Facebook just notified me that I first “came out” publicly as Ali Shanti 9 years ago when I started my new profile. Happy anniversary to me. I’m coming up on my ten year anniversary of that first ayahuasca journey that woke me up into seeing how all my success was perpetuating a world of war, and conflict, and wealth inequality.
I’m in deep introspection around these past ten years, and if I’ve used them wisely, and what I want to focus my time, energy, attention and money (TEAM) resources on for the next ten.
It’s funny how I seem to be circling back to where I first started, in many ways. I’m deeply interested in seeing a radical change happen in the financial services industry, and contributing to that in similar ways to how I am shifting the legal industry with the new law business model I created.
I’m super fortunate that I get to wake up everyday and choose how to spend the first 2-3 hours of my morning. I don’t have to hurry to shower, drink my coffee and commute to a job, or even immediately get on calls with my team or clients. I get to walk downstairs, play with my puppy, sit at my kitchen table, and consider how I want to use the first few hours. It’s taken me years to get this free and have this much choice.
I don’t take the privilege of it, or the responsibility that comes with it, lightly. And, I often wonder if I’m using this time, this freedom, well.
Most days, I use the time to write something, either here or on my Medium article site, or to move the needle on the book I’m working on for New Law Business Model.
Some days, I take one more step toward the launch of my podcast.
Other days, I sit here and stare at my computer and berate myself for making things so complicated, and I surf Facebook, comparing myself to my peers who are farther along than I am, who have just one name, a clear brand, and wish I could go back and make a different choice on this whole name thing.
“One name, one brand, one website, one message. Life would be so much easier. I would be so much more well known. I would be making a bigger impact. Jeez, Alexis, why can’t you just get it together?” That’s a little bit of what it sounds like in here.
I’m really quite tired of it, honestly. It’s so annoying that I am in serious consideration (again) of just dropping the whole Ali Shanti name altogether. I never thought I would say that, but I’m finally beginning to wonder if it causes more trouble than it’s worth. Does my message and the work I am here to do in the world really get furthered in some way by having two names? And, is that even my metric for determining whether to keep the name or not?
I think that’s the real question that I (and all of us) need to be looking at — what is our metric for making decisions? Which, I believe is at the crux of my work: how do we make choices around the use of our resources in a world that must shift from an extractive economy to a regenerative economy, beginning with us? And, how can we get support with these choices from people who can truly support us and see us and are aligned, rather than extract from us?
What are the metrics and measures we are each using to make decisions and do they contribute to more extraction or more regeneration?
Most of us, I believe, are making our choices around the use of our resources from a place of near total blindness. We defer to financial advisors, who are often guiding us from a conflicted place.
We see what’s on the surface, such as how much money do I have in my bank account, and make choices from there, rather than looking deeper, at what do I want to create in the world and why? Who am I and why am I here? And, our surface seeing is based in a survival-based reality that no longer serves.
I believe that these deeper existential questions around life purpose and humanity’s potential extinction are the one’s that keep most people up at night, or with a low-level of anxiety running through their systems, but so often the questions just keep getting pushed to the back burner, while we mostly live on the surface.
I’ve chosen a different path. The question of who I am, why I am here, and what’s mine to do cannot (and will not) be ignored. I’ve tried to ignore it. I’ve tried to just focus on the surface and let making money, and serving clients be enough. But, it’s not.
My friend Tara Divina (a beautiful living example of full-range humanity, as a woman in business AND an artist) reminds me that the key to overcoming any challenge in life is to liberally take your own medicine. This reminds me that I discovered this for myself years ago when I was in the early years of my uncertainty around my life purpose, and I got the message to “Do Your Own Work on Yourself” first.
So, as I come back to the fundamentals, and do my own work on myself, I get to remember and deepen into what my works is, and then apply it here.
I get to look, again, at what it is that I want to create in the world, why I want to create that, and then look at each of my choices from the perspective of whether that choice will further my aims and goals, or not.
I begin by watching the guided meditation that helps me to root into the world I want to live into. And, I remember that I am not just here for my own personal success, but to do my part in creating a world that works for everyone, or as Charles Eisenstein names it, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible.
It’s my job to make the internal shifts that are necessary to awaken to the parts of myself that continue to perpetuate win/lose dynamics, separation, extraction and domination (the old survival systems that have ruled our planet for eons), and to heal those parts in service to collective healing.
I do believe that my healing is your healing is our healing. And that it’s only by being willing to see what’s buried in the shadows of our inheritance that we can surface what needs to be healed, so we can do the work of creating a thriving future, together.
Big mission. So why do I keep getting derailed by this issue of my name? How is that actually in service in some way that I cannot see? Or, is it?
Rebellion or Truth, Force or Choice?
Is my desire to use the name Ali Shanti simply a rebellious part of me that wants to be special and different (yes, it’s true, part of me really is a 4 on the enneagram), or is it somehow truly in service to my mission of collective, planetary healing?
What I can see right now is that inside of me Ali Shanti seems to represent my freedom, and my stand for choice, and making decisions not based on what will result in the most money coming in or based on what’s easy at the surface, but based in what’s actually in the most true alignment.
If I ignore that, I am compromising, and the unmet needs of the part of me that wants that freedom will come out sideways, in the form of unhealthy addictions and conflicts created outside of me. The more I choose to live all of myself, without hiding or compromise, the more I seem to be able to consciously choose how to play this game of life, rather than constantly feeling as if it’s happening to me.
I was listening to a Joe Rogan and Aubrey Marcus podcast recently, and they said it really well: we choose our struggles, unless we let life happen to us instead. These guys choose their struggles with super intense physical challenges. They engage in the discipline of doing things their minds would not necessarily choose because it reminds their minds who is in the driver’s seat.
For me, I choose to live in full alignment, even though it’s not convenient, because it’s what makes life worth living for me. If I was hiding or compromising, I would not really want to live.
The most true alignment for me is that my name is Ali Shanti. And, my name is Alexis Neely too. Both/and. Not one or the other. And while I get that it’s confusing for some, and may result in less brand recognition, and could somehow compromise some of my sales, and has even resulted in some people calling me a con artist or alleging that I have two names in order to hide something, having two names is actually what’s most true for me. I am both Alexis Neely and Ali Shanti.
Will I continue to be true to all of myself, even though it’s “bad for my brand” and costly from a time, energy, attention and money perspective?
Doing My Work on Myself
Yesterday, Tamar Hermes interviewed me for her Wealth Warrior Summit. During the interview, I got to (I think) shift some perceptions about wealth, and how most of us make decisions about the use of our resources from a place of inherited blindness. I laid out my methodology for making wise choices in true alignment with who we are and why we are here. That felt purposeful. And alive. And true. She didn’t mention the name Ali Shanti once.
So, I’m pretty sure there is a both/and here that I am coming to discover. And the more I take my own medicine (mining my inheritance for why I am here and what’s mine to do, and looking at my money dysmorphia and whether that’s driving any of my decisions, and keep coming back to truth and alignment and clarity), the more the answers will become clear.
In the meantime, I feel compelled once again to keep sharing the journey here even though I don’t yet have all the answers and I am definitely very much “in it”, so I will. I don’t believe this issue of multiple parts, hiding and compromise and wanting to be all of ourselves is something that just I struggle with. And, I do believe that the more I keep sharing about the journey, the more it helps us all break free. If you also feel challenged by this, I would really love to hear from you. It makes it all easier when we know we are not alone.