As I tuned into this topic, I became aware of the internal environment that is created because of the people in our lives and how we perceive ourselves in relation to them. Often keeping others comfortable becomes our comfort zone. Stepping out of it rocks the boat. As we step into this New Year, I invite you to step into the New You.
It is too long that you stayed in a shell to keep others comfortable.
There are some around you who have always loved you, with whom you are amazing and it is easy. You feel safe being yourself.
Then why walk on eggshells with everyone else? Why numb the goodness and brightness in you?
Nobody realizes that you are simply trying to fit in. You value them too much, even more than yourself. You are getting comfortable with that. In your mind, you are being nice to them. And yet often feel miserable. They are also getting used to that. Stop…just stop!
Look at those who really ‘see’ you. You seem to do everything right by them. Break the shell and crack it open. Do what it takes! It’s worth it!
They will find others who feed their comfort. Yes, give them a shock.
They will have to step up to understand you and cheer you in your growth. They will have to know your pain.
You in your truthfulness will mourn your perceived loss of some of them because you truly cared about them. That’s why you kept them comfortable while you suffered.
Yes, I know you also wronged some people. Those too will reach out to you or you to them, in your growth. Just know that you are not accountable to all of them this very minute, so don’t judge yourself too hard.
Go ahead take that step, a small change, break open, fly. The ones ready for growth will grow with you. Some will fall away, as you both cannot see eye to eye now.
Forgive yourself, forgive them, love yourself, love them, allow yourself to Be, allow them to Be. Trust me, it’s worth it. When you feel stuck and choose to wiggle out, it hurts, it’s worth it.
The ones who care for you and the ones you care for will have to accept you as you are today. Let them know you are one of them but be stronger on your own path.
Pragalbha Doshi lives with her husband and 2 teenage boys in San Jose, CA. As a yoga teacher, she facilitates therapy & change for people who struggle with chronic symptoms of stress, physical & emotional, and who want a productive & fulfilling life.
The contents of this article first appeared on my personal blog Infinite Living on Jan 5, 2017. Find more inspiration in poetry and prose at the link.
Genius Kids founder Rennu Dhillon says our greatest fear after death is public speaking — unless we make some incremental changes in our education system while we’re alive.
“Confidence is critical,” Dhillon says. “You have to learn how to take control of your life. Compassion, communication, eye contact — these are the kinds of soft skills that we as parents and teachers need to instill in our kids today.”
Her personal odyssey — long before she became a Bay Area education mogul, Radio Zindagi talk show host, and community activist — is its own story of confidence and coming into one’s own. Dhillon grew up in a tightly-knit Kenyan suburb, much like our Bay Area cities littered with extracurricular activities and educational pursuits.
“My mother, being the typical Indian mother that she was, enrolled me into practically everything from music, art, piano, and sports,” Dhillon says and laughs. “But my father, a medical practitioner and the local Deputy Mayor was very deep into politics. So one of the big things that he really wanted us, kids, to focus on was communication. They enrolled me into a drama school called the Little Theater Club at the age of three.”
Dhillon’s childhood in Kenya marked the intersection of so many rapid changes, from an early wave of the feminist movement to political unrest in India following the death of Indira Gandhi. The young actress put pen to paper, drafting impassioned poems and letters for the local newspaper.
“I was a very, very controversial figure in my town,” Dhillon says. “I mean, I was always expressing my views, especially when it came to women’s issues. And my dad didn’t even know half the time when I was writing to newspapers. It would only be when we would get anonymous phone calls at home threatening me about something that my dad would look at me and say, ‘did you write that?’ And I’ll be like, ‘yep.’ God, I caused so much drama at home.”
Twenty years later, the outspoken Kenyan pre-teen, after completing her Pharmacy Degree in the United Kingdom, and Doctorate of Science, launched into two very successful businesses of her own – a matrimonial dating agency and recruiting firm in the United States. She then ventured in Recruiting CEO’s for start up’s and went from hooking people and people to people and jobs. As a single mother navigating the labyrinthian American Dream, helping young men and women find love offered startling insight into the role of ‘soft skills’ within the South Asian American community.
For Dhillon, the devil was in the details. From critiquing her client’s fashion choices to providing advice on eye contact and tone, she realized how the simplest features of personal interaction paved the way to success. Her experience as a dating coach and recruiter molded her vision when she opened up a Fremont-based daycare and accelerated learning center named Genius Kids.
Unlike mainstream education programs, Genius Kids instills public speaking and collaborative skills in students from a young age. Founded in 2001, the organization quickly caught on among Bay Area parental circles. Dhillon’s effortless relationship with kids, paired with her knack of combining learning strategies with the latest technology, brought in more families than ever.
