Leveling Up: Identifying Upper Limit Problems

Leveling Up: Identifying Upper Limit Problems

I recently read the book “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks. It is written in an approachable, easy to read way that one could get through it in an afternoon if they so wished. I found it so valuable that I spent about a month reading it, taking careful notes and considering it’s applications for my own life. I decided I’d love to share about it and encourage you to dig into this excellent resource yourself. This is the first of two posts about this book.

˚

The Big Leap is about a concept called The Upper Limit Problem, which says that we subconsciously act to sabotage our dreams and wishes to become our greatest self, because deep down we don’t believe we deserve it. Upper Limit Problems, or as I like to call them, best-self sabotagers, are all of those moments in daily life where we act against our values and our true desires. It’s getting into an argument with your partner immediately after receiving news that you’ve been given a promotion or a raise. It’s spending your paycheck on clothes and shoes even though you are saving to buy a house. It’s coming down with an illness the day before a major presentation, forcing you to stay home. It’s when you feel overwhelmingly exhausted the morning you were planning to go on a sunrise hike in the mountains. It’s having a panic attack Monday morning at the office after a relaxing weekend. It’s not helping us.

Here’s the thing. There’s what we’re not good at, what we are good at but we don’t love, and what we’re uniquely great at, which simultaneously gives us life. We want to do more of what we are uniquely great at, giving ourselves that source energy that propels our story forward. Yet we get stuck doing what we’re good at, what pays our bills, because well, it’s paying the bills. Making the jump to a life-giving career is risky. What if things don’t pan out?

Well they might not. Especially if we’re overrun with best-self sabotaging habits. The Big Leap suggests that there are four core beliefs we tend to grip that hold us back. We can overcome these limiting actions by exposing them in the process. Notice when you’re best-self sabotaging, and then pause. Before you continue the argument, the online purchase, or the anxious thought, pause. Say to yourself, “I’m sabotaging my best self.” or “I’m upper limiting myself.” Ask, “What might I be limiting myself for?” I recommend asking your inner voice. Once you’ve got your answer, you know you can stop. Stop the argument. Put the credit card down. Take a deep breath. Finally, give yourself an affirmation mantra in the moment. Maybe it’s, “I am abundant in love, peace, and belonging. I have enough. I am enough.” Perhaps it is something more specific to what you are struggling with.This may take some time to build awareness and self-control. That’s okay. I trust it will become easier in time. 

I’m working on it, and I’m trying to take it day by day. Moment by moment really. It seems that the second I lose sight of it, I act in an Upper Limiting way. This is where I think the power of compassion and meditation come in. I’ve noticed my ability to identify when I’m best-self sabotaging is strongest on days that I meditate. I find that meditation is the most successful foundation I can create for my day. I think it is because when we meditate, we connect with our best-self. We plug into source energy and identify with the eternal perspective within us that is ever-loving, ever-peaceful, and ever-knowing. This part of us knows the “end goal” and knows exactly the path to get there. So trust that it will come. Commit to giving yourself compassion every day, and commit to noticing those best-self sabotaging moments. Then you will can make space to enlist and empower your genius. 

˚

You can order Gay Hendrick’s book “The Big Leap” here.

Seeing Silver Linings

Seeing Silver Linings

There is beauty in the flow of life. When you’re in the thick of it, it never seems purposeful, it just hurts. But I’ve learned that though you can’t see it clearly at the time, there is a greater purpose for your pain.

˚

I was reminded today of something beautiful. I remembered how, for the longest time, I couldn’t think about a particularly difficult period in my life not very long ago. In May of 2014 I was pretty sick for a couple of weeks. Then my sore throat cleared up, but the lymph nodes in my neck never did. I initially thought it might be mono, but then my ego stepped in and suggested otherwise. “What if it’s not mono? What if this is cancer? These symptoms are similar to the stories you’ve heard. What about this bump on your body? Is it a bump? This mole? Your ovaries? Tumors can go undetected.” 

