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Sampoorna is a psychologist and founder of Rathna Center for Conscious Living (RCCL), a holistic growth and development center based in Chennai, India. Since 1980, through travelling, facilitating and teaching thousands of people to empower themselves, Sampoorna has imbibed and developed several powerful techniques and processes that facilitate growth and transformation. Her own transformation began when she was introduced to psycho-spiritual work by Loic and Stephanie LeRoy from France, with whose support she uncovered and released deep seated, defensive patterns and experienced the power of self-forgiveness. This fueled her future research and pioneering work in Forgiveness. Shortly thereafter, she received Louise Hay's book - You Can Heal Your Life® - as a gift, which was another milestone in her life.
It strengthened and enhanced her experience of the body-mind connection. Interlacing these philosophies with traditional psychological methods, contributed towards a holistic practice that created a tremendous impact on the lives of her clients.
The practice of vipassana brought about the next radical change. Her core principle of connecting within became a tangible, visceral experience, that she could embody in her life. Practicing mindfulness over the years, honed her thinking to be clear and sharp which resulted in the stability and balance that she brings into her life and work. The heightened awareness with which she is able to pick up on people’s emotions and thoughts, even at subtle levels, enables her to penetrate through the layers, and take the work deeper.
Sampoorna is committed to the wellbeing of her clients and participants. Her maturity and grounding lets her be herself without holding on to a personna. This enables her to see the other individual for the person that they are, irrespective of their own image of themselves. Working on herself and others has shown her that everyone holds the same fears and insecurities and that everyone is doing the best they can. The awareness that what she sees in another is what she has herself, allows her to be kind, non judgemental and understanding of people.
The foundation of trust and belief she lives by, allows her to see people in the light of their highest potential and believe in them, even before they can believe in themselves, thereby bringing out the best in each one. Her empathetic disposition does not stop her from being tough with her clients when needed, to bring about the change they desire and help them recognise deeper aspects of themselves. Finding her ethical, conscientious and trustworthy, her clients feel secure and free to reveal even the worst of themselves. Her genuine care and compassion is evident from her patience and willingness to work with the most resistant clients.
Sampoorna’s work is powerful in its simplicity. It is unpretentious and direct, with an ease that is devoid of frills. Agile and level headed in her thinking, she is sensitive to each cue. She acknowledges the person as a whole to get a complete picture of the situation and formulates powerful processes that delve into the depths of a person. Using a flexible and adaptable approach, she works uniquely with each individual. Her clients are empowered to find their own optimal solutions as she assists them to access their creative source. They leave with the strength of having found a friend within, through the process of knowing and accepting oneself.
She lives a life of contentment that emanates from her inner state of peace. Real with her feelings, her vulnerability, her joy, her compassion, her anger, her love are all openly expressed. She believes that suppressing any one emotion is a non expression of love.
Learning and growing has become an inherent part of her personality and she uses every situation that comes her way to enhance her growth and live a life of integrity. Walking the talk, she continues to shed the layers of conditioning acquired over the years, and stay more connected with her core states of oneness and harmony, from which she is then able to spread wellbeing to others.
a novel methodology
Sampoorna’s core techniques have evolved through first-hand interaction with her clients for close to four decades. Her expertise lies in her multi-modal approach where her keen perception and deep discerning ability come to the fore. As a holistic practitioner, her work is always oriented to the whole person, and therefore involves interventions at the psycho-spiritual, emotional and physical levels. The work itself is an amalgamation of techniques, methods and processes that are multi-disciplinary and bring together the best of the east and the west.
A workshop typically includes some or all of the following – conventional methods such as psychotherapy, meditation, breathing, music, physical exercise; contemporary methods such as NLP, art, imagery, journaling, sound, movement, drama, laughter; and nutrition innovative methods such as gardening, play, silence, eating and storytelling.
With a vision to facilitate people to identify and access the power within themselves, she has interacted with over 40,000 people across the world including corporate employees, law enforcement staff, officers and education personnel. Her clients and country visits are across the globe including USA, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, the UK, Ireland, France, Sweden, Malaysia, Singapore, China, and other countries in the Middle East and Asia. She also has special in-bound programmes for client groups from other countries.
