I’m super excited to announce the release of The Growth Guide on Wednesday, November 21!!! This 12 day course is designed to help you let go of what is no longer serving you and embrace your most powerful, content, joyful, authentic, and loving self. Each day has reading material that covers a specific growth topic, an assigned meditation from the Air & Earth Guided Meditations album, journaling prompts, and growth exercises.
The material and the exercises in this guide are ideas and practices that I have learned along my growth journey.
To get a preview of The Growth Guide, subscribe to my email list (either to the right or at the bottom of this page) and check your welcome letter!!!!
In honor of the release of The Growth Guide, I want to share my growth journey with you.
It all started when I was about 14. By this age I had reach a very dark place in my life from childhood trauma like being around addiction, domestic violence, and toxic relationships. I chose friends who were negative and behaviors that were damaging. I eventually cut myself off from friends and was constantly judging myself and others. By age 16, I reached a point where I did not enjoy life, not even close. I realized I needed help when I started having thoughts about harming myself and ending life. I told my parents, and they decided to get my help. I went to a psychiatrist and was put on anti anxiety meditation. I also started going to therapy. Slowly, I started to crawl out of the lowest point in my life.
I started opening back up to old friends and letting go of ones who were keeping me in that dark place. By the time I graduated, I had friends and fun at school, but I still struggled with depression and anxiety. I had migraines and panic attacks multiple times a week. I still was very critical of myself and pushed myself very hard to be a high achiever in school. I enjoyed all subjects: language, reading and writing, history, art, physics, and math (balanced libra here). I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, so I did what many young people do: I did what I was told.
I went to school to study civil engineering with the idea that I would eventually get a PhD and teach environmental engineering. After a few years in the program I realized that I had lost my balance. I felt such pressure to live up to what I imagined my professors wanted from me, but really I was just trying to live up to a perfection that would never exist. While I loved learning about technology and science, I also love creativity, and I no longer had time or energy for that. I slowed down my studies so that I could make more space for other things I loved. I was already dancing and teaching dance at a studio, but I also joined a choir, started taking photos and writing to share on social media, spending more time outside, and just generally slowing down. By this time, I had also become very interested in learning about self improvement. I started meditating. I took myself off of my anxiety medication (note: I truly believe that medication really did help me with getting out of that dark place, but I felt I no longer needed it and haven’t been on it since I went off. PLEASE talk to a doctor before taking yourself off of medication). I started feeling better and better.
During these few years I was also cycling though relationships. My first few relationships were not healthy. I was cheated on and even emotionally abused, but I victimized myself in these situations. I placed all of the blame on the other, instead of taking responsibility for my relationships. Now I see that I was attracting what I was putting out. I was not a very good partner. I was jealous and untrusting. I wouldn’t set boundaries so I would become resentful. However, as I started to learn more about creating a healthy relationship with myself, my relationships also got better. Each time I left a partner, the next partner felt a little better, but I still never felt happy with them, so I kept leaving. I have now realized that an incredible relationship is not about the other person. Relationships with other people work when the relationship with ourself works first and foremost.
I started practicing yoga during the busiest time in my life. I was finishing up my undergraduate degree and capstone project, taking graduate courses, and training for a large role or teaching dance seven days a week. I started taking a 20 minute youtube class each day with the intention of improving my core strength. After a few days, I realized how good the practice was making me feel not just physically, but mentally as well. I started learning more about it and realized that it was not just physical exercise as I had previously believed. I was hooked. By the time I started grad school I was the most well balanced and happy I had ever been. I was still seriously stressed by an intense program and research, but I was better about setting boundaries and taking time for myself. I kept feeling better and better.
During my time in grad school, I decided that I did not want to pursue a PhD, and was offered a job in Louisville about a year before my graduation. I accepted it, with the condition that I would take some time off before moving and starting the job. I went to Hawaii during this time and did a yoga teacher training, which was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. It changed me. I formed deep connections with the students and teachers. I felt at home in teaching, and I knew that it would become a huge part of my life.
I moved to Louisville and started my job at the beginning of this year. I really did love and appreciate my job. The people were nice, the stability and benefits were good, and I was doing something beneficial for the community. I was grateful for it. However, during this time my heart was being pulled in a different direction. I wanted to teach yoga and mediation more. I wanted to write. My online community was growing and I wanted to continue sharing and connecting the people who were coming up for me. I waited it out. I trusted that if I felt a right time to make a shift, pushed me to change me sooner that I thought.
Last April my dad had a health scare. We thought he might have to have heart surgery. I started making the 12 hour round trip drive to visit him many weekends. Thankfully, my dad was better off than the doctors originally thought, and he did not need surgery. Still, I wanted to be closer to home. I knew it was time. I talked to my employers, and they were incredibly supportive. I spent a few months wrapping up my work and preparing myself, and then I moved at the beginning of August.
I only lived in Louisville for 8 months, but my time there changed me. I met some amazing people who were supportive and believed in me more that I believed in myself at the time. It was bittersweet to leave, but I felt in my heart that it was right.
I moved home and felt amazing for the first week. I was working on finishing up my guided meditations and meditation guide and loving spending time with my dad. However, after the first week, one of those life things happened that stopped me in my feel good tracks. I was broken up with.
Pain can make you question things, not see life clearly, and want to hide away instead of grow. That’s how I felt for the first few weeks after my break up. I questioned everything: my move, my choice to change careers, all of the relationships I had been through, even my own self worth. It was hard. Really hard. But I had been through hard stuff before, and I knew that it would pass. I knew not to make any decisions based on the grief I was feeling, but instead just let it come and go. It took a while, but it passed. I grew. I saw why it happened. I became thankful that it happened.
You see, I have almost always been in a serious relationship since the time I was 17. I needed this time to be single. I needed to realize and harness my own power, without needing validation, without needing someone to run to when times got hard. I needed to learn to be my own hero. I needed to learn that my happiness is in my hands alone. These were things I always logically knew. I had read about these concepts for years, but words don’t teach, experiences do.
I feel stronger than I ever have before. I feel more myself and complete every day. I don’t fear the hard times. I find gratitude in everything. I know happiness can be found regardless of what is going on. I know love can be felt without conditions.
When I look back, I am thankful for every single hard experience. The abuse I went through, the pain I witnessed in my family, the “failed” relationships, the confusion with what I wanted to do with my life - it has all made me who I am today. I went from feeling depressed and worthless for years, to worthy and joyful because I started and kept choosing growth through everything. I chose gratitude and forgiveness. I chose trust. I chose flow and ease. I chose family. I chose supporting and loving others. I chose vulnerability and deep connections. I chose to listen and aim to understand.
And most of all, I chose to follow my own heart. I chose myself.
If I can do this. So can you.
So can you.