About poojarjoshii

I write when I am inspired or compelled by nature, life experiences, relationships etc. I love dancing, laughing, being in nature and aspire to create harmony in my life.

You are raising a child, the non-human AI child.

To give you some background, I have spent a couple of weeks this year visiting my friends who are raising young children between the ages 3 months -4 years old. While I was visiting them, I found that two of the households used a Google Home or Amazon Alexa to make their otherwise busy lives a bit manageable. The Home or Alexa would be asked to do anything from ‘Read the News’, ‘Check the weather outside’ to ‘Play a song/rhyme for the child’ , ‘Turn the lights off’ or ‘find the travel distance between Point A to Point B’. It was my first personal encounter with families using these home devices at such a high frequency. It almost felt like there was an invisible person present in the room at all times. I joked with one of my friends saying, ‘this should make it easy for you to explain the existence of God who knows it all, is present everywhere (via different devices) and is invisible at the same time’.

Why do I say you are raising a child, the AI child? Much akin to raising a human offspring which begins learning i.e. begins developing a brain in the mother’s womb through conversations/sounds/smells etc., the Google Homes/Google Search/Alexas of the world are deployed around us to catch all the random unstructured talk that occurs in human life. We are familiar with the term Big Data (simply, lots of data which can be both random and or specific) and Artificial Intelligence to some extent either through our work or news or plain interest in the subject. Artificial Intelligence is use of technology to make machines learn and become intelligent. For machines to learn, there is an abundance of data that’s needed. Machines aren’t smart to begin with, but we are teaching them how to learn and making them ‘intelligent’. Most machine learning talks about ‘neural’ networks like the ones humans have in their brains which grow as we learn leading to creation of synaptic networks (my psych and tech influence coming together after all😊). As the number of people using these devices increases and the frequency with which each person uses them increases, the more unstructured data is available for the development of intelligence. Our everyday conversations, commands, questions, requests are being absorbed by the AI brain, multiply this by the various languages people speak, tones, dialects, subjects (math questions, grammar, history questions etc.) and of course the millions of people using these tools. Why is this unstructured data? Simply said, it is random and may not always have a logical cause and effect relationship.

The question that arises here is do you know and think of this in terms of raising a ‘non-human’ being? Is this a wanted or unwanted child? Do we have a collective voice which holds any weight in choosing which of these technological advancements we truly want? I don’t think so. In my opinion we at least ought to know what we are getting ourselves into to the extent that we can as of today. Researchers in a lab may be aware of most ill effects of their inventions but they don’t always have the freedom to share it. Would you have wanted to know the potential harmful side effects of using DDT, RoundUp, Birth Control Pills, Genetically Modified Organisms besides what was declared on the label? I would want to believe Yes since that impacts our lives today and those of the future generations. Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and smartphones currently plague our lives, impact our sleep, hormonal balance and brain development. No one while developing it or selling it to us told us that the above technological advancements could be carcinogenic, cause health issues and also cause unintended harm to our planet. We were only told about the benefits.

The other question is, do you care to know? My short answer to this is, you may not care today but very soon you will need to when you/your children are forced to live with the consequences. We think that we are using the devices for our convenience but not many of us are consciously aware that we are also part of one of the biggest human experiments. Our life and life experiences are being fed to a machine so that it learns and grows. We spend our money to buy these devices and we also give free data to be used simply by using the device. We like to think that we are in control but often, we are not in control of how our data is being used. In most scientific experiments conducted, the ‘experimental’ group is aware that their observations/reactions/responses will be recorded as a part of the study. Are we as a consumer group made aware that our data is being used for non-human being machines to grow?

Am I against feeding data for machine learning? No. If I am not against it then where is this going? I am urging you to think about Ethics.  Ethics of being a part of the experiment and ethics around the development of such artificial intelligence. The 3 main issues here are that of Informed Consent, Data Privacy, and Client/Consumer Welfare.

