What Wellness + Self-Care Mean to Me

Hello angels! I wanted to share a bit about my personal wellness journey, what wellness and self-care mean to me, and where I’ve landed in terms of my "why" for sharing this practice with the world.

I’d like to start by acknowledging the over-saturation of wellness-related content that’s out in the world right now. I get that it’s overwhelming, that there are so many different voices in this space, and that sometimes, it can just be a lot. Some of you may even roll your eyes at the mention of wellness or self-care, right? There are so many self-proclaimed experts out there sharing content and making a living off of promoting self-care, and to be honest, some of this content is better than others.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not judging any of these people - these influencers, content creators, bloggers. I follow a lot of them. I AM one of them. And honestly, I think we all need to be a little easier on them. I’ve heard so many people talking down on this space and these creators. Making fun of them. Laughing at them.

Now, it’s totally valid to not resonate with the content that someone is creating and sharing with the world. But I think we all need to stop the judging and start celebrating people who are putting themselves out there and sharing things that are important to them. So, maybe you think it’s silly or embarrassing or whatever, but most likely, if someone really cares about what they are sharing, if they have put thought, effort and intention into their content, then there’s a pretty good chance that they are helping people. And if not, at the very least, they are helping themselves stay true to their passions and feel inspired. I think we need more people doing that. We need more people aligning with their biggest passions and sharing their ideas, knowledge, and creations with the world.

Truthfully, it’s a bit personal for me, because I’ve held back from fully creating the presence online that I’ve dreamed of creating for fear that I’d be made fun of just like I’ve witnessed people in my life making fun of others. Again, it’s totally cool if you don’t resonate with what someone is sharing. It's totally cool if you don't resonate with what I'm sharing. But luckily, you have the choice and the ability to not consume content that doesn’t feel right for you. If you don’t agree with or don’t vibe with what someone is sharing, then find someone else to follow, listen to, or learn from. If you see something lacking in what is being shared, create it yourself. Don’t just continue to consume content that annoys you so that you can judge and hate on it from afar. Let’s be kinder.

Another thing I want to acknowledge is that there are people out there who may be portraying wellness and self-care in a harmful way - diet culture is a very real and very harmful thing, and also, there is a lot of wellness out there that is simply not inclusive or accessible. These aren’t my areas of expertise, so I’m not going to elaborate on that today. The info is out there if you’re interested, so please feel free to do your own research on that. Just know that the toxic and non-inclusive kind of content is not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about true wellness. The vulnerable and inclusive and wide-ranging wellness that is suitable for everyone.

So why am I talking about this? I’m hoping that by sharing a bit of my journey and experience and my WHY for being here in this space, it will allow you to also begin to discover your why. Your why for creating and also for consuming. So that you, too, can figure out what wellness and self-care mean to you so that you are better able to navigate this space and benefit from it rather than losing yourself and moving further away from your truth and what feels good for YOU as an individual.

With all of that being said, let’s dive into my wellness journey. I’ve personally found myself a bit of a victim to this overwhelming sea of information and content, and I’ve kind of been all over the map in terms of what my wellness practice consisted of and what I’ve wanted to share in this space. I’ve finally landed in a place that feels most like me, but I’ve come a long way. So, I’ve been sharing my wellness journey online for seven years now, basically since the very beginning my journey. And reflecting back, my definition of wellness and self-care has definitely been constantly evolving, depending on which voices I was mostly listening to at the time.

I’ve gone through periods of focusing very heavily on exercise and movement. I’ve gone through phases of obsessing over nutrition and reading about food and completely overhauling my diet and becoming passionate about cooking and baking healthy foods. I’ve gone through times of focusing mainly on spiritual wellness with a lot of meditation and ritual and journaling and intuition development. I’ve also gone through phases with some kind of mixture of one or all of the above. And I’ve gone through phases where I was more or less practicing none of the above. Now I see that I needed to go through each of those phases so that I could begin to collect all the tools for my toolbox along the way, bringing me to where I am today. I needed to go all in to each of those areas of focus so that I could truly explore and eventually, take what works for me and leave what doesn’t. Today, my definition of wellness and self-care includes all of those things in different quantities and variations depending on where I am in my life. And maybe most importantly, my definition of wellness and self-care now come from within myself - regardless of what all the other voices are saying. And I’ve realized that there is a common thread amongst all of these things. Self-discovery. Self-exploration. Self-connection. Self-knowledge.

For me, wellness means knowing myself deeply so that I may know how to care for myself in each and every moment. It means knowing that these practices may not look the same from day to day. It’s knowing that I am an ever-changing, ever-evolving, complicated, living, breathing human being. There is no one size fits all. My wellness may not look like your wellness. It’s all about being in tune with myself and knowing myself well enough to show up for ME in whatever way it is that I need.

