By Life Positive
Readers must often have wondered what it is like to be immersed in the spiritual cauldron of this magazine. Some of our most memorable writers, including ex-editor Parveen Chopra, look back – and look forward!
By Parveen Chopra
Yes, there is life after Life Positive, made possible by none other than Life Positive itself. This is what I realized in the past eight weeks after stepping down as editor of the magazine. Life Positive teaches you to thrive on change, to understand that success succeeds failure, and that God opens another door after one door closes. Writing for and editing a magazine with such optimistic and inspiring ideas had, of course, made them seep into my bloodstream.
For me, having held the reins of the magazine was another guarantee against slipping into inertia or the inanity of any odd job. Frankly, the temptation was there to take the easy way out – to cop out. But my guardian angels and Providence were working overtime, thinking of my highest interest, keeping me away from harm’s way, and on the straight and narrow. Even people associated with Life Positive – staff, writers, well-wishers – would call me up out of the blue, encouraging and inspiring me to dream up a worthy project and move on. With their enthusiasm and pledges of support, moral or material, they were also trying to subtly sense and drown out the cop-out static, if any, in my head. Why were they so helpful to me? I had done no favor to them – except by being decent and positive in my dealings with all. Maybe they believed that I did my duty with dignity and honesty. They admire and acknowledge these qualities and support them. In any case, my belief in people’s inherent goodness went up a few notches. I was also reminded that Life Positive readers have a high regard for the noble intentions of the magazine and those who manage it.
The most reassuring response soon after my transition came from my first reiki master, a Mumbaikar. A rare person who has doggedly kept away from the media glare and had not been in touch with me all these years, she called me to say, ‘I don’t care what your reasons for leaving Life Positive have been. But it is good. Know that something better is coming your way.’
Quitting when something is not working out for you is always positive. It is different from moving elsewhere, where you would have already frozen the outcome. Quitting makes you fluid, expectant, open to whatever God wants to give you in your best interests and the interests of all concerned. There is an element of adventure here, which may make the security-seekers squeamish.
I recalled my last exit just when I had settled in nicely in a national newsmagazine. It led me to Life Positive. In fact, as the magazine’s editor, whenever I was invited to give a talk on positive life and positive thinking, I invariably started with my own example. If a middle class boy like me, I would say, could co-found Life Positive, anybody can achieve their dreams with some determination and dogged action. The chances of success multiply if your project involves fulfilling a felt need, or offers service to the community.
So, I thought, if a decade ago I could accomplish what I did, with Life Positive experience and credibility behind me, I could certainly dream bigger dreams today.
Meanwhile, in the ‘pause’ mode, I did some of the things I had kept on hold while caught up in the daily grind. I got back to reading-Paulo Coehlo’s Alchemist, Ken Wilber’s A Brief History of Everything, and three of Robin Sharma’s books. I realized that one constantly needs reinforcements in the form of inspiring books and ideas to keep the creative juices flowing. I even read The One Minute Manager, a must for anybody working in a supervisory capacity. It says the best management is people-centric, and its practice revolves around one-minute goal-setting for people working for you, one-minute praising, and one-minute reprimand. In retrospect, had I consciously and extensively practiced these mantras, I would have been more effective at work.
I also went for a week-long body servicing at a nature cure clinic in my neighborhood. Getting on to an upward spiral, I went back to my daily meditation too. I reminded myself of what Life Positive tells its readers: that instead of inflicting heavy wear and tear on the body and mind, necessitating emergency repair work, it is better to follow a daily routine of care for the system, which I had sadly neglected.
‘Doctor, heal thyself,’ I said to myself.
Feeling rejuvenated in any case, I have been raring to go. In the process of deciding on what to do next, Robin Sharma’s lofty words would always flash through my mind: ‘Leave a legacy.’ So, I thought, let’s work backward from there and see what I should be doing today. When I mentioned this thought process to my second reiki master who is heavily into Kryon now, he said: ‘First of all, acknowledge (compliment in plain English) yourself for Life Positive, which is now like an institution and will last, no matter who comes and goes. Isn’t that a legacy?’
He advised me to look for my purpose in life. I said I haven’t found one yet. But I seem to have been propelled into the work of a New Age communicator. And now that Life Positive is already there, I have zeroed in on a different subject matter for a magazine. A psychic-intuitive, he said: ‘What is coming to me is that your editorship phase seems to be coming to an end.’ Maybe, I thought; besides I also intend to work on a much broader-based project for preservation and promotion of India’s and other spiritual traditions.
Conjuring project ideas is, of course, the easier part. But, as somebody said, ‘It’s good to build castles in the air, now put the foundations and walls underneath.’ Which, as Life Positive taught me, begins with making a blueprint, putting together an alliance of people and organizations willing to pool in their resources. Then, break the bigger goal into smaller chunks, set timelines, and take massive action. And bingo! You are there.
changing the world
By Anuradha Vashisht
It was friend Rajesh Prabhakar, an ardent admirer and long-time subscriber of the magazine, who once suggested that Life Positive was the place for me. That was during my year’s sabbatical from professional work, when I was trying to strengthen my spiritual moorings and move towards the real purpose of my life. I had never seen or read Life Positive, so I couldn’t relate to what he meant. But when another friend suggested the same thing, I was intrigued. After my first visit to my satguru, Yogiraj Gurunath’s ashram in Pune. I had a strong desire to share my experiences with people who could relate to what I was saying. Only Life Positive provided that kind of platform. A month after the article was published, I joined the magazine.