Sampoorna has a Doctorate in Applied Psychology. Passionate about psychology from when she was young, she did her Bachelor’s, Master’s, M.Phil and Ph.D in Psychology. She did pioneering work in the area of forgiveness in India. Her thesis on “The effectiveness of forgiveness intervention in fostering wellbeing” showed significant results using the intervention she developed.
With a nearly forty year experience in counselling, therapy, coaching, facilitating and training, she has impacted over 40,000 people, across the world. Besides her formal education in Psychology, Sampoorna underwent supervised training with Dr Balakrishnan at the Government General Hospital, Madras.
Evolution and Development
The psycho-spiritual therapy training with Loic and Stephanie LeRoy, France, first as Energo 8 and then as Evolution and Development, in the early 1990’s introduced her to body-mind-spirit connection. This was her exposure to the metaphysical world and experiencing the power of the Unconscious. She trained to teach the programme to both children and adults.
Heal Your Life® Teacher-Trainer
Licensed Heal Your Life® Teacher-Trainer for India, since 2013, authorized by Hay House. Recognising the value of Louise L. Hay’s work that she came across in the 1990s, and clearly seeing how it would augment her work with clients, she underwent the training to be a Heal Your Life® workshop leader in 2003 and subsequently as a coach.
NLP Master Trainer
Sampoorna qualified as an NLP master practitioner and master trainer with Dr Richard McHugh. She worked with him in training NLP practitioners for nearly ten years, initially assisting, then co-facilitating and subsequently giving the seminars herself on his request.
She trained in InterPlay with its co-founder Cynthia Winton-Henry, USA and Fr. Prashant Olalaker (co-founder, India). She invited them to Chennai to lead successful movement workshops using InterPlay.
Art and Theatre
As a self-taught artist, she apprenticed in the early 1990s under Bhagwan Chawan to hone her skills. From 1998 to 2003, they ran classes together at her premises, combining art with therapeutic work. Her participation in several theatre workshops She trained as a ‘radical forgiveness’ coach with Colin Tipping.
Her instruction in sound work was with pioneers in the field: Jonathan Goldman, Don Campbell and Joshua Leeds. She uses the voice with its natural sounds as a tool for healing.
Institutions and Organizations
Dr Sampoorna has worked with different educational institutions; namely TISS- BALM, IIT Madras, Madras School of Social Work, SIET Women’s College, Kumararani Meena Muthiah College of Arts and Science, ICFAI School of Management, Meena Muthiah College, SRM College, SRM College of Occupational Therapy, Academic Staff College (University of Madras), Staff of ICE (University of Madras), CSIM, Lady Andal School, Brindavan Public School, St. Aloycious Convent School, Vidyodaya Higher Secondary School, Kesari High School, Chinmaya International School, and Church Park.
Dr Sampoorna has also conducted a workshop with the principals of the Salesian School Congregation. She has been involved with private corporations such as United India Insurance, Clariant BTP, Lanson group, Proscribe, Polaris Software, DSQ software, Magnacast, Lakshmi Machine Works, Indian Airlines, Parry and company, MRF, and Colt computers.
Dr Sampoorna has also worked with government institutions like Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited, Women Police of Tamilnadu, Men Police of Chennai, Tamilnadu District Men Police, CID Crime Branch, Tamilnadu Water & Sanitation Project Managers, and Tamilnadu State Resource Centre.
She has conducted several interactive, activity-oriented, experiential workshops and trainings with Police Departments such as:
Sensitizing women police to victims – Equipping 1000 women police of Tamilnadu, with skills in rapport building, listening and empathy
Stress, Anger, Time, Health management – 7000 Chennai Men police over three years
Sensitization to gender differences from the psychological perspective – TN District men police
Self-esteem and stress management – Crime Branch, CID, Adult (Corporations and Institutions)
Over the years, Sampoorna has conducted various workshops including Counselling and Self-Concept, Preventing Burn-Out, using Drama in psychotherapy, Listening and Body Language, Communication, Motivation, Power of the Mind, Re-fueling the Engine, Soft skills Training, Empowerment of Women, Relationship building among corporate executives and spouses, Participatory Communication, Anger, Stress and Time Management, Decision-Making, Strengthening Identity, Conflict Resolution, Leadership and Growth as well as organising an Orientation Course for Lecturers. She is also constantly developing unique workshops targeted towards specific goals. Recent ones include Fluid Boundaries, Resolving resistance, Being, Spontaneity vs Boredom, Overcoming inertia and strengthening identity.
