Feel the fear……I mean it!!!!

When I first wrote my reflection in this category, I had really gone through the fear of being vulnerable. And out of a blood rush I wrote ” I can handle it….bring it on!” I never thought I would actually do it. I mean, LIVE it, that I will volunteer to literally feel the FEAR. The word “Fear” is as small as love, kiss, fish, cat, dog….But when you face it…..it’s like a giant, terrifying Godzilla!!

Let me share few instances so that it’s more clear to you as to what do I mean by Godzilla, I mean Fear.

We had all gone to the Orsang trip a couple of years back as a staff nature trip. Basically, it was more of kids picnic, but my son backed out at the last moment. So I had to continue alone.

First fear: Travelling alone: I had never gone out on such a trip alone (without family/friends). I have always travelled either with a bunch of close friends or my family. But this was a kind of trip where I was technically alone. I knew all the staff members very well, but was still “alone”. You know what I mean!!

So, we reached our destination and there I faced my second fear: heights!!!! Ya, you understood, right!! Kruti got the entry tickets for everyone for all the activities. We were all very excited, clicked selfies, enjoyed swings, etc. I observed what others were doing and how they were doing. Frankly speaking, I was looking for a reason to motivate myself as, “Achha itna hi hae, ha, I can do that. It’s a child’s game.” But when reached the spot….. the child in me just ran off as if a rabid dog was after it. But I had chosen it and people were watching me (again, fear of being “Judged”). So I gathered all my courage to go on one of the smallest zip line which was technically for the “Beginners”. Before I tell that bhaiya to just hold on a second he just pushed me and I was like Ahhhhhhhh!!!! Are you mad, You stupid fellow!!!!!!

I could only feel my heart pounding like a dhol. But once I landed on the ground It was like wow!! That was awesome!! I was trembling like a leaf, literally, but it was awesome. I know what you are thinking. Yes, I did thank that bhaiya, but he was like…..usme kya hae….hum toh sabko hi dhakka marte hae…..Well Bhaiyaji, I don’t get such dhakkas everyday!!!

You must be thinking what’s the big deal in that. Well it is. Especially for a person like me who have been a creeper (always dependent) throughout my life, till that day, IT IS a big deal. Today when I think of that day I still get jitters, but not scared. Though my one fear is left: to get on the real zip line, but that will be some other day.:):)

So long story short, face your fear. Nothing can make you feel more alive than facing your fears. For a change, feel that blood rush!!!



Love Life classes

Our last session was on forgiveness and parenting. I have learnt so far that forgiving needs a lot of courage and plays an important role in one’s emotional well being. Basically to my point of view, life is an experience between birth and death, if we consider it as a whole. On the other hand, experience is different with every passing moment. We are always working or trying to make these experiences good. Our feelings are always under our control if we wish to. Yet, most of the time we get carried away by the expression of others and that impacts our feeling for good and bad. Our tomorrow is based on our actions of today, yet we procrastinate, which gives us pain, perhaps with a hope that action would not be required in future or we are not certain for the result of our action. In fact we need not be worried for our actions. If we review our action plans on regular basis and learn to transform, our experience also gets expanded towards the journey of life with sweet memories, a robust history to get followed or repeated. We need to act in best manner to every moment of life and refrain from the situations which gives us negativity. For that, we need to engage ourselves to the actions which we like. I believe human behaviour is a joint function of the personal behaviour and the properties of environment. Hence we always need to keep a balance between self and the environment. And for that we need to sometime forgive some situation which affects the balance of emotions and surround.

“Do it until you become it !”

Life is still the same. Now, more contented and happier within. And a lightness outside too.

Are we really in control of our mind, the thoughts, feelings or impulsively driven by the mind?

For many of us, the mind is very tricky to handle and goes haywire, keeps playing its tricks. We have a problem in letting go, urge to control leading to anxiety, restlessness and soured relationships. We always seek for perfection, this is how it should be or it shouldn’t be like this. We want people to live by “my way”/our standards.

There is a definite connection between mind and breath. How we feel simultaneously impacts the rhythm of the breath. Whenever one is angry breath flows rapidly, when one is sad or sick, the outgoing breath is longer. The feeling of incoming breath is almost negligible. When one is happy, joyful the breath is lighter, uplifting.

Despite my best efforts I could not control my mind or feelings, thoughts. Many people told me not to feel this or that, It will affect your health or don’t think this/that way. I studied through school, colleges but nowhere I was taught the link between mind and thoughts/feelings. We know so much about the outer world but not much about our inner world. Hardly any of my elders or teachers knew how to connect these two worlds. How to use breath to control the mind. What are the laws on which the mind works? How do I save my mind ??

