You are the light: No matter how paralyzing the voices in your head may be, no matter how hard this whole situation may seem, no matter how dim is the light of hope, just know that you have the will power within you to get up and SHINE your light right now. You don’t need to wait until the proverbial end of the tunnel. It takes only a few brave souls and one right thought to take action towards the right next step in this moment.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewingRoma Bajaj Kohli.
Roma Bajaj Kohli is a life coach and a motivational speaker, at wellnessbyroma.com. She is the founder of ‘The Awakened Mind Method ‘’, a 8 week transformation program that helps soul-centered women leaders master their minds, own their true power, and awaken their innate intelligence through play
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I was married at 21 right after I graduated college. I had lived a very sheltered and protected life where I never had an opportunity to travel out of my hometown in India.
A few short months after my marriage began, we set off on our global traveling adventures. I have now lived in 5 different countries. I’ve lived in London, Paris, Zurich (Switzerland), India and New York.
In every new place I lived, I realized that I had this innate desire to work and create my own identity. Initially, I worked as a Fashion Apparel designer and then went on to become a professor in global fashion communications and arts.
The last move that we made from Zurich, to New York in 2012, was a bit different because I arrived here on an H-4 dependent visa. And realized, to my agony, that I was not authorized to work on that visa.
I had almost decided to apply for an MBA in Fashion Communication when I discovered that I was pregnant with my second child. That was a huge surprise as we were not planning to have a baby! Anyway the baby stayed and the MBA flew out of the window, leaving me as a clueless stay-at-home mom. I hated every bit of my life then except for the fact that I was having a baby girl, which I had been manifesting unknowingly for a while.
After the birth of my daughter, I suffered from postpartum depression in addition to anxiety and a severe identity crisis. Being a stay at home mom was not easy for me personally. When I felt like my freedom was taken away by the two young kids and a dependent visa that didn’t permit me to work, I realized how passionate I was about having my own identity and career! It took me a year to recover from the self-destructive patterns of burnout, weakness and victimization. It took me about 5 years of work internally, trying at least 100 other business ideas, and landing a scholarship for Yoga teacher training back in an ashram in India to find out what my passion was. I stayed there for a month, leaving my family back in the USA, and emerged with my calling and purpose in life. That’s when wellnessbyroma.com was born.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Yes, the first self help book that I read 8 years ago was ‘Dying to be Me’ — By Anita Moorjani. It’s a story about her near-death experience (NDE). After a long battle fighting end-stage lymphoma, her exhausted body finally succumbed to the disease — her organs began to shut down and she felt herself leaving the world. The author then entered a new realm as her mind slipped into a state of unconsciousness.
Here, in this domain, she learnt what she needed to do to heal herself. Despite having a difficult childhood where she never truly understood her strict father, she discovered how much he loved her. He told her that it was not her time to die. She was to return to the realm of the living and live her life fearlessly. And it is here, “on the other side,” that she discovered that in order to heal she needed to love herself unconditionally. Eventually the author left the hospital without symptoms of the illness.
This NDE was the catalyst to her healing. It gave her the clarity to heal herself internally through positive awareness and self-love. Today, the author lives free of the disease. She speaks and writes about her phenomenal experience with a desire to empower others to live their best lives and understand the other aspects of healing not covered by conventional medicine. Her story is not about death but the importance of realizing your inherent worth and eternalness.
Dying to be Me taught me about the importance of connecting with our higher self and being happy, blissful and joyful are the innate desires and natural capabilities of every living being.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Everything that is done in this world is done by hope — — Martin Luther King Jr.
- You are the hero of your life: I’ve always understood my responsibility as a role model, nurturer and caregiver. Both in my work and at home. But NOTHING has highlighted the importance of this like the pandemic. Now my kids watch me all day long now (thanks to COVID-19!). They see me at my worst and at my best. They watch me give all of me without actually losing myself, my identity, my respect and my self esteem. They watch me use my life towards the benefit of myself, my family, my community and Mother nature. They watch me make the most of the present moment with grace and humility. Realistically, this is a blessing. Because I believe that you can say all you want to say but your kids will only do what they see you do. Actions speak louder than words!
