Posts Tagged ‘Oprah Winfery’

Enlightenment Is Sexy, a memoir by Valerie Gangas, is out today, and it’s not just for women!

July 14, 2015

EIS Book CoverA first book from Valerie Gangas, ENLIGHTENMENT IS SEXY: Every Woman’s Guide To A Magical Life, is out today, and it’s not just for women!

Valerie is a great writer. She’s colorful, direct, and pulls no punches. Her effervescent personality shines through the amazing stories she shares with her readers, awakening them to their own inherent greatness.

The book is divided into short easy-to-read chapters packed with practical insightful wisdom. It’s also an inspirational testimony to the transformational power of TM, and I am enjoying reading every word of it!

Valerie sent us this intro to her story.

Awakening to Me

In 2011, I woke up and realized everything I thought I knew was wrong.

~ Valerie Gangas

For as long as I can remember, I have been running. Waking up in the morning and running to the gym. Running to the hospital to support my mother, who battled cancer for 13 years. Running to my job, managing an extremely busy Chicago restaurant/bar. Running from boyfriend to boyfriend. Running from one social event to another. Running to deal with the pressures modern women face to be perfect, to get the job done right, to be a caretaker, to look good—let’s face it: to be Wonder Woman.

Then one day, I was forced to stop running.

In late 2010, the restaurant I’d managed for 15 years was sold . . . but it turned out to be a weird sort of blessing, in that I got to spend day and night with my beautiful mother who, by Thanksgiving that year only had a couple of months left on the planet.

All of this time, I had been on a steady diet of double espressos, bottles of Cabernet and late nights eating steaks, cooked rare. (Did I mention I don’t eat meat?)

I was losing my mind as I watched her slowly slip away. I’d had a bad case of insomnia for years, my depression was deepening, and the distractions I’d held up like masks were no longer working well . . . make that, at all.

My mom passed away on January 25, 2011. And my world went black.

After she died, I felt like I’d died right along with her. I was out of a job, suicidal and completely unhealthy. My “diet”—mainly fueled by booze and caffeine—had caught up with me. I was the thinnest I’d been since high school, and my nerves were on fire. And it was like Groundhog’s Day—every night was the same scene. Go to bed, wake up at 3 a.m., stare at the ceiling, my thoughts reeling, feeling like complete crap, until I had to get up a couple hours later. Then my “day cycle” would start again. Down some caffeine, make myself workout (I had to fit in my cocktail dresses, duh!) and then never stop throughout the workday, ‘til I collapsed later that night.

Reflecting back, thoughts of suicide regularly arose in my mind. I didn’t feel like I could go on without my mom, who’d been my best friend. Clearly, I was a broken woman. Yes, I had been seeing a therapist and was trying to get my head above water. But nothing seemed to be working. My suicidal thoughts were getting stronger and stronger. I had gone so far as to ask my aunt and uncle to take my dog (I couldn’t bear messing up her little life), and I didn’t get a new car when my lease was up . . . because people who are going to kill themselves don’t need a car. I also wrote out my will.

Yep, I was gearing up to end my life.

One particularly horrible day I was on my knees in the shower, when I just collapsed and screamed out, “God, Mom, anyone, please help me kill myself or please save me!” In that moment, I completely surrendered. I was nothing. I was no one. And I completely gave myself and my fate over to God.

A week later, a friend suggested I learn Transcendental Meditation (TM). My only hope, at the time, was that I would be able to get some sleep. I hadn’t read anything about meditation, hadn’t thought about it or even wondered about it. But I was in such a dark place, one morning I made the call.

Within days, I borrowed that same friend’s car and drove to a Transcendental Meditation center in Chicago. The home which doubled as a TM center had a feeling of calm I couldn’t quite put my finger on—the air seemed lighter, somehow, and the view was all lake. Even upon entering the center’s lobby, I felt a bit calmer. Huh, I thought, these people who work here are super different. They were so chilled and completely filled with love . . . it was immediately clear to me they were there to help me. My next thought was, I’m here, so I might as well learn how to do this.

I sat down with my teacher and after a short, but beautiful ceremony, I was given my “mantra”—a sound she said my awareness would naturally follow, as it subsided into the depths of silence in my mind. When we both closed our eyes, I easily and effortlessly said the mantra to myself less than five times . . . and just like that, I was gone. I dove into a part of my body and mind I never knew existed—boundless, limitless and totally awesome. Yes-sir, something major had just happened . . . but soon I was discovering I’d only glimpsed the tip of the iceberg.

