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As Life Positive, the spiritual magazine celebrates its 20th anniversary, its editor Suma Varughese recounts the journey with all its ups and downs.
What kind of experience has it been being at the helm of Life Positive for the last 20 years?
On one hand, it’s been the best job that I could have ever had. The kind of work that I do is in alignment with everything in my life. Whatever I went through in my personal life was fodder for a story, and on the other hand, the stories that I was doing professionally also helped my personal evolution. As an editor there were many difficult times. Since the magazine is a start up, the road has been rocky financially, but that hasn’t deterred us. There was never any question of giving up because we always had faith and remained committed to our cause. There were times when we didn’t know if we would last the next month but here we are — it’s been two decades now.
What do you consider the magazine’s major achievements?
The biggest thing is that we’ve been the voice of people who are moving along a spiritual path. For most people the spiritual path is an inward journey and it can often be a lonely path to tread. It’s a time when your values and perspectives are changing and you are moving away from things like gossiping and groupism. You are often lonely and vulnerable then. What we have done is to provide a forum for like-minded spiritual people to get together and share their experiences. Personally and as an editor, I’ve managed to create a shift in the kind of magazine it was. I started by sharing my own life experiences honestly and encouraged others to do the same.
What would you like to achieve with the magazine in the next 10 years?
I would like the magazine to be financially secure. This is something I have not achieved as an editor. We have tremendous potential as a magazine and deserve to reach out to more readers. That we haven’t compromised on our sincerity or our ethics in this day and age is creditable but we could do with some more success.
What have been the most gratifying moments of editing Life Positive?
The most gratifying moments are when we have packed the month’s issue. (laughs) But seriously, it’s a great feeling to do the work that we do. That we are putting information out there that is damaging nobody, that is helping people with their lives and something that is keeping with the larger good, which according to Buddhism are the criteria for an ideal job. When I was working with other magazines that promoted materialism, I would feel wretched about subscribing to values that I didn’t believe in. I am so grateful that I don’t have to wrestle with my conscience every day anymore. Working for Life Positive is money well-earned.