Other Significant Contributions
Embarking from her thesis on the ‘Impact of Forgiveness intervention in Fostering Well Being’, Dr Sampoorna regularly incorporates Forgiveness along with a multitude of tools as essential elements to her work. Apart from traditional psychological interventions, she presented a paper on ‘Women’s Shelter - An integrated Care Model’, at the International Conference on Care for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS, co-sponsored by WHO, Red Cross and Red Crescent (Montreal, Canada). She has conducted Psycho-spiritual therapy and group work training as a consultant to Evolution and Development, France, and was also a resource person for Institute of Correspondence Education, M.Sc Psychology at the University of Madras, India. She has played a significant role in setting up a home for women with HIV, identifying localities and organizing literacy programmes for women as a trustee of Zonta resource center, setting up and running a short stay home to rehabilitate women in distress as Executive Director of Aashraya and, organizing a pre and post-operative counselling programme for cardiac patients at Pandalai Cardio-Thoracic Foundation.
Sampoorna explores life and work through her creative expression – she writes articles and books, she lets stories flow as a stream of consciousness, she unites paints with canvas and also allows poetry to pen itself on paper.
Sampoorna authored ‘Transformation! Story of a bird’, a self-help book with a story and a workbook, published by St. Paul’s Better Yourself books. ‘Miracle of the Heart’, a true-story she authored, was included in the book ‘Modern day miracles’ by Louise Hay and friends, published by Hay House, USA. Her article on Forgiveness was published by the National Council of Guidance and Education in Ireland, and several others have been published in magazines for adults and children.
Besides her significant professional contribution, Sampoorna is active in welfare work. She worked with battered women and was one of the key persons in setting up a home for women with HIV in 1990 - one of the first in Southeast Asia. In the past few years, she has been actively involved in a number of unique programs to promote awareness and wellbeing. For instance, the ‘Beach Happiness Project’ involves early morning free sessions on the Marina beach, which gives the public a chance to participate in, and benefit from a range of exercises that improve physical, mental and emotional health.
A single child, born in 1956, Sampoorna was fortunate to grow up with ample sibling love and rivalry, in the nurturing space of a traditional joint family. The family, headed by her grandparents, included her aunt, uncle and cousins, besides her mother and herself.
The always welcome stream of relatives and house guests from towns and villages gave her an exposure to interact with different types of people. This offered her an opportunity from a young age to observe and understand people through their interactions, moods and differences.
Dealing with people of varied temperament served in building up her resilience and taught her to relate with different personalities.
She grew up with the insight that each person had their strengths and weaknesses, with no two alike, and that they could still accept their differences and co-exist harmoniously. Her early upbringing taught her to recognize ‘difference, dissimilarity and variation’ as contributing to diversity rather than disparity.
The strong connection with relatives gave her the perception of family as a community group - sharing, providing and being provided for. Sampoorna, though city-bred, was privileged to enjoy country life during summer vacations at her paternal grandfather’s home. She was born and raised in Madras, now Chennai, where she continues to reside.
rathna center for conscious living (rccl)
Rathna Centre for Conscious Living (RCCL) originated with the intention of making meaningful and lasting change to the lives of people. With the desire to inspire people to live in balance, the founder, Dr G. L. Sampoorna, a psychologist with forty years of experience, built Rathna Center as a safe space for people to connect within, and integrate their experiences, so that they can live with greater awareness in the present moment. Using a holistic method that combines different approaches in psychology with other modalities, the Center offers psychological services such as therapy, counseling and training, all oriented towards individual empowerment and holistic growth. It facilitates personal transformation through working at the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.
