Chapter 18: I give you permission…

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A recent conversation with some friends has surfaced a truth for me.
Although the last few months have been filled with amazing opportunities, adventure, and love, emotionally I have felt extremely off balance.
I have been pushing myself, driving through bad days without sharing them.
Distracting myself with ‘busy’ instead of honouring emotional turmoil that was causing distress within.

But the truth is, although I have developed the capacity to choose happy, sometimes these choices are rooted in pure will power not to feel like a failure. A drive to recover.
I felt ashamed of the sadness and self doubt that surfaced as a result of certain events in my life. In my head, I had no right or reason to feel sadness or self doubt. In my head, I should be okay.

I have been reminded of the importance to give myself time and space to honour ALL emotions. That suppressing and fighting through emotions instead of dealing with them is exhausting. It is during times of exhaustion that my old habits have opportunity to sink its teeth in, taking advantage of my emotional fog to reek havoc. If I TRULY want to be my happy self, I need to honour and allow myself to feel the emotions that exist on the other side of the spectrum.

Dear Self,

It is okay. It is okay to still have bad days. You are human.

But Sarah, if you are struggling, it is time to put yourself first. When you honour and love yourself, you have more to give to others in their journey. When you honour yourself and your emotions, you feel balanced and happy.

I give you permission.
I give you permission to NOT be okay.
I give you permission to take time and to ask for help without feeling shame.

Remember you are like the sunrise, without fault you rise each day, and even when clouded by doubt the strength of who you are exists and supports you.

Love yourself. Be kind to yourself.

Love, Sarah

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Chapter 17: Alignment.

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Choice is an amazing concept.

Recently I have began to embrace the full power and influence of choice, recognizing that my life, my energy, my world, is a reflection of how I choose to act or react, how I choose to think, even how I am choose to feel…

I want my LIFE to be a REFLECTION of what I VALUE. 

My truth.
In the past the main force driving my decision making has been fear and perceived expectations of what I thought SARAH should be. I never felt I had a choice. BUT, I say perceived, because the expectations that drove my choices were intrinsically manifested, a web of stories I created on my own.

But now…
When I think of moments I have felt the happiest, moments in my life that have been an honest and authentic reflection of my true self, they have been moments my choices have aligned with my values

I CHOOSE to ALIGN my PRIORITIES, my ACTIONS, and give TIME to what I VALUE.

Those moments I’ve felt broken hearted, hopeless or succumb with a feeling of defeat and exhaustion, I am reminded that I have CHOICE. Choice to learn and move forward towards happiness, or remain stagnant and unhappy. It is important to honour and value all emotional experiences. To honour when I feel sad, and allow myself to experience that emotion, but it is my choice whether or not I let those emotions dictate and become a source of overwhelming power and influence.

Close friends have reminded me that although choices are my own, they sure has hell aren’t always easy. I have days when hourly I am having to convince myself to shift my thinking, to regain perspective. Moments when I look in the mirror and feel to the depths of my soul I want to return to my old habits. But it is the ability to be self aware, to recognize those triggers and fight against them no matter how challenging, that I now see as a CHOICE.

Choices are INTENTIONAL.
Choices create your reality.
When CHOICE align with VALUES… imagine the magic.

CHALLENGE!
I challenge you think reflect on what motivation grounds your choices and drives your decision making?

What did you come up with?…. Is it time to make some adjustments?

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Chapter 16: Fear

cropped-12191069_10156215582035531_501354011630829392_n.jpgDISCLAIMER
Don’t get me wrong, with any decision, taking a thoughtful approach and understanding the whole picture is a responsible and valuable process… But when choosing whether to do or not do something, if “FEAR OF…” is stopping you, it may be time to reevaluate the root of that fear…

It has become very apparent to me that FEAR is an internal dictator waiting to seize a position of power at any given moment.

Fear, if we allow it, can thwart opportunity as it hooks its teeth into that which is held closest to us, but fear only has power if we allow it…

What I have learned is that often fears that paralyze us from moving forward are lies, lies we convince ourselves to be the truth, to be a reality… A false reality created out of self doubt.

Fear of failure. Fear of inadequacy. Fear of missing out. Fear of being forgotten. Fear of judgment.

This past year has taught that fear is created from within, therefore fear can be rendered useless from within as well. My fears, rooted in a belief that I wasn’t enough have been silenced as I’ve learn to believe fully in myself. Slowly but surely I have learned to recognize and let of got those fears.

Fear.  I see you. I acknowledge you. But I am letting you go.

What fear are you going to let go of today?

 

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Chapter 15: Finding Zen

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Balance has been redefined.
Balance which once was the ability to juggle, has become a recognition that the ALL intricacies of my soul must be honoured and nurtured.

Throughout my journey, I have had moments where I felt off centre, I could never really describe it, but my energy made my discomfort apparent – something was off and happiness seemed darkened.

My imbalance was rooted in my own self neglect – suppression of emotions, pushing body to its brink, criticizing my being, and choosing isolation. I was denying myself time and space to ensure that my mind, body, and spirit were being honoured, nourished, and strengthened.

Yoga, which began for me as a way to stretch once a week so I could lift weights, has become a significant element of my life. I have learned to set intention, to step outside myself and connect with the space and energy around me. It has become a time for me to slow my thinking, to appreciate, and realize the value and power of the present moment.

I feel that I have found zen.

