Tarsh Ashwin

Have you ever had the experience of witnessing every single decision you have
made over your life that has guided you to this point, right now?

It’s as if you’re looking down at your life from above. You’re present to every moment, every
conversation, thought, decision and action. You’re able to see how the perfect tapestry of life and
divine timing has converged precisely to this important moment.

It’s almost a moment suspended in time.

The first time I ever felt this feeling was ten years ago, sitting on the bank of the Amazon river in
Peru. The night before I had experienced the most profoundly awakening journey of my life. Sitting
by that mighty river, I was revelling in the majesty of life. And the synchronistic encounters that can
guide us, if we’re open to them.

6 months prior I had made the decision to drop out of university. Much to the anguish of my parents
who really rather liked me studying politics (‘maybe she’ll become the next Prime Minister of

I had decided to listen to my gut and turn away from the typical trajectory that many
good citizens go down:

Go to Uni. Find a job in the public service. Get married. Buy a house. Have kids.

That was the path I was looking down and it scared me. The idea of working for ‘the man’ and
dedicating my life to the good of the government certainly didn’t do it for me. But I was struck by an
age old dilemma – I knew precisely what I did not want to do with my life, but I had absolutely no
idea what I did want to do.

So I found myself simply floating around. Living on autopilot during the day and partying too much
by night. Skipping uni because I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting in a hot lecture theatre listening
to stuffy ‘old people’ talk about topics that didn’t speak to my soul.

I yearned to explore the world. Sink my teeth into different cultures, learn new languages, dance to
foreign music and eat exotic food.

I grew up as what we call in Australia, an ‘Army Brat’.

Dad’s work as an officer in the Australian Defence Force saw us travel around the world. Moving
every couple of years to new and fantastic places. People would always comment ‘oh that must
make it hard to make friends’ but the truth was, I adored it. I loved the excitement of new places to
explore and new people to meet. I loved that I could reinvent myself every few years and it instilled
within me a deep desire for adventure and freedom.

Moving every few years, however, lead me to a pattern that is present with me even now. After
every two or so years in one city, I start to get itchy feet. This is exactly what happened to me
halfway through my degree. I felt uninspired and bored. I had all this energy and no where useful to
put it.

One day as I was perusing my favourite bookshop, I came across a book about shamanic
traditions of South America. It contained pictures of ancient sacred sites, traditional healing
methods and exotic peoples, adorned with feathers and colourful clothing.

This was what I was yearning for.

I read about shamanic beliefs that the land upon which we live is very much alive and that we are
its caretakers. I read about energetic medicine and medicinal plants said to bring the seeker face
to face with their life’s purpose.

A light bulb went off in my mind. This was the answer that I was looking for! I had spent all my 22
years of life trying to figure out exactly what I was doing here, without much luck. I was still
spinning my wheels, living on the edge of depression.

Looking back at my 22 year old self, I can appreciate her courage. And I can see that perhaps she
was operating from a space of youthful naivety.

I sat in that bookshop all afternoon reading. On my way home, the perfectly manicured city that I
lived in suddenly seemed banal. I was at a crossroads. Continue down the path I was on and end
up trapped in a life I disliked. Or listen to my heart and trust that the rest would be taken care of.

Six months later I found myself zipping down the Amazon on a small river boat. All of a sudden the
driver killed the engine.

’Tranquilo! Tranquilo!’ He whispers, pointing to the river bank.

It took me a few moments for my eyes to adjust but before long I was looking at the most majestic
animal I have ever seen.

The Jaguar had come down to the water to drink and was frozen, mid sip, staring at us.
It stayed there for what felt like an eternity. It was probably only a minute or two, but those of you
who have encountered powerful wild animals will know that time seems to stop. All that exists is
you and this animal and everything else fades away.

‘Good omen,’ my travel companion said to me once we got back on our river journey. ‘Jaguar
medicine is very powerful.’

We were traveling to a small village deep in the jungle to experience an Ayahuasca ceremony with
a well respected local Shaman. My heart had been beating in my throat all day as I prepared to
undergo on of the most profound journeys of my life.

A medicinal and highly psychedelic brew, the word Ayahuasca translates to ‘Mother of the
Amazon.’ It is known to uncover the fears and blocks that are preventing you living into your true
purpose. Some people say that a night of Ayahuasca is akin to ten years of psychotherapy. I had
no idea what I was going to experience, but I deeply yearned to know my purpose in life and I was
committed to doing whatever I felt it took to get me on my path.

