Though the Pandemic has taken a toll on everybody’s work life, physical meetings seem to be a distant dream now! This way, we are only left to do is take a video interview. Being in a pandemic situation, this is something that becomes a need of the hour.
It’s not that it’s my first video interview, but still, a twitch in the hands and feet occurs. At about 1 PM, I start the video call waiting for our author, Raageshwari to join the call. Unknowingly, I was fixing my hair and watching my face in the camera to make sure I looked good.
“Am I audible?” I scream on the top of my lungs as if I wanted to make my voice reach to London, only to realize that I was merely mumbling. Wanted to make sure that it works, I raised my mobile up trying to catch the signal and yes, a beautiful face clad in sparkling white dress pops on the screen.
“Yes, I can hear you. Can you hear me?” It was like a eureka moment and we both smiled. I nodded my head in affirmation and I was ready to start.
Raageshwari is an actor, an award-winning singer and MTV VJ. At the peak of her career, she was struck with Bell’s palsy. She recovered with the help of yoga and mindfulness. Her mindfulness career includes her work with her guru Jack Canfield, an affirmation CD with the late Louise Hay, a Tibetan Rites documentary, and performing at the Nobel Peace Centre. Raageshwari now lives in London and runs her mindfulness company, Unicorn World Events. She speaks at myriad organizations globally on the power of the mind and is a guest speaker at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. She is also hosting and curating London’s AIM literary festival for children.
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It all began in her childhood
It has been 20 years after she had recovered from her facial paralysis and she had begun writing in her journal and collecting notes. ” The thought that transformed my life was ‘our inner world creates our outer world’. My own facial paralysis was proof of my inner turmoil. ( I write about this in detail in my chapter ‘affirmations’ in ‘Building a Happy Family’). So I wanted this powerful philosophy which is now backed by science to reach people. I wanted to empower, liberate and strengthen people’s inner world and make them realize of its potential to hone a positive life,” says Raageshwari.
“My wonderful editor Roshini Dadlani at Penguin guided me and nurtured me magically to express myself through words. You see I’m used to speaking, hosting, and holding seminars but to write is another art in itself. But we both agreed and knew we want to write books that empower and bring the power back to the reader. The Guru lives within you – my aim is to spread the message to everyone.”
She was deeply influenced by the storytelling by her grandmother to start reading. She and her brother Rishabh were members of a local library and they exchanged books on a weekly basis. ” Reading Ramayana was so amazing I remember jumping with joy every time hanuman Ji entered the scene. My father gifted me with beautiful books of Russian fairytales. I loved the beauty and innocence in them.”
On her childhood days, Raageshwari was a free child and used to have wanderlust. She would stay outdoors fearlessly till late at night and return back home. She recalls how much distress and trauma she has caused to her parents at that time. “I had a photographic memory ( or so I think) because I would remember the blocks and buildings very well for a 4-year-old and find my way back home but the police would get to me first. Every shopkeeper knew me, every bus conductor, every local policeman; as the girl who wanders off. It was one such incident when I was found in a bus ready to take off with an unknown woman,” she recalled. ” It’s only now as a mother I can imagine the trauma my parents went through.”
Winning the battle
It’s been a journey and a gradual process as Raageshwari dealt with Bell’s palsy. Instead of being low and distressed. Raageshwari wants everybody to take the failures, setbacks as head-on and learn something out of it.
“Obviously, this was not my thought 20 years ago when I had facial paralysis at the peak of my career,” she exclaims.
“Of course, I did feel I had lost it all, I did have fears, and severe lows. But my greatest support system was the love of my family especially the tenderness of my mother Veera. She took away all the mirrors of our home so that I could not see myself with my lopsided face. She put the mirrors back only after two years post my recovery. However, I want people who are alone to realize that the power is within you, even if you have family or not, you have to fight your own battles within first. So focus on your inner child, focus on building your inner strength, focus on telling yourself you are perfect the way you are.”
