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Ashley Navarro (’15) – Letting Life Surprise Me

Ashley_Navarro-1I always had big dreams about what I wanted my life to look like but little knowledge in how I was actually going to create it. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a nice community, but I felt a large sense of not having enough money to have or do the things my friends could do. In my mind, I was always scared I would never be as successful as others and that maybe success just wasn’t for me or my family.

When I was six months pregnant with my first child at 24 years old, I remember being scared and anxious about my future. It had gotten so bad on the outside, the only way to turn was inward. I began to read book after book and attend seminar after seminar, immersing myself in my personal growth process. I became fascinated by what I was learning and the expansion of my mind, but I didn’t know how I could put what I was learning into action. I was afraid of the unknown, afraid of rejection, afraid of what other people thought of me.

Ashley_Navarro-3Fast-forward years later, although I felt I had had some internal shifts, nothing in my outside world was changing much. I just wasn’t happy. Not with my job, my relationship, my parenting, my health, anything. I was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually drained. The idea that I was settling for less than I deserved grew stronger and stronger. I needed to figure out how to turn my learning into action.

I had heard about USM and the Spiritual Psychology Program from three people at three different times in my life. At those times, going back to school didn’t seem possible after having a child and needing to work full time, but finally I felt ready to check it out. At the time, I didn’t know HOW I would do it, but I decided that, for once, attending and finishing the two years was a risk worth taking, and I affirmed that nothing would get in the way. It was time for me.

At USM, I recognized the limiting belief that had been running the show my whole life—the misbelief that “I wasn’t good enough.” I discovered that by buying into that belief, I was stopping myself from ever reaching my full potential. It stopped me from taking risks, from going after what I wanted, from speaking up, from enjoying my family, from enjoying life itself. That belief turned me into someone who felt she had to fight and compete to be heard, loved, and seen—all while hiding because I feared that others would see someone who wasn’t good enough anyway. What I finally realized was, I was not fully hearing, loving, or seeing my TRUE self.

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Everything about USM supported me in connecting to my Authentic Self. USM was a Loving community of Soul friends who witnessed my highest highs AND my lowest lows and who were there to love and support me through it all. There was a deep connection in realizing that everyone in that class was a reflection of me, as I was a reflection of them, and in knowing we could all get through it together.

I was finally able to see that there was no risk in being my true self, for no matter what, I was still good enough and others would still be there to love me, and I could still love myself.

10583917_10101795991860017_1737350996488057593_nThe connection I felt with other people from day one of attending USM inspired me to start a Love Movement I had been thinking about for years called “Let Love Surprise You.” It involved people writing handwritten love letters to strangers: “So we can begin to connect with people again from that vulnerable, loving, compassionate place that says I know how you feel. So we can let others know someone is rooting for them, even if it’s a stranger. And so someone like us can get a glimmer of possibility that maybe, just maybe, everything will be OK. The rainstorm is nothing to be afraid of; it’s what creates the rainbows.”

love_letterIn the last year and a half since I started the movement, letters have reached all 50 states and numerous countries. I have received numerous e-mails of lives that have been touched by finding a letter and lives that have been touched by writing the letters. I have planned an event that involved community members making lunches and love letters for the homeless and have many more plans to expand and become a dynamic force in connecting people to the love within them. I also started a life coaching practice to assist others in discovering their inner truth and living from that space to create a life that fulfills them. My life is no longer about needing to be good enough, because I know that I already am. Even on “bad” days, it’s that deep knowing of who I really am that I have connected with through USM that keeps me moving forward. Growth truly is a process, not an event!

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