Informed Consent: From the experimental standpoint, if you are raising a child, you should have some rights, the least of it is to know that you indeed have a child and that you agree to raise it. This would be Informed Consent. I understand that Google owns all the data we have ‘shared’ with it’s applications but as an unaware participant in an experiment, I think someone ought to ask me before they decide to use the data from my Gmail Account/Facebook account to improve their AI. Am sure that some type of blanket or umbrella statement/disclaimer exists somewhere but that won’t cut it or shouldn’t cut it.

The second issue is about Privacy. Each of the applications nowadays come with a set of permissions you can deny/allow. Let’s be honest and admit that not many of us read through the privacy policies. We are shocked when we read articles that most online marketers are privy to data about consumers(us) which we may not always have explicitly agreed to share. Each application comes with some basic data it needs for you to sign up, for example, email address/google sign on/facebook sign on. Online marketers have access to data which connects these unrelated dots i.e. email address and name on one website with credit card, purchase data, address, age, income from another. How would it be if your doctor/lawyer/therapist said that he/she owns your data and has rights to share with anyone he/she pleases to simply because you visited for a consultation?

Even if you don’t care much for the above 2 I think you should care about Client/Consumer Welfare. Who gets to define what is welfare?  The point here is that of instilling a sense of ‘Intentionality’ in the field of AI. An intention to create a non-human being which aids in human advancement and not harm us or be amenable to harmful uses. As of today, humans are constantly coding and improving AI and like most other human inventions, this is open to flaws/consequences-both intended and unintended in the future. Not all uses can be known when a code is being written but we do have enough experiential data to know that any innovation can be used to both help and harm our current existence. The differentiator is the intention of the creator and the user. There are some talks about wanting to develop super intelligence in AI beings. I have also read about wanting to upload intelligence from a living brain of a dead person into AI, so it could learn and develop faster. What are the safeguards in place if these AI beings are able to recreate their own versions in the future? Who should be held accountable for the current though process in development and the vastly open ground of unimagined uses in the future? If you and I are not explicitly agreeing to raise this child, would we assume responsibility for it’s consequences since silence at times is treated as consent? If we can have viruses/bugs that trump vaccines/medications created by humans, who is to say that this so called helpful AI technology won’t assert it’s will on us?

I have some ideas on how to proceed with instilling a more ethical approach in AI.  This would of course need a lot more detailing/discussing when someone decides to implement any of these.

  • Ethics and governance
    • Like many other professions, Engineers should be asked to follow a code of Ethics – to do no harm and be a whistle blower when they can sense a potential misuse
    • Some form of Board of Ethics utilizing members from all walks of life i.e. Doctors, Lawyers, Artists, Philosophers, Scientists, Teachers, Engineers who can
      • debate the potential uses/misuses of a piece of code and disclose the same to the public
      • define ‘Client Welfare’ for each Project.
      • define a set of overarching principles which lay down basics of helpful/harmful uses.

These should be a rotating set of members who get randomly assigned to projects. This should help minimize some external influences from people who have monetary interests in the project.

  • Once the framework of helpful and harmful uses has been established, public can vote on whether they would like to see the effort take life or not.
  • Track the cognitive development of the AI body as you would track for a human child or develop something close to that.
    • Until the AI body is considered to be a minor, the parent i.e. the company developing the AI should accept responsibility for any and every harm the AI body caused- known or unintended. In my opinion we should definitely begin this with self driving cars who are still developing their own sense of judgement.
    • Once the AI body is deemed to be an Adult, implement a system of Shared responsibility between Users, Creators and the Creation (since it will have intelligence) . For example, if a user is attempting to use the digital technology for human trafficking then warn the user and allow him/her to rescind the process, if the user chooses to ignore the warning then share the user’s IP address/details with local law enforcement authorities. The creator i.e. the engineers/companies should be asked to code in a way that the AI body is able to determine if a use could cause harm to any person/group. The AI being should also be coached in/fed with data from philosophy, liberal arts, social sciences so that it can develop it’s own sense of helpful/harmful uses which is in alignment with overall human and planet welfare.