- You’re being refined: There is no doubt that what’s going on in the world is difficult for everyone and heartbreaking. But no one ever came out of a crisis weaker than they went into it. So just remember that you will emerge stronger than you were beforehand. Have you known that diamond is nothing but just a piece of charcoal that handles stress really well.
- You are the light: No matter how paralyzing the voices in your head may be, no matter how hard this whole situation may seem, no matter how dim is the light of hope, just know that you have the will power within you to get up and SHINE your light right now. You don’t need to wait until the proverbial end of the tunnel. It takes only a few brave souls and one right thought to take action towards the right next step in this moment.
- Let everything happen to you: Judge nothing. Embrace all the feelings — fear, disgust, anger, shame, guilt, panic, anxiety and more. Just keep on moving forward and look at how much you still have. No feelings, or situation, or even disease and crisis is final. You are stardust made up of the same matter and energy as the star’s universe. The famous quote by Rainer Maria Rilke he said ‘Let everything happen to you: Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.’
- Covid-19 could throw you into a happiness spiral: Just like how thoughts of doubt and fear are a spiral, thoughts of happiness and hope are a spiral too. Which one you choose to dwell in is solely dependent on you! Covid — 19 is an equalizer! It can affect anyone. BUT it can’t take the things you don’t have. For instance, if you don’t have peace and joy the pandemic can’t take it away from you. Nor can it give you more fears than you currently hold. You always had and will always have the power to choose where your energy flows and what grows from it. You have the free will to create your own reality however you choose to. There is light in the tunnel and definitely at the end of the tunnel. You have the opportunity and necessary means to find that light now and turn the switch on — to make the journey more bright and joyful! During times like these, spiraling is a bit inevitable. Choose to spiral on hope and joy.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Here are the top 5 Mindset shifts that can help you during a crisis.
- Develop an attitude of gratitude : You’ve probably already heard this. ‘Practice makes Perfect’. The more we focus on what we have, the more we get what we want. To be grateful goes much further than chanting positive affirmations. Rather’ it’s to feel from within how blessed you are to have a place for shelter, clothes to wear, and food on your table. And to know that just because you have the means doesn’t mean that you need to feel guilty for any of it. You can have the cake and share it too. Show love and compassion towards yourself and those around you by being grateful for the gifts you have AND for the difficulties you may be facing today. Crisis can be our biggest teacher if we let it. For some of us the situation will get very tough. Some of us will lose our jobs, others of us will struggle for basic necessities, and some of us will lose our loved ones. Remember that no matter what you have or don’t have, there is one divine power you can always experience: the abundant and unconditional love of the divine. If you choose to give thanks for this moment, even if you don’t like it, the next moment will take care of you!
- Accept fear as a gift: No matter what type of fear or doubt you have, understand that fighting it, shutting it down, or ridiculing it will not help you. The better approach is to acknowledge it and face it. This will help you get to the source of the fear. There are two types of fears: psychological fear and situational fear. Psychological fear is the one that is grown by your mind and situational fear is the fear that keeps you safe. Not all fears are bad. The key is to use this time to understand what your fear is and awaken the innate intelligence within you to understand the origin of your fears. Once you differentiate and recognize which fear you are experiencing you’ll have a better sense of how you should be responding to the situation.
- Your triggers are opportunities: Every situation, person or reality that has the power to trigger you and disturb your peace also has the power to change your life. Why? Because anything that has power over you gives you insight into whom or what you give your power to. The COVID-19 situation is what it is. What it triggers in you was already there. Let me give you an example. If you were walking with a cup of coffee in your hand and you tripped, what would you expect to fall out? Coffee or tea? Obviously coffee because that’s what was inside. The same is true with what is bubbling up with your emotions right now. So embrace all the triggers and emotions this situation is triggering in this moment and use these as opportunities to address them and let the real you be seen. You are more than your triggers and fears. Use this time to shine your uniqueness out.