Somebody said, “Your mind is your best friend and could be your worst enemy”. This is so true when it is playing a role of an enemy, it keeps holding onto past experiences and we can’t see things from a fresh perspective.  When it is a friend, it perceives knowledge and brings happiness and freedom. Being in knowledge, I could recognize that this is all my mind; judging people and situations, holding concepts about myself and others. And it holds me from moving on with peace inside and smiles outside. I recognized that I am making a mess of everything in my mind and around me. There is so much to do and the time in hand remains limited. The energy level becomes THE factor. How to achieve my personal and professional goals in such limited time!!

“Happiness Program” was the 1st place where I learned the connection as well as how to use this to my advantage. I also learned the laws on which the mind works. It helped me widen my smile. The techniques and knowledge sessions in it helped me, 1st of all to see the calmer, stable, happy (from within, without reason), joyous, quite me. My experience told me if I keep working on it, I can make it my dominant state on a day to day life.

Spiritual practices like few minutes of yoga, pranayama, Sudarshan kriya, and meditation on daily basis calms my mind and gives a deep rest. It doesn’t mean I don’t get angry or restless or anxious but it doesn’t stay longer anymore. It is becoming shorter and shorter in duration and intensity. I’m continuing to practice until they become my very own nature.

Listening to the experiences of the Happiness participants brings joy to me. Their sharings on how they are dealing with small little things of day to day life in a relaxed state of mind and about their improved health. They have become more patient with people around them, both at home and at work.

What I’m experiencing, I wish others to experience the same joy and peace within; become stress-free and maintain harmony with the uncertainties of life.

Shruti Patel 🙂


Reflection- On My beliefs for God and religion!!

I am not sure what power does the god have or is there a god or gods??? But I do have a faith that there is some sort of supreme power- who is a creator of everything and looks after us- so that means do I believe in God- Yes- but for me God is someone who is looking after me and reminding me it’s you who have to work for yourself- as I truly believe in this statement- ‘God helps those, those who help themselves.’

Religion- I never understood what the religion is doing for me- well other than making me weak- I have been told that if there is any problem do some sort of pujas or certain mantras it will solve it- but it never has!! For past 20 years, I prayed I did all sort of Pujas that my life would be better but nothing happened. When I think now I just lost my time, money. And when I took corrective steps myself – I was able to handle my life and certain situations are not in our hand so I left them. Taking charge of my life helped me- I felt strong, responsible for my life. But then these are my thoughts. While my family follows certain rituals and does various pujas and I never stopped them.

I also believe religions divide us and not only different religions but the same religion with sub-division make us superior-or inferior from one another. I doubt whether religion plays a major role in one’s beliefs and values as according to me all religion says we are one and we all have god within us then why a rich person is been respected and a poor person disrespected???? Why has a man all right to take decisions while a woman is just for cooking food?

If I talk about myself I believe my beliefs and values are derived from the situations I have faced. And it’s all about humanitarian grounds – where for me all are equal, and both have equal rights and brain (which many of us don’t believe). So do I believe in religion- Yes as for me my religion says- be courageous, believe in yourself and show kindness.

To sum up- I do believe in God who is a creator- I do participate in certain religious affairs and sometimes I do enjoy meeting my distant relatives during those occasions. But mostly I participate because of my mother as she gets happy with my participation.

After the workshop, I will question myself will I continue participating in religious affairs which I don’t believe; and the answer is- I don’t know. But yes I will think critically and maybe have the courage to questions their belief too!!


I always believed that there is one supreme power, i.e God and followed some or just few practices/prayers or fasts. I never used to believe in going temples or doing Pooja daily but if asked never thought to oppose it.

Religion was never an issue for me because my family doesn’t believe in it. Hence, they always kept it open for me and I made my own choice of not following it at all.

I’m aware that whatever happens with us is just because of our lack of efforts or sometimes things are not in our hands and everything just revolve based on our thoughts like placebo effect.  I hold the thought of, “What goes around, comes around(Karma.)” I still believe that god has definitely thought of something good about us and everything is destined. It’s just a matter of time. We need to have patience. But then the question is when will that time come? Should I really wait for it or accept it or think differently and search a different way out of it? Or just wait for the destiny to decide?

Last two sessions were very enlightening. I still believe that there is God, “Being on safer side” but have my own set of questions, so still confused little bit. But definitely I’ll seek for reasons before following anything blindly. No questions as of now, but yes bit confused, probably with the passage of time it’ll get sorted.

Kiran Tulsiani
“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”

Few experiences, glimpses and learnings at 7 Habits Life Class sessions

Before attending 7 Habits Life Class I was in the dilemma :Is it something about saving our life or is it something related to meditation …also tried asking few teachers and got the answer “Go with the flow, you will get it !!”

