Life is difficult…

After attending the life classes, the most prominent change which I find in me is “The way I look at things now”. Initially, when I attended the life classes the only question in my mind was “How will the sharing done by others help me??”. Gradually, I started listening to others’ problems and how creatively they find the solutions for the same which made me more empathetic. Later, I realized that everyone has to face some or the other challenge in their life but the intensity and the way we respond to it varies. The principle “Bring life to the workshop and workshop to the life” worked miracles for me. I became more observant and even had many paradigm shifts. I have learnt to leave illegitimate pains which made my life easier and took a closer look at the legitimate ones with the thought “Those things that hurt, instruct”.

I am on the path to be self-disciplined by teaching myself to do the unnatural and transform my very own nature. It is extremely difficult, but life classes have taught me not to give up. I thank Zahabiah and Falguni ma’am for being my life class facilitators. Thank you Vardan sir for believing in me and developing the ‘YOU CAN’ attitude in me. I truly appreciate and value everything I have learnt from you.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to Parag bhai. You have been an excellent friend, teacher, mentor and a great inspiration for me. A true master !!

To conclude, I would say that life classes have a lot of things to teach and they are truly worth taking back to your life.

Life is difficult but NOT ALWAYS…!

Self-induced change….

“Life is complex.

Each one of us must make his own path through life. There are no self-help manuals, no formulas, no easy answers. The right road for one is the wrong road for another…The journey of life is not paved in blacktop; it is not brightly lit, and it has no road signs. It is a rocky path through the wilderness. ”

M. Scott Peck


And to follow this trail, tenacity is crucial. It is very significant that we do not begrudge our lives but possess the inner strength and wisdom to always polish our lives, learn everything we can where we are and develop the means by which to support our lives. We cannot make the gem inside our lives shine with easy going efforts.


Maslow said that less than 2% of human beings are truly growth-oriented; the vast majority are deficit-and-repair oriented—more interested in finding comfort.


I was no exception to it. Being part of life classes has helped me learn to respect my own life and appreciate my struggles.  I stopped escaping or detaching myself from struggles and started making conscious efforts to translate my learning into action. And, believe me, I was able to overcome and transform the causes of suffering in my life. The resultant was the self-induced change in my life. It helped me change the negative vision of my life fundamentally.


Listening to the participants facing hardships head-on, led me to imbue courage and hope in my own life. These one to one life interactions were the source of support and encouragement that helped me transform my feelings of inadequacy and weakness. I became more strong and compassionate and could expand my life state.  On the other hand, sharing my own struggles and experiences helped me unfold my life and look into the deeper aspects of my life.

We all can transform any negative circumstance into a source of growth and benefit. All we need to do is to courageously engage with the harsh realities of our lives and squarely confront our challenges.

I am truly grateful to one and all, and I want to continue developing my life, always continuing to cultivate inner hope.




My journey as a learner

The five principles of learning which we follow during our life classes are:

  1. Learning is a lifelong process.
  2. Bring life to workshop, and workshop to life.
  3. No one can teach you by force, you can only learn if you are willing.
  4. The best way to learn is to teach, and the best way to teach is to learn.
  5. You have to pay a price for learning.

These principles have added value to my life and have transformed me as a person. If I rewind my journey of Life classes, I can see a drastic change in me. I used to feel sharing life with people, whom you do not know personally makes no sense as they can just advice but can’t empathize. But, now I see things with a different perspective. In fact those people who were not a part of my life helped me deal with my problems effectively, not by advising but by helping me to find out the root cause of the problem.

When I took the decision to facilitate the workshop, I was apprehensive whether I will be able to do justice to the role. But, when I took up the challenge I realized the principle ‘The best way to learn is to teach, and the best way to teach is to learn’ really works.

I would like to thank Falguni ma’am, Zahabiyah ma’am, Vardan Sir, Mita ma’am and Parag Sir for being the facilitators, mentors and guides for this journey of learning.