Over a series of panicked appointments with a “substitute doctor” (my primary care provider was on sabbatical), I told her about my worries. The first time she shrugged me off, saying it was probably mono, but they weren’t going to test me, and I should just wait a month for it to pass. One month later I had a panic attack in the car in the parking lot outside my doctor’s office, sobbing and immobilized, and missed my appointment. Two months later, I demanded a mono test, which came back positive. The mental damage of a panicked thought pattern however had been solidified. Three months later, lymph nodes in my neck, arm pits, legs, and arms were still noticeable. I returned to the doctor and she stared at me with a furrowed brow and a hand on her chin. “It might be cancer.” she said as she ordered a chest X-ray, neck ultra sound, and a brain MRI. Over the next month I reported to the hospital for a series of appointments where I tried to remain calm as I felt my life slipping away from me. Any semblance of mental control I had was long gone. Ego took occupation of a spot in my brain where it would remain to control me from for years. 

After the tests came back and my doctor told me that I was fine, they couldn’t find anything, and I needed to relax and recover, I reluctantly agreed. I knew my brain was messed up, but I was so stuck in it, that I couldn’t see a way out. From then until I recovered, I tried my very best to stay busy and not think about what I was so afraid of. Thankfully my final year of school was starting, so I could focus all of my energy on that. Finally, one night in November I realized I had unintentionally stayed up until 1 AM, something that was quite impossible for me the six months prior. My body shut me down no later than 9 PM prior to that night. A cleansing feeling of relief washed over my body. “I’m getting better.”

Things did get better, my physical health, most notably. My mental health on the other hand continued to lag. Recovery was slow. Sometimes it digressed. I know now that pushing away feelings does not make them leave. Eventually I decided to go on anti-depressants. If you’ve read my first couple of blog posts, you know where the story goes next. 

˚

Fast forward back to today, thinking about that season almost five years ago, and for the first time feeling deep gratitude, not worry, about it. If I hadn’t had mono I never would have developed such acute anxiety. It was this intense anxiety that drove my sanity into the ground, slamming me into rock bottom. It spurred on the decision to begin working with a therapist and a holistic chiropractic doctor. My recovery process was slow, but they taught me to trust doctors again, to trust my body again, and to trust my mind again. They introduced me to a meditation practice and helped me develop a new awareness of and loving connection with my body. These tiny changes created major shifts in my life. Physical, emotional, relational, and most importantly, spiritual.

I see now that having mono needed to happen for me to become who I am today. 

I understand that unknowns are blessings in disguise. That healing isn’t immediate. And recovery doesn’t follow a linear path. Feel what you need to feel. Then as you become aware that you’re in suffering, see it as the infinite part of you does. This is a season. And this season has a purpose. Which will become clear once it has passed. It is our opportunity, in the midst of it, to find the quiet within. Draw near to Loving Awareness. Inner Voice. God. The Universe. 

And listen.

Trust that what you need is already unfolding. Know that in the quiet, you will receive peace and guidance. You will be given just what you need, not more, to get through the day. Day after day. And soon you will look at your scars and think back to those difficult months with a calm mind, a warm heart, and a whole lot of gratitude.

Catching Up

Catching Up

Last September I wrote about when everything feels like it’s collapsing in on you, and in the midst of feeling so low, realizing that that is all life is ever going to be, a series of obstacles to learn from. And so I did. 

And then I didn’t write about it for a year. Or at least not publicly. So here we are. Let me catch you up. That work situation? Well it wasn’t resolved immediately, but I channeled much of my energy at the beginning of 2018 preparing my portfolio and interviewing. I began my new job in February with a company that I knew would grow my skills in a new direction. Nearly one year into this job, I am glad that I left when I did. I am thankful for the people that I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve received. 

My living situation was an amazing shift. I had been living with someone who taught me a lot about patience and communication. This person made me feel unsafe to the point of almost calling the police. They screamed at me abusively when they didn’t get their way, and stole some of my expensive belongings on the way out the door. Weeks after they were gone, I still felt a sense of panic inside when I heard someone walking by my apartment. I’d be lying if I said I could completely wish her well now. Recovering is a process. Fortunately, she was replaced by someone I can only imagine was a gift from the universe- a gift of calm, understanding, peace, and security.

