I am officially in my “summer sabbatical” as I have been calling it, and am so grateful for the privilege to take time off from teaching and coaching so that I can focus on my own expansion through retreats, play time, hiking, reading, creating, and putting massive time and energy into book #2! I do not intend to be done this book before the end of the summer, but my goal is to have the bulk of it done so that I can get back into a more full schedule and utilize my small blocks of free time more efficiently.
Inspired by Brene Brown, I have decided to use my blog space to post my shitty first drafts of various sections. Any great project goes through an evolution of its own, and I would love to share this process with any of you who are interested and inspired by this work.
Here is my introduction…so far. I would love to hear what you think!!
In my first book, Be the Change, I tell my story of my intense - often crippling - mental health struggles and what it took to retrain my self-talk patterns, my habits, and ultimately begin the journey to healing. I faced my toxic relationship with food, my self-loathing that led me to various forms of self-harm, my turmoil with being raised in a religion, and my sudden and confusing debilitating relationship with death. Be the Change is an autobiography and self-help book, as I pave the way with insights, stories, and tools to practice your way out of darkness and into reframing your life’s story as you step into the light.
We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health, and it can be in great shape and it can be in a dire state. Bottom line: Mental Health affects us all. Why? Because we all have a brilliant mind-body-soul system that requires certain forms of nourishment to function at an optimal level, and few of us are taught these important lessons as children.
I have experienced, time and time again, that when I share from my heart and create a conversation around meaning, purpose, freedom, tools, and how to practice, everyone benefits. This is how I have sustained my individual evolution as well as the collective evolution towards the best version of ourselves. While my first book served as inspiration and hope for those in immense struggle, it also details how to reframe your story to ensure it is the strong foundation beneath your feet versus the heavy weight on your back. This book serves as the next step in my own evolution, a guide to depth and embodiment, a reclaiming of spirituality and a step by step process on how to be physically and mentally FIT for your unique contribution in the world.
My mission in life is to teach people how (and why) to get back into their bodies; because that is what saved my life and continues to be the catalyst for further awakenings, unravelings, and an overall sense of peace and contentment on a daily basis. We live in a time of disembodiment. There is an epidemic of people who are so disconnected from their bodies that they can't feel sensation (or are terrified to feel sensation) or discern between present, real-time feelings versus the feelings of another, feelings recycled from the past, or feelings from thoughts about the future - and I was one of these people! We see the effects of disembodiment, separatism, and lack of meaning/purpose as depression and mental health struggles continue to rise. It can be terrifying to re-enter your body after years of being disconnected. But I know from experience, while it can seem scary at first to practice embodiment (for some), it is far worse to continue the pattern of disengaging from your body - and from the moment - as that takes us further away from the growth and connection we seek.
As I have continued to connect with people and get the honest and vulnerable picture of where they are and what they struggle with, I have discovered what I refer to as “awareness limbo.” This is the space between awareness and actual change. We know “better,” but there’s a gap between knowing and doing. I knew certain foods were not sitting well in my body, yet I continued to eat them. I knew my relationship with cannabis had turned into a coping mechanism and an excuse to stay in a depressive state or activate a creative state without being honest and real with where I was at, yet I avoided change for years. I knew connection, creation, movement, fresh air, yoga, meditation, adventure, trying new things, going to bed between 9-10pm, etc., was what my body needed, yet I - time and time again - would do the opposite.
It is one thing to heal from past traumas, to develop the ability to broaden your awareness, to see your own patterns and habits, and to observe yourself without judgement, yet there is a crevasse between this necessary awareness and the actual steps to create sustainable change. And I have come to believe - through personal experience, coaching, conversations and lots of research - that this gap is based on the function or dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. (More on this later on).
What holds you back? What makes you hesitate before you speak your truth, show up in your truth, or make bold leaps towards what your heart desires? When was the last time you felt truly free? I am here to remind you, and show you, that you have everything you need already inside of you, and when you learn how to cultivate space and energy in your mind and body, and calm and soothe your own nervous system, you get access to your innate wisdom and the discipline you need to create change.
Anything that I have discovered and felt, can be discovered and felt by you. Any power or skill you see others exude, you also can cultivate and step into. There is no “guru” out there that can give you what you don’t already have within. There is no Master Leader of any kind that has magical abilities that you don’t also have access to. There is no religion that can grant you eternal life or forgiveness that you cannot grant or earn for yourself. There is no perfect diet that we all should ascribe to. There is not one type or style of movement that trumps all others. There is not a treasure chest at the end of the rainbow with the secret sauce or chalice that gifts you the secret to life. This is not to say that we can’t learn from each other or that it is wrong to lean on others occasionally or seek support. In fact, I would encourage anyone and everyone to find a community of people who are living in the way you desire to live. We are relational beings and connection is a basic biological imperative. What I am saying is that there is a big difference between seeking support versus bowing down to someone as if they have the magic wand.
We are complex, we are each unique, and dare I say it, we are each special. How can we not be? The process of creation and birth and upbringing and life experiences are what carves each one of us into the beings that we are. So much in common, yet vastly different. Who we are is so much more than what we do, how we feel, or what we think or say. We have depths and layers of our being, and when we integrate and connect with our wholeness, we have everything we need to step into our own personal and full power.
It is a common human experience to search outside of ourselves for something or someone that will “fill the void” or remedy our sense of lack. What you seek is inside of you, right now, always has been and always will be. And when we all can learn to cultivate a sense of groundedness, practice mindful embodiment, capture insights as they arise, take care of your “machine” with knowledge of your basic needs, live with compassion and radical acceptance, deliberately focus the arrow of our awareness, and align in our own purpose in this life, we create a revolution of people who are physically and mentally FIT for their unique contribution in this world.
Are you ready?