And this brings me to talk a bit about why I’m here. Why I’m sharing these kinds of experiences and practices with the world. When I first started practicing yoga, I fell in love immediately. It started out as a very physical practice for me. The results I was getting within my body truly pulled me right in. But I started noticing other results as well. I started wanting to take better care of myself on all levels. I started studying nutrition and learning about healthy eating. For the first time in my life, I thought of food as fuel. Not just as something that brings me pleasure. Not just as something that brings me guilt. But something that is sacred. Something that I can curate for myself so that I’m able to feel my absolute best. And as a bonus, it was also something that could be a creative outlet for me. Yoga brought me closer to my body by creating strength and flexibility. By inspiring healthier choices all around. By enhancing my awareness of how I was feeling in each and every moment. And also, it simply made me happy.

This physical practice quickly transformed into a lifestyle practice. I was living, breathing, and eating yoga. I was reading all about the origin and the history and the philosophy. I was learning about the anatomy and all the benefits of the practice. Meanwhile, I was in the middle of my masters program, but I definitely spent more time reading about yoga than what I was going to school for. I was fully studying yoga, and in a roundabout way, studying myself. Yoga became my greatest passion, my number one love. It quickly became a huge part of my life.

After three years of my yoga journey, I’d been struggling to find my purpose, in terms of work. I was bouncing around from random job to random job. In 2016, I was working an office job that was really bringing me down. The job itself was honestly fine, and I enjoyed the people I worked with. I just felt so unfulfilled and not at all passionate about the work I was doing. I wanted out. I wanted a job that I loved. I wanted to be passionate about what I was spending most of my time doing.

One night, in the middle of an all-too-common mental breakdown about what to do with my life, I was sitting on the floor, crying (typical), and my boyfriend said something to me that kind of changed the path of my life. It was one of those comments that seems so small and obvious and true that I am honestly dumbfounded that I hadn’t thought of it before. He was like, “Why don’t you just become a yoga teacher? That’s what you’re passionate about.” It was like a light switch was flipped inside of me. I was like “DUH.” How had that not been on my radar?

Right then and there, I started researching yoga teacher trainings, reading all about the process, reading about how to make a living teaching yoga. All of it. I was ready. I ended up spending all of my savings on two separate yoga trainings that prepared me for this journey in different ways. Throughout that whole process, I was still all in. I was feeling it. It all felt so aligned. I was terrified of the thought of actually teaching and having to stand in front of a room of people and talk for an hour, but I just kept telling myself I’d cross that bridge when I came to it. I had never NOT considered teaching…. until I reached the end of my last training program and had the certificate in my hand. I was set free into the world, I had no job, and I was like “Fuck. Now I actually have to go and do the thing. Now I have to actually face the fears.” At that point, something switched in my mind. It was like the anxiety completely took over and was like “Nope, I’m going to protect you from having to feel any of this.” And I actually convinced myself that this fear was just a gut feeling telling me that teaching yoga was not for me. That it didn’t feel right. That it was not something I was supposed to pursue. Looking back now, I see so clearly that all those feelings were stemming from my fear and that I truthfully always knew that on some level. But I totally believed that teaching yoga was not meant for me... for years.

But the calling to share yoga never went away. So I did keep trying. I would teach randomly here and there, and afterward, I would feel like I was flying. I always felt so good after teaching. I remember calling my mom after teaching my very first class, crying tears of joy from just feeling so lit up. But that nasty little fear never went away either, so it wouldn’t take long for the euphoria to fade and the stubborn idea that teaching yoga was not for me would come back and erase any good feelings I had had about the experience. I was back to square one.

At some point, I journeyed into teaching and leading meditations, because somehow that felt safer for me. In that process, I fell in love with writing and guiding meditations, too, so there are no regrets there. But even that experience had its struggles. Because no matter how much I loved creating these meditations and sharing them with the world. No matter how amazing the feedback was that I received, the numbers were telling a different story. I wasn’t getting any new followers on social media. I wasn’t making many sales on my website. It just wasn’t working. So, that fear crept in again, and again tried to stop me from pursuing this path further. Tried to stop me from continuing to get hurt. The calling never went away, but I’ve gone in and out and all around with my journey of sharing yoga and meditation with the world. It might appear to have been pretty consistent to the outside eye, because I was still sharing my practice, but I also know that a big part of me was holding back.

Recently, the signs have been pouring in that I am meant to try again. That I am meant to share these practices with the world. That this is my path. And now, as I’m older and know myself a bit better, I’m starting to figure this whole thing out.

The resistance was not only coming from the fear of not being good enough, the fear of being fully seen, the fear of messing up, the fear of embarrassing myself, the fear of being judged - the resistance was also coming because I realize now that I had lost sight of my why. I had forgotten who I was in terms of a leader, or a teacher. I had forgotten why I loved yoga so much and why I felt so passionate about sharing it with the world. After I got my certification, all I was doing was feeling misaligned because I was subconsciously trying to emulate all the yoga teachers I had known. All of a sudden, now that I would be sharing this practice officially, I felt like I had to fit into some kind of mold. I had to teach the way other yoga teachers taught. And I had to combine all the things I loved about all these other teachers into my teaching. My classes had to look like their classes. It was intimidating and stressful. No wonder I was terrified. I was trying to live up to something that was not even possible because I’m not them. I was trying to be someone else as a teacher. I forgot why I was standing where I was standing. I forgot all those beautiful people who reached out and told me that they began a yoga practice because of me. My favorite messages of all time. I forgot the tears of joy from feeling so. lit. up. I forgot all of it.

