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Joie De Vivre, Living With A Ravenous Thirst For Life: “The brain’s normal state is joyful” With Dr. Marina Kostina & Shiwali Varshney

The brain’s normal state is joyful. Our socially triggered ADHD takes us away from that state of mind. So, we have to work on feeling joy consciously. There are many ways of achieving this — some people write three things they are grateful for, other visualize, I try to just be joyful at various moments throughout the […]


The brain’s normal state is joyful. Our socially triggered ADHD takes us away from that state of mind. So, we have to work on feeling joy consciously. There are many ways of achieving this — some people write three things they are grateful for, other visualize, I try to just be joyful at various moments throughout the day. Before going to bed, I smile at myself, or if I am in the sunshine, I just let it soak in. I find moments of joy while sipping a nicely made cup or tea or a nice glass of water. I have trained my brain to trigger joy.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Shiwali Varshney, Founder of Conure Life, a Health and Wellness company guiding us all to appreciate water. She has launched a line of adaptogen, and super herbs infused water enhancers to help people drink more water while getting the benefits of ancient herbs. A portion of the profits will be donated to water.org and WaterActionNow to bring awareness to water crises and its abatement. 

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

A tortuous path. I started as an Engineer, then moved to Finance. I wanted to learn all about running a company fast, and I loved problem-solving under stress, so I moved to turnaround advisory. I helped companies pivot from close to bankruptcy to profitability. Did that for over ten years. I was slowly developing an idea of how a company should operate, how it should treat its consumers, employees and the environment. Not finding many such companies, I decided to start my own.

What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?

For me “On Purpose,” is like being in flow all the time. When small annoyances stop mattering when your whole mind is occupied in achieving that purpose. Now what that purpose is — can change as we grow and learn about ourselves.

Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?

I grew up in one of the most beautiful parts of the world — in the foothills of the Himalayas in India and Bhutan. I grew up hiking these mountains with beautiful flora in a delightful climate, enjoying the fountains, picking strawberries from the wild. In the late 1980s and 90s, we started exploiting the natural resources in the name of progress. I remember noticing that the trees had changed from many indigenous varieties to predominantly eucalyptus. I noticed the increased intensity of winds. I noticed the increase in temperatures. More than anything, I saw the less fortunate people in India walk longer to find clean water. I saw that girls and women were impacted by this more.

I started watching “Race to save the planet” on TV. The connection between our actions and the impact on the world and human rights began to make sense to me. I wanted to cause minimum damage or footprint. I was and am one of those people who turn off the tap/faucet or shut off the lights when leaving a room. I became paperless in 2011. I reintroduced a physical bullet journal recently. Moreover, I have been using reusable water bottles and mugs since 2012.

As a business person, I saw much waste in the supply chain from packaging to raw materials to cleaning supplies. We throw away much packaging and old inventory in the name of innovation.

I also see the impact of the consumption-based economy on the environment. We think that economic development is only possible if we consume. We measure progress in the Gross Domestic Product. I also used to believe, that it is because of the consumption or consumerism in the west that those developing countries have been able to fight poverty. I am still thinking through it, but I think that there is a fallacy in that. Have the diamonds made Africa rich or poor?

I am a business person. Running businesses efficiently is what I know best. I want to set up an example of how to run companies in balance with the environment. That is my purpose.

My business is my experiment through which I want to test out my hypothesis and hopefully create a new way of doing business. When you are a young business, with lack of funds, you have to live within the current system. However, as we grow, I want to become better and better. I have a full plan in place — Develop new supply chain that uses urban farming, uses packaging that is convenient but also biodegradable, I want to treat people with respect and dignity. I want to extend “Living in balance” with the environment from the company to its consumers, employees, vendors, and other stakeholders.

The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?

I believe, three things make Americans unhappy– Consumerism, always on, and a distorted notion of what “happy” is.

Consumerism — I heard about retail therapy when I moved to the US. Shopping makes me tired, but I was getting sucked into it myself. One day I realized I have ten lipsticks, five different mascaras, 15 nail polishes that I never use, 50 dresses and 20 pairs of shoes in my closet. It made me happy for a short while because I had the latest trend, but then those items and the happiness was forgotten. Could that money be used for something that brought lasting joy?

Always On- We do not allow us to be bored. Do nothing, stare in the darkness, we need the TV or computer on for that too. Also, that TV is filled with product placements and advertisements and shows us how that new type of TV can bring more joy, and the cycle continues.

