In Profile: Holistic Business

Some members of Sarita’s business team share their experience of running a holistic business and how it is to work with others doing the same, plus a quote from Osho about living in the world. 

Supragya

Supragya3“I have had quite a chequered working life which includes a period as a translator of technical and commercial French, two years in Export Sales for a fine bone china manufacturer and 12 years as a teacher of too many subjects to mention in both the private and state sectors and have been quite successful in all of these careers in a conventional sense. The trappings of success were all very seductive but usually came at a heavy price. While I can honestly say that most of the time I quite enjoyed these different roles I was never able to affirm that they brought me joy. Nor did I generally find the different relationships I had with colleagues particularly satisfying. As if that wasn’t enough my personal life was also a mess.

Then in 1984 a friend gave me a little booklet that was (without exaggeration) to change my life. There was a photograph in the magazine showing a bunch of people who were clearly blissed out and I knew immediately that I wanted to join the party. Within a year I was in Rajneeshpuram in Oregon in Osho’s community and after 7 months there became a sannyasin. It was the most amazing time of my life. I have so many wonderful stories from that time but the key point to make in the context of this short article is that I started to learn about intimacy and honest communication and about finding joy in one’s work (except of course when this joy is discovered it rarely feels like work anymore).

Sarita and I met in the late nineties. I can’t remember exactly the sequence of events but after a very short time when the possibility of working with her arose I knew instantly that it was something I had to do. This was “work” which produced the most beautiful outcomes. I would see people transformed in a weekend. I got to play in many of her groups myself and also with my beloved, Prasthano. The friendships made have been some of the deepest and most nourishing of my entire life. Who couldn’t enjoy seeing so many people growing into loving and happy beings? In the office I would regularly find myself talking over the phone with complete strangers enquiring about the work who were happy to share their most intimate concerns with me. It was (and still is) the most rewarding and satisfying work I have ever done. It is no surprise to me that my involvement with Sarita’s work has lasted longer than anything else I have ever done in my 65 years.

Of course, Sarita’s business faces the same challenges any business has to. The books have to be balanced and we do aim to make profits (not so we can stroke our egos or line our pockets but most frequently to finance the many projects Sarita is pregnant with!). Like most people (I think) I would rather hear myself saying “yes” than “no” but sometimes the business finances mean that the answer is often “no” (or preferably “not now”). And we do try hard to keep our prices within affordable limits (I know this varies from person to person) but also at levels which means the work is valued (what price to put on a life transforming experience?)

For my part I think we do have a business which is human scale, totally life affirming and lots of fun. I’m showing my age I know but a line from An Incredible String Band song is playing in my head as I sign off. It is “All the world is but a play, be thou the joyful player”. If you are reading this you know where the party is.

With love,

Supragya.”

Email Supragya.

Malika

meI’ve been a freelance writer, editor and event organiser for personal development teachers for the last four years. I do my work how and when I want, my time is my own to manage. To me this is such a blessing. I may not yet be earning what I was in my previous life, but the sense of freedom, expansion and dignity I get from being my own boss is priceless. I rest when I need to, I go for a walk when I need to, I take a day off when I need to – I create my working environment to be the most supportive and loving that it can be for me.

Working for Sarita and the team around her is a joy. As I’ve been writing the newsletter for two and a half years, the production of it runs very smoothly. I get excited each month to receive the rich and insightful articles from Sarita, to research and edit material from other sources and to pull the whole thing together in a way that’s visually interesting and easy to read. When I click ‘send’ to distribute the newsletter each month I feel a sense of nourishment and fulfilment.

I have often felt so much gratitude that I’m getting paid to do something that’s so enjoyable to me! The strongest example of this that comes to mind is when myself, Sidika and Merlina were creating the VBT online video series with Sarita – as I was watching Sarita express all her wisdom and insight about meditation, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that I was getting this incredible transmission from a Tantra master as part of my work!