My body. I trained for a marathon all summer, and in an instant, that was ruined when I fell while rock climbing in Southern Oregon. I sprained both my ankles and my back. I cried a bit about this one, but in the end, I went to the race to support my friend, and a year later I finished my first marathon in the mountains near Seattle. When I rounded the bend and saw the finish line, tears welled up in my eyes, and I sprinted through the end. Words couldn’t capture how accomplished I felt after training so long for this goal. I felt like a bad ass. 

My relationship status. Feelings had been dwindling for weeks, and I knew the reality was that I was still in love with my ex. I chose to end that relationship and to this day I hold so much gratitude in my heart for that person, because he taught me how healthy communication operates in a relationship. He reminded me of how I should always feel deeply desired and cared for by my partner. 

Then in a whirlwind my prior partner and I saw each other unexpectedly. He asked me three times if we could meet to talk. Finally I said yes, and we met at a park to climb, talk, and walk our dog, like we had so many nights before. We arrived to the climbing area and he forgot his shoes, because he was so nervously excited to see me again. I held my heart close to my chest with hopes that his personal growth would surprise me. It did. I learned that I was not the only one who had experienced a personal transformation during our time apart. Over the course of the next two months, we rekindled our partnership, and we are still together today. 

There is beauty in the flow of life. When you’re in the thick of it, it never seems purposeful, it just hurts. But I’ve learned that though you can’t see it clearly at the time, there is a greater purpose for our pain.

Wildfires: Angel Card Pull

Wildfires: Angel Card Pull

Though the news cycle quickly moves on, thousands of people are still affected by the California wildfires. Recent rain brought the Camp Fire to 90% containment this week, however the risk of dangerous landslides has increased. Around 600 people are declared missing, and rebuilding is hardly a question being considered yet.

I’ve had a deep ache in my chest for those affected by the wildfires in California. Feeling a bit helpless, I pulled some angel cards for direction on what I can do to help as someone who does not live near the areas affected. The below messages are my inner voice’s guidance based on the cards I pulled.

˚

FRESH AIR CARD: How fitting that this was pulled. Get some fresh air. Get out in nature and appreciate the beautiful, life giving world around you. Open your windows for fresh air and natural light. Buy plants to continually bring fresh air into your living space and work environment. The greater our appreciation for the world we live in, the sooner we will make choices that support the health and longevity of human life on this planet. 

SEE ONLY LOVE CARD: See only love in this situation. Extend love to those affected and even to those who may be critical. Natural disasters are not a time for politics.  Though the president may say things without regard for how they will sound or affect those impacted, it is important to be loving. Maybe the most loving thing to do is avoid additional critical speech and instead focus on those who are helping. The firefighters, nurses, those taking in strangers, friends, and pets. Highlight the love, the goodness, and the hopeful. “When you focus on love, anything that’s unloving falls away.” 

GO FOR IT! CARD: And the third card pulled encourages us to take the action we’ve been thinking about and go for it. This might mean sending financial support to nonprofits that support the communities affected, fostering or adopting from local animal shelters in the affected areas, and sending encouraging prayers and messages. It may also be a nudge to do the same in your area. Commit to cleaning up your local green spaces, parks, and waterways or support an environmental organization you believe in. Whatever it is, do it with love, and know that you are on the right path. 

˚

If you are looking for ways to support financially, the New York Times has a great summary article here with recommendations. 

I just sent $10 donations to Caring Choices and Direct Relief, two organizations committed to helping affected Californians directly. $10 may not sound like a lot of money, but it’s a way to support and extend love that is within my means. Lots of small donations will add up to BIG waves of healing. 

