My Defining Moment

In 2008, I experienced a defining moment that would forever change me. The memories of this cold and grey November day are clear and vivid. Paralyzed with fear and anxiety, I sat alone in my car on a barren side street, contemplating life and whether my existence in it really mattered.

Burned out from a high stress career in advertising sales that was slowly breaking my spirit, I knew that life as I had known it had to end.

My pounding heart raced and my chest ached with a penetrating heaviness. Tears of dark and deep sorrow poured down my face. I didn’t know if I was dying or going crazy. This continued for 4 hours.

And then suddenly, it all stopped.

Written words cannot express what came over me in the moments that followed. I physically felt a glow of love, warmth and encouragement wash over me as my hands slowly opened, releasing the steering wheel I had been grasping with a choking grip.

I didn’t need to hold on to this anymore, it was time to let go.

Within minutes, the sun poked its head from around a building and the sudden glare pierced my eyes. I absorbed the warmth on my face as it quietly whispered “Good Morning Sunshine. Glad to see you’re finally Awake.”

Looking back now, I know something much larger than me entered my car that day, surrounding me with its presence. This divine force stepped in to let me know I had a mission to accomplish and that giving up was simply not an option.

It is not until you awaken and become fully present that you will realize that you have not been present. It is not until you awaken that you will realize you have been asleep, dreaming that you are awake.

~ Leonard Jacobson

Soon after this experience, a yoga studio opened up blocks away from my home. To this day, I consider this my greatest gift from the Universe.

The studio became a sanctuary in the months that followed my memorable awakening. Within those four walls, I was able to let go and be my Self. In the silence and the stillness, I reconnected with a part of me that had been broken by years of living life as a sleep walker.

Yoga was reminding me of my greatness and that I was put on this earth to shine. With every class, I gathered a little more courage to consider leaving my career to embark on a new path, although I wasn’t yet sure where this path would lead me.

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.

~ Alan Cohen

A few months had passed on the day I came across a small brochure, advertising a Yoga Teacher Training program in India. My soul immediately connected with the image of Vishva Ji, the teacher who would be leading the training. There was a peaceful, compassionate, loving energy in his smile.

I instantly knew.

This would be my new journey.

On January 27th, 2010 I left my six figure career as an advertising executive and traveled to an ashram in Rishikesh, India where I studied yoga and meditation with the World Conscious Yoga Family.

Life in the ashram allowed me to open my heart in ways that I had never been able to before. Learning to practice meditation was something that my Type-A personality desperately needed. Walls started to break down and my creativity began to flow again. I realized just how much power we have to create the life of our dreams.

I became fascinated with the philosophy behind yoga and its ability to create a life free of suffering and full of freedom. My world began to open up to an entirely new definition of what yoga had previously meant to me. It was so much more than just physical postures.

This experience ignited something within me that would prove to be the start of an incredible adventure, one that has allowed me to pursue my passions of travel, entrepreneurship and inspiring others to live big and meaningful lives.

Upon my return to Canada I co-founded Stillness Room, a meditation furniture company. This enabled me to incorporate my talent for business and marketing while maintaining a life of integrity and expansion.  I recently sold this business however I am forever grateful for the experience it provided me.

Soon after, I began teaching yoga and knew that I had indeed been given an incredible gift. Being able to share yoga with others and watch as it transformed their lives, was my way of contributing to the world. However, something was missing.

The Eastern philosophy that I had been so fascinated with in India was missing in the Western yoga studios. There simply wasn’t enough time in a 75 or 90 minute class to teach the ancient principles that were integral to living a holistic yogic life.

It came to me during a run on a trail near my home.  Deep in the woods surrounded by trees and the inspiring sounds of nature, I was “downloaded” with the idea to create The Yoga Code™; to translate the ancient teachings found in yogic texts and bring them into our modern world. It was so clear that this is what I needed to do, just the thought of it made me feel so alive.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.

~ Howard Thurman

And here I am.

We teach what we need to learn. I am not – nor will I ever be – perfect, but by sharing the principles of The Yoga Code™ I can immerse myself in the teachings, knowing this will help me stay on my path. I’ve made a commitment to speak my truth and share my experiences, hoping I will encourage others to find their voice and release their brilliance.

In kindess,

Jackie

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Read a little more about me in the I Am Manifesto