Yes, I’ve Gained Weight

Yes, I’ve gained weight. In 3-years, I’ve gained 50-pounds and 30-lbs were gained over the last 4-months alone. And no, I’m not pregnant.

Believe it or not, I have a harder time looking at the picture on the left than the right. It was taken 3-months after my sister’s passing and I was already starting to feel a significant decline in all of the activities and pursuits that brought me joy. Let me tell you, that girl on the left was feeling an intense amount of guilt and regret. I had spent the prior year obsessively trying to perfect my body and my new vision of health. It required dedication that meant isolation, turning down opportunities to spend time with friends and family, which included my sister. I still question whether or not it was worth it, because I would give it all back in a heartbeat for just one last moment with my sister. As for the girl on the right, would you hire her to help you get into better shape? Would you trust her? I didn’t think so. You’re probably wondering what happened. As a fitness professional, I have the knowledge, the tools and the motivation. How did I gain that much weight so quickly? The answer is simple, yet complicated.

Sometimes we avoid talking about our reality because we feel vulnerable or shameful or we simply don’t want to focus on the negative energy. However, there is important work that needs to happen to overcome our struggles and it starts with awareness and acceptance. It’s starts with admitting that we are simply not happy. Being wounded is a universal event. Everyone is a little broken or damaged in this experience of life; some conceal it better than others. I’m a self-proclaimed master, but I can’t conceal the pain any longer.

Most people don’t realize that your relationship with your body affects your entire life. Why? Because if you’re fighting with your body, you‘re fighting with yourself. And if you’re fighting with yourself, you’re resisting what you truly desire in life at the cost of your personal happiness. I know all too well what it feels like to fight with your body; I’ve been doing it for the past 4-years and the worst battles have taken place over the last few months. And the more I fought with my body for gaining weight, the more weight I actually gained.

Life became a complete disaster this year. On top of being crushed under the weight of grief, I also found myself heart-broken, dealing with a break-up that left me feeling depressed, resentful and frustrated. In addition to teaching 7-days/week with no recovery for my body, I developed a terrible case of insomnia. On a good night, I managed to get 4-hours of sleep. This only led to the rapid deterioration of my health and further weight gain. I was burned out and all of my decision-making energy was used up. I had nothing left to take care of myself. You know the rest of the story — my weight started to increase, the muscles got a little flabby and eventually, my clothing didn’t fit. I hated to look at myself, but the view in the mirror was hardly the worst part; I was ashamed. How could I allow this to happen to me? And the worst part was hearing about it — around gyms, on social media. People can be so ignorant and cruel; I’ve spent more hours crying in the bathroom than I’d like to admit.

It’s no secret that a stressful environment is not conducive for anything positive, yet so many people live each day in a stressed out body, wondering why they can’t release their weight and feel lighter. Then to make matters worse, they obsess over their food and spend hours at the gym without even taking a moment to breathe. Less is more. Sometimes reducing stress, increasing recovery time or improving our physical environment can be just as important as nutrition and exercise. Unfortunately, most information the average person has learned about fitness/wellness is horribly incorrect. And here’s one truth that I know for sure, you cannot get well in the environment that made you sick. So, I’ve recently made some difficult choices to change my schedule; I’ve recommitted to my mental/emotional healing.

When you let yourself be in your body without needing to have a different one, you release the resistance and have the ability to move forward toward a life you truly desire. When you are desperately clinging to a different body with all your might, convinced that this is what will bring you all the happiness, contentment, and love in the world, you will find that an alternate physical appearance simply doesn’t create the internal feelings you are after.

So, this is where I am — on a new journey of self-acceptance, attempting to create the most peaceful environment for my body as possible. And in order for me to find acceptance for myself, I need to feel. I’ve gone so many years feeling completely numb to everything, which makes this a completely terrifying process. When we ignore what we feel, we think we can make it go away. But that logic never serves us; avoidance never serves us. I’m learning that when I can admit that I’m pissed off, frustrated and down right unhappy with my body, I can release the resistance, call off the fight and move toward an overall feeling of lightness. It’s going to be a long, arduous process and I can’t wait to share my story as it unfolds.