The work at RCCL is distinguished by its generative quality, that enables people to take charge of themselves, apply the learnings in their daily lives and move towards wholeness and wellbeing. The techniques and processes, both remedial and growth oriented, have emerged from Sampoorna’s vast experience as a psychologist, woven in with what she imbibed over the years from methodologies and schools of thought that she was exposed to. The penetrative depth and originality of the work at the center comes from the constant, uncompromising work on herself. She has intuitively melded traditional, indigenous, alternative and contemporary methods into an innovative and efficacious system, combining the best of the East and the West.
The center with its ethos of peace, trust, safety, compassion and patience, allows people to journey within and forge a deep connection with the self. Being centered within helps clients access their inner wisdom, gain insights and find their own solutions; all of which we believe one has within oneself. With awareness, people naturally feel inclined to acknowledge different aspects of themselves, even confront their shadows, and accept who they are. Living in a genuine and authentic manner becomes real and tangible, as people experience the profound changes that come with the wisdom of inner connection.
The RCCL team is open, progressive and even radical in its thinking, able to synthesize ideas, old and new, to offer flexible strategies catering to varying needs that arise. Sampoorna’s genuine care for people and interest in bringing out the best in her clients, prompts her to freely share the wisdom of her experience with her team of up-and-coming therapists. Understanding the power of deep listening and empathy, she trains them to be present to the client, to see, hear and perceive beyond what is being said. Knowing that the outer world is a reflection of the inner self, she provides them with opportunities for ongoing, consistent self-growth. She teaches the team to be level headed, honest, reflective, humane, agile and aligned, so that they hold the space for people to feel secure in their healing process. The spirit of synergy and collaboration that is characteristic of the multimodal approach used, assures excellence and competence in the services rendered here.
In keeping with her philosophy of providing effective and lasting therapy, Sampoorna is passionate about bringing excellence into the next generation of counsellors and therapists through the internship and mentoring programs where students are given roles within the Center, enabling them to learn, absorb and get trained as they work and contribute in meaningful ways.
The time spent at RCCL nudges people to embark on a journey towards further development. The self sufficiency that people gain through the work, allows them the freedom to continue to grow independently, even after completing their sessions at Rathna Center, empowered with the attitude and learnings to move forward.
Rathna Center for Conscious Living (RCCL) is a nucleus for personal and collective growth and expansion.
Our mission is to support people to connect within, and access their inner joy, peace and wisdom.
Our vision is to inspire people to live consciously, enjoying holistic growth and wellbeing.
Our dream is to see people whole and complete, in tune with themselves and the planet.
To achieve what we envision, we use an Awareness-Integration-Expansion (AIE) model, that involves simple, practical and effective methods.
Through engaging in the practices of easy focus, mindfulness and whole brain exercises, we begin to cultivate the habit of living each moment with awareness. Living consciously, we become present to ourselves, our actions and our relationships. We re-train ourselves to approach life through ‘being’.
Using a multi-modality approach with psychological processes as a base, we learn to accept ourselves even with our inadequacies. We integrate the wisdom gained from our life experiences. As we connect to parts of ourselves that may have been once unacknowledged, we come more into our wholeness. A holistic approach with holistic growth elevates our overall sense of harmony and wellbeing.
Working at the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels, we ensure a balance in growth and development of the whole person. Being aware in the present, with an integration of our past, we become more complete, leading to an expansiveness within. This expanded state allows people to share their learning and wisdom with the world around, just through their presence.
Rathna Center for Conscious Living is a calm haven in the thick of the city. It offers a spacious and versatile place for trainers and workshop leaders to offer enriching therapeutic interventions such as personal consultation(s), workshops, experiential training programs, as well as movement & art based programs.
Aside from running the center’s own psychological and psycho-spiritual programs, the space is also let out for like-minded people to use for activities related to holistic growth and wellbeing.
