Bhakti Chai Shares One Simple Step to Help Your Dreams Come True
C.S. Lewis got it right when he said, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…”
When you think about it, we put a lot of energy into the world on a daily basis – into our jobs, our families, our personal goals, financial obligations, friendships, relationships, maybe even our dreams. And when you look back over the course of a year, or two, or five, you realize how much has changed, even if your day-to-day routine has more or less remained the same. People tend to overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can accomplish in a lifetime.
What if you took a chance, and focused a part of each day on what you are devoted to? Would your dreams of being a business owner finally come true? Would you be living in a place you actually love? Would you turn your side hobby into a true art form? The possibilities are endless when we believe in the power of our intentions and follow through on our commitment to ourselves.
Nearly a decade ago, I started Bhakti Chai with the intention to create a brand that not only offered a delicious chai, but also a company that made a huge impact in the global community. Bhakti in Sanskrit means “devotion through social action,” and I kept this top of mind when launching Bhakti Chai to remind myself of my commitment not only to fulfilling my own dreams, but to changing the world. I manifested that devotion by building Bhakti Chai and then later launched Gita, our social giving platform.
Gita means “Share Your Story” in Sanskrit and is the foundation for Bhakti Chai’s platform for positive social change. G.I.T.A. stands for “Give”, “Inspire”, “Take Action” – the embodiment of what Bhakti Chai intends to do with the Gita Giving project.
This led us to taking the whole idea of taking devotion to the next level by inspiring others to share their devotion with us, and with the world. It’s one thing to know in your head and your heart what you feel devoted to, but once you put that on paper and share that energy with others and the universe, something starts to churn and then suddenly, that idea becomes manifested energy for change.
This year at Emerging Women Live, we asked participants to share their devotion with us by writing it down on a “My Bhakti” card, snapping a photo of themselves with their devotion and sharing it on social media. You can see by the photo that devotion can be big or small – it’s the larger act of empowering yourself to follow it, to grow that dream and intentionally work each day to commit to yourself and to your devotion that matters most.
So, what is your Bhakti?
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.
Brook Eddy is founder and CEO of Bhakti Chai. She has always been devoted to support those who are authentic, daring, and committed to making a difference in our global community.
Women’s leadership is on the cusp of a quantum leap.
Female leaders everywhere are inching toward the unknown, leaning into the new, announcing their readiness to the future that attracts them. Our passion, commitment, intention, and will may very well collapse the probability of equality and manifest it into a reality some day in the near future.
Denied access to the centers of power for so long in our history, we have become experts on the margins. We are masters at networking, advocating, circling, co-creating, transforming culture—working for the marginalized in every field imaginable. Women leaders are at the forefront of change from the grassroots to governmental levels.
Not About Me, It’s We
In the 1970’s, when the second wave of feminism washed over this land and changed everything in its wake, the phrase “the personal is political” became a slogan as we discovered together how the culture had shaped and silenced us. There was a sense of “It’s not just ME, it’s all of us,” and that fueled our interest, our outrage, and finally our courage to stand up and speak our truths.
Now, two generations later, young women are assimilating into every institution—corporate, civil, religious, creative—and speaking their truth to power,from power, and about power.
As evolutionary women leaders we are abandoning old tactics and strategies; we are transcending patriarchal, hierarchical models of leadership and creating circular spaces for the surfacing and sharing of collective wisdom. We are creating new vocabularies, replacing words like compete, control, power, motivation with collaborate, co-create, process and transformation.
It takes women only moments to find our commonness, and generally, in every women’s circle, it is always agreed upon that what we are seeking is what is best for the whole. From business women to nuns to non-profit leaders, an awareness of our interdependency underlies every question and answer. And we often believe that if there is a striving to be had, it is to be the best for the world, not the best in the world.
The Value of Questions
Philosopher and scholar Jacob Needleman suggests that the real art form of today is “group pondering.” This resonates as an idea with me, although its execution calls for deep creativity. How does one facilitate “group pondering?” How does a leader mine the wisdom of the group? How do we evolve ourselves into more subtle sowers of collective insight?
The best leaders are the ones with the best questions. The ones who are humble enough to not be the center of attention, but to center the group’s attention. The ones who can laser focus the desire of the group, the intention and will of the group, in order to unleash the group’s ability to create a reality it agrees upon.
After a few decades of facilitating groups for higher levels of leadership and creativity, I’ve come up with some questions that aim at authentic and imaginative truth-telling. Answering these questions will give people an opportunity to find common ground with others, acknowledge what they are passionate about, decide what they are committed to, and proclaim their next steps in the matter.
People pay therapists thousands of dollars for this, but a good leader can bring about these clarifications in a short time by simply asking the right questions and engaging in this kind of group pondering. Here are a few ideas for starters:
What is one thing you know for sure based on your lived experience?
In what ways have you shared that knowing?
In what ways have you advocated on another’s behalf?
What success have you had in this area?
Have you ever felt silenced as a woman? If so, how?
Do you feel an affinity with any marginalized groups? If so, what is your response?
Do you know the difference between your original thoughts and your inherited beliefs?
What inherited beliefs have you disinherited? (about your body? your religion? your sex?)
How have you been changed by another woman’s story or creation?
If someone funded a documentary that you could produce, what subject matter would you choose?
If you had a superpower, what would it be? What would you do as a result?
Where does the imbalance of feminine vs. masculine show up most for you?
What is the impact of that?
In what ways are you bringing more balance to our society?