With all the Mindfulness-based work done with Jack Canfield, Late Louise Hay, and His Holiness Dalai Lama, she learned to be a student in life, observe it and live joyfully. ” This is called the ‘Growth Mindset’ which is vital for us to follow and I have explained it in detail in my book ‘Building a happy family.’”
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Bringing up the parent
As a parent, Raageshwari follows the notion that it is about bringing up the parent and evolving oneself as a parent rather than bringing up a child. ” We adults were also mindful and truly free when we were children but our ‘well-meaning’ parents, teachers, and carers conditioned us with social beliefs on success and self-worth not dependent on the inner world but the outer world like ‘academic grades, status, careers, etc’”
Being going in the right direction is important, ” most of us adults are directionless today because we suddenly realize that the success definitions do not make sense. That self-worth actually has everything to do with your own inner self, Your true merit should not be dependent on social trappings of external forces.”
She quoted a recent study done by the Harvard University on the development of the child, “Today, Harvard University research by the Center on the Developing Child states, ‘A child’s experiences during the earliest years of life have a lasting impact on the architecture of the developing brain.”
She also opens up to the idea of being positive about one own self. She regularly wants her child and advises the parents to allow their children to learn to enjoy their own company. ” Learn the art to encourage your own self, to motivate your own self, to pick up your own self when things are challenging or when life seems tough. If you teach yourself and your child this unique art, no challenge, no Failure, no crisis will shake you. As you have mastered the art to connect with your inner self,” says Raageshwari.
She also believes that the above exercises will help you become naturally resilient and less judgmental. She excitedly says, “A person naturally moves towards positivity, productivity, and creativity.”
As and when you become a parent, Raageshwari says, that you again become a student and your child becomes the teacher. “No teacher would have taught you what your child will teach you on a daily basis if you will allow yourself to listen and to observe. Be gentle with yourself, let go of egos, let go of comparisons, and let yourself enjoy the freedom and allow your child the same.”
She has also written this book with an aim. “This book is not just meant for a family with a mamma – papa and children, this book is also about any individual because we all have a family of children living within us. A child who is brave, or a child who is scared, a child who takes chances, or a child who needs nurturing. Different children – meaning different voices that come up during different experiences in our life. We have to heal and re-parent them for our own good.
The first book she wants her child to read ‘Incredible You’ by Wayne Dyer. ” I took it very seriously that a babies’ brain makes hundred neural Connections per second. So I was Not just reading children’s books to her.
I would read aloud my books and novels when I was pregnant; books on faith, books on spirituality, books on love like Marianne Williamson, Course in miracles, Ask and Thy shall receive, and then of course children’s books like Geeta for children, Snail and the Whale, ‘incredible you’ was her favorite for a long time but now it is a jungle book and she wants to be Mowgli.
The power of being Mindful!
Being positive and motivated is something that is needed. For Raageshwari, Mindfully doing things has helped her a lot and she regularly preaches the same. At this point, I am mindfully and thoroughly enjoying the virtual promotions of the book ‘building a happy family’. I am enjoying my Mindful sessions with my corporate clients and schools. and I am enjoying Mindful days with my soulmate Sudhanshu and my child Samaya during the lockdown. However, your ideas of a motion picture and a web series based on the book are making the neurons in my brain fire up !! so I am releasing it into the universe and let there be Miracles. I am ready.”
Raageshwari likes to take a stroll in a park, meditation, and cooking. So also loves painting and talking to children as it helps her to take a different look at life, the more easy-going, childlike manner. ” Samaya tells me the most fascinating things. Life is fine if you tilt your face towards the Sunshine. Our sunshine is always within us!!”
One of the best things she said was, “Be mindful to not be guilty of the past nor worry about the future.”
When I asked how, she smiled and replied, “I’m aware many of the people out there perhaps, have had troubled childhoods. If past wounds of your own childhood show up, re-parenting through mindfulness will help you greatly. A mindful way is to take your childhood picture and simply converse with it. Tell the picture what you most wanted to hear when you were little.” I was speechless!
Some of her favorite authors include Dr. Shashi Tharoor and Amish Tripathi, Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy, Tim Marshall, Yuval Noah Harari.
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