Rebirth

I am embarking on a new chapter in my life and it's yet another major shift and in order for me to make sense of it, I gotta write about it!


2017 was a year of incredible growth for me... 

I finished up a Social Enterprise Accelerator with Community Innovations Lab in June. I began the most amazing 10 month journey to self and the divine within me, through a Sacred Leadership Training program with Sacred Women International from February to December which culminated at the Accompong Festival in Jamaica, a transformational week!  I was given the Impact Ajax Grant from the Town of Ajax to run a pilot project called Creative Community,  for newcomers with Community Development Council of Durham for two 6 week workshops ending in November with a final exhibit at the end of the year at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery where I was also accepted as an Artist in Residency from December-January.  I applied for an Ontario Arts Council  Artists in Community & Schools grant to expand the Creative Community Project to Regent Park in partnership with Toronto Centre for Community Learning & Development and Daniels Spectrum.  I received an award for my contributions as an entrepreneur with Souful Image Magazine and was a keynote speaker at a South Asian event for Men's Services for Mental Health.  I travelled to NYC, NJ and Spain with the family.  I am currently in a Leadership Durham Program which ends in June and just applied for a year long intensive Mentorship Program with Community Innovations Lab



As I reflect on 2017, so many things took place to contribute to my spiritual growth and then my body reminded me time and time again that I was ageing.  I am in perimenopause and I wasn't quite sure what to expect but know now that unless I embrace and accept this part of my ageing process, I will have difficulties. One of the many important lessons that I learned in Sacred Leadership Training is that it does not have to be difficult.  In fact, it is difficult, then there are blocks somewhere that I need to work out.   Last year I saw my period begin to fade away.  I think I had it 4-6 times for the entire year!  I knew that my body was undergoing a transformation.  It was interesting to feel this great spiritual growth with all of the wonderful new experiences that were manifesting in my life, but I wasn't so sure how I felt about the physical changes that were happening at the same time.  Physical changes like weight gain, hair loss, skin changes, lowered energy levels, insomnia and polarizing mood swings...my poor family!  As a woman, to know that my sacral chakra - emotional body, sensuality, and creativity, the space of creation and life within me, was beginning to change, was difficult to come to terms with.  I have been so blessed to be able to carry and birth two children and now that part of my body was shutting down....for good!  I was in denial.  I was feeling lesser than.  My connection to the Moon, Mother Earth, having these monthly cycles where I would bleed, shed, cleanse, and rest, was no longer happening.  What did this mean for me as a woman?!  I still find it hard to articulate how I am feeling about this.  I am feeling a sense of loss and confusion as to what happens next.  I also began to feel the effects of hormonal shifts.  Decrease in estrogen production begins to happen at this stage because our bodies are no longer naturally producing this stress management hormone.  Now I am realizing that I have to not only understand my perimenopausal journey and what is happening internally, but also how it will affect my emotions and mental state of being.  


ACCEPTANCE - embracing what is happening within me physically, mentally and spiritually.

2018 is going to be a time for me to align this beautiful spiritual transformation to a higher consciousness state of being with a strengthened physical and mental/emotional state of being.  How will I align these areas?  I broke it down to a 3 Desires for 2018  approach and how I  envision these areas of my life to look like at optimal levels.  Then I laid out my expectations and ideal outcomes in these areas.  BIG shout out and THANK YOU to my my teacher and guide, Reverend Aina-Nia of Sacred Women International for sharing your wisdom and inspiring me to do this!

1.  MIND BODY SOUL

  • What will I do to mentally stay sharp and always learning and growing? 
  • How will I take care of my body better, healing, strengthening and embracing the changes ahead? 
  • How will I continue my spiritual journey to self acceptance and love?

2.  PURPOSE

  • Where do I see my art, photography and community work going for 2018 and beyond, how will I foster growth in these areas?

3.   CONNECTION

  • How will I create deeper more meaningful connections with my children, husband, family, other women and the community?