As a team we work together well and communicate lovingly. There have been issues over the years but they have always been resolved with love, compassion and insight – not what I had ever experienced at work before!! There is an attitude of friendliness, of interest in the other person that extends beyond work, so we see each other as people, not objects. This means that deadlines can become flexible if needed and we support each other. So often in mainstream work, the personal is not allowed or is seen as something less than. In our team, the personal is absolutely part of the work we do, as we bring our whole selves to it.

Sometimes we start projects and then let them go if there’s no energy for them. We don’t push boulders up hill but go with the flow of life, and work with what we have juice for. If we don’t have any enthusiasm for something, then why would anyone else want to engage with it?! This particularly was such a learning for me – that I didn’t have to force myself against the tide any more, I didn’t have to make things happen with my will. I could simply tune into where the energy is and go with it.

I have always worked in media and marketing, and always enjoyed the work that I did – but I didn’t love myself in it. I felt stressed, burnt out and unable to receive praise, which was mirrored in the kind of organisations that I worked in. So as well as doing what you are passionate about, I would offer the suggestion to love yourself in it too, and work in a place that has compassion for people and values them. Let yourself receive the love and gratitude people give you for your work. The more I let that in, the better my work is and the happier I am.

Love Malika”

Email Malika

Punya

Punya 2 crop“When I became redundant from IBM I took the courage to turn my hobby into a profession: designing websites. The many years of experience as a designer and project manager in advertising agencies gave me a good understanding of the job and additional technical courses and hours of studying online gave me the basics. It was scary to start a business on my own, something I had never done before. But here I am, 10 years later still enjoying my hobby!

In the beginning I did some networking, like meeting business women in town at monthly events. They did not bring in any business but they gave me the courage to stick with my decision to go on my own. The requests for websites came through other channels, some through the websites I had done, but mostly through friends and friends of friends. Always just enough work to keep me going, ever more challenging for me to learn new techniques. When one project was finished I hardly had the time to wonder where the next would be coming from before an email popped up in my inbox asking for a quote.

My strength, I think, is that of being able to give a structural form to a website. Most clients feel lost, mainly if they are just starting their business, how to present what they are offering. They are also often a bit shy to put themselves out there. Together we plan how to subdivide the information, how to write for the web and how to get people to contact us.

From the aesthetic point of view it is important that the website reflects the character of the business and the person who is running it. So I always ask my clients to make a list of their favourite colours, but also of the colour they like the least. And then we start discussing the design. I might push them slightly into a more modern design than what they might have been inclined to choose, but I respect their sensitivity and back off at the right point. In the end I want them to have a website they can be proud of, in front of their client – and their peers.

Punya”

Email Punya.

Sidika

Sidika crop“My holistic business began accidentally through following something I found inspiring. At the time, I was working as a holistic health practitioner. I enjoyed working one to one, but what really drew me was to be able to spread the word about things that I had found extremely beneficial and had transformed my life – primarily various types of healing, personal and spiritual development and specifically raising consciousness.

I had been listening to a series of webinars about marketing with a spiritual bias – the mantra of the guy giving the webinars was to ask himself each morning,”How I can I best serve people today?”. He demonstrated how serving to the best of your ability and focusing on giving rather than getting, the money would inevitably flow; and how marketing is essentially about finding out what problems people are looking to solve and providing solutions.

I really resonated with these concepts and at one point forwarded some information to my friends and contacts. To my surprise, I received a reply from Sarita (who I was already working with as a Colour Light Therapy organiser) – she asked me if I’d like to help with her marketing. To be honest, I didn’t know so much about marketing then but I did notice that I had a natural flair for it. It seemed that whenever I met someone my mind would turn itself to how they could be more successful in what they do. I was excited at the thought of working with Sarita and so called my friend Malika who had experience in journalism and PR and asked if she would be interested in joining me. We had such fun brainstorming all kinds of ideas. That’s one of the benefits of running your own holistic business – not only do you get to choose what type of work you do, but also who you work with.