Driving home down Lake Shore Drive, I immediately began noticing how the world seemed so much different to me than it had on my way to the center. The colors all around me were more vivid, the sounds of the birds felt like sweet music to my ears, I seemed to be connected to all of the trees I saw . . . and above all, I felt happy. But, my mind called out to me, Is this really happening?! Do I really feel happy? How? Why? What the hell?

Fortunately, the essence of that experience stuck and stayed, and I came to find it was in fact “real”—that in twenty minutes, my whole life had changed. I woke up and realized everything I thought I knew was wrong. My life was no longer defined by outer circumstances. I was having a direct experience of what I have come to know as my true Self.

I cannot explain what followed . . . you know, the why of it. Within weeks of learning to meditate, I was standing in front of Oprah Winfrey, explaining how her newfound TM practice was going to make her limitless and boundless. Now, one would think standing in front of one of the most powerful women in the world would cause some serious butterflies in the stomach. But this wasn’t my experience. In that moment, when I stood at the front of the room and described my journey to her, I could only “see” her. The fame and the power didn’t exist. I was only concerned with helping the beautiful human in front of me the only way I knew how . . . with honesty, passion and a dash of humor.

I walked out of Harpo Studios that Friday morning and knew I was about to head down a very different life path. My soul and heart were breaking open and I was watching the right words leave my lips before my mind could even think them. I felt the power of the whole universe in my little body. That day, I decided to give everything I had to try to bring peace and goodness to the world. To do my part.

It has actually taken me the past few years to really understand this new way of living: that is, from the inside out. I felt compelled to write in my journal every night. I mean, the realizations I was having were just too profound not to write them down. I turned what I wrote about into a manuscript . . . and today I am proud to say I have just published my first book, Enlightenment Is Sexy: Every Woman’s Guide To A Magical Life. I’ve also started a brand I love and have continued to speak about consciousness, happiness, freedom, and above all, Transcendental Meditation.

Learning to meditate saved my life . . . but it also gave me more than I could have ever dreamt of: awakening to the real me.

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George Foster of Foster Covers, with help from wife Mary, designed the colorful cover! Order the book today at http://amzn.com/0996350209. Nice comments on Amazon.

Related: Read an interview with Valerie Gangas at TM Home, and this poem I wrote for her: Scheherazade Incarnate. TM Home also posted this today: Valerie Gangas reveals her top 5 reasons to learn Transcendental Meditation. And Val posted and sent this out. Transcendental Meditation for Women also posted Awakening to Me.

Valerie Gangas Shows Why Enlightenment Is Sexy on Writers’ Voices.

Spirit Matters Talk Interview with Valerie

Big Waves Strong Boat: Mary Waldon interviews Valerie Gangas, author of the best-selling book: Enlightenment Is Sexy™: Every Woman’s Guide to a Magical Life.

Transcending Stress by Norman Rosenthal, M.D. for Decision Magazine

October 1, 2012

Decision Magazine, a UK business publication, featured an article on TM in the Wellness section of the Summer 2012 issue: Transcendental Meditation offers a promising remedy for workplace stress says NORMAN E ROSENTHAL M.D. You can download a PDF of Decision Summer 2012 to see the article laid out with images on pages 48-49.

Transcending Stress by Norman Rosenthal, M.D.

It’s not stress that kills us; it’s our reaction to it. – Hans Selye

It is a matter of broad consensus that stress in the workplace has reached epidemic proportions. So bad has the problem become, that stress is now a more common cause of long-term sick leave than stroke, heart attack, cancer and back problems, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Workplace stress has been labeled “The Black Death of the 21st Century.”

Common causes of workplace stress include excessive workload, poor management style, workplace restructuring, and problems at home. As the great pioneer in stress research, Hans Selye, observed, it is not the stress itself, but how we react to it that affects its impact on our bodies and minds. During economic downturns, such as we are facing at present, ordinary workplace difficulties become more stressful because workers feel insecure about their job stability and fearful of losing their job, especially because it is often difficult to find a new one.

Stress takes a toll on both body and mind. It is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, the number one killer in developed countries. In addition, it predisposes to anxiety and depression, both enormous mental health problems. For those who of us who are concerned about performance and productivity in the workplace, it is crucial to find remedies for toxic work stresses. Such remedies will also lead to healthier workers, with fewer days off sick, lower health care bills, and extra years of productivity. There are many available “stress management” programmes. In this piece, I make the case why a simple but powerful technique, Transcendental Meditation (TM), should rise to the top of the list.