- Control the infodemic: The pandemic is bad. There’s no two ways about it. But what makes it worse is the constant consumption of information that we don’t know how to stop. Repeatedly consuming the same information is only going to deepen the already existing fear and anxiety. The spread of the pandemic is not in your control..well…beyond social distancing and maintaining your level of personal hygiene …which I HIGHLY recommend. But I strongly believe that the consumption of information is within your control. Stop it from becoming a ‘demic’ for you.If you don’t get on top of it, the life of the infodemic will surpass the life of the actual pandemic.
- Prioritize healing and growth: You might have found yourself eating more veggies or popping supplements. But as insane as this may sound, the real thing you need to focus on is your internal growth. The time has come to dive inwards. It’s more important now than ever that we take time to pause, reset, and reflect. Look at how far you’ve come in life already. Where are you right now? And who do you want to become in the future? Use this extra time to heal, connect, and nurture the bond you have with yourself and your family at home.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
I believe that bringing calm into your being happens with a daily practice. On my website I have a Daily Practice Journal that has simple and very calming yoga exercises that you can do in the morning, afternoon and night. Along with healthy and quick recipes for your 3 meals a day! There are also empty pages to journal and reflect all your worries and tensions.A daily practice
How you start your day defines your mindset and state of being for the rest of the day. Start your day by inviting the vibrant energy of the sun within. Use the universal powerhouse to fuel your body, mind and spirit with positivity and vital energy. If you move your body intentionally all anxiety will dissipate. Here are some SUN SALUTATIONS to start the day right.
One of the major challenges of quarantine is that we often find ourselves sitting more than usual. If you are looking for a way to light up your day, try reading this blog post and practicing the simple chair yoga poses:Light up your Afternoon
In the time of stress and anxiety, food (and overeating) is where we tend to remove all our emotional stress and tension. So read how to Date your meals — Romance themand learn some practical and effective techniques to overcome emotional eating!
Some of my favorite books to read in times of stress and anxiety.
My favorite podcast or to listen to uplifting talks and meditation stories to uplift myself getting sucked into a spiral of fear, doubt and as an opportunity to listen to something more enlightening and motivating and calming
Learn to use this time as a way to learn a new art, dance or craft. Develop a hobby from your childhood start journaling if you don’t already do it.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“To see with open eyes is to dream,
but to see with closed eyes
inwards is to actually awaken.” — — Roma Bajaj Kohli
This is the quote that defines how I found the real me and got aligned with my higher self.
The divine light and sacredness within me was unknown to me until I adapted this holistic life approach of internal introspection. This made me realize that if I was able to do it myself, I could help others reset, recharge and revitalize!
As the story often goes, the strain and pressure of raising two young children with a husband (who worked around the clock!) took its toll. During this season, I looked inward and asked myself a lot of questions about what would come next in my journey. I delved into the why — exploring my fears and the uncertainties. The answers I searched for didn’t come easily. During this time of introspection, I won a scholarship for a yoga teacher training course, and that’s what first lit the spark that led me to my inner calling. I no longer felt “suffocated.” And I discovered my true purpose was in helping others. The exposure to many diverse international cultures provided the impetus to create a course on the art of fusion and fueled my desire to meld ancient yogic wisdom into modern day lifestyle — -The Awakened Mind Method to transform your mind and your life.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
One thing that I feel very strongly about is to bring a change in our modern day education system. Our current system is in dire need of reforms as it’s losing its relevance to our modern lives. There is a clear lack in internalizing the knowledge that is being taught in our schools and colleges, along with the grading methodology that grades your intelligence and outs in a box of the top few or not. The modern day education system has become purely theoretical and the skills that are being taught are not applicable when our children/young adults graduate from school/colleges.
I strongly feel that we should be teaching lifestyle skills that one can use in their day-to-day jobs/lives along with introducing new topics that relate to understanding oneself and how to be truly happy — By shining light on their mental, emotional and spiritual strengths. The ancient Indian yogic and vedic system of education was all about transformation and internalization where one can learn and improve upon one’s core values and principles. This would be invaluable to teach alongside the traditional reading, writing, and arithmetic.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
The best way to follow me is by joining my email list on my website. Wellness by Roma
You can also find me on facebook at Roma Bajaj Kohli and on instagram at
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!