By Manvi Pant
A life coach, corporate trainer and yoga teacher based in California, Sariah Sizemore is a woman with a gift for helping people cultivate healthy, happy, and balanced lifestyles. But interestingly, her deep wealth of knowledge about healing and wellness arose due to the obstacles she had to overcome in her own life.
Sariah grew up in a small town in Louisiana in southern United States. Louisiana has a beautiful and rich culture, and at the same time, carries high statistics of racism, poverty and addiction.
From the beginning, life was less than ideal, and things were tumultuous in her home. The explosive arguments between her parents would leave her scared and confused. To escape the abusive environment, she sought refuge in the nature surrounding her home.
“I started spending a lot of time outside communing with the trees, plants, animals, and earth. My mother taught me about God from an early age and I felt closest that energy there. My first recollection of actually praying was when I was about three or four. My parents were screaming at each other, I was terrified, and I needed help, so I ran out to my outdoor sanctuary to pray.”
Prayer helped Sariah stabilise her life, she says.
“I strongly believe that the creativity and consciousness of God is inside us and when we pray, we access our internal power to create what we intend in our lives. Prayer accesses and activates this positive life force, and faith sustains it.”
Without proper parental guidance, Sariah was tempted down a destructive path of rebellion, drugs, alcohol and sex, which offered a temporary escape from her troubled home life.
“When a lot of my peers were dreaming of college degrees and future careers, I could barely manage to get myself to school. But, no matter how bad it would get, my belief in something greater would get me through. It helped me survive the worst. The relationship I had with God was a grounding force for me, something I could hold on to in difficult times.”
At 21, with hard work and determination, Sariah landed herself a job at a software company in California, which allowed her to spread her wings and fly away from her troubled childhood. “I moved to escape Louisiana and make a life for myself,” she recounts.
But after overworking herself for several years in the tech industry, she started experiencing excessive stress and eventual burnout due to the high demands of the job. Finding Kundalini yoga was what ultimately saved her from total exhaustion.
“To re-energise my mind, body, and spirit, I learned and practised Kundalini yoga and meditation. It completely changed my life for the better, and I realised then that I’d found my true calling. I loved it so much that I started teaching it myself.”
As time went by, her affinity for wellness and her desire to help transform other people’s lives led her to learn and offer coaching, counselling, and various healing modalities to her students and clients.
We all have gifts and callings to be fulfilled in our lifetimes. For Sariah, a problematic childhood sparked the inspiration to create something better for herself and to offer healing to others. “I’ve always really liked the idea that our soul chooses our parents. From that perspective, my soul chose my path because I’m here to do this specific work. I’m alive in this world to hold a space for others to heal.”
Haruki Murakami in Norwegian Wood writes, “What happens when people open their hearts? They get better.” Healing is a spiritual process and requires a deep connection with mind, heart and soul.
Sariah explains it well: “Healing is a human-spiritual process. We can’t spiritually bypass our humanity. We need a deep connection to both. The spirit is like the engine, or life force, that powers the human body. The stronger the foundation (the mind, body and spirit), the easier it is for us to heal. We must view healing as a holistic process where everything from our mental, physical, spiritual, and relational health must be supported.”
Have you ever wondered what leads you to faith when you find yourself deep in sorrow? Or when your negative emotions take a toll on you? Sariah says part of being human is being messy and having breakdowns.
“Often, they happen as part of the healing process; they are vital to our transformation. It is important to understand that those moments are necessary for our evolution as a human. We must allow ourselves to cry, to feel angry, sad, or other difficult feelings. Healing means accepting and feeling it all.”
Sariah found her ikigai and spiritual upliftment by allowing the compass of her life to point toward healing herself and being in service to others.
“One of my missions is to help people understand that healing is real and possible. We have a huge power to heal ourselves and our life. I want to spread the wisdom that it’s important to slow down, create more intimacy with oneself, and courageously commit to healing. I would like to see all people awaken and become their best selves.”
After an eight-year corporate career, Manvi Pant is now a consultant with Plan International (India Chapter). She also runs a story-telling platform Real Life Heroes.
First published in eShe’s October 2019 issue