I am thankful to Steven Covey and FS facilitators as they gave us the instances where we could actually understand :

  • How to lead our life!
  • Understanding and respecting others perspective.
  • Prioritizing the responsibilities.
  • Sparing time for myself is equally important.
  • At times, it happens that you are in circle of influence and need to stop worrying. Try to change those aspects which are falling in the circle of concerns and come out as winner !
  • Two heads are better than one: It has its own pros and cons.
  • Art of listening.
  • Clarifying expectations
  • Private victory & public victory
  • Win -win, Win-lose, Lose-win
  • Adding into the emotional Bank a/c……and what not the list goes on……
  • The last two sessions were the best ones: Loved the activities to the core.

I was already aware of these 7 habits but it was the partial understanding. After these sessions it has helped me understand as to where, when and how this knowledge is to be applied. Few examples which Steven covey had written in his book were excellent anecdotes.

I would like to thank the facilitators Chesta ma’am and Juhi ma’am as they kept the sessions lively and all the participants engrossed. We all have a special bond between us now and we always feel connected. Our batch always felt it was the best time as we loved meeting each other. We all had good sense of humor and respect for each other which made the 7 habits session (Life class) successful.

Soni Gowda Kapadia

Love class- Sharing helps…..

I wonder sometimes, am I doing it right? It may be parenting or relationships or work. There comes a time because of some minor ups and down where we question our paradigms and actions. Love/Life class has always that impact on us (whether we agree or not), may be even temporary one but where we go back and introspect on our life and relationships and how we can change them.

As a love class facilitator, I got an opportunity to revisit the things which we learnt earlier (for me it was 3 years back) the ones we forget or ignore in our busy schedule. Every time when you read something or discuss with other facilitators while preparing for the class, you learn and understand something new.

When participants share their experience, you learn, connect it with your life experience and then reflect upon it. You again go back from a silent mode to an active mode. I recall giving my daughters a tight hug and saying I love you after the recent love workshop without any reason. That felt good and maybe that memory will always stay with me.

We do hear participants saying that these workshops are a waste of time. But from my personal experience, whether it is parenting or relationships it has definitely brought a positive change in my life. Earlier when I had a fight with my husband, usually it was followed by a cold war- (no talking for days) which was very frustrating. One thing I learnt after the workshop and now try and implement is, communication (of course I am still working on it). Talk and solve the issue instead of dragging it for days without any reason, which would eventually sour your relation.  

Of course, there are things which I still need to work upon, especially as a parent when we take that illegitimate suffering and anxiety.

I have attended all 3 classes (love, life and integrity)  and have seen life changing after the workshops. Sharing which normally does not happen in our so called happy life (koi problem hi nai hai) is done during the workshops and has made a difference in the lives of the participants too. It makes you feel good and you don’t feel guilty about it, as once we start sharing, we come to know that everyone is same and has same set of problems.

Thanks to Hasina ma’am and all my participants for sharing their experiences with us and hope that they witness the positive change in life using these amazing tools.


Being an atheist

I do not believe in GOD or follow any religious beliefs and I have no doubt about my views my beliefs. This may sound a little straight, but that’s how it is.

I believe that my beliefs are my own creations with some logical and illogical ideas. I have never tried to impose my beliefs/thoughts on anyone. In fact, I never propagate my ideas too.

Surprisingly, you will always find me surrounded with the people, who are involved in ‘Satsang’, ‘Gita’, ‘Kirtan’, ‘Mata ki chowki’, ‘Puja and pathh’ etc. With due respect to all those people, but my presence makes no difference in my opinion or ideas about me being an ‘atheist.’ I do participate in most of the events at my place, but with a pure intention, to enjoy and make my family members happy. That’s it. No other vested interest.  Infact, my family is well aware about my beliefs, but they are extremely positive that one day, God will show me the right path of ‘Bhakti.’

It seems, in most cases, people do ‘Bhakti’ when they experience the inconvenience of mind or out of fear of losing something. They will visit religious places to ask baba/mata rani, to give them their peace of mind, help them settle in business, good results for their children, and for many other reasons. However, I accompany them to spend good time with my family. I don’t talk much, instead enjoy their talks, seeing my son playing and having fun, and that togetherness, is what I cherish the most. Therefore, I experience comparatively less inconvenience of my mind. 🙂

A religious belief any for that matter, were all created by humans in the past. So what if I have created my own? So what, if I enjoy the wholeness in myself looking at my friends and family in a state of happiness and well-being? So what, if I accept the difference between YOUR WORLD, MY WORLD and THE WORLD? (Thanks to Devdutt Pattanaik for helping me understand the difference).

These questions, when asked at my workplace, it creates a healthy environment and exchange of thoughts. But when I ask the same questions to my family, the situation gets completely opposite, as they think I come from a different world. And with my sheer simplicity and smile, I reiterate my same old dialogue, ‘Difference does not mean wrong’ Nevertheless, I decided, let me be open in listening to both the views and eventually stay with my own thoughts and form my own belief system.

