Saturday, August 21, 2010

Marlene Sandhu Life Story!

About Myself: I am an entrepreneur and small-business owner in the Washington, DC area. My company provides cultural programs for senior citizens living in nursing homes who have dementia and cognitive decline. Our programs have been featured in various media including The Washington Post and The Daily CafĂ© TV program and we have conducted workshops in the methods we use for several hundred caregivers - both professionals and family members.

I was born in Stamford, Connecticut (a suburb of New York City) and attended a Jewish day school for 9 years and later graduated from Vassar College. I became a teacher with the Art of Living Foundation in 2007 and now live with my husband in Virginia.

My Art of Living Experience:

My husband Mandeep found the Art of Living website in 2005 while searching for alternative solutions to lowering cholesterol. He called for more information and was invited to attend the evening program with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who happened to be coming to town in a few days. He reserved 14 tickets and invited a group of our friends to see what it was all about. I remember arriving that evening in the worst mood – angry about something and annoyed with everyone --- which was a very typical way for me to feel in those days. I sat with my arms crossed and my face in a pout while my husband chatted with our friends. When Sri Sri came on stage and began speaking, I didn’t hear a word he said I was so lost in my own grumbling. At some point, the lights dimmed and Sri Sri began to lead us into a guided meditation. I had never meditated before in my life, but closed my eyes as directed and listened. “Put a smile on your face…even if it’s just a fake smile,” I heard Sri Sri say. “Fine,” I remember saying to myself, and I put a huge sarcastic grin on my face, “here you go.” All of a sudden my mood shifted. My anger melted away and seemed so silly – I began to laugh and my smile became real. I had never experienced anything like that before. Usually my anger would have lasted for hours, if not days. 

“There’s something to this,” I thought.

We signed up for the Art of Living Course and when I learned the Sudarshan Kriya breathing exercise I experienced more and more release of my anger, anxiety and depression. A few weeks earlier my doctor had given me a prescription for an anti-depressant medication and given me the option of taking the pills. I hadn’t filled the prescription yet and once I started doing the home practices that I learned in the Art of Living Course I found there was no need. Every day it was like another layer of the depression was falling off me. Friends and family began commenting that I seemed so much more relaxed and happy. Now when I teach the Art of Living Course the participants often comment about how calm I am and how much I smile! “Were you always like this?” I tell them this story and they are just amazed about the change in my life.

A few months after completing my first Art of Living Course my business idea came to me and I started out on my own. I had never owned a business before and was amazed about the immediate success the company experienced. Things happened easily and within a few months we were already financially successful and gaining more and more clients – people were calling us asking to be our clients!
When people tell me about the stress and anxiety they are experiencing I remember how blessed I am to have found this knowledge. I think of how my life would have been without it and am so grateful for where I am today. I have sent so many people to the Art of Living programs and wink to them saying “I’ll give you the secret to this ever-blossoming smile that I wear with me…and, I tell you, it can be your experience, too.”

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