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. 

2018Desires.jpg

Alignment2018.jpg

Purpose2018.jpg

Connection2018.jpg

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

24253771_184601278761212_4417220043977261056_n(1).jpg

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!