I am personally a very easy going person. I prefer to explore and learn at my own pace and space. Hence, at this time, I do not have any specific question for the ones who believe or do not believe in God. Instead, I wonder, how and when did I realize the need to form my own beliefs? How and when did I start forming them? My parents and at my in-laws place, everyone is damn religious and a believer of God. How come I got an entry to live in their world which is completely different than mine? Anyway, until I explore further and think about the questions to hold, let me confess, my experiences in life have taught me a lot, and I being an enthusiastic learner :), have learned and grown positively. I know with each passing year, I have groomed into a beautiful person. My thoughts, my values, my script/rescripts of my life have made me who I am! 🙂



“Oh no! Not again…????”

“Arre ….. firse wahi rona dhona and all.”

“I don’t want to attend these classes. Kaise niklenge yeh din??”

But trust me Life classes are much more than that. It is a great platform to learn, unlearn and relearn. I would like to share my learning. As an individual, I, have gained a lot from these classes professionally as well as personally. People have come to me and said that, “You have changed a lot as a person and my answer is it because of FS.”

I am thankful to Stephen R. Covey and Fountainhead School because these classes have helped me in walking on the pathway of life with honesty, fairness, integrity, and dignity- principles that have given me the security to adapt to change.

Here, I would like to pen down my reflection on Facilitating the Life Classes (7-Habits) this year.

I did not even think of facilitating the class, but someone inspired me and I agreed and filled the form to take up the challenge. After filling the form I was still in a dilemma whether I will be able to conduct the classes or not but I went ahead. The day I got confirmation from Mariyam ma’am that, I will be facilitating I was literally thinking where to begin. I recalled the classes which I had attended 3 years ago but it was all blank. Each day was challenging for me, but I realized nothing is impossible. And now I feel contented and satisfied in bringing change in people’s thoughts and their lives.

The first day of Life Class!!

The day I met all the participants I was very happy and excited to know about them and to spend a year with them. They were so courageous, friendly, cool and always ready to share their experiences and perceptions. It felt like a family with them. All of them were ready and open to learn, unlearn and relearn. Listening to each one of them was very difficult for me. Listening to various responses was not easy for me, but these classes have helped me grow and so I could listen to the members empathetically.

Delivering the content to the participants was not easy for me as this was my first hand experience with facilitation. But when I look back the days spent with them, facilitating them and sharing my experiences with them I would like to say that, “NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.”  

Last sessions!!

When we reached to the last two sessions I was sad and was thinking are we done with all the sessions. Will miss these days and all of them as we shared our personal and professional life with each other and shared good bond throughout the year. Was thinking that next year we will separate but was happy too as they gained something from the 7-Habits class and will learn more next year as it is said that, “Learning is a lifelong process.”

I would like to thank Vardan Sir and Mariyam ma’am for giving me this opportunity and making me learn through these classes. Also, I would like to thank all the participants for believing in us and sharing their experiences and feelings with us.


‘7 habits workshop’ – A journey within

When I got the call from Mariyam ma’am to facilitate the “7 habits workshop”, my first reaction was…. “Really…me???” But in the next moment I agreed to it. At the same time, I was not sure how the journey would be.

Now when I look back, I really feel amazed and happy to see that ‘YES…. I DID IT…’. For the person who was reluctant to speak in front of even 5-6 persons, standing in front of 30 people and delivering the content is a kind of achievement. But it was not easy. Initially, few nights were nightmares before each session….always thinking about. ’How would it go?’, ’Would I be able to convey the things properly?’…etc. But gradually I overcame that anxiety.

We know that ‘teaching is the best way to learn’. As a participant, I didn’t take pains to read the book ‘7 habits of highly effective people’. But as a facilitator I read it (both English and Gujarati versions) thoroughly which gave me a better understanding of the content. Apart from it, listening to each and every participant’s experiences and their approach towards life also helped to understand my life in a newer light.

As a participant of the workshop (2013-14),I could work on many areas in my life and could implement many things like time management, taking care of mind-body-soul, empathetic listening etc. But I was struggling with few things and the most important is being principle centered.
While reading about various centers in the book and during discussions in the workshop, I introspected a lot to understand my center. And I found that I am not principle-centered for sure as I always tend to end up doing stuff that either please me or others. The reason behind it is I don’t have enough courage to come out of my comfort zone and be ready to get hurt. I am quite vulnerable to criticism. But now I am happy that I could reflect upon it and I am giving my best to work on it.

No doubt it will take time and a lot of courage to live life with complete integrity.

I loved few lines from the personal note given at the end of the book by Stephen Covey and I can relate with them. “I personally struggle with much of what I have shared in this book. But the struggle is worthwhile and fulfilling. It gives meaning to my life and enables me to love, to serve, and to try again.” – Stephen Covey

I am really grateful to Vardan sir and Mariyam ma’am for giving me this opportunity. It was a wonderful experience!

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