The notion of “Happy.” Our lives are filled with pictures of people enjoying food, traveling, laughing. We have forgotten how to deal with negative emotions — we either buy something or take a pill. There are days when I am scared, disappointed and ready to give up on my company. In those days, I sit and let the emotion pass. I breathe through it. Unfortunately, or fortunately, life is a mixed bag — it is not always happy or always sad. So we need to breathe through the tough stuff — let it pass through to enjoy the good stuff fully.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

When I was a successful business manager and not a struggling entrepreneur, I donated to causes that are close to my heart — Balanced Information and News, Human Rights, and created a website and a nonprofit to bring awareness to human rights issues through performing arts.

The next stage in my life is Conure Life — Through its focus on Water, I want to create a lasting change in people’s lives to enhance their lives and appreciate water to live in balance with the environment. One company, One Person, One Technology is not going to reverse the water crisis and climate change, we all have to do our part.

What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

Exercise: This is the best way to start your day. It gets the day started on the right foot. Gets oxygen to our brain that makes us happier and more efficient all day.

Hydrate: Hydrate before during and after any activity. We are 65% water, yet, we don’t drink enough water. Our organs work better with the lubrication of water.

Meditate: Meditation helps focus our brain focused. A focused mind is a happy mind. Happy Brain is essential for joie de vivre.

Bullet Journal: Bullet journal can be your life guide. It is a calendar, a notepad, a habit tracker, and a focus keeper. It also, lets you see if there is one particular task that you are procrastinating on and forces you to think if this is an essential task or something that you can offload or not do.

Let Go: If something doesn’t serve you let go — relationships, things, desires, thoughts. I was obsessed with moving fast; I wanted my company to be an overnight success. I couldn’t sleep if there were things on my task list. The most significant practice for me was to do the best and then let go. Tackle undone tasks the next day. Also, it is ok to have a task list that is not empty as long as you are not procrastinating forever.

Joy: Brain’s normal state is joyful. Our socially triggered ADHD takes us away from that state of mind. So, we have to work on feeling joy consciously. There are many ways of achieving this — some people write three things they are grateful for, other visualize, I try to just be joyful at various moments throughout the day. Before going to bed, I smile at myself, or if I am in the sunshine, I just let it soak in. I find moments of joy while sipping a nicely made cup or tea or a nice glass of water. I have trained my brain to trigger joy.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?

Let my People go Surfing By Yvon Chouinard and Naomi Klein‎. This book shows how to merge your purpose into your company’s mission. And how doing good has to start somewhere, however small, and then build on it as you grow.

Untethered Soul By Michael Singer. This is an easy to read book and helps us understand how to be mindful, work hard, but then let go of any attachment to results. Life unfolds in the most beautiful ways and we want to be present for that not.

Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. It tells us how happiness is important for success not the other way around.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Living is not enough, one must have freedom, sunlight and a little flower. — By Hans Christian Andersen

And that is all we really need — possessions don’t really bring happiness after a certain point. It is the freedom to do things and enjoying things that are presented to us by nature in abundance that brings us joy. And for this symbiotic relationship to work, we need to do our work to keep the nature safe.

These days there is a lot of poverty in the world, and that’s a scandal when we have so many riches and resources to give to everyone. We all have to think about how we can become a little poorer. — Pope Francis.

This struck me because it resonates so much with my purpose of appreciate water and mindful consumption.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Conure Life is my project. As I mentioned before, it is my experiment to define a new way of doing business. But also, I hope to communicate to my consumers to take care of themselves, find joy in little things, appreciate water and live in harmony with the environment.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Appreciate Water.

Once we understand and appreciate water, we begin to see how everything we do impacts the water cycle and how water impacts our entire life. Water is used in making that cup of coffee and the chair that we are sitting on or the 20th t-shirt we bought that we will never use.

I believe appreciating water will not only trigger healthier habbits in us, but it will also trigger mindful consumption. We have enough resources in this world to feed everyone we just need to be mindful of the distribution and consumption of these resources.


About The Author:

Dr. Marina Kostina is a life and business fulfillment coach. She uses research and energy work to help professional women find their purpose and turn it into a profitable business. Dr. Kostina incorporates innovative marketing strategies and the creation of engaging, lucrative online courses to scale their businesses. As a result they enjoy what she describes as a “ravenous life” — a life filled with the passion, pleasure, playfulness and abundance that come naturally to those who dare to be authentic. Her book “Find the G-Spot of Your Soul” is available January 2018. Download a free gift from Dr. Kostina- an MP3 Meditation Album “Find The G –Spot Of Your Soul” and get unstuck.

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