Social Entrepreneurship

“The greatest journeys are the ones that bring you home.” -The Namesake film trailer

Dear Ones,

Today’s my birthday. Birthdays, like the beginning of each new year, are excellent opportunities to reflect and take stock of where we’ve been, and to see where we want to go. As it’s been a while since I’ve been in touch, I wanted to take this chance to catch you up on where I’ve been and where I’m headed.

2015 took me on many joyful journeys to share the ancient healing wisdom of Yoga and Ayurveda with different groups of amazing people.

 

My students spanned Silicon Valley seniors to Yoga enthusiasts to staff at Stanford’s Health Improvement Program to Alameda County Probation Department correctional officers to Health Technology Forum innovators to Stanford Health Care Valleycare patients to the Social Innovation Summit’s Fortune 500 executives, White House representatives, and leading social entrepreneurs.

One of the most meaningful talks I gave was on January 3, 2016, at the Hindu Temple in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio.

As the trailer of The Namesake movie says: “The greatest journeys are the ones that bring you home.”

I love The Namesake. I can completely relate to the main character, Gogol’s journey and confusion growing up between two cultures, where we stand simultaneously in a space of neither and both, perpetually searching for the meaning of “home.”

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The Power of Resolution: 3 Healthy Habits to Cultivate in the New Year

(As published in “Staff Picks” & “Popular Lately” on Elephant Journal)

The New Year is always an exciting invitation for transformation and new beginnings.

In Sanskrit, the word “Sankalpa” means “resolve or intention,” and “Shakti” is power.” Sankalpa Shakti is, therefore, the power of resolution—which can be utilized at any moment we are seeking a more mindful approach to the unfolding of our lives.

Oftentimes, at the start of a new year, we are full of excitement at the prospect of setting often more generic resolutions, such as exercising more or eating healthier food, only to quickly discard these intentions. I myself have gone through that experience of setting generic resolutions that have soon fallen to the wayside.

I’ve learned that, for a Sankalpa to really have power, it must be thoughtfully contemplated first—as it really must come from that deepest space within ourselves, from the quiet voice of the soul, which often speaks in a whisper, when we are silent enough to listen to and heed its inner knowings.  Continue reading

Ayurveda: the Ancient Indian Art and Science of Creating Pattern-Breaking, Sustainable Change

Six years ago, as a 20-year-old college student in New York City, I asked myself a question that would end up dramatically changing the course of my life forever. I had just been admitted into the Catherine B. Reynolds Scholarship Program in Social Entrepreneurship, which defined social entrepreneurship as “pattern-breaking, sustainable and scalable change related to issues of social importance.” How can I create pattern-breaking change, in a sustainable way, within my own life, and scale those changes into the work I wish to do in the world? I asked myself. Ayurveda, the art and science of life from ancient India, has undoubtedly been the answer to this powerful question. Continue reading

Humility: the Sole Force

A TEDx talk my friend Kate Otto recently gave about her upcoming book “Everyday Ambassadors” reminds me of wisdom Jayeshbhai (founder of Manav Sadhna – an exceptional non-profit in India that serves thousands of slumdwellers through 40 health, hygiene, employment, education, sanitation and empowerment projects) shared with me once, about the importance of cultivating personal relationships in service work…

“First, the relation, then logic, then the result may come.”

We are so conditioned to work the other way around, putting the result first, logic second and relationships last…the idea that a result ‘may’ come also leaves open the possibility that it may not. This is deeply rooted in the service ideal of Karma Yoga – that we have a right to work only, but never to its fruits. By focusing fully on the tasks we are doing, being completely present with what is in our own hands, we can greatly increase the quality of whatever we are doing, all the while cultivating the most important value I feel India has still today, which is humility. Continue reading

From East to West – and Back Again

I got a lot out of the discussion on vision-making. I especially appreciated the passage’s reference to the inner landscape, to the importance of cultivating an inner vision to be able to more clearly see that outside ourselves.

The lesson that “life is a journey, not a destination” has come to me in many ways. I first received this message when transitioning to high school.

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey, in the end, that matters. – Ursula K. LeGuin

My 8th grade teacher had written this in a world atlas she gave as a gift. No matter how far I have traveled physically, nothing can ever compare to the journey within, the journey deep inside my own self. Like many children of immigrants growing up in western countries, I used to be very eager to please others, particularly my parents. I was a perfectionist in every sense – and felt valued and appreciated for this trait and the results it brought me. In the beginning stages of my life, I was outcome-driven to a fault. The only real purpose of these outcomes, however, was for me to achieve “success,” in the very narrowly defined manner that was prescribed to me by my parents, the culture I was raised in and the predominant western mindset of personal achievement as the ultimate purpose of one’s life. Continue reading

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