If I were to ask you, 'Who are you?' Do you know how you would answer?
Do you know how to define yourself outside of the box that society can some times put you in?
How often do you consider embracing who you are in this moment, not the next?
How often do you own all that is you?
Today, take a moment to write a definition of truth for you.
What do you want it to look like?
How do you want to be living in this world today?
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"The final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands" -Anne Frank
What do you think of when you read those three words?
How do you define BRAVE?
The thing I love most about people is that every person walks a different path. There are no two humans completely alike in thinking. You can ask three people the same question and get completely different answers and perspectives. And better yet those answers can each be incredibly valuable to another human being’s journey.
If we can look at life more as a book we are reading, rather than a competition of who is doing what or how it compares to your own steps, imagine how rich your life could be? Imagine taking these little bits and pieces from each person’s perspective and molding them into your own life.
Finding your brave.
For me, finding my brave has taken many forms over my life. It began in the very first musings of discovering who I was in my high school years. Suffocated in depression, I had no voice. I had no definition. I had a vision I was continually told that I could not achieve. I graduated immediately stepping out of my comfort zone travelling overseas to take in the world around me I never imagined. I didn’t know at the time, that this was my first step in finding my brave. I was able to truly see how life was bigger than my small world I had grew up in. There were countless voices, journeys and experiences I encountered which allowed me to see hope in embracing my original vision.
While I took a turn into the world of Anorexia that turned into 14 years, it was a constant walk in finding my brave from day to day. I encountered diverse and intriguing lives in treatment programs, twelve step meetings and those who walked with me in the difficult road of healing. The vision I would always hold in my heart would take bits and pieces of these perspectives feeding my hope to allow my brave to come through.
What is your brave?
Today, I walk my brave every day. I challenge myself in at least one thing daily. Some days it is harder than others. Other days I find the smallest of brave acts offer the biggest learning lessons. The easier days give me encouragement to take on the bigger things that will bring me my ultimate brave.
But there is no way around the ultimate brave. The ultimate brave means I am living my best life. It won’t be an experience that I can have every day. It won’t always be the easiest of steps to walk. I just know when I take a step out of my comfort zone and live life fully, I am honoring the gift of breath I breathe. I am honoring the journey.
Will you take the risk today to find your brave?
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.
Lately, it seems to be we are becoming more and more judgmental on what we are seeing on the outside of a person, before we actually even understand or take the time to discover who they are on the inside.
We see color, race, size and we seem to think we know exactly what that person’s journey is about, the inevitable self-righteous judging follows.
How often do we challenge ourselves to step outside of our fears and go deeper?
I can guarantee you that the homeless person on the street that you passed without making eye contact likely did not write an ‘When I grow up, I want to be Homeless‘ essay in grade school. They have a story, they have real pain, they are human.
They also know how to love like anyone else does, and at times I can promise they do it a lot better than those who have everything and ignore them.
We live in an age of social media where stories of all life are posted literally every second of the day, you can’t get away from what’s going on in the world. But, my favorite stories are the ones people are secretly telling about those who humbly do good in the world, not wanting to be recognized in any form.
Those are the souls I want to know…
Live life as if everyone can see every minute of your life. If you are living a good life, then you have nothing to worry about. If you stop to question what someone would think of you, then stop again and maybe turn your actions into good for others.
There are beautiful souls to be discovered, I know you are one of them.
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"What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If prayer, our words.
What if the temple was the earth
If forests were our church
If holy water - the rivers, lakes, and oceans
What if meditation was our relationships
If the Teacher was life
If wisdom was self-knowledge
If love was the center of our being"
Fighting for My Health
I have been walking a journey of unexplained un-wellness for over a year and a half. I admit that it has gone on as long as it has for, I have stopped the investigation and started over more than once as I could not bear to deal with the incompetence of the medical field, but more than anything the blatant dismissal of my voice and how I listen to my own body. When someone makes you feel small with their ego enough times, it can be really hard to stand up for yourself repeatedly.
I have not always been particularly good at listening to my body. For those who know me well or know of my books and work, I battled an eating disorder for over 14 years of my life in my young adult years. The entire basis of this journey was more to do about me not being able to listen to my body and the stories it was trying to tell. I had a disdain so great, a fear so dark that I chose to make it disappear rather than face the truth of what was behind it all. It took 14 years and then some, of recovery to release the pain and the trauma that previously would hide the stories within my body. Through that process I began to see how I lived my entire life afraid to listen to my body, afraid to admit if I was not feeling well and at a loss of how one takes care of themselves.
