“I am living in the moment and keeping myself open to new opportunities and experiences, without being tied to rigid plans. Who guarantees that I wake up tomorrow morning or not?😊“”
Rajitha was one of the first new people I met when I moved to the Netherlands. Our friends took me and my wife to laughter yoga class and then we had a blast. That was also the moment when I met this Dream Chaser. She is devoted, passionate, and persistent. All qualities that you need to have if you want to make your dreams come true.
Please introduce yourself to the readers of the blog
Today, as I speak, I find myself at the age of 44 years and 14 days, and it has been quite a journey for me, especially since turning 40. Each day holds significance as I strive to be mindful of my time and actions on this planet. My life has been filled with numerous moments, both good and challenging, shaping my personal and career experiences.
In India, I pursued a bachelor’s degree in nursing and later delved into sociology with a keen interest in research and behavioral sciences. I worked passionately with various private organizations and also contributed to government policies concerning mother and child health at the grassroots level.
My achievements and involvement in social campaigns garnered a sense of identity and fulfillment within my field. However, life presented a twist when I made a life-altering decision to accompany my husband, as an expat spouse. Given my curiosity and open-mindedness, I embraced this opportunity to move to a country starkly different in terms of development and weather from India.
The transition to the Netherlands brought its share of challenges, especially in integrating into the health sector due to language barriers. Despite my efforts, I realized I needed to learn Dutch to effectively communicate and work in my field. To explore the education system and establish connections, I pursued a second master’s degree in social and behavioral sciences at Tilburg University.
Yet, amid writing papers and preparing assignments in the library during the second year of my studies, I had an enlightening moment. An inner voice questioned my purpose and desires. I realized that I longed to work with people, to be involved in meaningful and direct engagement.
With this realization, I shifted my focus towards working with organizations such as Red Cross, WHO, UNICEF, and old-aged homes simultaneously learning the language. I recall those beautiful days of teaching two times a week, Zumba fitness lessons to an exclusive group of 26 conservative Islam women and their children in the sports hall in the Mosque building for a year. In doing so, I discovered a profound issue affecting the elderly in the Netherlands – loneliness and depression. This insight resonated with me on a personal level, as I was facing my challenges during that time.
Being a yoga practitioner, I decided to become a certified yoga teacher to teach yoga in old age homes. Also trained as a laughter yoga coach. Combining yoga, laughter yoga, health, and wellness, I crafted a new identity for myself.
Gradually, I opened laughter clubs and conducted workshops while teaching yoga as a freelancer. I found a sense of fulfillment and rediscovered my purpose in this new identity. People around me in the Netherlands began to recognize and appreciate my work in social welfare due to the positive impact they have posted my workshops and lessons.
Presently, I have added yet another feather to my cap as a palliative healthcare provider, utilizing my nursing degree once again. As a bereavement counselor and healthcare provider in institutions and homes offering 24-hour care, I offer technical support and comfort to clients who are nearing the end of their lives.
This is who I am today—navigating diverse fields and finding fulfillment in each moment.
How long have you been involved with laughter yoga? Share with us the journey so far.
Since 2015, I’ve been doing laughter yoga without any official license, primarily during my yoga sessions at old age homes. Toward the end of these sessions, I would incorporate laughter yoga for about 5 to 10 minutes, introducing various laughter techniques that proved to be quite effective. Witnessing the group’s radiant glow, smiles, and positive energy was truly remarkable.
The success of laughter yoga in elderly groups encouraged me to expand its reach. As a certified laughter yoga coach since 2017, I began conducting workshops and eventually decided to open a club to accommodate a larger audience. Over the years, since 2015, I’ve received messages from people going through tough times, expressing their desire to join the sessions but feeling uncomfortable in a group setting. As a result, I started offering private sessions and one-on-one coaching to help them rediscover the joy of laughter.
I find it fascinating that even though I was naturally serious and ambitious, I could make people laugh. This made me wonder why I took life so seriously. laughter helped me see things differently. I learned how essential it is to live in the present, let go of worries, and embrace laughter to bring more energy and passion into my life. I realized that achieving my goals doesn’t always require being overly serious, and laughter can make me feel more vibrant, youthful, and joyful.
The journey has been remarkable, and I take pride in making a positive difference in people’s lives. Witnessing the transformation and providing them with a renewed sense of positivity and energy is immensely satisfying. As time goes on, more people are becoming familiar with my work, and they now directly approach me seeking the benefits of laughter yoga on various occasions. The best workshop I do nowadays is organizing laughter hour at personal birthday parties as a surprise event. It’s heartwarming to receive various questions and intriguing approaches from individuals on this journey of spreading laughter and joy. Overall, it’s been an excellent experience, and I’m grateful to have been able to touch people’s lives in such a meaningful way.
What are your plans for the future?
