For Shri Ananda, the path to peace starts by journeying inward and holding a lamp to our lies. He has walked this road, knows the signs, and carries a light to help others find their way toward healing. As a spiritual life coach and the visionary founder of Wellness Realization, a multifaceted company committed to supporting peace, love, and self-discovery, Shri understands there are many ways to find and tell our truths, but first we must awaken to the damaging stories we keep repeating and write new ones.
This may sound daunting, but Shri can help. An inspirational speaker, storyteller, certified Kripula yogi, Komya Reiki master, musician, filmmaker, and retreat host, Shri has 25 years of experience in guiding people through their fears and out of harmful cycles. The author of the bestselling book The Road to Resiliency, his poignant tale of abuse and struggle, Shri (née Troy Payne) has also found other forms of powerful expression through his band, Aside from Sorrow, and his award-winning film debut, Out of the Darkness. And there is more to come.
So we were thrilled Shri shared some gems of wisdom he has gathered along the way.
Shri, when I heard your story at BWB’s Storytelling Tuesday a couple years ago, I found it compelling and moving. Most of us have places in our past we avoid at all costs. What is it about pain and fear that we cling to them so fiercely, to the detriment of our well-being? What do we imagine will happen if we let go?
Fear is the expectation of pain. The pain may be psychological or physical.
Clinging to fear is based on habit, whether it is from a more ancient form of habit like instincts passed along for millions of years — the habit of involuntary reactions — or newer types of fear formed in this very lifetime. It is rooted in our lack of presence — the inability to be here in this moment. You see, each one of us has approximately 60,000 thoughts each day, so we are a little distracted. When we become emotionally hijacked with an energy such as fear, these thoughts take us to one of two places: past pain stories or future fear.
Fear being a habit can be broken, or the mind can be trained to see the world differently, without fear arising. The mind will draw a person back into the same dynamic over and over. The only way to get out of it is to interrupt the pattern and change your ways of thinking. I am actually dedicating an entire retreat to “Releasing the Fear” in May.
What also speaks to me about your story and work is the courage and calm you maintain. You seem to embody balance. What is one of the first things you look for when helping a new client face fear and move toward realizing their own wellness?
Thank you for those words. One of the first things that I explore with a new client is identifying their rituals of creating presence. Since we can only effectively work with the present moment, how do you find it or come into it? There are so many beautiful practices to finding presence or dropping into “heart space,” as I like to call it — the natural state of who we really are. A walk in nature, breathing and meditation practices, yoga, even art, food, or music can help us arrive to the present moment.
I once read “writing is rewriting.” In my work, I am keenly aware of this truth. Life is an ever-changing story, and yours appears to be evolving in a rich variety of ways. What does change mean to you, personally and with respect to the world at large?
I like that you used the word evolving in your noticing. The change that unfolds in our lives as individuals and as a collective is our evolution. Think about it for a moment: the biggest shifts, growth, and expansion you have experienced mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, were birthed from your ability to navigate your way through the change that unfolded in your life story. It is in our ability as a global collective to change the current systems, structures, and stories on the planet that no longer serve us. The level or degree of change that we embrace collectively around those issues shows us our cultural and global evolution.
I see you have a new film in development right now. This is exciting! Tell us a bit about it, and how the community might help.
I am very excited to be working toward producing a feature film around healing the wounded child who resides inside of us — an archetype of our inner child. The wounded child is created by a childhood pain story that is unresolved or unhealed and impacts who we are as adults in almost every aspect of our lives. This film explores some powerful content and I do need the help of my community to keep the project moving forward. At this moment I am raising funds to develop demo content and launch Phase 1. To learn more about the film and how you can help, or if you feel called to donate, please visit http://wellnessrealization.com/films.
We like to finish our profiles with a fun fact or quick quirk about each member, something our readers may not know. Do you care to share?
I have such a love for songwriting and music that I have organized over 11,000 songs into 400+ themed playlists. Music is one of the most powerful forms of storytelling we have.
I write stories about people, businesses, and communities so that people will remember what makes them uniquely powerful.
Tell me your story!