When You Don’t Practice What You Preach

When You Don’t Practice What You Preach

I feel a bit like I am walking around a fun house with mirrors on every wall. Except it’s not fun. It’s my life, and I am overwhelmed. At this point, as I look into the mirrors and see every possible direction’s reflection, I just sit down. I cross my legs. I close my eyes. I breathe. Why isn’t it getting any easier? Why won’t any step I take move me forward, away from the overwhelm?

One thing happened, and I said, “Oh, I’ve got this.” Then another happened, then another. In a matter of weeks my work situation, living situation, relationship status, and my body’s well-being entered into limbo. It’s been this way for over a month now. Needless to say, this summer to fall transition has been extra challenging to navigate. I have tried to listen to my body, journal, and meditate, but I admit I am easily frustrated when I don’t get the results I want right away. I don’t make the routine a priority.

So here I’ve been, stirring in my discomfort, complaining that it won’t end, and every thing is too much. And then today I encountered a couple of perspective shifts.

As I rode the bus to spend the remainder of my weekend at work, I saw the Daily Calm for today, and it featured a Zen Proverb that read,

“Obstacles do not block the path, they are the path.”

Pause.
Reread.

And it’s true. Life is the constant overcoming of obstacles. Some seem larger than others, but they are always there. And perspective is everything. Thinking back to six months ago, life forced me into a similar season of dramatic change. It was painful, but it helped me stay present, connect with my heart, and grow abundantly. Again, I have an opportunity to practice what I learned this year and continue to grow through obstacles.

Here I remind myself of the hope of my pursuits: to be warm in heart and calm in mind at all times. This morning, as I walked with a friend, coffee in hand, he reminded me that yes, everything seems to be blowing up,

but I have my friends.
I have my family.
And everyone is healthy.
Pause.
Breathe.
Gratitude.

and this helps me feel warm in heart.

So I stand up in this room full of mirrors and take a few steps, breathe, look down at my feet and remember that yes, I am here right now. This circumstance is challenging, but I am present in the moment. I choose to practice awareness, and to place the other concerns I have in containers in my mind, and set them aside, one by one, for later. I take each moment as it comes, consciously release my worries, and replace them with gratitude and presence.

and this helps me feel calm in mind.

Moment.
Awareness.
Breath.
Release.
Presence.

Life is full of wonder, of beauty, and of love. Remember what makes your heart full and warm, and your mind clear and calm. Pause on those memories. Cherish them.

Meditation for Calm

Meditation for Calm

Breathe.

Focus your energy on your presence right

n o w.

Pause. Notice the posture you hold.
Breathe in and feel the air flow through your body,
down your core,
and into your arms, legs, and extremities.
Breathe out and observe the release as your muscles relax into the moment.

Breathe in, presence.
Breathe out, peace.

Meditation is finding now. It is a beautiful tool that has a calming affect on anxiety in the body and mind. When I began my wellness journey, my counselor, holistic doctor, and medical doctor all told me I needed to integrate meditation into my daily routine. That it would slow my racing racing mind, soothe my tense, aching muscles, and ground me in present peace. I knew I should try it, but the idea of slowing myself down to a halt and just sitting there seemed so out of reach. I have never been someone who could empty my mind and just be. I didn’t think it was possible.

I knew meditation would help my anxiety. At the time, I felt I had lost everything and everyone I built my adult life around. I was frustrated, confused, and unhappy. I identified completely as an anxious person. I was enslaved by my intense worry and negativity. I was sitting in an open field in the middle of a storm, legs crossed, tall grass whipping my knees, and hair blowing around in a Tasmanian swirl. I wanted to feel in control of my life story. I wanted to love myself again.

I guess there’s something about desire and intention with a bit of desperation that makes committing to meditating possible.

During that dark time, I was reminded that meditation is a practice. So I wouldn’t immediately feel calm after my first meditation. Or even my first three. Meditation is a conscious choice. It’s a calm that is cultivated little by little, without destination or perfection.

Somehow, in knowing that I would never be “there”, I was free.

Understanding this motivated me to make meditation a daily ritual. For the next eight weeks I woke up each morning, made myself tea, journaled, and meditated. I learned about mindfulness, gained body awareness, and focused on self-love.

