Chopra Center Staff Spotlight
As Namasté kicks off the New Year, we are pleased to feature our head of The Chopra Center products division – Sara Harvey. After leaving the Center in 2002 to manifest her family, Sara has brought her vision and light back to the Center. Namasté recently sat down with Sara to explore her journey and how she weaves the teachings and practical tools of Ayurveda into her daily life.
Where did you grow up? Phoenix, Arizona
What drew you to The Chopra Center? I started with The Chopra Center when it was located in La Jolla. I saw a classified ad in the San Diego Union Tribune for a Director of Sales and Marketing at the Center. I lived one mile away and I thought it would be so great to ride my bike to work. Other than reading a couple of Deepak’s books, I was uncertain as to what to expect. When I went for my first interview, I immediately connected with the Center’s mission: to heal, balance, and transform. I intuitively sensed that the job would be a good fit for me even though I had limited experience with Ayurveda, holistic medicine, and the Eastern healing arts.
In the beginning of my Chopra Center career, I wondered what planet I had landed on, but little by little, everything that I learned made so much sense personally, professionally, and spiritually. I left the Center in 2003, got married and had two beautiful children. In 2007 I came back for round two and am very happy to be back! I like to consider myself a “recycled’ employee, and I’m doing all that I can to contribute to the greening of the planet.
What do you love most about your work here? The people who work here are passionate, and their energy inspires me daily. I have been given so many tools that have helped me in my work and on my life path. One of the things that has helped me the most is the practice of conscious communication, developed by the psychologist Marshall Rosenberg. If you haven’t read his book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, I wholeheartedly recommend it. Communication breakdowns seem to be the greatest source of strife at all levels.
Most of us receive so little training on good communication that it is no surprise we struggle with it. Conscious communication teaches us in four easy steps how to state our observations, clarify how we feel, eliminate the victim mentality, and actually ask for what we need. It’s amazing what a compassionate response you get when you use this simple process. We teach conscious communication at our Healing the Heart and Emotional Freedom programs, and we use it each day at The Chopra Center.
Do you have a favorite Chopra Center program? My favorite Chopra Center program is SynchroDestiny. The experience at this event is like tapping into a treasure chest. Once I attended, I began to recognize synchronicities as clues to my destiny. Life is filled with so many amazing meaningful coincidences, and it’s these events that give us access to the subtle connection between every being in the universe. It’s inspirational!
What is your primary dosha and how do you stay in balance? My primary dosha is Vata, at both the level of the body and mind. Swimming is a form of meditation that is very beneficial to me. The rhythmic breathing and the under water silence calms my scattered mind. Also, I love getting Ayurvedic massage treatments, which help ground me and slow me down. To keep my Vata in balance, eating lots of warm comfort foods is the best . . . a good crock-pot soup or stew, a fresh piece of whole wheat bread, and a big glass of water is my ideal lunch. I have to admit that it does take a conscious effort for me to eat well. The Vata nature tends to forget about food and then grabs something quick and unhealthy because it’s easy. I’m still working on my daily meditation practice. It’s so easy for me to throw out the excuse that I don’t have time, but when I do meditate, I find such inner peace As a bonus, I find that the most inspirational ideas come to mind after a meditation session. It’s kind of like the gift you get at the end.
Do you have a favorite Chopra Center product? Ayurnas is my favorite. It’s our new custom-blended nasal cleansing and rejuvenation oil, and I use it every day. If you haven’t tried it, I would recommend it. It’s very soothing and nourishing for dry nasal cavities, and it’s great for sinus congestion and colds.
Who are your archetypes? Mother Teresa – her unconditional giving to the poor touched my heart.
Where would you most like to travel? After having worked at The Chopra Center, India seems the most intriguing. I would like to make it an educational trip to learn about all the herbs, spices, and aromatherapies that are traditional to India and Ayurveda.
What are your favorite films? They aren’t very high-brow, but here they are: Caddyshack, Napolean Dynamite, and Forest Gump. I don’t care at all for violent movies. I think they leave a negative impression in the subconscious mind that alters our daily interactions with people. A good comedy gives me a break from life when it gets too serious, and laughing is a wonderful form of natural medicine. I try to get at least a few doses every day!
What is your favorite book? Most recently, I really enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve always had an interest in international travel and foreign languages. I resonated with her study of the Italian language. I struggled with many of the same things when I was living in Spain learning Spanish. I also admired her willingness to be with what was uncomfortable and unfamiliar as she lived in an ashram in India. Her search for love in its many forms and fashions mirrored some of my life experiences. Her writing style is casual and conversational. It’s an easy read that touches the heart.
What kind of music do you enjoy? Anything relaxing to calm my Vata nature. I love Enya, George Winston, and Deepak’s Soul of Healing Meditations.
How do you spend your Sundays? As a working mom, I cherish my weekends with my kids, Noelle and Jon-Luc, and I always do something fun with them. They are my angels and I relish all the time we spend together.
Do you have a list of dreams that you want to fulfill in this lifetime? Yes, I consider myself a lifelong learner so anything educational is fulfilling to me. In about five years or so, I would really like to go to France for a summer with my family, rent a country house, and immerse my children in classes to learn the language, culture, and history of France. I had the opportunity to live in Spain for a while and it was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. Living abroad helps you to accept others’ way and be grateful for the abundance we have in this country. It’s something I would like my children to experience as well.
What was your most transcendent moment? Wow! That is hard for me to say. Almost any time I let go of the need to control, a transcendent moment occurs in my life. For me, transcendent moments happen whenever I experience that “Aha!” sensation. It’s subtle but I know, in a figurative sense, that another door has just opened up for me to possibly enter.
Who would you most like to invite to a dinner party? I would invite my Dad because he passed away last year and he was always one for good dinner table conversation. Next, I would invite my long-time friends from all walks of life. We just don’t get together very often, but when we connect, it’s as if we just saw each other yesterday.
Do you have a favorite quotation? Yes, it’s one from President Woodrow Wilson: “One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is supply light and not heat!”
What are your commitments for 2009? To meditate more regularly. Bring more exercise into my life. Expand my knowledge of Ayurvedic herbs, oils, and aromas. Document my family geneology so that I will be able to pass down my family history to my children.
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