Sheleana Aiyana, BECOMING THE ONE

Sheleana Aiyana, BECOMING THE ONE

Writer, spiritual counselor, and founder of Rising Woman Sheleana Aiyana joins Zibby to talk about her first book, Becoming the One, which takes readers through one of her self-discovery programs. The two discuss some of the traumas Sheleana faced early on and how she managed to work through them, as well as when she knew she was destined to help other women find themselves. Sheleana also shares why the process of writing this book was so grueling and how working on herself allowed her to find her husband who helped her through her self-doubts.


Zibby Owens: Welcome, Sheleana. Thank you so much for coming on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books” to discuss Becoming the One: Heal Your Past, Transform Your Relationship Patterns, and Come Home to Yourself.

Sheleana Aiyana: Hi. Thanks for having me.

Zibby: It’s my pleasure. You start off your book being very open about your mother and her history, you and your history, and how you arrived at this place in your twenties, basically, where you turned everything around and ended up starting this amazing community. Talk a little about all of that. I’m also really curious, how were you able to really effectively pivot and turn into a helpful guru of sorts versus the person who might have not survived all of that and gone a totally different route? What do you think happened? Tell me a little more about your story.

Sheleana: I think for me, it really was fated. This felt like something that I was here to do from the beginning. When I was really little, obviously, I started having really intense experiences. I went through all of the traumas you could go through throughout my young childhood and teenage years and even my early twenties. There was just something in me that really was saying, this isn’t even about you. This is about learning. This is about integrating. You’re here to serve. I got that message really, really clearly in a very intense time when I was in a really abusive relationship. Things were really bad. I remember looking in the mirror at my own reflection. I could barely recognize myself. Then I just heard, this is your path. You’re meant to work with women. Of course, it would be about ten years before I ever did. There was just a spark. There was something in me. I don’t consider myself a guru, but I do feel like I have had the opportunity in this lifetime to alchemize those teachings that have come to me through heartache, through loss, through tragedy, and to be of service through that. So often, I have learned in my own life — I know this helps other people. When we’re going through something hard, if we have the capacity to be of service a little bit, it can really help draw us out of the bitterness, out of that heartache, and into connection, into community again. That is part of my aim, is to support others on that journey as well to find their own path through their painful experiences.

Zibby: Wow. That’s beautiful. That’s so great. You could hear the calling and then listened to it and all of that, which is amazing. Are you comfortable talking about some of the things that did happen in the past, or is it too painful to go there?

Sheleana: I sort of have this rule with myself. It’s one of the alchemy principles of containment. You keep something in. You hold it. You let it alchemize. You don’t really disperse the energy. You don’t share until it has had the power to transform or you get the medicine. For me, anything that’s in my book is something that I have really moved through and that I feel a sense of completion and peace with. If there’s ever anything that I’m going through personally that I haven’t fully worked through, then I just keep it to myself. Everything in the book, it’s stuff that I really feel has moved through me in a really beautiful way. Obviously, the first story I think you’re referring to is when I was three years old. My mom battled alcoholism. She had severe complex PTSD. She had a very, very traumatizing life, some of the most horrific abuse that you could imagined that she endured. She didn’t have the emotional capacity or even the cognitive capacity to mother me. She was essentially a child with a child.

Zibby: Was it from someone she knew? Was this a crime?

