In the current issue of MORE Magazine, journalist Lara Setrakian is featured, telling about her journey from a high-powered ABC News career to launching an entrepreneurial news company knowing as Deeply.org (SyriaDeeply.org, EbolaDeeply.org, ArcticDeeply.org).
The last paragraph of the article is what stood out to me. Not that she started a successful venture or had a notable news career. This:
“After I left ABC, I went on a retreat to India. I meditated and did yoga. I read a lot of books about risk taking, courage and faith. I gave myself a little space. When I started taking good care of myself, that’s when I could start hearing myself again.”
The paragraph goes on to explain how she gives herself the gift of “human time” every morning, when she reads inspirational texts like the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov (an 18th century rabbi). That’s what keeps her going every day.
That human time is what inspires her continual success.
Because she takes time for herself, to “hear” herself, to know herself.
Preaching to the choir, babe!
When I returned from India last year, I spent time each morning sipping my hot water with lemon and reading a few pages in Swami Saraswatiji’s book, “Peace: For Ourselves, Our Families, Our Communities & Our World.”
In Rishikesh, I saw Swamiji at the evening aarti festivals on the banks of the Ganges. I heard about his compelling and inspirational book. So I walked into the ashram office one morning and asked where I could buy a copy.
“I’ll get you one,” said the kind soul at the desk. He returned a few minutes later with a copy of the book and handed it to me.
“What do I owe you?” I asked.
That’s the value of inspiration. It changes your life. It transforms your outlook. It sets you straight.
This book sits on my desk every day, right under The Jewish Traveler’s Handbook. Today, there is a handmade vase (courtesy of my little guy, Shaya) holding the roses he picked out for me on Mother’s Day. There are notebooks of my scrawlings from solo travels where I got back in touch with myself and started to “hear” my inner voice.
We simply can’t hear it when we’re caught in the cycle of running-and-accomplishing.
It took Lara Setrakian traveling around the world to find herself. That’s what it takes for all of us, really. We have to get away to get home.
And that is where the magic happens.
With every passing day, I am more convinced that what we think is important – the cars, the money, the promotions and salaries, the outfits and jewelry and expensive vacations – matters not a bit.
And what really matters – human connection, quiet time, connection with nature, peaceful presence to hear your soul speak – that’s what we try to fit in around the busy schedules.
Isn’t that upside down? Shouldn’t the most important soul-nourishing parts of our lives come first? Prioritize everything else around it?
“The greatest message on the subject of inner peace is that we are our own worst enemy and our own greatest obstacle,” writes Swamiji. “Our own egos, expectations, and habits are the most insurmountable hurdles on the path to peace. The more we can free our Self (the divine, peaceful, joyful and pure Self which is part and parcel of the Divine) from ourselves (the external personality, fears, expectations, desires and ego), the closer we will be to peace.”
Yesterday, my children and I strolled along a fishing pier at Belle Isle and then along gravel paths to the banks of the Detroit River. They reveled in the fresh air and bright sun, in being together. This is so great, so beautiful, Asher kept exclaiming. Shaya threw his arms around me in spontaneous hugs. Eliana knelt close to the earth to take unique and creative photos.
It was pure perfection, all of us together, in kinship, in love. No distractions of deadlines or to-dos, technology tuning us out. Connection. Peace. Beauty.
That’s what our world needs. Not more commerce. Connection. Love.