How to make this check and balance system ‘money and power proof’ will be a question that will need to be answered.

We know that AI is going to change our experience of being human as have other recent technological advancements. I shall leave you with a few thought clouds for you to ponder upon:

  • Can we make an effort to be pro-active by involving diverse minds to foresee the risks and impacts?
  • Can we think beyond the first order consequences and wonder about the psycho-social, spiritual and environmental impacts during the process of creation?
  • Can we let common people have a say instead of simply forcing this new unforeseen age on everyone?

Thought Library:

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Nothing absolute about us

This Women’s day I did not feel like writing about the obvious and have instead gone the route of reflecting upon how we define and experience ourselves/others over the course of a lifetime. Our definition of ourselves is limiting not only for us but also extends to those around us.

In my humble opinion, everyone exists on a spectrum or a continuum. With us human beings there are no absolutes . Absolutes in human beings would perhaps make us boring and too predictable.  We wish with all our might to see things in black/white but if everyone’s black/white is different then there is no one right or wrong barring acts of intentional harm caused to another. The absolutist tendencies also tie you up to be a certain way forever whereas the spectrum/continuum way of thinking leaves room for exploration and growth.

Pause - where am I heading -reflect

Auckland, New Zealand

What led me to write this? Two things come to mind- one is a documentary titled Gender Revolution which I watched on Netflix and an article I was reading this morning about someone being an Introvert vs Extrovert. Psychologist Carl Jung’s work was one of my first introductions almost a decade ago to this line of thinking. He developed a theory of Type Indicators where people could score on a continuum of Introversion/Extraversion, Judging/Perceiving, Intuition/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling. This MBTI type also allows room for change/growth by saying that people can have different tendencies at different points in time while having one base tendency which may be predominant but not definitive. As much as I liked this idea I found that in real life if I said to someone that I tend towards talking when I am with lesser number of people and am quieter when am in a group, I was called indecisive or unsure of myself. Of course, there were also those who were familiar with this thought and matured to understand that no one really fits into a box at all times and that the boxes we fall into are rather superfluous.

In the documentary on Gender Identity there were some interviewees who mentioned that their experience of their gender isn’t simply either male or female. I find this thought very freeing and one which would develop a lot of tolerance in our society. If you think about it, every person is a mix of masculine and feminine tendencies. Depending on our upbringing and current circumstances we exhibit more of masculine or feminine tendencies. Teenagers are perfect examples of this exploration when the hormones are surging and there’s a creative confusion happening within. The genitalia aren’t the prime indicator of our behaviors and expressions at all times. There could be a pre-dominance but that’s just that- a pre-dominance. It’s mostly the social expectations of a certain ‘normal’ which when challenged lead to extreme measures of ostracism or other such isolating punishments.

If human beings are the only evolved species who are capable of complex thoughts and feelings then why shun someone who is born with male genitalia and expresses mostly feminine tendencies. Why box yourself up by calling yourself a shy/quiet person or someone who is always detail oriented versus a big picture person? I used to think that I wasn’t oriented toward details but the fact is that I didn’t want to accept that part of me because I liked the idea of being a ‘big picture’ person. Today I know that I am both and I love recognizing this in me. I no longer say that I always think/behave a certain way and I must say that some people have trouble with it:) but what matters is that I no longer am troubled with this so-called acceptance of duality that’s present within me. If only we could accept that we all cannot always be the light and that we all have darkness within to deal with, we would judge someone else a little lesser.

The more I think about this, the more I feel like the ‘I AMs’ are nothing but ideas at a certain point in time that we are happy to live by. If we recognize those as ideas of ourselves or about ourselves at a given point in time we would struggle a little less when that idea changes to something else later in life either by internal desire or by external situational factors. Say for example if you are born into a Hindu family but over a course of time you no longer believe in pantheism, this shouldn’t be for someone else to tell you that what you are experiencing is wrong. If we allowed a healthy level of exploration and questioning, perhaps the crimes performed in the name of an overarching right/wrong would also be reduced.