If you want to start a mediation practice, do it. Find your motivation, your desperation.

Carve out a time in your day to commit to focusing on the breath and being present. That may be first thing in the morning. It may be during a short run. It may be in a quiet room at lunch time. Or it may be at the end of your day as you wind down for bed.

There are many meditation apps that can help you get started. Gaia’s “Meditation Studio” app has my favorite beginner’s course. The “Calm” app has a focused breathing tool as well as integrated nature sounds to ground you in the moment. Insight Timer, Headspace, and Simple Habit are some other great options as well. Try one or try all of them to figure out which one fits you best.

As you start your practice and seek out presence, may you be warm in heart and calm in mind.

Finding A Counselor

Finding A Counselor

I finally decided it was time for me to heal myself without the help of prescription drugs, so I began my search for a licensed mental health counselor.

I didn’t start working with someone immediately, but that hopeful, forward momentum within me kept me motivated to find the right person.

When I did find a counselor, it seemed as though she was perfectly placed in my path. I liked her philosophy on healing and relational counseling and her tone was calming, patient, warm, and hopeful. She understood where I was coming from. She knew the beauty and the pain caused by growing up in a strong faith community. She was even from Michigan, so she was familiar with the Midwest values that raised me. It made a huge difference for me starting a relationship that is meant to be based on trust and vulnerability to have a few things in common with her. Because of these connections, it made it easier for me to open up to her and trust that she got my context.

Since I started working with my counselor in the fall of 2016, I have experienced an amazing, undeniable transformation. Many weeks we end the session looking back at where I began and pause to recognize and celebrate how far I’ve come. Because of my counselor I have started to heal nearly life long emotional wounds. I’ve gained tremendous self-awareness and identity. I understand what my core issues are and why they exist. I also know my core beliefs. I am learning about how my environment in my early years set me up to experience a lot of the anxiety I have now. And I practice patience, grace, and self-renewal. Through our time together, I have built up strength, self-love, and confidence. I celebrate who I am, and I release the identities that others have placed on me. It’s been a wild, difficult, encouraging ride. And I am so thankful for it.

A few stats on my counseling experience: I came in with a desire to understand and alleviate my anxiety, and it became so much more than that. I meet with my counselor weekly. My insurance does not cover my counselor, so I pay for my sessions out of pocket. We knew we wanted to work together, so she was able to offer me a slightly discounted rate, and I did some creative reworking of my budget to afford it. She was one of three counselors I narrowed down, and the second one I called. Once I met with her in person, I knew I needed to work with her.

I’ve talked to a number of people about counseling lately. If this is something you think is important for you, I want to help you find the right person to kick start your healing journey. I can’t say this is a perfect formula, but it worked for me.

