• Warrior Monk

Warrior Monk Conversations 002: From Trauma Victim to Spiritual Warrior with Gabriella Wright

Updated: Jun 17


Ever had a traumatic event in your life where you found yourself crying every night, questioned your existence, and wondered where the pain is coming from? This episode is for you.


Listen to this episode as I talk to my dear friend Gabriella Wright—classically-trained Shakespearean actor, humanitarian, changemaker, and co-founder of the Never Alone movement for mental health and suicide prevention.


She pours out her heart as she shares how she was kidnapped before she turned 18 years old, how she dealt with the trauma and the pain, how her journey into Buddhism started, how she was able to heal, her relationship with her son, and how she became resilient through all her struggles as a woman, mother, and human.


Connect with Gabriella Wright on Instagram @ladygwright Twitter @ladygwright


Check out the NeverAlone Movement here: neveralone.love/


Intro and Outro Music: Hearts on Fire by Immersive Music


Connect with me for inspiring and educational content on Instagram @warriormonk and Facebook: facebook.com/thewarriormonk


Read more about the Warrior Monk mission here: www.thewarriormonk.com





#perspective #poonachamachaiah #purpose #resilience #wellbeing #wellness #depression #strength #warrior #empowerment #gabriellawright


TRANSCRIPTION


Warrior Monk Conversations 002: From Trauma Victim to Spiritual Warrior with Gabriella Wright


Welcome to Warrior Monk Conversations, a treasure trove of inspirational discussions in personal and professional development.

I am Poonacha Machaiah. Join me on this journey where I have immersive conversations with the most thought-provoking leaders and everyday heroes from our communities to inspire, educate, and empower you to build resilience and reach your highest potential. Join me on this mission to create a positive societal shift through the compassionate transformation of humankind.

My guest today is Gabriella Wright, an actor, humanitarian, and co-founder of the Never Alone movement for mental health and suicide prevention. Gabriela was trained as a Shakespearean actor and works in all of Los Angeles. She is the founder of the production company Conscious Intent, which supports different media formats to promote the human story. In 2019, she produced I am Never Alone, which was the impetus for the Never Alone global campaign. She is a Global Goodwill Ambassador to SkyPower, a solar company with a unique socio-economic impact model for developing nations, an honorary president of a grassroots charity in Burma that serves slums in and around Yangon. As a motivational speaker, she advocates, in particular, for an end to violence against women and girls, and has lent her voice to United Nations and the UN Trust Fund to end violence against women in London and in Los Angeles with Nicole Kidman.

Poonacha: So I'm here with Gabriella Wright, my dear friend, actress, humanitarian, and really somebody who is changing the world; and I'm so privileged to be able to have her on my podcast, the Warrior Monk podcast. I feel like two long lost friends, really, getting to know each other again.

Gabriella: (laughs) That's so true. I just wanted to laugh through your introduction, 'cause that's all I want to do with Poonacha. That's what I want to do with you is just laugh through life

Poonacha: So, let me start by asking you a little bit, when you think or to think of your life, and all the different roles you played, who's the one person who you think has been very instrumental in your life, or to people? If I ask you to close your eyes, think of somebody 10 years ago, who is still living, who comes into your mind right now? Who would it be?

Gabriella: Okay. Well, I know it might sound bizarre, but the person who's still in my life, who's still living, is actually one of my teachers. So I've been practicing Tibetan Buddhism for, now, almost 20 years; and one of my root teachers, we call them a root guru, Sadhguru in other words as well, is the Karmapa 17th. And he's actually my age. And he's 37 years old. And he's been very supportive of my life's transformations. Because as you know, life is not a---in French, un long fleuve tranquille, which means the lovely, you know, winding river that's very tranquil. I mean, once you're in the river, you know, it's very turbulent sometimes and, and he was able to always guide me, without getting emotionally involved, and bringing me out of the river. I went through, obviously, you know, this divorce, you know, I have custody battles the last 10 years. So, it's funny that you asked that question because it's been a decade. Now we're in a new decade. So I was reflecting, actually, on this question when I was in India, just now for the new—

Poonacha: In Goa! Fun times!

