Connecting with identity and spirituality [2:55 ]
Cassandra recently made the conscious choice to begin to identify as a spiritual teacher. As someone who has struggled to own my identity as a South Asian woman in the wellness and yoga space although Yoga is a part of my ancestral lineage because I don’t feel ‘seen’ in the space much of the time, I am curious about what this experience is like for other BIWOC.
I ask Cassandra what it has been like for her to own her Vietnamese identity in fullness, along with her spirituality, and what her journey has been like owning her identity in fullness and seeing herself in this light
Cassandra shared with us how most of I feel like most of her life, she had felt like a black sheep, wanting to fit in and be accepted, and be normal in a lot of different ways… She says that she was looking outside of herself for validation, or direction instead of tapping into her inner guidance.
After a series of events that brought her to a rock bottom, as soon as she had finished her LSATS and was getting ready to start law school, it hit Cassandra that she would be miserable if she continued in that path. She was forced to let go of all the things she thought she wanted, because it wasn’t working, and she was more lost than before. But something changed:
“In accepting that I was lost, I could start finding my way. Illusory structures I had built in my life started falling apart, I hit rock bottom and was left with truth ” - 6:55
Stepping Into Our Truth and Tuning Into Our Inner Guidance System [ 11:23 ]
Cassandra tells us what her experience has been like stepping into the truth of being a ‘Spiritual Teacher” as a woman of Vietnamese Identity, and what it’s been like to own this identity in her life.
“Everything to me leads back to: how do we become more of ourselves? And how do we live in our truth? I have a gift, and it’s the way that I carry myself, and the way in which I share what I am learning through the creation of culture. I really care about taking the esoteric and bringing it to the everyday.”
Cassandra also shares that spirituality and helping people embody their truth is very important to her as she knows that anything that passes through us can affect generations afterwards, which means that we can end generational curses, intergenerational trauma, make better decisions, and that ripple effect makes all of us so powerful. - [14:45]
I asked Cassandra if she had any advice for folks watching who are interested in starting a spiritual journey or wanting to tap into their inner knowing more. She shared these words off advice:
“Removing the noise: assess in your life, what is going on? How can I just start to have more awareness about what is working for me and what is not?”
As someone who is a certified Yoga Instructor and a South-Asian woman, I have surprisingly had a hard time in the past of stepping into my role in the wellness and self-development space because I hadn’t felt seen in it in the past. I asked Cassandra what her experience has been like, and she shared with us some incredible insights:
“Those of us who have been historically kept out of institutions and structures of power, I think that the reason why it has been hard for us to come back to our spirituality, our ancestral lineage, the things that are rightfully ours and our inherited identities, is because we cannot talk about them without talking about how violent Christianity impacted them, and how Christianity forever changed the world.
It caused wars, it led to complete genocide of groups of people. So of course it's hard for us to come back into these things, because in our own bodies, in our own lives we have had to repress maybe our practices, and we’ve lost our traditions in order to survive. It’s a privilege that it’s safe for me at this point to explore these things but I don’t know that’s the case for my parents, for other people in my line.” - Cassandra Lam, Episode 53 of the Lessons Learned Podcast
Creating Space for Self-Discovery [17:19]
Cassandra shares how for her, spirituality is a form of connecting with ourselves, and also a form of activism and healing. She believes that by embodying our spirituality, we are creating space for other people who might have experienced the same shame, and are inviting people to open themselves up to the idea that they can also go there and find what is for them.
“Spirituality for me is a practice, a ritual of decolonization, of coming back to who we are at the simplest definition of it. What I needed to do before I could begin tapping into my intuition and inner knowing was to remove the noise , and assess in my life what was going on, and ask myself how I could have more awareness of what was working for me, and what wasn’t."
Cassandra also shares that she had to check in and see how much time she was carving out for herself, and how much time and energy she was constantly giving away to anything and anyone that asked anything of her.
Celebrating Ourselves No Matter What [ 27:40 ]
I ask Cassandra: How do you celebrate your wins? How do you celebrate how far you’ve come?
“I give myself space to process what just happened, whether it’s good or bad. It helps to have people that you can talk to about celebration, and maybe sitting down and being comfortable with giving yourself attention for the things you are doing well and are good at.”
I also tell myself every day. You are still whole. You are still life. You are still God. You are still God’s Energy. These days are hard for all of us, but we can walk ourselves back to baseline together by acknowledging these things. For example, this week I have been intentional about connecting to my vision, the world that I want to live in, the person I want to be, to contribute to it, and remembering that I am a powerful co-creator with this universe. The more that I remember that, the easier it becomes for me to act upon it.
“I’m pausing to re-center and re-orient to my north-star. “ - Cassandra Lam
Thank you so much for tuning in! I hope that this episode inspired you to take some time this week to enjoy solitude and reconnect with yourself.
Until next time!