Sivana Podcast: How To Find Happiness, Despite The Turbulence Of Life – Interview With Alana Sheeren
About this Episode
What IS a magical life? Do you create it or is it revealed to you? Is a magical life all about rainbows and puppy dogs, love and light, or does it allow for the full range of human experience? How do we find magic in the more difficult moments? Join us as we chat with Alana Sheeren, a writer, intuitive life coach, and the host of the Create Your Magical Life Podcast, as we explore ways to navigate the turbulence of life.
Tell me what you’re craving in your life. Tell me what you want more of, tell me what lights you up, what brings you joy. And then, go do that even if it’s a baby step. I don’t know, it could be anything, but I think it’s all about listening to that craving inside and recognizing it. And that can be really scary and painful for some people when they haven’t been listening and so the more we listen the more magical it becomes.
Namaste, you’re listening to the Sivana podcast. Join us on an exploration of eastern spirituality, yoga philosophy and conscious living for the New Age. This podcast is a production of sivanaspirit.com, where you can find a large selection of om and yoga clothing, spiritual jewelry and unique fair trade gifts from the Far East. Now here’s your host, Ashton Szabo.
Greetings everyone! Welcome to the sivana podcast, I’m your host Ashton Szabo.
Our guest today is Alana Sheeren. She is a writer, an intuitive life coach and she’s the host of the podcast “Create your Magical Life”.
Alana, thank you for being on our show today.
My pleasure Ashton, thanks for having me.
So you’re the host of create your magical life, and what I want to talk today is about living a magical life in the world. So when we’re creating and living a magical life my question for you is how much of that magic is a result of our effort and how much of that is grace? As in to say something that is entirely beyond our control.
I think it’s a beautiful combination and I think that sometimes we actually try too hard to make magic. There is magic everywhere. When I think of magic, I think of a sunset, a baby’s laugh, a butterfly, a dragonfly, the fact that we are alive at all. We are magic, we are miracles. And so I think we don’t have to look very far for magic.
And sometimes we really push it with all the current talk about law of attraction and how that’s gotten watered down to a fair bit. I think there are so many of us walking around going “Damn it! my life isn’t good enough, my life isn’t magical enough. I need to make it more magical’ and I think part of creating a magical life is really sitting back and going “Okay, what is already magical in my sphere, in my day?”
How can I appreciate that more, noticed that more, become more aware of it?
and then, where do I fill the gaps? where do I fill holes?
Where do I feel like I’m craving something?
Whether it’s more connection, more kindness, more rest, and more money. Whatever it is, where is that gap in my current life? and how can I move towards that to create an even more magical life?
But it’s already magical just as it is.
Well, you mention the laws of attraction, I think that can lead people into a really slippery slope because it’s like, well I’m not happy with my life right now then I must be doing something wrong since I am the creator of this life and therefore there’s something wrong with me because I’m not living the life that I’m supposed to be living. Or my life isn’t magical enough and I need to be doing more.
And sometimes you say, I’m actually just recognizing the magic that’s that’s already there in our lives.
You’ve experienced something quite earth shattering in your life, something that was entirely out of your control. and listening to your TEDx talk, I was really moved by your story. So I was wondering if you could share a little bit of that story and speak to the tools or the things that you did to help you through those events. Perhaps as well as what you’ve learned to let go of, to simply accept because I’m really fascinated to hear how people have navigated through really intense life moments. So could you sure some of that?
So what you’re referring to is the stillbirth of my son Benjamin. I’ve been pregnant four times, I have one child, I had two early term miscarriages and then my last pregnancy ended in a stillbirth, second trimester stillbirth.
And my son Benjamin, was a teacher to me from the moment he was conceived. I knew the moment he was conceived, it was a really difficult pregnancy. At one point, I went into the doctor and he said, “oh, his heartbeat is so low. I don’t think he’s going to make it through the weekend”
And I sat there and I got some reiki done. I turned my thoughts around and away from fear and when I went in on the Monday his heart rate was back up.
He really taught me from the moment he was present.
And then, he was stillborn my placenta abrupted. I was completely alone. We were staying with friends, my dad, my young daughter and I. And my husband was away on business.
A friend drove me to the hospital, he went home to go back to sleep. I was completely alone. I don’t know if my baby’s going to live. I don’t know if I’m going to live because I was hemorrhaging. And there was this absolute moment of grace where I could feel this gorgeous golden light and this warm hand on my shoulder and I just knew that I wasn’t alone.
