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Maria Sipka's personal information
Maria Sipka's professional experience (19 years, 10 months)
- Jan 2007 - present
(5 years, 10 months)
- Mar 2008 - present
(6 years, 8 months)
- May 2007 - present
(7 years, 7 months)
- Jun 2006 - present
- Apr 2007
(1 year, 1 month)
- Apr 2006 - Apr 2007
- Apr 2006
- Aug 2005 - Apr 2006
- Jul 2005
- Aug 1996 - Jul 2005
- Aug 1996
(2 years, 6 months)
- Mar 1994 - Aug 1996
Maria Sipka's education
- Jan 1993 - Nov 1995
About Maria Sipka
My vision is to connect the developing world to the developed world through on-line communities matching people, knowledge, opportunity and resources to each other. This is where I spend every waking hour inspired by The Hunger Project, traveling to India and building Global Business Women whilst I was at XING.
Every year I set a theme. 2007 is the Year of Living. Which is why I chose to live in Barcelona - the liveliest city in Europe with an incredible amount of energy and life. 2008 was the Year of Celebration and I was married in India and raised capital for my company during the worst financial crisis the world has seen for some time. 2009 is the Year of Perseverance dedicated to launching the platform which will be critical for my social vision.
The secret to happiness resides in the following:
THE TRUTH ABOUT YOU & HAPPINESS
The good you find in others, is in you too.
The faults you find in others, are your faults as well.
After all, to recognize something you must know it.
The possibilities you see in others, are possible for you as well.
The beauty you see around you, is your beauty.
The world around you is a reflection, a mirror showing you the person you are.
To change your world, you must change yourself.
To blame and complain will only make matters worse.
Whatever you care about, is your responsibility.
What you see in others, shows you yourself.
See the best in others, and you will be your best.
Give to others, and you give to yourself.
Appreciate beauty, and you will be beautiful.
Admire creativity, and you will be creative.
Love, and you will be loved.
Seek to understand, and you will be understood.
Listen, and your voice will be heard.
Teach, and you will learn.
Show your best face to the mirror, and you'll be happy with the face looking back at you.
a personal story I would like to share with you...
Ms Chatterbox goes silent for 10 days....
BELIEVE ME! I've thought about you on at least two or more occasions over the last ten days. And not from Havana, Budapest, Prague, LA or some other exotic part of the world....
STOP AND IMAGINE FOR A MOMENT...... 10 days of silence. 80 females. 60 males. Every day: No speaking. No talking. No Making eye contact. Waking up at 4:30 to the sound of a gong. Lights out at 9pm. Hand washing your dirty clothes. Communal sleeping. Showering. Standing in a queue to eat. Consuming your last meal at 11:30 [am].... 10 hours of sitting still. No moving. No scratching. No opening your eyes. OR THINKING!
and by the way.. this is not a sect, cult or religion. There is no rites, rituals, chanting, jumping hoops or hocus pocus....it is not a relaxing retreat, holiday or a place to meet other people. It is NOT an escape... it is a technique to eradicate suffering.
NOW IMAGINE... no coffee. no sugar. no chocolate. no meat. no cigarettes. no mobile phones. laptops. no books. pens. paper. no music. NO NOTHING!
10 people couldn't stick it out. they went home early.
Be it adventurous... I stayed for the entire 10 days. 12 if you include the night before and the day after. Some friends humorously likened it to torture. Rather, it was a humble retreat in the Sydney blue mountains, learning and practicing the art of Vipassana. It was an experience like no other and I want to share it with you.
THE OUTCOME... I feel 10 times more happier. 10 times more relaxed. And 10 times more in tune with my body and soul prior to the experience. And it didn't a cost a cent.
WHAT I HATED!!! was not being silent, nor keeping still for 100 hours.... or not even having food after 11:30am. IT WAS not having a pen and paper to record the millions of thoughts, memories, moments and ideas that gushed through my mind. Day in. Day out. LITERALLY! I have inscribed an entire book in my head. Developed business plans for 3 new businesses. Thought about each and every one of you from the moment I met you to the last point of contact. Experienced every holiday I've ever been on and planned a thousand things more. I have a to do list longer than a roll of toilet paper.
On the last day... I ran out of tooth paste, soap.... and patience.. lost one ear plug and my razor went blunt. I wanted to go home. I wanted to speak. I wanted to SCREAM. LAUGH. CRY!!!! experience life again.
On the first two days... blisssssss.. sleep. lots and lots and lots of sleep. In the stillness of the meditation hall, I sat cross legged, closed my eyes and slowly my head started to flop up and down in a dream like state. In between naps, I wriggled like a worm. Trying to find a comfortable position. Tried all sorts of back rests. Pillows. Blankets. Foam... and then finally... my nest was formed. A wooden back rest with one foam square pillow to the back, two pillows under the bum. And. Two additional underlying mats. I even laid a fluffy woolen blanket folded four times length wise across this formation. This was to be my hive for the next 10 days. It had to be comfortable.
Males to the left. Females to the right. Each sitting behind each other. 20 across. 10 deep with a 1 metre matt separating the sexes. Perched on separate podiums at the front of the hall, dressed in white sat two assistant teachers. They expressed no emotion. They didn't speak. And didn't move an inch! Now I know where living human sculptures get trained.
