Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My year of Hopefulness - It's More than Just Business

I got my MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia. When I began there, I thought I was going to learn about Finance and Accounting and Strategy. I thought I was going there to increase my business acumen and break out of the hum drum of middle management. I did all those things, though that wasn’t the important stuff of an MBA, not by a long shot.

This morning on the subway, I worked my way through the rest of this month’s issue of Yoga Journal. There is a beautiful article about the use of yoga in prisons that helps to rehabilitate and treat young offenders. Yoga asks us to scan our bodies, to delve deep into who we are and how we want the world to be. It empowers us. It calms us down by giving us a sense of “otherness” – the ability to view our lives from an objective third party perspective.

In yoga, we find the gratitude to appreciate the good around us, the fortitude to survive challenging times with grace, and the confidence to recognize that “if it is to be, it’s up to me.” This is exactly the message we all need to hear, and a particularly profound way of thinking for young offenders. No one is beyond forgiveness or change. It is never too late. Young offenders need to know this.

The article goes on to talk about nonprofits who are providing yoga classes in prisons, one of them being Mind Body Awareness (MBA) Project. The name gave me pause. I always associate the combination of the letters MBA with “Masters of Business Administration”. Reading this article and recognizing MBA Project’s mission and value gave me a whole new way of thinking about these letters, and my Darden degree.

Much more than analytical skills, contacts, and opportunity, my MBA and Darden offered me a mind body awareness connection as well. It’s where I first taught full yoga classes on a regular basis. It’s where I realized that I could be anything and do anything I wanted. It’s where I realized how connected all of life’s moments are. It’s where I gained a true appreciation for my own personal history, the histories of others, and how they intertwine so beautifully. At Darden, I first became a published writer. I started my blogging there, as well as my interest in social media. I learned that every day we have an opportunity for a fresh start, to learn something new, to be happy, healthy, and grateful. At Darden, I found the seed of what I wanted my life to be in every facet, and I’ve been nurturing it daily ever since.

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