We know listening is key to healing conflict, yet we seldom know where or how to begin.
In this experiential live online session I led for the global Truth and Reconciliation Weekend, we explored listening through questions like:
How can listening catalyze healing between and within us? How can we listen to those we disagree with? How can we connect beyond our ideas of eachother, beyond right and wrong, good and bad, us Vs. them thinking?
This is a recording of a session facilitated by Ishita where we will experiment with a way of being in relation to each other and ourselves that deepens presence, authentic connection and heals division.
Bring your curiosity and the willingness to see and be seen to each exercise.
As you follow the recording, turn the questions being explored onto yourself and notice what you discover.
If you are moved by the session and wish to continue diving deeper, I hope you’ll join me and a group of peers committed to bettering the world.
The world is begging us to show up fully for ourselves and each other from a place of love.
And I know that fire is the element of transformation- the cycle of initiation, purification, becoming…this is a becoming that necessitates the burning away of all that is false- inside and around us.
Between a peaking global pandemic, uprisings and protests for basic human rights and dignity and political mayhem, the past fortnight has truly tested us all!
I hope you are simultaneously safe and stirred to the core in the very best of ways because a new reality is pouring into this planet rapidly and calling us to take our place in it in a whole new way. Somedays it has felt to me like drinking right from a firehose!
They say hindsight is 2020, and 2020 is here. What you want to see when you look back at today, is begging be seeded now. The call to alignment has never been louder!
This stirring is not punitive, but rather an invitation into embodied wholeness.
If you’ve been denying your truth, hiding in the shadows with a dream in your heart, stifling your voice, waiting for someday to live your purpose, I want you to ask yourself: what are you waiting for? If not now, when? If not you, who?
I know the path is uncertain and scary- I’ve walked through this fire myself before, leaving familiarity, safety and comfort to heed an inner calling. So I also know, that every time we step in through the fire, committed to living nothing less than the life we came here to live, when we dare to welcome truth over comfort, courage over fear, we are supported in unimaginable ways that bring us into a state of grace.
Our planet needs your unique medicine in ways only YOU can bring! In ways that make you come alive!
Are you willing to let the false burn away and embody your truth? In your very ways of being and doing?
The world just opened a direct path to your innermost calling. Come claim your rightful place in it. Align!
In this radical time, feeling is not just healing, it is also the doorway to inspired, aligned action. Remember, there is no transformation without embrace- within and between us.
If you haven’t worked with me privately, you may be amazed at how impactful and powerful these re-sets can be. 15 minutes of attuned presence can transform lifetimes of pain.
This work is for you if you want to live a fulfilling, vibrant and authentic life.
If your heart is also on fire, join me. Whether you want to offer the world your unique medicine, express your authentic voice or need support to heal and release emotional, relational and spiritual roadblocks, our work together will help you realize your deepest longings.
“ That’s my fiercest hope – is that we come back to the natural intelligence that flows through us, instead of constantly negating it. It’s surrendering to the impulse that is the driving force of life. That’s the impulse of creation coming through you!
What could be more natural? What else could bring fulfillment? “
I had a colorful conversation on my soulful colleague Andy Cahill’s podcast, the Wonder Dome last August. He asked me what my fiercest hope for humanity is- a beautiful question he poses to each of his guests.
I realized my fiercest hope for humanity lives in you. It breathes in the way you and I show up in the world, and in these catalytic times, our way of being is more important than ever.
In this intimate conversation we talked about being human and whole, and the juicy possibility that emerges when we come together as one- in service of a world that consciously and lovingly includes and transcends all its parts.
If you’ve been in one of my group courses you know this place of possibility, and if you haven’t, I hope you’ll join me. The world is begging us to show up fully for ourselves and eachother.
You can meet me in all my colors if you listen in!
11 years ago (feels like lightyears), for my architectural thesis I designed CeSRON- the Center for Self Reflection, Otherness and Narcissism. A building designed to be a mirror for our inner space…in a culture where self-reflection has become obsolete, replaced by narcissistic self-indulgence, fueled by fear of examining our own shadows.
