Leaving my financially secure job and jumping into the void was the catalyst for finding my passion and work. For years, I wallowed in a position that was extremely lucrative with lots of perks, but was bereft of values dear to my heart. It would have been a mistake to continue down this ...Leaving my financially secure job and jumping into the void was the catalyst for finding my passion and work. For years, I wallowed in a position that was extremely lucrative with lots of perks, but was bereft of values dear to my heart. It would have been a mistake to continue down this path.

As an Assistant Vice President in the Credit Card Marketing Department of a major international bank, I was responsible for increasing market share across the United States , maintaining the customer base after portfolio acquisition, and managing special events. I enjoyed an expense account, private car service, and even raced in a private hot air balloon as part of a promotion. But at my core, I was unfulfilled.

So, with quacking knees, I quit the bank and struck out on my own. Yet I’d never left a job without another one waiting in the wings. Shortly, a small quiet voice asked, “If you could have anything, what would you want?” Like a little girl, I answered, “I want a Sugar Daddy to support me while I find my way.” Since I knew there was no such person, I realized this was a chance for me to believe in myself. After all, I knew I could rely on me; I knew I was a good investment! And so I became my own Sugar Daddy by giving myself permission to live on my savings as I pursued this goal.

To begin, I volunteered at the charities I already was supporting financially, such as American Friends Service Committee and Amnesty International, where I developed and taught a Human Rights program at the Martin Luther King Junior High School . Inspired by King’s legacy, I became a Certified Mediator for the New York City Family Court as well as a Certified Divorce Mediator.

One year later, a friend introduced me to Kundalini Yoga. I loved its simple, but powerful, breath and movement. More emphatically, I felt an energetic shift. Though skeptical about my yoga teacher’s promises, I began to feel the initial stirrings of inner peace during our weekly sessions. Within a year, I totally immersed myself in the practice. Studying with the master, Yogi Bhajan, who introduced it to the United States in1968, I was determined to make these “truths” my reality.

Fast forward 14 years. I have since founded my own business, BeyondBody Mind Spirit where, in addition to Kundalini Yoga, breath and meditation classes, I also offer over 17 programs: from Stress Management and Nutrition to attaining a Prosperous Life and Creating Loving Relationships.

What I learned is that I am incredibly powerful. Every day, I consciously choose to either sabotage my goals and dreams or manifest them. And (as corny as it sounds) I have become my own best friend; l have learned to unconditionally love myself. Instead of self-judgment, I remind myself that, “I’m always doing the best I know how.” Through my daily regiment of morning meditations, yoga practice, exercise, healthy nutrition and moment- by-moment reflection, I maintain my commitment to living a conscious life.

By taking that first step…that act of faith, that jump into the void…I let go of habits from my past as well as the need to be right, and instead have enjoyed the universe’s support, reinforcing exactly what I believe and do.

Do I believe in miracles? You bet. And today, I am EXCITED about making changes and taking chances. It’s the ultimate freedom!

Author's Bio: 

Michele Risa knows about the journey. As a life long explorer, she has an intimate understanding of what it takes to move off automatic and into living consciously.

Michele Risa, M.A. is a certified Kundalini and Hatha Yoga teacher. She holds a BA and MA from New York University and Columbia University . Additional certifications include: Therapeutic Yoga, Breathwalk, Conflict Resolution, Divorce Mediation, and Yoga for Children. She has completed numerous 10 Day Silent Meditation courses in Vipassana and over 11 years of White Tantric Yoga, as taught by the Master of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan.

Clients include: corporations (New York Stock Exchange, Viacom, Forbes), hospitals (Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, North General Hospital, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital), and universities (University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey). Though most clients are located within the five boroughs of New York City , she has conducted seminars as far West as California and as far East as Russia .

She’s a published co-author of the book, “Conscious Entrepreneurs: A Radical New Approach to Purpose, Passion and Profits," and a TV producer of her yoga show since 1998.

As a motivational speaker who has trained with the “masters,” she’s known for her inspiring message of perseverance, her understanding of the complexities of life, and its great lessons.