The Week of November 5th - November 11th


Words according to Thomas, Co-Founder, Sacrificial Goat, and Creative Director of Raven Vanguard

Today, a new twist on our Weekly Once-over, we bring you a contributing observer for the very first time. Our good friend Bhakti Sharma, better known to her close friends as – Bhakti Sharma, insisted on hijacking our Once-over format to share her views on a topic that is very dear to her heart, herself.

So, the words and thoughts expressed here today are Bhakti’s alone, with no censorship whatsoever exercised (nor exorcized) by us. Therefore, if anyone feels aggrieved, or disillusioned, by today’s Once-over, please send any legal correspondence to Bhakti personally, not to Raven Vanguard.

Ever since our very first Once-over appeared on September 28, 2018, we have received many requests from friends who felt they had something worthwhile to add to our Once-over, so we decided to hand over the mic to them and various guests, seers, and contributors on a somewhat regular basis. From now on, we hope to bring you at least one shanghaied Once-over every month.

Before turning this over to Bhakti Sharma, I have a confession to make; no one should ever say the word never in the context of whether you will ever do or not do a particular thing at some point in the future. In my case, I am talking about social media generally, Twitter and Tweets in particular. My prior stance was Never; never meaning ever; more precisely, something having to do with freezing cold days in hell.

Perhaps I am a dinosaur, but I hate social media. The reasons for this are many, most of which cannot be published here. But what I can say is that the character-count limitations of Twitter are too artistically and intellectually limiting for @ravenvanguard to engage in any form of meaningful, or course-correcting, dialogue with those among you who have expressed an interest in what we have to say.

However, my utter disdain for social media reached an all-time high as the mid-term election shitshow unfurled all around us these past few months. Just days ago, @ravenvanguard entered the Twittersphere with its very first Tweet on November 3rd. Each Tweet from @ravenvanguard will be recognizable by the hashtag #starkravingmad, and in addition to that, occasionally #Bedlam (for reasons that may be more obvious to our friends in the UK and other parts of Europe).

For the most part, our Tweets will take on four very distinct forms – observations, chastisements, compliments, or, strongly worded suggestions that shun convention; those things, places, people, brands, and designs we covet (these will usually bear the additional hashtag #RavenCovet); music that has helped to make us who we are today (usually carrying the added hashtag #RavensMindBendingJukebox); and, those having to do with film and filmmakers.

So far, our time on Twitter has been mostly uneventful, and will probably remain that way until people start to realize that we are even attempting to exist there. To this very day, my Family still thinks that someone has established a fake Twitter account in our name. The truth is, they fear that I will bring great shame upon them by speaking my truth without taking the time to couch my feelings and thoughts in diplomacy and decorum.

For those of you who are interested in offering us any suggestions on how to make Twitter a better place, or who merely wish to keep me from shaming my Family, please feel free to direct message us.

Without further adieu, we bring you the thoughtful words of Bhakti Sharma, who, in her best iron fist in a velvet gloved hand routine, offers you a glimpse into the future.

Words according to Bhakti Sharma, Professor, Diva, Brown Sugar Purveyor, and no connection whatsoever to Raven Vanguard

The Power of these Monosyllables: One, Om, & I

Black background. Five concentric circles. Each circle is a different hue of blue. The Sanskrit letter for Om (Aum) sits divinely at the center of these circles. The line below reads ‘The One becomes many.’

Laying down on the floor as children do, looking at the ceiling, letting my eyes wander and making sense of the room I am in… the poster of AUM, presented by #DhirDiamond Jewellers as a promotional product, sits on the wall. That is one of my first memories. Of course, I could not read or decipher any of this information at the time. And it took me decades to even understand what Aum means even though I was brought up very spiritually.

Aum- the female divine energy, pure consciousness, being one with the Universe, the idea of light, but most importantly the sound as we know it is the original sound of the Universe. It represents the power of becoming one with the universe, the universe that sits and exists within us.

In Hinduism, we believe that “A” means Brahma (creation), “U” means Vishnu (maintenance), and “M” means Shiva (destruction). In modern-day yoga studios with hip-hop beats, this idea of creation, maintenance, and destruction has been reduced or somewhat trivialized to ‘Breathe in, Breathe out’ as long as you can ‘Nama-stay’ in it. But whatever your level of involvement with Aum, just saying this monosyllabic sound out loud clears up any stuck energy surrounding us. If you sit very quietly, you will hear the sound of OM, like a distant cosmic hum. Listen within you, inside of you, the sound of Om is not outside of you, it is you. It is you being one with the universe, the universe that is within you. The Power of one is in you.