Tips for Facilitating
If there are many tables in the room, a dividing of the questions and sharing is an excellent way to foster more collective pondering. Introverts often need more time to think about their answers, so it might be wise to list these questions on paper and give people five to ten minutes to reflect and answer. The work of the leader is to create a safe space for sharing, to be self-disclosing and answer a few of the questions from her own perspective before having the group do the assignment.
I read once that the Old English term for leadership comes from the phrase to go first. The greatest leaders are the ones ready to go first, to risk being vulnerable. They speak from their lives. They learn how to master their ordeals, process their tragedies and transform them into stories that hold truths both personal and universal.
If She Can, I Can—The Power of Story
Everything we know happened to us in a story. All the wisdom in our cells came from our trials, our tears, our commitment to keep going in the face of every obstacle. Great leaders tell those stories. They don’t just share what they know. They share how they learned it. That’s what we all hunger for. Those tales of transformation. Those stories that remind us, “If she can, I can.”
You can stop reading leadership books anytime now. Just open up the book of your own life. See what you’ve been up against. See what kept you going. See what you’ve achieved and where you’re headed now. See how connected you are to all the others. And tell those stories. Tell them right from your heart. Don’t be afraid of your tears. This is heart work, after all.
Jan Phillips, is the co-founder and executive director of the Living Kindness Foundation, a co-sponsor of Emerging Women, and an artist and author. She’s written No Ordinary Time, Finding the On-Ramp to Your Spiritual Path, The Art of Original Thinking-The Making of a Thought Leader, Divining the Body, and more. To learn more about her work, you can visit her website.
Chelsea has over 15 years of experience in administrative and executive support. After her years of working in the legal and oil and gas industry, Chelsea has made it her passion to fill her life with creativity and incorporates that into everything she does. Her position at Emerging Women allows her to expand on that creativity and assist with empowering women around the world. She is a native of Colorado and enjoys spending time with her husband, her son, bonus son, family, and friends. In her free time she loves camping, painting, and all things creative.
Online Business Manager
Michelle studied Marketing and received her degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her passion for marketing, combined with great attention to detail, and over 7 years of experience in the tech-world makes her a valuable asset to the team! In addition to Emerging Women, she is also a solopreneur and works with a number of different clients in the online business realm. She is an experienced Online Business Manager and Virtual Assistant who specializes in marketing operations, project management and online course launch management. She is a Colorado native, mother of two dogs, a cat, and a turtle, and step-mother to an amazing little girl. In her spare time she enjoys live music, good food, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.
Power Circle Administrator
Jen comes to Emerging Women with over 25 years of experience in event operations and volunteer management. She has worked various types of events as a Volunteer Manager for Integral Life conferences and as an Event Coordinator for various large arts and sports festivals throughout Colorado. Alongside her passion for creating and producing events, she worked as a hospital administrator for over a decade in one of Denver’s largest hospitals helping make care affordable to hundreds of patients. Jen was born in Lima, Peru but has spent most of her life in Colorado. In 2016, a year sabbatical morphed into a life living abroad. Jen has been living in Cusco, Peru for the past four years and cherishes her life in the Andes mountains. In her spare time she enjoys exploring the world, playing capoeira, and deepening her yoga and meditation practices.
Director of Power Circles
For over 13 years, Nicole has been a producer and connector in the field of personal and professional growth and transformation, creating diverse content, life-changing curriculum, and exquisite live and online experiences. She loves to unite and facilitate people in their work to live more good, true, and beautiful lives. She’s honored to bring this diverse expertise to Emerging Women. For the past two years she has been the lead producer for Emerging Women Live, and now is bringing her extensive production, coaching and facilitation skills to EW’s Power Circles. Nicole works in private practice as a Certified Integral Master Coach™, through her company, Unabashedly You, and has worked with hundreds of women (and men) individually and as a group facilitator. She also creates programs and interviews fascinating teachers and wellness experts in her role as U.S. Content Producer for Conscious Life. She is the co-founder of Core Integral, an educational company offering a comprehensive and accessible approach to learning integral theory. Prior to this work, she owned a large and lively restaurant and brewery in Pennsylvania. She has studied extensively and worked alongside Ken Wilber (Integral Theory), Daniel Brown, PhD (Tibetan Buddhism, Self-Development, Attachment, and Positive Psychology), and Sofia Diaz (Hatha Yoga and Feminine Embodiment). She holds a Masters Degree from Lehigh University. She regularly delights in the sunshine and mountains of Colorado with her two dogs and her partner Clint, and is a new mama to her daughter Truly Golden.
Founder & CEO
Chantal’s mission is to increase women’s leadership across the globe. After earning an MBA from the University of Colorado, Chantal left a career in medical device manufacturing in search of work that would align her dedication to transformative leadership with her passion for living an inspired, impactful life. In September 2012, she founded Emerging Women, a global leadership and media platform that serves over 70,000 women worldwide and has advanced women’s leadership within Fortune 500 companies such as HP, Oracle and more. Chantal’s ultimate vision is to weave feminine leadership and authenticity into businesses, and to create a world where women have a strong voice in the shaping of our future. Prior to Emerging Women, for over a decade, Chantal served on the executive team as the VP of Sales and Marketing for Sounds True, a multimedia publishing company focused on spirituality, personal growth, and holistic living. Chantal is a sought after speaker delivering keynotes at The Grace Hopper Celebration, Wisdom 2.0, and many other stages where women’s leadership is critical to the conversation. When she is not dancing or working to empower women around the world, Chantal enjoys family time with her husband and two sons in Boulder, CO.