I absolutely love this proverb and I feel that it really sums up my journey. Just a few years ago, I was – or appeared to be – #killingit
I was a super-ambitious London city girl (one of my points of pride was that in every job I’d had, I’d been promoted within the first year), a competitive cheerleader, and I ran a blog & events series named Working Girl London. I spent my days at work being that typical keen bean who does their day job plus the extra credit stuff like running company socials, spent my evenings trying out new restaurants, fitness classes and experiences to share on the blog and spent my weekends training, socialising, writing and running events. Basically, I spent my whole life avoiding myself 🙈
I couldn’t stand being alone with my thoughts. Though I might not have acknowledged it at the time, it wasn’t just my Aries ambition keeping me going. It was a crippling anxiety and fear of failure…and the fear of having to actually face those things if I ever stopped long enough to let them come up.
It’s not that I didn’t know what was going on. I had struggled with chronic insomnia for years and had been diagnosed with depression at one point earlier in my life. A diagnosis I completely ignored (seeing a pattern here?). It’s just that I didn’t want to face it. I didn’t even want to believe it. So I didn’t. I just continued running. Too bad I didn’t realise that you can’t outrun yourself.
When you ignore your soul’s whispers, it tries to reach you through your mind. When you try to ignore your mind, it forces you to listen through your body. Sometimes you can even ignore these messages – insomnia, IBS, panic attacks – for a while. And then your soul, mind and body come together to force you to stop – and finally listen.
Have you ever seen Jordan Peele’s film Get Out? Depression is like being in the sunken place. The world is moving around you but you feel totally disconnected. You can even move throughout the world like your ‘normal’ self – and nobody can see that inside, you’re totally lost. My depression was like this at first. But as I continued to try and carry on as though it wasn’t there, it brought me to a standstill. It stripped me of all the things I thought made me, well, me. I was declared unfit to work, I dropped out of cheerleading, I stopped writing, I developed social anxiety, and all that was left was the true me. Someone who I had neglected and, at that point wasn’t sure I even liked.
Whether or not Get Out has a happy ending is up for debate 😂 but my story definitely gets better from here so don’t worry! I now see that my life had taken a predictable turn. Since childhood I had been in this cycle of allowing my anxiety to push me harder and harder to achieve, to the point where I would burnout and sink into a depression. Anxiety would pull me out of the depressive episode to start the whole cycle again. And each depressive episode was slightly worse than the one before, until…
Spiritual awakening. Otherwise known as a breakdown. I prefer spiritual awakening, don’t you? (Thanks Brené Brown!) For so long, my body had been trying to tell me something was wrong. And I was ignoring it. In doing so, I was weakening my connection to my true self until ultimately, the connection broke.
Through a combination of medication, yoga, therapy and the power of other people’s stories, I was able to get out (😉) of my situation, the situation I had created for myself. My wellness and healing journey continues every day but so far, it has helped me to reconnect to my true self and learn to listen to my soul’s messages.
One of those messages is that my purpose here is to share my learnings and support others in finding their own path to healing and wellness. My life looks very different these days! I live in Accra, Ghana – in the sun!🌞 – and work with people online and in person, drawing on different modalities; everything from energy work to coaching to yoga. There is no one path for all of us. We each have to walk the path that our soul directs us on. So, what is your soul trying to tell you?
Okay, that was the heavy stuff...
But who actually am I? My name is Araba Babs Ofori-Acquah, a British-Ghanaian ‘returnee’ residing in the capital of Ghana, West Africa. Aside from my work as a healer & coach, I run a business called Ashe Wellness (pronounced ah-sheh) which is dedicated to creating African wellness experiences, and amplifying Africa’s voice in the global wellness movement.
When I’m not working, I love to write, eat good food and explore new places. My happy place is the beach or anywhere near water🧜🏾♀️
Community is hugely important to me, and I’m grateful to have wonderful souls all around me in both my friends & my family!
Want to connect? You can find me over on Instagram ✌🏾