Rediscovering Trust in Eating Disorder Recovery

Written by: Zoe Speirs, contributing writer.  Follow more of her journey on her Instagram, @boporecoverywarrior.   

“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.”

– Paulo Coelho

When I first embarked on my recovery from an eating disorder, I remember thinking I could never trust myself around food: to know when to eat, when to stop, how much to have, what to eat, what times to eat, and so on. The constant torment that I no longer knew how to do something so many knew how to innately terrified me. I wanted to rewind to when I was a child and could fully trust my body to know what it needed and when. I was terrified that I would never get back to that. That even in recovery, I would always have one foot stuck in this need to control, never knowing if I could trust my body again.

Sound familiar?

It can feel impossible to actually let yourself trust your body and trust yourself around food. I KNOW how hard it is. It can feel like you’re stuck in this cycle of not being able to let go of the control. So here are three tips that have helped me rebuild my relationship with food and rediscover my brain-body connection:

1. No food is out of bounds. You need to break down those rigid rules that your eating disorder had in place for you. There is no such thing as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food – food holds no moral value. It doesn’t dictate whether you’re a good person or worthy purely because you ate kale. Nothing bad will happen to you if you let yourself enjoy all food groups. Yes, that includes those homemade cookies your eating disorder has deprived you of.

2. Once you’ve established that you can eat anything, you might feel the need to eat everything you’ve deprived yourself of for so long. I honestly thought I would never stop having the urge to eat peanut butter and brownies. But if you let yourself eat what you crave and however much you need, these intense cravings will start to die down, and you’ll start craving things like broccoli too! You’ve spent so long denying yourself of what you want and need, that your body is trying to get everything it’s not allowed before it’s taken away again. It takes time for your body to realise that these foods won’t be denied anymore. This part is scary, and I completely understand. I was terrified. But if you trust yourself enough to let your brain-body connection rebuild, I promise you things will settle.

3.  So you’ve started rebuilding your relationship with food and letting the brain-body connection re-establish. But what about your weight? This can be really scary, especially in eating disorder recovery. I urge you to throw away your scales and just let your body do what it needs to do. Your weight will settle at your set point – it will be exactly where it needs to be. Here’s one of my favourite affirmations that helped me accept changes in my weight: ‘My body may become bigger in the future, and it may become smaller, but whatever it is right now, is exactly how it has to be’. Your body is just a vessel to carry you, so let it decide what’s best for it.

Trusting yourself around food is hard, but it is so worth it to finally let go and be able to live. However, it’s important to remember that with all this in mind, you need to trust that you are capable of recovery. That although recovery is hard, scary and will involve a lot of hard work, that you are worthy of it. You are worthy of reclaiming your life. You are worthy of practising self-care and setting boundaries to help you through these tough times (and any time really!). Trust yourself to do what’s right for you.

Look after yourselves beautiful people – the road might be bumpy, but with trust, we can move forward.

 

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A Grateful Heart

Written by: Marcela Sabía, contributing writer.  Follow more of her journey at marcelailustra.com, or on her Instagram, @marcelailustra.

The other day I posted on my Instagram story, welcoming hundreds of new followers. I was moved and inspired. Three years ago I had less than 1,000 followers and was starting over in nearly every area of my life. I no longer had a relationship, my business, or the stability I was accustomed to. Going to therapy in the midst of this uncertainty allowed me to reconnect with an old hobby: drawing. This reconnection led me to the decision to share and invest in my art.  When I first chose an illustration to post on my Instagram, I wondered if anyone would like my artwork or would even consider paying for any of my pieces. When people asked me what my job was, I stuttered – illustrator? With insecurity mounting, I couldn’t bring myself to believe I had the talent or experience to consider myself a professional.

Today, as I write this post and reflect on the number of people who follow along with my journey and the countless clients I have worked for, my heart is flooded with gratitude. Gratitude for life, for my love of art, for my ability to share and connect with others, for having met so many wonderful people who saw in me some kind of inspiration and supported the work I do with such dedication. After a lot of difficulties and uncertainties, I shared and achieved and dared to be vulnerable. Now, I am able to use my illustrations to inspire and connect.  For all this, I will be eternally grateful.