It all begins with a plan.  I created my Desire Board after much needed time of stillness, silence and reflection in January.  Now, I am ready to take on 2018 from a place of wisdom. 

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I feel like I have been reborn.  I feel like a beautiful wise woman who is holding and nurturing this newborn within.  I have never been here before yet I feel like I've come home and arrived somewhere very familiar.  I am still working it out and feeling extremely grateful for this pivotal time in my life to further manifest my destiny.  

Stay tuned for more!!!!

The Future of My Identity

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I have been grappling with what identity means to me and the many hats that make me ME!  Labels get the best of us and I am no exception.  It's almost like in order for me to be seen and heard, I must identify myself first.  Hi, my name is Joan Jothi Saldanha and I am a South Asian Canadian woman, wife, mother, artist, entrepreneur.  BUT WAIT!  I am soooo much more than that!  Why do I feel this deep need to fit in?!  

I think that it all started with my precarious beginnings.  I was born in Bangalore India and moved to Toronto in 1973.  We very swiftly assimilated into what 'Canadian' identity looked like back then.  Although my parents meant well, my mother tongue Hindi was never uttered to me and I distinctly remember my mom mastering the art of casserole making and hockey playing!  We moved to Alberta when I was 6 and being 'Canadian' took on a much deeper meaning when most of my friends were Indigenous because I was one of three South Asian families and I was walking knee deep in the frigid cold deep freeze for miles to get to school.  My mom often recounts stories of my eyelashes falling off from frost bite when I was a wee little one.  I also remember climbing trees, bike riding till the street lights came on, building forest forts for hours on end, and camping in May waking up to snow!  No saris, no sweet sounds of the sitar and tabla, no Hindi or Sanskrit words, no Hindi movies or Bangara dancing.  The 'omission' of 'Indian culture' put me in this weird foggy zone where I found myself isolated and lost almost to a point of confusion.  Who was I and where did I belong?

Fast forward to present times and I am still asking this question.  The South Asian community is very large as you can imagine.  There are over 2 billion people in India,  so our migration reaches far and wide.  The christian South Asian community is a little smaller but still huge.  When we moved back to the Tdot back in 1983, aside from family, I did not have any brown friends.  I still do not have many brown friends.  That lack of connection to my community kinda gets to me.  I see the closeness within the Sikh, Muslim, Hindu, and Tamil communities and in how they support one another socially and through business.  Why is it that I find myself in the margins with my own people?  

There was a time a couple of years ago that I attempted to bring some bad ass brown girls together in a meet up called Brown Girl Badness and even then I felt that I did not quite fit in.  Even then I felt invisible.

I am left wanting to figure this shit out more so now then ever before!  Is it imperative that I give myself some titles and labels and if so, WHY?  I do know this, it is important to me to self-identify!  The power is mine to do so and change it up at any time.  I am learning more and more each day that I identify with what my spirit shows me.  I know that my ancestral roots are Hindu and that my ancestral voices are louder than ever. I hear and feel them guiding me to this self-discovery.   I know that I am a cis-gendered woman of colour, artist, wife, mom and entrepreneur.  I know that I am a survivor and community wellness advocate.  I know that my lived experience with mental illness, abuse, addiction, migration, racism and trauma DO NOT define me because I am soooo much more than that!

I am enjoying this exploration.  I want to talk about it some more with others.  I want to know more from others what their thoughts are around their own identity. 

Let's talk! Shoot me an email or add a comment below on what you think about this topic!

Vulnerability

Last week I sat down with Karen Carrington on her brand new show 'The Karen Carrington Show' and it was a huge step in my Spiritual Healing journey!

