Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Contemplating where I was at, and two kirtans in Berlin

Contemplating where I was at....and two kirtans in Berlin

I have a confession to make. Most of today's blog was written about two months ago. And yet it has been sitting unpublished because I was unsure whether to share it publicly or not. But this morning I had an interesting discussion with a friend who told me his story about his career in the music industry, his need to leave the industry and his own spiritual journey which has lead him back to music again. It seemed so similar to my story. So perhaps the time is right for me to share mine with you.....

Happy and uplifted after the kirtan at YogaCircle, Berlin
I have been working with mantras for several years now and so I do attribute a lot of my own development and spiritual growth to the sacred sound vibrations of  mantra. However, it has been a long, arduous and challenging journey for me to get to this point. In 2004 I was cracking from the inside. I had been in the commercial music industry from the age of nineteen and within five years it had wrung me dry of my integrity, my authenticity and my vital energy. I began to realise that I had placed my entire sense of self worth on my appearance, and on what complete strangers thought of me. I was physically and emotionally addicted to diet pills, fashion, drama and to being adored. My whole identity and hence my Ego was centred around being noticed and performing as an artist on stage. Yet, on a deeper level, nothing within me wanted to 'sing' any more, because I had forgotten what I was doing it for. So, in what should have been the prime of my music career years I intuitively made a painful but necessary break from the industry and embarked on a new path to discover who I was and to find out where the real me had disappeared to.

Kirtan at YogaCircle, Berlin

Kirtan at Jivamukti, Berlin

The next four years were really hard, spent working in jobs that made me miserable (but which kept me fed), in London City which lends no pity to an underdog. For about two of those four years I hardly sang at all, not even in the shower. I was purely focused on survival and having a “normal” life. I went to university and studied something I found inspiring and satisfying. I began once more to explore different approaches to spirituality and discovered some fascinating and sometimes painful things about myself. I began to reconnect with the activities that I had lost touch with, like meditation and yoga. I became more 'self-aware' and in so doing, I became more alive! 

In 2008 I got together with my wonderful husband, and we went to Peru and drank Ayahuasca. It was one of the most profound and awe inspiring experiences of my life. Soon afterwards I started Kundalini Yoga, I became a certified teacher, and I discovered Vipassana meditation.

I started to fully grasp how I was responsible for my life and for absolutely everything that had happened to me and that 
being a victim was my greatest attachment and affliction!

Then, slowly I began to notice that whenever I chanted mantras, my voice would come if it had a life of it's own. I was afraid of this at first. I shied away from invitations to take part in kirtans (group meetings of devotional singing) because I was fearful of the memory of the pain and anguish I had endured as a result of singing in front of people in the past, subject to their (often painful) criticism, and even worse to my own (even more painful) criticism and I wanted to avoid that 'slippery slope' at all costs.

Yet, another four years later, here I am with my own mantra album, having made a bold step to stand bravely within my own vulnerability. 

For on this journey I have learnt that my greatest vulnerability can also be my greatest strength!  

You can find my album Uplifting Mantras for You here: 

A big thank you to YogaCircle Berlin and Jivamukti Berlin for hosting our Uplifting Kirtans and sharing their lovely spaces with us.

Next stop USA!!

Kirtan at YogaCircle, Berlin
Atul, Leigh and Sarab Deva at YogaCircle, Berlin

Atul, Leigh and Sarab Deva at Jivamukti, Berlin

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