I woke up in a suite at the luxury surroundings of The Ritz Paris one summer's morning while on a business trip during my corporate days at The Leading Hotels of the World. As Vice President Europe, Middle East & Africa working for the most prestigious hotel representation company, my ego got easily inflated by the way I was treated in exchange for business.
That morning I looked in the bathroom mirror and saw a Blackberry phone imprint on my face. The 24/7 rush for recognition and need for success left a life changing mark on my face. When staring in the mirror, I understood that the world outside had shifted, but I hadn’t. It was a defining moment.
I had everything and I wanted for nothing, or did I? There was nothing I did not have nor could not get at the snap of my fingers, and yet, I felt empty. And all the champagne and views across the ocean and luxury hotels around the world did not and could not fill this emptiness, and God knows, I tried.
I sensed a longing to change my life experience.
I THREW AWAY MY LIFE, MYSELF
I became tired of hanging on to an empty existence and so I let go. I quit my job. It was hard and it was painful and it took time, but I did it. I let the river of life take me. And it took me. I was tumbled and smashed as I saw my life, my very self and the images of who and what I thought I was, disintegrating before my eyes.
It took me to some very dark places, where I thought I had disappeared altogether. It was a lonely, painful, and sad place. Because finally I had surrendered to the river, I had surrendered my hold on who I believed I was, on my illusion of self.
But then, in the end, I came out the other side, stronger, better, freer, more aware than ever before and suddenly I was able to see that I was not alone: that there was a world of people out there just like me: looking for something more, seeking some higher, a transformative truth, some purpose to their empty, hollow lives, and I understood them, because I was them. I AM them.
Transformation – at least for me – is a slow process. It deeply challenges us at the core of our existence. I am no longer the successful corporate warrior whose ego was deeply gratified every day over two decades. Instead I am a thought leader combining ‘outer’ and ‘inner luxury’ recognizing that the joy and beauty of life is hidden beneath our conditioning and our self image.
KNOWLEDGE IS LIMITING
The pain, the darkest of hours of total confusion made me experience an important truth: knowledge of the mind only will not suffice. Instead knowledge must shift to intuition and feeling, to knowledge of the heart and of our whole being. Only when we really ‘feel’ something deeply are we able to reach a new and deeper awareness of it empowering ourselves to make different decisions, rather than being led by our existing programming.
STEPS TO FIND CLARITY
1. Believe in yourself. Persevere, hold true to your intention.
2. Not knowing, stagnation and confusion are forms of progress.
3. Access stillness: Step away from "doing" and instead learn to "Be".
4. Gain clarity about your purpose and learn to stand up for it despite occasional disapproval. Equally don’t put too much emphasis on "admirers".
5. Avoid excuses: Make self-development your priority.
6. Learn to unlearn and become comfortable to float in awareness in which everything is possible. Watch your mind and ego and catch negative and harmful influences.
7. Surround yourself with people who understand and support your transition; draw on their support when the going gets tough.
One word that sticks with me is PERSEVERANCE. The moment you live in alignment with who you truly are and the moment you embrace your unique power, infinite possibilities are opening up. It’s not a cliché …
“Beyond the Selfie - A Corporate Career Woman Stumbles Upon The Ultimate Luxury Destination” is the title of Claudia’s book, to be released in early 2019, which addresses how the human consciousness craves soulful luxury. From the luxury of The Ritz Paris to an Ashram and a magical forest in India, Claudia takes us on a roller coaster journey to the ultimate luxury destination: the self.