December marks a monumental moment for me. Today is my 15yr Recovery Anniversary from Anorexia and Body Hatred. I struggled for 14yrs, and this year I surpassed this number in recovery.
The recovery journey is not a perfect one, it doesn't always look as one would expect. There are lessons along the way each day that I hold on to in moments where I doubt.
But, today, I am proud of the journey I walked. I wouldn't take any of it back, for each step gave me blessings that make me who I am today. My book, my motivational speaking and my retreats I lead are my greatest way to share my story and help others along their own path. That is my greatest work and I wouldn't take that back.
I am grateful to countless people who never gave up on me, for they are the reason I am here today. Thank you, once again for your friendship and belief in me. The journey is always beginning. READ MY RECOVERY STORY HERE!
#FindYourVoiceProject#AnamNostosHouse #Recovery #Anorexia #15yearsStrong
Fall, Letting Go & Attraversiamo
Three words that grab hold of my heart this time of year.
I find the beauty of Fall with its intricate offerings in the few months that it bookends inescapable. There truly is something for everyone to take away in reflection on their journey; if so inclined to pause, look and listen. The decision of which path you will walk and embrace as the year winds down to a close is ultimately yours. I have written often of living each day with intention, rather than holding ourselves to such specifics with resolutions in the New Year. But this walk is of a different nature, rather than intention.
As the Fall Equinox approaches each year, I most look forward to reflecting over that which has not served me well in the several months prior. I consciously make a choice to face that which I need to let go and release from my core energy, before I can allow for the dark of winter solstice to claim my soul in all its vulnerability. It is in that vulnerability, where the depth of healing can begin. And, it is in that vulnerability that intentions will slowly be born for the forthcoming Spring.
As the leaves poetically turn their glorious colors and dance gently to the ground, I am reminded of the process of ‘letting go.’ I believe that we all have pieces of our lives that we want to release at any given time. We are in a season, if you will, where it is more prominent than ever. Fall is giving us the permission to let go of those ills and walk towards the Solstice. Fall is challenging us to be more, to be better. When we embrace the release, we are more open to sit in the darkness of solstice with more ease. As we embrace the darkness, we can begin to trust the light that will break through at the end of the process. We can allow ourselves in our vulnerability to be open to that which will come our way to bloom in the Spring.
Every winter as the soulful darkness creeps up on me; it never fails to hold the inner depths of my emotions that I have failed to express on a level all its own. The brisk cold sinks in to my bones re-awakening my process. This is when I am reminded to not let those darker moments of life define me, rather, heal me. I refuse to run from this darkness as I had in my younger years. I choose to challenge myself to sit with the uncomfortable truths, until I find my balance.
I am challenging you to sit with your own darkness and emotions this approaching Solstice. What story will they reveal? What gift are they going to offer you to bring into the new year?
It is a time to wait with eagerness as we approach the New Year with anticipation for our personal resolve to move towards something new. By walking through this process, we can find gratitude in the darkness that will consume our winter; our deeper story. I honor that it is not an easy path to risk walking. When we value those gifts in any darkness and struggle, they will add to our story in ways that will bring new understanding. This understanding allows for our ‘Spring’ to come in fully.
This beautiful Italian word has held meaning for me the last year more than ever as I put closure to aspects of my life. Its meaning, ‘crossing over,’ fits perfect into the poetic days of Fall, Solstice and the far-off approaching Spring. This process allows for us to cross over and bring life into the forthcoming Spring. Notice, I will stay away from the resolutions of the New Year, for life isn’t about an end-all. The process is ongoing. At times we can feel like our Fall comes in the middle of the year. We must embrace these moments wherever we find ourselves, in order to move forward.
Recently, I wrote a piece on Putting Yourself Back into the Equation. A much easier piece to write than act on. While I keep thinking I clarified the specifics of self-care, something comes to my attention to change my priorities. I have never been one to ignore a dream or my passion, though I am keenly aware that I have many more responsibilities today, than I did in my early twenties. So, as I am forced to notice in searching for one’s sense of self, it can seem that everyone’s lives look so much better than my own. This is my ‘letting go.’ I am needing to sit in the darkness, which is watching others fulfill their aspirations as my responsibilities take hold. My ‘Attraversiamo’ is trusting that my time will come when the passion and inspiration of my ongoing dreams, will come to full fruition. It is not an easy process, but I must own it. If I trust the process, I know I will make it happen in its right time.
