Episode 40: Are We All One? with Shivani Gupta

Shivani Gupta 

I'm Shivani Gupta, and welcome to the Ask Shivani podcast. I believe that one of the best presents that you can give yourself is time to be able to sit down and ask yourself some questions. I believe that the quality of the question that you ask yourself will determine the quality of your life.

Welcome to the Ask Shivani podcast. This is Episode 40. And as I was preparing for Episode 40, of the things that I wanted to do is share with you the experience that I had when I turned 40 years of age. 

When I turned 40, I wanted to do a bit of an overseas trip with my young kids at a time and my husband, but also wanted some time to myself, it is so important as women in our busy lives to be able to take some time out. But particularly when we have these big birthdays, these big 10 decades, like a decade passes with another decade and 10 years ahead of us, it is so important to stop and reflect. I had some fantastic women mentors in their 40s that were mentoring me in my 30s. And I wanted to mark that occasion by taking 19 days to be exact is the trip that I decided to take to go back to India where I was born to my motherland to my homeland, and really take some time out for reflection, those 19 days still well into my 40s. Now I have been the longest time that I've ever been away from my children, and maybe until I turned 50.

But in those 19 days, I did a number of themes, I did a yoga retreat, where I did yoga three times a day with this wonderful American woman who had brought a troop of people into Dharamsala, which is up north in India, where the Dalai Lama is often based, and that's his home. And I also was lucky enough that the Dalai Lama happened to be there and happened to be doing teachings, which is often not announced months ahead of time. And so I was so lucky to be able to sit in the crowd and be able to listen to him. And I was also really lucky that there was some groups that I've met. And I got to meet this extraordinary nun who had spent 10 years in a cave. In fact, she's written quite an extraordinary book about that. The reason I wanted to share all of these with you is that for Episode 40, when I turned 40, of the most common things that came out, most common thing that came out of all those teachings on all those notes when I looked at them and compare them and try to come up with some common lessons and learnings was, are we all one? or we are all one. And that whether you look at it energetically, that we're all connected to each other, whether we're in one part of the world, that there's always a ripple effect, that if we want to create change in the world, we have to learn to speak up about it, and that we are all one. And as I was preparing for this particular episode, one of the parts that really affected me very deeply, is what is happening in Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan recently are all the troops, our support groups have been removed from Afghanistan, as a result of that the Taliban has taken over and I have read story upon story of watch some videos, and I can't help just bawling my eyes out at every girl that I see that have the finally the opportunity to have an education that was no longer being educated. Women that had worked so hard to fight to come to work that had been told to go and return home, and the fact that they will no longer be working and they were expected to do that for their families. And then there's more harrowing cases where a doctor who had a 13-year-old patient who had prescribed the pill to her received death threats and had to flee the country. And so the cases and the stories that are coming out, none of them are making me feel very inspired. All of them are making me feel very sad. And in terms of what is it that we need to do, what is it that we can do? And the other thing that's really difficult is that, you know, in I'm very fortunate to live in Australia, a lot of people are unhappy with the COVID situation, number of cities are doing rights, having rights at the moment even where I live, which is relatively in a peaceful country. Hundreds of people I know whose businesses are being decimated by COVID, people's travel plans, industries, and we are continuing to see the effect of COVID. And we'll probably continue to see that for many more months, if not years to come.

So really, do I have the space and time to be worrying about what's happening in Afghanistan? Is it really my responsibility? Is it really my job? I know for me, one of my businesses is in lockdown. So I've had to start standing staff down. I've got steel bills coming in. I've got wages coming in, I've got rents coming in, to what really have time to worry about what's happening in Afghanistan. And the thing is, it's really taking me back to that learning that, you know, we are all one, but are we all one right now? Are we actually all really thinking about that we can do our bit to help to make our bit to make a difference. And it's really easy to look at the issues that are happening out there. We think about, okay, that's happening out there, I'll just worry about that even closer to home. But if we stop worrying about things that are out there in another country, and another third world country in other part of the world, and we don't relate it to us, we can also become really insular. It's not to say that we can resolve all the problems in Afghanistan, I certainly can't remove the Taliban in terms of the way that it's running a candidate, but I can do other things about I can do small things about it. And the other question that I always ask is, well, what if this was happening to me? What if this was happening to my daughter, they could no longer go to school, what if this was happening to my knees, that could no longer work. And then when we bring that a little bit closer to home, I think then we start to realize that we really do need to do something about it. However small, however miniscule that it might feel that every drop, every drop I believe creates a ripple, every prayer creates a ripple, every $10 creates a ripple. And so all we can be responsible for there's something that we can do easily, we can do gently, we can do within our means without getting really overwhelmed as certainly I've been feeling. I've spoken to about half a dozen women who were senior leaders, some pliers, and saying, you know, what is it that we can do? and a lot of people are in that overwhelm, particularly when there's so many things happening to us.

I've also notice this lovely Vietnamese Mum, in my parent group, where the kids go to school. And she's been really affected by what's happening in Vietnam. And so one of the things that she decided to do was handmade masks, and a lot of people have gone and made masks, but she wanted to do her bit to be able to make a difference. And so she has made 200 masks, and you could buy them for $10 each I just bought too last week. And this is her ripple effect. This is her drop to create that ripple. Because if everybody did those little things, often it would create that ripple.

