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Meet Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank of Fiercely Optimistic in Beverly Grove

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank.

Alisha, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
While I was traveling in India many years ago, I had the opportunity to meet either His Holiness the Dalai Lama or Mata Amritanandamayi (also known as Amma the Hugging Saint). They were both holding space at the same time in different regions of India. I listened to my inner guru and chose to attend the Dalai Lama’s lectures rather than Mata Amritanandamayi’s. This turned out to be a choice with no regret. The Dalai Lama’s wisdom, humor and infectious laugh are, to this day, still with me. However, I yearned for Amma’s famous embrace for many years after that opportunity to be in her arms slipped by me. While I knew the time would come when we would meet, I had no idea that it would be in my homeland instead of hers.

A few days before Thanksgiving several years ago, I got word that Amma the Hugging Saint was in Detroit, Michigan. At the time I was visiting my auntie in South Tampa, Florida and was planning on staying through the holiday. But I knew in my heart that I had to change plans in order to meet this blessed soul. I booked a last minute flight and headed to Detroit with an abundance of love in my heart.

I arrived at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit the day after Thanksgiving in order to meet Amma. As I walked through the glass doors of this building, the spirit of my father embraced me. My father, in the 1970’s, was part of the team that built this magnificent skyscraper. He was an ironworker. And he sacrificed more than anyone will ever know to provide for his family. I took a deep breath and smiled as I continued towards the large group of people waiting to see this living saint named Amma.

Out of three thousand people Amma chose me to receive Darshan first. I, for some reason, did not feel special or overwhelmed with excitement at the time, but the beautiful people around me were very excited. It was as if they couldn’t believe it but something told me that this was the way it was supposed to be. Amma’s people escorted me to sit directly in front of her as she spoke. I looked upon this spiritual woman and felt her greatness. She truly is divine and her light shines especially bright. After she spoke, her people, once again, came to escort me to a set of stairs that led to her. I slowly walked up the stairs and across the stage. As I approached Amma, I asked myself, “Where am I supposed to be? Where am I supposed to be?” It was a question that I can honestly say I had never asked before. I continuously asked this question in my mind as I received darshan. Her embrace encompassed my entire spirit and the words she spoke into my ear took me into an instant meditative form. I felt as if I was blissfully floating. She then gifted me with a mantra. I bowed in gratitude and walked off the stage.

That evening, as I began to recite the mantra in meditation, Amma appeared before my eyes. With her hands in A prayer position, she said to me, “My dear, you are doing everything right but you are supposed to be in California.” Once I opened my eyes I knew there was no turning back from this vision and within a month I loaded my Volkswagen Beetle and drove across the country to a place I had never been before…San Diego, California.

When we are open to the possibilities around us, doors begin to open. Trust the guides around you and know that when you allow your intuition to lead the way, you will always be on the correct path.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I have suffered tremendously in this lifetime with a slew of battles within myself. My battles have ranged from drug and alcohol abuse, an eating disorder, an abusive relationship, experiencing emotional abandonment after the death of my sibling, etc. I have openly shared my experience and lessons learned from each of these situations because I truly believe that I am here to show others that they aren’t alone. However, there is something that I haven’t been transparent about because, for me, it seems to be an issue that I have yet to completely resolve. Over the last week I have (once again) suffered from my lifelong battle with depression after having no signs of this unfortunate disorder for a couple of years.

I wish I knew exactly what triggers my fall into a deep state of complete dismay but I don’t. I feel that it seems to happen when I begin to slip into an automatic state of helping those around me that I feel are suffering. I slowly begin ignoring my own self and that begins to turn my world upside down. This is something that I am usually aware of, yet it’s something that I seem to let myself forget as soon as I see a wounded being that I believe in.

I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. This silent battle is one that at times feels more deadly than the self-destructive relationship I had with drugs many years ago. This disorder is one that makes no sense to me, especially because I truly feel happy and content with my life. However, I very much still have episodes of this disorder that momentarily take me away from everything I have worked so hard to achieve.

Depression, unlike most disorders, can easily be disguised. I can wear a mask so that those around me are completely unaware of my current state of mind while inside I feel as if I am dying. Once I am in the privacy of my own home, I remove my mask and burn in the pain that is encompassing my entire being. The worst part of depression (for me) is that I do not recognize it easily. I know that this may sound strange but it takes me a bit of time to truly see and understand what is actually happening to me. My awakening out of this state is usually after I seem to push everyone in my life away and allow myself to go into a deep state of release with heavy crying. This exerts my body and allows me to feel the familiar sense of lightness I normally carry. This opens my eyes to the truth around me.

The reason I am sharing my story with you is to let those of you that suffer with depression know that you are not alone. There are so many of us that can’t explain how a handful of events can send us into a state of complete agony but it is a part of who we are. To me, it makes each of us more beautiful and more real because we have the ability to see that the cards one shows are not always truly evident of the feelings that are within the Self. Yet, we have a deeper understanding of compassion and love for those around us because we realize that we can never know for sure the eternal battle that another may be currently facing.

With every experience I feel stronger, wiser and more in-tune to the world around me. For this I am thankful. Because without the darkness I would never understand my own light.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Fiercely Optimistic – what should we know?
Fiercely Optimistic was developed to help individuals facilitate positive change in all aspects of their lives through life coaching, Reiki, meditation and yoga. Clients have the opportunity to expand their inner growth gaining necessary self-confidence and to identify their own meaningful Truth including a clearer recognition of their personal values and realistic goals while being nurtured with positive reinforcement. Each journey is unique and personally created to best guide every client to achieve the fullest self-realization possible.

We are given choices & opportunities every day. Fiercely Optimistic is designed to help people like you learn how to recognize and enthusiastically seize those opportunities and then make informed decisions to maximize these chances to further their life goals.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I thank every single Soul on this beautiful Earth for sharing their Divine light. You all inspire me.


  • Ideal Life Coaching Package – Six sixty-minute sessions – $599

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Image Credit:
Hissa Igarashi – TWELV MAGAZINE
Joshua Spafford

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