Upon the code of Nobel Silence taking affect we sit in a room and instructions are transmitted through a tape player. All communication is to take place through electronic devices except for the gong that has you move from one location to another within the grounds. The voice is of a renown Indian Buddhist teacher and it goes something like.... with a quiet. calm. stable mind.... focus your breath and feel it entering and exiting your nostrils in the triangular section from the top of your lip to your nostrils...20 hours, 2 days later I felt something! Go on. Try it. Just for a moment.
Day 3 brings new 'additional' instructions. Excitement! They go something like... Whilst maintaining and feeling your breath... feel the sensations in your body... start from the top of head and slowly work your way to the bottom... covering every inch of your body until you reach your toes... no section is to be missed. every section is to be examined. 20 minutes later.. repeat this again. and again. and again.
You break every hour. Shuffling amongst one another. Heads down. Recognising people by their shoes. Finding ways to amuse oneself. Imaginary names. Imaginary lives. Anything. IT'S LIKE LIVING IN A SLOW MOTION FILM. Day 4 Vipassna commences. VIPASSNA COMMENCES!!!! I thought we'd started it day one! What have I been doing for the last 3 days??? Keep calm. Relaxed. What next? Simple. Sit. Concentrate. And don't move a thing! Don't open your legs. Eyes. Your hands. Your mind. Nothing. Don't even scratch yourself. FOR ONE WHOLE ENTIRE HOUR. 60 minutes. 3,600 seconds. And add into that the symphony of stomach rumbles, sniffles, coughs, sneezes. Every noise. A pin dropping sounds like an atom bomb exploding.
I did complain you know. A very irritating lady sat two places in front of me. She had the worst stomach problem EVER! I called it the hour of growler. Her guts popped, grumbled and then finished with a big burp time and time again. We're talking pop corn machines. But hey. I'm one for seeing the glass half full. Overcoming this challenge? Practice the art of 'patience'... and so by day 8. I was healed. Victory.
Why did I do it? I haven't gone funny you know. All spiritual and godly running around like a mad lunatic preaching and all. And I don't suffer much either. Actually. I think I'm amongst some of the happiest people I know. I smile a lot. Laugh. Actually I find everything funny. I would experience probably an hour of stress in total in any given month. The rest is made up of exciting, happy, challenging moments. For the last 10 years most of my goals have been focused on external achievements. And I've reached all of them and more. This year was different. Simple. To experience and live the moment peacefully and stress free whilst maintaining a centered state.
Day 4 was an interesting day. I broke the rules. It was mid afternoon. An afternoon break. Showering. I scrubbed and washed every part of my body. You see. When one eats, washes and does any task what-so-ever it's extended for as long as possible. Entertainment. And that's why I ran out of soap and my razor went blunt. A sweet young voice chirps.... "hello". Shock! Confusion. What do I say? The cleaner? Nope. all right..."hello" back. She replied...."ooohh... I was actually talking to the moth... (giggles from both of us)... ahhhhh... oh a human voice. how lovely... and more laughter... hehehehe. noble silence.whatever." For a few moments more I was silent. Really. I didn't know what to say. And the words came out. "has it got to that stage... talking to a moth. are you O.K. Do you need to speak to the teacher?" Then. On another occasion I stepped on a ladies back foot whilst shuffling in the food line. Do I say "sorry"? Can't even look with an expression of apology. Or another time. Sitting in a port-a-loo outside the mediation hall. Somebody knocks. Do I say "engaged...I'm in here". No. I just knocked back.
I was reprimanded on two occasions. The first for wearing a singlet on that day that was 40 degrees! Distracting members of both sexes with some shoulder flesh. Then. My skirt, which was slightly above my knees. Too short. It's not exactly a designer fashion Mecca... on went the slacks and a t-shirt to match. Later. When we did get to speak on day 10. I was told by a few that my name was Ms Co-ordination. Pink socks. White Slacks. Pink Shirt. And why would I even put mascara and lipstick on a few times.
The most amazing experience happened on day 4. In the 7th hour I sat. Excruciating pain. Not being able to move. Cross legged. it felt like somebody was stabbing a knife into my knees and back!. Hands cupped. Eyes closed. I convinced my mind to not feel the pain even though it was there. I gave up. And at that moment. All the feeling my body parts was gone. Gone! My arms, legs, back, stomach, neck. An intense energy started to whirl around me. Heart was beating so fast. Breathing too. Tears streamed down my cheeks. Scared. Really scared. Sweat came to my skin's surface. Help! We've got a heart-attach coming on. And then... the anxiety started to slow down. I accepted the sensation. Amazing. Like nothing I've ever experienced before. 40 seconds later. The meditation behind me faints. Falls to the ground. Drama. Confusion. The sensation fades. Gone. I don't experience anything like again.
.... the last 10 days have been the most profound days of my life. The wisdom, combined with the experience of silence, meditation, abstaining from many every day pleasures has liberated my body. My soul. The happiness I had before I entered the retreat and the happiness I feel now is 10 fold. The learnings were simple, profound and essential to the art of living that I feel I can now use 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.
I you're not familiar with Vipassana, it's an Indian meditation technique that dates back 2,500 years. For 10 days, students work on sharpening their minds through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.
So as I sip my chamomile tea, be content with a piece of fruit for dinner, wake up at 5:30 to meditate, I look forward to this new found energy and very much sharing this amazing journey that's just begun with you.
P.S. If you're interested in reading more about Vipassana go to http://www.dhamma.org/
If you've read to here...I congratulate you! and would like to share with you my views on measuring success..
Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.
So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built.
Not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice
that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories,
but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how meaningful you led your life and contributed to mankind's peace and happiness.
I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings. ~Margaret Mead