Truly live and not just to exist..

I found Govinda Valley at a time when I felt completely lost, but it wouldn’t have seemed that way from the outside. On paper, I had it all – I was working for a budding tech startup in New York, living in my dream city with all of my closest friends, eating at fancy restaurants every night and going out every weekend. I was living the life that I had dreamt about since I was in high school, but deep down I was miserable and used every possible distraction to avoid facing that reality. When I turned 25, I thought to myself, This can’t be it. There’s gotta be more to life than this. And so began the search for something different, something more meaningful.

When I came across Govinda Valley on the Workaway site, I knew that GV was where I needed to be in order to heal, grow, and connect with myself and others on a deeper level. From that moment on, everything started falling into place. After being accepted as a volunteer, I gave notice to my boss the following week, moved out of my apartment, bid farewell to my loved ones, and embarked on my new adventure.

In just six weeks at Govinda, I’ve made incredible strides in my personal journey. I’ve given myself the time to confront the deep-seated issues that I’ve always battled with but never allowed myself to fully process. I opened up about my struggles during Sacred Circle, connecting with people here in ways that I haven’t with even some of my “closest” friends from home. I had the opportunity to face one of my biggest fears – singing in public – by leading one of the weekly kirtans, where I played the harmonium and led a chanting meditation for the first time.

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Now as I’ve come to the end of my Govinda chapter, I feel more clear-headed and purpose-driven than I’ve ever been. I’ve been inspired by the people I’ve met here who’ve given me a new outlook on life, who’ve made me realize what it means to truly live and not just to exist. Govinda helped me find myself – the “me” that was always there but had gotten a little lost along the way – and for that, I’ll be forever grateful.

Written by: Jade Chen