I am a lay-it-all-out-there kind of person. I enjoy being around authentic people, and I always strive to be authentic as well, not to hold anything back. What you see is what you get.
I am paradoxically spiritual, contemplative and love to go deep, but at the same time, I love to be wild, crass and use shocking language, something a few would consider to be very “unspiritual” and not very yoga-like—whatever that means. Actually, what Yoga really means is ‘union.’ And I have found union, by integrating and accepting all aspects of myself. By allowing my unconscious and conscious self to work in harmony by regularly engaging in deep personal inquiry. As Walt Whitman says in his poem, Song of Myself, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes).”
Hyperactive, depressed, and chronically unsatisfied--these are the words that immediately come to mind when I reflect back on my teenage years. I felt as though I was trapped in my body, never feeling comfortable, and always wanting to escape. I often felt out of control--especially when I was riding on one of my very high, highs or one of my very low, lows. I loved to be crass; I loved to shock people, and I loved to use language that provokes an intense somatic response in people (fuck!)—some things never change. I am happy to have removed depressed and chronically unsatisfied from the list of words that currently describes me.
High School was a horrible experience for me. I felt confined and trapped, not only by the institution of public school, but I experienced my inner life in this regard as well. I wanted to end it all. I didn't think that I would ever be happy. I sought out help and began therapy and medication to treat my depression and ADHD. Things started to improve.
A few years later, I found myself in college, and I decided that I no longer needed medication; that I could handle life on my own terms. But unfortunately, mental health issues don't disappear overnight. I began to heavily self-medicate--using cigarettes, alcohol, and pot on a daily basis to cope with the demons in my head.
After attaining my Master's in Education, I began my career. Throughout my 20’s I was a well-loved, successful elementary school teacher. I kept my depression in a lovely little box that I only opened when the school day was over, in the privacy of my home; it was then that I would drown myself in substances in an attempt numb my pain. I was disassociated and disconnected, often rejecting various aspects of myself. My friends loved my funny, hyper, eccentric side, but in reality, I often felt so hyper I wanted to crawl out of my skin. And in an attempt to find relief, I often made choices that were harmful to myself as well as to those that I loved the most.
I had a beautiful daughter and married my college sweetheart at age 25, believing that having a child would help to solve my problems and get me away from the booze and tobacco, but as all of you who have kids know, having a small child and a new marriage only exacerbated the situation. I found myself divorced at age 26, intently searching for happiness in all the wrong places.
I quickly remarried and at 26 years old I was juggling a career, a toddler, and because of my new marriage, I became a step-mom to three amazing children. We decided to expand our brood and had a child together (don't ask me what I was thinking!!!) but I am so happy that we did as I can't imagine life without any of these kids! Now we had "yours, mine, and ours"---a blended family of five children! Much of the time my life felt like pure chaos. I felt as though I should be happy—I had a wonderful husband, healthy children, a successful career, a beautiful house and a nice car. Everything so many people dream of having, and yet I was often deeply depressed. I was drinking excessively and living in fantasy land always thinking, “I’ll be happy when…”
I hit another rock bottom at 31 years old and was ready to leave yet another marriage. I knew something had to change. I did not want to be this person. I did not want to break up my family. I did not want to be drowning myself in alcohol. I did not want to continue on the career path I had chosen. Something HAD to change, and I was scared shitless because I didn’t know where to begin.
I wish I could say I was like Eckhart Tolle or Byron Katie who both just woke up from their suffering one day; their thinking had changed, and as a result, their lives had changed forever, seemingly overnight. But noooooooo….that was not my experience--definitely not my experience. I’ve always been one who has to learn the hard way. I took what Seth Godin likes to call the ‘longcut.’ Most people who end up achieving what it is they are seeking take the longcut---because you will rarely find shortcuts to success or happiness. As Tony Robbins likes to say, “Change happens in a moment.” However, it can often take 10-plus years to get to that key moment.
I decided I couldn't do this on my own--I needed help. I got a therapist. I also found Meadow DeVor’s group, the Rowdies—a group dedicated to self-transformation and healing. I took every self-help and personal development training that Meadow offered. I voraciously read self-help books. I went to countless transformational retreats and workshops. I completed a certification program and began to practice EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). I took Martha Beck’s Life Coach Training.
In between all of this I embarked on several attempts at sobriety, always to relapse. I trained at Nosara Yoga Institute and completed my 200-RYT and started teaching yoga. I studied Positive Psychology for ten months through Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. I studied the work of Carolyn Myss and completed her course on Archetypal Energy. I received my second 200-RYT and Life Coach certification through Yoga Church Teacher Training, where I now serve as faculty.
It was through the somatic experience of combining yoga with coaching that my mind, body, heart and soul began to integrate into one voice, and it was calling out to me: "Get sober. Do whatever it takes.” I knew I had to listen, my well being, my family’s well being, my LIFE, depended on it. I went to rehab and got sober. I found out my depression over the years had been misdiagnosed and was bipolar depression, which makes total sense given my experience of riding the rollercoaster of uncomfortable highs followed by periods of intense depression. With knowledge, understanding, and the right tools we find our power.
I sought out help from a few masterful coaches and therapists, and I began to integrate and accept all aspects of myself and finally started to feel like a healed, whole person. Now don’t get me wrong, there is no end-point when it comes to happiness or healing. It is a lifelong practice as we continue to experience life in all its dimensions. But I have healed much of the past, have stopped resisting and denying aspects of myself, and I can now say…I am HAPPY. I love my life. I am excited to wake up in the morning and contribute to this world. My passion is to help others feel the same, because depression sucks. Feeling shitty sucks. Feeling like life is just one big awful chore sucks. We all deserve more.
Today I am working on a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology with a Specialization in Somatic Studies, teaching yoga, and coaching by utilizing tools such as combining the gentle practice of yoga with coaching and using EFT to help my clients somatically and psychologically release that which is not serving them.
The bottom line is my path to health and wholeness has been a wild, messy ride--because life is a wild, messy ride. And although I’ve done several shitty things in my past, I would not change anything, because nothing is wasted.
Every experience has helped me to become the woman I am today. A woman who lives life to the fullest has direction and purpose, who is connected to her body and is compassionate and empathetic. A woman who wants to be of service. A woman who is open minded and looking forward to all that life throws her way. A woman who is kind and accepting of herself. A woman who is now experiencing joy on a level she never thought possible. A woman who is living life in full color.
Chances are you have had quite a wild ride as well because after all, we are all human. We are in this together and you don’t have to walk this path alone. If you are a seeker like me, if you are seeking to feel whole, to break through limiting beliefs, to live more mindfully and be more present, if you want to take your life to the next level, it would be an honor to be your guide while you uncover the path, and inquire deeply into your inner experience. We can transform from being endless ‘seekers,’ to also being ‘finders.’ You can find what you are looking for. Again, to channel Tony Robbins, YOU ARE FUCKING UNSTOPPABLE---you can achieve and BE all that you desire.
I have intensely studied and practiced the tools I have learned in my many years of personal development and from my numerous certifications. I want to pass this learning on to you so that you too can utilize these tools to create the life you desire. Change is available to us all. Right in this moment. If you are ready, if your soul is calling out to you, if your gut is saying: “go this way,” then take the leap and dive in head-first. Prepare to dive deep, because that is where the magic happens.