8 hours later I was sitting in a dark in a circular hut known locally as a maloca with 15 other people.
I was kneeling in front of the Shaman with a cup in my hands. He blew tobacco smoke over my
head as I brought the cup to my mouth and drank deeply the most foul tasting liquid I have ever
tried. Like dirty dishwater mixed with very old socks. My gag reflex activated immediately and it
took everything I had to keep the brew down.

What followed is a very difficult experience to put words to. Ayahuasca often forces you to purge
from your system the fears, traumas and old, outdated coping mechanisms in a very physical way.
I found myself wrapped around a bucked as I vomited out my inability to commit to important tasks.

My inner doubt that spoke as a quiet self-loathing. My need to drink alcohol in order to feel
comfortable and confident. My fear of rejection and criticism and the unhealthy relationship
patterns that I had adopted.

Intricate psychedelic patterns flew melted together in my mind’s eye. Just when I thought I couldn’t
take any more of the deluge of fear that I was present to, it eased and I was aware of a feminine
energy that quietly spoke words that stay with me to this day.

‘You are a catalyst of transformation. Your gift is to guide women back to their power, to show them
what they are capable of and help them to rise into sovereignty.’

At the time I had no idea what this meant or what it looked for my life. I remember feeling the
physical weight of responsibility as I struggled to interpret the meaning of those words. Catalyst of
Transformation? Help women rise into sovereignty?!

But the synchronistic events that followed over a decade and that led me to this point right now
have proven the potency of those words.

I finally arrived home in Australia and moved to Melbourne. One day I walked past a beautiful
centre called the Australian Shiatsu College. Having no idea what shiatsu was, I wandered inside
and was was immediately captivated by the energetic presence of the space. I learned that shiatsu
was a Japanese healing modality that worked by applying pressure to various acu-points on the

I signed up for the the diploma then and there and begun my studies in Traditional Chinese
Medicine and bodywork. I loved the journey of learning how to heal the body with my touch and
intent alone. How to live in alignment with the seasons and how to be present with my breath. How
our emotions when suppressed can lodge in the body and manifest as illness and disease.

Studying shiatsu was my second awakening.

I realised that so many of us live life on autopilot, responding in reaction to fear. Holding ourselves
back from empowerment because we are afraid of how our life might change. From the Chinese
medicine perspective, the only constant in life is change and the interplay of energy.

Yin and yang.
Day and night.
Masculine and feminine.
Life and death.

The journey of studying a healing modality is always powerful. I spent two years soaking up
all the knowledge I could and deepening into Asian philosophies and ways of living.

But eventually it comes to an end. I’d learned the skills and unpacked the lessons and I was ready
to take my skills out into the world. But, I learned very quickly that you can be the best practitioner out there,
but if you don’t have any business acumen you’re going to find it rather challenging.

My difficulty came with putting myself out there, marketing my business and making money. I
learned very quickly that I had a lot of hangups about wealth and success. No matter how much I
loved offering shiatsu, I struggled with receiving payment. Preferring instead to offer swaps,
bartering exchanges and donations. The idea of marketing my business sent shockwaves of
shame and embarrassment through my system.

“What if people thought I was up myself? Or arrogant? Or even worse – selfish?!”

Growing my business in those days was one of the most difficult endeavours I had experienced
yet. The disappointment was relentless and would follow the realisation that, month after month, I
still had to subsidise my business with my casual waitressing job. The frustration of knowing I was
offering something very powerful but having my passion and skills wasted.

I wanted to share my gifts with the world. And I could see that I was the only one holding myself
back. So I did the only thing I knew how – I jumped on the train of Always Striving, Never Arriving.

I studied modality after modality, course after course. Always looking for the golden ticket that
would launch my business into the stratosphere and would give me the satisfaction I was yearning

I took out loans to study weekend workshops, Kinesiology and EFT, and realised one day that I was totally
addicted to the high I received from studying modalities, but still completely unable to 
create a successful
and profitable business from them.

No matter how much personal and professional development I undertook, I was still living in fear.
Fear of rejection, fear of criticism, fear of judgement. Fear of failure AND fear of success. It was
more comfortable for me to be living week to week than it was to call in true abundance and success.
An incredibly depressing realisation. Deep down, I didn’t believe I was worthy of success. This was
the reality I created.

