Katherine Eid—Discovering Tools for Creative Expression

Katherine Eid—Discovering Tools for Creative Expression

October 25, 2021 • ISSUE 594

Katherine Eid

Discovering Tools for Creative Expression

MIU student Katherine Eid is a poet, storyteller, and budding filmmaker. She hails from the state of Georgia, where she attended college before embarking on a 10-year journey of working on farms in Hawaii, traveling the world, and exploring her family history.

On her way to Hawaii, Katherine made a stop at MIU and spent a memorable weekend. A few years later she learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique and, when she decided to return to school, she joined MIU’s online Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences Program.

With her father on her recent trip to Lebanon

Over the past few years Katherine has been working on a book based on the family stories she has collected from her father. When she took a course on cinematography, she decided to switch majors and tell her tale via film.

Katherine’s classes have been instrumental in giving her directions on how to bring her stories to life. “Because every class is project based, they were supporting what I already wanted to do,” she said.

She is now working on a documentary about her ancestors, including the story of her great-grandfather, who was orphaned in Crete and was sent in a barrel across the sea to Turkey, where he became a guard of the sultan and was imprisoned in a war camp, from which he escaped by sea to Lebanon. Katherine has recently taken a trip to Lebanon to interview relatives and film the locations of her father’s stories.

Working on her short film in Sequoia National Forest

In her documentary, Katherine wants to explore intergenerational trauma and heroism, the idea that the emotional experiences of our ancestors get passed down to subsequent generations.

Katherine says her TM practice of 5 years and the online TM retreats offered by MIU have made a tremendous impact on her personal growth and creative expression. “There is less inhibition, and there is an ability to focus and persevere, to follow the idea into creation,” she said. “It’s also easier to be myself in the world.”

You can watch Katherine’s short film she made in a recent class here.

Dr. Manisha Mittal—Practicing Integrative Medicine

Dr. Manisha Mittal—Practicing Integrative Medicine

October 18, 2021 • ISSUE 593

Dr. Manisha Mittal

Practicing Integrative Medicine

MIU student Dr. Manisha Mittal grew up in India in a family of doctors. Watching her parents practice medicine inspired her to follow in their footsteps and study Western medicine. While in medical school, she lost her brother in an accident, which furthered her desire to practice medicine. At the same time, her experience of grief propelled her on a spiritual journey to find the meaning of life.

Manisha completed her internal medicine residency at Columbia University Hospitals and her fellowship training in rheumatology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. While studying in Iowa City, she and her husband, who is a gastroenterologist, learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique. “After learning TM, I felt a lot of balance in my life, and I also wanted to learn Vedic knowledge,” said Manisha.

With Professor Manohar Palakurthi at MIU

Manisha is now completing her final year of the online MS in Maharishi AyurVeda and Integrative Medicine program. “It’s a wonderful program,” she said. “It’s very thorough and complements my Western medical training.”

Manisha lives in California and runs the Moksha Holistic Health Center with her family. She provides integrative health care for rheumatology patients and offers consultations and workshops in ayurvedic diet and lifestyle. She also co-hosts a wellness segment on the local news program Central Valley Today.

Tending her herb garden

Using ayurvedic spices for health and digestion is one of the topics Manisha likes to talk about, and she grows her own herbs and spices, including turmeric. When her patients complained about the bitter taste of turmeric, she and her children came up with the idea of incorporating it in ice cream. She partnered with a local organic dairy farm, designed the labels and the packaging, and started manufacturing her Golden Ice-Spice ice cream.

With her Golden Ice-Spice ice cream

Manisha is passionate about integrating Western medicine with Ayurveda, emphasizing the role of consciousness in maintaining a balanced life. She is currently writing a book about the connection of spirituality and medicine that will include simple everyday practices for healing, empowerment, and self-realization.

With her husband, Dr. Vivek Mittal, and children

Raju Luitel—From Intern to Comptroller

Raju Luitel—From Intern to Comptroller

October 11, 2021 • ISSUE 592

Raju Luitel

From Intern to Comptroller

Raju Luitel was studying to be a Chartered Certified Accountant in Katmandu, Nepal, when he heard about MIU through a friend. He wanted to study abroad, so he immediately visited the local Transcendental Meditation® center for more information. “They explained the block system, the paid internship, and everything matched; I applied that day,” he said.

Raju started the Accounting Professionals MBA in 2008. He felt immediately welcomed on campus and enjoyed the international family of students and faculty. “TM helped me focus on my studies and adapt to the new environment and culture,” he said.

After completing his on-campus studies, Raju moved to the Washington, D.C. area in search of a paid internship. In spite of being in the middle of the financial crisis, he found a job within two months at The Tower Companies, a family-owned sustainable commercial real estate development firm in Maryland.

Raju with classmates at MIU

Raju began at accounts payable and a couple of years later, using his IT experience, he helped the company transition to a new property management software. “That experience helped me grow my career because I got the opportunity to work with every department at the company,” he said.

