DIYA: A Megawatt Approach to Change


High Resolution Front Cover_5692078

Lately, I’ve been writing on Thursdays at the Panera Bread in Durham. I love the energy that sparks from people working on their laptops, chatting intently with their fellow diners, or engaging with their kids. Two Thursdays ago, I met Aruna, who showed me her brand new book, DIYA: A Megawatt Approach to Change. I asked the author to send me some excerpts for Friend for the Ride. Here are three of my favorites:

Number One: I love the idea of a panel discussion with me as the leader. What a new way to approach discord. Aruna writes:

Change Dat. Take a deep breath. Take fresh air in. Get all the toxins out of your body. Learn to chill. Attain peace of the body and mind. If someone is being unreasonable, YOU be reasonable. Reassess a situation, like you’ve never done it before. And teach them that you are calm about that situation in hand. This is not reason to flare up, whether it is work, school, or kids, think of it as a panel discussion and you being the leader. You don’t have to yell, or lose your temper. Show them that you can be cool. They will also learn, with time. But let that not bother you. Ever.

Number Two: When I get upset with someone, I rarely embrace the concept that he or she is precious. It’s usually about me, my feelings. Time to change that thinking thanks to Aruna. I’m precious and so is the soul who has upset me! She writes:

Are you annoyed? For whatever reason? Do you feel like yelling at someone? For the meanest thing they’ve done to you? Then Wait. DON’T YELL. Here’s why: Yelling causes an increase in your blood pressure, heart rate, causes headache and increases stress and a whole bunch of negative hormones associated with it. And the person who inflicted this ugly reaction in you, is happy and feels lovely. Instead, take short deep breaths, like you’re blowing at something softly, listen to music, walk around, divert your mind, try to understand that this person might be coming from a different world, so I won’t be upset by this, I won’t let myself be hurt, I am precious and so is he.

Number Three: As an admirer of diamonds, I’m going to keep this image in mind. Aruna’s book focuses on change, but she points out that not everything can, will, or should change. She writes:

Change is NOT ubiquitous. Not all things can change. A diamond, for instance, has a crystal lattice structure such that it can take years and will melt only with great, great difficulty. But who would want to melt a diamond? My point is, when something is resistant to change, then so be it. Two minds, for instance that don’t marry, must be left alone. So, if you are trying to change everything about yourself or others, forget about it. Some things are better not touched. A state of equilibrium is important to achieve and sure can be attempted. That state of equilibrium will bring two minds together, the cat and the rat together, Duke and Carolina together, and India and Pakistan together.

Giveaway! I’m giving away one copy of DIYA: A Megawatt Approach to Change. For a chance to win, please enter  a comment by December 1. Thanks!

Book Signing: Aruna will be signing copies of DIYA at the Bulls Head Bookshop on the UNC Chapel Hill campus on November 11 from 5 to 6 PM.

Buy the book on Amazon here.

Read an article about Aruna and her book in UNC CHapel HIll’s Daily Tarheel here.

A Diya: Aruna explained to me that “a diya is the light that brings about change.” The cup-shaped lamp is used in the Indian festival of Lights Deepavali/Diwali.


About Aruna: Born in Mumbai, Aruna Gurumurthy lived in different parts of India before she crossed barriers and continents to attend graduate school in Amherst, MA.

She has worked as a medical researcher at Duke University, University of North Carolina and University of California, Berkeley. Her research scholarship has been in many diverse medical fields, including orthopedics, functional GI, breast cancer, craniofacial genomics and community psychiatry. Aruna cares for female literacy, education of slum children, elderly with Alzheimer’s, young adults with learning disability and emancipation of school dropout teenagers. She believes that true change can happen when one immerses oneself in the community and empathizes with others’ minds.

Aruna lives with her husband and toddler daughter in Chapel Hill, NC. She enjoys watching basketball, American football and more recently, golf. She has an avid ear for music of all hues and likes lap swimming. DIYA is Aruna’s first book.

7 responses »

  1. Great suggestions. I especially like the one about remembering the other person is precious. We all come from different places and believe different things. it doesn’t make anyone bad, just different. And that is okay. Now if we could just get our politicians to believe that. I would love to read the book!

  2. Aruna is one accomplished author. My husband’s uncle always says when I’m angry about someone saying something negative to me: “Don’t accept the invitation.” No need to enter my name, but thanks for the post.

  3. I love hearing people’s insights about life and change. But, if I were to have ever adhered to one thought here, that is, as Aruna Gurumurthy had “My point is, when something is resistant to change, then so be it,” well then I wouldn’t be here today.

    That is right, I wouldn’t be here as I am today. (And, in all fairness, her point here may be quite different than mine).

    Sometimes, we have to fight to survive. The things that could have “killed” me were resistant to change. I’m glad I didn’t say “so be it.”

    • I admire the fighter in you. And that is what I would do, were I in a similar situation of live or die. But my point here is that change is NOT ubiquitous. Not all things need/ should/ can or must change.
      So fight for the essential things, fight for your life and freedom and after you’re done fighting if something still has not changed then so be it. Learn to adapt to what exists and learn to live with it. And try and make it a positive experience. Good Luck!

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