Gabriella: Exactly! Exactly! Yeah. You see, we, we connect, brother and sister around the world. So, and it was interesting because I reflected on the last decade. And I reflected on what are the things that happened? And how have I become free of the things that have happened? And how am I recreating a new life, you know, this next decade, and so I was thinking of the people who meant a lot to me in the last decade. It's definitely Karmapa 17th. And I'm successfully divorced and I'm successfully a mother, and I'm successfully happy. In that sense, and I think it's important to reflect like that.

Poonacha: So what is the one thing you can share with us, which was something—something which he said, which has really left—struck a chord in your life?

Gabriella: There are two things. I think, what really struck a chord for me, and I know, you know, everything now sounds a bit cliché when you talk about some spiritual sayings, you know, because they're—they're kind of reposted on Instagram every five seconds; but when you're in an intimate intimacy with your teacher and when you understand it at a particular time when it said, it clicks! And what he said to me was very interesting. Two things he said to me. First thing was everything, everything is impermanent. So this state of pain that I was in, and really conflicting, it was, it was a conflictual divorce. It was a conflictual relationship to my own motherhood. My ex-husband trying to take away the custody of my child meant that, all of a sudden, I was getting separated from my role as a mother. So my motherhood was—I felt that it was being violated. I was getting raped of my own nature, you know, so I took it very personally. And he was like, in the midst of that, "everything, everything is always impermanent". And I was like, "how can that ever be impermanent?" You know, "how can my pain ever be impermanent? How can this experience ever end?" My ex-husband was relentless at the time. By the way, for the listeners, all is well today. We get on well. He even sleeps in my house when he needs to. No problem, you know. But it's interesting to see-

Poonacha: The impermanence.

Gabriella: The impermanence of things, and we never believe it until we've actually crossed over and realize that "oh, wow! The sun has come through the clouds. I thought that we were in a really deep storm and it felt forever at that time". But then it really does change and it's actually a natural flow of things. That's what's amazing. It's not that you want things to change. It's the natural flow of things that change.

Poonacha: Wow. So, you're, to me, like a spiritual Athena.

Gabriella: (Laughs)

Poonacha: The spiritual—don't say gangster—spiritual warrior.

Gabriella: I like that right. Warrior. I like the warrior.

Poonacha: Like a spiritual Athena, right?

Gabriella: Yeah.

Poonacha: So they, so you kind of very fluidly, kind of, bring together the spirituality and this action hero, you kind of play these roles. So let's now talk about the spiritual part. How did your journey into Buddhism start? Like, I talked to you and I think I'm talking to a nun among-

Gabriella: (Laughs)

Poonacha: So how did it start? Like what? How do you go from New York, the UK, and then all the way to Nepal and India? How did this journey, how did the journey start?

Gabriella: Well, as you know, it's interesting. So, first of all, thank you for calling me a warrior, because I think it's of the highest compliment. It really is. I think it's-

Poonacha: And a spiritual warrior.

Gabriella: And spiritual warrior which even takes it to a whole new level, because I feel I didn't know I was a warrior until I was put to the test. You know. When I was put into action, you know, you get put into action. And my first test, let's say it that way, my first big challenge, and the first big fight that I, in a fight, in a conflict that I experienced was, and it's unfortunate, but you know what, it happened for a reason. When I was—just before I turned 18 years old, I was unfortunately kidnapped over 24 hours by a stranger who was completely obsessed with me. I had no idea. You know, when you were young like that you don't look in the mirror obsessed, like I do, you know. You don't know what your reflection is to, you know, other people and apparently I attracted many and all types of men and, and predators, and I didn't know that actual predators existed! It was very funny. I had no clue whatsoever. So all of a sudden, I become a prey, I become like the deer in the headlights. And when that happened, it was very interesting because my whole reality, my whole perfect view of the world shattered. I was literally—everything that I learned at school, which was social economics, welfare, you believe in systems and structures that are supposed to support you as a young woman, were not reliable. Nobody was reliable, and nobody was able to answer to the questions of, first of all, how do we get to this person? I was so traumatized. I couldn't even like, you know, address the issue because I, I didn't even know what trauma was. I was living it. But it was really debilitating. I couldn't do anything. I wanted to sleep in the dark. I wanted to hold hands with my parents. I mean, how embarrassing is that when you're 18 years old to do that? I needed to sleep between the two for the first three days. You know, there were all these things. And I was like, "Oh, my God! My life has changed. And I have no power over it. I do not want to live like this." So the first thing was like, "I know what life was before. The systems failed. Nobody understands what I'm going through. Everybody thinks they do, but they don't, because they're not experiencing the pain that I'm experiencing." Okay, so those are these three things. But then where is the pain coming from? Literally, where is it? Because once you're healed physically, you're like, "okay, that's one side of me." But then there's memory in the past and you're like, "why is that memory triggering me? Why is it triggering me? And why? Where is it stuck, this memory?" There must be a way to eject that memory without becoming numb to the world that you're living in, right? I didn't want to dress like a boy, even if I wanted to. There were so many things that I love to---before this event. I was like, "I want to go back to that girl! She was fun. She was free. She was innocent. She was loved. She was dancing in the street, walking barefoot under the rain." I mean, "Wow! I want to be that person again."

