Updated: Jan 30
“What led you here?” (Debbie Ford) (Me) “Despair.”
It all started at a shadow workshop.
“No one is coming to save you. So now what?” I heard the voice of my dearest mentor Debbie Ford echoing in my ears. “You need to BE YOUR OWN HERO. Just you, your life, your dreams, and tending to your sweet, precious, tender heart.”
I was led to this workshop by the daily pain I carried from my childhood. Born in war-torn Afghanistan, my parents fled persecution with a baby me in their arms. They journeyed to Pakistan in hopes of one day reaching America. Sponsored by a Baptist church in New York, we began a new life in Virginia. As the years passed, I knew from my constant grief and sadness, that there was trauma and emotional debris that I needed to be healed. I had no idea at the time where to even start.
One day I heard Alanis Morrisette talk about going to a shadow workshop in San Diego, and I immediately checked out Google found The Ford Institute. I signed up immediately for the next workshop and bought Debbie’s first book, “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.” What I learned from her teachings was the immeasurable power we each have buried deep beneath the traumas and shame we each carry. I learned there was a different way to walk through this world that was healthy and empowering. The work itself was humbling, as we sat with our stories and honored our emotions. It was also the path to my freedom and liberation.
Growing up, I found healing and inspiration in rock n' roll. I was moved deeply by the level of passion and self-expression so beautifully embodied by the genre. Watching Jim Morrison of The Doors be provocative, poetic and feral or hearing The Knacks’ “My Sharona” and their strut, swagger, exuberance and playfulness. It made me feel free, like there was this ceilinglessness, this adventure awaiting anyone willing to go inward and source/create from a real and authentic place.
The Afghan culture itself is deeply inspired by poetry from mystics like Rumi and Hafiz. I fell in love with words and imagery from a very young age, and my love of music bloomed with every song I discovered.
One day in my early 20’s I saw a band play on the Sunset Strip, at the Roxy. The band’s name was Kidneythieves and they had this glorious, powerful, fierce frontwoman. Everything in my soul said, “That’s what we’re going to do next.” and everything in my introverted, write poetry by the beach, people watch and be invisible personality said, “Noooooooo!”
With Debbie’s coaching alongside the support of a gifted therapist, I began to unravel the places in my identity and personality that were holding me back. I call these our imaginary roadblocks in my work with clients. They are the reasons we don’t go for what we truly want. They are the places where we don’t allow ourselves to grow, the glass ceilings we keep bumping up against when we say we’re committed to our goals. And they are directly related to fears that are rooted in our subconscious birthed from experiences we haven’t fully digested. So what gets us unstuck and moving again? Holding hands with our fears and learning to bring to them the voice of faith.
As I continued my journey with shadow work, this understanding deepened inside of me that we can rise above any circumstances in our lives. That we can transform our beliefs, thus our behaviours, and thus our lives by simply being present and compassionate towards our own human experience.
I began combining my love of words with the rock n’ roll music I adored and watched it change the dimensions of the room I was in. I found a vocal coach and worked through my fears. I made a record and worked through my fears. I got up on stage and worked through my fears. And I played the very same stage at the Roxy that had inspired my soul years before.
I worked through my stage fright. I worked through my fear of failure. I worked through all the things that held me back from my dreams and learned a great deal about my own power, resourcefulness, grit and resolve.
Whether it’s helping an artist reach the next level of their craft and industry, teaching empowered vocals and stage performance, or supporting you if you’re called to uplevel and rock your one precious life, the essence of the work is the same. I will stand for your vision. I will help you carve a new path. I will support you in managing your mind and having high-performance habits and structures in place. And I will honor you by telling you what I see and hold you to the highest vision for your life so you can find your true voice, discover your unique gifts and express your authentic power in the world.
This journey brought me face to face with my own limiting beliefs and shadows. Every step on the path of becoming a musician and coach meant breaking through those imaginary roadblocks and glass ceilings and doing so by honoring the emotions that came up, healing the stories that were beneath them, and reclaiming the power that was buried along with the pain. I can assert without a doubt that finding your voice and working to integrate your shadows will unleash your true power.
Learn more about Fereshta here!