The interesting awareness that came to me this Fall which allowed me to ‘cross over’ was recognizing no good can from comparing one’s journey to another’s. When I try to walk a path not meant for me, only negative outcomes come from this experience. It was never my path to own. What this time of reflection in the Equinox has allowed me to accept is that perhaps any one of my visions were put out there to plant the seed in someone who is more available to bring them to fruition. It doesn’t lessen what I have to offer by any means, but it is in truth being offered all the same. My goal was always for these pieces of my vision to come to fruition in the world. Ultimately, I want the lessons learned from my healing journey to help others. I don’t need to be in the equation. As I reflect in these passing learning moments, trusting in the process of ‘letting go’ and crossing over; I have found where my ultimate gifts lie. The challenge for me will be to own my fear and doubt in the process. I know what direction I am meant to walk. I know that my story is valuable. I trust that piece. I will honor the time frame that I do not get to set.
What will you choose to let go of this fall?
How will you sit in your darkness?
Will you take the risk to cross over?
*Locals note I will host a Winter Solstice Bonfire. Stay tuned for details.
Día de los Muertos
Día de los Muertos is a time for people to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The idea is to be respectful to loved ones gone before us, to honor their lives, and acknowledge the fragility of life. Each person builds an altar that has special meaning to their own journey. This year, there is a lot of symbolism on my altar; lives recently lost, lives lost a long time ago that have been on my mind entering towards new parts of my journey, and the ever-present losses that have equally changed the direction of my life. I find myself embracing the lessons these lives and moments have taught me with new awareness. I am choosing to leap towards these lessons with passion that these lives taught me when they were alive on my journey. I am ready to embrace, to accept, and to move towards life in ways I have been holding back.
What are you mourning today? Are you ready to leap towards something new on your journey? Are you listening to the wisdom of the souls who have left us? Take a moment to reflect on loss…
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on the snow.
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain.
I am the gentle Autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush,
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry:
I am not there, I did not die.
Why I Won’t Unfriend Trump Supporters
This week has touched on many emotions, not just for me, but most of our country. I was quick to want to unfriend any person who was a Trump supporter. I didn’t want to associate with any person who showed such a lack of understanding and empathy, in my mind, towards sexual assault survivors.
Every day that went by I pounded out my frustrations on my trail workouts, blasting my music as loud as I could through my ear pods. Every time I listened to those words of insanity around the issue that spewed out, what I believed was uninformed and uneducated information on the subject, a part of my soul was wounded all over again.
I wanted to post daily all over any social media outlet that I could find, and I did in some cases. But, then I found myself stepping back, before I was about to say and do something over the top when I saw people from my little town posting support for this excuse for a president. It got even worse when they went to support this narcissist at a rally in the next town over. (Okay, I let my words slip a bit there, but I needed to do so for context.)
Then, I thought to myself, these folks are not bad people. They do their best from what I can see to live a good life. Other than the support of hate, they don’t spew hate, from what I can tell. I believe that deep down I must turn around my emotions for those who support this person, for they are embracing the hate, lies and evil. I can’t meet them on their level. I need to be the bigger person.
You see, I have always said in my life and healing journey, that I would not wish my past on my worst enemy. I believe that today amidst this insanity. Why? I believe that every person needs to walk their own journey. They need to hit their own wall, at their own time. It pains me to think that these people may not hit the wall of understanding before a tragedy hits their loved ones or themselves, which will affect their core, as I have experienced. By, then it may be too late for them to turn their ways and thinking, when they realize they have stood by a person who doesn’t really support them.
But, I do know, that I can’t make anyone get it just with my story. It won’t stop me from using my voice loudly and fiercely. It won’t stop me for continually standing up for our country as it once stood under a better man in years past. It won’t stop me for those whose voice cannot be heard, as they have been turned away by this sorry excuse for a man. It won’t stop me. Ever.
So, no, I won’t unfriend trump supporters, but I will not support their beliefs either.
I won’t support hate.
I won’t support someone who degrades and shames women.
I won’t support someone who locks children in cages and breaks up families.
I won’t support someone who doesn’t believe in love for ALL people.
I won’t support someone who doesn’t believe in freedom of choice.
I won’t support someone who spews lies, disgust and violence for his own benefit.
I won’t support someone who doesn’t accept ALL races.
I won’t support someone who doesn’t support me.
I have been reflecting on this topic for quite some time. There are so many ways that I could write about what it means to embrace self-care. I could easily judge a half a dozen different ‘fads’ that are going around and give my un solicited opinion. Or, I could do the single most healthy thing and stay in my own journey as it be. I can only ever speak on the path which I have walked, for that is the one that I have learned from the most.
Each person will define the act of self-care in different ways that mirror their journey. And that is ok. I have found it is quite important not to judge where another person is at on their journey, as it is not ours to own. This didn’t come easy or right away, but after trial and error over decades of living. In fact, I have sincere gratitude for the learning I have done from watching other journeys; I have been able to incorporate ideas, risks and directions into my own steps. This, ultimately, has led to a better existence. Though, I accept that not all the things I will try to incorporate will ultimately benefit me or my specific path, but there is learning in the attempt that allows for wisdom to follow, as I take the next step.