1. Know what you want out of the experience. Or perhaps what you don’t want. What are your goals for yourself? What would you like to learn about yourself? What would you like to heal within yourself?
2. Identify what type of counseling or therapy experience you’d like to have. Are there any therapies you’re curious about? Are you looking for someone with a specific background or specialty? What values should they have? How often are you hoping to meet?
3. Understand your insurance. Unfortunately mental health is a largely ignored part of a person’s overall health as dictated by many insurance companies. It is important to first know how much, if at all, your medical insurance plan will cover. Then consider if you are willing to look out of network to find someone.
4. Before diving into your search, and now that you’re armed with some great information about your goals, your desired experience, and your coverage, I recommend talking to a friend who is happily meeting with a counselor. I often will ask my counselor for recommendations for my friends.
5. Another great resource, and how I found my counselor, is Psychology Today. Using the website’s online directory of mental health counselors, you can search by insurance type, issue, gender, etc. so that you get a result of counselors who fit the criteria you’ve requested. Read their bios, check their websites. Take note of counselors you like and make a “call list”.
6. Take a few minutes to write a list of questions you may want to ask. These should relate to what you wrote down for number 2. What’s their background? Experience? Do they go to therapy? What insurance do they work with? What’s their philosophy on counseling and healing? What is their practice like? What is their goal or hope for working together?
7. Call the counselors on your list. I recommend starting with no more than 5 to keep things manageable. Spend 15 minutes or so talking to them. Ask your questions, so you can gauge whether or not you’d like to work with them. Make note of your top 2.
8. Schedule an in-person session. When you’re on the phone, ask if they would be open to meeting for a free or discounted session in person. Often times counselors are happy to do this to make sure that it is the right fit for both of you. Try it out. See if you click. If you feel wildly unsafe, don’t commit to working with them. Listen to your body when you’re with them. Recognize that you may be uncomfortable sharing personal information about yourself, at least at first, but if you feel an internal sense of alarm that you are not safe with a person, don’t work with them.
9. When you find someone you like, commit. See how it goes. I recommend working with your counselor weekly, or no less than bi-weekly at the beginning of your journey. Consider weening off as needed, but make the decision very carefully and try not to let money be the reasoning for it. Know that your health is worth investing in.
10. Don’t stress if it’s not feeling right after a month of working with them. They may not be the right person for you to work with. But before you quit and try to find a new counselor, consider your own blocks. Do you feel like you can’t share because of your emotional blocks, or is it because your counselor feels unsafe or unkind? If it’s the latter, go and try someone new. If the former, consider why you feel that way and what you can do to trust and open up. Do you really want to make a change for the better? Are you willing to do the hard work, sit with the discomfort, and explore dark places within yourself?

Remember that once you begin, you will not be able to turn back. This may sound alarming at first, but it just means that awareness leads to action. Once you are aware of whatever it is that is affecting you, you can’t un-know it. You are changed for the better, and you can choose what you will do with that knowledge.

I promise you, this is an exciting time. It’s an opportunity for you to grow and to heal. Embrace it! You are on your journey of living out your highest self.

 

What It’s Like

What It’s Like

We were in Chicago for a few days, and I took my boyfriend at the time to a neighborhood bar to see friends. Almost immediately I felt a light-headed, anxious rush come over me. We ordered drinks and food, but I couldn’t touch them. “What’s wrong with me? Nothing’s even happened.” I felt warm, nervously drank water, excused myself to the bathroom to breathe multiple times. I didn’t know what triggered me, but I knew I was panicked. Embarrassed, I asked my boyfriend to walk outside with me. I just needed some fresh air.

Heart racing.
Tunnel vision.
Tingling fingers.
This isn’t working.
What’s wrong with me?

“Okay, get to a safe place. I need to get back to my hotel.”

We said a quick goodbye to my friends and caught the next bus. Heart pounding like a drum in my chest, eyes darting, unfocused, I remember laying my head on my boyfriend’s lap and repeating to myself over and over that I was okay.

“Am I okay? Am I dying? I’m dying. My body is shutting down. No, I’m okay. I think I’m okay. This is anxiety. This is a panic attack. Is this a panic attack?”

We arrived at my hotel room, and I fumbled for my keys. Frantic energy vibrated in my body, “I can’t find it. I don’t know what I did with it.” I crumbled into a ball on the ground. Attempting to pull in oxygen, I sat with my head in my hands, tucked between my knees, heart still racing, panic telling me my body was shutting down. My boyfriend miraculously reappeared with a replacement key.

Opening the door to the room, I felt a sobering rush of cold air hit me. I ran straight to my suitcase to pull out a prescription for Xanax that my doctor gave me in case of panic attacks. I had just started taking a daily pill for anxiety, and she said this might happen. I was nervous about how the drug would affect me, so I cut it in half, swallowed it with a gulp of water, and stuffed myself under the covers.

I waited for the the anxiety to go away, and it never really did. But I became sleepy. So with tired eyes and weakening will, I took deep breaths, covered my face with a pillow, and hugged my stomach. As I finally nodded off I felt a stillness settle in, deciding that I wasn’t going to wake up in the morning and that was okay. I surrendered. “I’m dying. It’s okay.”