Sheleana: It was family. It was very incessant. She was never mothered. She had the worst — you can’t even call it an upbringing. Even hearing her stories was traumatizing for me. That’s how intense it was. Just the fact that she’s here and that I’m here, it’s such a gift. Really, she didn’t have any tools. From very, very early on, we were in chaos a lot together. She was very young. She was twenty-two, which was a common age back then. Everybody was having babies at twenty, twenty-two. She just didn’t have the skills. She didn’t have a community. There was a point where she just packed me up and dropped me off at a foster home in the middle of the night. I just remember screaming and wanting her to come back and watching her drive away. That was the first experience that I had of abandonment. In that foster home, I actually endured sexual abuse. Then my life just sort of went on. I ended up with my mom for a few years. Then I would be back in a foster home. She would be in the hospital for months and months at a time for her mental health. It was really unstable. I never knew consistency. I didn’t know what it meant to stay in one place for even a few months. You can imagine, as an adult, how my relationship patterns looked as someone who’s wired for chaos and constant upheaval. The moment something was stable, everything in my body was telling me to shake things up, sabotage something, run. Things aren’t supposed to feel stable and calm. That’s how my life looked for most of my early years, very, very tumultuous.

Zibby: By the way, I’m just so sorry that your family had to go through all of that. You being born into this untenable situation and yet finding a way forward, it’s really impressive. Tell me about starting Rising Woman and developing this into a thing. All of your advice was so amazing. I’m like, ooh, I could use this one right here. Maybe my mom was this way. I feel like there’s definitely something for everyone in any type of relationship in here. Mostly, of course, your message is you have to be yourself first. You have to work on yourself before you can work on any relationship you’re in. Tell me about that whole piece getting started.

Sheleana: When I was in my very early twenties, I met somebody who seemed different than all of the other people that I had met who were really abusive, and so that was good enough for me. It was a strange dynamic. I almost feel like it was just this karmic relationship that I had to have in order to see all of my wounds front and center and to really be catalyzed into this. It was interesting. Right away, I didn’t feel this strong attraction or chemistry to this person, but I just kept going forward. He’s from a different country. We ended up getting married. He didn’t propose. There was no romance. It was very, okay, we need to be able to stay together in the country, so we’ll just get married. At the same time, we’re talking about, if things don’t get better in two years, let’s break up. It was very strange. When you look back, you’re like, why did I do that? Then when you are in the place that you are now, often, it all makes sense. It makes sense for me now that that needed to happen. We had a really tumultuous, painful ending as well. There was a lot of betrayal. He took off with somebody who was a friend of ours, just completely disappeared. I went from living with this person to not knowing where they were. I lost my business, all of my money. I had a six-figure business. It was just gone. I gained thirty pounds in a month from stress. All my hormones crashed. Then my sole cat just disappeared. That was the one thing. I was like, at least I have my cat. I’ll preserve this relationship. I was actually saying that to myself. Then she disappeared.

I was like, okay, everything is gone. I’m left to pick up the pieces. There was this moment where he had come to pick up some stuff. She was in the passenger seat. I ran outside in my bare feet. I was yelling at him. I was very upset. Then as they drove off, all of a sudden, I had this huge flood memory of being three and watching my mom drive away. Then it was just this pure overwhelm and relief at the same time because I realized in that moment that it wasn’t about him and that I actually didn’t need him to come back. I didn’t need him to ever change because this was all my history just coming up for healing. That was comforting for me. So often when we go through these deep losses or when we have these really painful relationships, we make it so much about that person. They’re our twin flame. They’re our soulmate. We need them. We’ll never find love like that again. When it hurts that bad, it’s often because it’s bringing something up very old in us. For me, that was, okay, this is your moment, and so I just went in. I went into the wound. I realized that I had never actually tended to all of that grief. I had never looked at it. I had said, I just went through a lot when I was young. Then I just moved on. People would say to me, they would say, how are you not suffering from addiction? How are you not living on the streets? All of the things that you’ve been through, how are you fine? I would be like, oh, I’m just fine, but I wasn’t. Everything in my life was disconnected. I was disconnected. I need that jolt to wake up.