Why Transcendental Meditation?
TM is a simple technique of meditation, taught in a standardized one-on-one way over the course of a week. The instructor gives the student a mantra, along with instructions as to how to use it. TM is simple to learn and easy to practise. Ideally, the practitioner should sit comfortably with eyes closed for two sessions of 20 minutes each per day.

As a researcher and physician, I have been impressed by the scope and extent of research data supporting the benefits of TM (over 330 peer-reviewed articles to date). Much of this research has a direct bearing on the damaging physical effects of stress. For example, controlled studies have shown multiple physical benefits of TM versus controlled treatments, such as: (1) Reduction in blood pressure that is both statistically and clinically meaningful; (2) Actual reversal of arterial narrowing in the carotid arteries which carry blood to the brain; (3) increased longevity over the course of years (a finding that has been replicated). From the point of physical wellbeing alone, TM is worth practising.

But there is more. A meta-analysis of 146 treatment groups found that TM reduced anxiety to a greater extent than other approaches. Likewise, five controlled studies in people not recruited specifically for depression showed that practising TM was followed by a reduction in depression symptoms to a greater extent than control treatments. Evidence suggests that the improved blood pressure seen with TM is mediated by decreased anxiety. In other words, TM seems to be acting as a shock absorber, decreasing the impact of stress on both mind and body.

No other “stress management technique” has anywhere close to this amount of hard data in support of its claims to reduce stress.

Beyond its effects on stress reduction, TM has also been shown in numerous studies to improve levels of self-actualization – a term used to describe the need for people to be the best they can be. This benefit may result from the direct effects of TM on the brain, which include increased brain coherence. Brain coherence means that the firing patterns in different parts of the brain correspond to one another. Higher levels of brain coherence have been associated with higher levels of performance, both in businessmen and athletes.

How do the benefits of TM play out in the workplace?
To begin, let us hear from two leading business people, who are regular meditators and have praised TM’s benefits: Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater, the largest hedge fund in the world; and Oprah Winfrey, media icon and CEO of Harpo Studios. Dalio has said that TM has helped him make up for lost sleep and has made his patterns of thinking “more centered and creative.” With TM, he says, “Life got better and everything became easier.” He reports dealing with challenges in a calm, clear-headed way, which allows him to put things in perspective – “like a ninja.” Winfrey was so pleased with her own personal experience with TM that she provided TM training free of charge to all members of her organization. Her observations: “You can’t imagine what has happened. People are sleeping better. People have better relationships. People interact with other people better. It’s been fantastic.”

Many other CEOs and business leaders have reported similar benefits in their organizations. How can we understand these extraordinary transformations?

How can TM help work-stress?
Let me count the ways. TM results in:
1. Increased brain coherence that is associated with increased levels of accomplishment
2. Reduced stress responses producing more clarity, less reactivity, and better decision-making. As Dalio put it, “I am centered – not hijacked by emotion”
3. Enhanced creativity, even with aging
4. Better physical health
5. Greater harmony

At every level of organization, TM promotes harmony. This applies within the mind of the meditator, between mind and body, and in groups. Once the meditator learns the practice and develops the habit, the 40 minutes spent per day is rapidly repaid in the form of improved performance and efficiency. How wonderful it is to think that this quiet twice-daily practice might turn out to be a remedy for “The Black Death of the 21st century!”

Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D is author of Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation (Hay House, 2012).

An updated reprint edition by Tarcher is available in North America on Amazon.

Click here for more posts on Norman Rosenthal on my blog, and also visit Norman Rosenthal’s website and blog: http://normanrosenthal.com.

For more information on Transcendental Meditation for business executives and companies please visit www.tmbusiness.org.

Finding peace in Fairfield by Diane Vance

April 13, 2012

Finding peace in Fairfield

By DIANE VANCE, Ledger staff writer | Apr 12, 2012

At the Transcendental Meditation Blog, www.tm.org/blog, Mario Orsatti wrote on April 4, the TM.org website was flooded with visitors the week following Oprah Winfrey’s televised take on TM, Fairfield and her October visit here.

The hour show, one in her series of “Next Chapter” programs first aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network TV channel April 1. It was repeated on Easter Sunday and will air again at 6 p.m. this Sunday. Video segments also are available online.

It’s resulted in “thousands of Americans learning the TM technique,” Orsatti wrote.

While Oprah’s endorsements have propelled other products, some may doubt her embrace of TM will make much difference in Fairfield.