Raju has been with The Tower Companies ever since and is now the comptroller, working directly with the ownership. He has received three employee awards, including the Albert Abramson Annual Award of Excellence, named for the founder of the company.

With Jeffrey Abramson, co-owner of The Tower Companies, MIU Trustee

Raju enjoys the healthy work environment in the LEED Platinum Certified office building which houses the company’s headquarters. He also appreciates that the practice of the TM program is one of the company’s benefits and values, with a meditation room on site.

Raju’s wife, whom he met at MIU, also works at The Tower Companies. He spends most of his free time with his family, including his three young children. He also enjoys stargazing, reading books, and watching movies.

With his wife, Nisha Dahal

Bill Thompson—A Career in Sustainable and Life-Supporting Business

Bill Thompson—A Career in Sustainable and Life-Supporting Business

October 4, 2021 • ISSUE 591

Bill Thompson

A Career in Sustainable and Life-Supporting Business

MIU alumnus Bill Thompson grew up in the small town of Moberly, Missouri. At age 16 he hitchhiked to San Francisco, where he learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique. “I knew from my very first meditation that I wanted to teach TM,” he said. “My experience was so deep and blissful, I wanted to share it with others.” Bill worked three jobs to save money for the course and became a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique at age 19.

During the next two decades, Bill taught the TM® technique, attended MIU, and worked in real estate development in Texas and Florida. He managed the development of Radiance Ideal Village in Austin, Texas, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Capital of the Age of Enlightenment in Florida. He co-founded Agriboard Industries, which manufactured sustainable building systems from compressed wheat straw.

With his team at Genetic ID in Fairfield

In 1999 Bill began working at Global ID Group, where he was promoted to CEO of Genetic ID within a few years. He set up a worldwide network of 22 laboratories for identifying genetically modified organisms, critical to creating the company’s global brand of non-GMO food testing and certification. Between 2009 and 2015 he revived the company’s European subsidiary, expanding the customer base in over 50 countries.

After 17 years at Global ID Group, Bill moved to Sky Factory and helped grow the company’s international sales network.

At the grand opening of Imprint, a Genetic ID partner in Vienna, Austria

“I have been blessed in my career that I have always worked with companies embracing life-supporting missions,” said Bill, “whether promoting safe and ethical food, expanding consciousness, creating sustainable building systems, or improving patients’ hospital experience.”

Throughout his career, Bill has done business in 45 countries and truly experienced that the world is his family. “I have met so many people from diverse cultures and was able to relate to them on a deep level, from the foundation of consciousness that binds all of us,” he said.

With wife, Christiane Thompson

Bill is now semi-retired, living in Fairfield. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, especially with his first grandson, and he is exploring new sustainable business opportunities.

With grandson, Liam

Jennifer Kachler—Writer, Producer, Director

Jennifer Kachler—Writer, Producer, Director

September 17, 2021 • ISSUE 590

Jennifer Kachler

Writer, Producer, Director

MIU alumna Jennifer Kachler earned her BFA in film from the School of Visual Arts New York City in 2009 and began working in various media roles, including producer and director.

In 2011 she read Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch and immediately learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique. Jennifer is a big fan of David Lynch, so when she heard about the David Lynch MFA in Film Program starting in 2014, she was thrilled to apply.

Jennifer enjoyed practicing the TM® technique in a group, making friends, and expanding her network. Meeting David Lynch and receiving his advice on her work were the highlights of her year. “It was such an unreal experience, one that I will never forget,” she said. “I am so grateful I had that experience.”

A still from ‘Kennedy Hill’, featuring Andi Gallagher and Michael Abbott Jr.

After graduating, Jennifer returned to New York City and continued to work in commercial film, working her way up to executive producer. She has directed and produced an impressive list of commercials, short films, and documentaries.

Writer/director Jennifer Kachler in costume for her cameo in the film à la Hitchcock, with director of photography John Houghton

Creating content for big name brands in a fast-paced, demanding environment can be stressful, but Jennifer’s TM practice helps her stay calm. “I meditate every day and it helps me tremendously,” she said. “I can’t imagine what life would be like without it.”

Jennifer has also been completing the postproduction of her MIU thesis film, Kennedy Hill, a short movie set in the late 1930s about a 17-year-old girl who finds out she is adopted. The film was inspired by the adoption story of Jennifer’s grandmother.

The crew of ‘Kennedy Hill’ using a film trailer to pull along a 1920s Ford Model A picture car

Jennifer appreciated MIU’s approach of incorporating the Transcendental Meditation program and other self-care practices in the creative process, and she would like to see that happen in the film industry worldwide. “My goal is to direct film and work in an environment that promotes positivity, empowerment, and inspiration,” said Jennifer.

Filming on location at the Kalona Historical Village, Iowa