of self discovery, transformation and healing
It all started after I woke up…
I woke up in the middle of the interstate highway, at 1am in September of 2011. I could feel the wind on my skin, cool and chilling. The smoke rising before me smelled like burnt tire and gasoline. I had fallen asleep while driving home.
It was a long day, from hot yoga at 5am, to my corporate job from 8-5 and then a party for my part-time job where I had just received a promotion; received and accepted in heels that hurt my feet and with a smile that was supported more by the two Moscow Mules I had drank prior. I was living the dream on paper, earning a 6-figure salary, collecting stock options, getting promoted, all toward dreams that were not mine.
Having gone from tired and tipsy, to wishing deeply that this was a dream, I found myself entwined with chilly gray smoke, a totaled car, and a heavy foot hanging from a broken ankle, body seeped in pain.
The months of recovery in a wheelchair, non-weight bearing, were some of the most revelatory months of life. I began to see what I had: the support, love, power and ability at my fingertips and around me. My family rallied in love to take care of me, my colleagues offered their support and patience, I noticed my body atrophy, my legs thin out with flesh hanging; then I saw my body go from pain to healing, from dormancy to movement and action over three challenging months.
This is when I began to meditate, to pay attention to myself, to study my thoughts and emotions and what it was producing in my life around me. I began learning how to find wisdom and peace in empty space, to not fill it with busyness or incessant chatter, and to listen.
At the same time, I was facing the repercussions of my actions. In the moments after my crash after the office presented a breathalyzer to me, I blew a .08 BAC, right on the cusp of illegality and a D.U.I. Not only had I consumed a couple drinks at the party, which I thought I’d be sobered from by the time I began my drive home, but I had been awake that day for 19 hours. I learned later that “moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to alcohol intoxication.” I spent over $12,000 in legal and fine fees, countless hours in counseling and D.U.I. classes.
As I accepted the ramifications of falling asleep literally and metaphorically, I began to question our culture’s propensity for compulsive doing over being, and the values that I had inherited that were not true to my heart. I was introduced more deeply to Eckhart Tolle, Carl Jung and Thich Nhat Nanh; as well as the notions of self-realization and present-mindedness.
The more I meditated and listened, the more I began to realize my passion for art, affirmation, and silence. Shortly after the last presidential election, with hopelessness and divisiveness in the air, I longed to feel safe and empowered, and my art gave that to me as I asked, “what do I need to hear right now?” before manifesting images and mantras on a sheet of paper. As I shared the art, other people gravitated to the messages, feeling affirmed and strengthened as well.
My given namesake, Chetna, means "awareness" or “consciousness” in Sanskrit. i use my name as a reminder and guiding light toward my purpose: to unfold awareness of the universal flow within and beyond myself, and to support others in their unique unfolding as well.
i'm the expert in my own life only. For others, i'm an excellent mirror and collaborative gardener; to plant the seeds of a trusting space, to invite knowledge through education and reflection, and to share devotion and commitment to our agreed upon visions and intentions.