Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Shailey Sharma, Maryland, USA

Healer, Artist, Activist, Art of Living Teacher
Degree in Occupational Therapy

Born in Nepal, brought up in various parts of India and Libya, I grew up - loving life! A premature baby making it without being stuck in an incubator, in a little town in Nepal, I have always felt a little extra ‘Divine’ spotlight on me. Growing up in a traditional religious family, I was aware of a power greater than myself, had immense faith in that power and knew that I was taken care of, no matter what. I was a peace - loving and content child, averse to discord and altercations finding refuge instead, in the nearest temple and found myself in quiet communion with my God.

I graduated from Delhi University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. I was drawn to the human interactive aspect of my profession, and felt fortunate to have heard my calling. After working in India for a brief period, I moved to Florida in pursuit of professional satisfaction. I am a Healer, an Artist, Activist and now an Art of Living Teacher. I currently live and work in Maryland .

From cynicism to gratitude

I was introduced, by my sister, to the Art of Living Foundation in 2002, on one of my trips home to India. My sister had seen a flyer about this life-transforming course, that focused on breathing techniques, meditation and some pearls of ancient wisdom, enrolled in it and seen tremendous change in her life. She was undergoing a tough time personally (to put it mildly) and it was truly life-giving for her.

She tricked me into meeting her Course teacher, and I ended up arguing with both of them, convincing them I was not ‘stressed out’, did not need this course, and I was satisfied with the current level of spirituality in my life. I was also averse and cynical to the concept of a "Guru" , as I felt, I had a direct connection with God and didn’t want an interpreter. Here I must mention , I had been intrigued and interested in reading the works of an Indian Scholar, Swami Vivekananda, and his teachings on the Vedanta Philosophy. His discourses had brought me immense peace and solace.

However in February of 2004, still cynical about this spiritual course and questioning the validity of it in my life, I was yet again tricked by my family, on yet another trip to India, to accompany my mother to the Art of Living International Center in Bangalore, India. During my stay at the Ashram, I would experience little magical moments of grace as well, yet chose to ignore them. Finally at the end of 10 days, I caved in and took the Art of Living Course.....and, no, wasn’t hit by lightening but I felt human again. I had tremendous amounts of Gratitude for the Founder of the organization, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who had truly blessed us with this gift of a course.

Service inspired by Sri Sri

I was instantly taken in by the various humanitarian programs led by the organization, the holistic approach to life and re-kindling a sense of community, and service in thousands of people in over 145 countries. I believe in redemption and second chances and was immediately drawn to the Prison S.M.A.R.T Program( Stress Management and Rehabilitation Techniques) led by Art of Livings’ sister organization I.A.H.V ( International Association for Human Values) also inspired by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (‘Guruji’ as he is adoringly called by me and many).

Benefits: health, creativity, awareness, relationships,

If I felt blessed to be alive before, now I am only more so - my health has improved, I experience more energy, accomplish more, more creativity blossoms and my relationships have improved both at work and personally. I had never been so connected to myself before and interested in observing the workings of my own mind. I am better able to handle my emotions, mind and due to an increased awareness, my whole life is slowly, very subtly transforming -- one breath at a time!!!

I have found my therapy being profoundly affected by this shift - I am more in touch with my patients, more compassionate, more present. My patients report feeling better with fewer sessions of therapy, regardless of the setting (Trauma Hospitals, Nursing homes, Out patient centers) or their individual diagnoses and the treatment rendered. This is nothing short of miraculous. The premise of the organization is “from peace within, comes peace without” and I see it in action every day!

Over the years I have taken a variety of courses that Art of Living offers, and each one enhances my life, bringing with it a new flavor, revealing more of myself to me. I have also been fortunate to be in the presence of and interact with Guruji, an enlightened being who walks the talk and reveals to me “Love in not just an emotion, it is our very existence

And so, it starts with the breath - our life.

Embrace it! Live it! Love it!

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