Shivi ji, tell us about your journey with Life Positive. How you started and what ups and downs you faced with during this time?
Its is a long but interesting story. Having been in the mainstream media for close to eight years, I was getting disenchanted with its mode of working. I was increasingly feeling that by amplifying the negative (which is the practice even today) I was adding to the already existing chaos and cynicism in society. I was not contributing anything positive to the world. Simultaneously my spiritual journey too had been going on for the past several years and I was finding it difficult to align my values with those prevalent in the corporate culture, which prioritized material gains over ethics and human values.
Exasperated, one day I put in my papers and went on a break. I was wondering about the next course to take in life when I chanced upon Life Positive magazine at a bookstore in my hometown. As I turned its pages, I was thrilled. This was exactly what I had been looking for. It blended my love for writing with my passion for spirituality and my desire to do something positive for the world.
I started with writing letters to the editor and sending a few articles to the magazine. In 2011 I applied for a post in the publication and was hired by the editor after a few months. Ever since it has been an eventful journey with Life Positive. After I joined its folds, I realised that the magazine was more like a personal guru than a medium to express myself. Plenty of new spiritual concepts hitherto unknown to me came flooding into my life accelerating my spiritual growth and making me stronger from within. The biggest turning point was meeting a spiritual master called Maitreya Dadashreeji in the course of an interview who later became my own guru.
What have been your personal learnings in your journey with Life Positive?
There have been many learnings which have come along the way.
First is the power of faith. A strong connection with the Divine, especially of the introspective kind where you keep a watch over your thoughts and actions has the power to keep you on the right path and take you to your destination without letting you go astray or get confused or distracted. I encountered several challenges after joining Life Positive, but a strong voice kept telling me to brave it all, since they were passing phases. I held on because my faith in the higher purpose of Life Positive was very strong and today the result is there for all to see.
Through Life Positive the concept of loving myself made its entry into my life which helped me get rid of whatever self-critical thoughts I had about myself.
I learnt to prioritise my health, well-being and peace of mind over everything else and stand up for myself when needed.
I also learnt the concept of affecting my surroundings by changing how I breathed. This has come in handy whenever I have faced challenges. Simply by breathing deeply, calmly and focusing on my breath I have brought turnarounds in situations, which otherwise I could have spoilt by reacting to provocations. My endeavour is to practice all that I preach in the magazine. For unless you live the truths you preach you cannot ensure an authentic voice which appeals to all.
There were other magazine like Life Positive that came and went but Life Positive still caters to a large readership. What are the reasons for this?
I cannot say what went wrong with other magazines, but I do know what has kept Life Positive going all these years.
It is the utmost sincerity of intention and selflessness of the founder Mr Aditya Ahluwalia and commitment of former editors Parveen Chopra and Suma Varughese who prioritized the interests of the readers above everything else.
Suma especially was dedicated to maintaining the purity of the content, and did not let market forces dictate her choices. Month after month, year after year only the best writers and articles were allowed to get published and many attempts by vested interests to control the content were thwarted by her.
For Life Positive, the reader is the hero, and their well-being, contentment, and happiness our highest priority. Our aim is to help them uncomplicate their lives, give them tools through which they can get a grip over their challenges and enrich them with insights and revelations meant to make sense of their life-situations.
We appeal to their hearts and souls instead of their minds, which is the cause of much suffering and anguish in today’s world.
Our attempt is to help them simplify their lives. The content touches them deeply, helps them heal and aids them in their higher evolution. This is the biggest reason for our popularity.
What does Life Positive stands for and how has it impacted you personally and its readers in general?
Life Positive stands for the highest and noblest possibilities in human beings.
We realise that we are divine beings who have all the capability to create a beautiful life but since we do not believe in our own divinity, we limit ourselves.
Life Positive wants to free mankind from self-created bondages and fears and let them loose in the skies of freedom, joy and higher creativity.
All suffering is the outcome of ignorance. And most of us are ignorant of our ignorance. Out attempt is to illuminate the inner world of the reader and be there for them as a friend, philosopher and guide. We want to make the journey of life a bit easier for them.
Because of commitment to our cause, our readers swear by our content. So many have had incredible turnarounds in their lives just because they stumbled upon an article which resonated with their current state. Many changed their minds about giving up on life simply because they read an article which echoed their feelings. Thousands have found their spiritual mentor as well as holistic methods to heal chronic physical ailments.
The feeling of being able to mitigate the suffering of people is indescribable.
To me Life Positive has given a life-purpose, an opportunity to bring succour and healing to so many lives.
All over the world printed magazine is shrinking and digital magazine is preferred. In this connection what is Life Positive doing?
Surprisingly the readers of Life Positive still love the experience of holding the magazine in their hands. When we did a survey we discovered that loyal readers of Life Positive do not want us to do away with the print version and go digital completely.
