Updated: Apr 24
When I was a little girl, I didn’t understand all the depths and layers of spirituality. I believed in a God that loved me very much, and I loved him very much. He was separate from me, sitting somewhere up above, and I was somehow always afraid to make him mad, thinking that I would get punished. Every week confessing, faithfully praying, following rules, ultra-Catholic, I was.
When I entered university, and learned about philosophy, psychology and sociology, I shifted and rationalized all the theories, thoughts and beliefs in my mind. I struggled with many faith-based concepts, and became an atheist for a while. I didn’t need a God or spirituality, and I felt that in this life I was generally lucky, somehow invincible (as many young adults feel), subconsciously believing that bad things could happen to others, but not to me.
Then came my car accident. Broken glass everywhere; all over my eyes and forehead. For a few moments, I thought I was blind. When I cautiously tried to open my eyelids and saw a thin sliver of light, I knew that even though my situation was most probably horrible and I would have to go through it, I had a profound feeling that everything will be alright. I experienced the deepest surrender and sense of presence.
While lying in my hospital bed with gauze all over my head and face, not being able to see anything around me, my vision turned inward. I realized that all this time I was living my life from my nose out, from my appearance, my image, my accolades and exterior circumstances. I reached inside of me and found it empty and cold, nothing to hold onto. Who was I really, what was my essence about? I felt scared in that moment, and with a sense of urgency, I made the resolution to nurture my soul. Nothing else seemed to matter in that moment. I had already experienced first-hand the ephemeral quality of life; and in contrast now, all I desired was the eternal.
I went into depression. I felt lonely and isolated, I couldn’t read or watch TV for over 3 months, and couldn’t really go out and have my normal life back. After recovery and having my eyesight back, I started to read and devoured every book I could find on spiritual growth. I became familiar with meditation, and started practicing and experimenting on my own. With no background and minimal knowledge, I began to experience peaceful and blissful states that I had never felt before. My relationship with God rekindled, but now it felt intimate and direct. I felt as one with the Universe, and had a couple of spontaneous, expansive out-of-body experiences. My dreams were so vivid, and my intuition grew stronger. It was so strong and palpable that I even became somewhat afraid of the whole thing, and tried to shut it down and put it to rest.
Having learned some spiritual laws, my life started to flow beautifully. Years passed, and I fell back into the allures of the physical world with many wonderful things. I got married and had a beautiful son. I was very happy, and everything felt right with the world. But, fears would still come and haunt me out of nowhere, happiness could be taken away at any moment. And then again, I felt a yearning. A yearning for the depths, the oneness, the sacred. I wanted to be one with the universe, and one with myself, my physical and my spiritual worlds. I revisited my old books, and decided this time to start traveling and sit at the feet of every teacher, every guide, every mentor that would have something of relevance to teach me. One teacher took me to the next. Each igniting a new understanding and passion, and each inspiring me to learn more and continue growing.
I gathered so much information, that all I wanted to do was share it with the world. I got so excited with all that I discovered, so I began a project, a website that would be a portal to connect people to every individual and organization that was doing any type of work to raise the consciousness of the world, on personal growth, sustainability and social responsibility. I was so passionate and connecting with so many groups and organizations, but I was doing this on my own. I was trying to find a partner that would help me take this project to the next level, and not feel it as such a lonely endeavor. I was trying to find alliances, but they would only ask, how are you going to make money. I would tell them that I was going to get lots of followers (at a time when followers, likes, and social media was not yet lucrative), but the answer was always received with silence and disbelief. I guess I was just a little bit ahead of the times. As with many of us, some of our business, projects, exciting endeavors, end up fizzling out when we truly get burned out and overwhelmed.
I started doing Yoga and met a spiritual teacher in the same city where I lived. So finally, no more need of searching and traveling around the world; it was right in my backyard all along. I found peace in his teachings and starting learning how the mind works, what was the real motivation behind every decision I made in life. I discovered that many of them were made inauthentically, not of my own true, conscious self at the moment, but as a result of my past conditioning, traumas, and fears, from family, church and society, and my previous interpretations. I made peace with most of my fears, guilt, and insecurities. I gave up and stopped mostly everything I was doing in the external word, and went in depth into sacred writings of all kinds, mostly Hindu literature and Vedic wisdom. I read many Gitas, learned about their Gods, sages, stories, and their multilayer meanings and symbolisms. My devotion grew strong. I spent years doing silent meditation retreats and intense self-inquiry, reciting non-stop mantras. I took “Know Thy Self” to the extreme.
For most of this time period, I neglected my body, and focused solely on my spirit. But then came dance. I watched a friend doing an Indian classical dance performance, and I cried as I was mesmerized by the art. It felt so close and familiar, so known, and something I connected deeply with. I started taking dance lessons and my dormant yet passionate love for dance found its expression. I was reconnected with my body, and I found renewed life-force energy. I continued to explore different types of dance, recognizing the importance of giving creative self-expression to the fire within. My spirit, my body, my emotions, my teachings, my inner wisdom, and my passion were collaborating in unison. I feel this is what most people need and are looking for in their lives, but somehow don’t know it yet; to find a profound connection with their own body, emotions, soul, and their deep innate wisdom, and wildly unleash the full expression of their being through any type of movement and dance.
From that moment on, it was a play of integration of the opposites and balancing the extremes. An integration of the shadow and trauma that sometimes one bypasses in the spiritual journey, with the full aliveness and oneness of the soul. Yes, it is valid wanting to escape our pain and fear by floating above in a dissociated meditative bliss, but then becoming aware of it, going back to the feeling, to the body, to the mud. Consciously, we can work to find the middle path, not too lost and stuck in the emotions and ruminating stories, and not too untouchable in the beatific realms.
I have learned many things along the way of my journey so far. But just when you think you have reached some landing, some level of certainty and truth, the rug can be pulled out from under your feet and a whole new dimension of truth will open up in front of your eyes. This doesn’t have to be scary, it can be accepted with curiosity and willingness. It is mesmerizing, you see, to realize that there will always be a bigger picture to the big picture of your life, and that it is eternally unfolding, an eternal journey of self discovery....