Learning To Love Myself
The battle between my mind and body really kicked off when I was about seventeen years old. Seventeen seems to be a tough year for most, and to say my experience was tumultuous is probably an understatement.
The year before my father had taken me out of school for a month to head to the Amazon Jungle in Peru, in order to take part in several ayahuasca ceremonies. The experience was one that positively impacted my life in ways that words can not do justice. The main wisdom I gathered from it was the power and importance of love, and specifically self-love. When truly showing love to ourselves our capacity to love others becomes much deeper. We project less of our own bullshit onto the people we care about when we can acknowledge that as humans we are meant to make mistakes in order to learn. With these mistakes we must take responsibility, learn the lesson at hand, and then practice forgiveness towards others, but also towards ourselves.
When truly showing love to ourselves our capacity to love others becomes much deeper.
The following year was sprinkled with spiritual awakenings, and eventually a pretty intense one that looked like fairly manic. I had just visited Amma, one of my family's gurus, and at seventeen year old just wasn't yet equipped with the life tools to stay grounded while experiencing such insight to life and emotions. The month or so following my family didn't know how to handle me, and for the first time ever I couldn't stand to be around them. I had already graduated from High School at this point, so I ended up moving a few hours away to get out on my own.
Once this phase smoothed over I swallowed down my emotions surrounding the whole situation, in hopes that with enough time it would all just disappear. In doing so I subconsciously severed a few ties with my spirituality and intuition. It began to show in my actions as I turned to partying all the time. After all, everyone around me was doing it, but in hind sight the booze, food and socializing kept me busy enough that I didn't have to face the guilt and other underlying emotions.
My upbringing had been filled with health food and fresh produce from the garden. The diet I was living off of now that I was on my own was much more processed and excessive. Within three months time I had put on about 50 pounds (23ish kilos). With such dramatic weight gain my emotional discomfort had directly translated into physical discomfort. It prompted me to return to healthier habits, but for the next several years my weight yo-yoed constantly. I was aware of how easy it was to be healthy when I was happy, but I did't yet have the awareness around deconstructing my cravings in order to get to the root of the issue. Eventually with intense interval training, running, and beginning to introduce meat into my diet, I was regaining some balance. My real turning point would hit me like a punch in the face a couple years down the road.
I did't yet have the awareness around deconstructing my cravings in order to get to the root of the issue.
November 20th, 2015. That night it was almost as if the universe said, "Buckle the hell up, it's time to get your ass in gear and start following your purpose in life."
At that point I was working in a bar, and one night while struggling to open a wine bottle, the wine bottle won. It resulted in a trip to the ER, surgery on my thumb, and three and a half months out of work while recovering. In a positive light it was the perfect opportunity to begin focusing my energy in the direction I felt truly passionate about, which was healing and natural medicine.
Life Coaching was an avenue I had begun to explore a year or so prior. The calling came to me after drinking too much one night. I was feeling brutally aware of changes that I needed to make in my life. Working in Hospitality was not a sustainable for me, and as a result I was not taking proper care of myself. I began studying Life Coaching, but I hadn't yet found the proper training course or mentor. After my work injury I began exploring my education options in alternative medicine. Before long I was enrolled on a one-year training program for Integrative Nutrition, Holistic Health Coaching and Life Coaching. In addition I began practicing yoga daily, and completed my 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training.
Alongside my education, I returned my focus to self-love and self-inquiry. I began to look at any place I was holding onto guilt, shame, regret and do everything in my power to release it. By practicing gratitude for the lessons in which each mistake had taught me, I began shedding the negative internal dialog that was not serving me. From this place of love, forgiveness and gratitude my inner voice became louder. New doors began opening in my life, and suddenly I felt the capability to grasp the bigger picture. I had the continual feeling that sometimes things hadn't gone my way in order to pave the path for something bigger at hand. I had yoga to thank for this understanding and keeping me grounded through the chaos of transition.
By practicing gratitude for the lessons in which each mistake had taught me, I began shedding the negative internal dialog that was not serving me.
The level of connectedness between mind and body had become blatantly obvious. As I continued to let go of emotional baggage, my body would release physical baggage. This realization led me to study the nervous system, and how our hormones are affected by negative self-talk.
Which brings me to the present moment. Now knowing that it is necessary for me to take the best care of myself that I possibly can. With the awareness that my emotions are not to be pushed away, but instead used as my superpower! With them I am capable of helping others through change, growth and learning to love themselves, too. So, my blogging mission is to share a piece of my own process each week, in hopes to inspire others to do the same: Look within!