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Amanda Slavin Headshot

Mind, Heart and Soul

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Six months ago, I had a pretty magical experience. I went to a healer/psychic, who told me about my "life" and trapped me in this idea of what was going to happen to me. It started to really freak me out when most of it came true. How did she know more about me than I knew about myself? How could this stranger tell me things about myself I completely forgot, or chose to forget or maybe never even knew? This brought me to "search for myself" on a journey to India.

A work addict by all means, I needed to swing so far to the other end of the pendulum to get to the middle again. I ended up meeting an Indian cab driver on the way to the Kochi airport six months ago. I started randomly speaking to him about my lifestyle of constantly being on, eating out every night and "walking as exercise." I asked him if he did yoga to keep himself focused, since he was disgusted by my lifestyle choices, and he told me he did yoga every day. I asked him for some tips and tricks in which he pulled over to the side of the road, pushed the seat down and said "let me show you how to breathe." Terrified (anyone who has been to India knows there are no traffic lights and driving is absolutely insane), my yoga cabbie told me how to yoga breathe, and then made me write down in front of him that I would not eat meat, not drink and would do yoga every day for six months so I would not be "tak tak" anymore (this means fat, FYI) and then come back to see him with the results.

I could have brushed this off as a crazy cab driver, but instead I took it as a sign. I had started to meditate in India, and the night before I left, I woke up at 3 a.m. and wrote on a piece of paper some information, folded it and didn't look at it again until three months later. I ended up finding out the night before I met him, I wrote that I would stop drinking, eat healthy and exercise every day. Again, someone who I barely knew had to tell me something about myself, which I was ignoring.

This made me start to think. Anyone who knows me knows I am kind of a dichotomy. I am an over-analyzer to the extreme, and yet I am spiritual and believe in magic, serendipity, am a heartless romantic but am extremely guarded with my emotions. It's a constant battle between my mind, heart and soul, and yet the only way to live a healthy, balanced life is to have all of these three things working in tandem. I went back to India last week to prove to myself and to my cabbie that I did what I said I would.

While in India (he planned a whole trip for me and my friends), I decided to read two books over the course of 10 days. One was Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which has taken me close to a year to finish, and the other was Marianne Williamson's A Course in Miracles. These two books are two completely different ends of the spectrum, and yet I loved both of them. While I am extreme in my emotions, I am very open minded and thought Ayn Rand's ability to embrace reality and draw attention to the mastery of the human mind was fascinating. Here is a woman who did not find what she was looking for, so she created it herself. Whether or not you agree with her ideas, her stories are miraculous with the way she depicts and believes so deeply in human potential.

Marianne Williamson, on the other hand, spoke to my soul and heart. She explains relationships in a way that makes sense to me. She uses spirituality as a way that aligns with the mind, heart and soul.

After 10 days in India and 27 years of working on myself, I realized it is not a conflict between my heart, soul and mind anymore, but instead feels like a machine that sometimes just needs a little more oil. Sometimes the heart is weak and my mind needs to take over; sometimes my mind is frustrated, so meditating helps and I can reach a deeper more meaningful place; and sometimes, I just want to be around someone who makes me feel special, makes me laugh and is just not complicated and speaks to my heart. What I have learned this year is to never run from reality, to face it head on with your mind and heart; it is about staying on the ground with your two feet, and instead of looking outside yourself for the magic, never being afraid to know that it exists within you.

For more by Amanda Slavin, click here.

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