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  • LIJHA STEWART

MY JOURNEY

Updated: Jun 10, 2018

How I reluctantly found this path from corporate America to freelance artist and healer.

This journey really started about two and half years ago. I believe it was 2016 as I sit in my small dark NYC apartment early in the morning, after another meaningless night out desperately seeking human connection. Drunk and stoned thinking to myself there had to be more, more for me, more for this life, more connection. I felt a pull to find what my true calling was in this lifetime (although at that time I am not sure I knew what that pull was). This just felt perplexing to me as someone who found a career and "success" at a young age. I remembered having friends that felt lost, but not me, I always had a clear plan that I diligently worked towards. I felt hopeless, I thought well, that flame has burned out for me, there was nothing left. Maybe I had peaked at 29 years old and I was destined to spend the rest of my life numb, living a lie, with no real connection to other humans in a soulless job.


And so it began there in the darkness, a spark of light, the universe came through and answered. I began taking workshops on hands on energy healing in Bozeman, MT. Entering into my first session as "support for my mother" not for my own growth or education (still clearly in total denial). Bear Mackay's school of energy healing turned out to be exactly what I needed; a crash corse on all things spiritual, metaphysical, and a lists of tools and resources to rewire my brain into a new way of thinking. But let me tell you this was not one of those overnight "life changing" situations, It was slow and painstaking, and what I realized about myself in this process was that I was so reluctant to change. I was fearful of the unknown, even though I wasn't happy with the present.


During most of 2016 I went through the program changing my physical appearance from someone who wore a full face of makeup everyday to a more natural look. I began to shed the armor that I painted on and presented to the world. Instead of wasting hours getting ready in the morning, I mediated, I cooked myself breakfast, and prepped a lunch. I took time for self care instead of painting over my pain. Now don't get me wrong durning this time I was learning and experiencing so much, but I was still holding on to old habits of smoking way to much weed and drinking almost everyday. Now looking back I see how embedded both of those habits were in my ego identity of myself. I was a stoner, hippy vibes artist and I drank because who the fuck didn't drink in New York City. Plain and simple I wasn't ready to give that shit up!



Either way after my hands on healing training I began to seek out a healing community in NYC, where I was currently living. I found a beautiful hidden gem in Greenpoint called Maha Rose. It was here that I found moon circles, my breath, sound baths, and so much more. Most friday nights I would just sign up for whatever class what happening instead of going out and drinking. It felt like I was living two lives, and most of the time I felt like a fraud, like I might get figured out, like I didn't really belong there. All the while I was still at my soulless job collecting my paycheck, I literally made up every excuse for why I had to stay there. I told myself that I had vacations and time off to look forward to, I used every chance I could to test and build my makeup portfolio. But I could not deny that my job was not allowing me to fully grow or transpire to the next level. This was yet another way I was still resisting change.



It was these friday nights at Maha Rose that I found Breathwork, the healing modality that has drastically changed my life. This crazy powerful three part breathing pattern is the most direct way of confronting trauma and pain in the body head on. It's the most intense version of self healing I had ever experienced. I had to know more, so after going to class nearly every friday night that I could, I decided to sign up for teacher training and ultimately start a daily practice that drastically moved my life forward. I became fascinated by experimenting with phycadelics like acid and mushroom (not related to breath, just my own journey). I liked the idea of going deep inside the brain and the body, being fully immersed within. Looking back I think this came from a need to connect to myself, something I had run from for so long.


Simultaneously I found plant medicine and sat in a ceremony with the mother plant. Again not a life changing moment for me, you know how you hear those stories about someone taking the medicine and there entire life changing the next day, nope not me! My first experience with mother showed me how much we crave connection and community as a society. And all the ways we use drugs and alcohol to create ceremony in our modern lives. I saw the way we use these substances to bring people together, to create like minded experiences and to be on the same plane. I saw the pain that we experience in these modern times because of our lack of connection. The next morning I had to ask what this message meant; was I supposed to give up smoking and drinking? I thought, "no freaking way! Not Here, Not Now, Not Ever!" This is experience stuck with me, but at the time I thought it didn't have a specific influence on my life. After this ceremony I went back for more sittings around the fire, for connection and guidence from earth and spirt. I learned so much about myself. I saw all the ways I've enslaved my self, I saw the ways we create our own reality, I experienced other dimensions and I healed my relationship to my father. I hold these plant medicine experiences so close to my heart because they opened me up to change. They opened me up to the parts that I needed to see in my life and in myself. I believe that my year of Breathwork opened me up to receive the medicine in this way. Breathwork opens up our chakra pathways so prana or life-force can flow freely.



Something I didn't mention earlier but is a very import part of my story, was my long term off and on again relationship with my now wife Yvonne. We secretly dated for four years because of fear of retaliation at work. Roughly from 2012 to 2016 we had to live a lie, hiding our relationship and our feelings for each other. This was so difficult for us both and only led to more shame and fear of being caught. The pressure eventually became too much and we broke up for a year. Looking back now I see the way not living my truth deteriorated my very being and our relationship. But I also don't want to just blame work, I want to own the fact that I choose not to choose love. Instead I chose a job that I didn't even like very much and cared too much about what other people would think of me. So what does that say about me and where I was? I clearly didn't think I was deserving of love and I was searching for exceptance in the wrong places.


Ok back on track, fast forward to October 2017 at the Artist summit in Providence Town (ps. if you haven't been to PTown you've got to go its pure magic ). I was in a very good space, my two years of healing had brought me to a new place of trusting my intuition, living with a big open heart and in total self love. I also knew I would run into Yvonne after we hadn't seen each other or talked in a year. This was majorly nerve racking and there were a few times I thought I might not even show up. You know how we do that thing before we see someone, you know that mind game... they'll say this and then i'll say that... well I wouldn't let my self go there, I simply said to myself, I'm going to show up, be kind and meet her with an open heart. That week I chose love, for myself and for us.



A few days after Yvonne and I rekindling our relationship I found out my dad was sick with terminal cancer. I then choose love again, I took time off work without even thinking and went to his side to help care for him. This was the best possible decision I could have made; to spent three months spent caring for the man that raised me, loved me and provided for me for my entire life. This decision propelled my healing journey. It was my father's last lesson for me, he showed me life is to precious to waste doing something that is mediocre. He reminded me to dream big and reach for the stars. I had the honor of holding healing space for him as is soul moved out of his body, of comforting him on his journey into the next life. I left this experience devastated by this loss but knowing exactly what I needed to do next.

QUICK MY JOB, GET MARRIED, STOP NUMBING MYSELF, FOLLOW MY CALLING and NEVER LOOK BACK!



So that's where I am now, self employed, married to the woman that has loved me and that I have loved for so long, sober, following my calling towards creation and healing, all while trying my best to be present manifesting a bright future. I fight self doubt often, but I remain grateful and I believe that self employment is the next step in my self love and self trust journey.



I share this story with the world not because I think my path is for everyone, not because I think that I am done healing or that I can help heal you, but just to put light out in the world. To give hope that change is possible even for someone like me that feared change and love for so long. We all have the power within us to confront our trauma, to see where there is a void and to fill it with love and light. We are all whole, we are all artist and creators, we are all lovers. Goddess and Gods on this earthly plane. My calling is to hold healing space, and for me that starts with writing, with sharing and with creating a much needed inclusive community.



Peace, Love, and Lipstick

lijha

#healing #breathwork #plantmedicine #Peace #love #Lipstick

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