Note to Self, Age 18

Dear One,

Happy 18th Birthday!

There is nothing I can say to prepare you for where life will take you in the next 20-years. You‘re going to have experiences you never imagined possible or plausible that will take you to both the greatest heights and the darkest depths of your heart. I know you have an amazing plan for the future, but that plan will change at least a hundred times. Because within a few years, your greatest fears will become reality and you will forever be changed by them.

You’ll feel like a hot mess, completely lost and broken in a way that seems impossible to remedy. There will be multiple occasions where you will feel like you can’t go on. Trust that you will survive, knowing that part of the process demands giving yourself permission to breakdown. You are strong, stronger than you know and stronger than you will ever give yourself credit for.

I really want to tell you specifics, if only to prepare you and spare some of your tears. I want to tell you where you should try harder, hold on longer and not give up. I want to tell where you should cut your losses and just let go. I want to tell you when to be less stubborn and how to take care of yourself when the unspeakable happens. But I can’t do that; it wouldn’t be fair. You need to experience these things, the heartaches and the devastating blows. These are the hard knocks that will forge your resiliency; each one is a beautiful gift. I know you’re in a tremendous amount of pain and feel so alone right now, but this pain will become your purpose in life. Eventually, your broken heart will help others find healing. For that, I am extremely proud.

I know you’ve always struggled with the idea that people actually want you in their lives. And here’s the truth, love doesn’t have to feel difficult or like a fight. It‘s easy for you to love, and when you love, you love hard. This isn’t a negative thing; it’s an endearing quality you have always possessed. Embrace it, but know that accepting love is just as important as giving it. At the moment, you’re a natural at the latter and terrible at the former. Guess what? I still am. When someone gives you a compliment or tells you how amazing they think you are, thank them. Believe them. Let that belief sink into your soul and wrap your inner critic with loving kindness and an unwavering belief in yourself. Because you are worthy. You are enough. And you are always surrounded by unconditional love.

Honestly, I could continue to write for days. I could write page after page about all that you have to offer the world, about how many lives you will impact. Stop forgetting so easily. Get messy and make mistakes. Be present and find the joy in every moment. Smile often. Love harder. And trust, just trust.

Love Always,

Me


Burnout, 2018

Being sick and rendered completely incapacitated for over a week has been a blessing. I’ve had the opportunity to do some serious soul-searching, to dig way down deep and own the truth of this breakdown.

Determination to find external validation over the past 3-years has led me to say yes to many things that didn’t serve me, such as working 7-days/week with no time-off, stepping in to cover classes at the last minute, cancelling plans with friends to accommodate work, taking on projects that were outside of my responsibilities, doing volumes of unpaid work and answering calls/texts in the middle of the night. In spite of the mountain of stress I was carrying, I kept taking on more and more because I wanted to make myself indispensable. This is how I processed my grief. This is how I avoided my grief.

Proud of my stamina and ability to go above and beyond, I disregarded all signs of burnout. Instead, I learned to endure. I felt a sharp shot of adrenaline whenever I worked harder, longer or more. There was no pause button; I couldn’t relax because I had to prove myself. I needed to prove my worth, my value and my right to exist in this space. My perfectionism kicked into overdrive; I micro-checked every single detail, I became frantic over things that were beyond my control and I felt like an extreme failure if I couldn’t deliver what I believed was an impeccable product. Being good wasn’t good enough and mistakes were intolerable. I created an illusion of super-functionality, but inside, I was suffocating.

