Hi, we're talking to awesome people today! And our guest is Priya Lakhi, a lawyer and a healer.
Since I’ve come across so many awesome people in my life, those who really call my attention are the ones I invite for this experience.
I met Priya at a Magnified Healing Third Phase Workshop and we sat across from each other. I'd never seen her, and anyone who comes to a Third Phase Workshop is a very special person, in my opinion.
So when Priya told the class a little bit of her story, I was very moved and I felt like her story was something that belonged to the world.
The reason I say this is that I'm very influenced by Native American Wisdom, and one of the things these traditions say is that
(for more on this, check our session 5 of our Course on Human Nature Membership program). So
I also believe awesome people are inspiring examples, and the larger the number of people know about the shifts these people dare to make in their lives, the more they will feel inspired to connect to their souls, and the more chances they'll probably give themselves to live from the truth of their hearts.
So Priya is an example, and here are some highlights of our conversation (I recommend you watch the video to get the whole story):
Priya, can you tell us about the beautiful name you chose for your practice, "Awaken Ananda"? What does it mean, and why did you choose that name?
Absolutely. Awaken "Ananda" is the Sanskrit name for highest potential. or highest purpose. And it's my own personal journey that I've been on for some time, a journey that allows me to combine the body, mind and spirit. Because each one has its own purpose and potential in our life, I think true spirituality comes when we can balance the three of them.
Such a beautiful name for your business. And can you tell us a little bit about your connection with India on all levels?
I was born in India and I moved to the United States when I was five. Very typical immigrant story. My parents came and we were coming for a better opportunity, a land filled with hope, ideas and space to create dreams. It was a rough, rough ride, because when you land in a country where you don't really know anyone, it was quite a shift for my parents. I was so young that I didn't know any different, but growing up my parents were very much trying to keep the tradition in India alive in America because they wanted me to be raised with the beautiful cultures and qualities of an Indian family. I promptly rejected all of that because it was much easier for me to fit in by not being different. I already had a different name. I already looked different. We moved to Columbus, Ohio, where there just weren't that many people that looked like me at the time. And so I really was not happy trying to balance India in America because it just made me more different than I already was. So I rejected it as often as I could and I would be American at school in Indian at home, if that makes any sense. Maybe some people who are immigrants in a similar fashion understand what that means. And then I had a complete life breakdown in my late thirties, and I didn't know what to do. And the intuition kept coming: "Go to India". And I ignored it. And I got worse, and eventually my body literally shut down. I was not able to function, and as I was a lawyer, so I was left with no choice but to go to India.
I didn't know what I was going to do or what was going to happen there. And I ended up in front of my aunt's house who's a Reiki healer and a Yoga teacher. She's my mother's sister. And I said, "I need your help". And it was only through my journey of India (where by the way, I thought it was going to go for a few weeks, I ended up staying for well over a year) that I found my own healing, my own process of rebirth, of awakening, where I was able to work on my body, mind and soul. And India was actually the only thing that saved my life. That is my journey back home to India.
And the beauty of the feminine energy because it's the home, the land, the motherly energy, your mother's sister. So it was like the nurturing of the sacred feminine restoring your life connection, right? That's beautiful.
The pain is included in these journeys. We go through them instead of avoiding those pains and life just makes us stronger.
It's hard to remember that in the moment. But if I did it go through this life story that I went through, I wouldn't be sitting in front of you today with this beautiful mission of Awaken Ananda.
So India is very included in your practice today, right?
Absolutely. India is very much where I learned my own healing, where I learned how to be a healer, where I studied with teachers I was simply guided to. I just sort of followed the flow of the feminine and that led me all throughout India. And
I think I've been reincarnated in India quite a few times because that's how it feels, and now I see the lineage, I see the ancestral connections. Very authentic, ritual-based practices is what happens in my healing work.
I think there's absolutely a beautiful correlation between the eastern philosophy of spirituality and the western philosophy of "pick yourself up by your bootstraps and just do whatever you can". That's surrender versus flow, the force versus power, those that I really love that intersection of understanding that you don't need to do one or the other. That balance of actually the masculine and the feminine, which is what India and the United States actually represents to me is where we can find our joy.
Amazing. You have a journey as a lawyer in the western approach to life in the US but it was not a typical "rational" journey with the law that doesn't include compassion and the heart, because you were dealing with people in very delicate situations. How was your practice as a lawyer in the area that you chose?
I've always been operating in a mode of service to others. Even since I was a kid, I was volunteering and wanting to be of service. And again, because of my very traditional Indian background, it was almost determine I would have to pick a profession that was high achieving because that is still part of our culture. So doctor or lawyer or business owner or something like that. And I tried to go to medical school in terms of, I tried to pass organic chem and I failed. So I was like, all right, I can’t be a doctor. So I decided I wanted to do something that was activist and the legal profession came up. So I went to law school. And I knew from the first day I didn't want to be a corporate lawyer. I didn't want to be someone who just sat at a desk and helped exchange money or deal with cases that weren't meaningful to me.
So that led me to the path of criminal defense. It's typically a public defender, someone that helps individuals who cannot afford their own attorney when they are involved in criminal cases. And then I really got interested in working with clients on death row. So basically most of my work as a lawyer for 18 years was dealing with clients that were facing the death penalty.
As I look back at it now,
Because it was as a lawyer, but I was also there to provide hope, and hold space, and allow for forgiveness, and allow for my clients to view themselves as more than the worst thing they had ever done. More than what they had been accused of doing. And so it was a very beautiful, tough experience. But it has made me, and I'm incredibly grateful that I was able to do that.
Do you think that without knowing, without realizing, life was training you to be non-judgmental, to be free of judgment so that you could later be able to help people with healing?
Yes, absolutely. It's funny when you look back and put all the pieces of the puzzle together. And you think, "oh, this is exactly why!" And not only did I have to be non-judgmental, I also had to be an advocate and sometimes stand in the center of the storm, where myself and my client where the only persons in a courtroom that were together, and it felt like everyone else in that courtroom was against us. So the ability to remain vigilant and strong, and to provide hope even in the face of all adversity really benefits the work that I do today.
I think getting curious about ourselves actually helps us understand that we are more than we think we are.
Do you think they can transmute destructive patterns or destructive forces within, and how do you witness that transformation?
Absolutely. I really love the word "transcend", to move beyond, right? And that's the space I really encourage myself and my clients to get to in any sort of healing session. I think the way that I witnessed that is that the work says that
And that's how I witness transcendence in my clients. Through the work that we do together, they realize that they can respond differently, that the trigger didn't change and what causes the turmoil didn't change, but the fact is that they can show up, and realize, and pause in that moment, and say, "I can react differently. I have an ability to respond, a responsibility that is higher in purpose", versus reactionary. And I think it's in those minute by minute, daily moments where we actually see true transcendence.
That's so great. Thank you!
Below we have Priya's information so you can get in touch with her and benefit from the beauty she brings to the world.
Thank you for being here!