Meet Claudia Roth – a woman who truly led the good life – travelling first class around the world, staying in 5 star hotels, dressing in designer clothes and enjoying a world defined by luxury. Of course she had a soul, doesn’t everybody, but where was it, had she mislaid it…or had she simply put it aside for a while
THIS is HER JOURNEY of DISCOVERY
I woke up in a suite amid the luxury surroundings of the Ritz Paris one spring morning, I was on a business trip during my corporate days, working for a prestigious hotel representation company. My ego was easily inflated by the way I was treated in exchange for business.
That morning I looked in the bathroom mirror and saw a Blackberry phone imprint on my face. The 24/7 rush for recognition and need for success left a life changing mark on my face. It was a defining moment.
At the time I did not realise that my reaction was the result of a rather strange business meeting I encountered several years earlier, when I found myself at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. It was then that a clear fork in the road started to form. I was on a working trip to India and a colleague had set me up with, what I assumed was a business meeting. Focused solely on business and my career, I thought that I was there to sell luxury hotels. Sadly, that was pretty much the only thing I knew at the time. But I soon realised that other kinds of business and luxury were on the agenda – those concerned with self-transformation.
In that Ashram – a rather unusual environment for the kind of career-minded senior executive that I was – I was asked four profound questions. At the time, I was unable to answer in the spirit intended. The language of the soul was something completely new to me, busy as I was speeding along on the highway of life. Fast-moving and efficient, I was fully focused on pursuing my career.
And yet a few years later, on another trip to India, I felt a new journey was beckoning to me. This was due to a meeting in a forest, with a stranger, a man I was seeking out to help me with a book project. when I first saw him he was sitting on a balcony surrounded by trees.
I was in Auroville, a spiritual community linked to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. After an initial exchange of pleasantries he went straight to business, but not the business I was used to conducting. He held up a mirror before my face, and
asked: “Is this who you are?” The simple yet profound action shook my reality. I couldn’t ignore the emotional volcano which erupted in me.
Something inside myself told me I was living an illusory life – and that my ego was desperately holding on to a much-pampered and proud idea of myself. I was catapulted out of what I can only call a deep sleep after having been confronted with the question “who are you?”
I returned to the guesthouse where I was staying. I remember sitting in my room, alone with myself, feeling as if my entire world was about to collapse. In my usual fashion I tried to fix this and to keep up an appearance of normalcy, but something was pulling me to return to Vijay the next day.
Perhaps you have an image of yourself, too, as a successful business person, stressed mother, wife, husband or girlfriend. Ambitious or incompetent may be some other labels in your repertoire. You get the message? This sort of identity, built up over years, governs your view of the world more than you realise.
As life’s expectation goes: We study in school, we start work, we build a career, get married, acquire a house, purchase another new car or a new home, and so on. We accomplish many things, but happiness eludes us. On the outside I had everything, but something was missing within.
Little did I yet know the true profoundness of these gentle nudges of emptiness and sadness.
We are actors playing roles; in my case for a long-time I gained satisfaction playing the role of a successful globetrotter. Actors and actresses who are really good become the role. That happens to many of us whatever role or roles we take on falsely believing we are our roles.
Jim Morrison – lead singer of The Doors – said: “We’re locked in an image, an act, and the sad thing is people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains.”
Holding on to your adopted identity is like wearing a mask. With it in place, whether in business or in life, you are not allowing yourself to be truly authentic. And perhaps more importantly, you are limiting your awareness of who you truly are.
It is only when you start exploring your thoughts, beliefs and emotions and your ways of living that you can begin to truly be yourself – other than as a young child. But if you have reaffirmed and energised a mask successfully for
many years, it can be a painstaking process to dismantle it and many quickly give up.
Busy putting labels on yourself (and others!), what are you missing out on? Why would you want to move beyond the roles you play, your learned identity – your cherished self-image? Especially if it has served you well for many years. It can be hard to veer off the previously chosen path.
Trust me, though: the more authentic you become, the more you step into your truth. Truth is power and I am not talking about the egoistic kind. I am referring to the power inherent in your soul. Imagine no longer feeling the need to pretend to be somebody. No longer run by ‘patterns’ or running around trying to uphold your self-images. You are free to instead connect to your inner compass. Your heart is the gatekeeper to your soul, why not listen to it?
Never forget you’re not just an actor playing a role. You’re not the doer. You’re not the body. You’re not the role. Who are you?
During the past four years I allowed myself to venture deeper into my inner being and the connection with my soul. In my case it has been an arduous path. Everything I knew about life was falling by the wayside. Step by step, thought by thought, emotion by emotion, I rebuilt myself from the inside out, only to again see I was playing a new part. It’s a never-ending journey, but one which has taken me deeper into my own being. I’ve come to cherish life from a place of joy and gratitude increasingly detached from roles.
Looking back on my journey now I can see how the various, strange and unusual encounters were signposts from my soul
Since then as my life and needs changed I have set up Soul Luxury, a guide to help others towards their own inner freedom, have retrained as a Quantum Energy Coach and have written Your 28-day Journey to Self Love. I have also brought together 14 women from around the world for another book which tells their stories – I AM EVERY WOMAN: Trials, Tribulations, Triumphs and Discoveries.
To find out more Claudia@soul-luxury.com
For Information on Auroville www.auroville.org
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