There are so many people that are spiritual advisors/self help gurus/healers/life coaches/ manifestation experts/expanders and so on. It can be overwhelming to try and figure out the path...the path to happiness, the path to enlightenment, the path just to the gosh darn grocery store. We live in such a complex society. One that keeps us so distracted from reality. One that creates so much chaos, trauma, pain and suffering and then offers us up so many temporary solutions to keep us distracted from self. We have so many gurus, wellness and self helpers out there...and so many daily distractions, (TV, Phone< Social Media, Billboards, Pod casts, Video games, messages to consume, consume, consume) yet we sometimes feel like attaining any real peace is completely beyond our reach.
I would like to tell you that I have found the absolute answer and can impart wisdom on you right now, that this is the true path and it is the path that will bring you infinite joy and a life free if pain. But I'm not, and I can't. But what I can tell you is, I feel so much more at peace now than I did 10/11 years ago. And I have TRIED so many different things.
I will list them now first with ones that I think may have helped and then a list of things that ABSOLUTELY DID NOT HELP!
Yoga (especially Kundalini)
Quitting Drinking (paramount for me)
Supplements (specifically H3TP, Vit B and Ashwagandha)
Healers (but only one of them - so many I did not resonate with)
Reike (but only sometimes)
Self Realization Fellowship (their teachings really resonate - all paths lead to the same god)
AA (changed my life, everyone should do the 12 steps whether an alcoholic or not - Great tools for leading a good life)
Alanon (another 12 step program, Wonderful for healing Trauma)
Therapy (Thank god for my wonderful Therapist)
About 200 Self Help Books (some good some bad)
Meditation (changed my life)
Full Moon Ceremonies (take what you want from them. I like the community aspect)
Tarot Readings (fun, sometimes helpful)
Special Diets ( I mean you are what you eat)
Gratitude List (helpful on really angry days)
Prayer (yes yes yes - embrace this strange feeling thing)
Service Work (always makes me feel better)
Mentorship Programs (Both as a Mentor and a Mentee)
Asking for help when it's needed (this one was and is still hard)
Being there for people when they need help
Spending time in nature (awe trees you are my spiritual teacher)
PRACTICE COMPASSION WITH OTHERS AND MYSELF (daily practice that I fail at all the time)
Forgive others and myself (same as above but mandatory for a loving life)
Prayed for the people places and things that I do not like (ohh this one is hard but damn does it help) Also try loving kindness meditations
Tapping ( l love this so much that I made youtube videos that you can follow along with here)
Working on identifying trauma and healing it (yes this is the over arching goal!)
Things that did not work
Shopping and consuming
Surrounding myself with people to avoid loneliness
Isolating to avoid rejection
Staring at social media
Moving to new places
Cutting people out of my life
Hiding from my trauma though distraction
Shutting down and or shutting off
Yelling at people when I'm angry
Being a workaholic
Lying to my therapist
Wishing evil acts on the people, places or things that I do not like
Thinking I do not need help
Staring at netflix for 6 hours
So here is my main take away from all of the things that probably, maybe did help. All spiritual paths, self help, self realization techniques all lead to the same god. It really does not matter which avenue you choose, the relief is in the practice and in seeing the program through till the end; not giving up when it's hard or you feel blocked. Any time I picked up a self help book/ went to a program, followed a spiritual path and made it a priority and really gave it ago I felt relief. Even when I did it imperfectly or half assed. Because even the tiniest bit of effort creates space for growth. When we open a tiny sliver of ourselves to god, he/she/they finds their way in. The universe is always listening. When we ask and are really ready to jump into the universes cosmic ride of connectivity and alignment, it is there to take us on our true journey. It's always just sitting there ready and waiting for us to smash our egos.
So stop searching, stop asking, stop looking for other humans to figure out your path, just pick the thing that resonates with you and see it through. Do the hard work. Don't give up when it is painful. Follow the path till the end. All the resources that are out there all take you to the same place. They all give you the slight nudge that you may need, to connect to your own source. No one can give it to you...because you already have it. You just forgot that you did as you trudged through the sludge that is called human existence. You are infinite light. You are infinite source...and you are the guru. Now go find the thing that will wake you the Fu** up and see it though.