What if I gave myself the permission to soften? To let my self-imposed push to shift softly back to 90%. Perhaps, that would leave some space for the contribution of the extra 10% to come from the forces of nature, to come from friends and colleagues that are eager to help. This doesn’t mean that I need to stop striving or lower my standards, just open myself up to trusting the notion that I’ll be okay no matter what. Trusting that it’s okay to process my grief, to go through it and feel every single emotion, no matter how painful.

Our bodies are always trying to tell us when things are not quite right. It may bubble up as feelings of anxiety or in other physical manifestations. When we go at 100%, we leave no room to breathe, for growth, for recovery, for space. Time to make some important changes — to make the decision to say no more often and to put myself first, for the very first time.


Spring Awakening

On this Easter Sunday, I am contemplating rebirth and renewal. For most of my life, I have tried to simply forget and move on, without actually letting go. But I have slowly learned that part of letting go is embracing, honoring and holding onto the memory’s wisdom.

I will always be removing layers; the death of an identity is like the shedding of armor, which exposes the vulnerable spaces and opens the heart in ways I couldn’t have imagined without the loss. This process of losing an identity is always excruciatingly painful, but eventually leads to more peace, clarity and magic than I knew was possible. It is clear to me then, that there is an emotional and spiritual rebirth that takes place when we consciously let go. This rebirth is essentially becoming who we are meant to be; this is the uncovering of our essence.

Any transition means the loss of one thing in order to move into what is next. That loss must be grieved, felt and experienced in order to let go of it and be fully heart-open to embrace what’s next. Moving through the waves of change develops a faith and trust that everything will be okay, that the Universe will support and guide us. And yet when we are at our lowest of lows, trusting can be the hardest thing we will do. We want to feel better now. We search for a quick fix to feel better. We crave some way to not feel the gnawing fear. We resist losing control.

But my experience has been that losing control is exactly what I needed to do — to allow myself to be enveloped in uncertainty, to melt down into nothingness for a new version of me to emerge. If I fight and resist the pain of the loss, then I will get stuck there and I won’t allow the light of my soul to write the story of my destiny. If I keep holding on to what my ego fears that it won’t be or have anymore, I will be holding back the magic that is trying to be birthed. If I allow my heart to open, I can fall in love with myself and the limitless possibilities in front of me. By letting go, I am allowing myself to be launched into a new experience of life with opportunities I could never have imagined. Opportunities that I wouldn’t have seen because my eyes weren’t focused. Because letting go is putting all of your eggs in one basket; it’s the greatest risk for the greatest reward.

Today, my heart is over-flowing with gratitude. As I mourn the losses and celebrate rebirth, I acknowledge who I am today. I am who I am because of those previous versions of myself, masks and all. I have not lost them; they remain within me as the many facets of my love.


Getting Back on Track

For over 25-years, I suffered in silence from health complications related to severe autoimmune disease. Over 5-years ago, I completely removed gluten, dairy and soy from my diet; I also made the discovery that I had Celiac Disease. In 2014, I took my nutritional journey a step further and removed the other major allergens (sugar, grains, legumes, corn, eggs, caffeine and alcohol) and monitored my intake of nightshades and goitrogens for 10-months. I felt incredible and managed to run two of my fastest half-marathons while eating this way. After my last race of the season and the passing of my sister that October, life started to fall apart and I found myself completely lost.

Coping with grief gave me very little bandwidth and self-care, including decisions about how to fuel my body, became a difficult struggle. I decided to let go of the control and live by the 80/20-rule, creating what I thought was a sustainable balance in my approach to nutrition. As life became more and more stressful last year, my health rapidly deteriorated. My immune system was completely compromised and I gained over 25-pounds within a very short period of time. On most days, my body felt completely worn out and I developed spontaneous muscle spasms and debilitating nerve pain that caused several accidents and falls. It was a very scary 6-month period and I went through it alone, hiding my pain and discomfort from friends and colleagues. In all honesty, I don’t know how I was able to continue teaching through it all.

