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So Kelli, how’d you become a Master Jedi Knight?

It’s a question I get asked ALL THE TIME.

(In the movie that I’m in.)

(About my life.)

(Starring me.)

(That so far occurs mostly in my head.)

But I did get asked it once, so it seems like an appropriate topic to talk about here.

And I recently had the opportunity to speak about my life’s journey at last month’s Pecha Kucha event in Orlando that I was lucky enough to be a part of due to my Total Zen sensory deprivation floating connection. The amazingly-awesome video of it can be seen below:

Like I talk about in the video, before I was reborn in Jedi Master status, I was living your average, material-minded existence. I became a lawyer and had a successful law career, working 60+ hour weeks in my own law practice. My husband and I were doing well and were both making decent money.

But I was never happy. My life was tinged with anxiety and worry. My health wasn’t great either – I was carrying an extra forty pounds and felt tired most of the time.

Then I was forced to confront my fears head on. My brother and my father both developed cancer and died six months apart in 2010. My brother, Daniel, had been fighting Hodgkin’s Lymphoma for a few years before his death, and the treatment for the disease eventually killed him. My dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer three months after Daniel died, and died three months after that.

Hitting that rock bottom of suffering can be a gift. There was no where left to go but inside. I dived deep into my Ashtanga yoga practice and that led me to Mysore, Karnataka, India. I took my young son – one and half years old that first trip – with me.

India was nuts, especially with a 1.5 year old in tow. What a culture shock. The people there live much more simply than we do here and everything is just…different.

I noticed right away that everyone seemed much more happy than my friends and I back home, despite the suffering and poverty. In Mysore, the electricity would go out multiple times a day and lots of folks live in shanty towns – shack or tent living. There was so much real suffering there – third world problems as opposed to our first world problems in the West.

In Mysore, there is a man that hangs out by the coconut stand with no legs that begs for money everyday with the biggest smile on his face. I thought – “why is he so fucking happy?!”

“Why are so many people here so happy?” They have so much less and yet they find that happiness within.

I realized that India is a culture of belief in something bigger. They connect with the Divine-God-Essence in everything. It is not that Hindu’s worship many different gods – it is that they see everything as God – from the cows to the food to the numerous deities – and God is synonymous with Love.

My trip to India helped me connect with that feeling of Love inside of me. I saw that fear is the state of living out of connection with our Divine Essence – of living out of that state of Love. When we are feeling Love there isn’t any fear – it just isn’t possible. We are able to see that everything is perfect, exactly as it is. There is no judgment.

My experience in India helped me come to find a state of gratitude for Daniel and my dad’s deaths. I felt grateful for what their death’s taught me, and for how the experience shaped me on my journey.

I came to see all of our journeys – their’s and mine – as part of something much bigger than our limited existence on Earth.

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