And while I am grateful for this part of my journey, I also believe gratitude must be present in our daily actions, in the little things. Even though we have not yet arrived where we want to be, we need to appreciate all the hands that are extended to us and all the little joys we find along the way. We always have reasons to be grateful, and it is an exercise rooted in happiness and self-love.

Thank you universe – for what has already passed and for what is yet to come.

 

To check out Marcela’s artwork, visit her website at marcelailustra.com.  

Featured image source.

Change Your Attitude by Choosing Gratitude

Written by: Megan Lawrence, contributing writer.  Follow more of her journey at HealingHopefuls.com or on her Instagram, @in.my.own.words.  

There is no such thing as recovery without gratitude, and if there was, it would be hard to maintain. While gratitude is not required to start your recovery journey, I want to ask you to just think about it for a second. Gratitude most certainly helps when it comes to accepting yourself, your circumstances, and your decision to pursue recovery in the first place. It may seem impossible at first – the whole idea of being thankful for the things that were destroying us – but when we change our mindset, we begin to see how beneficial, and quite frankly, how necessary gratitude is in recovery. Regardless of what you are recovering from, the journey will be a lot smoother if you’re able to be thankful for the journey traveled up until this point – both the good and the bad.

Gratitude Begins & Ends with a Positive Mindset!

So much of our ability to make it through this journey alive begins with the mindset we choose each day. You have two choices: seek the light or keep yourself in the dark. The latter is the easier of the two choices, but what kind of life would it be if we didn’t at least try to see the bright side of things? When we are intentional about practicing gratitude, and I mean honestly giving it a chance to change the way we look at the world, we often find out that our situation was not the only thing that was making life seem hard but our perspective, too.  We find that the way we choose to perceive our circumstances is what will heal or hurt us the most. Do not underestimate the power of your thoughts. By being grateful for the life you have been given, you will be able to make the most of what you’ve got, instead of focusing on what could be. So often we get caught up with wanting our life to be better than it is that we can’t even appreciate what is. A positive outlook reminds us to be grateful for what we DO have so that it’s a little easier to handle the bad days when they come our way.

Start a Gratitude Journal!

Is it hard for you to be actively grateful on a daily basis? Start a journal to track your progress, and monitor the days where your recovery seems a bit harder. When we start to write down our goals and hold ourselves accountable, eventually practicing gratitude will come automatically, and with much less struggle. Sometimes, just by writing down what we are grateful for, we often discover parts of ourselves that we weren’t even acknowledging before. While recovery may convince you that something is wrong with you, a gratitude journal can correct this truth by reminding you that recovery is a part of your story – that alone is something to be thankful for. You are stronger because of your journey with mental illness, and you will continue to get stronger the more you choose to put one foot in front of the other. Challenge yourself this next week! Wake up each morning and write down three things that you are grateful for. They do not have to be big, monumental parts of your life. Instead, think of meaningful reminders for yourself that recovery is worth it, and ultimately, something to get grateful for.  

This is YOUR Journey! Own it! Love it! Be Grateful because of it!

Who we are today is partly due to the person we may have disliked in the past. The rock bottoms, the moments of despair, and the feelings of inadequacy – they were all a piece of something much bigger. Your story and the person you have been thus far is NOT who you will be in the future. And who is that person? Well, that’s up to you. Instead of ruminating on the negatives in your life, try to focus on the exciting journey ahead of you that exists in recovery. Getting your life back, and taking control of who YOU want to become, and be known for, is always your choice! How awesome is that? We always have a say in who we are yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I hope after reading this you begin to see that approaching your struggles and your past with a grateful heart will ALWAYS take you further than regret or disappointment for who you have once been. That person was necessary to become the person you are today and the person you will become. This is your journey to living to the best of your abilities. Don’t get stuck in a chapter that is no longer who you are.

Keep writing your story, beautiful, and be grateful each step of the way. You are headed exactly where you are supposed to – home to yourself.  

 

Featured image by Johnathan Sautter

It’s Okay to Struggle to See the Good

Written by: Zoe Speirs, contributing writer.  Follow more of her journey on her Instagram, @boporecoverywarrior.   

In a day and age where self-care is finally being made a priority, we find ourselves bombarded with messages of how we should practice gratitude – and whilst practicing gratitude is important and feeds the soul, it’s pretty hard to be grateful for things when life is hard.  It’s hard to be grateful when the world feels like it’s against you, but you know what? You know what we don’t get told? It’s okay to feel this way. It’s okay to struggle to see the good and be grateful for the small things – your feelings are valid, and sometimes it’s not easy to see beyond the clouds and find the rays of sunshine.