“I think kids learn with smart and interactive technology,” Dhillon says. “We were actually one of the first preschools to ever introduce smart boards into the classrooms. Even the toddlers will come up on our stage, look at a screen, and point to the answer with their little fingers. These are our ways of teaching children. To stimulate students’ curiosity, I don’t want anyone memorizing stories in my classes. I want discussions. I want kids to tell me the story back in their own words — add their own flavor to The Three Little Pigs and use their own imagination. This is how we access a child’s voice and build on their confidence.”
For the second time in her life, Dhillon embarked on a writing journey, this time penning a parenting book titled, Raise Confident Children: Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s Leaders.The book has different sections dedicated to Dhillon’s ‘Cs’ — compassion, conflict resolution, charisma, control — the different elements that shaped her experience in both teaching and parenting.
“There’s a need to simplify parenting into its basic ingredients,” Dhillon says. “It’s not something that always comes naturally — especially now that we have all these distractions. The world was very different for my great grandparents, grandparents, and my parents. Now, we’re living in a crazy world — completely insane. And if you don’t prepare your child to be able to face a world of the unknown, your child won’t have any control over their life. So I’m a huge one for books. I’m always on the search for new material and information because learning never stops.”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, there may be no better time for Dhillon to release Raise Confident Children: Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s Leaders. As lockdown restrictions force schools to adapt to a virtual learning environment, every parent must challenge their preconceived notions about testing, college admissions, and academic life. And perhaps there may be no better writer to release this book than Dhillon herself. As a woman who ventured across borders, within new industries, and into the lives of hundreds of children, Dhillon seeks to embody the very experience she chronicles in her book — a journey into the precarious unknown, where learning and adapting is always essential.
“Don’t underestimate your children,” Dhillon says. “Let them pursue and find their path. And most of all, listen to what they have to say.”
Stay tuned for Confident Children: Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s Leaders, which releases on October 6th on Amazon! Click here for further details.
Kanchan Naik is a senior at the Quarry Lane School in Dublin, California. Aside from being the Youth Editor for India Currents, she is also the editor-in-chief of her school newspaper The Roar, the 2019-2020 Teen Poet Laureate for the City of Pleasanton, as the Executive Director of Media Outreach at Break the Outbreak. Connect with Kanchan on Instagram: @kanchan_naik_
Through her extraordinary acts of love and self-sacrifice, Mata Amritanandamayi, or ‘Amma’ as she is more commonly known, has endeared herself to millions around the world.
Tenderly embracing everyone who comes to her, holding them in her loving embrace, Amma shares her boundless love with all — regardless of their beliefs, their status or why they have come to her. Amma does not ask anyone to believe in God or to change their faith, but only to inquire into their own real nature and to believe in themselves.
In this simple yet powerful way, Amma is transforming the lives of countless people, helping their hearts to blossom, one embrace at a time. During the past 45 years, Amma has physically hugged an estimated 39 million people from all parts of the world.
Now, Amma is coming once again to North America. Amma will be here for an 11-city tour from June 6 – July 18, and will visit Seattle, San Ramon, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington D.C., New York, Boston, Chicago and Toronto for a series of free public programs and retreats. Thousands will turn out to listen to Amma’s inspiring talks and to receive one of her profoundly touching motherly hugs.
COMPASSION IN ACTION
Amma’s tireless spirit of dedication to uplifting others has culminated in a vast network of charitable projects in 40 countries around the world, under the global banner of ‘Embracing the World.’ For this work Amma has been honored with a number of international awards, including the prestigious Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence (2002), the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award (2006) and an honorary doctorate from the State University of New York (2010). In 2014, Amma joined Pope Francis and 10 other global spiritual leaders from a range of faiths to sign the Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery.
A LIFE-CHANGING EMBRACE
If you attend one of Amma’s free programs, one of the first things you will notice is that people come to Amma from all religions and all walks of life. Some have been walking the spiritual path for decades; others have never picked up a spiritual book in their lives.
Some come because they are suffering mentally, physically or materially and they hope Amma can help them. Some are simply curious. Regardless of why they have come, in Amma’s arms many describe experiencing a feeling of radiant and unconditional love. Some are moved to tears and feel a cleansing of old wounds; others experience profound peace and even joy. Regardless of people’s different backgrounds or cultures, the experiences of the heart show us how similar we all are — how we are all searching for true love and compassion.
When supermodel, Gisele received Amma’s darshan, she posted, “What an honor to meet Amma, one of the most inspiring women in the world. Amma, thank you for all the love and compassion you share.”
Inspired by Amma’s dedication and tireless service, volunteers throughout North America serve more than 150,000 meals to the homeless and hungry each year. In the California Bay Area alone, Amma’s Pantry project has donated more than 20,000 lbs. of food staples to local food pantries. Throughout the United States, volunteers organize community clean-up drives, tree planting and conservation initiatives, and donation drives of clothes and toys for the homeless. Volunteers also write letters to those in need of reassurance, as well as to the incarcerated.