Poonacha: I think you are naughty.

Gabriella: Yeah. Exactly. (Laughs) So, I thought-

Poonacha: Dancing in the rain. Seattle.

Gabriella: Exactly! (Laughs) Oh, yeah. Exactly. You know, and so I was like, "hold on a second. I don't want to be controlled by this." So those are the questions that led me to geographically move and go to the other side of the globe. This happened in Paris. I went to the other side of the globe, which was in New Zealand. And one thing led to another. Gazette came through, you know, the door and it said "Free your mind, body and spirit." And I was like, "Oh, my God." I mean, you know how-

Poonacha: It sounds like a movie script, right?

Gabriella: Yeah! It literally sounds like, yeah, or a bad one because you're like, well like, "that's not possible". Well, I'm telling you guys it is possible. I get this free local Gazette. And I'm like, "Free your mind? I don't know what the mind is. Body? I get it because I'm living in a body. And spirit?" I was like, "other than the Holy Spirit I have no education of what this is because I was brought up as a Catholic." And I was like, well. So I called this number and it was a Chinese woman on the other line and she goes, "listen, you can come, come for free." I was like, "listen, I'm a student, no money." She's like, "no, just come for free. Just come." So I show up to this central garden, which is in the middle, by the way, of a shopping center in Hamilton, New Zealand. And as I'm there I see this guy sitting literally under a tree. I'm like, "okay, this is really fucking weird", you know. I am sorry, but whoever designed this cosmic joke: there's a hidden camera somewhere, there's a guy and this is gonna go viral at that point. It wasn't viral. But you know, now with hindsight, I would think today that that would be a joke, you know? And I was like, "hold on a second, what's going on?" And he's meditating under a tree! I was like, "okay, well, I'll just sit next to him." And he told me to sit. He—I don't speak Chinese. He didn't speak English. And what happened was, I started to close my eyes. I didn't know it was meditating, by the way. That's an important thing. I had no idea it was a meditation. No idea. I just-

Poonacha: You're the only student?

Gabriella: Yeah! I was the-

Poonacha: -Only- (Chuckles)

Gabriella: -Only person there! And there's this woman with her flyers with this like dingy, like, you know, weird ding ding music and I'm like, "okay, this is very strange." So, and it was really bizarre because I was challenged. I would open my eye of the, I'd see like guys walking around, you know, the shopping center. I'll be like, "why am I here? What am I doing here?" And in a way, two by—two hours went by, and I felt that the next day I had to go. And it was free, by the way. And so, I ended up going every day for about two to three months.

Poonacha: Wow!