I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, no matter how painful it might feel at the time.  Despite this belief, it can still be difficult to see past the pain you’re currently in. We are told to be grateful, but also be present – sometimes, doing both can be painful. You can lose a family member, and although you have an incredible support network around you and amazing opportunities coming your way, it can still be pretty impossible to feel grateful for anything. Seems valid, right? But with pressure to constantly show gratitude and see good in situations, there often comes feelings of guilt, a feeling that you’re drowning when you can’t seem to find the good. This guilt of not being some radiant, positive person all the time. Of not being like that really zen Instagrammer that has her life together.

When you feel this way, you need to hit the brakes on and take a step back. We are all human, and we feel. If you can find gratitude for the little things in life when things are tough, that’s something worth celebrating. But we need to take the pressure off to constantly find the good. Picture this: if you miss an episode of your favourite programme, is it okay to beat yourself up about it? Or are you going to accept that you had a fun dinner planned with your friends and just live in the moment? The same applies here – you’re trying to find gratitude in your day-to-day life, but when you can’t because life happened, why should guilt be the predominant feeling when this practice is meant to be uniquely good for the soul (and mental health).

So lovelies, take a step back, breathe, let yourself feel – the rays of sunshine will find you once again.

 

Featured image by Johannes Plenio

Life is a Process

Written by: Marcela Sabía, contributing writer.  Follow more of her journey on her Instagram, @marcelailustra.

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Recently I was deeply saddened by something that happened and decided that I needed a change in my life once and for all. My problem was that I was living in a desperate search for total control in my life, and I needed to accept that this was an illusion – we have no control over anything except our attitudes. I needed to accept that my need was bringing me pain and frustration. I needed to start building new thoughts inside of me.

Since then patience has been a key word in my life. I have exercised daily the act of being patient with life, with people and especially with myself – which has proved to be one of the most difficult things. Most of us tend to be very hard on ourselves and I am no different, as I have always been in the habit of speaking to myself negatively. Changing this inner dialogue is something that requires much self-love and understanding. I say that because we are human, and we are going to fail. We are going to mess up, go back to the old habits, be angry with ourselves and doubt our own capacity – but even with all this, love and patience will not let us give up.

The sooner we understand that everything in life is a process, the more patient we are, especially with ourselves. To change, overcome, conquer, forget, learn or anything else you want: it takes time.

And the change will hardly be linear, we will always have ups and downs in search of what we want. So be patient with yourself, live one day at a time, cherish every little victory and everything will be lighter. One step and we are no longer in the same place.

 


 

As a suggestion, something that has helped me be more patient with myself was watching the new version of Queer Eye.  Even though the show is about turning men into their best versions, the advice is valid for all of us and the five boys on the show teach precious lessons that include being patient with yourself. It’s very therapeutic for me.  For those interested, it’s available on Netflix.

Maybe I Don’t Know

Written by: Emily Blair, Director of Operations

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Riding home on the L from my karate class this week, Jon Bellion’s song “Maybe IDK” came on shuffle.  The song states a variety of “I wonder why statements…”. Here are some that Bellion mentions in the song:

I wonder why I say yes to everyone in my life.

I wonder why I can’t run that fast in my dreams.

I wonder why I miss everyone and I still don’t call.

As I sat listening to the song on the train, I thought about how I would finish those “I wonder why…” statements.  The theme of the song touches on questioning why something is the way that it is or why something happened – something we all have probably done.  Sitting on the train car, I started to think of my mental health journey and started to finish those “I wonder why” statements in this framework.

I wonder why I still get anxious when I go to karate.

I wonder why I still have difficulty setting boundaries and saying no.

I wonder why my depression still creeps in.

I wonder why I’m not as bold and confident and sure of myself as her.

I wonder why I put up walls when I know vulnerability is so important.

I wonder why I even struggle with anxiety, depression, and body image issues in the first place.

This list could go on and on and on and on.  That would be an uplifting post, wouldn’t it?  

