We came across Conscious City Guide when we were looking for a place to list our events in NYC and were immediately blown away by it's beautiful design and all around awesomeness - a place to list local conscious lifestyle events while giving back to charities and tapping into a large digital community from all around the world - it made so much sense! We're constantly inspired by the creation process and how we birth our businesses and chatting to Mel - founder of Conscious City Guide and The Bharani Effect - was nothing short of inspiring.
So here's Mel on the mystery of how she was born, how finding out she was adopted shaped her life and the 9-month process of birthing Conscious City Guide.
How were you born?
I am adopted so I don’t actually know how I was born - it’s a mystery to me. As far as I know I was delivered by a Catholic nun on a small island in Indonesia called Bangka Island. It was kind of a midwifery clinic run by Catholic nuns. Supposedly, it was known on the island that if you had to give up your child for whatever reason and you couldn’t go to an orphanage yourself, that these nuns at the midwifery clinic would take care of it for you.
So, as far as I know, my birth parents knew about this place and I was born there, and then they disappeared. There is no record of them. The nuns then connected me with my parents when I was about 1 month old- my Mom was actually born on Bangka Island too. My dad was born in Egypt, but they both lived in Australia, which is where I was raised. I think it's cool that there are safe places people can go if they feel they can't go through traditional channels to give up their baby.
Were you able to talk to your parents at all about what your adoption was like for them?
So here’s the thing; I only found out I was adopted 2 years ago! There’s a big secret and mystery around my birth. I know that everyone’s adoption story is super different, but I’m completely grateful for finding out as an adult. Had I found out any sooner, as a child or in my teenage years, I probably, most definitely, would have ran away from home.
My mom and I never had that connection or spoke the same language that a lot of mothers and daughters do. But as an adult, I can really empathize with her and understand why she never told me. My mom was brought up in such an Asian culture and it's one that's humble. They don’t share if they’re doing really well, they don’t share if they’re sick, they don’t ask for help. And as a child or teenager, I would not have been able to put this into perspective at all. I know that [my adoption] is very difficult for my mom because she hasn’t even discussed it with me now. Very little of her family knows and very little of her friends know. It was and still is a huge secret.
How was it for you to learn how you were born?
It was like a piece of the puzzle fell into place. I was like “Oh, that makes complete sense.” And if anything, it just helps me have more empathy for my mom, because she’s been carrying this around her whole life.
So, yeah. I have a lot of empathy for my mom and I also feel grateful for her and my dad for finding me and giving me this life.
Funny that so much mystery surrounds your birth and you work now in consciousness- a very mysterious realm, if you will. Is Mystery a theme that follows you?
What is most apparent is how cosmic, and spiritual, and interconnected we are in our lifetime. The biggest thing for me is that my father said to me that the first time I saw him, I looked at him in his eyes and he started laughing and he said “Oh, there you are.” Him and I are so interconnected; we've had thousands of lifetimes together. We are telepathic. I know that I have been his mother, and that we have been siblings and you know, we’ve been in a family and have a soul connection. So if anything, finding out [about my adoption] solidified for me my belief in past lives and relationships. So in a way, Mystery has a dual meaning because yeah, there’s a mystery to solve, but it’s really not a mystery at all because it was cosmic and so meant to be.
When you think of Birth, are there specific images, sounds, ideas or thoughts that are recalled?
Yes! It kind of ties into my blog, The Bharani Effect, named after a very ancient study from Vedic astrology. The symbol of Bharani is the womb so all the connotations pop up: birth, doulas, renewal, generations, the mother etc. That’s what comes up for me around birth, anything relating to a new way of life as well as a new life. Right now I’m experiencing it, I’m trying to promote a new way of life in our cities and communities and that’s the Conscious Lifestyle. It begs us to ask, What are the effects of thinking about the mother, and thinking about the womb and everything the womb holds and goes through and how it regenerates?
Well, yes, we couldn't agree more! What a great segue. Can you tell us about you are currently birthing?
Well it all stemmed from The Bharani Effect blog. As part of it, a weekly guide newsletter went out- it wasn’t called Conscious City Guide back then, just The Bharani Effect. Every week we emailed out new content, interviews, and a list of cool consciousness events happening around the world. And then it was this year that Conscious City Guide was sprung into its own existence.
What has it been like birthing this bad boy?
It’s been actually quite a - actually when I think about it, it took 9 months!
Amazing! We're onto something here… we can't tell you how many people share that something pivotal happened with their creative endeavors at the 9 month mark!
Yeah, we started doing branding and development for it around January and then the first kind of conception of it was in February and then the website launched 9 months after. I never even thought about it in that way before but, there you go!
It hasn’t been without its challenges, but it’s been a learning process. It started off as a little newsletter and then you refine, refine, refine; You talk it through and make relationships that feed it. You nourish it and do great events and find great partners and that’s how we were able to launch it- because it had such a fantastic support network throughout its gestation.
Well, you know, we are all about the support networks!
Is there anything you want people to know about Conscious City Guides?
The website is now live! Conscious City Guides is a curated events guide and ticket service that gives a portion of ticketing fees to a conscious charity. We have gathered a large digital community and so when event listers choose to support us by listing on our site, we are able to support them by offering their event to our digital community for extra support and promotion. By choosing to support us, we are also supporting them so it's a hole in one!
Love it! Do you have any #Brilliantbits you’d like to share?
Everything you seek is already within you.