Ever since I have known the voice of Aum within me, I could never go to group chanting sessions or yoga sessions with forced energy shifts. To me, meditation is a lonely practice. The art of looking inwards is not done in a group. Your deepest, most private self is not the Grand Canyon that needs to be visited by a bus-load of people and selfie-sticks and then posted on the interwebs. I believe in Om. I believe in one Universe (and the million or so parallel universes and the undiscovered universes). And I believe in the power of one. Whether in meditation, or in business, and for that matter, for me…even when visiting the Grand Canyon.

And that is what my Weekly Once-over is about. It is about one and the power that it entails as the one becomes many. In some ways, this narrative denounces the widely accepted business concepts of team playing and recreational concepts of group meditations.

It is not about Aum even though it is always with me.

It is not about yoga studios and my apparent disdain.

And it is not about spiritually, not today at least.

So please hear me out…

I believe that the vision of any endeavor, whether big or small, belongs to one person alone. This visionary may choose to be informed by precedents and popular opinion in their field of study. They may solicit viewpoints of their trusted generals or gems aka close friends or confidants. But in the end, the vision belongs to one individual. In the end, the success or the failure of this vision is the responsibility of the visionary and the inspired (yes, I use the term visionary loosely).

You just cannot do visions by committee! Some may say that this approach is anti-democratic. Only if the viewpoints of the stakeholders and all affected parties are not heard and understood. From the smallest start-ups to the biggest conglomerates, the success comes from the leader’s vision. Now, I get it. No person is an island, and no endeavor can be executed without a team of experts. This was the one place where the ’t’ word was apt. For a vision to be implemented and executed successfully, a team of experts in the appropriate area is needed. But even as we break down into teams, the law of one vision still holds true. The Pandavas did not win Kurukshetra on their own, neither was the most valued company in the world created overnight by one person. There were armies of people and animals and teams of designers and architects (the software kind) that executed the vision of Arjuna (via Krishna) and Steve Jobs alike.

As I was writing this piece and discussing my thoughts with my confidant, I was pleasantly informed that Sir Richard Branson would agree with me. While collaboration is important, the vision belongs to one individual. Create a vision and then find experts who will execute that vision. Experts being the operative word.

Leaders see things that other people do not. A good leader visualizes the future years in advance and creates an implementable vision. The frustrations come from lack of technology or lack of buy-in from stakeholders. The patent for a tablet was first filed in March 2004 while the first iPad was not released for seven more years. As explained in the Walter Isaacson book, the technology to build the tablet was not available in 2004 even though the vision was. It is not just technology that lags behind. It is also the buy-in from the stakeholders and your “team.” No matter how well or much the leader communicates with their team, visualizing the vision is not every person's forte. Lack of buy-in from their teams leads to a lack of patience in the inspired which most leaders have a short supply to begin with.

To top it all, we also live in a society where the terms ‘team player’ and ‘consensus builder’ act as desirable resume content qualities over blatant yet honest values such as ‘independent thinker’ and ‘decisive.’

Now, these thoughts do come from a born extrovert and a devout convert to introversion. These thoughts also come from an individual who has always known to be a leader and has an ever-diminishing idea and stock of patience. My resume does not celebrate or suffer the adjectives mentioned above concerning teams. This dichotomy of introversion and leadership also makes it important for me as a human to look inside myself for energy that I need to give to others when I lead. Lincoln, Gandhi, Gates, Einstein, Buffet, Rand are some of the most successful introverts in history. These inward turning, focused more on internal thoughts, feelings, and moods rather than seeking out external stimulation leaders have created the vision that has been executed by many. Fun fact: The results for most successful introverts and the most successful loners in history bears the same results on google!

‘The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything you want, you already are.’~Rumi

Have I moved away from the power of working alone vs. in teams to introversion to quoting a 12th-century Sufi poet? Maybe. But the pith connects all these thoughts together. The thought is the power of one. You are enough. You are all that you need. You are your universe, and the universe is one with you.

This does not mean that you have to leave it all behind, adopt ‘lonelism’ (coined 2018, Buffalo NY), and move to the Himalayas or Ushuaia (the non-touristy part). It does not even mean that you walk into a boardroom (read bored room) and do a Jerry Maguire. Although, Jerry Maguire is exactly what I am talking about. One man’s vision executed in the hardest of time…single-handedly. I am not even proposing that you start living the life of a loner or a recluse (excused: search engine definitions for loners Vs. introverts).


Having a vision is important.

It is important to stay on the path and lead. As a leader, you have the foresight to see ahead, years ahead in time.

It is important to create your team of experts to execute that vision.

It is important to have and to hold the confidence of ‘you’ within you and project that confidence unwaveringly.

You do not need an army of friends, but having a few is important. A few you can call at any time of the day or night and know that they are there for you and vice versa. And if you are blessed like I am… then remember to be thankful for all your life-long friendships.

It is important to believe in your leaders’ vision if you happen to find yourself on the opposite side.

Looking within yourself is important. To find answers and energy to grow. To innovate. To create a vision.

It is important to inspire and be inspired.

To know the power of one. As one become many.