These are just examples to provoke a certain line of thinking. Which ‘I am..’ of yours are you wondering about? I would say, the more I AMs you destroy within you, the more accepting you are of not only yourself but also of others around you.

I shall close with one of Osho’s thoughts here- In order to truly live, we need to keep dying within.

P.S.: The image is courtesy my brother’s travels to New Zealand in 2017.

7 Simple habits that have helped me stay fit

Over the years I have developed some habits which have helped me stay fit and I thought I would share those with you. Aside from helping me lose unwanted body weight and then sustain it, these habits have led to reducing the inflammation I experienced in my body earlier as tightness in upper back, bloating , acne, occasional headaches and PMS symptoms.

Many of these habits appear to be very basic and simple but my journey so far has been marked by sifting through the complex and reaching back to the basics. Many of these basics can be found in Ayurveda which is the ancient Indian science of longevity. Basics always work!

  • Getting good sleep– The past 4-5 years, I have averaged 8-9 hours of sleep per day. Prior to that I would get anywhere between 5-7 and I would actually feel like I am missing out on ‘doing’ something if I slept longer.  I have observed that functioning close to the sunrise/sunset cycles makes total sense for the body/mind. Quite naturally I sleep less in summer and more in winter. I had to learn to turn off all bright screens at least a half hour prior to bed. I do have my days when I end up looking at my phone later than I would want but overall I think I have developed good sleep hygiene. I don’t work with a laptop in my bedroom and I also don’t have a TV in my bedroom.

 I try and get max rest during my periods just as nature intended it to be. In my experience, sleeping well has also helped stabilize my body weight.

  • Eating real food– My definition of real food is good quality ingredients. I eat fruits/nuts/oatmeal for breakfast and good amount of veggies and beans for lunch/dinner. I follow my hunger cues and eat only when am hungry. I try and eat my meals at the same time every day. Based on my personal experimentation I have found that my body does better with no dairy/eggs/meat. I eat seafood occasionally and l have reduced the intake of grains by half. The grains that I eat are Quinoa, Farro, Brown/Wild Rice. I used to be a daily 2 times a day white rice eater which is now perhaps 1-2 times a week. Good fats are important and I love my Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil and Sesame Oils. I was using Clarified Butter/Ghee but I have reduced it only to get more plant based products instead of animal based.

Processed food is kept to minimal in my kitchen. One major change was to meet the ‘something sweet’ cravings with natural sugar found in fruits/dates/figs/raisins etc. I do buy Indian sweets from a local confectionery when I feel like.

If 70% of fitness/health is based on what you eat then I would say atleast 50% of what you eat should be seasonal fresh produce. Absolutely fresh is a luxury in today’s world and therefore I do the best I can. I don’t believe in ‘cheat’ days because I am not depriving myself of anything and feel satiated.

  • Cooking at home – I live by myself and I cook at home 90% of the times. I have found many people say how difficult it is to cook only for one person. I have my lazy days too when I don’t want to cook but for the most part my body drives me to my own home cooked deliciousness. My cooking base is Indian style and I have altered my ways to only lightly saute my vegetables with a good fat, some garlic, salt, black pepper and lemon. I am learning to let the ingredient shine instead of masking it with different spice mixes.

When I travel once/twice a month I do end up eating out. I do my best to pick places/foods which are closest to what I have come to understand as clean/pure/real. I resort to fruits and salads when I can but it’s also important to be flexible. When the situation calls for eating a dairy/meat based item, I eat it without any guilt because I know that on the whole I am taking care of my food intake.