That was my first panic attack.

To this day, I would consider that experience my worst panic attack, yet each time it happens it feels new, it feels almost entirely impassable in the moment.

I wish I knew exactly why panic attacks happen, so they can be prevented. The answers are varied and often buried in layers of memory and trauma. I can’t give answers. But I can relate.

Losing a sense of control. Unstable blood sugar. Helplessness. Life changes. Important decisions. Presentations at work. Arguments. Dehydration. Boundaries violated. Trauma triggered.

Anxiety expresses itself in many forms. Racing heart, sweaty palms, feeling overheated, difficulty focusing, tunnel vision, wildly irrational thought patterns, chaotic mind, frozen in place, dizziness, feeling sick to your stomach, trouble breathing, lightheadedness, a tingling sensation in the body.

Drugs are helpful, but not the answer to healing. And short term prescriptions may be useful if taken safely and appropriately. I took a daily pill for months before I recognized that it was a false peace. It did help me manage my anxiety when it was at its worst. It gave me hope that peace was possible. Occasionally though I would forget to take one and become super moody and feel out of control. Not to mention that I felt dependent on something for normalcy that seemed to be less and less effective over time.

After a particularly moody weekend, I decided I wanted to work through it on my own. But this was a challenge, as I barely knew where to start.. Eventually when the panic attacks became too much… weekly, daily, shit-I-can’t-handle-this-anymore often, I thought, “I need… desperately need to do something about this. I cannot go on living this way. It’s torture.”

So I took a big step. I talked to my doctor. I weened myself off of my daily pills. And I did two important things: I looked for a counselor and I scheduled a meeting with a holistic doctor.

I’m going to talk a bit about those things soon, because if there’s one thing I know about healing, it’s that it happens a lot faster with support.

Chapter One, Page One

Chapter One, Page One

“One hundred and eighty-three days into the year, and I thought I’d be feeling better by now. Yet here I am, hugging my stomach, telling myself I’m okay, and taking a Xanax…”

A year ago I felt like I hit my rock bottom. Strange, because from the outside things looked great. I had recently moved to Seattle. I had a great job with a dream company doing inspiring work. I was going on weekend adventures a couple of times a month. I was in a serious relationship with a guy my friends and family loved for me. And we had a puppy. A really cute puppy. Like I said, things were looking great.

On the outside.

Internally, things were different. While I tried to maintain a positive attitude and appreciation for the good things in my life, truthfully, I was burnt out. I was anxious beyond my capacity to deal, experiencing debilitating panic attacks at work almost weekly, which usually sent me home for the remainder of the day. I worried endlessly about things I could not control, and in the chaos of my mind, I could not understand why I was even anxious at all. It felt as though my mind and body were in emergency mode all the time. Let me tell you, this is a horrible, exhausting feeling.

I questioned my value at work, in my friendships, and especially in my relationship with my boyfriend. I felt inadequate, and frankly, I was was reminded that I was inadequate regularly. I did not love myself. I wondered if I was in the right place.
The right career.
The right relationship.

I hiked on the weekends, but I physically struggled due to a knee injury that caused me discomfort and worry. I felt pressured to perform beyond my ability so that my boyfriend would approve. I never felt good enough. I weighed more than I ever had before. I was not looking out for my body. I was not eating for my body. I was exhausted all the time. All. The. Time. I felt minimal motivation to do anything for myself. I didn’t know it then, but I now recognize that I was depressed.

Despite all of this, buried in my heart, I had a vision of my highest self. I knew she was within me, part of me. I knew I could become her. At my rock bottom I so desperately wanted her. So I took the first step.

I recognized that I was not who I wanted to be. And in order to become her, I needed to change.


I want to share my journey of healing with you – past, present, and continuing – because I believe you may relate. Because I see your highest self like I see my own. Because my heart now overflows with a desire to inspire others to pursue this person within. And because I really believe you can become your highest self. Even if you are not living out that self now.

As humans, we are all on a journey to wholeness. I encourage you to walk with me on mine.