Our in-house team consists of psychologists, counsellors, therapists, coaches, NLP practitioners, facilitators, and trainers.
dr. g.l. sampoorna
Dr. Sampoorna is the founder of Rathna Center for Conscious Living (RCCL), a holistic growth and development center based in Royapettah, Chennai, India. A practitioner par-excellence with upto 40 years of experience, her passion for making knowledge actionable and accessible has inspired her to create hundreds of exercises, workshops and programs to help people live better lives. She is a pioneer in Forgiveness work in India, an internationally certified Heal Your Life® Teacher-Trainer for India in the philosophy of Louise Hay (USA); and master trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). She provides her services in person, through telephone and online courses.
Lakshmi Nandhini Lingam
I am a certified psychotherapist (C.O.S.C.A) with an MCouns in Counselling and Psychotherapy from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland (Distinction). I use an integrative approach, drawing from person-centered and psychodynamic psychotherapy, mind-body approaches and NLP. I have worked with clients both in the UK and in India, with goals ranging from personal growth, to navigating break-ups/divorce, dealing with stress, overcoming addiction, managing marital/family conflicts and healing trauma.I believe that experiencing challenges and wanting support is normal.
It is not a reflection of our capabilities or worth. Counselling gives us a chance to pause, reflect, untangle and process experiences. As we do this, we heal and create positive changes in our lives.
The services I offer are individual counselling, play therapy and group therapy.
Raj Bhairappa worked as a software engineer for more than 15 years. During this time he did a lot of personal growth work that transformed his life. He says that it was through this work his inner state of mind changed from an endlessly grey, rainy day to a rich, vibrant spring day. He says he cannot even recognize the old self. Wanting more, he trained to run psychologically based personal growth workshops. He now wants others to learn and gain from the methods, process, exercises and work that impacted him so deeply.
He is able to offer hope and inspiration to others because he has a living example that you can transform your life deeply and permanently. Having trained under Dr. Sampoorna, he also facilitates the Conscious Living SHOTT programme as part of RCCL’s other events.
My journey into self-growth and knowing myself started at a very low point in the last year of my under graduation. Reading the book ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ by Normal Vincent Peale, I learned, I can choose to be in charge of my life. The teachings in the book helped me overcome years of low self-esteem and complete my mechanical engineering, clearing nearly a dozen backlogs in the last semester. I realized first hand that changing my thoughts does create a change in my life. The taste of positive change led me on a path of exploration.
I wanted to know why I did what I did and how I could change.From that point, all my reading was for practical application in my own life. It gave me the courage to be an entrepreneur very early in my career. Varied experiences in my entrepreneurial and personal life over a period of seven years strengthened my longing to know myself.
Attending the Love Yourself, Heal Your Life® workshop by Sara Kachwala was a turning point in my life. It was my first exposure to an experiential workshop that opened up areas within that I was previously unaware of. I experienced a deep dive in my journey as I was introduced to Dr G. L. Sampoorna and her transformative workshops – Forgiveness, Essence and many more.
A beautiful journey of learning in training has begun with becoming a certified trainer of ‘Transformation! Story of a bird workshop’ based on the book written by Dr G. L. Sampoorna and facilitator for the everyday mind-body-spirit programme, Conscious Living SHOTT at Rathna Center for Conscious Living.
I graduated with an Integrated Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Amity University, Noida in 2018. During my summer breaks, I would come back to Chennai to intern under organisations and experts in the field. My journey towards self-awareness and self-discovery started when I took my first Vipassana meditation course in 2015 as part of my internship under Dr. G.L. Sampoorna. While I continued to work on myself, I realised the positive impact that self-work had on my thinking patterns, lifestyle and relationships.
A young intern with an inquisitive mind, creative and enthusiastic to broaden my perspective, I continued to involve myself in the happenings at the centre, that is now Rathna Centre for Conscious Living. During the February of 2019, I trained under National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore in their pioneering project, ‘Police Wellbeing Programme’ in collaboration with the Tamilnadu Police Department. The project aims at creating awareness in Holistic Wellbeing, Work-Life Balance and Suicide Prevention among Police Personnels in Tamilnadu. This project is believed to serve as a model for Police Departments of other states across India.
I read voraciously and practice mindfulness through meditation and cycling. To be in touch with myself, I sing, laugh with little children, dive, color and explore monuments and architectural marvels.