  • Exercise– In a week, I try and give myself 4 days of 35-40 minute exercise. I do anything from weights, pilates, yoga, running, dancing, walking, to taking the stairs instead of the elevator. I think I am now in tune with my body’s energy and choose the type of workout based on those levels. Regular exercise has helped me avoid the PMS symptoms that many women experience. I have found that the intensity of those symptoms increases when I have not exercised regularly. During summers my body doesn’t want to do intense workouts and a simple walk in the woods is enough.
  • Meditation – I meditate everyday twice a day for 20 minutes for the last 5 years. The benefits are well known and I must say that meditation acts as a great system refresh because it helps reduce the cortisol levels in the body. I try and do this no matter where I am. There are times when I have missed my evening meditation but my morning meditation has been going steady so far.
  • Staying hydrated – For the past 12 years or so I have had a 12-16 oz glass of warm water with honey before I eat/drink anything else in the morning. Last couple of years I started adding a few drops of fresh lemon juice to this morning honey water. A mix of honey, lemon and cinnamon is an age old Indian tip to boost the body’s metabolism and lose weight.

I love drinking my 2 cups of chai everyday and I balance that out by making sure that I drink half my body weight in ounces in water. For example, a person who weighs 120 pounds would drink 60 oz water. Room temperature water has always been my go to as against cold/ice filled water.

  • Probiotic and Multivitamin supplements– I tried a couple of different probiotics and then found what works well for me. Two that I liked so far are Garden of Life Probiotics for women and Liquid Plant Based Probiotics by MaryRuth Organics. Probiotics helped me lose unwanted weight and also keeps my acne in check. Sauerkraut is something new I have added and like.

As for Multi-vitamins, this is a new add for me since I tried to stay away from the unknown ingredients and the capsule materials which I didn’t want to ingest. A couple of months ago I found Innate Response Formulas Plant based multi-vitamins and I have found those to be a good addition to my daily routine. I added multi vitamins after I learned that B-12 is difficult to get from any food source. Every so often I give my body a break from these too.

If I were to sum it up it would be- get the sleep you need, increase plant based content in your diet, stay hydrated and get moving, switch things up every once in a while & most important of all is LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!

Feel free to visit lifespa.com for Ayurveda related information and Medicalmedium.com for clean foods/supplements.

Best,

Pooja

Disclaimer: I have not been paid by anyone to endorse their products/services. All statements in here are my personal experience/opinion and should not be taken as advice.

7 Simple benefits of Meditation

I have tried different types of meditations i.e. focusing on breath, focusing on a point of light, five senses meditation and the one that I have been able to stick to on a daily basis is a vedic mantra based meditation taught by Deborah  King. From what I know even Transcendental Meditation uses the same format.

The following are benefits I have experienced from practicing this meditation everyday for 5 years now:

  1. I feel lighter- I lost some unwanted weight which I had gained from not eating right over a period of 2 years and it didn’t help that I had to undergo a heavy dose of antibiotics at that same time. I also feel lighter mentally and emotionally.
  2. A healthy sense of detachment – issues that would bother me earlier, now tend to slip away quicker from my mind. I don’t hold on to someone else’s opinion of me or what I should be doing with my life or not investing time and energy in things that do not align with me. I stay away from talking to people who I know bring nothing but drama in my life.
  3. A heightened sense of purpose – the best word I have for this is a sense of alignment to your true core. Another word for this is being in alignment with your Dharma.
  4. Creating a healthier lifestyle- Meditation is sort of a reset button which over a period of time provides you with an upgraded version of yourself. Up until last 3 years or so, I wouldn’t mind having beer/wine when I met friends and sometimes I would go and buy it for myself but in the last 2-3 years I have no desire for it. I may have had 1-2 glasses of wine on New Year’s and that’s just it. It doesn’t feel like control, there’s just no desire. Your body also tunes into healthy foods and eating/exercising. I am no longer attracted to Starbucks Coffee and Lattes which I was almost addicted to!
  5. Sharper intuition- This is one of my favorite things to have developed. It’s a deep sense of knowing. It’s instant. It’s knowing things like when a cop is around you but you cannot see him/her or just taking a turn which helped you avoid an accident. It’s also a sharper sense of knowing when one of your friends needs to talk to you.  This sense also helps you attract the  authors/workshops etc..things that are in alignment with you, including people. And yes, I have also found that the relationships that fade away are also for good.
  6. Looking younger- with all the research that is now available on the physiological benefits of meditation, looking younger is a nice side effectreflective-bench-lake .You look younger because meditation helps your body de-stress much deeper at a cellular level.
  7. Maintaining calm in the middle of a storm- Over the years some people asked me how I could keep calm and see myself through the obstacles that I had, when I look back, in addition to the people who were supporting me, meditation was my true backbone that kept me still. It has kept me from entering a state of clinical depression/anxiety. Also, for those who are curious, check out research on how Meditation works on the HPA axis in our body. I read about it in Bruce Lipton’s book titled ‘Biology of Belief’.