Little did I know I would go on to create Come to Center, a live mirror that does just that, or that I would end up being that mirror myself for others, down the line…
Little did I know the shadows I was pointing to in the culture have a name- collective trauma, and that it is so universal, it is personal.
This surreal project was a celebration of, in a very tongue n cheek way- the obsolescence of self-awareness- before I had heard of transformation, awakening, healing, or any of the work I do now- ALL of which begins with self-awareness.
The inward turn is where it begins- looking in the mirror of truth.
I was fascinated by the race riots in Detroit- and in studying, and considering what led to the violence and deep separation between people, I saw very clearly, how the inner division leads to outer conflict. I was just so curious about the moment at which a child looks in the mirror and says- “me”.
I spent final year of architecture school studying Lacan and Jung and Heiddeger and falling in love with Gordon Matta Clark…. I had a hay day questioning everything in a way that ultimately led to transcending my discipline of design and architecture altogether, when staring at the face of human suffering.
What supported this inquiry was a reflection from my professor- I had finally found one person who saw my hunger for the edges of knowledge, and encouraged me to go all out-wherever you are Rupinder Singh I am so deeply grateful for our time together spent in joyous explorations of the depths of art, architecture, meaning, connection and dissection of life itself! For hiding my keys to get me out of hiding in the bottomless pit that was opening up as I got closer to facing existential truths. You weren’t just a teacher, you were a healer to me.
I didn’t know it then, but the questions alive in all these drawings are: What is the root of separation?
How did we become people? What got made into a self? Who am I? What is this? I even labeled the diagrams things like (my favorite) “Labyrinthine search for self”, never suspecting any of this had to with Spirituality.
And the thing is, I knew then, that all this, is really the search for our center. I just hadn’t seen I was literally searching for my self and that the answers lay within me, and that I could trust all that which I knew, but couldn’t understand.
That took time. It took living in inquiry and eventually turning inwards.
It took facing the pain of my own inner separation, seeing through the trap of needing to understand things that lay beyond the confines of the mind.
As they say, hindsight is 20-20! Of course it adds up. Having looked in the mirror long and hard, coming to face myself over the years, now I have become the mirror I once set out to design.
Everyday, I hold a mirror to reflect back the truth, power and wisdom that lies within my clients, their shadows, their light and everything in between. In deep inquiry, I appeal to something that lies beyond my clients’ intellects to allow them to step outside the confines of their minds- diving into their conditioning, their traumas to find freedom within.
The journey of personal healing paves the path for our collective transformation.
I often say, everything is everything- all forms reflect the One. What appears to be separate, is a facet of difference, not separation.
From the outside it may seem like I am doing transformational work, business consulting, designing a building, painting a painting, writing a poem or telling a story…
From the inside, it’s always been about one thing- falling ever more deeply into loving exploration of myself, and life itself!
What is your yes to in life? That’s the elemental question of purpose.
I get asked this often, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what drove me to end a decade long career as an architect and start Come to Center — a holistic transformational consultancy, that constantly has me walking the edge of discomfort, asking me to face my demons every step of the way.
And the answer is L O V E! Big love.
A love of life itself, a love of something bigger than me, love of those in search of light, of truth, of something bigger than themselves.
So often in our world we go looking for fulfillment outside of us- marketing is great at perpetuating a paradigm of lack- get the new outfit, the perfect job, the perfect partner and then you’ll be happy! And we believe them, until we actually ‘get it all.’
We can have the perfect job, the perfect house, a helluva lot of money and still feel empty, disconnected and meaningless. We can have three PhDs and a lineup of accolades and still know nothing about our own nature- who we are, why we came to be, how to live a joyful life!
We can go through a whole lifetime in unconsciousness, driven by compulsive consumption- without ever honoring our deepest yearning, without ever knowing the exquisite privilege it is to be alive!
Seven years ago I saw through the illusion I’d been living in a way I could no longer deny. I had always suspected there was more to reality than met the eye.
And this seeing shattered everything I thought I was, I wasn’t, everything I thought I knew and my whole worldview itself.
It gave me absolute response ability. It silenced the yearning in all my questions. It plunged me into a bottomless hole that grew so big, it swallowed everything up and left a Wholeness that has never since left me, even in the darkest of times, even as I’m still falling through the hole! It’s the wildest, most fun ride I’ve ever been on!