It is so clear to me now what kind of yoga and meditation guide I am meant to be. I’m not meant to teach yoga to strengthen. I’m not meant to focus on alignment and anatomy. My goal is not to help you increase your flexibility, enhance your physical health, or advance your asana practice. (Side note: a great thing about yoga is, though... no matter why you are coming to the mat, you will most likely get all the juicy benefits regardless. So no matter the reason you arrive, as long as you show up regularly, you’ll also get the increased strength and flexibility and all the other goodies that come with the practice. I’ve personally seen it all.)

But as a teacher, I want to share the part of the practice that has been straight magic in my own life. And that’s the self-connection. That’s the spending time with yourself and getting to know yourself and celebrating yourself. That’s sitting in ceremony honoring your sacred self. That’s the creating space to set the stress and anxiety aside long enough to align with the truest version of you. That’s the showing up for yourself in each and every moment, no matter what it looks like. That’s becoming aware of all parts of yourself, knowing yourself on the deepest level, so you are better able to show up as that full and true version of yourself. So that you can create the things you are meant to create. So that you can express yourself the way you are meant to express. So that you can step into the potential and the power and the magic that you are meant for. So that you can do what you have come here to do. So that you can play your part and fill your role in humanity. I believe that we are all meant to discover and embody our truest selves, our greatest potentials, so that we can show up in the world in all of our brilliance. So that we can show up fully to make our unique and positive impact on the world.

I believe that the more and more people who show up in their lives as their most true selves and make the change they are meant to make, the closer and closer the world will get to true harmony. I think that is when humanity will reach ITS greatest potential. It’s all part of the journey, it’s all part of why we’re here. We each must do our part. Maybe that’s farfetched. Maybe it sounds impossible. And maybe it is. But it starts with you. It starts with me. And even if it’s not as important and world-altering as I believe it is, there’s no harm in strengthening your relationship with yourself.

Now, I feel so certain that this is my way of helping people get closer and closer to their authentic selves. This is my act of service to the greater well-being of humanity. This is my purpose. Yoga, meditation and self-discovery are my chosen methods to assist in this goal. And when I say self-discovery, of course I’m talking about journaling and art and other rituals. But I’m also talking about reading and writing and watching movies and shows and listening to podcasts. And learning about other people’s lives, other people’s passions, other people’s creative processes, other people’s struggles to better get to know yourself. Because I believe that we all exist as mirrors. So if you see something in somebody else, tune into that. Tune into the things that you notice about other people. Because most likely, there’s a lesson in there about you and your life.

So the practices I share are quite a wide variety of things. Things I’ve personally used as tools to better get to know myself. It doesn’t have to just be yoga, meditation and journaling (although I personally love those practices and they will be a big part of what I share). But I will always encourage you to go beyond my experience and discover your own.

The bottom line is... I want to help people heal. I want to help people peel off all the layers and versions of themselves that the world and their experiences have convinced them they were supposed to be. I want to help people feel good in their body and their mind. I want to help people get closer and closer to self-love. I want to inspire people to create the life of their dreams. I want to empower people to step into their potential and to believe in themselves. I want to help people release their limiting beliefs and throw away their self-doubt. I want to create moments of stillness where one is able to truly see themselves clearly. I want to help people feel less alone. I want to help people experience connection and joy and magic. And I believe the first step for all of these things is to better get to know yourself. So that’s why I’m here. To help you transform something within yourself, to help you step into your truest expression, to help you learn, heal, and grow. There are so many other beautiful teachers and healers and educators out there to assist you further along in your journey in a variety of ways. But that first step, that self-discovery and self-ceremony, that’s why I am here. That’s my why.

And I promise to personally continue to practice the act of surrender so that I am able to let go of the obsession with the results, to let go of the fear, so that I can show up fully and create these opportunities, create the space, for you to explore on your own. I’m not an expert in any way. All I can do is share my experience in its most honest, raw, vulnerable form and guide you in the process of discovering on your own. Throughout my journey, I’ve come such a long way. I am absolutely not the same person that I was when I started. But I have no map to show you how I got from point A to point B. I have no step-by-step plan for you to follow toward your own growth. I had teachers and guides along the way that illuminated my path a bit, but I had no one holding my hand and showing me what to do next. I had to choose to accept the invitation inside of myself over and over again. This journey has been a lot of fumbling in the dark and figuring things out and failing and learning and unlearning. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Because for me, the growth came from the exploration. From not having the answers. From discovering for myself.

So that’s what I’m here to invite you to do. To guide you. To listen to you. To see you. To empower you. To shine a light on my path in order to inspire you to create your own so that we can all step into our greatest potential. I know that I’m meant to be here, sharing this. And if you’re reading, you’re meant to be here for some reason, too.

I’m so honored to be here and to be able hold space for such magic. Thank you endlessly for reading and for being here. I am forever grateful, and I cannot wait to continue this journey with you. Sending you so much love, my friend.

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