One year ago today, February 23rd 2014, I finally mustered up the courage to wake up before sunrise in the bitter cold and cab it to Central Park. The next forty minutes I spent there ended up being the most gratifying forty minutes I HAVE ever spent in my life.
I finally had an inkling for something I was passionate about. I am the type of person that thinks that everything is interesting and never sticks to anything. I guess it should be no surprise for the people that know me well why I have 3 degrees; my Bachelors in General Management, my Masters in Finance and my Masters in Accounting.
As I sat on this bench I asked myself, “What truly makes me happy?” I noticed that I was going about life all wrong. I was chasing money and then praying everything in life would get better through money. I kept regretting the past and kept looking towards the future, yet never once acknowledged the present. That day, I realized that I am just going to focus on what brings me the greatest amount of joy regardless of what the current circumstances are or what the potential circumstances may be.
About halfway into my meditation, I realized that there is no greater joy than helping those in need. Then I realized that I have no idea what to give or how I would even go about helping those in need. Cue in the American Flag. I thought “What if I could give back to homeless people that are not mentally incapacitated?” I know I would have no problem sheltering them for a week, grooming them, helping them apply for jobs, and providing emotional support. I promised myself I wouldn’t expect anything from them. I learned that holding expectations for someone can be debilitating because if my version of success was not met, I would feel that I failed even if the one being helped has made significant progress. I also felt hesitant for being that open to a homeless person, because I’m assuming most have tunnel-vision and would not focus on their career but only focus on obtaining their next source of income, wherever that may be.
After the forty minutes were up, I called my sister to see her ETA. I told her about my idea about wanting to help the less fortunate. As I kept conversing and kept ruminating about this idea, I had a shift in consciousness. The exact shift I was looking for! I asked myself, “How did I conscientiously get to where I am today?” Then I remembered that I went through a series of progressions over the last couple of years to increase my self-awareness.
One of the main catalysts that took me through this series of progressions was completing P90X with my best friend from elementary school. I usually never end up finishing what I commit to, but I made up my mind that I am going to finish P90X just to see how I would feel. I ended up going from 170.0 lbs to 135.8 lbs in 90 days and truly experienced one of the most amazing sense of accomplishments ever! One of the main workouts in P90X, that specifically brought me pride, was Yoga X.
Let me be the first one to admit that Yoga X was a nightmare. I asked myself repeatedly how does anyone do this without going insane! I put my ego aside and kept focusing on improving my posture and breathing instead of regretting doing this unbearable 90 minute exercise. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th time I made progress but I still regretted doing it. However from the 6th time onwards I looked forward to it because it helped me relax, center myself, and just be at ease internally and externally.
Yoga resulted in one of my very first shifts in consciousness. During this time of self-reflection in February I was actively meditating too. I recognized that as challenging as yoga was mentally, meditation was much more challenging. However just like yoga, meditation kept me relaxed, grounded, and at ease.
Then it illuminated upon me that most people’s quest for happiness usually goes unfulfilled because they’re searching in the wrong places. As these thoughts were flooding into my head, I told my sister why not start an establishment where people go through a progression. A progression resulting in a shift in consciousness that lead people to live a more fulfilling life with the support of a community consisting of like-minded individuals.
Over the last 365 days: I moved from my beloved New York City to the more hobby-oriented Austin Texas, formulated a name with my current roommate for our company, finalized the logo and the symbol, incorporated it, trademarked it, ordered t-shirts, distributed business cards, finalized brochures, hired employees, booked the first promotional event, pitched the idea to many people, passed out surveys, obtained my Certified Personal Training license, obtained a business laptop and a local business number.
Currently I’m in the process of launching the website, obtaining my Registered Yoga Teacher certification, finalizing the business plan, booking my Meditation Teacher Training certification and meeting with realtors regarding the location of the establishment.
Today I am earning the least amount of money I’ve ever earned, yet am the happiest I’ve ever been. My family and friends noticed my shift from negativity to positivity and are behind me 1000%. For once, I found something that I’m truly passionate about and the amount of happiness it has yielded is ineffable. Those forty minutes were all I needed to ponder what I could do to live a more meaningful life and it was as simple as giving back all my love to the world. My love is all I have to offer and all I can offer.
Preetham Poonati is the founder and CEO of Nirvana Gym where nutrition, fitness, yoga, and meditation come together to give its members a holistic approach of fulfillment in daily living.
Thank you Preetham for contributing your story!