*Also I'm happy to share a specific daily practice that works for me if you need me to be that nudge.
**Also some-days I do all the work and still feel like poo (that's ok too)
***Also some-days I'm miserable and I do none of the work, because I just want to wallow in that poo (and that is also ok)
When I was a senior in highschool at the end of the year they had all the seniors do this thing called the last will and testament and then ran it in the student newspaper (that i was a writer for and got awarded senior of the year for my staff writing! Go little young me! ).
Anyway it was just a little blurb where you left theoretical items to your teachers and classmates. For example; to suzy I leave my pom pom's and the best year ever, and other tedious things.
My last will and Testament went something like this...I leave some random things to a few people that I actually connected with and cared about in highschool. I'm pretty sure that included my drama teacher, my student newspaper teacher Mr Lawler, as well as well as a few things to some Girlfriends. And here is the real bratty part. "To the rest of you I leave nothing. Just knowing me was enough. And later in life when I'm so famous that Sasha has become a household name like, Madonna, and I own a chain of hotels, a clothing line, have my own talk show and have written a bestselling memoir, I will look back at you all, with your 2.5 children and your job at the mill, and just laugh."
I know what a jerk. But let me tell you what I like about this. I had so much determination and confidence from a very young age. I also had a burning anger at those I felt were ordinary or unjust in some way. That is definitely something that has both motivated me as well as worked against me. (more on that later).
The confidence part of this statement, when I look back is really very amazing. There wasn't much in my life to be confident about. I came from a very dysfunctional home. I had spent much time bouncing around from family to family. Sometimes living with kind people that took me in, sometimes living with other messed up disenfranchised kids. I had experienced quite a bit of trauma by time I was a senior in highschool. It's actually amazing that I even graduated, let alone had a burning fire in me for success. A desire and a self knowledge that I was worthy of greatness. That knowledge came from some deep spiritual place. That was my souls desire. And that fire kept me alive and pushed me through many challenging times.
I believe there are two things that really shape and mold our life. One is the souls purpose. The deep unconscious voice that speaks to us in hard times and keeps us going. The karmic understanding of our destiny. This is the voice that we must learn to lean into and let guide us, but often, very difficult to access because of the other learned voices we pick up along the way.
The other voices or rather learned tools, have many names. Defense mechanisms, personality defects, trauma, resentments, our mind. No matter what you call these tools they are sometimes essential to our survival when young. For example. I am very very emotional. I cry easily. I'm sensitive. I care deeply about other people, animals, the state of the world and so on. Being so sensitive and living in an abusive home was not ideal. So I had to build a very tough exterior to survive my childhood. It was MANDATORY. It's the part of the above Will and Testament that made me act snotty and bratty to the other students. I had to be tough to survive my family. I was a weirdo and an outcast in reaction to my upbringing, so I needed to be outwardly strong and defensive, to make it through school and the constant bullying from people. I needed my defenses desperately.
But as I have grown and matured and done so, so, so so much work on myself, I have outgrown the need for these kinds of tools. I work hard everyday to lean into my souls desire. To lean into the alignment of my truth. To recognize my true purpose is. My soul has always wanted to be big and magical and kind and loving. My soul has always wanted to inspire and be known; to be recognized. I have had to work really hard to reprogram myself and to get back to my true authenticity. To shed the negativity that once kept me alive and protected me for so many years but no longer serves me. I had to shed that programming so that I could travel my truest most inspiring path. It feels as if I am on the right path these days and I hope you are as well. I can't wait to see you all along the way. I promise to try and not be bratty, but trust me, it still sneaks into the crevices sometimes. :)
From sweet sensitive Sasha to angry goth teenager :)
So guess what time I usually get up? between 4am and 5am. I know crazy right? I used to fight it and try to stay in bed till at least 6:30 but now I have embraced it and just get up early and do all my spiritual work. Which works out perfectly with me getting deeper into Kundalini Yoga recently. In this practice you are supposed to do a Sadna, a personal practice, before the sun comes up. So I have been implementing this into my life. I really, really love the early morning, which is so crazy. If you had known me in my 20's I was a total night owl and could easily sleep all day.
