A: I was born in Westchester County and raised in Queens, NY. I loved the Village in New York City and spent a lot of time there, leading to my discovery of the Himalayan Institute’s East West Books on 5th Avenue and 14th Street. I worked in the area of child abuse and neglect in the Juvenile Justice System, and after receiving my master’s degree from NYU in clinical social work, I went on to work in the area of child development and mental health. Being a “change agent for parents and children” was my passion. I was fortunate to have dedicated and highly trained mentors along the way who guided me to hone my skills during my 20-year career. To this day, I honor their presence in my life’s journey for self-development. This year (2017), I am celebrating 18 years of residency at the Himalayan Institute…woot-woot!
Q: How did you find the Himalayan Institute?
A: I literally stared at the front doors of the Himalayan Institute’s East West Books bookstore in NYC for weeks before getting the courage to enter the doors. Now, I smile remembering the calming atmosphere, the deafening hush in the store as folks stood reviewing the many shelved books, and the rock they handed me when I checked my belongings. Was the rock a symbol and a glimpse of my future goals? I like to think it was. The memory of hesitating haunts me even today whenever I am venturing in new directions in my life. My lesson was, and still is, not to be afraid to try new adventures in the journey of life!
My lesson was, and still is, not to be afraid to try new adventures in the journey of life!
Q: What inspired you to join the community?
A: I was intrigued by the term “International” which was once in the title of the Himalayan Institute literature. Living in and serving community, while meeting seekers from all over the world, was very appealing to me. I was also drawn to the idea of a retreat for introspection, and quieting the mind and body in a non-cloistered environment was appealing. I was seeking an intimate understanding of myself and a way to balance my lifestyle. Personal growth, self-exploration, and learning the art of meditation in a like-minded community was my goal.
Q: What have you learned during your time here?
A: For me, the idea of time doesn’t matter when creating a life you love. Learning to honor my own efforts by developing compassion for myself is why I remain in a like-minded community. It is too easy to fall back into old habits that do not serve you. Satsanga and being reminded to help one another as we learn to recognize what is most important on the path is a community living with a conscience.
Q: If there was one thing you could share about the Himalayan Institute, what would it be?
A: Discover your true rhythm in life! The idea that I could change my lifestyle empowered me in my youth, and when I look back I feel blessed. Learn what it means to retreat to understand yourself better, without the distractions of daily life. Don’t wait until retirement! Take time to learn to meditate from a competent teacher—it will truly help you in all aspects of your life.