Garni Sohrabian is on a mission to stop time.
Having grown up all over the world, the young entrepreneur majored in Global Studies, then founded a thriving international shoe company. Despite his success, he felt unfulfilled and empty.
That’s when he realized his mission to encourage unity in the world. He sold his share of the company and launched a “stillness movement” called, Steal Time Back, encouraging people to take a moment to unhook from imposed constraints and labels.
Here, the self-proclaimed “timebandit” explains why sadness is one key to happiness:
LTP: When do you first remember understanding the importance of unity?
Garni Sohrabian: I think all of us feel the oneness of the universe as children. We have this natural ability to immerse into what we do. Play is the highest form of learning and being, in my opinion. And, when we play, we are one with what we do. In that oneness, we feel the whole of the universe.
LTP: What inspired you to found Steal Time Back?
GS: After university, I started a shoe company with a friend in Hollywood. It did really well, and we grew into 19 countries. Everyone thought I was living the dream, but I was suffering on the inside. I felt a very strong pull towards something, although I wasn't sure what. I just felt that there must be more to life.
As I went up into the mountains every day to hike, I learned to see life from above again. Nature helped me remember that all is one. I sold my ownership in the company and left. I knew that my purpose was to remind the world of unity.
LTP: How did you assemble your team?
GS: Our team is always evolving and changing. The only one who was there from the start is me. I have had family and friends become timebandits, and it's been wonderful. We don't think of ourselves as a company. We see ourselves more as a group of artists, trying to use our talents to Steal Time Back.
LTP: Are the products designed to fuel the message?
GS: It is all about the message. We have products and art pieces now, but we have books and many other manifestations coming soon. Our method is to destroy the illusions and remind the world of what is underneath it.
Time, labels and any other temporary manmade constructs can be dangerous if we get trapped in them. They have a purpose, of course, but so many souls are trapped in these symbols and have forgotten the organic reality of the here and now.
The very technology that is meant to connect us is also making us detach from each other. So many smart phones, smart watches etc. So we made a “wise watch;” one that has no gimmicks or movements, only stillness.
LTP: Why is it so important to live in the now?
GS: Everything in the universe is created to be in connection with the rest. When we are fully present, this happens naturally. When we are stuck in another time or place, we are detached; we are in two places at once, but there is only one of us. Being present is really about being one.
We are not saying that one should never think about the future or past. It is important to do so in order to create a path for yourself and learn from the past. But it is dangerous to be stuck in the future or past.
LTP: What are your wellness or meditative rituals?
GS: I have many methods and am always finding more. I consider meditation and play to be the same thing. If we are always in a state of play and immersion, I don't think we would need as much as meditation. Meditation is a technique to ground us in the here and now. What if we were already grounded? What if everything could feel like meditation? It can, if we live with the courage to immerse into all we do. Everything can become play!
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
GS: My definition of happiness isn't necessarily to always be happy. True happiness to me is to live with an open heart, which means to also feel sadness or whatever else we truly feel.
We live in times of so many spiritual teachers trying to help us be happier, and I worry that the suppression of our other side makes the detachment inside grow. All of the universe consists of two sides dancing with each other to make it a beautiful whole. If one side stops, the dance stops.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how do you do that every day?
GS: To “Live The Process” is to be present on your journey, rather than always worry about the destination. It is not so much what you do, but rather how you do it. By changing our intention, we change our reality. The journey becomes the destination.