A few years ago, I went to New Vrindaban’s Palace of Gold where there was a beautiful temple with an ashram tucked away in the mountains of Moundsville, West Virginia. There I met a woman by the name of Sachi Kripa who lived not too far away from the temple, but visited daily to perform worship and services.
Sachi Kripa instantly connected with me from the moment we met. I will never forget her words when she described me as a sincere soul that very first day. She welcomed me with open arms and ensured I was taken care of as a resident versus a visitor. We ate delicious prasadam together, performed services together, meditated together and of course talked about life.
The memories, absolutely beautiful. The experience, priceless. I needed a place to escape to, to reflect on life, to heal myself and to discover my true purpose in the world. It was the beginning of new hope for me. A better lifestyle leading to better health, a better future, and of course a deepened spiritual love for God.
In the year 2005 and at the age of 28, I experienced significant life changes including a divorce which left me feeling confused, scared, yet happy all at the same time. It was a painful one, one which forced me to start all over by facing the reality of life. I was depressed, even suicidal at one point. For many years I felt little love. I was lost. I was alone. And I didn’t see any point to life.
A software engineer, graduate student at the time and mother of two, I lived life in my early 20s routinely and unconsciously. Going with the flow, I was a loyal daughter, a loyal wife and a loyal mother. Somewhere in the process I lost myself. In fact, I lost myself at a young age when I decided to always make choices that were purely for the sake and happiness of my Indian culture. Putting others happiness before my own.
Sacrifice can be positive and certainly a good thing, but when the timing is right. Such as after you’ve discovered yourself and learned to love yourself unconditionally. It’s important to know who you are, what your purpose is in life and the reasons for making any kind of sacrifice. That requires listening to your own inner voice without any judgement or opinions of others. That requires solitude. Courage. Being on your own. Literally. You cannot give anything of yourself if you do not fill yourself up first, by filling up your spirit with strength and love first. That takes time and requires effort in addition to patience and of course, faith.
In 2006, life became more enjoyable. I found hope as I discovered the creation of my own peace and happiness. I read many books on spirituality, relationships and learned a lot about myself in the process. I was stepping into a wondrous world just waiting to be discovered and explored. I had mentors and guides who helped me along, a strong support system who pulled me through much confusion and difficulties throughout my journey, by providing me with constant encouragement and never giving up on me. All of whom God placed into my life at the precisely the right times.
I learned the true definition of love. Love is given freely with no expectations or desire for anything in return. Love is as love does. We are love. I discovered my opportunity to follow one of my many dreams which was to be an independent successful woman who can take care of herself. I wanted to stand firm and tall on my own two feet. In this case, it would be as a single mother. A woman who can make a positive difference and be that example for many others as well as a source of strength. An inspiration to others. The strength lies within. We just need the courage to accept the changes in life, go with the flow and let it unfold freely and openly, by facing any pain that surfaces so we can heal from it and move forward in a healthy manner.
My lifestyle changed significantly as a result of the past several years. I discovered who I was and what life really meant for me as well as my children and those around me. This included one major thing – my diet. I became a vegetarian in early 2010, one of the best decisions I made for myself, my health as well as humanity.
For years prior, I was on medications either for seasonal allergies, attention deficit disorder (ADD), hypothyroidism, depression or to treat side effects from many of those medications. In later 2010, it became out of control. The amount of medications I was taking for my allergies alone increased. To top that off, I had to take medications to control the side effects as a result of the allergy medications. I slowly started to experience depression because the side effects caused more pain for me than progress. It became difficult for me to stay focused and productive. My doctor removed me from work temporarily so I can get my health back under control. That’s when I made the decision to visit an ashram for several days so I can get a grasp on my thoughts, my health, relieve the stress I was experiencing and surround myself with positive energy in a meditative and spiritual atmosphere. I knew there had to be another way. Life couldn’t possibly consist of living off of medications which does more harm than actual good. If that was the case, then what was the point of taking the medications to begin with?
By the time I left the ashram, I felt like a whole new woman. Of course I stopped all allergy medications prior to my trip there, cold turkey. And wouldn’t you know, my body did just fine. Eating organic vegetarian food made a huge difference. I enjoyed Indian dishes where some consisted of milk that came from the temple’s own housed cows, cows which are revered and treated with love and respect. No antibiotics, no hormones. Unpasteurized milk. Fresh yogurt and homemade paneer (Indian cheese). It was heavenly!
I meditated every morning for about an hour at the temple by chanting with japa beads made of tulsi. This was to control the incessant thoughts in my mind, to relieve the stress I was feeling and to help me feel more at peace. After just a couple of days at the temple, I felt my spirits lift, my energy increase and a rebirth of joy. The meditations worked! The energy in the temple was permeating. You can feel the vibration and spirit lift! It was the perfect place to heal and to connect with great devotees. It was also the perfect place to get away and connect with my own inner self.
Everything in life happens for a reason. Sometimes we may not know the reason of course. But that is where trust and faith comes in. God has a plan, and he has one for everyone. We just need to believe and stay positive. We are all on a journey which involves learning and growing as individuals. Your journey is unique and your experiences may not be the same as someone else’s, but it will surely entail a deeper sense and desire for self understanding eventually. Because we are all spirit souls, souls having a spiritual experience in a human body that is. The journey is always worthwhile and a blessing for personal and spiritual growth.
My hope at this time is to share my experiences in life and remind many who may feel alone that they are indeed never alone. Being alone is an illusion, for we all go through difficulties in life. In addition, one does not need an abundance of medications in order to battle with depression, stay focused, let alone maintain proper health. Sure, you may need it for some time depending on your situation but God has provided us with an abundance of natural ways to take care of ourselves, our loved ones as well as our earth. By feeding our minds, bodies and spirits with natural alternatives instead of modern medicine, we can maintain a healthy balance when caring for ourselves. With just a proper healthy diet, daily physical activity, and a positive uplifting atmosphere, you can turn your life around living in happiness, joy and peace.
I believe in making choices that are best for humanity. I also believe in accepting people for exactly who they are because their journey is unique and required for their own personal growth. That means embracing all paths to God, all religious traditions, all healthy diets, all ethnicity, all languages. We live on one earth, one planet. And we are living on it together for a very good reason. 🙂 There will always be individuals who will hold strongly to their opinions and disagree about many topics but that’s okay. Life is about embracing one another’s unique differences and similarities. Life is about acceptance and seeing the beauty in every situation, and in every person.
I believe in making changes that will remind us we are all the same, we are all interconnected. I believe life can be simple, enjoyable, exciting and fun. I believe every person has the ability to love from within their own hearts and soul. We just need to learn from one another, teach one another, inspire one another, share with one another, give each other hope and of course love in the process.
It’s in God’s hands. 🙂
My hope is that this blog serves as a source of inspiration and guidance for many. To help guide you and point you in a direction of understanding your own inner self and soul. There are many paths to God and there are many healthy diets available to you. There are many ways to take care of yourself naturally and of course there are many ways to love. Be open and be willing to explore. Don’t be afraid to take a new step and never give up. Ever. You have a purpose. And the answers are within you. Just follow your heart!