The day I found out I was pregnant with a baby, I felt a deep sense of terror followed by the heavy
weight of responsibility. It was truly now or never. I had to figure this out or else I was facing joining
‘the real world’ and getting a 9-5 job, working for the man and surrendering my passions.

In this realisation was the understanding that I was more afraid of what I was capable of if I allowed
myself to truly shine. If I released the shackles that were holding me back and courageously
pushed up against the edges of what I was capable of.

But how? I didn’t even know where to begin.

It is a truth that there is nothing quite like having a baby to kick one’s behind into action. I was
desperate to provide a beautiful life for my son and to be a powerful role model for him to look up
to. So I dived headfirst into studying the brain and the way our subconscious mind develops
beliefs. I studied money mindset and uncovered fascinating insights. I realised the many reasons
why I hadn’t been able to grow a successful business stemmed from suppressed childhood pain.

Being bullied at a child for having bright red hair and big boobs, being tall and having a funny way of walking.
Being rejected for standing out and naturally shining. I learned to hunch my shoulders and dim my
light. Tone down my naturally boisterous energy for fear of ridicule and rejection. I restricted my
learning abilities so that I would fit in – can’t be seen to be too smart, but can’t be too stupid either.

Growing my business powerfully triggered all of these subconscious memories and defence
mechanisms. Marketing activated my fear of rejection. Asking for money triggered my fear of
criticism and low self-worth. Speaking my truth triggered fear of exposure. No wonder it wasn’t safe
for me to show up and be truly seen.

To ‘stand in my power’ felt like an impossible feat when this was subconsciously running the show.

I truly believe that for those of us running a business doing our soul-work (this is the work we know
we’re on the planet to do) we naturally have to face our inner demons before we can experience
abundant success.

Our business is an opportunity to initiate powerful inner transformation.

It brings us face to face wth our stuff as we realise that we are the only ones holding ourselves back.

Creating solvency in business is very often a journey of inner liberation and cultivating self-belief,
self-worth and fierce courage.

It takes courage to go against the status quo and turn your passions into a business. It take fierce
courage to show up for yourself day after day and keep putting one step in front of the other, even
when it feels pointless. Even when people say you might be crazy to keep trying. But this is what business

Radical self-belief and the courage to show up in the face of your fear.

Growing my business has been the best personal development course I have ever taken. It
challenges me to keep showing up and sharing my story and my message, to keep believing in
and backing myself.

These days I support women all over the world to overcome their own inner fears, blocks and
resistance to growing their business and making money. The ‘Catalyst for Transformation’ title that
was given to me 10 years ago is only really now coming into fruition. There is nothing more
incredible than an empowered woman who stands in her worth, who follows her heart, who shares
her transformational gifts with the world and who profits from her purpose.

Women have spent centuries suffering from patriarchal suppression.

Staying quiet to appease the world around us lest we draw too much attention to ourselves. But we
have an incredible opportunity today to rise into empowered feminine leadership and share our transformational work
with the world. There are so many people out there hurting and looking for the support that we
provide. Truly, who are we to keep our work from them? Who are we to let our fear and inherited
programming keep us from sharing our gifts with the world?

This is what I am a stand for and it humbles me to recognise that for a decade I have continued to
back myself and believe in my work, even when it felt pointless. My calling to empower other
women to shine their light and have that lead to purposeful profit has never been louder.

I’m inspired by the new wave of feminine leadership that sees women collaborate together and inspire
each other to achieve success, rather than compete against one another.

Despite entrepreneurialism being an often lonely experience, we are not supposed to do this on our own.

I believe we need to support each other to cultivate the courage required to keep showing up for
our dreams. To keep pushing up against our edges and deepening into self-belief and soul-aligned action.

My innate longing for freedom and desire to resist the status quo has been an underlying theme of
my life. Business facilitates an experience of liberation that is priceless. When I see my clients rise
into empowerment, wealth and success I’m struck by the potency of transformational work and the
ripple effect it has on surrounding family members and friends.

Business is a powerful disruption tool that teaches us that we don’t have to follow the societal
norms. We can choose to believe in our dreams and create a life of freedom and impact. There is
nothing more empowering than that.

I’ll end on one of my favourite quotes by Mandy Hale that eloquently sums up my experience:

You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your
terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less
traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look.
Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And
stubbornly refuse to fit in.”

Whatever do you, please don’t stop showing up for your dreams.



This story was featured in the internationally best-selling book –
Leaders: Women Who Change The World With Their Business

You can purchase your copy here:



Pin It on Pinterest