Just being in the wild, surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, soothes the Spirit. Relaxes the body. Slows things down. Even vigorous activities conducted in nature’s wild environment are refreshing, not exhausting. Well, maybe a little exhausting.
But being in the wild is only the half of it. There’s also an inner wild. That wild is the same wild our jungle creatures experience. There’s not a lot of thinking going on there. Not a lot of ideas bouncing around. There are few desires except the natural instinct to survive. Only being. You may notice they seem to be enjoying themselves, just being.
The trees and the flowers have nothing to say. Nothing to think about. And yet there they are in all their splendour. At Ella Jungle Resort we believe that our own species needs to spend more time in this natural, some say empty or still, state of being. Not being this or that, just being. And being in the arms of mother nature surely helps.
Meditation and yoga can also be helpful. Neither are required but may be necessary, depending on one’s conditioning and background.
Without the constant chatter of the mind, things look different, feel different. More real. We are more aware of perfection in everything but we don’t hang on to the moment, we move on. And the Spirit flies, wild.
No question, it’s the jungle that sets Ella Jungle Resort apart from your typical vacation destination. But it’s also our people that make your jungle adventure a life-changing and, well … fun one.
I’ve been blessed to have so many great professionals join our Wild Holidays family over the years. They, like me, love the Nature and enjoy working with others who share their passion for the outdoors. Blessed indeed.
Example: Just yesterday I met a delightful yoga/meditation teacher for the first time. She had been to Ella Jungle Resort for just a few days and was ‘awestruck’ in her words by the beauty and stillness of the place. “If only I could work at someplace like this” she was thinking .
One of our staff suggested she contact me (at the time I was stuck in that other jungle, Colombo) before she left Sri Lanka (a perfect example of how many of our staff see things I don’t).
We met and had a nice chat. I have a distinct feeling she’s one of us. And so, we’re now discussing her (and her partners) full-time involvement at Ella Jungle Resort … as instructors, among other things.
This is what I mean about being blessed. Good people. like ours, are really, really hard to come by. People who do what they do well because they like what they do.
People who are eager to please and who aren’t forcing a smile, but actually are smiling. Nice. And why not? Life’s good out here in the jungle.
It’s certainly been good to me.
You may have seen this photo of me as you surf our website. My marketing guy took a photo of me in my business suit and photoshop’d in the hat and jacket he stole from an Indiana Jones image. Unbeknown to me.
Now I do not condone this kind of behaviour but I must confess I do look rather dashing in my new adventure outfit. Not that I don’t have my own jungle gear. It’s just that hat, well it certainly has something going for it.
Maybe I should get one. However there is an old saying I must consider. “Never wear a hat that has more character than you do.” Maybe I should wait a few more years then. And get a few more adventures under my belt.
The developer of our fabulous new website suggested I write a blog about my life, goals and aspirations. The more I thought about it the more I got to thinking this was a great idea.
What an opportunity – to put in writing some of the things that are dear to my heart. And to share some of my life experiences. Also perhaps give a more personal look into some of our adventure holiday offerings.
Sure, why not? So here we go. I guess the best place to start is at the beginning. In the jungle, where I was born.
I grew up with the Adivasi people in the Mahiyangana area. My best friend was Wijerathna Banda. We spent a lot of time together, with other friends, in the jungle, whenever possible. We swam with the crocodiles in Lokgala Oya and we caught fish and sold them in the street. My very first business venture.
Although I enlisted in the Sri Lanka army and become an officer in a Commando Regiment, my connection with Mother Nature continued. The jungle provided me food, shelter, protection and a sense of wonder I never grew out of.
After retirement I started a security firm and after an enormous team effort, we became the largest security provider in Sri Lanka.
During this period, my father, Tudor Welikala went missing. Me and my brothers searched for him all over the country. Finally we found him living a contemplative lifestyle on too of a mountain in a hut made out of mud. He was into contemplation and writing. He’s was a great writer and in future blogs I will share some with you.
Although his home was as basic as you can get, he could see a rainbow pretty much every day and had a 360 degree view of the lower valley. Nice.
We wanted to bring him to Colombo, but he would have none of it. So we bought some land and built a chalet for him in Ella. It was a barren land of sixty acres. The chalet overlooked the eastern valley of the Ravana Valley sanctuary.
It was a barren because the seller had cut all the trees down and sold them before we could take possession. I pleaded with him not to do it but when I arrived all the wonderful trees were gone : ( But not for long : )
Dad replanted the trees and turned it into what it is today. Now, Dad felt this place was simply too luxurious and moved into a smaller less luxurious cabin across the road. There he stayed until he left the body.
At this point in his life he was overflowing with wisdom about nature and the spirit but there were few takers. He spent his remaining years teaching English to young villagers free of charge. There are many success stories of local villagers who had a ‘leg up’ being able to speak English so well.
One day some tourists passing the original chalet asked if it could provide them accommodation. This was the turning point of my business life. The light bulb went on. The concept of eco-tourism came to mind.
With the atmosphere created by my father this was a perfect place for such an endeavour. The barren land was gone, replaced with a rainforest. A home to birds, animals, insects, grasses and plants – many with medicinal properties.
Dad used to call this place Vrinda Vanam – a Sanskrit word meaning Heavenly Garden. Indeed that it was, and continues to be to this day.
The eco concept was developed and expanded to include our main Eco Resort at Ankelipawwa. Here the spirits of our ancestors remain. It’s a perfect setting for spiritual tourists who want to re-connect with Mother Nature.
I truly believe my father lived his life between earth and cosmos. Even though he lived like an ordinary man, he was fully connected with his cosmic spirit. For example, he regularly consumed medicinal jungle plants … there 18 different species in the area.
He stayed extraordinarily active in his later life and continued to tear around on his hot trail bike – at the age of 80! Until he fell sick.
There is no question that my endeavours to re-connect people to the nature, were inspired by my Father.