Empower Yourself

Life Classes @ FS

How does one define change? Is change really necessary and desirable? What if one is happy with the status quo? If one is wrestling with these questions, Life Classes @ FS is the right forum to get answers to this natural skepticism and queries. I have experienced tremendous positive changes in my life first as a participant of 7 Habits, Love and Integrity workshops and then as a facilitator of 7 Habits and Integrity workshop. I have become more empathetic, patient and most of all humbled by the trust placed in me by the participants. I see astounding possibilities for growth in each and every participant and I have truly understood the process and importance of delayed gratification. Clarifying expectations has become second nature for me and this genuinely makes life easier, both at the professional as well as the home front. I usually remain in quadrant 2 and encourage people around me to do the same. I have experienced the miraculous healing power of forgiveness (which has empowered me in every sense), have learned the fine art of ‘carefrontation’ and above all I have changed my focus from the problems to their solutions through these workshops. So yes, question the status quo, take risks and play the Russian roulette, go that extra mile and witness amazing positive changes in your life. The best is yet to come!

Ayman Shaikhmahmud

Life Classes- A gift to be passed on!

Hello all,

Well, being honest I was just thinking 2 days back to make my page and begin with writing as many friends had inspired me to begin so thought to begin from October and guess I read the mail by Vardan sir that post about the learnings on the blog! Telepathy must say 🙂

To begin with I am transformed- the core reason is Life classes but for me it took time to actually apply and understand the core context of the workshop.

I had been poor in decision making (which I had overcome) now. Still, not perfect but ya, I am growing and much better.

Reason: Love workshop especially has given me better understanding and had answered many of the unanswered questions in my life. Due to these Life classes I developed an interest in understanding and helping the people in a better way for good (not judging them)- why are they angry, frustrated, how can I help them, do they need help, their pain areas, their fear- if nothing I can do I listen carefully.

Connection in my life: My mother undergone change (very much interpreted by me) as my brother got married and time got divided (acceptance of change was missing). She felt at times low which was in action by getting irritated (without any reason), getting angry, isolating herself at times by not communicating with anyone, mood swings, etc. After observing and analyzing (it went on for a month approx), communication and listening was done by us- she demonstrated her anger (which I expected). At least she expressed her emotions. So, then questioning with her permission was done (to understand in a better way the problem). After that we analysed and understood- She needs our TIME which money can’t buy! According to us we were giving time but somewhere rescheduling was required. After doing that surprisingly she changed and now with a better approach. It gave us immense pleasure to understand her feeling which she expressed in a different manner as she was expecting us to understand on our own.

Well, due to Life classes I applied the principles and made my family members to follow the principles which they agreed as it was the apt approach. It boosted my confidence and helped my mom especially to not to go into isolation.

Depression phase had come for all of us (with respect to mom’s action), analysing what hurts her (as she is sensitive) but now there is improvement- the most important element- She is very happy, not dependent but interdependent, she exercise- goes for a walk/runs- alone or with my dad, exercise at home (strength training), yoga (basics). Finally, she took a step forward to utilise her time and she is happy for it!

What I learnt?- Active listening by not judging, being empathetic, understanding gives way to solve the problem as Problems are a part of life and inevitable.

Many more instances to share- probably in my next blog will do so!

Thank you Fountainhead School!

Accepting Myself!

After todays sharing (biggest pain area and problem) I feel the complexities of thoughts within me. I realised that few things that are in my control needs attention now! I am so thankful to my facilitators as well as group members for questioning me and helping me to reach upto some idea of my prime thought (its huge victory for me!) Till now I was just running away (or taking short term measures – pointed out very well by Shalini) from issues.

Well now things seem complicated as i need to put in much efforts but the best part is I know where to put efforts. But all this will happen only once I ACCEPT MYSELF!

Thanks a lot to every person involved in this process.

Also I read this in Vardan sir’s post which I completely agree now! —- “At the end of the workshop sessions, I almost seem to be in a daze. There is a feeling of tremendous “love”, feel-good and well-being in the air, which I know that all of us have experienced.”

Thanks! 🙂

Self-development and transformations

I had written and posted this two years back in the context of the first Integrity batch (2013-14). For the inauguration of this blog, I thought it would be a good idea to repost this.