Gabriella: And, literally, by the end of this experience, I had now, now I can say it was a vision, but the vision was my bare feet on a wooden stage, and it's at that point, I was like, "I can go back to acting now." Because, some people think they can operate from pain. I know that I cannot operate from pain because I need to feel stability and joy to be able to recreate even the most intense of emotions as an actress, but I need to have inner stability. That's the number one thing. I don't need to take drugs to go and play a druggie. You know, there are certain people who might need to do that, who think they need to do that. I understand that within, we have infinite potential. It's just how do we communicate within, and for that to happen, we need to experience some form of inner stability. Now you can translate that as peace, you know, joy, love; but it's actually not that. It's an inner tranquility. It's the contentment, you know. So at that point, I found contentment without realizing. And by the way, I wasn't even thinking about my rape anymore. And I was like, "oh, wow! I feel safe all of a sudden, and I wasn't looking for it." You see, that was amazing. So I started meditating before knowing it was meditation. And then one day, a woman came at the end of the session. She walked across the park. She was wearing orange robes, literally shaved head, and she's like, "hi, we were meant to meet", and I was like, "okay, this is a bit too much for me." Like, and she's like, "my name is Karma." And then I was like, "Okay, this is, I'm done", you know. "I don't want to know you", you know. And she, for some reason, asked me her, my number. And that was the first test. I was like, "Okay, well, I'm going to give her my number." So I gave her the number. And a week later, I was hoping she didn't call, and she didn't call; and then a week later, she did. And she was like, "Hey, get ready. We're going to see the queen Māori." And I was like, "You don't even know me." She's like, "No, no, I know you already we were meant to meet. We're going to meet the queen Māori." And I was like, "Well, I didn't even know there was a queen Māori." She's like, "listen, you're in New Zealand. There are Māoris." So I was like, "Well, I haven't seen any." She's like, "because you haven't looked." I was like, "Okay." So anyway, to cut a long story short, she drives me in her car, comes and picks me up. I actually think I'm having flashbacks of getting kidnapped again. So I'm having a whole other anxiety. In a dialogue, I'm like, "God wanted me to die" because I was brought up as a Catholic, so I was like, "Okay, so this is God's will. I just need to surrender into this," you know, "event that's going to occur again" and we show up at this Marae, which is actually where all the tribes get together, the families get together, the Māoris; and there was a coronation of the queen, and I was the only---they called me Pākehā, which I'm not white, as you know, but I have white blood as well as mixed, and I was allowed in their ceremonies. And what Karma explained to me, she represented and facilitated the Tibetan teachers in exile of China. And at that point, she introduced me to that community. And that has been now for almost 20 years, you know.

Poonacha: Wow.

Gabriella: So that's how it all started from really challenging, as you say, like my, I became a warrior without knowing what a warrior was!

Poonacha: I mean, a lot of warriors are in New Zealand. That's probably the fiercest warriors-

Gabriella: Yeah. And then I hang out—Exactly! I had no idea. I was a little girl.

Poonacha: So nothing is an accident, is there?

Gabriella: I know. Nothing is. And I'm so grateful to them because they actually gave me the power, without me knowing, that I needed to go and get it. That was what was so beautiful. It's that everything unfolded in its own way, in a way where I had no concept and no pre-concept or no construct around healing. I just knew I wanted to get better, but I didn't know what to do and everything was unfolding by itself.

Poonacha: Are you in touch with the teacher?

Gabriella: I'm in touch with the same, so, with the same-

Poonacha: Lineage?

Gabriella: Lineage, but not with the same teacher, but the same lineage. And you know, in Buddhism, you've got five lineages. So it could have been any of those lineages. It was exactly the same lineage that I follow today. We, I don't really like saying follow, it's more like that I'm a part of, and that I embrace, you know?

Poonacha: Can you share with us something, a mantra or something which is so, which has really been instrumental in your life, from the teachings?

Gabriella: Yes. I mean, okay. Well, there's a mantra that I've been saying now, for millions of times now, actually, and it wasn't, it was a direct instruction given to me by one of my late teachers in the lineage who passed away in 2015. But he—I can, I can chant it for you if you want.

Poonacha: Please. I would love to.

Gabriella: It's basically embracing the female aspects of the different diverse aspects of, of motherhood but also the feminine energy. So, it's the White Tara mantra.

Poonacha: Okay.

Gabriella: So it's: OM TARE TUTTARE TURE MAMA AYUH PUNYA JNANA PUSTIME KURU SVAHA OM TARE TUTTARE TURE MAMA AYUH PUNYA JNANA PUSTIME KURU SVAHA OM TARE TUTTARE TURE MAMA AYUH PUNYA JNANA PUSTIME KURU SVAHA.

Poonacha: Wow.

Gabriella: So, it's just so lovely because when you recite this mantra, you activate, first of all, the different aspects of the Divine Feminine, if you were to call it like that; and Tara has 21 manifestations, a bit like in Hinduism actually, where, you know, you have all these different archetypes of the feminine-

Poonacha: Lakshmi, Saraswati, Durga, Kali.

Gabriella: Exactly. It's the same. It's all the Shakti energy that is there, that is, and it's being projected with the different aspects of our divine qualities that we have as a woman. And I think White Tara is also the mother of all Buddhas, so she's also the mother of consciousness. So it's that symbol of, what is our foundation that we---that is then born off, you know? So it's---we recreate our immortality everyday also with this, with this mantra. It's also a longevity mantra. And a lot of male practitioners practice this as well, you know, for their particular reasons. So, yes, it's one of my favorite practices.