In today’s high tech stressful world where we co-exist with thousands of invisible electromagnetic fields, meditation helps fortify our own energy field! It’s the recharge we need which is easily available to us.

Gumbo pot- Reflections

I am writing this post as a reflection of my thoughts on some current global events / issues and some reading/listening that I have engaged in. This post is perhaps a continuation of my recent post on Feminism and what it means to be a Feminist.

I was reading/ listening to:

  • Women’s bodies, Women’s wisdom by Dr. Christiane Northrup
  • The Truth about Vaccines – This is a 7 part documentary series on the good/bad and the ugly related to Vaccines given to infants/children in the U.S.
  • The Yoga of Bhagavad Gita by Paramhansa Yogananda

Below are some of my ponderings/thoughts:

  • For any change to occur, we need more women to be aware, educated, in tune with their intuitive intelligence and more men to stand with these women.
  • If the chemicals being spread on Earth’s soil and the antibiotics/hormones given to cattle affect our health via food/water/air, then why assume that all vaccines given to babies are safe?
  • Shouldn’t I as an individual always have the ability to make a choice? What is freedom if not for the ability to make our own choices and be responsible for them?
  • Why do we believe more in pills and less in the intelligence of our bodies?
  • Any person/ medium/approach that thrives on you being fearful is not your friend.
  • We need to stand up to the Pharmaceutical industry much in the same way as we are seeing with the Pesticide and Food industry. Personal is indeed political.
  • If every single person only took responsibility for themselves including their physical, mental, emotional, relational health, that would be enough.
  • Authoritarian approaches that disallow freedom at any level need to be replaced with collaborative/consultative approaches.
  • Don’t simply follow practices/beliefs because ‘that’s how it has been’, ask why and be open to understanding.
  • It’s all connected. If it’s NOT OK for Syria to bomb its own people, it’s NOT OK for the government to issue mandates on what’s needed in my or my child’s body. Both are fundamentally related to human rights.
  • Don’t be a rebel for the sake of feeling powerful.
  • Let’s stop living in an illusion that we are separate from the Earth/Environment.
  • Invest more time/resources in improving the state of health instead of focusing on disease.

I will close it by saying; Let’s dream with our eyes wide open. Let it make us uncomfortable. Let’s feel it and then feel it again in every inch of our bodies. May we have no other choice but to move with it.

I would be eager to know if this stirs something in you.

My take on what it means to be a Feminist

Feminism doesn’t ask you to be a man hater

Feminism doesn’t ask you to use coercion or domination as a means of influence

Feminism doesn’t ask to be expressed in obnoxious and disrespectful ways

Feminism doesn’t ask you to only care about women and women’s rights

Are you a feminist simply by being born a woman? I don’t think so.

‘It’ isn’t literal and narrow. It is about honoring that aspect in and around us which connects us to the feminine. What is feminine you ask?

I hope you do ask because we have had too much information and little knowledge about this idea/concept/construct.

Feminine is the creative force. It is open, vast, receptive , fluid and vulnerable. It is the power of intuition, emotion and nurturing. In humans, we understand the right hemisphere of the brain and the left side of the body to be working on this principle. Being born as a woman definitely gives us a biological advantage to be more in tune with the feminine but it requires awareness and acceptance to be used as a strength.

