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Newsletter December 2023

Thanksgiving reflections from India

I enjoyed a Thanksgiving unlike any other, nestled in the humble town of Andhra Pradesh, India, and it showed me that the essence of Thanksgiving goes beyond location and culture, especially when it’s woven with the spirit of community service

This Thanksgiving, I journeyed to a place where the essence of service and gratitude transcends boundaries: Puttaparthi, a small town in Andhra Pradesh, India, renowned as the spiritual heartland of the late Sathya Sai Baba. There, amidst the quiet streets and devout atmosphere, I discovered a universal truth: the spirit of Thanksgiving, a celebration of gratitude and community, knows no geographical limits.

My visit was inspired by my 95-year-old father-in-law, a lifelong devotee of Sai Baba. His dedication, travelling thrice annually to this sacred site, is a testament to the enduring legacy of love and teachings he cherishes. Through him, I’ve seen how a life guided by spiritual principles can touch the profound depths of peace and longevity.

Puttaparthi, though geographically small, casts a vast, spiritual shadow across the globe. Sai Baba’s teachings have spurred initiatives worldwide, from environmental campaigns in Kazakhstan to health retreats in New Zealand. His message of love and service resonates in the countless hearts he’s touched, evidenced by the global mosaic of devotees I encountered during my brief stay.

Sitting in the ashram, I was surrounded by a diverse fellowship of humanity, from Indonesia to Italy, all drawn here by a shared reverence. The experience was a poignant reminder of our interconnectedness and the universal quest for spiritual fulfilment.

Prashanti Nilayam, the nucleus of Sai Baba’s legacy, was alive with energy and devotion. The air was vibrant with Vedic chants, devotional songs, and the collective meditation of thousands. Even years after his passing, Sai Baba’s birth anniversary drew a multitude, including dignitaries like the President of India, all united in their search for spiritual nourishment.

A recorded speech of Sai Baba struck a deep chord within me. He spoke of love as the ultimate solution, a force potent enough to transform the world. This idea, simple yet revolutionary, made me reflect on the true essence of my journey and the legacy we all wish to leave.

As I left Puttaparthi, the poignant questions of purpose and legacy weighed heavily on me. Yet, in the midst of these contemplations, I realised that perhaps our greatest calling is to embrace the spiritual richness of our heritage, to recognise that service to others is the most profound expression of our humanity.

This Thanksgiving, I am profoundly thankful for the rich tapestry of Indian culture, where spirituality is not just an aspect of life but the very fabric that holds it together. I return home with a renewed sense of purpose, a deeper understanding of the universal language of love and service, and a heart full of gratitude for being part of a land that celebrates the divine in every aspect of life. 

What I discovered

Burgers and fries for a month, how does that sound? Intriguing or alarming? Morgan Spurlock’s ‘Super Size Me‘ demonstrates the true impact of a fast-food diet

Super Size Me is an experiment-driven documentary where Morgan Spurlock takes on a challenge to survive on a diet from one of America’s leading fast food chains for an entire month. It revolves around an earnest attempt to gauge the impact of such readily available food.

The result of this fascination is a deep dive into what contributes to America’s obesity epidemic. He goes on a diet of fast food for all three meals for thirty days straight and between these meals is the real quest – how would this consumption affect his health? He drives across the country and interviews a host of health and nutrition experts, lawyers, school workers, and a surprisingly trim man who has eaten over 19,000 Big Macs yet maintains a healthy cholesterol level.

I was reasonably sceptical about sustenance on fast food meals but never would anyone imagine the far-reaching repercussions. By the end of his journey as a guinea pig, we learn that the effects of this trial are worrisome, to say the least, with a 13% increment in weight, cholesterol levels through the roof and fat accumulation in the liver. He acknowledges undergoing fluctuations in mood and a diminished libido.

The damaging effects that Morgan had to endure took me back to the conversations I had had with multiple experts on the same subject that focuses on our nutritional needs. It had been refreshing to spark a conversation about nourishing food. We need to rid ourselves of the narrow lens through which we see the food in our plates and adopt a more holistic approach to examine how it affects our body, mind and most importantly, souls.

“A moment on the lips, forever on your hips” might be a cautionary phrase but that’s not the only one we should be paying attention to. A perspective that takes into account your being as one unit, rather than several elements coming together is the most engaging and effective one.

If you would like to know more about such practices, tune in to the third season of Wellness Curated— Food for Thought, to get an in on discussions that empower you and help you transform into the best possible version of yourself.

Super Size Me is a reality check for viewers, a well-meaning reminder that sheds light on the consumption pattern that leads to an unhealthy lifestyle. It really resonated with me since I truly believe that food is the gateway to well being. Watch “Super Size Me” to embark on a journey of awareness and transformation, and to embrace the philosophy that investing in healthy food choices is investing in a healthier, happier life.

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