A Slow Story -- Boiling Water To Flowing Water

Posted by Ragunath Padmanabhan on Mar 14, 2017
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From high school until I finished college and left home, my mom had a nickname for me in our language, Tamil: Suduthanni (Boiling Water). I was ambitious, impatient and type A++. I used to finish my homework at school between classes so that I don't have to go home from school and take care of all the really important things along the way. I always wanted everything NOW or sometimes, Yesterday. Growing up in the really hot south India, during the scorching summer vacations, I used to roam around all day under the sun going from one activity to 'nother. If I had had a solar panel for a hat, I could have supplied power to my entire neighborhood (my mom: the whole summer is on your head, Ragu!).

Pacing through a terribly successful career in which I did not last more than 2 years in any company I worked for (if the company won't fast track, then find the next one that will!), I ended up in Silicon Valley and had to do a startup. Everyone was fast in this place, and ten times more ambitious than I was. About to sign up to get funded for a "patent pending enterprise software that did device agnostic customer acquisition and order completion", I hit a wall. No matter how much I tried talking to successful entrepreneurs and investors, I could not find the connection between money and the making of a Sweet Spot where Life, Style and Happiness came together. Many so-called Angel Investors and Adventurous Entrepreneurs privately confessed to being rats with wings.

It is then I met a real Angel (disguised as an Indian techie) and discovered Charity Focus. My exit from the startup did not require a strategy (though it took six months of painful, slow soul searching). My startup failed in my heart before it could fail in the market. Ever since, my net worth has increase multifold. Every day, I get to do an IPO (Inspired Personal Offering) through the many service opportunities in the Service Space ecosystem. And the number of my shareholders keeps increasing every year. Both the P and the L keep on increasing in my awesome P&L Statements (Peace & Love Statements :).

Gradually Nisha and I got engulfed into the different branch offices of Service Space: Wednesdays, Smile Card Factory (proud to be one of the first assembly line workers!), building websites, local events like Hear the Homeless and Cloths Drive, Nights of Inspiration and a lot of ad hoc engagements filling the month. Each one of these activities had no visible end goal, required slowing down, required a shift from Me to We, required living as if You Play the Piano. Service Space removed a couple of gears from our vehicle and put a lot of speed bumps on our road. Some of those bumps were actually hills with winding roads through beautiful vistas. These engagements had its influence at home: we opened it for a weekly yoga class; for East Point - a weekend institute to figure out how to make Life Shifts, and for a garage based store called Green Local where we gifted visitors with green products.

The last one, Green Local, eventually became the name of our farm in a village in south India that we shifted to from the US - a shift made possible by observing and listening to countless be-the-change folks in the Service Space ecosystem. With the farm as the base, last eight years we have been indulging in a range of connected practices: natural farming, natural healing, farm-schooling our son, gift ecology based consulting for aligned people in the areas of health, green buildings, native energy, sports, local social enterprises...

From Boiling Water, I have become Flowing Water. My mom hasn't changed my nickname though :)

That's my/our slow story that has unfolded over the last 13 years and is still flowing.

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Comments (9)

  • Shari Swanson wrote ...

    Beautiful!

  • Joserra Gonzales wrote ...

    I am a lucky one! I am in Green Local right now with this wonderful family! I feel very green, very local and very embraced! Thank you Raghu for sharing! You are an amazing Ladder!

  • Pancho Ramos Stierle wrote ...

    As our beloved sister Preeta would say: "brother Ragu, you were Nipuned, too!!!" 😉❣

    I heard of the fast of little giant brother Aum and love to hear more about the details. Is there a place where we can read about it?

    Big astronomical hugs from the other side of the Planet! 🌎
    panchito

  • Yoo-Mi Lee wrote ...

    Beautiful, Ragu! But how do you say "flowing water" in Tamil? :)

  • Nisha Srinivasan wrote ...

    Oh, Flowing Water in Tamil would be "Odara-thanni" :)

  • Jaideep Rao wrote ...

    thank you so much Ragu :) Such a beautiful share :)

  • Sheetal Sanghvi wrote ...

    Beautiful "flow" to this slow story.

  • Bradley Stoll wrote ...

    Beautiful share, Ragu! Thank you<3. And I love what you're grateful for...

  • Shalini wrote ...

    Dear Ragu, Thank you for sharing your story! The flowing stream of your life has been a life source for so many and was one of the greatest transformative experience of my life. Wishing Nisha, Aum and you all good things. :)