At that point, I began doing deep dives into mother wound work, shadow work, a lot of ceremonial work. I didn’t date. I just focused on me and really what I wanted to create. I saw so many of my own walls and my own blocks and how shut down I was and how unable I was to even access my true vulnerability, which I hadn’t really owned until that point. I was only in my early twenties at this point. Then through that process, I ended up meeting my husband, Ben. Here we are now. It was many years later that I ended up starting Rising Woman. I had bought the domain. I was paying it off on a payment plan. I was writing. A few years later, I really started to bring it out into the world. In 2018, I went on Instagram and started sharing there. Then it just took a life of its own, wildfire.

Zibby: Wow. Now you’ve done classes and taught and reached hundreds and thousands of women. What has that been like for you?

Sheleana: It’s been amazing. I felt ready when I stepped into it. I feel more and more committed and devoted every day. At first, I really didn’t imagine that it was going to grow to millions of people. That wasn’t a goal. It wasn’t like, I’m here to build an empire. I’m here to serve and to do what I’m here to do. Then it just skyrocketed. My writing really resonated. I would receive so many heartfelt messages. I still do every day, I think because so many of us actually have a similar story to me. My story’s not unique at all. We just don’t talk about these things very openly. A lot of people keep their stories close. They think that they’re alone in the world. When we find out that we’re not, it’s so comforting. I have been creating containers for people to explore their relationship to themselves as a vehicle for conscious relationship. My book, Becoming the One, is based on the program Becoming the One, which is really this premise of relationship is everything, and the relationship to yourself is priority here. When you know you, when you’re in deep relationship and devotion with you, then you can also express yourself vulnerably, authentically. You can ask for what you need and want. You can have real conversations. You know your values. You know if people are actually in alignment with you or not. How can we make decisions on who to be in deep relationship with if we don’t even know who we are or what we stand for? Of course, these things are always changing, but there’s a baseline. The more disconnected we are from ourselves, the more we’re going to just choose people based on the butterflies or some old pattern that we’re attracted to. My work is really in helping people find that anchor back to themselves.

Zibby: How many women are in relationships versus women hoping to be in relationships or women in relationships that are kind of toxic or that need a little help or a lot of help? Who is your clientele? Who’s your dream woman?

Sheleana: It’s such a range. I do get a lot of people who are in transition similar to the story that I shared where they were in a dynamic that was really unhealthy. They were cycling through it over and over. They’re finding their power. They’re looking to find something else or create something else. I do get a good percentage of people who are in relationships as well and then a lot of single people as well who are like, I actually just want to work on myself right now. It’s such a wide range of ages too. I have twenty-five-year-olds. Then I have seventy-three-year-old psychotherapists. It’s so beautiful to just gather with women and to see that it doesn’t matter what age you are. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been married, how many times you’ve been divorced, whether you’ve been in a relationship in the last ten years. There’s always another layer to go. There’s so much connection that happens when we do this work. It’s really rewarding to see people feel at home in themselves regardless of their relationship status because I find that’s really the confidence-builder they need to really create the partnership that they dream of. I’m whole. I’m worthy. I don’t actually need someone to come and complete me. Then all of a sudden, the partnership that they’ve been longing for is there because they’re standing in their wholeness. We have this cultural idea that we’re broken or that we’re looking for our other half or that we need another person. Even the twin flame concept is like, your soul is broken in two, and then you find them. That’s sort of romantic, but it’s pretty unhealthy because then we’re always left feeling like we’re not enough.

Zibby: That makes sense. Then what was it like for you writing a whole book in addition to running your business and doing everything else?