Poonacha: So I met your son.

Gabriella: Yes.

Poonacha: Sean. Amazing. What are your---he's come into this world now. And then as a mother, mother, what are some of your lessons to him or what stories do you impart? How do you, kind of, bring this wisdom and knowledge into a teenager?

Gabriella: It's a very good question actually. I started to do, at a very young age, bringing him to retreats, bringing him to the teachers. He now has his own independent relationship, for example, with Karmapa 17th. They meet up, and I don't have to be in the room. He has his own conversations and I push him to create his own intimacy with the teachings. So obviously, he's not reading scripture. It's not like he's, you know, doing the meditations as such or reciting certain, but he knows the mantras. He knows that if he needs anything, he comes to me, and we can recite them together. And I teach him how to remember them so that he can have that echo in his awareness. Generally, when he's not well, he comes to me and he says, "Mom, I," you know, "I feel," you know, "I don't feel well." I say like, "Hey, do you want to sit and meditate? We can do it two together." And he's like, "yeah!" So we go in my room and we meditate. Also, I think what's important for teenagers, the environment. So for example, when, when I go home, I've created my home like a temple. So, when I say temple, it's not a Hindu temple, it's not a Buddhist---it's a sanctuary. It's really a sanctuary. So there's a, there's a safety and there's a, there's a highlight on one's inner practice, meaning one has to feel good to be able to do anything else, you know. And the home is designed like that, to the point where one day we actually went to visit another temple. And Sean goes like this, "hey, it feels, it feels like home here, Mom. This is a bit like home." I was like, and that was like the best compliment because he said it without thinking. And so he didn't have his thoughts. It was really his spontaneous reaction to that. And I think, you know, to, being with the teenagers that I also listen so much to him. He has also knowledge that I don't have. He has a different perception of-

Poonacha: Insights.

Gabriella: Exactly.

Poonacha: There's so much you can learn from their generation, right?

Gabriella: Exactly. So it's not never about imposing my reality. I just make sure the sanctuaries there, he feels safe, and whatever, however he wants to practice, in his own practice, like these days now, he's getting up at 5 AM on his own accord, and he-

Poonacha: Thanks to Robin Sharma.

Gabriella: Exactly.

Poonacha: The 5AM Club.

Gabriella: The 5AM Club. He, kind of, got ahold of that book and he's starting to read it, and I'm like, "okay, this is interesting." And he's like, "yeah, it's a personal goal." He hasn't told me what his personal goal is. I can't tell you.

Poonacha: It's beautiful.

Gabriella: But he has his personal goal. And I was like, "okay." And he does some meditation now in front of his friends, he doesn't say meditates, but he said, "Yeah, I do a sunrise meditation." So he goes out of the home, he goes to the upside of the property and watch the sunrise, and then he go, takes his bus to school!

Poonacha: Fantastic!

Gabriella: I was like, "Wow! If you're doing that on your own accord, then, I think you're gonna be fine in life. (Laughs)

Poonacha: You have no fault.

Gabriella: Yeah, exactly. So, I think it's really about—I think you said that, Poonacha, actually, yesterday, on our Never Alone panel, is that, it's not about what you say, it's about what you do.

Poonacha: Absolutely.

Gabriella: And really that, that struck a chord with a lot of the parents yesterday, is that, we need to be the embodiment of the teaching of what we want to give to our children. We can't just say things. We need to be kind, not say be kind. We need to be present, not try and pretend to be present, you know. There's many things like that.

Poonacha: Amazing job with your son. How do you take him to Hollywood?

Gabriella: (Laughs) Okay.

Poonacha: So as an action hero, how do you do this? I would like to know. So, how do you take spirituality and all the amazing conversation we're having into this paradigm?

Gabriella: Okay. Completely different paradigm.

Poonacha: Right.

Gabriella: Completely different gearbox. Completely different world. It is a different world, you know. In other words, you can say, "Son, it's a different loca" you know, where all of a sudden, Hollywood's a different loca meaning a different dimension that we're entering.

Poonacha: You were a French actress that was-

Gabriella: Yes.

