A: I grew up in the small town of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, near the Milwaukee area. I am a positive, outgoing, and fun-loving person who is always up for a new adventure! Something that has always been important to me is surrounding myself with good, kind people. I have been fortunate enough to find that both at home in Wisconsin and again when I moved to Washington, DC for college. I am just about to start my final semester at George Washington University, and will be graduating with a degree in International Affairs. Another fun thing about me—I also go by the name Amba!
Q: How did you find the Himalayan Institute?
A: My parents have been involved with the Institute since before I was born, so I came into this life knowing and learning about their wonderful teachings and traditions! Since I lived so far away from the Institute, it was always so much fun whenever we got the chance to visit, or see Panditji when he came to Wisconsin. The Institute and the wonderful people connected to it have always been such an important part of my life and continue to be to this day.
There is always a place for anyone who is willing to start their journey down the path of personal reflection and growth.
Q: What inspired you to join the community?
A: A lifelong family friend and personal mentor, Blair Lewis, was the one who first put the bug in my ear about moving to the Institute and joining the community. He knew of my passion for and interest in international humanitarian work and connected me with Jeff Abella, the director for the Institute’s Global Humanitarian Projects. After speaking with Jeff and learning more about the residential community, I decided to make the leap and move to the institute for the summer of 2016. I loved the community and working for the Humanitarian Projects department so much, that I decided to come back this past summer as well!
Q: What have you learned during your time here?
A: Over the past two summers, I have learned the importance of self-care and working with your mind. I think we always hear about self-care and the basic things that go into it, but taking a few months to be with myself and live in a community that values yoga, meditation, and eating healthy food really intensified the process and helped me learn a lot. I also learned that I have the ability to create that same space of self-love and care for myself no matter where I am in the world. I spent time learning about working with my mind and my emotions as well. A phrase I heard that really stuck with me was “emotions come to pass, not to stay.” Working with the mind and emotions can be a very long and frustrating process, but I always keep those words in the back of my mind, and they have been so very helpful along my journey.
Q: If there was one thing you could share about the Himalayan Institute, what would it be?
A: I would share that it is the diversity of the community members that truly make the Institute such a special place. There are people of all ages and from all walks of life, and they all make the Institute an incredibly vibrant and welcoming place. I would say to other young people such as myself who are thinking about joining the community, to just go for it. There is such a wonderful community of peers, mentors, and teachers, and there is always a place for anyone who is willing to start their journey down the path of personal reflection and growth.