I know when the oxygen issue was happening in India, I had three people in my extended family that passed away from our COVID. And our two of them were pretty young. And they were also relatively healthy and relatively wealthy. So they had access to healthcare. One of my cousins who was only a few years older than me, went into hospital under COVID went into intensive care, or ICU and never came out. And so again, I felt really helpless when all of this was happening.

At the time I was wanting to go and attend a conference. I didn't really feel like it, I felt really sad. I felt really flat. But I had everything paid. And I also had this opportunity in this window to travel even though it was within Australia. And the conference happened to be in the same state that my parents lived. So I felt that that was getting three goals achieved in one. So I flew over to South Australia where my parents live, I caught up with them. I attended the conference, which I could do live and since then, you know different states have been shut down and locked down. And the other beautiful benefit that I got out of attending this particular conference is I heard the amazing international author Bonnie Westby. And I heard this extraordinary woman, Sam Gadsby. Sam had spent a lot of time in India. It turned out in a presentation. I have not looked up any of the background. I didn't know what I was walking into it in this particular conference. And she spoke about oxygen for India and trying to get some oxygen happening in India. I wanted to know about her I followed her up with a phone call. I found out about the event, the running event that she was setting up and what followed from that was not only was I have to get that out to my group of people on different platforms. I, one of my friends saw that, in another state, she had been asked to get involved in oxygen for India and setting up a bowl, we ended up sponsoring that ball, she got really inspired by Indian people she knew. And we ended up raising over $100,000, for oxygen for India.

And so that little drop of going to a conference, that little drop of the speaker speaking about something that was very personal to her, even though it came from my homeland, the little drop of me posting it, the little drop of somebody else picking that up. And we also received as part of that, and anonymous donation, you know, all those things, and then I got my team involved in it, they got very inspired to go to this particular ball. And the ripple effect continued. So we have to do something, we have to speak up, we have to make our voices heard and count, even if that's all we do. And whether it's $5, $10, $50, it's not about spending millions of dollars, we have to do that. The girls in Afghanistan, the women in Afghanistan, need our voices heard. And when I go back to Episode 40 and in turning 40, my major lessons out of those 19 days, spending that time with wise, you know, they said the Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of Buddha, reincarnation of God, depending on your belief systems. And it's so important to be able to look at that and say, what does this actually mean? How can I actually apply that to myself to be able to make that count?

So, what are some of the things that you could do, in terms of the fact that this is happening? Well, as I said, the first thing that we can do is that we can speak about it, speak about it with people that you know, write about it, blog about it, record a podcast about it, make some frequent noise about it. So that people can hear you and the collective voice, the ripples will start to make a difference in terms what you know, you have no idea who's listening, when you are doing a podcast, you have no idea who is reading, when you are doing a blog, whether it's a simple thing on one of the platforms that you use, whether it's a story that touched your heart, share that with the world, share that with a group that follow you, share that with your tribe, speak about it, write about it, blog about it, podcast about it, do whatever form that you can, whether it's a team meeting with three people or anything else, make some noise about it, I believe that the second thing that we can do is speak to some people on the ground that can help I don't have those linkages. But on a couple of different WhatsApp groups, I reached out to some people that I knew this was very close to their heart. They had mentored some women in Afghanistan, that were involved in women entrepreneurs, and I just reached out to them on a WhatsApp and said, Hey, is there a way that I can contribute? $5, $10, $20 nothing of significance, but put that little ripple that little drop to create that ripple from your perspective. So that the some on ground help with people and organizations that know how to do something that understand that culture that know how they can support for girls and women right now is going to really help.

And the third part and again, this depends on your belief systems. If you do meditate, do a meditation for them. There's a lot of extraordinary work that talks about that when we collectively meditate. When we collectively pray that energetically the vibrations of that are heard. And that's why so many mass meditations are done on particular courses. If you pray, I'm more of a meditator, then I pray, but if you pray, then pray for these girls and women, that they may be safe, that they may be okay. That they may again be able to find their passions and be able to link back into education and their freedom around that. And whatever your belief is, send them some light and your wishes. That's the minimum three things that we could do that you absolutely can control, irrespective of how much we are all affected by what it is going on. And to I guess finish off this particular podcast is the way that I started it when I turned 40. That's what I learned. I learned that we are all one and that we do need to actually have a say about things that are not okay. And speak up about and add our slant, our experience, what touches us to it. And my question today is “are we all one?” Do you believe that we're all one? And if you do, whether it's an Afghanistan or another part of the world, despite everything that each of us is dealing with. Can you make a small contribution? either energetically through meditation or prayer, or financially, or just by speaking about it and getting a collective voice heard. Thank you for listening, I would love for you to review and rate the podcast. And if you have any questions, our website is called Ask Shivani please let me know. And I'll be delighted in being able to look at a topic or a particular guest, or to be able to share some thoughts with you. Thanks.

I'm Shivani Gupta. And you've been listening to the Ask Shivani podcast where I'd like to ask some questions. Thank you so much for listening. Please follow Ask Shivani on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. And if you haven't done so, please go to the Apple podcasts and subscribe rate and review this podcast. It would mean a lot. Thank you.