Saturday, December 31, 2011

Personal reflections on 2011

2011 has been a year of great transformation and change within me. A kind of personal evolution, or even - dare I say - revolution.

As the year finally draws to a close I feel ready to share some of the ups and downs of this journey, with you.

Success and failure: I became a super-successful author this year. My third book ‘I Have a Dream’ released in June 2011 and stayed at the # 1 spot in the non-fiction bestseller list right for 5 months (until Steve Jobs’ biography was released :)

I got featured on the cover of Outlook magazine and I started getting 2 invitations to speak, every single day.

But everywhere I spoke, a part of me felt like a fraud. Part of me wanted to scream, “Do you know I started JAM magazine and now it is no more?”

It’s been one year since JAM magazine (print edition) was suspended. The office we occupied for 12 years was wound down, the furniture and PCs given away to charity.

All that we are left with are spiral bound editions of every copy published and folders full of cartoons labeled ‘Pawan Dutt’, ‘Venu’, ‘Prashant’ and ‘Sameer’.

And a website which we maintain, out of love (but which needs a lot of work, if it is to become a serious, digital venture.)

The decision to stop printing JAM was rational and logical.

Digital is taking over print.
Costs were increasing but not revenues.
Funding was elusive, despite sincere efforts.

The magazine had been losing money, for almost 3 years.
In the process, we were losing our peace of mind.
It just did not seem worth it.

And towards the end, I know I neglected JAM, to focus on myself. The life of an author gripped me with intensity. Entrepreneurship felt more like pain than pleasure...

You decide to do something, and yet there is grief. You ask yourself a thousand times, “What could I have done differently?”

Every entrepreneur I interview, gives me some insight to that question. But there is no point in pondering on ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. Because life is relentless, and simply goes on.

So, did JAM magazine ‘fail’? That depends how you define success and failure.

The business model failed. And as owners, we failed to reinvent the company.

But I know that over 15 years that we were in business we made so many people happy. Gave so many of you a platform.

Wherever I go, I meet these people. They come up to me and say, “I used to read JAM when I was in college and I loved it.”

How can something that spread so much joy be a ‘failure’? Just because you run out of gas at the end of a long journey, doesn’t take away the fun of the journey itself.

To all those of you who ask me, “Why don’t you write about people who fail?” – I hope this answers your question.

I would still do it, all over again, maybe a little differently, more smartly.

‘Failure’ is just a form of hibernation, at the end of winter there is always a spring.

Peace and Joy: Despite so many comforts and blessings of life, how many of us are truly peaceful and joyful within? Very few (I know I have not been!)

In fact, for the longest time, I suffered from a vague sense of depression. I snapped out of it by finding something I could lose myself in - writing, writing and writng.

But questions about the meaning of life persisted. Is this all there is, or is there something more?

In my search for answers, I read many books, met many amazing people. In 2006, I did the Inner Engineering program of Isha Foundation. For the next two years, I practiced the kriya taught by them but then, I fell out of the habit.

Until this year in April, when purely by chance, I visited Coimbatore and went to the ashram. Perhaps it was a call from Sadhguru himself :)

I restarted Shambhavi Mahamudra. Then, I attended the BSP (Bhava Spandana) program, which was a phenomenal experience. I experienced what it means to be pure joy, pure bliss, no matter what is happening outside of me.

Sadhguru says: “This moment, how peaceful and joyful you are is the quality of your life.”

And I have decided to make that the focus of my life from now on.

Being part of Isha as a meditator and volunteer help me in that effort.
I have taken Sadhguru into my heart, and feel his Presence within me.

Being a totally rationally and logically driven person this took a long time to happen (too long I think!). I hope you do not resist, as much as I did.

Because one thing is very clear: if you get it right on the inside, the ‘outside’ will automatically take care of itself.

I cannot *explain* this further, I can just advise that you too embark on the path of inner transformation and experience it for yourself.

What is love: I used to think love is an emotion. I know now, it is a state of being.

That all the love we seek from other people is actually available right within each of us.

That sometimes love shows its face to you in a form you are not ready to accept.

That those who love us the most are also the ones who come into our lives to teach us the most difficult lessons.

That love is all we need, and it is all we leave behind.

And on that note I leave you, wishing you love, light and happiness in the New Year.

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