Start a business. Write a book. Quit a life-draining job. Travel the world. What are the things you really want to do, but feel like you can’t quite take the leap? How are you waiting to express yourself? What do you feel you are hiding from the world? What needs to finally be set free?
So many of these questions connect back to our authenticity: who we really are and how we really want to be living.
But being yourself shouldn’t feel so hard. Sometimes, all it takes is some inspiration, advice, and encouragement to see the way to being a truer version of you. In the Authenticity Series, I talk to people who are all walking different paths, in their own ways, in the hopes that others will be able to do the same.
I first met Kimberely Arana in a coaching program a few years back for female entrepreneurs. I was there in the hopes of figuring out how to turn my writing into in a full-time gig.
But looking back, I think serendipity was at play, and that one of the deeper reasons I was there was so that I could cross paths with Kimberely, founder of Unshakable Soul.
A psychic medium and initiated shamanic practitioner, Kimberely’s work drew me in at a time when I felt stuck, lost, and was left questioning some of the choices I’d made.
Over several sessions, Kimberely gave me readings that I still think back to today. Every once in a while, I’ll review my notes from what came up, using them as inspiration for my path ahead.
Kimberely is also a wife, a mother, and an Aries, and lives on a farm in California.
I’ve long been curious about her own story and philosophies, and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to speak to her for this installment of the Authenticity Series. Here, Kimberely shares her own insights on what is means to be living your purpose.
This is a must-read for anyone who is questioning where they’re at on their path.
Liz: Did you always want to own your own business?
Kimberely: Both my parents were very driven and very entrepreneurial, for sure. It’s always been in my blood. I’ve always been the type to figure out the best way to do something, and to be left alone to do it. Which is a very Aries way of being.
Looking back, when I was in my early 20s, I got this wild idea to create these two images and have them silk-screened on t-shirts.
I hand painted every single one. I didn’t do a very good job of it – the business folded – but I look back now and I’ve realized how I’ve always found some way to be creating my path for myself.
Liz: How did that lead to Unshakable Soul?
Kimberely: I studied herbalism for years and even had my own storefront, which I closed in 2007.
I sold teas. At one point Whole Foods was interested in them. They said, “Hey, we’d love for you to come and present your teas to us.”
I was pregnant with my second child at the time and my husband, who works in the supermarket industry, was like, “Do you realize this will change everything? If Whole Foods were to pick you up, you would go from selling orders of ten boxes to orders of thousands of boxes.”
At the time I was processing all of it myself, making everything by hand. I filled every little baggie and I drove it around to all the stores, carrying my baby.
It was a lot of work. It was a labour of love. I loved those teas – I still love them – but in that moment, I sat there thinking about it, and realized this wasn’t my passion. It wasn’t the path. It was a stone in the path, but it wasn’t the path.
That was when I started shutting everything down. It was either go all in, or step back and move toward what you’re really meant to be doing.
And that’s when everything started shifting in many ways. Of course, I didn’t know where I would be by now. But I can look back now and see all the ways I was working towards this.
Liz: Wow. That is so interesting, because it really makes me think of how it important it is not to just react to every opportunity that comes our way.
In other interviews, I’ve seen you talk about how you ignored your intuitive gifts for a long time. How did you realize that you could no longer ignore them, but that they also needed to become a part of your livelihood?
Kimberely: I had very spiritual inclinations and psychic gifts, being highly sensitive since I was a child.
And yet I fought my path for so long. Every time I started severely drifting off my path and being drawn into the glamour of, say, a corporate job with the good pay or that kind of thing, something very, very drastic would happen and I would become extremely physically ill.
And I quickly started realizing wow, spirit’s trying to tell me something, and I would divert back, again and again.
Liz: I’ve noticed that the biggest things that get people stuck is when they question what they know they need. They start to think, “Maybe I should want something else. Maybe I should be buying a house instead of pursuing my art.” And then they conform to these other things, and that’s where things start to really go wrong.
Kimberely: That’s so true. Because the majority of my clients are more middle-aged, and they’ve veered off their path at some point. And then they’ve spent years trying to get back, or even trying to remember what that was: What was that fire in the belly?
Liz: So what steps did you start to take to make your intuitive gifts a bigger part of your life?
Kimberely: I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where you could pretty much do and be anything you wanted there. And my husband and I wanted to live in the country, so we moved to northern California, on the coast.
I didn’t realize we were moving into a small village that was extremely religious. There were six churches and 1,400 people there. And here I come from the Bay Area, and I have this background in magic and shamanism and the sacred arts, and I’m used to being able to do and be whatever it is I want to do and be.
And we come to this small village and now I’m a shop owner, and I’ve got people coming in and interacting with me as a member of the community very quickly. And I didn’t realize that people there were very afraid of the Mysteries: magic, shamanism, goddess devotion, all that kind of stuff.
And that was very much where my heart was at. I realized I had to be very careful about how I talked about my beliefs, and who I was. And that was incredibly painful for me, but also very eye-opening and humbling.
I’d always thought I was this person who was going to stand up no matter what and nothing was going to hold me down. But I literally had people coming into my shop saying I was bringing evil into their town.