My most recent relationship was with a man who stayed up till around midnight to 2 am most nights and the earliest he realistically liked to get up was 9 am but could easily sleep till 11. We have been broken up for over a year and it seems wild to me now that I would even try to date someone that keeps such different hours and has such a vastly different lifestyle than me. I mean, obviously it didn't work out but we gave it pretty good try despite never really flowing properly.
Lately I have been working on calling in my perfect partner and besides needing to have somewhat of a similar (not exact) sleeping pattern, I definitely am looking for someone that has some sort of interior spiritual life and someone who is much more grounded than the men that I used to date. I have always dated alcoholics. This has something to do with my upbringing I'm sure, but I also think most people with addiction are very deep humans that struggle with all their feelings. So I was already on the right track of choosing the right partner dating people with addiction. I just need to find a person that instead of using outside things to deal with their huge artistic and emotional depth, has found a healthy way to embrace and expand these gifts. That is the path I have been on for the past 11 years and I have made immense strides. I really feel like I am becoming very grounded and a person that I am proud to be!
I remember, right before my 29th birthday, sitting in my apartment in SF drinking a bottle of wine and crying on the phone to a best friend about how embarrassed I was about what a crappy person I was. I kept saying, I'm almost 30 and I expected I would be so much more than I am. Little did I know that in that moment I was setting myself on a trajectory towards change.
Trust me it has been a slow process...and I'm just now some 15 years later getting closer. But I truly have self esteem these days, because I live my life in an honest esteemable manor. Yes sometimes I fuck up, but I do not have a hard time admitting that I fucked up nor do I have any issue with quickly amending things and I always try to do better. What else can a girl do?
Anyway I'm pretty sure he is coming. I'm pretty sure all sorts of amazing things are just around the corner for me. But in the meantime I'm just gonna go to the flea market and find some pretty dresses for the shop :)
Do you remember when blogging was a huge thing? Do you remember way back like 10 years when I used to blog almost everyday? Not just about store stuff, but just about life? I remember sitting on my office at BellJar SF and hearing people asking the sales girls about me in very specific ways. Asking about my personal life. Asking about how I was , if i was ok. It was so strange. Strange that they were actually reading my blog but even stranger that I was being so raw and uncensored online.
I was much younger and I had just gone through a really terrible divorce. I was looking for some answers and tying to change and evolve my life. That is what inspired me to open BellJar in the first place. I had been working in corporate situations for about 9 years, married to a man that was an alcoholic, myself had emotional issues and I was just drowning in unhappiness. It just wasn't the life for me.
So when my husband left me for a younger woman (I know so cliche) I rashly quit my high paying job and decided to open a store. I just knew that I wasn't meant to be ordinary. I felt a calling to have a bigger, more meaningful life. I wasn't meant to be part of the system. I was not meant to be a cog in a corporate world. It was literally killing me. I think before this crash in my life that ended in divorce I was so repressed and sad that I was slowly dying inside. I know that sounds dramatic but that is how it felt. Like a long slow death. I woke up tired every-day and came home and cried most nights. I was so lonely. I wanted to make a change but my husband, who was not yet earning, kept telling me we needed my paycheck. I dunno, it's hard to imagine now, that I would be with or listen to someone who as so unsupportive, but that's just where I was at. After he left, two weeks later I quit my job. Everyone thought I was crazy. But I knew I was on the right path. And out of that decision, BellJar was born.
What I didn't know at the time was, not only was I a creator and a builder of community and beautiful spaces, but I was also on a spiritual path. It's been a very long road...and 11 years later l feel much different. There have been so many ups and downs. So many amazing, exciting, expanding moments. So many gut wrenching, heartbreaking failures. So many moments I have wanted to give up. So many moments that I hid in my silverlake apartment wanting to be small and unseen. So many times I wasn't sure what my path was. Self doubts, low self esteem, depression etc. But I have stayed on my course. I have continued on. I have worked on myself diligently. I have gone to therapy, read every self help book under the sun, meditated, gone to program, closed businesses, opened businesses, started my own clothing line, bought a new home and on and on and on.