And so, at that point, I was able to say, “I’m willing to let go of my son, he can still be my teacher. The only thing I’m not willing to let go of is my own life, I really want to live for my daughter.”
And so when my son was born still, when he died. I really was able to look at it from this place of grace. From this place of,“I am human, I am in pain, I am completely grief stricken.”
I cried constantly, but at the same time there was like this trust, this belief, this faith that I was going to be okay through it and that if I allowed myself to truly deeply feel the grief, feel the emotions, it was going to transform me and it was going to heal me. And that’s what happened.
In the TEDx talk, I talk about grief being like a fire that burns everything away, that’s extraneous, everything that’s not working in your life. And that’s exactly what it felt like. Relationships fell away, things that I thought I should be doing fell away, the career I had at the time which was not even really a career it was just the start of something, that fell away. And I returned to things that that made me whole in previous times in my life. I started writing again, I started blogging.
I blogged every day about the grief, about the little moments of grief, and life, and joy and pain. I started dancing again, I used to be a professional dancer. I had stopped dancing professionally and I didn’t know how to dance when I wasn’t a professional. So,i started dancing again in my living room and then I found new classes and that saved me. I also turned back to my spiritual self which I had shut down for a long time over ten years of being in Los Angeles and trying to be a professional working actress, I had to shut that side down.
And so that opened back up and I got reiki attunements and I started kundalini yoga and I really connected again with my intuition, my inner wisdom. and I let that lead me through the grief.
Talking about the crafting a magical life or experiencing and living the magical life, I think there can sometimes be the idea that “Life is all going to be about like puppy dogs, and clouds,and cotton candy, and all nice and we’re going to love each other, it’s all perfect!” and obviously that’s not life.
So I’m curious to hear your thoughts on where does things like grief or tragedy fit into living a spiritual life in the world?
That’s such a good question and I think we can’t avoid it, we can’t avoid the pain of being human.We are spiritual beings having a human experience but we’re human. We’re in human bodies, we believe this reality that we’re a part of. We hurt, we open our hearts to love, we are vulnerable, we have children, we have love affairs. We’re open to pain, people die. There’s tragedy everywhere and depending on what you believe as a spiritual being, you can find a big picture that offers you comfort.
But in the moment, we have to be able to experience our emotions and I think grief is actually a beautiful emotion in its purity.
If we allow ourselves to just feel it, to allow the wave to come up, to allow the tears to flow or whoever, however you handle grief, not everybody cries. It’s a really pure emotion and it is such a teacher. But what happens is when we get hooked in the story, we get hooked in the “why me?”, we get hooked in the “how can this be happening?” I am a victim mentality. And that’s where we get stuck.
So my goal in my work, and my goal in my life is to bring more grace to the hard times. To be able to hold the grief, hold anger, hold pain, hold trauma. With this love and reverence, it’s painful, it’s horrible, nobody wants to go through it. But if we can allow ourselves to go through it instead of fighting it off, then we come out the other side a different person and we come out the other side usually wiser, more clear on who we are and what’s important to us. I’m not going to say better, I’m not going to say everything happens for a reason because you may believe that you may not. That’s a really painful thing to hear in the moment especially if you’ve just lost someone you love. But there is beauty in all of life’s experience and it’s all a teacher.
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You mentioned dance before. How does dance help you engage the world?
Would you consider dance a spiritual practice for you?
and how does that help you to to deal and to lean into the experiences of life?
Dance, I have an interesting relationship with dance. I’m a dancer to my core and yet I resisted. So it’s not a part of my daily spiritual practice. My daily spiritual practice are kundalini yoga and meditation,talking with my spirit guides.
But dance to me, you know we store things in ourselves, we store our trauma, we store memory, we store experience in ourselves. And so anything that is a meditative practice that allows you to access and clear what’s in your body is a gift in my way of thinking.
So dance can do that, not so much for me. I’m in a dance class, I’m doing technique. But a free form dance whether it’s in your living room, whether it’s in a neo class, whether it’s Gabrielle roughs five Rhythms. Something that really allows you to access your body’s own wisdom, and really feel what’s happening there, and you can get that in other ways. You can get it from shigong, you can get it from kundalini yoga, you can get it from martial arts. Any powerful mind body connection.