I practiced some deep meditation and breathing on the way there because I was super nervous, but I arrived at a very centred and calm place.  I felt ready!  Karen made me feel so comfortable.  She has a way about her, a realness, an authentic caring in wanting to know who you are.  A beautiful vibration began to fill the room. I love to share some of the amazing experiences I am going through in my life, but when it comes to my childhood/youth and the tough things that I went through, sharing publicly can be a very scary step for me.  I wanted to really dig deep and tell my story and I did!  It puts a lot of context around why I do what I do now.  Why I create art and educate children, youth and families on how art can be used as a tool to heal and express their stories.  If you ever wondered why I work so hard to build and carve out space for myself to work my magic through art, it is because creating art saved my life!

 after the show!

after the show!

After my interview, I felt so uplifted.  My courage held me throughout the interview and being centred within my spiritual essence allowed me to articulate my truth.  The views were great and feedback even better.  I began to hear from women that I helped by sharing my story.  I was in a whirlwind of light!  Then I began to have this uneasy feeling in the pit of my tummy and started to think how my family would see this interview and me for not letting them know that I would be sharing some 'stuff' from our past.  I felt pangs of guilt, pain and fear of the potential reactions I may receive from my family.  I immediately went within and used tools that I have learned throughout my Sacred Leadership Training to honour my journey and detach from the path that others are on.  I understood better that this is my journey and nobody else's.  If anything came up for my family members, then it would have to be their choice to do something about it or not.  This has nothing to do with me.  I can support them, but I cannot control how they react.  Phew!  Now I felt that I could go back to the light that I was soaking in, soaking up and emitting from my soul!

Then I heard from my cousin, aunties, and my MOM!  They shared loving words of support and expressions of reverence and joy for my courage and articulation.  I am over the Moon for their reaffirmations and feel so held in this place of love!

Vulnerability is as real as it gets.  To me, this word means so much and is synonymous to LIVING LIFE!  If we cannot be real, share our sadness, pain along with our victories and joys, then how human are we?  Everyone experiences an array of emotions with any given experience, good or bad, and sharing how we feel is so important in the evolution of our spirits.  Living in higher consciousness is about connection to our spirit and to the Divine Essence around us. It's about deepening our gratitude for the abundance around us and recognising that WE are all WE need.  YOU are enough!  Your very existence and being is enough! You can change the world by sharing your truth and your Spirit!

So, I GIVE THANKS!  I am so grateful for Karen, for the platform she is creating, for her voice and energy that attracts and brings out these stories deep within us.  I am grateful for my childhood, the good, the bad and the ugly.  For the joyful moments, triumphs, pain, and trauma. I give thanks for every step before my next one and for the steps along this journey that have made me who I am in this very moment.  I give thanks for the present and all that is, around and within me.  I am so grateful for the courage to share and put into words what I have only been able to create in art.  I am so thankful for the impact that I am having on others and for the transformative healing powers this experience has had on me.

Check out the complete interview here: https://www.facebook.com/frequency5fm/videos/1342143562581945/


This piece is written in loving memory of my late great Mom, Grandma and Friend - Patricia Campbell.  Happy Birthday, we miss you and we love you~

 The very last pic we took together june,  2015 xo

The very last pic we took together june,  2015 xo

21 Day Challenge

Today I began a 21 Day Get Fit Challenge!

 Photo by CreativaImages/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by CreativaImages/iStock / Getty Images

I am freaking out a little but super excited to get fit, feel good, eat right and be healthier.  It's time!  I feel like it's the missing piece to my life.  I am on this journey of self-discovery and development.  I feel incredibly grateful for my journey so far with Sacred Leadership Training that began in March and ends in December and no the start of Leadership Durham Program that ends in May.  I have my arts residency and exhibit at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery from December to January and feel so grateful for this opportunity.  So, between my personal Spiritual practice, artist practice and professional development, a very important part of my journey is missing.  That is feeling good, looking good and becoming healthier through physical fitness and better nutrition.  I know that this will catapult the momentum that I have established thus far.  I am super excited and terrified all at the same time.  I really want to succeed!  I have developed some pretty nasty eating habits and have next to no exercise on a daily.   I am 46 years old and feel my age when I can't keep up with the kids, detest my body and feel sluggish.  I want to model good eating habits and physical fitness every day to my children.  I also want to be around to meet my great grandchildren!

