Frank Gjata on Empowering Messages that Encourage Conscious Living and Reminders of Impermanence
“People have no respect for impermanence. We take no delight in it; in fact, we despair of it. We regard it as pain. We try to resist it by making things that will last — forever, we say — things that we don’t have to wash, things that we don’t have to iron. Somehow, in the process of trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life. We tend to forget that we are part of the natural scheme of things.”
— Pema Chödrön
Many moons ago, I was considering a tattoo, and as I often did back then, I called my father to ask his thoughts on the topic. He told me that it was the second fastest-growing business in the country. “Do you know what the fastest growing is?” he asked. “Tattoo removal.” He was joking about the stats, but correct about the macro concept of how often we are fooled into believing in any semblance of permanence — including that of our own thoughts and feelings. He was also correct on my own participation in the tattoo removal market. The tattoos I had lasered off years later did not represent any deep insights I had, nor served as a reminder of empowerment. I simply lost my taste for that art style, just as someone else may lose their convictions around a tattoo’s meaning.
My wife did quite a bit better in regards to ink selection and has a tattoo on the inside of her wrist that reads “meta.” This is a Pali word which means “loving-kindness.” It is also a meditation practice in which one sends well wishes and empathy to others and also themselves. A daily reminder of compassion and empathy isn’t such a bad reminder to carry with you, but tattoos aren’t for everybody. And if tattoos are indeed your thing, what happens when you run out of canvas? I’ve read more inspiring text than I have flesh real estate to emboss them on. Even in an 8pt font.
In 2009, Frank Gjata founded Conscious Ink, an empowerment company utilizing temporary tattoos to support people on their personal journey. With his creation of this innovative company, Frank actually invented an entirely new category for temporary tattoos, geared at adults in this meaningful way, as it had never existed before. One of the most difficult parts of any method of meditation is to execute your practice “off of the cushion.” Letting your thoughts freely pass through your consciousness is difficult enough while sitting in a quiet candlelit room. But how about in traffic during bad weather while late for work?
Frank’s idea was to give people the tools to plant a much-needed reminder within sight when the going gets rough. And we all go through challenging times. But since we never know what we will go through next, there are many messages to choose from including Be Brave, Anything is Possible, I am Enough, and Breath. Frank wanted to create these empowering messages as a means to support people to wake up, live consciously, and to enthusiastically love the life we live. And when he says “people,” refers to himself as well.
In this episode, Frank and I discuss ways to find one’s path at the intersection of purpose and business. We also talk about what an incredible time we live in when it comes to the variety of ways one can participate in this space as a means of work. With self-publishing, free social channels, the creation of mediation apps, online communities, and e-commerce, there are countless ways to be part of the movement that encourages others to practice compassion and self-awareness.
Frank and his work have been featured in Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine, Shape Magazine, Modern Meditation, The Good News Network, Fitness Magazine, Forbes, and Yoga Journal. He’s been on countless podcasts, and was a member of the Speaker Selection Committee for TedX Bend. Frank is also an accomplished writer, speaker, coach, and filmmaker. He has even made a short film, “The Great Dictator Returns”, a remake of Charlie Chaplin’s inspirational speech from the film “The Great Dictator.” In his days as a writer for advertising, he won over 100 national and international industry awards, including the Cannes Film Festival.