Trained and mentored under Dr. G. L. Sampoorna, I currently facilitate the Conscious Living SHOTT programme at RCCL. I believe in the power of change through self-acceptance and being in the ‘present’. Just by being aware, I started letting go of clustered negativity to make space for growth and change in my life. I started noticing how naturally I bloomed when I trusted myself and my journey.
Naba Fathima, a graduate in psychology, is a young explorer who has had hands on training with Dr G. L. Sampoorna for over two years and completed her Heal Your Life® teacher training in 2017, making her the youngest teacher-trainer in the world. Furthermore, she completed the Coach training in Core Transformation under international trainer Mark Andreas. She has also undergone an exclusive training programme called Medi Clowning which integrates humor and therapy. She is also passionate about photography with a fondness for travel.
Sanjana graduated from FLAME University, Pune in 2017 with a BA in Literature and Culture Studies and a minor in Psychology. She took the following years to pursue her passion for the piano and psychology. She uses music therapeutically at WeCan - Canbridge Academy, a school for individuals with autism, to provide a creative space for students to express and destress. She is an NLP Practitioner, having completed her training in September 2019, and destress/ she is an NLP September 2019, and workshop leader for the revolutionary Transformation! Story of a Bird workshop.
She interns at Rathna Center for Conscious Living and uses her creative talent and collaborative spirit to effectively communicate and network at the center. She likes to call herself the PR Head of RCCL.
rathna's origin story
Letting go of the old and bringing in the new
When I was a child, I loved going next door to my friend's house. Even after we moved, I continued my visits and would often tell her, "I love your house". Nodding her assent, she would proudly state several reasons as to why it was the best. The solemn discussion about the beauty and comfort of her house would conclude with us agreeing that the house had something we couldn't describe in words. Years passed by and one day, to my joy and astonishment, a random family conversation revealed to me that the house was ours; that it belonged to my mother. I dreamed of us living there but alas, we didn't. More years later, my mother passed away, I was married and divorced, and somewhere during that period, I moved into the top floor of the house I loved. I enjoyed living there, cherishing my terrace garden. Not only I, every one of my innumerable friends and guests who entered the place, loved it. It became commonplace to hear each new visitor exclaim in wonder at how lovely it was and how good they felt there.
It was an open house with an open heart (if a house did have a heart). It was a space of stability, comfort and safety. It nurtured me as it did several of my friends and relatives in trying times, holding each one in times of need and allowing one to be. It was also the hub of fun and joyous celebration. It was a haven of peace. The house that was bequeathed to my mother by her father, as a symbol of safety and security when she was deserted by her husband, continued to fulfill its role of providing security.
At some point, I moved to the ground floor. My private practice took shape with individual clients and small groups. It pleased me immensely to hear clients invariably remark on the peace and healing energy they felt there. One very skeptical client surprised me when he said, "I feel healed the minute I enter this space." I recognized the feeling we couldn't describe as children to be the energy that the place held. As I lived and worked there, expanding to art classes and theatre workshops, and to meditation, we all experienced great healing and transformation. My home was a second home to many, to participate, to hang out, and to meet up. Many times in subsequent years, I have heard people reminisce about the wondrous times they had there.
It would be nice if the story ended thus, but that was not to be. A purpose beyond this awaited birth and fulfillment. The next decade of the journey saw me travelling incessantly and it became convenient to rent out the house while I lived in an apartment across the road. The building had been developing cracks and although I was assured it was structurally safe, it began to call for a lot of maintenance. The time for change was approaching, yet I was not ready to let go. A few more years went by with my focus on work and travel. I toyed with the plan to rebuild, and even though I let it remain in the back-burner, I kept fueling the idea to keep the intention alive.
