BOOK QUOTE OF THE DAY
Coming 2024 2nd Edition "Find Your Voice Project: A Journey Towards Healing"
Today I celebrate 20 years of recovery.
I celebrate with a Recovery mandala. It’s odd even writing that sentence. What does that even really mean? Everyone looks at recovery differently. I don’t believe there’s one perfect picture; recovery is whatever you make of it. I’ve had good days and bad days. I’ve reflected so much on the lost years, the lost health and the lost sense of self along the way. I have found gratitude for the immeasurable amount of support from sometimes the most unexpected individuals. I do know that I could never have been sitting here today without so many silent supporters, those who believed in me, and those who offered help when I was at my worst and unable to truly speak up for myself.
Why do I mark the day? When I was sick for those 14 years, I truly never believed I’d see this day. I faced immeasurable amount of criticism, judgment and lack of understanding, but more so the journey to rebirth and wellness was so painfully difficult and exhausting at times I didn’t know which was worse.
I mark this day for all the people who I have had the honor to walk with in their illness to offer words of support to help through my speaking, books, coaching and my retreats. I mark this day so that they can see the light at the other end…I will never forget what it took to get here.
Recovery is constant… We are all walking in recovery for one thing or another. There are slips and falls mistakes and trials, but we rise each day and begin again.
Recovery never looks perfect because there is no one way.
Recovery is how you define it for yourself.
Recovery is not easy and some days I’d rather not face it, but then I remember the gifts that I’ve received along the way.
I’ve done my best in my life to write thank you letters to every single person who has been there and lifted me up from doctors, nurses, therapists, nutritionists, dietitians, groups, teachers, counselors, friends, and even strangers who didn’t realize they played a role.
I quietly leave books, affirmations, notes of support in the least expected places hoping to be a reminder of hope and possibility to those who may need it.
I will never stop saying thank you for it is so important.
The most important thing at the end of the day is learning how to love yourself for who you are in the body you’re in, in the exact moment you breathe without apology.
Vulnerability is a heated word for most. It is not easy to show up raw before others admitting our weaknesses. Imagine if you were to sit with that vulnerable feeling and let it wash over you. Imagine if that vulnerable feeling was your strength instead of your weakness. The reality is that the choice in how you experience vulnerability is yours and yours alone.
What would happen if you showed your vulnerability?
How do you sit in your vulnerability?
How do you access your own courage in order to share it with another walking down an uneasy path?
Consider how you want to show up in your vulnerability today.
Reflect more here....
This is one of my favorite photos of my son. Why? Because I caught him off guard away in thought. He was calm. Something in his mind grabbed his attention and he allowed himself to be taken away by the thoughts that circled him in this brief moment.
How often do you pause in your day? The answer for most is less and less as the demands of life take over. Would you believe me if I told you that was a choice?
Just as you choose to get dressed every morning, make your coffee, and eat your breakfast before you start your day we must choose to pause. We must allow ourselves windows into the unknown thoughts within our day.
Those moments, those thoughts are healing. They are a foundation of peace that we can come back to daily when the stressors of our life are too much for us to handle.
The bottom line is that you have a choice.
Remember this when your day becomes too full, too loud, and too much.
Pause in thought.
"I am pieces of all the places I have travelled, the people I have loved and the moments that I have experienced." ~Andrea
This thought process can be hard for many people. Our inclination is to not want to own any of the parts of our journey that may have been dark and filled with pain. Pause for a moment and consider this idea.
Every aspect of our life's journey has made us who we are today, the good and bad. These pieces of us add value to every step we take forward.
What story has held you back in your life today?
What gift can you take from this story?
Remember all the pieces of you are worthy of being experienced today and every day.
What do you think about when you read this word, release?
It can tend to be used quite a bit, but it has merit. We are a society that holds onto so much which does not serve us on any given day. It is hard for us to let go of wounds, emotions or even opinions from others at times.
When we hold onto complex emotions; we often can make ourselves sick physically and emotionally. When we own our journey and practice release, we are taking back our lives and our control over how we want to live out our path and goals.
Emotions serve a purpose. Some emotions like grief have no end point. So, we must find ways to constantly practice release. By releasing we are not letting any one thing build up creating an overwhelm.
Where in your life can you practice release?