And I was raising a family and I started to realize that people are still being persecuted for their beliefs, here and all around the world. There are still people who are afraid and who still can fully be who they are, whether that has to do with their sexuality or religious beliefs or something else entirely.
I grew very quiet. I was in no way denying who I was or what I did, but at the same time – and I see it as a gift now – at the same time I had to be very protective of my calling, and that actually helped fuel its growth.
Because I wasn’t out there all over the place declaring all these labels for myself, saying, “Look at what I do.” I went deeply inward, and there at home, grew my power at my altar with my guides, with my deities, and established an even deeper relationship than ever before.
The way I look at it now is that I chose to honour my path, even if at times I had to be less vocal about my beliefs.
And I think this is important for people to realize: If they feel unsafe or if they worry that their family will not love them if they put themselves out there, there is nothing wrong with protecting what is sacred for you.
And sometimes that is what we are called to do: To protect our path, to protect our purpose. And that takes great skill, to do it in a way where you are still not denying yourself.
Liz: Were you aware that you were answering a calling?
Kimberely: It really is a journey. It’s an experience. Being authentic or living your truth or answering the call – whatever you call it – it’s something you allow yourself to be in relationship with. It’s not some kind of goal you achieve and then that’s it.
For me, I started slowly working with people. I was still in denial to some extent, but I’d learned enough that if I fight this much harder, I’m going to get sick again. But that’s common on shamanic paths. The spirits choose you, and often if you fight it, you can become very ill.
It’s something you’re really chosen by. There was one point where I thought, “I really don’t know if I’m up for this. Can I be all in?” And I got very sick, one more time, and for me, I took it as a sign of, “Get on it.”
But it’s not like I said, “I’m going to create this whole business.” Which is what I had done with my teas. This was much more organic, and I just followed it.
And I still don’t know where Unshakable Soul will lead me yet. I know that it’s much bigger than me. I know that it’s not just about me doing the one-on-one work that I do with people.
That’s part of what happens, I think. When you are living your purpose, there are points when it will expand, and others when it will contract.
Liz: I like that. There is so much pressure to figure out our calling, and there is a sense that as soon as you figure it out, you need to be busy with it right away. Like if we’re not working on our thing 24/7, we’re not working hard enough, but everything has an ebb and flow. And sometimes you’re not supposed to know your path right now.
Kimberely: In western culture, we talk a lot about being independent and autonomous, and that’s very powerful.
But it can be very dangerous if we let it control every action we take. There are times when it’s not appropriate or called for.
I work with people a lot about having a healthy ego. Having a healthy ego means you realize you are no better than anybody else and nobody is better than you. That’s a healthy ego. You’re humble and at the same time you’re noble.
When you move into the shadow realm, you’re like, “Look how awesome I am all the time.” That’s not always healthy, and sometimes on our path there are moments when we have to gauge that: Am I truly honouring my gift, or am I grandstanding here on stage?
Liz: Right. There is work that needs to happen behind the scenes before you can do your big reveal. Even if it means not living life exactly the way you’ve envisioned it just yet.
Kimberely: And people don’t always want to hear that.
But sometimes you have to realize that you need to clear a way to see your path, and that might be part of the work that comes before you know your path.
A lot of people come at a purpose thinking it’s going to be very superficial, like, “I am meant to be very wealthy and own a Fortune 500 company.”
But ultimately, we all want to be loved – that’s really what’s underneath everything, but then we add on these superficial layers, and that’s really ego: “If I had a Ferrari, I would be happy, because it means I would have accomplished something.”
When this happens, we are confusing accomplishment with purpose. And even the devotion from others that you might experience with your success, that’s also just icing on the cake.
The purpose that we find so often is much more on a deep layer.
For instance, one person’s purpose might be to inspire others. And that seems kind of vague. But that way, you’re left a lot of freedom to inspire others however you want to.
Ego tells you what you want to achieve, what you want to get, instead of moving into a place where you are truly aligned with your next step. Sometimes purpose has to reveal itself, and if you are willing to fall down and get up and fall down and get up and clearing a way to your path, then you are taking a journey.
Liz: So it’s like asking for something, saying, “I’m ready now,” without putting any effort behind it?
Kimberely: Some people think if you are living your purpose, if you are on your path, then life will be easy.
And that can extend to challenges in business. With Unshakable Soul, in some ways it hasn’t been as hard as I expected, and in others it’s been incredibly hard.
I have two kids. I home school. My oldest child has Asperger’s. It’s one of the reasons we homeschool her. So there’s been a whole host of accommodations and situations in terms of parenting that I didn’t expect when I became a mom.
Living your purpose doesn’t mean everything will be easier. There will always be challenges.
And I would actually argue that sometimes things get harder, because when you’re living your purpose, you’re capable of taking on more and more.
I can tell you, in recent years since starting Unshakeable Soul, I went through immense challenges financially with my family. We lost our home. We had all kinds of things happening.
I had moments of, “What the hell am I going to do now?”
But at the same time, it was because of the path that I’m on, and the devotion I have to it, that I was able to weather all of that.
So part of living your purpose is how you rise up to life.
You embrace it.
To check out more of Kimberely’s work, visit UnshakableSoul.com. (Photo credit: Copyright 2012, Muir Adams.)