SRI LANKA: Monsoon season arrives with Facebook Safety Checks

SRI LANKA: Monsoon season arrives with Facebook Safety Checks

Monsoon season is on the brink.

To make things interesting there was a Tropical Depression that started in Sri Lanka and made its way to India, flooding everything in it’s path. It turns out that “Flooding in Sri Lanka” made it to the Facebook Safety Check system and I promptly marked my family as “safe”.

There have unfortunately been a lot of displaced families and ruined homes. Landslides and too much water put Sri Lanka on the news. If you would like to donate to the flood victims please visit the site for YAMU that offers plenty of options for helping from abroad. Our family is in a safe area.

The two days of intense rain that cause the flooding got me thinking of how I always remember an occurrence of strong rain about every place I have lived in.

There are few things I like more than being inside at night with all the lights off and a thunderstorm raging. The way the lightning shines on everything for just a second; it’s like a dangerous magic sparkle.

The first time I ever saw real heavy rain was in Miami when I was 9 years old. I couldn’t believe that so much water could fall from the sky at once. In Lima, our rain was more like spittle in the air, making everything damp instead of washing away grime. The trees got moist but never really clean so the leaves stayed dirty from the soot that never washed away.

The rain in Miami was ruthless, it soaked you in seconds if you got caught outside, parks and streets flooded, the sky would explode in light and the wind would whistle between the houses. When I was 12 we experienced Hurricane Andrew and even if it was a bit scary, I fell in love with heavy rain. Since then, every place I have traveled to or lived in has been marked by episodes of rain.

When my oldest daughter was little, we lived in Cusco, a city in the Andes where rains are quite special. Rainbows are an every day occurrence and sun showers always took our breath away. Once in a while it would hail and the streets would get covered in little rivulets of ice pellets. I loved those days; the sound of hail hitting the roof was so loud we couldn’t hear each other talk.

When I left Cusco, the thing I missed the most was the beautiful cotton like clouds that formed against the crisp blue sky. I didn’t see those again until we arrived in Bangkok. What a sight, giant billowy formations over skyscrapers intertwined with wispy fingers over a deep blue sky that would suddenly turn grey and break loose like a thousand waterfalls. Rain so powerful that you couldn’t see the buildings across the street.

My kids have never been afraid of thunder and lightning, they get excited when they hear the rumbling getting closer and closer as a storm moves in. We watch from the window trying to guess where the next flash of lightning will strike.

Just another afternoon in Sri Lanka

A video posted by Crazy Little Family Adventure (@oranavelarde) on

I read a book once about a hippy commune in Goa, India. I clearly recall that the foreigners would disappear every year during the monsoon season. What a magical word, “monsoon”.

I didn’t realize the magnitude of a monsoon until we arrived in Phuket. The floods were maddening, the wind overpowering, the rains could last for days on end with no breaks or openings in the sky. Those were long, needless to say, wet days.

In the book Goa Freaks, the people that leave for the monsoon are the foreigners; obviously the locals stay. I am living this firsthand in Sri Lanka and the thing that surprises me the most is how people just go on with their lives, wading through the flood. The women in soaked saris going to work or getting things done without a care in the world. The strong rains are so common that it does not stop people from living. Life is just a little wet here on the shores of the Bengal Sea.

Is there a weather phenomenon that has stayed with you through time? Are your children scared of thunderstorms?

If you would like to donate to the Sri Lanka Flood Relief, please visit YAMU, there are plenty of online “from abroad” options if you are not in Sri Lanka

This is an original World Moms Blog post by Orana Velarde, Peruvian mother in Sri Lanka

Orana Velarde

Orana is a Writer, Artist, Mother and Wife; Peruvian Expat currently living in Kyiv, Ukraine with her husband and children. She works as a writer, designer and social media manager for diverse organizations around the world.

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Women and Spirituality: An Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Denley of #Heartfulness (Part – 1)

Women and Spirituality: An Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Denley of #Heartfulness (Part – 1)

“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Blog contributor, or reader, or  fan, please contact us ( for a free pass.”

This is part – 1 of the interview. Part – 2 of the interview with more insights is published here.

Dr. Elizebeth Denley, Trainer, Heartfulness Institute

Dr. Elizebeth Denley, Trainer, Heartfulness Institute

Dr. Elizabeth Denley, a trainer and practitioner of Heartfulness Meditation (HFN) calls herself, “a student of the heart.” For the last twenty-six years she has been practising a heart-based meditation and facilitating and teaching others in that practice. She spends most of her time in Sydney Australia and Chennai India (my hometown!), and has two adult children.

Her undergraduate degree and PhD are in the field of ecology, and she has always had a deep interest in the relationship between science and spirituality, the human mind and vibratory heart, and the nature of the universe. She is also a musician and a writer, and has been active in values education and training for the last twenty years. She also heads the “History and Archives” department of the Heartfulness Institute as the Director.