But there’s something to me about dance and music. And quite often when I’m having an emotion. If I’m feeling grief and I don’t know why and I don’t necessarily care why and why I’m feeling grief anymore. I just know, I recognize it and I know it needs to be released. So I will often turn on some music that it feels very powerful to me, and I will dance and the grief will come up and out in a very pure way and it feels It’s like such a beautiful release.
So to me, dance can be a celebration. It can be a way of releasing grief and emotion, it can be anything we need it to be, it can just be fun. Have a dance party, do some lip synching, whatever you want, it can be a way of bringing more joy in as well.
Now, there are all kind of different ways to engage the waves of life. I mean staying with the metaphor, you can dive beneath the waves, you can fly above them, or essentially you can learn how to surf the waves.
What do you feel is the best way to engage all the turbulence of life?
Oh wow! I think that’s so individual, I really do. I mean I’m not a fan of doing the spiritual bypass thing which is where you repress or ignore the critical darker emotions.
I don’t think that’s a healthy way to do it. So that’s the only thing that I would say is a little bit dangerous, because I think as Brene Brown has said in one of her TED talks or TEDx talks, if you repressed grief, you also repressed joy. You just narrow your band of experience.
I’m always a fan of diving deep into things, but it depends how you dive deep. I think our minds get so wrapped up in story, that can be really harmful to us because we limit ourselves. So it depends how you’re diving deep.
If you feel like you want to dive into some emotion and really experience it. Fine.
If you feel like that’s not your style and you want to surf it and just let it bubble up where it needs to and then go. Okay, I’m done with that for now fine.
If you feel like you want to have an emotion and then get high on on your meditation or your yoga practice or whatever it is then I think that’s okay too.
I think as long as we are embracing the fullness of the human experience and not cutting off pieces of ourselves in order to be “more spiritual” then everything’s good.
How does the human experience integrated self into the spiritual experience for you? Because in a lot of traditions and for a lot of people, the human experience is actually kind of impediment to the spiritual process. Meaning you have to let go of your human bodily experiences, your senses, your possessions. all these things to then “have the spiritual experience.”
Where do you feel that your human experience really enriches the spiritual experience for you? Are they one and the same?
Is there no difference?
How do you feel?
You’re asking great questions today, Ashton. So I think that in order to be spiritual beings in this particular time, we have to stay in our bodies, we have to be grounded in the human experience. I think we can go up and out, we can live in the ether and be really flighty and not really in touch with reality. But I think to really create change, to really evolve the human spirit that we need to stay in our bodies and grounded in our lives. And I think there’s a lot of teachers who teach washing the dishes can be spiritual experience, doing the laundry can be a spiritual experience.
I struggle with that a little bit personally. Because. it’s just not my favorite thing to do. It’s presents enough, yes I can go into it, but I feel like everything in my life I want to be the combination of my human experience and my spiritual self. At the same time, I’m the mother of a still fairly young child, she demands a lot of attention. Not demands, I mean I want to give her a lot of my attention.
So for me, there are times and places where my spiritual life gets stronger and I can access it more. I get up at five thirty in the morning, some traditions say she get up at three in the morning, 5:30 is my little, I could do that. I get up at five thirty so I have an hour of meditation and yoga before my daughter gets up and before I need to make her lunch and all of that for school.
So that’s a sacred time for me. But then if I’m having a hard time and I just need to go out and stare at the ocean and meditate for five to fifteen minutes, I can tell her about or I can tell my husband that or I can drop my work and go do that.
At the same time, I really do try to incorporate. If I’m doing an interview for my podcast, I have a spiritual ritual that I do beforehand. I bring that experience into the concrete sort of, “here’s my computer, here’s my desk, here’s what I’m doing for the next hour.” But I also want my spiritual self, my spiritual team, the entirety of my experience to be a part of that.
So I don’t know if I’m answering your question, but I really feel like it’s everyone has to find a way to make it work for themselves, and it’s like this juggling act. I mean we are figuring it out as we go and I don’t think it serves us to not be in our lives. But sometimes, we have to carve pockets out of our lives to really be focusing on our spiritual selves. And then, ideally the more we do that, the stronger we bring it into our lives more.
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When you mentioned carving out time, and you also mentioned ritual. How important a role do you think ritual plays in integrating our lives into what we might consider the spiritual experience or vice versa, integrating the spiritual experience into our lives?
Like how important is creating those particular rituals which might be different for absolutely everybody?
How important is that in being able to really live in the world, and live a more spiritual life?