I was raised in an environment where one did not speak up for themselves; it was deemed selfish or self-centered. Later it would become more clear talking about the stories within my body where the secrets no one wanted told were found.
So, cut to today, and while I have found peace, healing, and a strength beyond my past; some life scars are still difficult to pass by. I let my health decline before I put myself in front of doctors for fear of ‘how I look’ ‘how I sound’ or ‘what if no one believes me?’ I often wait until I get into emergency situations when I am then forced to take care of my body for the pain or problem has become too great.
A period a few years ago, I began having debilitating anxiety attacks to the point of countless ER visits with no explanation. Cut to two years later when a neurologist finally shed light on the fact that it was one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted signs of perimenopause. I was so shamefully dismissed and drugged during that time as well, to find it was not my fault. Think about how many people walk these types of journeys alone and why depression and suicide rates are on the rise in this country. We need to share our experiences more, so that people do not feel so alone in their own life.
That is where I find myself today.
While the world walked in Covid the last two years, I too have been walking through perimenopause into the home stretch. I am no longer ashamed to say that I have lived with anxiety and depression my entire life. I am learning that this is a common denominator for most people. Where I take fault in the system is that every answer to any symptom I am experiencing is related back to these things above. I cannot imagine people who are walking this journey without support. For with my support system, I have had some pretty dark days, but they thankfully pushed me through.
Chronic pain is real.
Chronic exhaustion is real.
Autoimmune disease I am learning is one of the hardest illnesses to diagnose.
It is real.
It has taken me longer than it should have, but I am finally getting some answers very slowly. Some of those answers have been a lot harder to hear than others, but I am grateful for the ability to prepare my children and my future accordingly. Other avenues I am still walking the path of discovery with as much faith and inner strength as I can, for I know my body deeper today than I ever have in my life. It is speaking loudly and asking me to fight for it. I will continue to do so…I was encouraged to share this today for those who are not as blessed as I am to have support telling me to keep going offering their hand and ear as I walk.
I see you.
Do not give up the fight.
Do not quietly sit in pain alone when you do not have to.
Trust your voice, trust your body and fight for your health.
You are worth it.
Life should not have to be lived in pain.
No one should have to struggle alone.
I am a believer of using one’s life and voice. We are walking a journey together and our stories can be each other’s guides and strength when we are searching for our own.
It is why it is called a journey...we learn, grow and process as we walk our own path.
I don't believe it is meant to come easy.
The gifts and blessings are in the 'hard' times.
When you have the courage to embrace this truth, you live a life fuller than you can ever imagine.
Today I celebrate women…
I believe life is to be celebrated daily, blessings are to be counted hourly and not one second of any day should be taken for granted.
I am blessed to have countless amazing women cross my path young and old, living and passed on, personal and strangers within my journey up until this point, for all of them I am thankful daily.
I am thankful for the women who taught me strength by how they mirror their journey for me.
I am thankful for the women who helped me find my voice when it was too deep into the darkness to find it alone. I am thankful for the women who taught me love can look like many different things and be experienced in just as many different ways. But, mostly, I am thankful that we are all deserving and capable of this love no matter what path we once walked prior.
I am thankful for the women who live their faith and share it in nonjudgmental and healing ways; that are always teaching me that it is not about perfection, rather than the truth in its action. And, I am mostly thankful for the women who define what I would like my journey on this earth to look like.
They are not all mothers in the traditional sense, but they are most certainly all mentors. Every one woman on this earth is a teacher, a guide, a mentor and someone to be thankful for each every step of the way.
We are a unique tribe and when we remember this daily we are able to constantly lift each other up when we need it, we are able to remember that life never has to be lonely as long as we look to each other.
So, this day, to all the amazing women part of a wonderful tribe I am honored to be a part of, let’s not ever forget to show them what we are made of on this journey.
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?
Why not fully embody, accept and discover the real you beyond what others see in you?
Take time out today, connect to your wonderfulness and unique talents that make up you. Let your skills and passions come alive in each step you walk. Remember, there is only one you. And if you choose not to live the journey to its fullest, you are first one to be missing out in the graces that would follow. Let the wondrous spark of divinity flow connecting you to a spiritual plateau that is the essence of you who you really are.
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Here’s the thing…
'One day soon’ is going to come faster than you think.
If you don’t stop now, it could be too late when you’re ready to take a deep breath.
So just for today pause, breathe, take in life around you and say thank you for this moment that you have.
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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.