Our only job on our personal journey is to live it as we see fit knowing our inner core. It is our mission to risk, to grow and to live as we learn and journey down our own path towards living a full and rich life that is intended for us. We may reach paths that others do at one point or another, but we will dance through what is meant for our personality and existence.
As a single mom, this has solely meant putting ‘me’ back into the equation. While that may sound simple, I assure you it is not. It is human nature to put anyone in our lives before ourselves. Then, we are surprised when we take a moment to breathe and ask, ‘what about me?’ Sometimes, by that point, it is almost too late to find our way as the bitterness can take hold. This is a personal challenge.
So, I am calling out for you to ‘put yourself back into the equation!’ What does this look like? How will you define self-care? It could be as easy as taking yourself out for a cup of coffee.
I know that I feel better when I am moving my body. I am not a hardcore health nut, but I like my morning power walks as the sun rises to bring me some balance in mind, body and spirit.
How are often do you stop and listen to your body? Are you giving it foods that provide energy, nourishment and overall health? Everything in moderation has always been my motto. When we lean to one extreme or the other, it isn’t going to provide us with overall balance and wellness. While difficult, we must take the challenge to step back, and be aware.
Are you following your passions? And, no, it doesn’t mean to go leave your responsibilities and travel the world. But, can you take this to a smaller level and find something that would equally sustain your soul? I like to call them ‘monastery days.’ I let my family know that I am unavailable for a twenty-four-hour period and I go commune with myself. It could mean writing, nature hikes, café sitting, or reading. It doesn’t have to be extreme to rejuvenate my tired body.
And, I know myself well having lived this long on earth, that I find it is important to filter in the occasional trip that feeds my old travel soul. This enough allows me to no longer just feel like ‘the mom who everyone needs something from,’ and in its essence brings me back to my roots where it all began.
When I take these moments and days to consider my own well-being, I am not only doing what’s best for my health, spirit and soul; but I am being my best self for those around me in my life.
So, just for today, I challenge you to put yourself back into the equation. When you discover what that is for you, let us know! Inspire others for the journey! Be well.
We hear about mindfulness daily. We read about mindfulness daily. We talk with others about mindfulness daily. You can’t get through a day without someone telling you that mindfulness is the new answer to all things.
But, how often do we sincerely practice the art of mindfulness? When our day is nothing but stress between work, family or every day relationships; are we taking a moment to pause, breathe and reflect on that which is mindful? Or, are we just consumed with our stress, that nothing else can alleviate this state of mind for us?
It is not easy to be mindful, whether we already practice the act or are new to it. It is not easy to pause in a stressful situation and commit to a different path of emotions. It is not easy to breathe on most days when we are surrounded by the intensity of our world.
The truth is that there are countless ways that we can be mindful within a day. You don’t need to study under Thich Nhat Hanh to figure this out. You simply need to be open to trying something new and not going down your normal path that you have walked one time too many days.
What we don’t realize it that we fill our days with noise, food, activity, work and whatever is in front of us now, for fear of stopping. When we stop, we have no choice, but to be mindful. When we are mindful, often the things we have been avoiding come to the surface, while we are forced to face them.
Just for today, I challenge to you take a moment to risk being mindful. When you go for that snack during a stressful day; pause, breathe, reflect and move forward without that piece of food. When it is easier to turn on the radio in the car, rather than sit in the quiet; sit in the quiet and embrace that which comes to you. At the end of the day, when you just can’t seem to sit still, and a run is the only thing at your forefront; sit and be mindful.
I am not saying easy. I am saying it is possible, with practice. I am saying that if you give mindfulness a chance, you may just come out on the other side with a little more peace in your day. Mind. Body. Spirit. When you honor the presence, the presence becomes your honor.
This Recovery Story has been on my website for a long time, but for many reasons, I haven't really 'posted' it. It is a truly a small window into my story and I really want people to read the book to get the entire backstory. I decided to share it here today, cautiously, for I have had more people ask me what Anam Nostos House is really about. My recovery story was the beginning, and the end is celebrating every day until I die the gift that I am still breathing, still alive. I fought. That was not always a given. Walk with me...
How often do you take time to explore your personal journey beyond your own self-imposed definitions?
How often do the limitations you quietly put on yourself intersect with the life you are aching to live?
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ~Buddha
One of the most valuable phrases I took away from all of my treatment came from a wonderful therapist in Arizona, while I was in a ‘last ditch’ alternative treatment program where I would do two stints. I sat in daily group therapy one particular morning, the most dreaded time of the day where vulnerability in front of one’s peers was of its retching essence as the therapists thrived on getting this vulnerability out onto the surface for all to witness determined it was the way towards healing, which indeed was true.