I think it can be a really beautiful addition to it.I have a pretty loose definition of ritual for me ritual can be ten to fifteen minute process, or it can be okay right now, I’m putting my hands in prayer pose, I’m taking five breaths and I’m saying one mantra to myself, one time and that is my little touch tone.
So, I think there’s a range of rituals, and I think that we need to find what feels sacred to us, and what feels beautiful to us. For example, when I talked about the ritual that I do before I record my podcast interviews. I have a long version, and I have a short version. So if life pushes me and I only have thirty seconds instead of my five minutes, I have a short form version of it. Because I think that the touchstone, that moment of connecting with the sacred with inviting the divine in, it can happen so quickly. Because we are defined. We are “it” all the time and I think we just need to remind ourselves. So I think ritual is a beautiful way to do that and it can be very powerful for people. But if it doesn’t speak to you then find something else.
I think that’s the important key. Hollow ritual doesn’t really mean anything because whole point of rituals is it’s supposed to connect you beyond that larger than yourself experience of life. So it’s so important that we find the things that we do connect to, do relate to, and do point us in that direction, because if they don’t, then there’s really no point in the ritual itself.
I think for most people whatever their spiritual practice is, is a form of ritual to connect them to something larger which I think is so important in a lot of the householder tongue traditions. You had your daily ritual, you had your thing that you did every single day to connect in with spirit. Because, if you’re not living up in the cave, you don’t just sit and meditate all day. You’re not disconnecting from the experience of the world, you’re interacting with them and it can be really easy to fall back asleep into your daily patterns of stuff if you’re not first connecting in with that greater spirit to bring some perspective into your life.
So if you’re let’s just say for the moment, you’re walking up a flight of stairs, with someone that you just met and they really need some advice on how to create and live a magical life. You’ve got a basically a minute before you reach your flight.
What do you say to this person?
How can you do distill these ideas of living a more magical life in a very concise way that could help someone if you just had that minute to chat with them?
What would you say?
I think I would ask them to take a couple of deep breaths and then without thinking I’d say, tell me what you’re craving in your life, tell me what you want more of. Tell me what lights you up, what brings you joy and then go do that.
Even if it’s a baby step, even if it’s just like, I want to learn how to fly a plane, like maybe you just research flight schools, I don’t know! It could be anything. But I think it’s all about listening to that craving inside and recognizing it. And that can be really scary and painful for some people when they haven’t been listening. So go gently. But we have everything we need inside to live and create a magical life and so the more we listen the more magical it becomes.
And like I said, I’m a firm believer in baby steps. Some people can take giant leaps and sometimes in our lives we can take giant leaps forward. But most often, it’s just like, okay, I’m going to get up five minutes earlier so I have five minutes to meditate today. or I’m going to listen to what’s happening inside.
Thank you so much for that. Where do we find more about you? I mean you got your website, your blog, your podcast.
What’s the best way for people to get in touch with you in the work that you’re doing?
So, alanasheeren.com is the best place to find me and the podcast will actually be there it’s moving from the platform, it’s on right now, it’s moving to alanasheeren.com. You can also find it on iTunes and stitcher. And then, I’m often on Facebook and if you just search Alana Sheeren I am there and I love to respond to people.
I get a lot more private messages on facebook than I do activity on my page but I’m there and I love to connect with people. So those are the best ways, Instagram’s fine too. I like to hang out on Instagram. So I’m Alana Sheeren that’s all.
Great! Well, thank you so much for being on the show today, and sharing your wisdom, and I really appreciate the work that you’re doing out in the world and helping everyone create, not only create but also reveal the magic that’s in their lives.
I think that especially this day in age and you kind of hit it right on the head, that we really need people living in the world right now. We don’t really need the cave dwellers, we need people that are willing to connect in with spirit engaged in the world. So finding those ways to encourage people to be in the world into thrives so important. So thank you so much for everything that you’re doing.
And to our listeners out there thank you so much for listening. I hope you’ve learned something I hope you have a beautiful and present moment.
Thanks for listening today, Namaste.
Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this show today. Please go over the iTunes, write a review, and let us know what you think. It helps us in creating new content for all of you. It also helps new listeners get a sense of what to expect from the show.
We really appreciate your feedback. Thanks again for listening. Namaste.
You’ve been listening to the Sivana podcast, to find out more about Sivana, go to sivanaspirit.com or follow Sivana on Facebook at facebook.com/sivanaspirit. For daily inspiration, check out our blog at sivanaeast.com. Be sure to join us next week for a new episode and thank you for listening to the Sivana podcast.
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