It is at the crossroads of the ordinary obstacles that we have the opportunity to change the trajectory of our lives. We can take the everyday obstacles and turn them into purpose and use them for good. Oftentimes, we are forced in one direction or another and in those times, we can take a leap forward and create the beautiful life we want with what we have been handed. Instead of feeling stuck, we can take those obstacles and use them to propel forward. A lot of this is mindset and refining the tools we can cultivate within. The cliché of “we only have one life here” makes it even more necessary that we walk into our greatest selves and make it worth living.
As a first generation Indian woman born and raised in the south, I faced the challenges that many ethnic groups faced and still face…but I knew as a little girl in Greeneville, TN that I was meant for a greater purpose. It was something in my heart that could never be shaken. And at 50 years old, it still is firmly planted. I had no identity-I wasn’t white and I wasn’t brown. In fact, I tried so hard to assimilate in the white American culture that I grew up with a lot of hate and anger towards my family, towards Indian people, towards white Americans. Pretty much everyone. I felt unseen and unheard for a large part of my teen and early adulthood. I was wronged in my career and by people who wanted to hurt me because of their own unhealed parts. The anger only ended up hurting myself and keeping me in a victim mentality. I couldn’t connect with people at the deepest level because my belief was that no one understood me. I didn’t even understand me fully---my power. And, if I harnessed that power for good, I could impact so many lives.
Here's what happened when I found God...
Unbelievable doors started opening and not only in a material way, but in a servant way---I started reaching people and touching lives and connecting at a deeper level. I was writing my book, Overcoming Ordinary Obstacles, while coming to the end of what I call my desert years (2015-2019). This book not only healed the parts of my heart but it was a vehicle for me to share my struggles and joys with other humans. The book was intended to be for women, and in fact ethnic audiences. However, my biggest fan and longest review on Amazon comes from a 29 year old white male. Yes! His life was changed for the better after reading my book. So much so, he quit his job, one in which he felt he was just going through the motions, and he started pursuing his purpose: that nagging feeling deep inside that pushes you to what you are supposed to be doing. We all have a purpose and it is our job to uncover that on our life’s journey.
The title of my book is meaningful, as I realized that we face obstacles everyday---and because of that they are ordinary and common (outside of extraordinary tragic events) to a large number of the population. We face racism, sexism, divorce, depression, feeling empty in our vocations, and so many other obstacles. What I found is that my vulnerable and authentic story about my own life was felt in some way by everyone that read my book. My final chapter was one I had not intended to put in. The title, “Rejecting Dogma: Finding God”, as it is controversial and very personal. It relays my journey to finding God and leaving Hinduism at the highest caste level to following Jesus. My publisher told me that I needed to, as it had become a huge part of my life at the time of writing my book. And, so it became (not of my own design) the longest chapter in my book.
I released my book in January 2020, right before the pandemic. I do not believe in coincidences, so the timing of that was so specific, as I consider the pandemic the Great Cleanse of our lifetime. I was able to let go of anyone or anything in my life that was toxic to my mental health and was not meant to go forward on my journey. What’s more is that I began getting so many comments and messages about how my book resonated with so many humans: no matter the ethnicity, the religion, the gender. I began to heal more and more, realizing that we all experience the same pain and the same joy—and they are all our personal trials in this journey we call life.
It wasn’t meant to be exclusive, though man has made quite a mess of that since the dawn of existence. So, I encourage you to come alive and go after what is rightfully yours and one you are worthy of—to enjoy and create a beautiful life, one that is so fleeting. I truly believe that our lives on Earth are to live out our purpose and help as many humans as we can along the way.
We can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. I encourage you to practice gratitude for your journey—even the parts that have been unfair or where you have been done wrong. That gratitude will give you the power to create something beautiful out of the storms.
In light + love,
Nesha Pai is the founder of Pai CPA, PLLC in Charlotte, NC. Nesha has continued nourishing her vision and the business growth of the Queen City by launching a podcast series, ‘Piece of the Pai,’ that focuses on successful Charlotte entrepreneurs sharing their business insight. In January 2020 , Nesha published her book “Overcoming Ordinary Obstacles”, which won the award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category by the American Book Fest. She has been a Charlotte resident since 1993, and was named as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women of 2020 in the Mecklenburg Times. Her pride and joy is her son, Rupen, who attended her alma mater, NC State, and is an Engineer.
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Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, public speaker, and musician. She serves as the Director of Communications and Donor Relations for the student sports-centric nonprofit she and her husband, Gage, run called Twelve. When she's not championing other women, cheering on the rising generation, writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She takes the most pride in being a mom to two little girls, Lina and Lili. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson or find out more on her website at kriverathompson.com.