However, the planners and shakers in the TM community are preparing.

A summer session will be newly offered at the Maharishi University of Management, moving its annual graduation ceremony to May 26, rather than its typical mid-summer date.

“Experience the Self” course, offered as a one- or two-week course in July, promises to address consciousness, one’s body and mind, allow participants to discover sustainable living projects, relax in nature and celebrate the cultural opportunities of Fairfield.

As I mentioned in my introduction column the fourth day of Ledger employment in October, I was a student at M.U.M. in the Spring 2010 semester. It was not my first time on campus.

I moved to southeast Iowa in the summer of 1997 with my former husband and two children. We had moved after five years in a small town north of Davenport, after my spouse left 13 years of active duty Army in 1992. (Yes, this San Diego native has now lived in the Midwest 20 years!)

At my job at Keokuk’s newspaper the Daily Gate City, I heard remarks about those weird “flyers” up in Fairfield.

As the education reporter, many press releases from schools around the state and region passed through my desk. I began learning more about M.U.M.

When Vedic City, became incorporated, we drove up here to look around. Dirt lanes took us past cute little white houses with golden topknots and white picket fences.

In October 2007, my spouse and I traveled to Fort Hood, Texas, (where we lived in 1981) to hug our youngest good-bye. His Cavalry Scout unit was deploying to Iraq for 15 months. He was on the older side of 23 years of age.

Having a child at war makes it hard to breathe.

He was at a remote place in the Diyala Province. His care packages needed to include the basics, such as razor blades, toothpaste, etc. He asked for canned soup because it could be heated on the Bradley’s radiator when they spent days at a time away from base camp.

Sending a small Christmas tree and chocolates (chocolates and other meltables can only be mailed October-March) comforted me probably more than my son.

Still, the weeks dragged on. And on. I had a large wall map of Iraq on the wall of my cubicle. I read daily Associated Press stories about Iraq and the U.S. military. I always volunteered to do the stories on local veterans and active military.

When a press release about an April 2008 David Lynch weekend landed in my in-box, I investigated.

The TM promise of stress relief kept calling. I signed up, received a scholarship for the four-day weekend, came to Fairfield and fell in love with this place.

I was delighted to see, and hear, John Hagelin, because I had watched “What the Bleep Do We Know” video a few years earlier. I was astounded to see Donovan, a musician from my youth! And though I didn’t know who David Lynch was, I enjoyed his interaction with all of us visitors that weekend.

I traipsed around in the light rain and mud to view the on-campus green house and one of the golden domes. I ate organic, vegetarian meals (new experience).

And yes, I learned TM that weekend, in a comfortable, non-threatening space from a sweet woman, Linda Mainquist, who happens to be married to Mario Orsatti, where I started this column.

I have to admit to being sort of a slacker; I don’t always make time in my day for 20 minutes each morning and evening. But TM has helped with my stress levels — a good thing!

My son returned from Iraq in January 2009 having survived through two I.E.D.s blowing up the Bradleys he rode in.

And I have survived — and hopefully thrived; through my son-in-law’s year deployment to Guantanamo in 2008; both Army “sons” in Iraq in 2009 and 2010; and my divorce in 2010.

Calming peace is good to have in any form it comes.

Diane Vance is a Ledger staff writer. See other Columns by Diane Vance.

Reprinted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger.

See NPR: Fairfield, Iowa: Where ‘Art Belongs To Everyone’

Des Moines Register: Oprah in Iowa: Fairfield meditation segment airs Sunday

March 24, 2012


Oprah in Iowa: Fairfield meditation segment airs Sunday

By TODD ERZEN | FILED UNDER – News | 1:28 PM, Mar. 23, 2012

The media icon paid a stealthy six-hour visit to the Maharishi University of Management last October and will tell the country about her newfound devotion to Transcendental Meditation at 8 p.m. on Sunday as part of her new weekly series, “Oprah’s Next Chapter.”

Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, who took the media mogul on a tour of one of the university’s golden domes before she meditated there with about 400 other women, said Winfrey already had a working knowledge of Transcendental Meditation based on her experience with inner-city school systems.

The practice has been introduced there to children suffering from academic and behavioral problems with the help of Maharishi board of trustees member David Lynch, the television and film director whose private foundation promotes “Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.”

“It’s had phenomenal results (in schools) and I think she became intrigued by that,” said Malloy, who has practiced Transcendental Meditation for 38 years. “Oprah’s bright and energetic and gregarious and thoughtful and provocative and we are honored and tickled to be featured by her in this way.”

