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'Maybe I was a mistake, like my mom once told me'

November 12, 2009 18:28 IST

I am Another You is a true account of Priya Kumar's life's journey, from losing everything to finding herself amidst the Shaman tribe in the Netherlands. Now a motivational speaker, corporate trainer and certified firewalk instructor, Priya narrates her many spiritual experiences in the book, her first. We bring you an excerpt from Chapter 2, The Sweat Lodge:

"The talking stick has been invoked."

I felt something touch my head but before I could let out a shriek, Kahuna said, "The talking stick has chosen its first partner."

I felt his hand take mine and thrust the talking stick into it.

"Here," he said. I was shocked.

Talking stick? I did not know how to use it. I was waiting to witness someone else's purpose unfold first. I needed an example. I was new and had never done this before. I was freaking out. I did not know what to do with the talking stick. Suddenly, panic engulfed me. I had felt this panic before. It was the panic of responsibility without experience.

It was the panic of responsibility without guidance. I began protesting, "There has been a mistake!" But the sweat lodge is not a place for protests; it is a place for purpose.

I stopped my mental chatter and rattled the stick. I waited. The stick was silent. "Maybe I didn't rattle it right," I thought.

I waited some more. The stick was silent. I rattled it again. Nothing. Mere silence. "Maybe I don't have a purpose," I thought. "Maybe I was a mistake, like my mom once told me. Maybe I was not worth the purpose." I could feel myself sinking into a pit of worthlessness. I rattled the stick pleadingly. It remained silent. "Maybe I am not ready for my purpose. Maybe I am too young. Maybe women are not meant to be awakened to their purpose. Maybe it is the illness that I went through. Maybe it is due to my past life sins. Maybe I am not a good daughter." I found my self-worth being systematically reduced until I ran out of reasons for being unfit to recognise my purpose. The stick stayed stubbornly silent. It did not want to talk to me.

Then Kahuna began to hum. I t was the same trance hum from the chant. A few more voices joined in the humming and I rattled the stick again.

And suddenly, stick in hand, I spoke as though from somewhere outside my body.

"I was meant to heal people. I was meant to reach out to the entire world, to touch their lives with my spiritual evolution. I was meant to shine and radiate my light with hope and direction to heal the hearts of those who have stopped believing in themselves. I was meant to be a messenger of joy, of happiness, of abundance. I was meant to be the guardian of goodness, of kindness and of dignity. My purpose is to bring love and peace through my words, actions and intention. I t is my purpose to communicate clearly and to use my life in service of the highest good for the highest number of purposes that there ever will be. I will measure the worth of my life with the quality of the world that I leave behind. I will live in love and that will be my identity for the world to know. I have found my purpose. I have found myself. "

Excerpted from I am Another You: A Journey to Powerful Breakthroughs (Rs 195) by Priya Kumar with the permission of publishers Embassy Books.

Purchase I am Another You online from rediff Books