Location: Ventura, California
Occupation: Hypnotherapist, NLP Trainer, Healer
Born and raised in India, Keya traveled to the United States in 1992. She worked in the IT industry for 12 years. The book “Autobiography of a Yogi” brought her to her spiritual mentor Paramahamsa Prajnananda Giri, who initiated her into kriya yoga. He also gave the answer to “Who am I?” Keya works with children with special needs and adults still housing the unheard child within. She offers counseling and breakthrough sessions. She has been a guest lecturer at the Hypnosis Motivation Institute and the Ventura Community College. She lives in Ventura with her three children and two dogs and loves every bit of being an educator and a mother.
I met Keya through our mutual friend, Derrick Hayes, who has been a great supporter of Memoirs with Melissa. Her story is one of positivity and love.
What makes Keya tick? See below. ~Melissa
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What is your passion and how did you discover it? My passion is to teach. I always knew I liked to help people and find answers. As a child I would ask questions and most grown ups never seemed to have an answer that appeased my curiosity. Before I was 5, I knew that if I wanted to understand things I would have to find the answers myself. Very soon I found that others would come to me and ask me questions and I seemed to have the answer. Eventually I became the person everyone who knew me came to for answers. These answers were mostly about life, psychological in nature. I was a shy child, almost invisible, and people stayed away from me. I have had very few friends at any point in my life; even today this is true. But when anyone, young, old, men or women wanted to understand something, they ask me. People tell me, “I wanted to call you and quickly ask a question since you always have the right answer.”
When I was 14, on the 6th of September, 1980 I taught science and math in my school for the entire day. The 6th of September is celebrated as “teacher’s day” in India. Every school has its own way of celebrating this day. The commonality in this celebration in all schools is no teacher teaches that day, and yet it is a working day. In some schools children put on a show for their teachers. In some schools the seniors in the school play teacher. In my school, each senior or a couple of seniors would replace one teacher. I decided to be the math teacher in 5th, 6th and 7th grades and the science teacher in the 8th and 9th grade. Usually the seniors who are play acting teachers have fun in the classroom with the students. But I decided to teach that day. Every class loved me very much. The next day during the science period I got reprimanded by the teacher. She said, “Who asked you teach my class? You are a student, you are not a teacher.” I had no idea what was going on. Later on some of the ninth graders came and told me that they had met the principal and asked them to replace the science teacher with me since I taught them way better than the teacher herself.
I always believed that there are no bad students, only bad teachers. Even today when I am in schools I notice the children act different with different teachers in the same classroom in the same period. They know what is expected by each teacher and they do their best to please that teacher. When we set high expectations we get better results.
So at the age of 14, I realized that the best I can be is a teacher, an educator. I often heard “he who can, does.” Recently I read “he who cares, teaches.” After all, teaching is the profession that teaches every other profession.
What defines you? There is so much that defines me. My ethnicity, my childhood, my gender, my birth order, my marriage, my children, my friends, my country of origin and country of choice, my employers, my bosses, my friends, my clients, my education, my spirituality, my experience, my teachers, my neighbors, my knowledge, my abilities, my attitude, the times I’ve lived in, my students, my parents, my passions, my many loves and everything that exists and does not – defines me. Nothing is less important or more. But still when anyone asks me “what do you do?” I often find myself say in my head “I am a mother who teaches.” But in the end of the day, what defines me is my western thinking and the eastern sensitivity; that is what truly defines me.
What’s the greatest gift (material or otherwise) you’ve been given? My mother and my sensitivity to my surroundings is my greatest gift. I have been blessed throughout my life with many gifts. I could not tell you what is less important and what is more. It would truly be unfair to say that one gift is greater than another. Just like having ten fingers and saying one is more important than the other. Having one less would make me less than who I am able to be right now. But since if you push me against a wall and force me into it, I will say “my birth in this planet is a gift.” My existence in a human form is a great way of working through challenges every human has to face every day and evolving into a higher consciousness.
What would you like your legacy to be? I would love to be able to live my legacy. An educator, a traveling teacher, a healing arts practitioner. I would love to love more freely, to awaken love in all hearts, and bring more smiles to this earth. I would love for people to be happier, to always have hope and to forever receive healing. People would definitely live in less doubts and fear and be able to experience life with more tolerance and harmony. I see many people who are trying to do good in the world are angry at those who they perceive are not doing good. My work is about being grateful all the time. Do I forget? Absolutely! But then as soon as I realize that I erred, I work on making up and self-correction before I take on the next item from my list of things to do. So in the end I would like my legacy to be as someone who taught the world to unconditionally love, for that is all there is. Love!
As Scott Ginsberg asks in “Get them to come to you” If everybody did exactly what you said, what would the world look like? People would definitely be happier, healthier and wiser. There would be more gratitude and tolerance for what we have rather than a complaint about what we do not. People would feel more secure and not look outside all the time to feel complete within. People would be more self-accepting and, hence, tolerant of others. When we learn to love ourselves unconditionally and eternally, we begin to love the way we look, the way we feel. Once we achieve this we become more “OK” with the way others feel, look, act. We often want others to agree with us because, through their agreement, we validate ourselves. This comes from lack of self worth and acceptance. When others do not agree with us, we are offended and get defensive and even aggressive. If everybody did exactly what I said, we would learn to love everything and everyone, even the filth and crime. Gandhi had no trouble with the British; he just did not agree with their idea of ruling India forever. He did not love the filth, but he loved cleanliness more so he stepped into the filth to clean it himself. If instead of talking we act more, the world will be a happier place. The thinkers need to get into action to ensure that they are not just thinking and talking and telling what others should do. There would be more people engaged in positive action and less people complaining. There would definitely be more love. So in closing, if people did exactly what I said then they would be more content.