What will releasing look like for you?
When the end of the day comes to a close, ask yourself if you have released all that isn't serving you today.
"It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.” ~Wendell Berry
Do you know what it means to be 'awaken' on your journey?
Are you listening to the part of you that is challenging you to go towards what is supporting you?
Life is a lesson that we are not given directions for when we are born into it. We step lightly at times and stomp loudly at other moments along the way. it is a balancing act of responsibility and allowing us to trust the process.
How are you awakening to yourself along the way?
How can you be more mindful of the journey that will bring you total enlightenment?
Sometimes we need to take a personal inventory of our journey on a regular basis to see what is working and what needs to be weeded out. Take a moment today, to release one thing that isn't serving you and watch how it will help you awaken to that which lifts you up.
I spoke about COMPASSION this morning. It is on my mind with the events in the world. I took this picture privately in our church service several years ago. I wanted to wait for some time to pass before posting as the lovely woman to the right had passed shortly afterwards. Sitting next to her is her son. She was struggling, but she loved to sing. Knowing her time was limited, she wanted to sing at church one last time. He was sitting next to me and my kids before I saw a look, a tear in his eyes and he got up and sat in her wheelchair beside her. He put his arm around her and embraced his mama with the love and compassion she has embraced him as a baby, child, young adult and grown man. It spoke to me on so many levels. The flawless beauty and example of compassion and love is one I come back to on my most difficult days. So, I share to encourage you to remember these moments in your life present and past that have molded who you are today. If you haven't done so already, bring those memories to the surface and BE THAT COMPASSION and LOVE to your neighbor. If there is anything I recognize more in our world today is that we need more of this.
May today be a day of peace within and around our country. May we remember each other's journeys that we don't always know about and meet each other with compassion and love. You can show up as two people today, which one do you want to be?
"Don't run away from grief, o’ soul. Look for the remedy inside the pain because the rose came from the thorn
and the ruby came from a stone." -Rumi
Grief is diverse.
Grief is defined by each person differently.
I find that if we walk through grief with openness, we will find peace in the life and love lost.
We remember All Souls Day or Day of the Dead once a year, but grief can be daily.
How do you live your grief?
Are you challenging yourself to embrace gratitude with your grief?
Are you sharing the stories that come from your grief?
We are walking a journey that grief touches; we need to share with each other the steps along the way in order to find our peace, our healing and the gift within the grief. Allow yourself to grieve as long as you need. I simply challenge you to keep sharing the stories, so that others can walk with you.
There are no time limits to this beautiful and painful journey.
Reviews are in!
I was inspired to write this talk once I realized how others' stories inspired me to live my life rather than just survive my life. I have battled so many struggles along my journey and more over three decades I have dedicated my life to showing up for others as much as I can. Sometimes it was an incessant need to help others because I didn't know how to show up for myself yet. Other times it was wanting to share what I was learning along the way where I found gratitude for healing with the guidance of others' stories. If you would like to walk into the world of these stories with me, book me today for your church, event, conference, retreat or venue!
Have you ever noticed how critical we can be of others or even ourselves when it comes to our strength?
We tend to judge someone by their achievements, how they arrived at said achievements and how many times they faltered before they could celebrate their success.
No two journeys will ever be identical.
We each walk to our own beat of the drum, our drum.
What looks like a failure to you, may be a small success to me.
What you say is weak, could be my strong.
The path to living life fully aware is different for each of us. We need to remember that when we pause at any moment to compare ourselves to others.
We need to lift others up, support them unconditionally and most importantly celebrate our personal successes no matter how small.
How can you show up for yourself today within your efforts?
Where in your life can you be supportive of someone who is doing the best they can in their moment?
Allow space for those in your life walking through trauma to walk into their process and re-imagine their story.
“Our stories have the power to leave an imprint on the world. These stories intertwined within you are the roadmap to living your life with purpose." ~Andrea
When we embrace this idea, we can then share generously gratefully with the people in our lives recognizing this is how we are mentors to each other on the journey.
I understand hesitancy; we collectively can feel our stories are not worthy of voicing, not interesting or important to anyone else…to the extreme when our stories may hold pain, trauma, shame, and burden, we are more likely to stay quiet.
