True Self: Finding Your Path to Authentic Joy

The journey into our True Selves is not one that happens overnight, it flows like a river, over jagged edges, shallow water, and exploratory rapids. Choosing authenticity happens when we decide there is something better than how we are currently existing. 
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In 2010, I was living and working in London and at my personal version of rock bottom (mentally). I made a 'now or never' type of decision. and committed to take a leave of absence (or quit, if it wasn’t given) from my corporate finance career and pursue my passion for yoga, healing, and happiness.  I let go of what my peers thought--of what everyone thought--and I decided that my happiness mattered more than my bank account and resume achievements.  

Leaving the career that I had built felt like the scariest thing, but in the moment following the decision, I felt the weight of a 1200-pound elephant lift off of my shoulders and lungs.  I felt a sense of personal power, freedom, and authenticity that I had not felt in a very long time because, deep within my heart, I had known that I had been living a false identity for a while; an identity in which I didn’t connect with my true feelings, nor express them.  This experience of authenticity was palpable, and it was the turning point to my ever-evolving journey of embodying my True Self. 

Today, I have crafted a life that supports my True Self through supportive, nourishing relationships, as well as through intentional and therapeutic sensual practices that awaken my Shakti-energy and keep me connected with my inner power and truth.  

Of course, there are periods of “winter”, or stretches, where I am disconnected from this energy, but the important lesson I’ve learned is how to reconnect with ease.  This energetic state, being connected to my power and authenticity, is my True Self, and when I am in this state, I let my True Self shine; I know that in doing so, I also encourage others to do the same.

Before I made this big leap, I would classify my life in 2010 as though I had gone off the “True Self rails,” How does this happen?  

Through my work as a coach, I've witnessed that Being our True Selves is often muddled by societal pressure to be/do/have/act in a certain way, or it’s muddled by unconscious beliefs that keep us in one false “box,” when we really want to live from a place of authenticity.  Life is often muddled by stress, busyness, and the go-go-go of everyday. Even the thought of slowing down and picking your head up for air seems scary, so we stay buried and “safe.”

In 2015 I collaborated on a project aptly named TrueSelfProject, where Allana Taranto, a boudoir photographer, and I blended the worlds of coaching and imagery for women to discover and behold their own power and brilliance.  Below are these women’s shared wisdom and words, speaking about how to embody and embrace your true self:

Spend time with yourself
Stay curious
Embrace yourself and move forward
Your spirit is resilient
Vulnerability is beautiful
Be kind to yourself
Work Together
Know your worth
Be honest with who you are and what you want
Accept yourself—the flaws, failures, and celebrations
Move with ease and grace

All these phrases require slowing down and exploring an area of ourselves which we may have ignored for a while.  I invite you into this exploration, and through this journey you will create joy, and celebrate brilliance, simply by embodying your True Self. 


Blog contributed by Ashley Maina, one of our Series 5 Perspectives Panelists.
Ashley believes that when a woman is turned on (to life!), everything shifts; relationships deepen, happiness & fulfillment is restored, and a sense of wholeness is attained. Through her work as a Transformational Coach for women, Ashley has helped many strengthen their sense of inner trust, heal and release limiting beliefs, and gain conviction and clarity around what they want and how they want to feel.
To turn yourself on, and live a life that you love, visit Ashleymaina.com
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Ashley Maina

Ashley Maina believes that when a women is turned on (to life!), everything shifts; relationships deepen, happiness & fulfillment is restored, and a sense of wholeness is attained.

That’s why, after working for GE throughout Tokyo, London, Italy, and the U.S., she moved into the world of yoga, holistic health, personal growth and happiness.:.  Through this transition, she became a mastery-level certified coach through the Transformational Coaching Method, a training rooted in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), developmental psychology, and lasting habit change.

Ashley’s mission is to empower women to heal old beliefs, tap back into their personal power so that they become the creator of their life, and step fully into who they want to be without guilt. Ashley has helped many strengthen their sense of inner trust, heal and release limiting beliefs, and gain conviction and clarity around what they want and how they want to feel.