Poonacha: Classically trained, Shakespearean-

Gabriella: Classically trained, Shakespearean actor, thea---I started in the theater and then did French films, which I don't really, I mean, it was great to be able to work in my second language. I am French, but it is my second language even if I sound like the French. So for me, it was a great—it was a big deal to be, you know, seen as a French and portray French characters. And now I just want to portray as many characters as possible, and so, and diversity, diversity, right? And what I love, I do love action films. I have to say. So there's the warrior aspect as well. I just love, you know, opening up a scene and, you know, unfortunately, sorry for the men who are listening, but I, you know, I get to kill a few of you guys off, you know, with either a gunshot to the head or a flying 360 kick. And I enjoy doing that. For me, that's also the embodiment of the warrior, you know. And I enjoy, but also to empower girls, to also get over, you know, trauma, but also be kind, you know. There's, there's an aspect, I think, of warrior being a hero in films like that, you can really inspire the youth, and you use it as a tool of transformation. So I feel when I go into Hollywood, that I'm bringing that energy to the character. I'm not just playing a character, I'm not just an actor, I'm bringing the human side to a character. And for sure, I don't think I've got to where I want to. In terms of characters, there's so many new characters that I want to really embody, an action warrior female, like, franchise. That's really something that I'm working towards to because I think it's important. I want reality to be able to be palpable for young women. Very important.

Poonacha: About young women, I know you're doing a bunch of work, with United Nations, share some of the work you're envisioning to be doing with, I know, Never Alone, we're doing on suicide prevention. But for young women, what are your thoughts? What do you want to do?

Gabriella: Okay. So, it's very interesting, because when I was just in India, just before seeing you in Goa, as you know, I was invited to speak at Amrita University. And, it was fascinating because in the beginning, they asked me to talk about Never Alone, in the context of women empowerment in rural India. And I was like, "wow! This is an interesting angle to look at this." So how do we tackle, how do we talk about mental health and suicide prevention in rural India for the empowerment of women? How interesting is this conversation! So we went on for two hours, and I, and it was a fascinating exchange with faculty members and students as well. Basically, the vision that I have on what I want to help implement together, is that really, that we do not, as young women, and as women, in general, need to hold on to our traumas. Like, we don't need to carry them like a badge. You know what I mean? And the thing is, there's a lot of wonderful women's movements that are happening right now, that are opening the world, opening the thing; but there's a lot of anger, as well, directed to the other gender. And I feel that we need to close that gap because the separation is coming more and more in different areas of our society. The division between men and women, prior the Me Too movement, after the Me Too movement, has become quite vague. And as much as the Me Too movement has contributed to the awareness, which is extremely important to burst that bubble, because having been, you know, abused myself, you know, it is important that we're able to be protected by a system, by a legal system, by a police structure, by awareness and all that. But we also need to heal. And without our own healing, none of that structural business will actually help us unless we heal. And unless we're able to look at the person, in the eye, and the other gender, and I—with love and kindness, we won't be able to have a happy life. We won't be able to transmit that to our daughters. And that will be in our cellular memory, as mothers, as caretakers, and we will have that. And that's what I would love for women, is to really embrace---let's just be all warriors and queens, you know. Queens are always forgiving. They just look and they smile and, and they're just like, "Yes, my darling, it's okay, my son. Just move on," you know. And we have to be like that with ourselves, you know. It's, really, having the embodiment of these qualities of like, "Yes, this happened. Yes, it's traumatic. I've gone through my journey. How can my personal story, how can this story, how can I channel it in a way that empowers others to be free so they can release their own trauma? And now, can they be their own inspiration in their own community?" Right? And we need that healing. We need to heal before we go out, you know, trying to even have conversations about this, you know.

Poonacha: Oh. So, closing thoughts, some rapid questions.

Gabriella: (Laughs) Okay.

Poonacha: Favorite movie?

Gabriella: I Too just come up. I love The English Patient.

Poonacha: Uh-huh. Absolutely.

Gabriella: Oh, my God. I just—okay. Typical woman, I'm always dreaming of like a perfect love story. Not that it's, it's just, it's so beautiful. That film? Favorite. Like, I love The English Patient. It's beautiful. It transcends time. For me, it's very romantic that—I love being an explorer as well, so I like exploring, and that the imagery in that film just made me want to be an explorer of my own self, you know.

Poonacha: When Gabriella is not acting, not being a mom, not saving the world on suicide prevention, what, what do you do just to regenerate?

