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Episode 10: Dr. Rose Aslan’s Journey: Embracing Transformation and Compassion

In this episode of the Sienna and Slate podcast, I had the pleasure of speaking to Dr. Rose Aslan, a transformational life coach, educator, academic, and breathwork facilitator. As the CEO of Compassion Flow Coaching, Dr. Rose helps individuals break free from stagnation, find work-life balance, embrace embodiment tools, and invite more joy and healthy boundaries into their lives. Join me as we delve into Dr. Rose’s inspiring journey and uncover key insights that can transform our own lives.

Embracing Personal Transformation

Dr. Rose’s story is one of courage and resilience. She made the bold decision to leave her position as an associate professor of Islamic and Religious Studies in California after experiencing constant burnout and imbalance. Now residing in Istanbul with her eight-year-old son and two cats, she leads a slow life filled with intentional presence and meaningful experiences. With a rich academic background  including a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from the University of North Carolina, and numerous publications,, Dr. Rose brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our conversation.

Navigating the Academic Journey

During our engaging conversation, we explored Dr. Rose’s academic journey and its influence on her path. From her early passion for books and curiosity as a child to her undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. studies in religious studies and Islamic studies, Dr. Rose shared her love for learning and the transformative experiences she encountered along the way. She also emphasized the importance of public-facing scholarship and bridging the gap between academia and the broader community.

Overcoming Challenges and Cultivating Resilience

Dr. Rose candidly discussed the challenges she faced during her academic journey, including the lack of support and mentoring for graduate students. She shared the difficulties she encountered, such as a failed attempt at her Ph.D. comprehensive exams and moments where she contemplated quitting. Despite these setbacks, she persevered and discovered her own unique learning and studying methods, paving the way for personal growth and success.

Building Community and Empowering Others

Dr. Rose’s commitment to community-building and empowering others was truly inspiring. She discussed her work as a coach, creating global and local communities of women, particularly Muslim women, who are seeking alternative perspectives and support. Dr. Rose emphasized the importance of collaboration, uplifting marginalized voices, and creating spaces that amplify diverse perspectives in academia and beyond.

Key takeaways:

  • Embrace self-compassion and let go of guilt associated with unfinished projects.
  • Spirituality and religion can play a significant role in personal growth and healing.
  • Nervous system regulation can have a profound impact on mental and emotional well-being.
  • Decolonizing academia involves amplifying marginalized voices and creating inclusive spaces.
  • Collaboration, community building, and support are vital for personal and collective growth.

My conversation with Dr. Rose Aslan was a transformative experience filled with wisdom and inspiration. From embracing personal transformation to navigating the challenges of academia, and from cultivating self-compassion to building empowering communities, Dr. Rose’s insights have the power to positively impact our lives. I invite you to listen to this episode and discover the transformative potential within yourself. Let’s embrace our own journeys of growth, resilience, and compassion, while fostering connections and empowering those around us.

Remember, we all have the capacity to embrace transformation and make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.

Connect with Dr. Rose: 

Dr. Rose Aslan teaches courses on global religions, the Abrahamic traditions in comparative focus, and Islam. She is an interfaith activist well as a scholar of Islam and religious studies.

She is currently pursuing several different directions of research, all of which are connected through her interests in the construction and perception of sacred space, material culture, ritual, and pilgrimage in medieval and contemporary Islamicate contexts. Her in-progress research includes:

  • A book project that examines the ritual practices of Muslims in post-9/11 United States and how Muslims adapt their prayers to various situations, issues of religious accommodations, and how prayer is understood and depicted in the media and entertainment industry.
  • An ethnography of ebru (traditional Turkish art of paper marbling) artists in Istanbul and the construction and innovation of tradition and how art has become enmeshed in the Turkish state’s political agenda.

Dr. Aslan lived and studied in Egypt for five years and has also lived in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Armenia and has travelled extensively throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. She is fluent in Arabic and can get by in her travels in Persian, Turkish, and French.





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1 Comment

  • Dr. Chauncelor Howell
    Posted January 22, 2024 at 11:06 am

    What a compelling academic journey! The interview in totality was amazing Dr. Keo! Moreover, Dr. Aslan’s world travel, coupled with her personal experience in academia, lends a wealth of knowledge to anyone considering to take a journey of their own. It was especially enlightening to hear about trials and tribulations from an Islamic perspective. This was awesome and keep the stories coming!

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