For much of my life I lacked confidence and esteem. I suffered with debilitating feelings of overwhelm, confusion and self-doubt. I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety. At the age of 26 I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Yet, if you’d met me you might think I had it all “together”. Despite childhood obstacles and set-backs, outwardly I seemed to be “beating the odds”.
But deep inside I was struggling. Anxiety is very isolating because the person experiencing it learns to put on a happy face. It becomes a full time job making everyone think I have it all figured out.
I felt shame and guilt - just because I was me. I spent years trying to “fix myself”. I clung desperately to the idea that with the right information I would someday be able to overcome my anxiety and move forward. I had no idea what to do. So I drank. But that only put band-aids on symptoms.
All of my efforts were aimed a “controlling” anxiety. I was completely unaware of a fundamental need to develop an understanding of who I am beyond the diagnosis, or the necessity for any lasting connection to my own innate value.
Hitting bottom came in levels. Growth has too.
I gave up drinking at the age of 24 but my journey was just beginning. Over the last two decades I’ve had the opportunity to meet and study with incredible mentors, teachers and coaches who’ve taught and shown me that it wasn’t just circumstances or the lack of information that was making life difficult for me -- it was my thinking and beliefs that were at the heart of my anxiety, fear and suffering.
I learned how to shift my focus and get control over my thoughts and emotions. This made a huge difference in my life. These teachers weren't showing me how to fix myself. They were teaching me how to connect with my true Self.
The focus on just fixing myself, as if I were broken, didn’t work. In fact, the things I came to rely on to make me feel less anxious - like drinking or avoiding situations - were never (ever) gong to be the tools to help me feel happy and thrive.
Happiness is not just the absence of adversity or the avoidance of discomfort and challenge. Those are part of everyone’s life. Happiness is also the presence of hope and resilience. It’s knowing who we are beyond all the labels and diagnosis and that we can cope and choose. It’s knowing we are not alone and that we’re worthy of love and connection just as we are. It’s the ability to look beyond circumstances and instead look within for our value.
Some things aren't easy to walk through. Life can be hard. I know because I’ve faced a lot of challenges in my own life. But my life has also proved that each encounter can hold within it an opportunity to grow in understanding and strength.
I think as a society we have to let go of the quick-fix mentality and instead learn to tap into our inner wisdom and strength - and joy. We can become more resilient and our happiness can grow, forever.
Obstacles are part of everyone’s journey. But as yoga teaches, the poison can become the nectar. In other words, what seems to be the problem can become the opportunity - when we decide to see it that way.
I have learned that life can be good. Life is a gift. We aren’t here to receive other people’s approval or permission to be who we are. Life is our journey and our vehicle to discover our great capacity joy and love. I am reminding myself of this every day as I too continue to practice, learn and grow.
Two Decades Later
Life today is so different than it was so many years ago.
I’m happily married and we’re grateful parents to our beautiful son, Jack. I have a thriving (ever-changing) Spiritual Coaching Practice which gives me purpose and joy beyond my wildest dreams.
Today I know how to choose my attitude and change my response. I know how to get back up when I fall. I know how to redirect my attention and choices when I miss the mark.
I am not perfect. My life is not perfect. I don’t want to paint that picture. My life is full of ups and downs and twists and turns. The point is my overall mindset has shifted and I no longer believe I am broken. That is a BIG game-changer. I don’t always do life perfectly, but I do my best.
If you’d like to talk or learn more about what I did to get where I am today and learn more about my coaching and mentoring offerings, schedule a complimentary 30-minute consult. I would be so happy to talk with you.
Education and Professional Background
I am certified in both Positive Psychology Coaching and Applied Positive Psychology (CIPP) -- the study of optimal human flourishing and resilience.
I received my education under Harvard Professor, Tal Ben-Shahar, Kripalu Institute and Wholebeing Institute.
I am also a certified Yoga Teacher in the Anusara style -- a therapeutic application of yoga psychology and practice.
My life coaching practice uniquely integrates modern research from positive psychology and neuroscience with life-empowering practices from yoga therapy and spiritual psychology.
Prior to becoming a Yoga Teacher and a Spiritually Inspired Positive Psychology Life Coach, I enjoyed a successful fourteen year career in the travel industry working in such roles as Business Development Manager with Expedia and Leisure Sales Manager with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.
Whole-being Institute - CIPP & Certificated Positive Psychology Coach
Registered teacher with Yoga Alliance at the E-RYT 500 hour level
Certified Anusara yoga teacher