2020 was transformative for many people, particularly in terms of how the pandemic anxiety has pushed us to go out in search for a deeper purpose in our lives.  As a result of this, many have embarked on the journey of exploring spirituality and practicing mindfulness. 

The last year has reminded us of the brevity of life, and how important it is to be intentional about everything we do and grateful for everything that we have and receive.

For Summan Kandola, the creator of xoandhustle and particularly the Mindfulness Deck, her journey towards spirituality started through her interaction with the traditional Tarot card deck. 

She says the traditional deck helped her read and understand her energy and how she was feeling.

However, being an action-oriented, ambitious individual, she wanted to create something that would not only help her understand how she was feeling, but also give her power back into her own hands. 

As a result of this, Kandola created the action-oriented Mindfulness Deck. 

“I created it early last year in February 2020, when I was going through a situation where I was allowing myself to fall into negative thought patterns, really low vibrational energy -- but I knew better,” she says in an interview with 5X Press.

“So I wrote down all of the things that I knew made me feel better, and started meditating. And the deck just came from there.”

She places a great deal of emphasis on affirmations, and is a staunch believer in the power of language. Her love for language aligned with her love for spirituality, because it made her realise that we each create our own reality.

“You are your co-creator. Regardless of what the universe creates for you, you have to put in the rest of the work,” Kandola says.

“Affirmations are really important because they remind you that you’re that creator. You can say “I’m powerful” or “I’m worthy”, but if you don’t feel like that yet, my favourite affirmation in that case is “May I “, because it acts as a bridge between where you are, and where you want to be. 

“May I be enough, may I be worthy, may I be beautiful.”

The tagline for xoandhustle is “Bring Spirituality to The Grind,” and Kandola said it is important to include spirituality in our daily routines.

“We are very busy and self-actualized people. My community has reached a level of self-actualization where they can and are willing to focus on their personal development,” she adds.

She adds that sometimes as you work on yourself, big moments can knock you off your feet. 

“When that happens, you can’t always attain your goals the same way. Imagine a time where you’ve had to let go of a friendship or had a breakthrough, and the next day you have to go to work,” Kandola says.

“That takes a lot of energy. We as human beings need to settle that and bringing spirituality to your daily grind, making it a habit and creating an intimate moment with yourself, helps in doing that.” 

Summan spoke to us about her “53 Days of Mindfulness” podcast which aims to take the audience on a journey of self-understanding, healing and habit building. 

Created for individuals who are curious about spirituality and are new travellers on that journey, the podcast helps balance growth and grind by clearing, connecting and expanding one’s energy. 

“I wanted to give everybody bite-sized mindfulness, nothing more than 10 minutes,” she says.

“It's just like ‘hey, today your mindfulness ritual is to workout,’ and working out makes you feel strong, and feeling strong makes you confident. That workout could be anything: it could be yoga, or taking a walk or weight training or whatever it is for you. The podcast is giving all those mindfulness tools to people in an easily consumable way.” 

Apart from being the creator of xoandhustle, Summan is also a digital creator, project lead and producer at Self Hired, a creative content studio specializing in video production, brand photography and podcast production. 

“Self-Hired is the pulse of the city. It is everything that people feel like Vancouver doesn’t have. Self-Hired creates community everywhere it goes,” she adds.

“We have people on our ThinkSpace podcast from David Katz, who recycles plastic so that he can create money, to people like Taran and Bunny Ghatotra from Blume, who hail from Surrey and have made their brand global. It's so cool to create spaces where we can create conversations about things you don’t always hear about. But what Self Hired does best is that we are so inclusive to the community in Vancouver.” 

We asked her for one piece of advice for individuals who are new to spirituality, and want to start mindfulness practices. 

“I would advise them to buy the Mindfulness Deck, and I say that because when you start mindfulness, I feel like there’s a lot of ‘this is the answer, it's the only way,’” she says.

“I feel like the beautiful thing about the Mindfulness Deck is that it gives you 53 different ways to be mindful and you can pick and choose what works because everyone’s makeup is so different. And if you're in a  position where the deck is not accessible, I invite you to close your eyes, put your hand on your heart and ask yourself ‘what will make me feel closer to myself? and see what your body comes up with, and do it.”

Summan is a hustler -- particularly, a mindful one. Her journey is one that works on a beautiful balance between one’s passion and one’s peace, and it is this balance in particular that she inspires us all to seek.


About the author: Roshni is a self-proclaimed Comedy Queen who specializes in laughing at her own jokes. Her hobbies include making people smile, watching movies and analyzing them, reading books, practicing yoga (occasionally), hogging on well-cooked biryani and scrolling through dog videos and memes on Instagram. Her love for writing stems from her love for art in general, which is fuelled by her background in theatre. Catch on her instagram at @roshni_rakshit daily, where she regularly shares her experience with movies and occasionally offends people with her political sense of humour.

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5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.