Shama Patel has over seven years of experience in the field of psychology and she’s an expert in addressing issues faced by adults, teenagers, married couples, alcoholics etc. She is a Post-Graduate in Counselling Psychology from Bangalore University. Shama also conducts various workshops on mental-emotional well-being and has successfully conducted workshops at companies and organizations such as Mahindra & Mahindra, Rotary Clubs, Emcure Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd, Aga Khan Develepment Network, FICCI Flo, Schindler India Pvt Ltd; amongst many others. She is often fondly referred to as Happiness Coach or Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) by company heads.
Shama Patel has also authored two books. The first is called ’21 ways of being happy’. And her second book ‘Alfaaz (Between Love & the Beloved)’ includes poems, shayaris and nazm that celebrate love, passion, longing, unfolding the richness of the human heart.
A true woman of substance and an inspiration, Shama Patel shares details of her work in an interview with Indus Divas:
Tell us about yourself and your background.
There is a lot I have discovered about myself in all these years and yet, it feels like there’s so much more I am yet to know about myself 🙂 Every time I am asked this question, I spend some time contemplating on this ‘self’. Today, I feel like calling myself a creative curious lover, who loves to explore different facets of Self & Life.
Professionally, I am a Psychologist, an author, a trainer, an artist and whichever hat I wear, my purpose of touching lives continues to be the core of my existence. Just how life taught you a lot through your experiences, I too had my share of frustration, shame, fear, guilt and spent days fighting with the Universe asking ‘Why me?’ I too had my moments where life didn’t make sense, circumstances and people took away the leftover of that sense, making me believe that I am done with life. Just like you, I too had my moments where I wanted to give up and continue to have moments where I feel stuck in the ‘I don’t know’ space. When I was living this background then, I had absolutely no idea I would become this person that I am today!
Today, when anyone asks me about my background, I begin with relishing how far I have come! Even if life continues to test my patience, I keep reminding myself of how far I have travelled on this journey. As I write this, I am aware that I am not sharing conventional background details with you because that is something you might read and the mind will let it pass because it is just a piece of information. Instead, I am sharing the above understand of background so that you, in some part of your heart space, accept & honor your background journey along with me. So that, together, we all can take a pause, breath out our past experiences, roles, identities etc. and honor the now, the person you’ve become in the foreground. Good, bad, OK, not OK, however you feel you are, you exist in this foreground just like me and that life in your form matters 🙂
What you do currently? Tell us about your current projects or initiatives.
I am currently based out of Pune and consult clients on prior appointment basis at Olive Health Centre (Viman Nagar). I also conduct corporate workshops on mental-emotional well-being and work as visiting Counselor with leading corporate. This year, I launched my second book titled ‘Alfaaz – Between Love & the Beloved’, which is my intimate journey of experiencing the love, lover and the beloved in me.
The project or initiative I would like to promote would be self-love and self-care i.e. valuing your mind, emotions, body, experiences etc. and reaching out for professional assistance (if need be). It is not always that the world experiences life through your form so, now that it has your presence, take time in hugging it out. Just like your lover, you equally need the shower of your unconditional love. Self-healing is what made me who I am now and I love this ‘me’ like I’ve never loved before. And now that I have experienced how it feels, I sincerely, with all my heart, wish that you too begin the journey of valuing, taking charge of your existence and experience the beauty of life that shines through you. Project ‘YOU’ or may I say project ‘Magical YOU’ is what I wish to promote and celebrate through this forum:)
What challenges did you face in achieving this success?
Like I said earlier, I too had my share of encountering mental, emotional, and societal demons. I have detailed out these challenges in my first book ’21 Ways of Being Happy’. What I do wish to share today is what I did with those challenges. Initially, and for a long time, I abandoned myself and looked for ways to push myself to fit into society standards. I had my share of clinging to people and wanting to have their acceptance and assurance. I cried and cursed my life too for all those challenges. What I did in 2012 was I took charge of my well-being. I began the journey of valuing my presence and giving myself all the love, care, special treatment that I felt my lover or loved ones deserve. Especially when I encountered challenges, I started being more empathetic and compassionate towards myself. When I started doing this, I also discovered that while success earlier was to do something extraordinary and achieve excellence, the success now stemmed from the realization that I am extraordinary in my existence.
The more I embrace this truth that I am unique and can be my own blessing in disguise, the more successful I continued to feel within. It may sound philosophical or heavy to some of you but trust me, from the time I have started taking charge of embracing myself (all the goodness and flaws), life has become less pressurizing. Of course, the success followed too! It was after this journey that my first book came out and I began to be known as CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) at the companies where I conducted workshops. The difference being, earlier while I ran after success and felt dejected when I encountered failure, now I run after my well-being and find myself grounded both in success and in failure:)
What are your biggest achievements?
The biggest achievement for me has been the beginning of the journey of falling unconditionally in love with myself, being my own lover and standing by my side, both in sickness and in health 🙂
What are your future plans?
I intend to continue my practice as a Therapist and Corporate Counselor. I also continue to take online counseling sessions for clients who are not Pune based. As a trainer, I am working on building more corporate connects so that I can contribute towards employee’s mental-emotional well-being through varied workshops. I am also exploring ways to associate myself as visiting Counselor in companies based out of Pune. As an author, I continue to write poems as a tribute to the great philosopher and poet – Rumi (I post them on @alfaazerumi on Instagram). I intend to write a book on relationships and/or love in the near future. And of course, staying unconditionally in love with myself continues to be on the top when it comes to present or future plans 🙂
What message do you have for our readers?
There is no one, absolutely NO ONE like you on this planet. You are that precious and unique! You know how, when we fall in love with our partner, we say ‘you are my world and I love you with all my being’? Imagine the Universe looking at you and saying the same. You are the world and so much more! So never ever pretend like you are a 1BHK in need of repair. Your presence continues to remain precious and unique even when you decide not to believe in this truth. If you do take some time out believing in this truth, trust me, you will begin to experience what magic feels like. From where I see it, you are the magic:)
It doesn’t matter if I know you or can see you or can connect with you! Today, as I write this, I take a moment to honor your presence and bow to your existence. Thank you for being YOU! 🙂 Your presence matters and I don’t have to know you to tell you that you are loved 🙂 Today, I choose to cherish, celebrate and honor your existence! YOU, the only and only YOU! 🙂
Love and more love to each one of you. 🙂