If you were to ask me about expanding laughter yoga as a full-time endeavor, I would have to say no, and let me explain why. While laughter yoga is undoubtedly one of my talents and skills, I consider myself a jack of many trades and a master of a few. It’s like a feather in my cap, something I excel at.
I derive immense satisfaction from delivering these sessions to the right audiences at the perfect time. However, laughter yoga is not the only thing I do, as I have already mentioned. My pursuits also include teaching yoga, offering counseling services from time to time, and playing an informal counselor role for my family and friends during tough times. Additionally, I am involved in palliative healthcare work, and I have plans to explore other avenues, such as writing a book.
As I move forward, I do not have a strict set of plans for the future. I prefer to go with the flow and embrace each day doing what I love. I’m curious to see what unfolds beyond the projects I am currently working on. Thus, I am living in the moment and keeping myself open to new opportunities and experiences, without being tied to rigid plans. Who guarantees that I wake up tomorrow morning or not?😊
What would you say are the biggest challenges you had to face along the way?
And what are the biggest lessons you learned from those challenges?
The greatest challenge I’ve always faced is managing my highly enthusiastic mind within the limitations of time. There are moments when I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day, just to bring to life all the ideas and activities I have in mind, and to inspire those around me. My boundless energy (people say this haha) and enthusiasm can sometimes pose a challenge for me.
Let me quote some part-time jobs I enjoyed, mainly to experience the activities and supplement my income until I could reestablish my sense of identity. Money was the slightest motive because we were economically sound as expats.
1. As a Paper girl – I delivered early morning Newspapers to break the notion of the dignity of labor (In India, paper boy job is considered low standard work, and respect is no way closer to them, unfortunately)
2. Strawberry picking/packing – working in cold storage units with -15 degrees Celsius is no joke. I greatly respect people who sustain this work for the long run.
3. Engaged in weekly wage work in logistics companies like I phone damage controls, DHL supplies, etc for a few weeks.
4. Motivational public talks to expat spouses and unemployed immigrants in specific international organizations with my social studies and Counselling skills.
However, the lessons I’ve learned through yoga and meditation have been transformative in my life. These practices have shown me the power of mindfulness. I’ve come to realize that with mindfulness, even the seemingly impossible tasks can become achievable, and it creates space and time within the 24 hours to set realistic goals and priorities. In the past, I used to be skeptical when people claimed that doing yoga would give them more time, as daily chores and responsibilities seemed to fill every moment. But since I started practicing yoga, I’ve experienced the truth behind it.
Devoting time to yoga and meditation has given back to me in the form of improved time management. I’ve learned to prioritize tasks and not fret if I can’t complete everything on my to-do list for the day. Instead, I go with the flow and move unfinished tasks to the next day without being a perfectionist about it, something I used to struggle with years ago. Now, with age and experience, I’ve embraced a more flexible and relaxed approach to life.
What is the biggest source of inspiration for you?
Life itself serves as the ultimate inspiration for me. The human mind’s capacity to read, think, feel, and analyze captivates me endlessly. I find myself immersed in self-introspecting and observing the lives of those around me, and experiencing the diverse journeys that people undertake. Whether witnessing others enduring challenging times, reaching great heights, tasting success, or grappling with failures, I find profound inspiration in these encounters. Each day and every person I meet has a profound impact on me, leaving me with two distinct lessons: learning something positive or learning what not to adopt. And here, you already taught me a good thing. I learned from you the effect of Consistency. You have been following up with me since April to finish this interview:)
In my perspective, what may be considered good for me might not hold true for others. Regardless, I endeavor to glean valuable insights from these encounters, either embracing the positive traits I see in them or recognizing the pitfalls to avoid in my own life.
In simple terms, I stay away from things that don’t help me grow or make me feel bad. By doing this, I find inspiration and learn valuable lessons from the diverse experiences life offers.
What would you say to the people who are still hesitant to follow their dreams?
Haha…interesting. Let me ask one question to answer. Do we hesitate to wake up, breathe, earn, eat, and sleep? After all, we fearlessly get up each morning, eat our meals, carry on with our daily routines, and earn a living without hesitation. So, why should we hesitate when it comes to pursuing our dreams? I see dreams as synonymous with passion—a reflection of our core personality, deepest desires, and unique talents. They allow us to explore our creativity and uncover our true potential.
True fulfillment comes from doing what we love and loving what we do. By embracing this philosophy, we can turn our dreams into reality.
As I continue my journey, I believe there are still facets of myself waiting to be discovered. Each day presents an opportunity to uncover that special X-factor or excitement for something within me, and I eagerly embrace this process. It’s crucial not to let fear, doubt, or society hold us back from pursuing our passions and dreams.
In conclusion, I firmly hold on to the belief that living passionately and pursuing our dreams define who we truly are. By discarding hesitation and allowing ourselves to embrace our passions, we unlock our inner selves and create a path to peace and contentment. Thank you for making me recall and rewind my journey in the Netherlands. I hope you keep presenting us with many stories to inspire. Good luck:)