Sheleana: It was really insane. I did not understand how intense writing a book would be. I’ve wanted to write a book since I was five. Ever since I was a little girl and could pick up a pen, I’ve been writing. I wrote my first little book when I was in grade one. I was always a writer. There was a reason that I didn’t write a book until now. It was a huge initiation for me. At first, I really tried just to do it all. Then I realized I actually needed to disappear to write this book. Fortunately, I have a wonderful team. I have a wonderful COO. She just took the reins and handled things for me. I went pretty off the map for the year to just write this book. It was a gorgeous process for me. At first, I was so resistant. I wanted to quit. At one point, I sat down on the couch. I looked at Ben. I couldn’t even get words out. I just cried. I was like, “I’m not a writer. I need to quit. I’m going to just give my advance back. I’m done.” He could tell that I was just done. He was like, “Okay. If that’s what you need to do, we’ll do that.” I just needed to move through it. He held space for me. We did a little breath work. Then the next day, I started writing. I wrote the whole first manuscript in four months after that. I was really on that threshold of, oh, my gosh, this feels like I’m dying. Then my editor, Eva, and I, we built this beautiful relationship. I call her a dear friend now. We edited this thing until it was just so beautiful in essence. I’m really proud of it. I really am. It was a really fun process by the end. By the end, I was like, oh, my gosh, this is the most amazing thing. All I want to do is write books. It took some time to get there.

Zibby: It’s nice to hear that honesty because there’s this misperception that it’s all rainbows and sunshine. It’s hard. It can be hard. Does this mean you want to write more books?

Sheleana: I am already. Yes, I’m writing more right now.

Zibby: More than one?

Sheleana: Yeah, two. I won’t say what they are yet. Yes, there are two books in the works, one that will be coming out in 2023-ish. We’re still setting the dates for it. I’ll be announcing that in a while. Then the next one, not quite sure when that will come out yet. That one, I feel, is still slowing alchemizing.

Zibby: That is very exciting. Good thing that Ben handled that situation the right way.

Sheleana: Normally, he would pump me up. He’d be like, no. He could tell that he just needed to say, okay.

Zibby: It’s sort of ironic. The whole book is about, once you get to know yourself, you can do anything. Then you got to know yourself well enough that you end up with the right partner who then helps you write the book that helps other people become themselves. Full circle. Do you have any advice to aspiring authors, having just survived this process?

Sheleana: Oh, my gosh. I would say just be really gentle with yourself. Listen to other authors when they say don’t worry about making it perfect. The first manuscript will not be anything close to what the book is. I was told this by many authors. Of course, I was like, but I’m different. I’m going to just write the full manuscript. We’re just going to edit it once, and then it’s going to be done. No. Literally, every author that has been through this process, they know. The first draft, you’re just getting it out. Just let that process happen. One of the things that stopped me was the resistance of letting that happen. I really was trying to perfect it along the way instead of just getting it out. Then once I did that, we teased it over and over and over. Really giving yourself that grace and knowing that it might feel hard in the beginning, but if you just keep going, there’s this relationship you build with the book and with the journey. Things become very clear. That would be the number one. Just let it flow out of you the first time. Don’t worry if you throw it all out. My first draft, maybe there’s ten percent of it in this book.

Zibby: Amazing. Thank you so much. Thank you for sharing your story and your community. I’m hoping that maybe there’s someone out there listening who needs this exact right thing right now and hearing your story is going to make them flock to your community. If people want to join you and help and do the work on themselves, where should they go? What should they do?

Sheleana: You can find me. I have two sites. My Rising Woman site is You can find the book at I’m on Instagram, @SheleanaAiyana, which is a bit of a mouthful, so you can find that in the show notes, probably, and then @RisingWoman as well. If you follow my personal, you will get an array of all of my writing in addition to pictures of food and my dog. Rising Woman, it’s just the work that I’m doing. You can follow me over there.

Zibby: Any particular food favorites?

Sheleana: Oh, my gosh, I love cooking. It’s my part-time job that I don’t get paid for. I just invite people over all day and feed them. I love almost everything. I really do. I love using wild foods as well. We live on land here, so I’m learning how to cook with wild foods, which is nice.

Zibby: Amazing. You are dynamic and inspirational. It’s been a joy chatting with you. Thank you.

Sheleana: Thank you so much, Zibby. I really appreciate you having me.

Zibby: My pleasure. Take care. Thank you.

Sheleana: Bye.

BECOMING THE ONE by Sheleana Aiyana

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