We had the good fortune of connecting with Seema Desai and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Seema, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
As parents, we all want our kids to be happy and healthy. However, so little of that is truly under our control. That being said, the next best thing we can do is to teach our children how to adeptly handle all of life’s challenges with confidence, love and kindness for themselves and for those around them. Learning to be mindful, and teaching my children how to love themselves through mindfulness, is by far the most impactful and important thing I have done for my family. As a parent who was far from mindful when I first started out, I have seen the difference in myself. I went from being angry and controlling to being more flexible. I started to see my kids in a totally different light; no longer are their actions and words always perceived as a threat to my ego or authority. Learning to tune into my own emotions, especially when triggered, and adjusting my reactions to become responsive has led to less “disciplining” and more connection. Importantly, my children have had magical breakthroughs with their own abilities to handle change, anger, sadness, and conflict. Their ability to communicate what they are feeling and thinking has sharpened considerably, as has their ability to see things from perspectives other than their own. Mindfulness has taught my children how to handle life’s sticky situations with compassion, even during difficult times. Do my children still have outbursts or power struggles with their dad and me? Yes. Do I still experience Mama Meltdowns? Absolutely–we are human! But, these rough patches happen far less often with less severity. We as a family are able to move on with greater ease and forgiveness. Mindfulness has truly been a gift for myself, my husband, and my kids.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As an author of a soon-to-be-released book for children and their families, what I am most proud of is the fact that “Connected” is a powerful book about mindfulness and self-exploration. Children are ever so curious, always observing and thinking and interpreting. By giving them insights and tools that are not taught in most schools and are unfamiliar for most of the adult population, my goal is to provide them with a clear and fresh perspective through which they can experience life. Personally, I think the best thing about the book is that it empowers the reader to take what they can from it and use it how THEY see fit. There are no “right” or “wrong” ways of learning and applying the concepts. Rather, they are mere offerings of how to unlock the inner greatness that lies deep within every single one of us, regardless of our age. Personal growth, self-exploration and mindfulness are things that I incorporate beyond the department of raising and teaching children. As a doctor, I have experienced how implementing mindfulness into my clinical practice greatly improves job fulfillment, patient care, and patient experiences. I decided to take this insight and offer it to other healthcare professionals through coaching. As ‘The Mindful Medicine Coach”, I empower healthcare providers by lifting their own energy and awareness to optimize not just their (personal and professional) lives, but the lives of every patient they treat. More about what I do as a coach can be found on my website, www.drseemadesai.com.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My family enjoys time at the Domain–an outdoor area that has both shopping and restaurants. We also love Austin Terrier, Andiamo, and Barley Swine, as well as other restaurants. My kids thoroughly enjoy the Thinkery as well as Austin Bouldering Project. We have also enjoyed kayaking on the lake, taking in the Nutcracker at the Long Center and the lights display at Motzart’s during the holidays.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have a great many for whom I am thankful, from my husband, Manish, to my parents, teachers, extended family, and friends who have supported my journey in various ways. I’d also like to thank my friend and coach, Jonathan Troen, for helping me tap into my own potential in unimaginable ways. I’d also like to thank my publisher, Sunita Shah of the Jai Jais, and illustrator, James Ballance, for their contribution to making “Connected” a reality. They saw something in me that I might never have explored had they not asked me to write a children’s book about mindfulness. Because of their work, so many children and their families will be able to learn how to incorporate mindfulness into their daily, busy lives in simple and effective ways. It is our greatest hope that children everywhere will experience lives that are enriched with more kindness and compassion–more inner peace–than ever before. We are proud to be a part of the movement that is inspiring the next generation of leaders to lead with light, love, and peace. The greatest support and inspiration, however, has been from my kids. They drive me to challenge myself always and in all ways, to create abundance and love in every situation, and to dream big.
Madhu Chanamolu Michele Anderson of Pinkletoes Photography