Love is the most powerful energy in existence. I believe it is often most over looked when it comes to ourselves. For some reason, we find it difficult to stop and get in touch with oneself on a regular basis. It takes work and it’s scary. One may just find out they aren’t living honestly as they go deeper within their own story. They will inevitably be forced to walk in a different direction.
How many of us can say we live passionately?
How many of us can say we live with passion as our focus on a day to day basis?
Do we actually take the time putting every bit of ourselves into all that we do?
One may think it sounds simple, but in fact people do struggle with this every day. There are so many little things that get in our way from doubts, others negative will, to the daily lists of what we have to accomplish that passion turns into a luxury.
Life is a constant evolving journey. We count on the fact that change occurs on a daily basis. We learn. We grow. We build a new foundation daily.
For some change can be compared to something as painful as going to the dentist, others can thrive on a new challenge. I believe that our world can only exist with an ever changing existence to constantly attempt to better its self.
"When you understand who and what you are, your radiance projects into the universal radiance and everything around you becomes creative and full of opportunity.”
What is beauty? Re-envisioning beauty for me was having the courage to embrace the reality around me and change it into my voice and vision rather than what society tell us daily.
I took more years than I care to admit to discover my Voice, but once I did there was no turning back. What does that exactly mean? Well, for most of my life I let others words, choices, opinions, views and criticism become my own. I never gave myself a change to define my journey from the very beginning. I took them as they were the bible of life and lived them thoroughly until all of my life came crashing down before me.
Have you claimed your beauty? Do you own it? Share it? Embrace it? Or…are you one in the millions who are constantly doubting, berating, criticizing, loathing and downright not honoring the gift of beauty we are all born with?
Powerful words. Do they ring true for you? Do you really take time to listen to your body and what it is speaking to you on a daily basis?
Our bodies are our temples. They have stories to tell and journeys to take us on if we will say, ‘yes!’ to the adventure.
Our world is in a state of chaos. There is no denying it. Every direction you turn right now, we are faced with upset, turmoil and often issues that are too big for us to take on alone.
One aspect of my work tends to be a total drain psychologically. My work thrives on social media, as a mobile retreat house. There is no way to turn a blind eye to the events going on in the world, as hard as one tries to do so.
The world is real, the struggle is real. Depression and anxiety are nothing to dismiss....listen and share.
Love your body, listen to a few words from Andrea!
Undoubtedly, every day we live our life for ourselves first, without even thinking. It truly is a rare breed of individuals who ACT within their faith they practice on a regular basis. Mother Teresa is one of those very unique stories that inspires us to go out into the world to be a part of the change that is needed.
A lamentation in the truest definition is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow, a time of deep sincere weeping. Many of us walk through this life doing everything we possibly can to avoid such admonition of grief. We believe that we have to walk through each day with our head held high and be able to recite only the good of each moment that has passed. Society has made it impossible to be okay with times of struggle labeling it as weakness and an inferiority.
“Tears are a way of freeing the self from ills and allowing blessings to come in.” ~Joseph Sergott O.P.
What would life be like if we could see the soul of each person, rather than what we wear on the outside?
Take a moment to truly digest that thought…the soul. What an extraordinary idea and gift it would be to receive.
‘Do we say ‘yes’ to God the way Mary did?’ ~ Pope Francis
How many times in a day do we say ‘no’ to one question or another that comes at us, for we don’t want to be inconvenienced? It could be as simple as a neighbor asking for a ride to the store as their car is broken down. A friend needing someone to just listen on the other side of the phone, but you are just too tired to hear another sad story. A co-worker who is falling behind in their work due to personal problems and yet no one offers to help.
I have begun to realize that I have used my repentance, my insistent focus on my unworthiness to protect myself from facing the truth that God loves me even in the midst of my brokenness. Repentance: the action of repenting; sincere regret or remorse. The older I get the more I am aware that I am simply weak and broken, as are we all. My struggles along the ever changing journey have taught me that I have to trust my life to God’s love.
Find Your Voice Project
Celebrating Women in my Tribe
Fall, Letting Go & Attraversiamo
Fall Madly in Love with Yourself
Is it True?
Listening to the Wisdom of Our Bodies
Love your Body (Watch)
Power of Voice
Putting Yourself Back into the Equation
There is a Light in the Darkness (Watch)
A Single Mom's Good Friday
Ecumenism, Unity in Faith
In the Palm of His Hand
Lift Up, Not Down
Living an Authentic Life
Mother Earth's Prayer
Pope Francis’ Joy of Love Wins
Seeing One's Soul
The Beauty of Tears
Repentance, Unworthiness and the Quest for Good
What is your Lamentation?