Our Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India recently interviewed Dr. Denley for World Moms Blog.

Purnima Ramakrishnan: We want to get to know you! Tell us a little bit more about yourself as a mother, as a professional, as a meditator.
Elizabeth Denley: I am 60 now. I have lived a very eventful life. I was born in Australia, South of Sydeney. I have always been interested in learning, exploring, and studied music and dance as a child.

My parents encouraged me to explore life. They were not religious which helped me explore most of the spiritual traditions with an open heart and mind.

After high school, I joined medical school, but did not like it much, so I moved to biology studies and studied Ecology. I couldn’t cope up with the emotional life at Stanford University, which drove me to the quest towards spirituality.

After my post doctoral studies in the US, I moved back to Australia, and got married. My husband worked for the United Nations, with the Doctors Sans Borders, so we traveled a lot. My daughter was born in Paris. and when we were in Geneva, I discovered Heartfulness meditation in 1990. A week later, I met the then spiritual guide Chariji, and that was a turning point in my life — when I discovered my purpose of life. All the research work done on mind, matter, heart, and life studies made sudden sense to me.

In 1991, I became a trainer of Heartfulness meditation. And my son Lucas was born. We moved back to Australia. I was a home maker for a decade, while parenting and volunteering for the Heartfulness Institute in teaching meditation and doing administrative work for the organization.

In 2000, I moved back to the business world, and worked for 10 years, before finally retiring in 2010. It was very tough for me, because I never liked money and business. I always shied away from it. I was disgusted with the world. Then I understood business is about communication and relationships in a different scale. It was a very disillusioning experience, but it also taught me to grow up and handle my emotions.

PR: How has practicing meditation for “25” long years affected your life?

ED: It has transformed my life. I used to be very emotional, which did not enable me to live a really fulfilling life. I was capable and successful in what I was doing, but there was always something fundamentally missing in my life. I tried Tai chi. I tried other spiritual techniques. They all led me to something new and different, and eventually I tried Heartfulness Meditation.

At the time I was a typical western woman who grew up in the 60s and 70s. I was not able to deal with my life. I was frustrated and when I tried Heartfulness meditation, I knew evolution within me had started. It was a turning of the tide. Life did not overnight become easy. It was no magic wand. However, I knew the purpose of my life, and I knew how to deal with the rest of things that did not matter so much.

PR: Tell us a little bit about your children (because we are the World “Moms” Blog!). How has your meditation practice helped your kids?

ED: My Heartfulness practice made life easier for them. My daughter was 2 years old, when I first met my teacher. She had me as her mother before I started meditating whereas, my son was conceived when I was meditating. My son’s path in life is so much smoother. I am a better mother as a result of doing this.

Firstly, I am more straightforward, I am happier. There is more joy in me naturally.

Also my children were brought up in an environment, where there is a bigger love than what I or their father could offer. They grew up in an atmosphere which was charged with an atmosphere of Universal love. These like-minded people were open hearted. Not everybody is perfect. But there was genuine willingness to work on oneself, and open hearts and evolve.

My children have had their struggles. They had their teenage years. But they also had the ability to maneuver obstacles. They had the ability to smoothly sail.

PR: It is difficult to find time to allocate for meditation in today’s busy lives, when women are balancing jobs, parenting, home, and more. How did you find that elusive 30 minutes in the morning?

ED: When I first started HFN, my husband was travelling a lot with the UN. He was out of Geneva most of the time. And I had a 3 year old. Many times my daughter Gerry woke up at 5 AM. So, I waited. I fitted my spiritual practice around family life. And still today I would do that when there is a necessity. There are no hard and fast rules for women. Often I would meditate after feeding Lucas in the night!

There are, of course, a set of guidelines for the best time to meditate, which is at dawn.
But at times, it is not always easy. It is not always straightforward. You have to find and build your own rhythm. No woman is selfish – to tell her family – “I can’t help you now- because I am meditating.” So fit the practice around family life. It is a matter of being flexible.

Check out Part – 2 of Dr. Elizabeth Denley’s interview here.

If you would like to meet Dr. Denley, you can connect with her through social media or meet her in person at any of the US Heartfulness conferences coming up in June! In fact, she is chairing one of the breakout sessions in Detroit and will speak about “Heartfulness Education for Creating a Resilient, Well-Grounded Student.” She will interact with the audience and outline the educational initiatives of the Heartfulness Movement, such as the Conscious Living Program, U-Connect etc., and their impact so far.

A limited number of free seats to the Heartfulness conferences are available to contributors and fans of World Moms Blog. You can register here!:

Register for the Heartfulness Conferences

Register for the Heartfulness Conferences in June 2016!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan. 

Photo credit to the author. 

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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