Judging by the reviews, last weekend’s Heart Space article by VOICE columnist Carissa Daniel entitled, ‘3 Reasons Why Couples Fight Even When No One Wins’, was a hit with readers. If you didn’t have a chance to read, check it out here to catch up. In the meantime, read on to get to know more about Carissa.
1. Tell us something about yourself that you feel inclined to share?
I temporarily lived in St Lucia for approximately eight months, where I worked as a Consultant with a start-up company. It was an intriguing period of my life, filled with new experiences, many lessons and reminders.
It was my first experience living in another country outside of my twin-island state (Trinidad and Tobago). I was captivated by the absolutely beautiful scenery of the island, the friendliness and hospitality of the people and the cultural nuances. St Lucia has captured my heart and I consider it my second home.
Precisely for these reasons, I am extremely privileged and honoured to contribute as I have, through my writing.
2. What is your life’s mission?
In short, my life’s mission is to help others uncover the truth of who they are, so that they can live life on purpose. My mission is as a direct result of my lifelong journey of returning to my true self.
After several years of living as a shadow of myself, I was forced to take a deeper look at my life and a more intimate look at who I was.
What I found, changed my life forever.
I uncovered the true me that was always there, buried under all the hurt, pain, confusion, doubt, inadequacies and insecurities. The true me that was always whole, complete, amazing and awesome to begin with, but was forgotten, because I was covered up.
Once I began excavating and removing the accumulated layers, life as I knew it morphed before my very eyes. I gradually moved from a state of depression, unhappiness and struggle, to a state of joy, peace, contentment and ease.
This transformation gave me the courage I needed to stop living life by default and empowered me, to start living life on purpose and by design.
This is exactly why, I now dedicate my life to helping others do the same.
My journey has given insight into two worlds. One where, I lived life as a shell of myself, struggling to make sense of it all and the other, where I was able to break free of the mold; and step into my true self and power, where I am now able to experience life from a more liberated and limitless state.
This awareness is what fuels my life’s mission of uplifting, encouraging and helping others to gain a better understanding of themselves, so that they too can live a more joyful, satisfying and purpose driven life.
3. What is the one experience you’d like to share which changed the way you look at the world?
In my early 20’s I experienced a mental breakdown. It was one of the most devastating and painful periods of my life. I felt torn by my life experiences. At that time, I tirelessly tried to satisfy the expectations and demands of everyone including the ones I placed on myself.
It felt like I was failing at everything; work, school, my relationships with family, friends and even God. Nothing seemed to work, including me.
I was running a race but wasn’t sure why and where I was going. Eventually, I crashed, face first, with my body, mind and spirit following soon after. In literally a blink of an eye, life as I knew it suspended, leaving me with more questions than answers.
It was during my mandatory hiatus from what I thought was living, that I began seeking the answers to my questions. This seeking led me to an inner journey of myself, which was supported by numerous books, teachers, synchronicities and the discovered language of my heart.
My exposure to what seemed to be a new world, encouraged me to explore beyond my current paradigm and way of looking at things.
Questioning my perceptions and beliefs about the world became a practice I applied to all aspects of life. This helped me to weed out paradigms that no longer served me, which then opened me up to explore other possibilities that were more serving and beneficial.
4. How have your interactions with people changed since that time?
When I accept myself completely, I am liberated to completely accept others.
This statement summarizes perfectly, the essence of my self-transformation. During my refinement process, I began learning how to deeply and completely accept all aspects of myself, including the undesirable parts.
This self-acceptance has also helped me to deeply and completely accept others, no matter who they are. I then began to realize that this was the key to maintaining and sustaining, healthy and nourishing relationships and interactions.
One of the most notable relationship transformations I experienced because of acceptance was the relationship with my father. Prior to this realisation, my dad and I did not have the best relationship, it was strained and volatile. It was an extremely sensitive relationship, which I longed to resolve.
I soon discovered that the more I worked on myself, releasing the old wounds, emotional interferences and unserving beliefs, the more forgiveness, understanding and compassion I had for others, especially my dad.