Although I still may have moments when I feel frazzled, I have learned to see the bigger picture. Just as I have chosen to live by the motto CHOOSING HAPPY, I have learned that stress is also a choice, why worry or be concerned over things in my life that I have no control, when instead aim to see opportunity for growth.

Balance is no longer the ability to just push forward, but instead the ability to be patient and kind with all parts of myself.

 

 

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Chapter 14: Seventy-Five.

Photo Credit: Chelsey Luren Dixon

Seventy-Five 

And although I try hard not to be driven by numbers anymore
75 is representative of much more than a quantity, it is representative of change. It is 75 days of choosing self love, choosing life, choosing happy.

5 months ago, after 74 days self love, 74 days pushing past my my bulimic habit, I allowed stress to trigger me into a summer of ups and downs.

This summer I took full advantage of rediscovering my love of life and embracing this amazing opportunity to learn about myself. But, the truth and reality is, I existed every day in constant battle with my habit , a battle of will. Although I hate to admit it, on more than one occasion, I allowed my habit to win. I had moments where I solely existed in the depths of hopelessness, certain my fate was sealed.

I don’t know what the switch was, but September 3rd and made a conscious decision to end it. I stepped fully into commitment, something I don’t feel I had really done. I said I wanted to get better, but my until my whole being, my whole soul believed change was possible, the power of my habit would always win.

Finally, I gave myself permission to unleash the strength within…

I have given myself permission to feel, honouring and acknowledging emotions.

I have given myself permission to no longer feel ashamed. Mental health struggles are a reality for most people, I am not alone, nor should I feel shame for what I battle with.

I have given myself permission to be human. To embrace that learning and discovery is non linear. 

I have given myself permission to put me first. I am no longer dictated by fears of what others may think, but instead strive for balance.

I have given myself permission to ask for help. I have learned that asking for support, and saying “I am not okay right now” is not a sign of weakness, in fact, I now see it as a sign of strength, a willingness to seek support in order to grow that much stronger. 

Give yourself permission to heal. The battle with mental health is all encompassing, infiltrating itself into every facet of your being. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, this battle can be utterly exhausting. Show yourself kindness, and give yourself permission to be vulnerable and ask for support.

One day my counter will be irrelevant, I will no longer need the quantify my growth. But for right now, 75 is my lucky number, a number that at times I truly believed I was so far for a reality it felt like an impossible task. I don’t say this to be conceited, but I am proud.

Photo Credit: Chelsey Luren Dixon  –

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Chapter 13: “I Love my legs because…”

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For a majority of my life I have had a negative view of my body. Spending hours in fitting rooms tear soaked with shattered self confidence… trying outfit after outfit as my self esteem melted away…it was never the clothing, I blamed my body…

My legs too thick. My butt too big. My skin too pail. My acne too severe. My tummy too pudgy. My feet too wide. My height…Lacking.

These negative self thoughts strongly opposed my own personal belief system – for I know in my heart that the beauty of a person is not in what one can see on the outside, but the energy that they exude from their heart, their values and outlook on life that is reflected in their actions. 

I had allowed myself to deny all that made me me, putting my appearance on a pedestal as a determinant of my worth. I placed such high value on my appearance yet I was treating it with such cruelty – working out to the point of pain, starving myself, living with extreme diets.

If I truly valued my body, I would treat it with the utmost love, compassion, and kindness.
If I truly valued my body I would nurture it, living with balance not pain.
My actions were not reflective of my beliefs.

Ashley Wiles – a close friend, mentor, and founder of SoleGirls shifted my frame of thinking with the use of one simple phrase… “I love my legs because…”. I don’t think she truly realizes how much her energy, and her love of self has influenced me.

I have begun to see that the core of who I am, my adventurous soul, my loving heart, and my yearn to learn, will remain constant no matter the size of my jeans.
Those who love me, love me not because I have blonde hair and blue eyes, or because I can lift heavy weights, but because of my openness, and my love of life.

The relationship I have with my mirror is changing, it is not as often that I hear the voice of negativity…

I love my legs because they take me to the top of mountains…

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Chapter 12: Bringing Light to the Dark.

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We do not stand alone. 
The power of sharing.
The ripple effect.
The strength of community.

Over the past couple weeks I have seen and felt the efforts to shed light on the reality of mental health. More and more I see people stepping out their personally manifested bubble of darkness, stepping out of their world of isolation that is so significantly linked with mental health and into a the light of truth.

As each person steps forward sharing their story our community grows stronger, and more people see healing as a possibility. This wave of openness and honesty about our experiences is weakening the wall of shame we have each surrounded ourselves with – for the reality is, we are NOT alone.

Two amazing young women, Chelsey Kadyschuk & Jennifer Thompson,  women who I am so proud to call friends have recently shared their stories with the world – their stories of personal battles with mental health, addiction, and eating disorders. I am so utterly inspired by their bravery. Sharing your story publicly can be one of the most terrifying, yet most powerful and healing experiences. It is exposing a very significant piece of your life.

I remember the day I pressed “publish” and the wave of emotional release.
Finally, I didn’t have to hide.

Isolation is addictions strategic manoeuvre, and shame is the voice of power.

Yesterday in Washington DC a rally was held to END THE SILENCE. This is the time. The rock as been dropped and the ripples in the water continue to spread. Ending the silence and breaking the stigma will save lives.

Take the leap of faith.
Find your voice.
Love yourself enough to ask for help.
You are not alone. 
We are here. 

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