I first discovered my love for cooking and art at the age of 14. Both cooking and art have been two mediums that have helped me greatly in my journey living with mental illness and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). In 2015, I made the decision to leave my job as a preschool teacher after a great eight years. I went through a relapse and was struggling with simple day to day activities. One particular day in June changed everything though. It was a late afternoon and I was still exhausted from a sleepless night. My husband coaxed me into going out to 'get some sun' (it's one of the most important natural remedies for managing depression!) since I have been indoors for almost three weeks then! And though I wasn't really keen, we both ended up at the supermarket and a bag of groceries. We went home and all of sudden I decided to cook. It felt awkward at first because I had not cooked for a long time since the relapse happened. But since that day, cooking slowly became a daily ritual for me and the more often I cooked, I started to remember how calming cooking used to be for me when I was a teenager and was going through a phase of healing. I also slowly picked up my paintbrush back and started to paint again. I remembered not knowing why I stopped then except that I felt like I couldn't paint and I wasn't good enough at it. Yup. That's what sometimes depression wants you to believe.
The idea of Asha & Co happened during a dinner conversation with my husband and we were talking about having a greater purpose in life. I remembered telling him that I wished I could share the joy and benefits of cooking and art with more people because I have experienced myself how it had made a positive impact on my overall physical and mental health. The rest was history. With the support of my husband and loved ones, I took a leap of faith and started Asha & Co to share mindful cooking and art as a means to practice mental wellness with the larger community.
Fast forward to the present, life in Asha & Co has been quite an experience and a steep learning curve I didn't quite anticipated. But neither did I anticipate how satisfying and fulfilling it would be to serve other sisters, to share knowledge and learn from each other and to support each other through our own individual journeys. My journey in Asha & Co has taught me that healing, growth and true self care happens when we serve something bigger than ourselves. A day in my home studio would see women from all walks of life gathering together to collaboratively achieve something purposeful together. It could be cooking together, making art together, learning a new skill from one another or simply having brunch and meaningful conversations. When I’m not hosting, I write weekly in The Sunday Pause, sharing my raw reflections, well loved recipes and crafts.
If there’s one thing I’d want you to know is that growth is not a comfortable and easy journey. Most times it’s really hard. Failures are inevitable and you’ll feel a ton of uncomfortable emotions, but I assure you that it will be worth it. Because you are worthy of living your best life and we are all responsible for using our gifts that have been bestowed upon us wisely, with our limited time here in this world.
And now, you don’t have to do it alone. I’d love for you to be part of our growing community of sisters here in Asha & Co. For you who have been with us since day one, I thank you for believing in our work and supporting us in our growth journey.
Here’s to embracing growth in our everyday and choosing progress over perfection!