The truth is, I think that in our journeys’ with mental illness and recovery, we often get bogged down with figuring out everything from A to Z.  What is the root cause of my anxiety and depression, what are strategies to saying no, how can I stop comparing myself to other people, etc., etc.  We create plans, attend groups, take our medication, and when we still have a panic attack or when we still struggle with that one fear food, our head becomes filled with “I wonder why” statements.  This cycle is so dangerous because mental illness will always be an “I wonder why.” I wonder why people have to struggle with it to begin with, so where do we get ourselves if we just keep asking why?

The song is not solely about questioning why certain things are the way that they are.  The pre-chorus and chorus say this:

Although I guess if I knew tomorrow

I guess I wouldn’t need faith

I guess if I never fell, I guess I wouldn’t need grace

I guess if I knew His plans, I guess He wouldn’t be God

So maybe I don’t know, maybe I don’t know…

But maybe that’s okay.

I can’t help but sit back and marvel at how true these statements are.  Now, I believe in a higher power, a God whose fingerprint is always at work in our lives.  In fact, spirituality is a core value of Unpolished Journey. In recognizing this, I think there are some things we may not understand for a long time or possibly never understand in our journey with mental illness and recovery.  And if we constantly question why we are still struggling, we’ll be left walking in circles, because, while there may be some behaviors someone is partaking in that are feeding his or her mental illness, the truth of the matter is we will never really know – we’ll never know why he struggles with bulimia or she turns to alcohol or he has manic episodes.  

I think of it this way.  Say someone gets a cancer diagnosis.  The doctor may explain the diagnosis at a scientific level – maybe it was genetic or maybe the individual smoked a lot.  But the question is a deeper why.  Why that person, that individual, that human being.  

And the same goes for mental illness. We will never know why [insert what you struggle with] has to be an issue for us.  We may never really uncover the exact root cause of our depression that we are so intent on finding or read enough self-help books to create a perfect, foolproof plan for recovery.  

I want to take a moment to say that taking medication, attending groups, reading books, creating coping ahead plans, and everything that you do to help your mental illness is beyond necessary, in the same way that someone with a cancer diagnosis needs to get radiation and chemotherapy or whatever the treatment might be. The point of this post is not to discredit any of those things.  The point of this post is to remind us that even while doing those things, we may never fully understand parts of our journey.  And that’s okay. If we let these “I wonder why” statements cloud our thoughts, we will never fully experience recovery.

As I see it, Bellion reminds us that without these struggles, without these hardships, we wouldn’t truly appreciate faith and grace and all of the beautiful things that exist in this world.  So, while we’ll never fully understand our journey, we can be patient, watch it unfold, and appreciate faith and grace in the process.

P.S. I highly recommend listening to the song.  Click here to do so.

Only Human

Written by: Casey Urban, contributing writer.  Connect with her on Instagram (@caseyurban) or on her blog www.caseyurban.com/blog/.

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Me: “I hate that I’m like this.”

Kyle: “What, human?”

This conversation followed a panic attack I had after getting an unexpected call to work a 14-hour flight to India in the middle of the night. I panicked because I had trouble eating lunch earlier that day and I knew the flight could possibly push me into relapse, or at least somewhere close. Disordered thoughts about relapsing into restricting, binging and purging flooded my head as I sat across the table from my boyfriend while he ate lunch at a local Cuban restaurant. I’m a reserve flight attendant in recovery from bulimia and the thought of working at 14-hour flight sent me into a state of panic. Working international flights without much warning have historically caused me to binge. almost. every. time.

I’ve been in recovery from bulimia for 3 years. However, my job as a flight attendant has caused me some anxiety which has caused me to revert back to my old friend – food. I haven’t purged but I have binged countless times since I’ve started working as a flight attendant over the past couple of years. It’s no where near the amount of binging I used to do when I was in the throes of my bulimia, but thoughts of relapse over the past 6 months or so have raised quite the cause for concern. My bulimia bottom was binging and purging for 10 hours a day, and I refuse to go back to that mental space.

I tend to be extremely hard on myself. It’s hard for me to forgive myself after I’ve made a mistake. I have even recently confused struggles with mental health as “mistakes.” However, I will say I’m better than I was 5 years ago and in five years, I’ll be even better about this than I am now. My boyfriend’s reaction to my negative self talk was exactly the thing I needed to hear. I am human. Yes, I am in recovery and yes, I also struggle sometimes with thoughts of binging and purging. For someone in recovery and dealing with a lot of stress, this is normal. Fifteen years of mowing down neural pathways associated with bulimia will not change over night. Recovery takes time, professional help, a lot of support from friends and family, and above all, patience.