However, we do realise that with all kinds of lock down restrictions in place, it is difficult to deliver the magazine to our readers on time.
Secondly the speed of internet delivery is undeniably fast, making it possible for us to reach a wider audience in a much shorter time span.
We have begun to promote our monthly e-magazine through various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We are also holding weekly online meetings with various facilitators for our readers.
The readers and times, 25 years back were different from today. How do you manage to keep Life Positive relevant in today’s fast paced lifestyle?
I feel it is easier for Life Positive today to connect with people than it was 25 years ago. There was far less awareness about spirituality and holistic living back then. People viewed spiritual gurus with skepticism and considered spirituality a domain of renunciates and monks. Many even feared it, thinking that spirituality will make them disinterested in worldly matters, shrink from their responsibilities and take away their ambition. Today all these myths stand busted as spiritual gurus share openly share their wisdom through television and social media platforms. The surge in interest in yoga, pranayama, ayurveda and spiritual truths is deeply interlinked. All these strides have removed the misconceptions related to spirituality from the minds of people. Today they are more receptive to the idea of doing meditation, chakra balancing and taking recourse to various new age healing modalities to resolve their life issues. We are happy that Life Positive had laid the foundation for this renaissance 25 years ago and people have something substantial to look forward to in their moments of searching.
Life Positive is different from other publications as in it does not preach but shares from experiences. It neither builds the myth of the grandeur and infallibility of human beings, nor magnifies their shortcomings, but simply exposes their humanness and how to be more empathetic towards themselves and others. Our articles are deeply relatable and have a therapeutic quality about them, which make people pause and reflect.
What is the vision and goal of Life Positive in coming times? How do you see Life Positive growing from here and catering to the new generation of readers?
As I said earlier Life Positive is there for reason, which is to help people make sense of their lives and its purpose. The magazine has a destiny which will unfold as time progresses. My vision is to see Life Positive in every household of India.
It has been lucky that it has attracted the best possible thinkers, writers and workers who believe in the mission of Life Positive. The problems of the new generation are not much different from those of the older generation except that they have way too many distractions and harmful influence to succumb to than their predecessors. Attention spans are shorter, the virtual world creates more illusions than it shatters and it’s difficult to discriminate good advice from bad because everyone seems so convincing. Life Positive aims to help the new generation get their concepts clear about life. Because whether it is career, dating, relationships, money, health or other challenges eventually the real answers have a very spiritual basis. Even though youth is considered the acme of human life, it is no secret that it is also the most tumultuous time since our mind is still in the learning and experimenting stage. At such a juncture if they could get find a friend like Life Positive they would be fewer chances of them making grave errors of judgements.
The team of LP is very youthful, which helps me in knowing their issues and concerns and addressing them through the magazine.
The current pandemic has impacted millions and people are facing mental trauma. They need some kind of support to maintain their sanity. What Life Positive is doing to cater to them in these extraordinary times?
Life Positive has been at the forefront from 2020 since the outbreak of the pandemic to help people understand and navigate the situation with least difficulty.
We published three cover stories and various feature articles related to boosting immunity, remote working, changed lifestyle, mental issues, corona warriors, and the spiritual reasons behind the contagion. This year too we have carried articles that detail the struggles of people who battled the virus with their spiritual strength, and came out a winner. Another extremely important article is on a major medical breakthrough in treating corona which is not being discussed by the mainstream media. We also have an experiential article on coping with grief which has become another pandemic during the current times. Apart from this we have been organizing various online sessions and programmes too to counsel people, hold space from them and help them heal physically as well as emotionally.
India is a country of millennials. How does Life Positive plans to engage with them?
Life Positive’s USP is its flexibility and adaptability while maintaining its core essence of purity and spiritual integrity.
Millennials are often characterized by their precocity, their superfast brains and their ability to work with the latest communication systems like a pro. They are the ones who have seen both the pre and post digital revolution eras and realise the value inherent in both the living styles. They have the yearning to identify with their roots as well take the world into the next phase of modernity and advancement. They want the best of both the worlds. The ethos of Life Positive are in complete harmony with their needs as well as aspiration. We fulfil their desire for spiritual grounding by imbuing their life with meaning and purpose. We advocate material progress which is in alignment with Nature and the larger good of human beings. The current times are full of uncertainty with no one knowing what to expect in the next moment. Financial instability, fear of disease and losing loved ones and livelihoods are very real. In such times only spirituality can give you the faith and the stability to help you navigate these times successfully. Life Positive teaches the tools through which humans can change their external reality by working on their inner selves. Our words resonate with our readers because we share with others what is our lived experience. It gives power and authenticity to our voice and appeals to inner self of the reader.