Hello, fellow travelers. My name is Catherine Flores De Uria, and I would like to tell you my story.
If it was just my story, I think I would keep it to myself. But this is not just my story. More and more people around the world are waking up. So many people are asking themselves, is this all it is? Really?
My story is a journey from a dreary mundane world, hollow and meaningless, to a life so rich with magic and wonder that words cannot do it justice. And I share it with you now, because I am not alone. You are not alone. We are on a path of discovery together, learning what it really means to be alive. I hope, in these words, that you can find courage and faith to make your leap into Being. So, without further ado…
I’d finally made it. After successful university studies and loads of great job offers, I landed a career in private banking.
God only knows why I chose banking. Looking back, I feel like it stems from my early years, growing up without much financial security, never knowing if we were going to have enough. So I chose a path that I imagined would help me to build that security for myself. Mission accomplished, right?
At that time in my life, I had followed the prescribed path to success and laid a foundation for the future that I thought I wanted. But my body – my whole being – was telling a different story.
I landed my first bank job at 24, and I was so bored with it that I quit after six weeks. Something was missing. Something didn’t fit, and I didn’t have a clue how to make it fit. I looked around for the next year, trying several jobs in different fields, but none of them felt any more meaningful, any more real, than banking. To top it off, I still had bills to pay, and the salaries of these positions were a pittance compared to my banking job.
Eventually, feeling overwhelmed, insecure, and more than a little defeated, I returned to the field of banking. I soon became a Manager for accounts in Columbia and Venezuela. These were both dangerous countries, but somehow, they were easy for me to navigate. I covered Venezuela for over six years, and in the process, I learned to trust my intuition and discovered a deep love for travel. I also found an adventurous, entrepreneurial spirit within me, just waiting to be set free.
While traveling, I felt alive and free. It was almost perfect. But then I would return to the office and that familiar sense of boredom would set in all over again. We were packed into boxes, using a fraction of our potential or intelligence. Something within me whispered that life could be more, if I could just figure out how.
My colleagues and bosses were uninspiring to me, models of a life I didn’t want to live. Some were successful banking entrepreneurs and looked happy enough on the outside. But I realized that they were only interested in the outer world, in material things. They would often compare themselves to competitors or colleagues. Success, in their world, seemed to mean expensive shoes and a sports car to show off to those around them. And none of that meant anything to me.
Looking back, I can see that I didn’t awaken all at once. It came gradually, in stages that are still unfolding even now. For those struggling through this change, I recommend yoga. For me, it was the key to shift out of my old stories, into my body, and onto the path of really getting to know myself. And the more I practiced, the deeper this shift became for me.
I remember a workshop with Danny Paradise in Hawaii. We were working on advanced pranayama, and I had a profound shift. During a breathing session, I had an out of body experience which led into a vision of a past life. I try to stay grounded and take these experiences with a grain of salt, but I’ve never really looked at life or myself the same way since. One brick at a time, the walls of my earlier perception were being deconstructed.
At one point, the instructor asked, “Who here still has a job?” Out of about 20 people, I was one of three to raise my hand. He looked at those of us with our hands up, and said something that has stuck with me throughout the years. “The more yoga you practice, the freer you become. So it becomes harder and harder to keep a job as an employee.”
We are all on our own path, so this may not be true for everyone, but it rang true for me. I’d already been saving as much as I could, thinking about quitting, and trying to figure out how. I didn’t know what to do, just that something needed to change.
More and more, work began to feel like a prison for me, like a block to freedom and inner happiness. To ease the time, I practiced breathing exercises at work, sometimes needing to take a “breathing break” in the toilets just to find my center.
As breathwork became a part of my daily life, I found that these weird experiences became more commonplace. I began to feel a sense of connection to the spirit world, something I didn’t understand at the time, and wasn’t even sure I believed in. Speaking from my perspective now, I know that the invisible world is just as real and just as powerful as the visible world, but this is for each person to discover in their own way. At the time, though, I was just navigating blindly, feeling my way through the maze and making many mistakes along the way.
A Leap of Faith
When is enough enough? When is it finally the right time? For me, it didn’t come when I had enough money stored in the bank, or when I finally saw a way forward. I was driven enough by my fear and desire for security that I clung to the job, on the edge of burnout for longer than I’d like to admit.
And then my father passed away.
He was a practical and dedicated man who had spent his life taking care of business. And it was a life of toil and drudgery that he never got to enjoy. Cancer took him before his “until then” moment came about. My father died before he got to start living his life.
When we make a shift in life, it grows within us for a long time. But it usually needs help to break through the surface. The loss of my father was the catalyst for my own growth. It was a wakeup call. He had followed the rules, done what he was supposed to do. He worked his ass off for his entire life to build a future that never materialized. And by living in this future, the was denied the pleasure of the present moment.
In a really strange way, my father gave me a gift. He showed me my future, if I had continued on the same path as he.
It all came to a head for me in 2013. I had crossed the edge into full burnout and my body crashed. I went on my last business trip to Columbia, and I was so tired there that I had to spend hours each morning with meditation and breathwork, just to give me the strength to make it through the day.
One morning in meditation, I had a vision. I saw two yogis watching me and sitting in silence. Although they said nothing, I felt an immense wave of peace and stillness washing over me and settling into my body. It was as if something snapped, just like a rubber band pulled too far. But instead of broken, I felt ready. Ready to listen to my body, ready to step away from a life that wasn’t working for me. Ready to step onto a new path, even though I couldn’t see the road ahead.
At 35 years old, eleven years into my banking career, I knew that it was time. My body was exhausted and couldn’t continue as before, regardless of how much money was (or wasn’t) in my bank account. Yoga was calling me into a new journey of exploration, into a deeper connection with Self.
Within a few weeks, I had sent in a letter of resignation and purchased the flights for a world tour. With a little luck and a lot of blessings, I was able to end the job on amicable terms with a “garden leave” to account for the three months notice.
And all of this, everything that I have described to you, was just the beginning. It launched me into a journey to the unknown, and eventually brought me here, as the head of De Uria yoga products and with a voice that creates impact in the world.
In the next year, traveling around the world, I began to find my freedom, to understand my power, and to live a life aligned with my purpose. But it didn’t happen all at once. If you’d like to hear more about my journey, tune in again for Chapter 2: Falling into the Mystery.