And so here I am 11 years later. Stronger, wiser, happier, clearer and ready to share with you again. I'm bringing back the blog and I'm so excited. I'm excited to share with you. Hopefully I can inspire you a little. To let you know that there is really nothing you cannot overcome. There is nothing imagined that can't be created with enough heart to stay the course. And no, I do not mean starving yourself, living without and working yourself to the bone. I'm not here to talk about the hustle, I'm here to talk about the magic that happens when we face our fears, expand past our programing and connect with our true authentic purpose. The universe listens when we are honest. The universe listens when we confront our past programing that no longer resonates with our souls true desire. Sometimes it's a really long road to get there, but it's the only one worth traveling. So come on girls let's get moving. Who is with me? I still have a ton of work to do and I could really use some travel partners!
Oh yeah that's me- Sasha darling. 11 years older and hopefully and little wiser.
Please join us Friday Oct 21st from 6-9 PM for drinks, music and an array of magical happenings.
1764 N Vermont Ave, LA
Psychedelic Jams by DJ Jimmy Hey, Animal Readings with Jane Anne Thomas of House of The Standing Moon, Stick & Poke Tattoos by Talia Migliaccio and the masterful weavings Of Mary Grisey.
We invite you to help us celebrate our first year of success. Success that would not be possible without the support of our LA people! We feel so at home here.
Music by DJ Jimmy Hey, a Capricorn, a musician, all vinyl DJ, and Los Angeles native who has been DJing all over town since the 90s. He plays a kaleidoscopic selection of records of all genres and eras conducive to mellow hangout experience.
See more @jimihey
We have had a long time girl crush on Hannah Kristina Metz. Way back when she had the adorable lingerie shop in Pasadena, The Loved One. She also had the dreamiest girlie Blog with well-directed photoshoots that made us just want to hang out with her all day in lacey, frilly things while we drank exotic tea, out of bone china.
The ever-magical Jane Anne Thomas will be offering Animal Totem Readings. Jane Anne Thomas is a Los Angeles based Artist, Seer, and Kundalini Yoga teacher engaging a blended path of Celtic, Native American, & Yogic traditions with a deep connection to plant and animal medicine.
You can find here at @houseofstandingmoon
About the readings:
"An Animal Totem Reading is a personal ceremony in which you are invited to drop into a receptive state before being expertly guided into direct communication with your own soul. 3 Animal Wisdom cards will be used to stimulate a dialogue where channelled messages can come through as necessary to illuminate the deeper meaning of each animal’s presence in your life. Once acknowledged, we are better equipped to work with instead of against our own energy for ease of navigation through the joys and challenges of life. Channeled messages may take the form of personal visual symbols that can be worked with in meditation, revealing their importance slowly over time."
We will also have stick and poke tattoos by creative force Talia Migliaccio. She began tattooing in late 2012 and has quickly become an expert at this ancient and ceremonial tattoo tradition. For those of you who are not familiar with the art of hand poked tattooing it is a method in which no machine is used - every mark on the skin is done by hand - poking every dot of every line to construct a whole. It’s beautiful and intricate as well as simple and personal. Talia is one of the most skilled artist in this tradition.
See her work at Talia Migliaccio
Come feast your eyes on the astounding artwork of Mary Grisey. A recent graduate of York University where she earned her MFA in Fine Art Weaving, Mary’s moving execution of fiber art is something of a natural wonder. In her own words…
I am fascinated by the connection between the physical and metaphysical, and, in this vein, I take ancient mythology, metamorphosis, ruination and entropy as inspirations in my work. Like ruins, my works are remnants of what was once whole; they are inscribed with traces of their previous life, death endured and the hereafter. My works embody these remnants that prefigure thought and feeling.
See more www.marygrisey.com