The idea of this blog is for all of you to have an opportunity to post your reflections, learning and thoughts here. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be in English, it doesn’t have to be perfect – but it should be something that you feel about with respect to the life classes that you are attending!


Vardan Kabra


Dated: (circa) August 2013

While most of you would be familiar with the context of this article, but a small introduction will foster better understanding of the article. So the context is that of the Integrity workshop. The primary format of this workshop is different from the previously done life / love classes. Very little or no new theory is introduced in this workshop. In fact through the 3 days in the August session, we just had sharing sessions by each of the 28 individuals present. We did watch the movie Shaurya as well – but that was beyond 4 p.m. anyway.

The primary format of the workshop is sharing by each and every individual of their successes and challenges including sharing their biggest pain areas and problems. As the individuals share, all of us need to practice empathetic listening. Sharing by an individual has taken any time between 30 minutes to 100 minutes. As participants share their stories, the listeners ask questions including some tough ones whenever the house felt that the participant wasn’t really addressing her deepest problems. The participant are especially taken to task when they seem not to take up responsibility for their own lives. In the process of sharing, we revisit almost all the principles learnt in the life and the love classes. It is a challenging yet cathartic for all the participants, including the listening process.

At the end of the workshop sessions, I almost seem to be in a daze. There is a feeling of tremendous “love”, feel-good and well-being in the air, which I know that all of us have experienced. And most of you doing the other workshops would also have experienced these feelings perhaps in varying intensities. I have tried to put in to words those feelings and thoughts:

Sacred. That’s a term I am rarely associated with. But that’s how the environment of the Integrity workshop has felt to me. Sacred.

Healing or Catharsis. In sharing our pains and sorrows we heal. In the belief that our sorrows are personal we are fools. In seeing others heal, we heal, even without knowing. As we feel, we heal.

Humbled. Just listening & responding to the variety of stories that participants have shared makes me feel humbled. Some of the stories have been heart-wrenching with the depth of emotions and the pain of their suffering so apparent. But I am not sure if “Humbled” alone is the right word for what I am feeling. Perhaps the word that I could add is Poignant.

Poignant is how I feel after days of intense listening to the deepest pains of these individuals.

Being Human. As we listen to these stories, we understand what’s truly being human. We understand what’s courage, and what’s love. We find our pains and problems. Some which we knew. Some which we knew but we ignored. Some which we didn’t even know about. We understand the breadth and depth and the unique lives that each one of us leads. We are different in many ways, and yet we are similar in many ways. To paraphrase Mem Fox: “There may be many differences between people, but inside, our hearts very much like each other. Our smiles are the same, our laughter is the same, and our pain and tears are the same.”

Paradigms. Our paradigms & beliefs make us who we are. They lead to our actions, whether we know it or not. And our actions lead to our results, which is what life is, and which is who we are. How powerful a hold our paradigms have on our lives is something that you truly appreciate only when you hear how detrimental (or salutary) an effect even a seemingly harmless paradigm from childhood can have.

Vulnerable. Sharing our worst fears and anxieties in front of a group of people who work with you, your bosses, your team members can be such a daunting task. And our ego is telling us that this seems quite pointless and this is not right. No one has a right to hurt me. And yet that process of laying down in front of so many others, your deepest pains and problems can be so therapeutic that it’s difficult to believe how this happens.

Community. Community being Communion + Unity. And Communion being “the act or an instance of sharing, as of thoughts or feelings” and Unity being “the state or quality of being one; singleness.” And Community is what has happened. We have shared and we are one!

Transformations. How can workshops transform? By sharing. By being listened to. By thinking. By crying. By listening. By being affirmed. Transformations. Really? And I am talking about deep fundamental transformations. How’s that even possible? Sometimes instant. Sometimes lengthy. All painful and effortful. Seemingly magical. It just seems out of this world and out of place with all that we know about life. Or all that we seem to know about life.

Feelings am I left with: Amazing. Enlightened. Enriched. Exhausted. Ecstatic. Incredulous. Incredible. Proud. Poignant.

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