Uncle and Me

Lessons learned from an old Sri Lankan man.



Current location: Unakuruwa, down South Sri Lanka.

As I sit seaside, wind in hair, clouds circling above, I await the lift of the Southwest monsoon so to start my migration to the sunlit gild of Arugambay. I have for my company the ink black song of crows, intermittent spits of sunshine and storms, and Uncle – custodian of the cabanas and guardian of the garden.

We’ve spent the majority of 14 days in the shade of my coconut leaf canopy sipping sweet Rooibos and conversing in what I’ve come to call Singlish. A colourful and characteristically concise combination of basic English and steadily growing Sinhala.

Our discussions are of the most profound nature relating to the migration of birds, the world’s religions, where flies go in Winter, and the rising price of beer and cigarettes.

With so few words, we say so much. 

I find with my chosen destiny of dwelling in a foreign land, that my feelings have become the surest guages of a person’s being. My instincts are all I can rely on in knowing who someone is, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


And Uncle’s got a good vibe.


Here’s a little of what I’ve learnt from our sharing a piece of paradise together.


  • Don’t be afraid of silences. There is a deep knowing and understanding that only silence can convey. And it is in this absence of sound and thought that the present is consciously felt.


  • Truly listen, not just to what someone is saying but to where they are looking, what their body is expressing, the meaning in their eyes. Don’t only listen to their words and certainly not to what your next word will be.


  • Don’t let perception be your judge. Our minds are shackled by mental models barking at us how the world ought to be. Set yourself free, approach each person and situation with a clean slate, chalk in hand to create a transitory identity together.


  • The deepest lessons in life are secretly woven into the fabric of the most simplest experience and expressions.


  • Life is at its best when you grant yourself the space to rest. The mind slows, the nerves soften, the heart opens and the imagination takes flight.


  • See every moment as a beautiful occurrence chosen by you and for you to express who you really are. What you make of it is what you choose.



You have only to win, you have nothing to lose.




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