In time, I began to see him as he was and not who I thought he should be. This acceptance led me to see and know my dad beyond my expectations and demands. I then realised that, just like me, he too was on his journey of figuring himself out and was doing his best.
My acceptance of my dad is now very evident in our interactions and re-established connection. I am now able to have a meaningful relationship with him that is both loving and supportive.
I now apply this same principle of acceptance to all my relationships, which has mostly yielded the same results.
5. Your perspectives are refreshing and are often focused on the importance of staying grounded. What advice would you give someone who is overwhelmed with life?
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” Lau Tzu
This quote is one of the many mantras I use to remind myself of my truth. It reminds me that life is always happening in the present moment and if I feel anxious or depressed, it means that I have steered off the course and need to return to the only true reality, the present.
Learning to be present is a continuous practice, especially because most of us habitually live either in the past or the future, two realities that do not exist. However as with everything else, staying present is completely possible.
Personally, I use meditation, yoga, deep breathing and journaling to help me be more present in my day to day life.
I’ll admit it, none of these tools are quick fixes and do require time and commitment to experience the results. However, the more you incorporate presence into your day to day activities, the more it becomes your reality and the more peace, ease and flow you will experience within yourself, which will better equip you to deal with life.
6. Are you working on any new projects currently?
Yes, I am and I’m extremely excited to bring it to my St Lucian family very soon.
I believe many of us are suffering in silence. I know I was for many years. Many persons are ashamed and afraid to speak out about the personal challenges they face because of their fear of being judged and criticized. In addition to which, most of us lack the insight and necessary tools required to deal with life’s inevitable issues. This often leads to confusion, frustration, unhappiness and dis-ease.
In light of this, the project will aim to offer persons a safe and intimate space where real life issues can be openly and freely discussed; to explore healthy and effective ways of looking at and dealing with life’s challenges and; to support persons in gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and life.
Life is truly a beautiful journey, however, many of us are currently unable to experience its beauty because of the inundating challenges we seem to always face. The project will seek to help persons who would like to experience life in a more joyful, satisfying and purposeful way.
7. How do you blend all the things that you’re trying to accomplish in an effective way?
Over the years, I have learnt to only give my attention to the things that are in alignment with my mission. This has helped me to narrow my focus to the activities and projects I am passionate about, thereby keeping me motivated, streamlined and effective.
In the past, I would pursue ventures because it seemed doable, a good idea or simply because it paid the bills. Initially, I would get excited because of the ‘newness’ of it and would then try to incorporate it into everything else I was already committed to. While this worked for a while, I would soon become overwhelmed, lose interest and eventually drop it.
After many years of this unproductive pattern, I began observing and understanding myself better. The activities I stuck with I excelled at and seemed to seamlessly integrate into the rest of my life were the ones I cared about deeply, the ones that lit me up on the inside and the ones that did not feel like work.
Once I understood this, over time, I weeded out the activities and projects that were not in alignment with what I wanted to experience and fully embraced the ones that did.
With this foundation, I was then able to apply and integrate the required resources, such as enlisting the support of others, managing my time effectively and planning my course of action in a balanced way that was sustaining to my chosen lifestyle. This has helped me to be more effective in accomplishing all of my goals.
8. What makes you happy?
The simple answer is me. I make me happy.
I’ve learnt that happiness is an inside job, literally. No thing, person or situation can make me happy. They can contribute to my happiness but ultimately cannot make me happy.
I used to believe that once certain factors were present in my life, such as a supportive partner, a good career, sizable income, a beautiful home etc. that I would be happy. However, even when all those things were present in my life, my happiness seemed to be short lived, because everything was constantly changing, which meant that my happiness was also subject to change.
Eventually, after several disappointments, I then realized that none of those things had the power to make me happy and sought to find a more sustainable and lasting source of happiness.
What I found was me.
I discovered that in fact, my natural state was always happiness but was inundated by my accumulations. Once I began uncovering and excavating the accumulated layers, my happiness was more evident and more felt.
As such, I am now able to bring happiness to the things, people and situations in my life, instead of expecting it from them.