Melanie Phillips (Madhuri) is an author, Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist, Yoga Teacher Trainer, Podcaster, and Energy Healer. She’s a spiritual mentor specialising in supporting healers, yogis, and coaches struggling with self-sabotage and impostor syndrome to clear abundance blocks and navigate stress so they can grow their income and impact doing what sets their soul on fire. She’s the bestselling author of “Living After Loss: A Soulful Guide to Freedom” and the co-author of, “Your Irresistible Life: 4 Seasons of Self-Care through Ayurveda & Yoga Practices that Work.”
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in a small rural town in Ontario, Canada. I had a lot of freedom and space to explore many things as a child; sports, musical theatre, dance, and simply riding my bike around town with friends and playing kick the can after dinner in the neighbourhood.
My parents divorced when I was 10 and this shaped my independence and fierce commitment to knowing that adversity is an opportunity for growth and resiliency.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I trust that I realized everything exactly when I needed to realize it…but, what I see took me many years to realize was that I am whole and complete now, not when I achieve something or get somewhere other than where I am. This is the work I continue to do for myself and with my clients. I support them in expediting the understanding and integration that they are an extension of divinity and whenever they are not perceiving themselves in this way, they are in a program (conditioned response).
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
In the healing and spiritual realms, there can be a lot of bypassing that happens. Sometimes there’s an underlying pervasive message that we need to just ‘accept’ things or ‘love everyone’ and this can be destructive, especially those who have a challenge setting healthy boundaries and feeling worthy.
Ultimately, yes, radical acceptance is liberating but we can’t leapfrog over trauma to pretend ourselves into that place.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
That’s a big question! I’ve written an entire book called Living After Loss: A Soulful Guide to Freedom that speaks about many of the dark periods of my life and my process of reprogramming my inner narrative and energy from grief and limitation to liberation.
One of the most impactful ‘initiations’ I’ve been through beyond navigating a decade-long autoimmune condition and grueling divorce, was the sudden and unexpected suicide of my partner. It was a jarring turning point in my life where I realized that I needed to literally observe every thought that passed by and orchestrate the flow of prana (energy) in a constructive direction. Otherwise, the thoughts and energy associated would have destroyed me. I began to reprogram my neural pathways and slowly, slowly, create a life that I can now say that I love. I teach the techniques that I used to do this in my book.
I learned that everything that happens in our life is an opportunity for expanding our capacity to love and get closer to the truth of our divinity. Life isn’t here to make us suffer endlessly. Life will happen and we can choose what we make it mean and who we are moment to moment.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
My Ayurvedic self-care routines. My tenacity. And my desire to see the best in people and situations. Oops, that’s three…
What is your morning routine?
In the winter I wake between 6:30-7 and in the summer between 6-6:30-ish. Being an Ayurvedic practitioner I have adopted many of the phenomenal Ayurvedic recommendations for staying in rhythm with the natural cycles of nature. As soon as I become conscious in the morning I enter into an internal gratitude practice. Once I get out of bed I scrape my tongue, swish oil in my mouth (oil pulling), and then have some warm water with lemon. After that, I do a very gentle movement/ yoga practice followed by some yogic breathing (pranayama) before breakfast.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
My daily focus is on being aware of my inner landscape—what the narrative going on internally is, while simultaneously tracking my energy. After my partner’s death, I was so grief-stricken and shocked that the very act of existing felt excruciating to me. I realized I needed to consciously conduct the flow of my thought forms and associated energy (emotions) within me. Otherwise, I would have suffered eternally. So I began to shift my thinking from a painful thought to another thought that felt slightly better (over and over and over again). This is a moment-to-moment practice. It’s one tool that took me out of suffering—from victimhood to co-creator.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
I used to push and push and force myself to do things that I thought I needed to or “should” do. I feel that was a contributing factor for my autoimmune condition lasting for so many years. I’ve discovered there’s a sweet spot to balancing the masculine and feminine energies. Now, I tend to wait until I feel inspired to do things, which actually allows me to be more productive. Also, learning to say no to things I don’t really want to do and setting boundaries has helped too. I work to align my energy first and foremost and then take action from an aligned place, instead of just ticking things off of my to-do list. This allows for inspired action and welcoming in the power of the feminine energy, opposed to always being in the masculine energy (which leads to burnout).
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
Various books have shown up at different times in my life to guide me into the next level of understanding. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda, Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch, and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle all influenced me when I first started reading about the expansion of consciousness over two decades ago. They all reawakened something deep in my soul. Something in me resonated with their words as a piece of profound knowledge.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
I love the simple and profound work of Byron Katie. It strikes right to the chord of truth.
“Nothing comes ahead of its time, and nothing ever happened that didn’t need to happen.”
― Byron Katie