So fun that it had to be shared- you know, like when you find the most incredible secret, so simple and profound, you want to TELL EVERYONE? Like that! So I listened to my heart and let my spirit drive.
I now live and share a simpler, more authentic and fulfilling way of life. I know what I am, I know why I’m here:
I’m here to know myself ever more deeply in relationship- with life, with all of creation, with you.
To be unapologetically me.
To heal inner division.
And I’m here to embody and teach a new way of being- one that lets us love ourselves fully and deeply.
To provide an alternative to existing in stress and turmoil.
To empower conscious evolution.
To bridge the wisdom of the East with the gifts of the West.
And holy shit, is it scary!
It turns out, purpose is always about something bigger than ourselves that we are asked to stretch into.
You will be tested along your hero’s journey. Every day I face some flavor of my shadow- my shyness, my reticence to really be vulnerable, shame in asking for my needs, to allow myself to be seen in my power, to let you know I know what I’m talking about and a hundred other defense strategies I’ve perfected over lifetimes…
But beneath all of that, there’s the love. It permeates everything. It shines from behind the fear and guides me through and to the light. There is much to learn and be and do and share!
So, what are you driven by in your life?
What is your yes to? Can you let your deepest love be your guide?
Come to Center is an invitation to join me on the ride. To turn suffering into growth. To return home to yourself. To live from the center of your being- to align with your truth, your beauty and your power- and bring it through in how you meet life, in this moment. And this one. And this one…
Come with me. Collective transformation starts with us!
Looking at collective social, economic, political and cultural suffering I have always asked why? And, what can I do?
For years, I looked to architecture, design, writing op-eds for the answer. Every line I drew as an Architect, every space I envisioned, was aimed to mitigate disconnection, depression, anxiety, overconsumption, isolation…but it didn’t seem quite enough, when people were suffering the nature of their own thoughts and emotions.
Design aligned the exterior, but if our interior itself was misaligned all beauty, wonder and joy would be missed. And it is. Everyday, we suffer our own constructs, individually and collectively.
A good friend once said to me, “In America you have to be rich, white, thin and beautiful to be happy. Ishita you are not the richest, whitest, thinnest or most beautiful person, but you’re probably the happiest!”
And in that spirit, as I grappled with the divisive and fear based political upheaval, I realized more and more that I can only ever do one thing- be whole in myself and keep clearing out my own core wounds so I can serve the highest and best for all, through the highest and best in me.
What can I do? Facilitate conscious connection to fullness and wholeness already within you which is our birthright. When we feel safe, full and connected, we act out of love not fear.
That was the birth of Come to Center. The only “work” that feels both worthy and true for me.
Meditation aligns our interior. Gandhi once said, “Happiness is when what you think, say and do are the same.” And that is my “secret.” Conscious alignment.
I dream of a conscious and present world, where every being acts from stillness, fullness, from love, for the highest good of all, which is the highest good for each.
Wherever you are, I hope you will join me for Open Meditation. It’s what we really need in the world now.
Life in 2017 moves faster than we can keep up. Overstimulated, hyperconnected and always on the go, we seldom pause to self-center. Competing priorities vie for our scattered attention, and in the face of increasing workloads and pressures we navigate life on autopilot.
Stress or burnout inevitably follow, hijacking decision-making and communication, thereby straining relationships and inhibiting access to flow- the very place where creativity, innovation and joy thrive!
Overwhelmed, we start to question if it’s all worth our life energy. You may know this cycle. Through my time in the high stress design industry, I sure did.
So, how can we lead, work and thrive in the Attention Economy without sacrificing our sanity or well-being?
The key lies in our ability to align intention and attention- our skill at being present, here and now. Best practices in business and spirituality intersect at meditation, or in simpler terms, attention training. Efficacy lies in the mastering how our inner space meets the world.
Mindfulness and Meditation train our attention on which all else depends. Cultivating focus and self-centering develops flow. Presence, Self Regulation and Emotional Intelligence are vital to harness technical and leadership skills in the fast paced digital age.