A: I am the coordinator for veggie prep at the Himalayan Institute. Growing up, I was raised on a small farm with my 10 brothers and sisters. In school, I was always more interested in sports than in academics. Taking care of my siblings and being involved with athletics really helped me develop strong communication skills and a nurturing personality. It’s one of the main reasons I chose to become an elementary school teacher after college. I love to travel when the opportunity arises and I enjoy sewing in my free time.
Q: How did you find the Himalayan Institute?
A: When I was around 24, I started to become interested in the answers to life’s bigger questions. I even visited every church in the town I was living in at that time. One day, my brother called me and suggested that I come to Chicago to visit Swami Rama. When I arrived, I met Panditji (Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD) instead. After being moved and inspired by Panditji’s lectures and books, I decided to visit the Institute. I eventually completed my 200 hour certification at the Institute and made an effort to come every summer until I joined the residential program in 2014.
The most important thing I’ve learned in my time here is that I am valuable and that everyone is valuable
Q: What inspired you to join the community?
A: There is a quietness and peacefulness in the Himalayan Institute community because there are so many people here who are working on themselves. The whole environment is wonderful! You’re surrounded by trees, wildlife, and caring people. I love the way that the Institute’s community and residential program is structured so that you can focus on bettering yourself, and do it with the support of other like-minded people.
Q: What have you learned during your time here?
A: The most important thing I’ve learned in my time here is that I am valuable and that everyone is valuable. Nobody’s job is more important than anyone else’s job, because we all depend on each other. Being involved with karma yoga (volunteer) projects at the Himalayan Institute has helped me become more patient and understanding of myself and others. I have found that we are all deeply connected to each other and I’ve learned to observe and resolve any negativity that arises what I interact with others.
Q: If there was one thing you could share about the Himalayan Institute, what would it be?
A: You have everything you need to better yourself when you come to the Himalayan Institute. The teachings that are shared here offer an abundance of wisdom that is applicable to anyone, no matter where they are in life. This is a wonderful place where you are surrounded by caring people and beautiful natural life. I would highly recommend visiting to anyone who is interested in being involved in a positive, mindful, and caring community.