How to stay balanced
Sahara: So many of our practices and tools are still not available for us right now. What are you doing to stay balanced, to stay healthy, given that a lot of us are still at home?
GT: I think, first and foremost, you just have to be creative… finding anything and anywhere that you can exercise and break a sweat. I've done it all and I think you just have to stay active because not only is it critical for your health from a physical standpoint but it's really critical from a mental health standpoint. It’s a mental release and the days when I’m not able to work out and break a sweat I’m not really myself.
The power of meditation and intention setting
Sahara: I think so many people right now are feeling this loss of control. I know for you meditation has been such a big practice in coming back to the present. Can you share a little bit more about this?
GT: I grew up with two very spiritual parents that took me to India at a very young age of 3 years old. That's the first time that I was exposed to an Eastern way of thinking and more importantly an Eastern way of quieting the mind and guiding your thoughts. I was raised with the understanding that meditation was as important as brushing your teeth and it was a daily practice. It wasn't something that you had to make time for or was negotiable. It was something that you had to do - almost like spiritual hygiene. The way I was taught to meditate was basically that you don't have to be in any particular environment or pose or situation, it's really 5 or 10 minutes that you use to have an internal dialogue with yourself and ground your thoughts.
What I love to do is meditate twice a day in the morning and at night. In the morning I'm kind of setting my intentions for the day and what I want out of the day and then in the evening I do kind of an inventory, or post-mortem, a recap of the day and understanding what transpired even if things didn't really go my way so to speak.
So meditation is incredible because during these challenging times, even though a lot of us have embraced this "new norm," I think it’s important, as cheesy as it sounds, to count your blessings. Because right now that’s really all we can do. There’s a lot that’s out of our control but when you really celebrate and acknowledge the beautiful things that are in our lives like our health, our friends, the roof over our heads - it really creates a calm within that helps us navigate the challenges ahead.
Sahara: Do you find that most times when you set an intention, it doesn’t end up really going that way, or are you now just more open to accepting whatever way the day goes?
GT: I think it’s a combination of the two, right? On one hand you can decide whatever will happen, will happen, but that's not necessarily the point, the point is to be detached. To understand that you can have these intentions but if they don’t go your way you have to understand and believe that there’s a reason for that and you have to learn from that reason. An intention to me is an open hearted/minded request where you are like “This is what I want out of the day and this is what I am going to focus my mind and my effort towards” but, at the end of the day, every day is a new experience.
Harnessing the Ayurvedic Energy types
Sahara: You make plans, but then plans go a different way and it’s about coming back to the feeling you want to feel. I think that’s the only thing that we can control throughout this. I’ve actually been studying intention with the doshas, the Ayurvedic Energy types. I will have my Vata days - those are my creative days when I will be writing, speaking, brainstorming. Then I have my Pitta days, the fire days, when I will get everything done, send emails, check off the list. Then I have my Kapha days which is typically rest, grounding - my full focus is my self-care. I find that has been really helpful for me because I find when trying to do something creative like write a book… I can flow with that energy on that day. And then on the Pitta days I don’t feel badly that I didn’t work on my book. It’s giving myself permission to be in that energy.
GT: It’s really important to allow ourselves to have different colors to our personality.
Sahara: Absolutely, because then we don't criticize ourselves for “why was I not every single thing every single day."
Practices that bring joy
Sahara: What are some of the things that you are doing for joy right now? What is bringing you joy?
GT: It's actually reconnecting with family. I’ve learned, as I get older and get ready to become a parent, I am incentivized and motivated to start talking more to my father and understanding his path as a parent from having his first, second, third, fourth child. As well as understanding what I was like as a child.
So that’s a big part of this year, as well as trying to achieve more of a work-life balance. I burn the candle at both ends. In many ways I already feel that I am married with kids (with my business), but I am about to have kids so I will need to balance the two. Easier said than done, but it forces you to really understand everything you do in the day and challenge it - asking “Is this a priority? Is this the best use of my time?” So that is an active conversation almost every day for me.
Sahara: For me it has been dancing. I love to dance but when dance classes shut down I started to do it at home. It has been a great way for me to get into my body. As we know the mind and body are so interconnected, so I find when I have more openness, fluidity, connectivity in my body I feel more present in my mind. I’ve been making TikToks and it’s been fun to be in that inner child space again.
GT: Before starting my business, I was living the life of what I thought was a 60 year old. I was starting to get a little sad and lonely so I started to go out to a local nightclub by myself and I discovered my love of dancing. It’s a celebration of life, it's a great exercise.
Sahara: It’s such a spiritual practice as well to just be in the body. In ancient times that’s how we would heal. It was a communal thing. I think because of choreography we think of it as this thing we do for others but it’s about releasing that and feeling that unity with the music. There’s really nothing else like it.
Finding your purpose
Sahara: What advice do you have for someone trying to figure out their purpose?
GT: I realized what really makes me happy is to bring love and joy into people’s lives. I think the greatest form of happiness comes when you actually can kill your ego. Ego is where entitlement and greed and self-righteousness comes from, and when you kill that you understand what the path forward for you is in that lifetime. I think gone are the days where we exist for self-serving reasons, it’s now about doing something that spreads unconditional love and empathy and kindness. And if you can do that in your career you will discover a newly found way of being happy and no words can describe it in my opinion.
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