Self-Appreciation

Written by: Madeline McCallum, contributing writer and blogger at http://madelinesmusing.blogspot.com/?m=1

Self-appreciation

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“We appreciate your consistent releasing of resistance.

We appreciate the continual opening of new doors, allowing your further discovery of who-you-are.

We are eager about the consistent ease that is before you.

We are eager about your new desires still to be launched.

We are eager for your inevitable rendezvouz with good-feeling ideas and experiences.

We are eager for your realization of the unlimited abundance that surrounds you.”

(Esther & Jerry Hicks)

I had a moment the other day where I paused in my tracks and considered how wild it was that past-me, some previous version of myself, had worked so extremely hard to make sure my feet were standing right where they were at that moment – on the London pavement, coffee in hand and opportunity stretching before me.

To be clear, at no point in my life did I ever really plan out a specific road map – and that used to stress me out. I’ve always known my ambitions and my bigger-picture dreams deep down, but I tend to get bogged down in the “how,” in feeling like I need to be actively doing something to make all of my dreams happen. When given the topic of appreciation, what first came to mind was an image in my head of me just wrapping my arms around myself, praising the girl who, from a very early age, committed to a life of doing everything in my power to live a life of adventure, of ambition, of reach, of no boundaries. Because of her relentless commitment to herself, I am now in a place where I can recognize and fully bask in all that I have achieved in my mere two decades on this planet.

I appreciate the family who instilled these values in me – a family who never drew strict lines around me (and thank goodness, because my internal demons definitely took care of that one for them…), a family who showed me that through hard work and perseverance, I can truly achieve anything I set my mind too.

I appreciate the time I have allowed myself to heal. As much as hindsight allows me to recognize the rewards of all of my hard work and nose to the grindstone moments, it also lets me recognize that none of that hard work would have come to fruition if there weren’t also periods of pause. I hope that I continue to give myself this grace – realizing that this recovery is a marathon, one that requires dedication and training every day. And that two years, or five years, or ten years, is just a blip on the timeline of my full life. I am not losing time or wasting time – rather, I am giving myself back years of love and feeling and wholeness.

I appreciate the relentless commitment I have made to myself. This body and this mind is my home, and I intend to treat my home with respect and care for its longevity. Time has shown me that every time I dig deep into my core values and use those to guide my actions, the result feels right and truly bountiful.

I appreciate that at some times I may not feel so content with myself, but I hope that I can look back and remember that I have always made it through those rough patches – and come out stronger and more resilient on the other side.

We are eager for the tipping point that will surely come that will allow you to see yourself as we know you to be: deserving of all manner of abundance, worthy of all good things, satisfied with what-is– and eager for more.

(Esther & Jerry Hicks)

Mindfulness vs. Resolutions

Written by: Madeline McCallum, contributing writer and blogger at http://madelinesmusing.blogspot.com/?m=1

Mindfulness and mental health

“You go where you look.” The repeated phrase of my ski school trainer, my driving instructor, my ballet teacher, my high school tennis coach. A lesson that at the time I filed away as just another way to improve my performance, but now realize was probably the most relevant and profound advice I have ever received.

What you are giving energy is what you are giving life. More important than any physical resolution, concerning my health or my weight or something I need to fix or change, this year I resolve to try to pay more attention to where I am investing my energy. If I’m focusing on stress, or on the past, or on everything that can go wrong, then I am probably directing myself down a path of disappointment and grief. We have an internal dialogue going on 24/7, but as I heard Dan Harris say recently on a podcast, so often we pay more attention to the speaker in our head than the listener. By only engaging with the speaker that tells me I’m scared, that tells me I’m a failure, that tells me I’m way too busy to figure out why I’m scared, I miss out on a whole other dimension of human experience.

I prefer mindfulness over resolutions. Mindfulness deconstructed from the zeitgeist version of it – at its core, it really just means stepping back and listening to your internal dialogue. If you set out on a quest to quiet your thoughts, you will not be successful. If you approach mindfulness as another thing to add to your “New Me” to-do list, then the quest is doomed from the beginning.