Long before I came to it, I had already sought and found the spiritual path defined for me in this lifetime. My coming to Life Positive coincided with my forward journey on the path. I saw my role here as contributing towards motivating others on their spiritual quest. In that respect, I feel some satisfaction both as a writer as well as a spiritual being, since some of the Life Positive readers are now with me on the path.
I owe it to the magazine that I could reach out to some minds and souls who were searching for what I had already received by my guru’s grace. I see it as a very important stepping stone to what I am doing today. The path to where I am today need not have necessarily aligned with Life Positive. The fact remains that it did.
Each moment of our life, each event, however insignificant it might appear to us at that particular time, is part of the thread which is used to weave the fabric of our life. Every episode of our life contributes to the great and beautiful design that each of us lives out. But as the design unfolds, we do not know how it will look. In our anxiety to know what the design will look like before it is accomplished, we miss out on being a part of the weaving process. Fortunately, having learnt the process of being an impartial witness as our life’s events unfold, I was able to enjoy every moment of my brief but eventful halt at Life Positive. And having got the space to express myself fully, I was also able to produce some truly memorable pieces in my creative quest, for which I need to thank Parveen.
While working at Life Positive I constantly contemplated on ways to give more meaning to life as well as put into practice what I acquired over a period of time. As a result, I established two trusts, Ideal Health Foundation and Nivritti, and a non-governmental organization (NGO), Bio-Organic Resource Center.
By Anupama Bhattacharya
It’s lunch time at work. I sit before the window at my desk with the sliver of the sea at the horizon and the arch of the Harbour Bridge silhouetted against the skyline. I am a long way from Delhi (or Mumbai where the Life Positive editorial office is now located) – and a long way from Life Positive. Yet, next to my desk lies a copy of the inaugural issue of Life Positive Plus (among tomes of hardbound, very official looking legal publications), reminding me of the five years I spent working, brainstorming, learning, enjoying and overall having an intellectually stimulating time in a company which gave me so much and to which I gave so much.
Believe me when I say that even though the Life Positive group may not be the largest media house, it is one of the best places to learn the tricks of the trade-and much more-if you have the inclination. And for this I’d like to thank Aditya, chairperson of the company, who had enough trust in my abilities to put me in a responsible position, Parveen, former editor-in-chief, from whom I learnt most of my editing skills and Suma, the current editor, who has been a great support even though we rarely agreed on anything.
It was at the Life Positive group that I learnt editing, team management and general project management, and because of that experience today I am heading a team of six odd editors who in turn manage their own monthly or bi-monthly legal publications. To top that I have also been writing Perl scripts, troubleshooting sgml coding and generally making myself as indispensable as I can. All this, because I got the opportunity to explore and find my own potential and talents at Life Positive. Before working with Life Positive’s internet division, I could just about browse the net – leave alone coding scripts.
Today, when I think back on those days, what I remember most vividly are the long discussions we used to have after work hours when the day’s tasks were done and we just wanted to throw ideas up in the air and see what clicked. Often Parveen would come up with a story idea, we would discuss it from every conceivable angle and quite often would come up with an idea altogether different from the original. Or we would start discussing an issue and end up with a cover story. Or the times when official editorial meetings with Aditya would turn into philosophical discussions on the nature of life, the universe and everything.
Five years is a long time to spend in any place. It is a chunk of life that is bound to leave its indelible mark. So, what more could I say except to add that if I had the choice to go back in time, I would choose to work with Life Positive again.
On the Holistic Beat
By Roozbeh Gazdar
May all beings be happy, May all be healthy, May people have the well being of all in mind, May nobody suffer in any way.’
This prayer appearing in fine print on the first page of Life Positive, a mission statement as it were of the magazine, helped me make up my mind when I was debating about applying to Life Positive for the position of Mumbai correspondent.
I was familiar with the magazine, having been gifted a subscription by my cousin. And, having got over the atheism of my youth, graduating to a ‘skeptical believer’ of sorts, I used to find many of the articles interesting. Even so, to write for such a publication would be a different ball game altogether.
Our modern-day belief in a fragmentary approach to life, where problems are understood by analyzing and compartmentalizing, makes the holistic approach seem more than a bit exaggerated, even downright flawed. To the uninitiated, it can be a little disconcerting, for instance, to be told that a digestive disorder has its origins in their overwrought emotions or state of mental stress. But stepping back, taking an overall view, it is not impossible to discover a latent connection between presumably unrelated aspects of your life. You begin to appreciate that a deeper logic governs everyday happenings, so that you almost begin to see that your welfare is not separable from the rest of existence. LP helped even an incorrigible sceptic such as myself to appreciate that there were uncharted realms, where facts and figures didn’t count and where the ‘inner’ experience was at least as much if not more important than empirical evidence.
Besides, in a world where the media is becoming increasingly banal, LP is refreshingly different, committed as it is to helping readers know themselves, rather than titillate them or whet their appetite for sensational news. LP readers are unflinchingly loyal to the magazine and look upon it as an instrument of social and individual change and as a journalist it did give me an indefatigable high to be part of such an endeavor.
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