I find that marketing can be very holistic – one of the things I enjoy best is to sit with a client and learn about their business and how they want it to develop. To my surprise, I’ve found that many of the skills I have learned in my previous careers (alternative therapy and accountancy) can also be really useful in helping my clients with their marketing and their business overall. Several international marketing gurus talk about the importance of visioning how they want their business to unfold – even suggesting to ask clients to close their eyes, project themselves a year or two into the future, imagine what their ideal business would be like and then describe what they see, hear and feel around them. Malika and I went to a marketing seminar in London in 2009 and were astounded when the first speaker (an Australian marketing guru and millionaire) spent the first hour of his presentation talking about meditation, manifestation and Tantra and how they can be used to generate wealth. Read our blog post about it.

Running your own business can be extremely hard work and very challenging at times and yet the results can be incredibly satisfying. To market a business successfully, you really need an in depth knowledge and understanding of the business which includes an understanding of the business owner and his or her target audience – so you need both technical and people skills. This understanding makes you ideally placed to help clients develop various products; and working with someone like Sarita gives a wide scope to what is possible. One of the early projects with Sarita was creating the online video series the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra Meditation classes. I had always wanted to create a film which would inspire people and suddenly I found myself involved in co-creating exactly that…and even appearing on screen – such fun!

My business has evolved slowly and I now have other clients who so far have all been in the alternative health and spiritual development fields – two of my passions. And more recently, I am getting enquiries from musicians for help with their marketing – and so I get the chance to work in the field of music, another passion. My clients so far have all been acquired by word of mouth and with one or two exceptions have not been local to me. This means that much of our communication is by email, phone and especially Skype as there is the added bonus of being able to send documents easily, share screens and to have several team members joining the virtual meeting. It’s wonderful to have the communication technology to support project teams who are based in many different parts of the world – e.g. for Sarita we are in the UK, France, Corfu and wherever Sarita happens to be!

The challenges I face in my business are also the challenges I face in other areas of my life so by addressing these I am able to live and work in a holistic way. I won’t pretend that I have faced and mastered all of these challenges, but at least I can (usually/sometimes?) appreciate them for the gifts that they are and that helps me navigate my way through the many new situations that present themselves.”

Email Sidika.

 

Osho on being in the world

Osho

Osho

“There is no hope for religion as it has existed up to now. Yes, there will be a totally different kind of religiousness, if man becomes happy. And that’s what I am trying to make clear to you; what kind of religiousness is possible if humanity becomes happy. Then it will not be a religion of renouncing…

If life is misery then escapism is religion. And I am teaching you here that life is not misery. If I am true then escapism loses all significance, all meaning, all relevance. If life is bliss… there is no question of renouncing it.

This is going to be the future religiousness. And remember my distinction; I am not calling it the future religion, I am calling it the future religiousness – because religion will give you the idea that it will be Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan, a creed, a dogma. No. Religiousness… a diffused kind of fragrance surrounding the earth, with people rejoicing, dancing, singing, people rejoicing so much that a tremendous gratitude arises in their being – a gratitude for the unknown energy that has given them birth, for the unknown source from where they have come from and to where they have to return one day… Only then man has dignity…

The wild goose has no desire to cast its reflections in the water, and the water has no desire or no mind to receive its image – although it happens! When the wild goose flies, the water reflects it. The reflection is there, the image is there, but the water has no mind to reflect and the wild geese do not hanker to be reflected either.

This should be the way of my sannyasins. Be in the world, live in the world, live totally, without ambitions, without desires – because all desires distract you from living, all ambitions sacrifice your present. Don’t be greedy, because greed takes you into the future; don’t be possessive, because possessiveness keeps you clinging to the past. A man who wants to live in the present has to be free of greed, of possessiveness, of ambitions, of desires.

And that’s what I call the whole art of meditation. Be aware, be alert, so all these thieves have no possibility to enter and contaminate you. Be meditative, but be in the world. And this is my experience: that the world helps immensely – it helps immensely to make you meditative. It gives you all the opportunities to be distracted, but if you don’t get distracted then each success becomes a tremendous joy. You remain centred, you become the centre of the cyclone. The cyclone goes on roaring around you, but your centre remains unaffected.”

Osho, The Wild Geese And The Water

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