There is so much to be said for just observing your thoughts, without judgement. When I learned that my thoughts aren’t truth, that the speaker in my head is not always quoting facts, it was honestly revolutionary. Taking time to just tune in to the movie constantly projected on the cluttered walls of my mind helps give me clarity into why I may be feeling the way I am and always reminds me to quietly redirect my mental energy. As Dan Harris says, “You just want to see whatever is there, so that it doesn’t own you.”

Another reason I prefer mindfulness over resolutions is because resolutions imply rigidity. How do I know what is going to serve me in October, when I barely know what I want for dinner tonight? Mindfulness allows for flexibility – it is the practice that helps me make quick decisions that feel right, in tune. It allows every day to be a moment to focus on my intentions, not just the beginning of the year.

I try to stay far, far away from anything that connotes restriction – and resolutions seem to have gained a reputation for doing exactly that. I like the idea of committing to something that adds, that brings joy, that gives back to my community and my loved ones. By being very conscious of where I’m throwing my energy, ultimately I’m showing up as the best, most authentic version of myself, both in my inner dialogue and in my interactions with others.

You go where you look. And once you find yourself somewhere, there you are. I have a tendency to constantly calculate my next move and forget about the girl who is here, now, present tense. In all of the planning and prioritising, and even in the depths of the quest for betterment, the girl that likes soft rain on tin roofs and tends to get distracted by sunlight on her cheeks gets lost. Here’s to prioritising her, to observing my thoughts but not necessarily believing them. And to be mindful of my precious energy, because when channelled in the right direction, my strength can move mountains.

Intentionally Mindful

Written by: Gracie Mayer, contributing writer

Breathing, circulation, digestion. Your body completes so many actions every day without your attention, intention or mindfulness. Your body is constantly working for you, a chorus of natural processes orchestrated without you giving a single thought, command or request. There is so much in the natural world and in our own bodies that happens without mindfulness. We run, dance, jump, play, and work often without taking the time to be aware and grateful for the miracle of our own natural mechanisms. When reflecting on these bodily functions that occur seamlessly, like breath, my attention was drawn towards the actions I complete everyday without giving much thought or intention to the process. And since the new year has begun, everyone is buzzing with talk of resolutions. My resolution this year is a large intention that encopasses most of my goals in one statement: To live intentionally through experiencing my life more mindfully.

Take, for instance, breath. When I slow down enough to become mindful of my breathing, I am able to create an intention behind each breath. For example, I can use my breath to calm my nervous system. I can use my breath to clear my mind. I can use my breath to create space and heat in my body. I can use my breath to engage my muscles and activate my senses. I can use my breath to create sound and vibration. I could go my entire day without giving my breath a second thought, and my body would continue to take in air and expel it just the same. However, when I take the time to become mindful of this natural process, a world of opportunities arises in which I can utilize my body’s functions for an intentional purpose.  The gravity of this realization brought such a paradigm shift in my own life. I began to realize that some days I was just going through the motions and allowing my life to pass by without a sense of purpose or intention. I have seen drastic changes in my own life by simply becoming more mindful and using the awareness to create an intention and purpose for my actions.

Now I set intentions each and every month. These intentions are a direct response to a behavior, mindset, or action that I have become mindful of in my everyday life.  In addition, I began to see that the more mindful I am of my actions, the more introspective I am of my emotional/mental health and wellbeing.  When I begin to see patterns of behavior arise in my daily life that do not serve my highest self, I am able to look at what is driving the behavior, which is always some type of emotional unrest that I need to address.

I am constantly in awe of the opportunities that I create in my life when I choose to live intentionally. But more recently I have realized that the more mindful I am, the more purposeful my intentions become. It is often easier to walk through our day to day lives as we always have, often times habitually repeating the same patterns of damaging behavior.  Every behavior that we do serves a purpose, but the purpose may be causing more harm than good.  For instance, our behaviors may be to numb or to escape uncomfortable emotions. When we live each day more mindfully, we can reveal these behaviors and begin to transform our lives.

As I begin this journey into the new year, I invite you to wake up each morning with a conviction to live mindfully. Living mindfully can act as a catalyst that gives life to intentions. An intentional life opens opportunities, connection and growth. Each of our journeys requires that we play an active role.  Our personal growth demands that we live purposefully to support the change.