Gabriella: I go to India, to an ashram. (Laughs)

Poonacha: Exciting. Well, it's amazing, amazing ashram, so I get, I get it. Okay. Who knows you the best?

Gabriella: Oh, my God, that's such a good question. I think my son knows me the best.

Poonacha: Beautiful.

Gabriella: I really, I think he does. My father said to me one day, he's like, "You're the perfect contradiction." I was like, "Hmm? I think you know me quite well now." (Laughs)

Poonacha: What thing or things brings out the best in you? When are you the most, like, a time when you've—or incidents that, kind of, brings out the best personalities or, like, what, an attribute, which you can think of, which brings you joy?

Gabriella: It's really when I'm creating and I'm sharing the creation. So when I'm in that space of creating something, like building something together and then sharing it,

Poonacha: I've seen the idea.

Gabriella: I love that. I feel like I'm on fire. I'm floating. When I'm speaking about transformation, really, when I speak about transformation, and I see it transform people's lives in front of me, as and---that's when I get the most—that's when I'm high. Literally. I get high of that.

Poonacha: Yeah, I love the word resilience. In those moments, when it's deep, dark, and man, you're the one person who really can speak about it. And today, what are some of the practices you follow which, you think, other women, men could use in their own ways? What is that works for you?

Gabriella: You know, I think the first thing that really works for me is to just have to create the relationship with self. I know it sounds bizarre to say this, like, "Oh, I'm creating a relationship with myself." No! That's actually the number one thing. It's like, "how do I feel?" It's like, "Who am I? How do I feel? What is my purpose right now?" Like, "I need to get over this day, so that I can survive this day, or I can survive this moment." And sometimes my purpose is just that I need to breathe. And sometimes, you know what, I used to cry every night till I was 27 years old. And at one point—and at 27 years old, one of my teachers gave me a clear insight into what the nature of reality is, and that's a whole other conversation that I won't share right now. But even when I was crying, I was, and I had no explanation other than, you know, okay, the event; but I wasn't even crying about the event, It was more like an existential kind of relationship where I was just crying. Like, "what is this life? What is it? What am I really doing?" And I think when you find your inner purpose, when you create that relationship with yourself like you cradle yourself, you like, "Okay, well, how can I make myself feel better today very simply? Maybe I'm just going to observe my tears and write about that. Maybe I'm just going to go into a sauna. Maybe I'm just going to breathe in and breathe out rapidly just because I need to breathe. Maybe I'm going to meditate, you know. But you need to create a relationship with yourself so that there's, all of a sudden, the separation between what you experience as you and what the other you is. And it's like a mirror relationship. And all of a sudden, you're creating an inner dialogue. It's not a monologue anymore. You're not saying a monologue to the outer world. You're creating a dialogue with your inner world. And that is one of the most powerful tools that's helped me through everything.

Poonacha: Well, I'm so grateful to you and I'm really happy that, in my own journey, as what I call the Warrior Monk, that I do have a spiritual warrior, in the form of Gabriella Wright, on my side. And I think our journey is very special, and I think, we have just got started with Never Alone.

Gabriella: We have.

Poonacha: We have a whole movement ahead of us and one which Naveen asked me this morning, "Poonacha, what is your vision?" And I basically said, "I want to imagine a world when no one ever feels helpless or hopeless." Right?

Gabriella: Beautiful.

Poonacha: I want to imagine a world when no one ever feels helpless or hopeless. Because when you do, it goes down a very deep spiral.

Gabriella: Yes.

Poonacha: And I'm so grateful that we get to kind of collaborate and share and have fun, more importantly,

Gabriella: Yes, we do. We laugh a lot.

Poonacha: We laugh a lot. So, until India---and hopefully the next podcast is going to be in India, in Goa.

Gabriella: Oh, yes. Exactly. We'll have, we'll have a whole setup station there. We're finding excuses to go and go back there constantly.

Poonacha: Awesome. Thank you.

Gabriella: Thank you, Poonacha. Thank you.

Poonacha: Bye.

Gabriella: Bye.

Poonacha: Bye-bye.


Imagine a world where no one ever feels helpless or hopeless. Join me on the Warrior Monk mission to create a positive shift through the compassionate transformation of humankind.


Warrior Monk Conversations 002: From Trauma Victim to Spiritual Warrior with Gabriella Wright


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© 2023 by Poonacha Machaiah. Warrior Monk Conversations

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