the personal development diaries | Ayah Norris

Meet Ayah Norris. If you've met Ayah before, you'll know that she is one of the most calming, wise, and heart-forward souls you'll ever come across. You may recognize Ayah from her personal practice as a Holistic Healer, or from her previous Yoga & Meditation offerings at Good Space TO or The Quiet Co. I had the privilege of learning all about Reiki from Ayah - she is a beautiful and inspiring teacher. Hope you enjoy! 

What might people already know about who you are (the extrinsic you)?

I'm a Holistic Healer and Embodiment & Meditation teacher, based in Toronto. My offerings include intuitive healing sessions, embodiment sessions, meditation and mindfulness instructions, and workshops, all designed to help clients and students release mental, emotional & physical patterns that no longer serve their highest growth, welcome in more ease, clarity, and calm, and connect to their highest intuitive wisdom, power and light.  

What is something that people might not know about you (the intrinsic you)?

I'm still human! A lot of clients and students think because of what I share, I have it all figured out, but I'm still riding the waves of this wild human experience too. I think it's one of the biggest assets to my work, because for every challenge I go through, I have a deeper empathy for and understanding of challenges my clients go through. As one of my good friends and mentors says, you can't guide anyone to where you haven't been yourself. The more I'm able to sit with, listen to and ultimately free my own pains, the more I can guide others to do the same.

What does personal development mean to you?

Coming home to yourself. I think it's less of a journey of transforming into something you're not, and more about removing layers that mask all the light that's already within you. The world can pull us in so many different directions, and oftentimes we bend and stretch towards what others want of us, or who we think we should be. Personal development is about getting in touch with the real you, the true you, and letting that shine. 

What has your personal development journey looked like?

A wild road! In my teens and in university there was a lot of striving to be 'the best' in terms of my achievements. I did well in school, did a ton of extracurriculars, graduated from one of Canada's top business schools, and landed a coveted corporate gig when I graduated. I then spent my summer after university traveling through East and Southern Africa, and needless to say, that shifted my perspective quite a bit. I came back home to the life I always dreamed of, and for me, it felt empty in many ways. That started a deeper look for more meaning, which led me towards creativity, holistic health and spirituality. I dove deeper into those areas of interest while I continued to climb in my career, and eventually found myself in a year of a lot of deep spiritual awakenings. That led me out of my corporate career and to India to deepen my studies in holistic healing, yoga and meditation. Now, my personal development journey is mainly about connecting to a higher source, clearing away old patterns that don't serve my growth, and being of compassionate service to the world in the ways I'm called.

What are some of the most impactful tools you've found?

All I share is also my greatest medicine! Energy healing, somatic meditation, intuitive guidance, yoga, meditation and embodiment practices, as well as psychotherapy, prayer, ancient spiritual texts, astrology, healing baths, oracle cards, time in nature, and rest. 

Transformational moments?

My greatest challenges and painful experiences have been incredible teachers for me. Difficult as they are to move through, they usually help slash away a part of my ego and bring me closer to my true self. As well, so many of my travels have fundamentally shifted my path, from East and Southern Africa after I graduated university to Southeast Asia and India after I left my corporate path, and trips through Europe, Central America and Israel in between. There's something about getting out of your regular surroundings that can crack open new ways of seeing. In terms of really catapulting me into this path of healing teaching, my first Burning Man catalyzed me into a deep year of spiritual awakening, which also included my first intuitive reading, work with plant medicines, and building in a daily meditation practice, all of which radically shifted my path. I was on a flight to Asia just a couple of months after my second year at Burning Man! And lastly, and closest to my heart, meeting and spending time with my spiritual teacher Amma has been the greatest source of so much of my healing, expansion and grace.

Experiences that have helped you along the way?

On top of the transformational moments, learning to ground down and integrate the big shifts with a daily meditation practice, movement, nourishing foods, time for sacred pauses, and learning to interpret the many signs and signals I receive. As well, learning to reach out for support when I need, be it to family, friends, teachers, guides and/or God (a term I've reclaimed from the notion I originally grew up with.. to me, I define God to be the deepest source of love and grace, all that lies beyond the beyond).

Favourite rituals?

Each day, meditation, movement, prayer and reading spiritual teachings. Working with the moon and honouring Jewish holidays (I've been diving deeper into Kabbalah and ancestral work lately). I've also been connecting to nature a lot through the pandemic, listening, making offerings, and really starting to see how interconnected we are with our Earth. 

Life lesson?

Finding the silver lining and lesson in every experience, particularly the challenges (which often shape us the most!). Once I find some meaning, the experience is usually much easier to accept and move through.

Words to live by?

Surrender, stay open, and keep the faith. Stay rooted in love. Trust, trust, trust, especially yourself.

If you want to connect with Ayah or keep up to date on her offerings, you can join her on Instagram or check out her website here