So, here goes!  For the next 21 days and beyond, I will do the following:

  • walk every day - I initiated a local walking group, so join us here if you would like
  • smoothies for breakfast and lunch week 1, adding nutritional proteins and veggies for dinner, then lunch(week 2), then breakfast(week 3)

I am on a serious mission and it's going to be tough, but I am going to do it.  I will do what it takes to get healthy and feel good again!

Wanna join me?  Please feel free to share you health & fitness goals, journey and results!  I want to learn and be inspired.

As My Journey Unfolds

Welcome!


Today I share some of what I have been doing, what's ahead, but most importantly, this very moment in time!

I have been working very hard to align my artist/photography practice, facilitation/education, community building, womanhood, motherhood, partnerships, friendships, sisterhoods, spirituality, healing and evolution.  Not an easy task!  What has helped me is stopping and understanding that everything I feel, think, plan and execute is so deeply connected .  For example, being a mom and wife is impacted by the work that I do in the community and the art that I create. 

I see my spirit on one very clear and beautiful path with the ever changing scenery, the gifts and lessons that come with some of the  turns and bumps along the way.  So, I set out on a journey to bring all of what I do to one home, Jothi  The amazing team at Joint Development Collective, specifically Maria, captured my essence in such a fun, clear and authentic way and I am so grateful to them!  This is a place where you can get to know everything that my spirit is. I would love to know what you think!

"There is no force greater than a woman determined to rise"


THEN I embarked on a 10-month Sacred Leadership Training through

Sacred Women International

A journey that one can never be completely ready for but a journey EVERYONE should take! This world would be a very different place!

I am undergoing a serious spiritual awakening.  That is the best way to describe it. Learning ways in which I should be honouring my spirit, my truth, my gifts!  Understanding the power within, the power of meditation, listening to my ancestors and following my intuition.  Being grateful and knowing just how abundant life is.  Being more disciplined in spiritual practices and tools for clarity of vision and desires.  Accountability to self on a whole other level.  Full spectrum living!  Everything is connected....like, ease of flow of money, clean and clear living space, healthy eating, consistent physical activity, laughter, visualization, meditation, breathing, daily gratitude and grounding....the list goes on.  Bringing all of these areas to my walk along my clear path allows for ease.  I feel lighter and more open and free.  I feel a sense of peace. Don't get me wrong, I have many triggers and still a long way to go with my healing, but I am on a clear and open path for the first time in my life.

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Upcoming Projects

  • Creative Community 6-week Pilot Project  - 2 Sessions,  July/August & October/November

  • Art Exhibit - Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa - December 5 to January 5

  • Choose to Boost - Ministry of Health and Ajax Library, November to December

In this very moment I am filled with such awe and gratitude.  I feel that I am living my purpose more and more each day.  I am in alignment with Spirit.

Thank YOU for taking a few minutes to walk with me.  I appreciate your time and energy and I look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time!

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Artist Life

Artist Life

For the last two years both my kids have been in school fulltime.  I decided to pour my heart and soul into my visual art, photography and writing. It’s been an amazing journey with my very first show in the Fall of 2013 as a vendor and then Summer 2014 I did my first Art in the Park, Fall school fair, and a few Christmas shows. It has been a great start!

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My journey continues…

My journey continues…

So my journey continues with a few bumps and some new opportunities.  June has been a bit of a challenging month thus far but is now taking a turn for the better. I am sure I can thank Mercury in Retrograde for that in part, and PMS in other parts and just good old unexpected let downs and trip ups on my part.  What I have always found so fascinating is the timing of all of these parts set in motion with such synchronicity! Just as the saying goes….when it rains it pours!!!

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