If we stop owning and telling our stories, we will never fully live in JOY. We are constantly needing to unravel the stories that came before us to become fully alive within our own story.
If we stay silent in our stories, then we are not giving life to the part of us that can be an open door to someone else. We miss receiving human connection in return
Having the courage to tell our stories is living fully in the moment and with purpose.
This is a flag at the beautiful ephemeral labyrinth I posted about in Boone, NC a couple of weeks ago. When I hit this particular spot on the labyrinth, I remember pausing and being grateful for the reminder. We often need little reminders like this...I am also going to challenge you to take notice of these moments that have been throughout your day all along, often passed right by in the constant that can be our routine.
A simple breath has the ability to reframe any moment, any situation and bring light to an otherwise challenge. Today, when the stress, loudness or overwhelm sets in on this Monday, remember your breath and begin again. Peace to you!
"Letting there be room for not knowing is the most important thing of all." - Pema Chodron
How often do we push through each moment?
We have a must know way that we deal with the world. Leaving situations with a question is just too uncomfortable and unfathomable most times.
It is uncomfortable to pause.
Ask yourself what are you afraid of in that pause?
Why is not knowing stirring in you, fear?
It can bring uncertainty and worry to consider not knowing. But in that is the gift, it is what is truly meant for us in the present moment.
We can miss it when we are too caught up in wanting to know the way, the path and all that we have planned out for our life.
Why not allow room to now know, today?
Why not allow room for something to come to you?
You just may be able to embrace the gift in what is meant for you, instead of what you are trying to force onto your journey.
I love how our Co-Presenter, Lori Briscoe, of Appalachian Teas & Botanicals wrote on a recent Awakened Living retreat promo:
To “Awaken”- is to shift your perspective on how you see and then move through the world.
To awaken is to stand in your true power and choose how you experience your one precious life.
This photo is in front of our home for the retreat. Every time I am in these mountains surrounded by this view, I breathe deeper than I do anywhere else.
When is the last time you paused?
When is the last time you took in the beauty around you, especially in this beautiful fall season?
Self-care is understanding that we can't pour from an empty cup. We need to rest and find our center; AWAKEN to the part of ourselves that we push down in order to be the perfect person on the outside.
I am challenging you to STOP.
Can you give yourself two days to breathe in and awaken to this beauty?
Fall is in the crisp air; the leaves are turning faster than I feel I can catch my breath. This time of year offers so many gifts for the soul if you are listening. Most know I am all about sacred altars all year long… Remembering loved ones, remembering transitions, reflecting on our hope, dreams, wishes, and the unknown. Pause on this night and create your altar. Allow
"Peace of mind is important because we all want to be happy. Cultivating and preserving it is not so much a religious practice as taking a practical step towards being happy. We are social animals. Our well-being depends on the members of our community. In the past, people lived with their families in relatively small groups, but today, we are all dependent on each other. Therefore, it's crucial that we take account of the oneness of humanity." -Dalai Lama
"There is no coming to Consciousness without Pain." -Carl Jung
I combined these thoughts from Carl Jung and the Dalai Lama as I saw such significance in both. Pause for a moment and truly consider these thought processes on your journey.
The oneness of Humanity is loaded with story, journey, and pain. We often want to run from it. We don't want to talk about it for it can bring a conflict that is uncomfortable to talk about with those in our lives.
But the truth of the matter our interchangeable pain is what connects us and healing that pain together will bring peace of mind overall and create community, relationship and bring the needed PEACE we crave as a collective world.
What pain are you running from that you could share with someone in your life that could be a hand reaching out to walk with them in their pain?
She will find a labyrinth wherever she goes…Last night our trio walked this beautiful ephemeral labyrinth crafted with such love and beauty in Boone, NC. When we remember to pause for such moments, we find balance and peace.
But something else really hit me in the work I carefully and intentionally bring to the table. Our retreats bring people of every walk of life together to connect, share, cry, laugh and explore the journey. I have written on the idea before of 'walk each other home' as you see here on one of the flags. Truly that is what life is about in many ways.
We must walk with each other through the trials as much as the joys. We are one, together. We need each other...
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Andrea creates, builds, and offers her teachings and hands on life tools based on her journey healing her body image after a 14yr battle and life of trauma. Her vision always is to help others live a full life with the journey they are given.