The construct of the ‘Feminine’ encompasses all creatures on Earth who depend on us human beings to be taken care of, to not be violated. This is a child, a woman, a man, an animal, plants, oceans, environment etc. ‘It’ asks for grace, compassion and empathy for another being. It evokes a power within which cannot be denied. It asks that we transcend our ego and see the world beyond the ‘I, Me, Myself’.

Any being who can be subjected to oppression, injustice deserves to be fought for. Across generations and cultures we have seen this injustice manifest the most around women and hence feminism is synonymous with the experience of being a woman today.

We know this force as the archetypal ‘Mother’.  She gives of herself to create, raise and nurture. She can protect her offspring when she senses any threat. She also feels the collective pain of any injustice.

And if we know anything, then we know that the true feminine cannot live in isolation from the true masculine. Both are needed and in balance.

Masculine is the seed force without which creation isn’t possible. It is the power of action, focus, intention. This is the ‘achieving’ energy which is logical, rational and solid/set.  It is externally focused.

We know this force as the archetypal ‘Father’. Quite naturally, the masculine force provides the seed and the feminine nurtures it to life. Masculine provides and protects.

In schools, offices, governments, families, we are taught to recognize and bolster the Masculine but seldom talked about is the Feminine power.  I suspect that this is because we only believe what we see with the limitations of our physical eyes and the faculties of our rational mind. I am happy to see an increase in the ‘mindfulness’ trend in schools. Practices like meditation, mindfulness, art connect us with this power which lies within untapped.

As for a man vs woman debate, I have seen many men who are securely in touch with their feminine side and I have seen many women who aren’t. I know the corporate driven achievement oriented culture doesn’t give much of a chance to stay connected with our feminine side and neither does a culture where a girl is not free to exercise her freedom which stems from simply being alive.

In majority of the cases, women leaders and the men who find a way to honor their feminine side do tend to think long term and in terms of a larger balance. Here I would like to draw your attention to the women led Icelandic bank which was the only financial institution to survive the financial crisis in 2007-2008. Auður Capital is a financial services company founded by two women who formed feminine values as the basis of their institution. Halla Tomasdóttir who is one of the founders of this bank said that if we want to see a change anywhere, we must include atleast 3 women on the board because one is token representation and two is a minority.

I was thrilled to learn about several initiatives in European nations and some other countries where as a society, balance, harmony, sense of community are highly prized values and are seen integral to improving performance. These initiatives are in the direction of healthcare, education, child care, environment protection, animal rights, parental leave, vacation time etc. The ‘softer’ side of running a company and a society.

An example of honoring the feminine around us was in 2013 when New Zealand granted legal personhood to Te Urewera National Park and Whanganui River and its tributaries. This speaks volumes in terms of respecting and protecting the intrinsic rights of this earthly body. It is recognizing and protecting the rights of an entity which cannot speak for itself and calls upon us human beings to do so.

So, what does it mean to be a Feminist?

  • Being aware of the most obvious and subtle forms of injustice
  • Speaking up against injustice as and when you can
  • Taking action at an individual and or collective level in a collaborative manner

Thoughts?

A Prayer from my heart to yours

A prayer

Find the true you

May you always wake up knowing that you matter

& be aware of the impact you have by simply Being

May you always see the truth

& choose to keep your eyes and ears open

May you always be surrounded by beauty and love

& spread the goodness you receive

May you always use your voice to uplift others

& let not fear or pain crush it

May you always live courageously

& act in accordance with the highest good of all those around you

May you never have to make a choice that pollutes your innocence

& find forgiveness in your heart if you do

May you be open to experiencing pain

& not have suffering cloud your sense of purpose

May you always be blessed with all that you need

& find gratitude in that which was not given to you

May you find moments of bliss where the ‘I’ no longer exists

& develop a reverence for silence when you do

May you feel compelled to create something larger than you

& lose sleep to fulfill this desire bestowed upon you

Beyond all else, know, that your biggest challenge & reward is to find & be the true you!