Finally, in 2015, the new story began to emerge. I was ready and inspired to build my centre and home in the premises. The house was vacated and paperwork was in progress. The house with a heart, also had a mind of its own. Having hosted happy tenants for nearly a decade, it now needed a re-alignment of energy towards the larger purpose it was to serve. As we waited for permissions, the alignment happened, the place became host to a series of weekly workshops, training, several activities and daily processes, including group meditation, all of which culminated in a session on gratitude. Each week saw a good number of people, known and unknown, come and experience great shifts and transformation. For me, it was a period of joy mingled with the sorrow of parting. There was a spurt of energy, that spark of life that lights up the being, just before letting go to death. It is difficult to describe the energy that was present. It was not just alive, it seemed like every aspect of life and death had to be experienced, before the old could make way for the new. One year later, the plans and demolition papers were in place. After paying respects to every nook and cranny, with a heavy heart, I swung the hammer against the wall to begin the demolition. My grief was unbounded and I ran up the stairs one last time to touch and feel each spot I cherished, nestling into the corners that had nurtured and nourished me, sobbing and howling, re-living the memories of so long ago. Memories that had faded, that were fresh, that were buried, all coming alive again together, to meet once more, for that single spurt of breath and life before they were blasted into nothingness.
Destruction was creating new ground for construction. The building had to go, the emotions had to be allowed to surface to be felt, expressed, released, to dissipate, making space for the new. New ideas, thoughts, the building, new memories to evolve, all needed space. Bhoomi pooja was done, promising Vastu purusha that I would be a trustworthy guardian of the land. We wrote affirmative words and statements on pieces of paper and placed them in the soil as the foundation work commenced. I felt hope and excitement. However, hand in hand with that, was the fear of undertaking this marathon venture all on my own. Almost as if to fulfill my expectations, challenges arose and as the building began to rise, so did the challenges. Errors, big and small needed solutions. I was forced to acknowledge the implication of the vernacular saying, "pelli chesi choodu, illu katti choodu" translating to, "conduct a marriage and see, build a house and see" implying what a herculean task it was.
Personally, this period has been one of immense learning and growth. Living as a single person, I do not have everyday triggers to help identify my dark areas that need to heal. This project was my dream, one that was close to my heart, representing my past, delivering in the present and creating for the future. It was one big opportunity to trigger me enough to shake up and uncover old repressed stuff. Situations arose every day that offered me chances to heal different aspects of myself. I acknowledged every difficult person or circumstance as a projection of an aspect within me and I took the opportunity to heal and integrate it. So amidst the problems, chaos, anger and the heartache that ensued, I began to gain balance within. The building and I are both work in progress, growing and unfolding together. However big the challenge, nothing could undermine the magical energy that the place held. The energy was not just retained but enhanced by the hands that laboured to raise the new structure. My heart is filled with gratitude for each worker on site, for the way they immersed themselves in sculpting the building. They were the perfect people to be building a centre for healing, growth, purification and transformation. Disciplined, content, smiling, working in silent harmony, never did they shout or fight or display any disharmony. It was soothing to see smooth and harmonious interaction as different teams worked simultaneously.
The sincerity of their prayers during festivals and pooja days would awaken a chord even in a non ritualistic me. A sense of calm and peace engulfs me on each of my daily visits to the site. In the midst of everything, we celebrated the gruhapravesam and my shashtipoorthi with homams and abhishekam. Purification with fire and water blessings were augmented with the divine voice of Bombay Jayashri who graced the occasion, blessing the building with her sublime singing. I can only describe her singing voice as a channel for Source energy. It simply washed away the fears and resistance Present. Continuing challenges offered me more opportunities for purify and transform. With every challenge came a blessing. When I was left helpless and let down by people I entrusted the projects with, the team heads were unanimous in their determination to support the completion of the building, at the risk of losing the next project. Every misadventure revealed the better side of humanity and instilled new hope. The herculean project loosened me up and allowed me to breathe easy with more trust in life. Not as an intellectual understanding but as experiential wisdom. While work continued on other floors, the ground floor was ready and the workshops commenced in the training hall. Rewind or fast-forward, the response is the same. We are greeted by an awed silence or gasps of wonder as we welcome people into the hall. The old walls have gone but the space remains, the magic stays, the energy prevails. The land that was lovingly bequeathed by my grandfather to empower his daughter, Rathna, continues to serve and empower, not one but many people in their journey of growth and transformation. Honouring the lineage of this nurturing space, it is befitting to name the building Rathna, short for Ratnavali.