Watch a sneak preview of the show

Sneak Preview: Oprah Visits America’s Most Unusual Town

Oprah spends the day in Fairfield, Iowa—one of the safest, greenest and most unusual communities in America. It’s the last place you’d expect to find two huge golden domes built for the thousands of residents who rush there to meditate twice a day. Watch a sneak preview; then tune in for the full episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter on Sunday, March 25, at 9/8c.


Transcendental Meditation first came to Fairfield by way of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who gained international fame as the guru to the Beatles before transforming the bankrupt Parsons College property into his namesake university in 1974.

In 2001, the Maharishi’s followers incorporated their own town, called Maharishi Vedic City, about two miles north of Fairfield. Sales of non-organic food are banned and buildings are designed to follow principles the Maharishi established, such as facing east and featuring a golden roof ornament. About 1,300 people live there, and an estimated one-quarter of Fairfield’s 10,000 residents also practice Transcendental Meditation.

Winfrey has tried to make a similar impact on her employees by encouraging them to meditate twice during each work day.

Paul Chesnutt-Winer, who hosted Winfrey in his home and will be featured with his family on Oprah’s television show, said the practice of Transcendental Meditation could not have made a better friend.

“She’s an amazing combination of being a strong, executive woman and really a lot of fun,” he said.

See this earlier post by Todd Erzen on Mar 22, 2012 with links to a preview of the show and interview with Dr. Oz on Oprah’s visit to Fairfield and company-wide practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. Fairfield sees itself through Oprah’s eyes on Sunday.

For information on Transcendental Meditation, visit www.tm.org.

Related articles: Chicago Sun-Times: Oprah will talk about transcendental meditation on OWN | The Fairfield Ledger:Fairfield readies for Sunday debut on Oprah network | OWN: Oprah Visits America’s Most Unusual Town, Sunday, March 25, 8 p.m. CT, 9-10 p.m. ET/PT | KTVO: Fairfield to be featured on Oprah Winfrey Network | Oprah writes in O Mag about her visit to TM Town and meditating with ladies in their Golden Dome | Some Reports on Dr. Oz’s Interview with Oprah about TM and her Next Chapter | Oprah meditates with ladies in MUM Golden Dome | Reports of Oprah’s visit to Fairfield, Iowa | Oprah says she and her staff meditate, enjoy a Quiet Time twice a day—Facebook Live interview. Also see The Iowan: Sizing Up Small Towns: Rethinking Success in Rural Iowa: Fairfield Thinks Inclusively.

The Fairfield Ledger: Fairfield readies for Sunday debut on Oprah network

March 22, 2012

Fairfield readies for Sunday debut on Oprah network

Mar 21, 2012

Sunday’s televising of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” featuring Fairfield and Transcendental Meditation is expected to generate interest in the community.

A number of initiatives are under way to aid tourists and potential visitors.

“There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the airing,” said Maharishi University of Management alum Mariam Daudi, a coordinator for many of the initiatives. “The whole community is coming together to prepare in case there’s a big response. It’s fulfilling to work with so many different community leaders.”

Involved parties include Fairfield officials, Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, Maharishi School, M.U.M., Maharishi Vedic City, Maharishi Foundation, David Lynch Foundation and Ideal Community Group.

The convention center is developing a self-guided tour for visitors. A one-day training session for volunteer ambassadors also is in the works.

The welcome and information center at the Maasdam Barns site on Highway 1 South is expanding its hours.

Plans are under way to open the Taste of Fairfield visitors’ weekends in May and June to those who don’t practice the Transcendental Meditation technique. Planning also continues for M.U.M’s Experience the Self event to be held July 10–22.

Oprah visited Fairfield Oct. 19 to film for the hour-long program. It airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Locally, O.W.N. can be accessed on channel 203 on Mediacom, channel 279 on Direct TV, channel 90 on Lisco and channels 189 and 885 on Dish Network.

Student Activities at M.U.M. is hosting a viewing of the program at Dalby Hall in the Argiro Student Center. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

For more information about the program, visit www.oprah.com/own.

Reprinted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger. Article URL: http://fairfield-ia.villagesoup.com/news/story/226103?cid=14836

Addendum: Members of  the Fairfield community are invited to a live viewing of Oprah’s New Chapter, Sunday, March 25, at 8 pm CT (doors open at 7 pm) at the Sondheim Theater, Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. Free Admission – First come first seated.

See


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