What’s your favorite thing about your community/country? This is a very interesting question. I have lived outside India for 18 years yet have always identified spiritually with being an Indian. I do not live in an Indian community or have Indians for friends and colleagues, but in my heart I have always remained an Indian. So though India is my country of birth, the United States of America is my country of residence. When in India people call me an American, when in the US, people consider me an Indian. My favorite thing of being an American is every American loves having fun. They work hard to have fun. No matter what, Americans focus on fun and the world can learn from that. My favorite thing of being an Indian is that we are accepting people. We will adjust with anyone and everyone. Indians truly practice “live and let live.” We are forgiving people and believe in the laws of karma. Though materialistic in nature, Indians always know that we are not going to carry our acquisitions to the other world. We are constantly conscious all we have here is for here alone; we came with nothing and we will leave with nothing except the love we felt.
So in conclusion, I love the fun loving spirit of America, and I love the wisdom and giving heart of India.
How has your community/country influenced your life? Created opportunity or challenges for you? Being an Indian helped me be more sensitive to my surroundings. It has made me more focused on family and motherhood. I even sacrificed my career for raising my kids, only because I am an Indian. I have no social life and that is because I know I must be there for my children when my children need me. The opportunities provided to me because of being an Indian is I had easy access to formal education that was economic as well. I had a stay at home mother who was highly educated and yet sacrificed her career to raise her children. Most mothers then stayed at home because they did not think of a job or a career as a choice. My mother quit her career to raise us. In India parents pay for their children to go to college, 100%. This is not something that happens in America. This is surely an advantage every child born to Indian parents in India has. Some of the challenges of being of Indian origin is that no matter where I go, Indian men never treat their women as equals or with respect. Even in a work place, Indian men will treat a Caucasian woman with more respect than they treat an Indian or any colored woman. Racism and Sexism are both a big thing in the Indian community both in and out of India. If I could feel like an American mother, I would have made my womanhood, my career and even my social life a priority over my motherhood. This is definitely a challenge for me to be able to think of myself as anything else besides being a mother. Our children are enabled children and can function only in a community. Having stepped out of my Indian community, I neither belong to the Indian community nor the American. I truly am experiencing the challenge of being a non-Indian non-American.
The advantage of being an American is I have become a fighter who loves having fun. Americans do not play victim. They rise and grow stronger. Americans love to help, they are the most generous people. In India people with less or no formal education feel underprivileged, they always respect and admire those with knowledge. In America people with less or no formal education also achieve material success through hard work and salesmanship.
What is the biggest challenge facing your community? The biggest challenge facing my community today is fear and loneliness. This is a global feeling all over the urban world. Everyone seems to feel that without money we have no hope. Money is the ruling factor of every decision in human life. I hardly notice anyone saying I do this because I love it. People usually say I do this because it makes sense. All sense has to do with finances. This is a challenge because when our thoughts are clouded with fear or lack of money or greed to be financially successful, our decisions are based on fear and greed. That is why life only gets harder and people fall more and more sick. Aging is a disease, poor health is accepted with age. What a truckload of “…”. No cell in our body is more than 6-8 month old, so how come we do not feel as healthy as a 6-8 month old child? Because every year we celebrate our growing older by a year. In a fast paced corporate world and urban life, the bottom line is all that matters. This “bottom line” induces stress, which feeds into the physical and emotional ill health. We talk about cancer cure, what about cancer prevention?
If the politicians do not get you then it is the priests who will get you. Religion and politics are both fear driven systems, which though created to help the society, only hurts it. Every human is dying a slow death and isn’t even aware of it. That is why there are so many addictions: work, food, sex, abuse, prescription drug dependency …. I am a global citizen and the world is my home and every human my family. We have to awake and arise. Go home and hug someone today and not ask for anything back. Until we can do that, we are not free. Even the guru preaching freedom is not free him/her self. That is the biggest challenge facing my community today.
What’s your favorite place in the world? Why? Right now, it is Kona, Hawaii. If I could live in some place forever and die there too, then it would be in Kona, Hawaii. Every time I go to Kona I am the happiest. No matter what I do or do not, this is one place that makes me the happiest. Even as I write this note, I am feeling the joy surge in me. I truly believe it is the land, and everything about the land, water, air and Pele that makes Kona so unique. We have 365 days of the world’s most gorgeous sunsets in the world. When the plane lands in Kona, it feels like I am landing on another planet. It is crystallized lava on both sides of the runway as the plane comes to a halt. The airport looks like island huts. We do not have sandy beaches, and where there is sand it is either green or black. Every morning I wake up to exotic birds amidst exotic flowers in trees and bushes. The green turtle comes to the shores to bask. In all my visits to Hawaii there has been just one person who I heard complain. Of course this person is from the mainland who, until then, had lived there for 8 years. People may have very little or a lot, it does not matter, but there is always Aloha. Hawaii is what I carry in my heart, wherever I am.