Unfortunately, having autoimmune disease makes me an exception to the rule. And because I’m stubborn, I learned the hard way that there is no space for the 80/20-rule in my world; I need to be at 100% to perform optimally and feel my best. Right now, I’m 100% focused on giving my body what it needs through proper nourishment. And that means fully accepting the fact that the 80/20-rule doesn’t apply to someone with my background and health history. With that said, I’m back to my “normal” way of eating — a moderately flexible paleo-diet, no sugar (including fruit), no caffeine and no alcohol; monitoring intake of nightshades and goitrogenic foods; being mindful of sourcing and eating locally.

It was perseverance and utter stubbornness that helped me to not lose sight of what truly matters — rebuilding my attitude toward a healthy lifestyle and forming new habits from scratch. At times, it felt impossible. But overcoming these obstacles was the key factor in challenging my perception and embracing this new lifestyle.

And guess what? After 21-days of following autoimmune protocols, inflammation is down and I’ve already released 9-pounds! My sleep quality has greatly improved and my energy levels are stable. Physically, I feel amazing and I’ve only had one flare-up of nerve pain in 3-weeks. If I feel this good after 21-days, I can’t wait to see how I feel in a few months.


Today, I Choose Brave

Everything is going to be alright; maybe not today, but eventually. There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. And you might feel like you will be stuck in that rut forever, but you won’t. Everything is as it should be.

It’s crazy how you always end up where you’re meant to be — how even the most tragic and stressful situations eventually teach you important lessons that you never dreamed you were going to learn. And sometimes you learn that the disappointments in life are truly blessings in disguise. Having nothing will allow you to appreciate everything. It’s failing miserably over and over again that will allow you to succeed. Failing is one of the greatest things in the world, as it reminds us how imperfect we are. It reminds us how much we need to learn in order to become the people we truly wish to be. Because sometimes the life you’re leading is so far from the life you are meant to be living that losing everything is the only way you can make it out on top.

The moment you realize that not even loss itself can stop you, that sadness, despair, anger and fear cannot hold you back, is the moment you become perfect. Perfectly flawed, but perfect nonetheless. I acknowledge that the biggest failures in my life have become some of my greatest assets. After experiencing a major disappointment last night, I immediately turned my heart towards gratitude and found my strength again.

I am a strong and independent person — to a terrible fault. In the pursuit of self-sufficiency and survival, I build walls around what I really need and want. But I’m quickly learning that there is strength in softness. Finding the courage to keep my heart open and ask for what I need is an on-going challenge, but I’m always pleasantly surprised by the results. I need to honor my sensitivity. I need community, friendship, companionship and love. I need understanding, affection and touch. I need passion, desire and spontaneity. I need to feel cherished and supported. I need to remind myself that it’s okay to ask for these things and I always have the choice to walk away from relationships when those needs are not being met.

So in the end, I choose brave. Because we always have the choice between courage and comfort; we can’t choose both.


Let It Be Easy

Recently, circumstances of my life have unfolded in such a way that I can no longer remain in the known and things can no longer go according to a plan. It’s not until you’re standing naked and vulnerable with all that you thought you knew stripped away, that you really are forced to practice, live and breathe that profound level of trust.

I have struggled with faith my entire life. Trusting the unknown. Trusting family, friends and significant others. Trusting myself. Trusting that if I let go of control and the white-knuckled grip, I will be safe and my needs will be met. I’ve made substantial progress on this particular journey over the past few years. But the strengthening in my faith has not come from trying to attain it or by working to become more trusting. Rather, it has naturally arisen as a result of coming to know myself in a greater, deeper and much more profound way.

Because when you walk with faith, you walk with feeling. You make decisions based on your delicate inner whispers, the energy that tugs at your heart and calls you towards what you love. What others say becomes irrelevant; nothing sways you. To live with faith is to know who you truly are. And there is a fine line between letting energy flow and grasping too tightly to intention. There’s an ease and grace with allowing; there’s no need to force an outcome. It’s hard to remember this at the beginning of the year when everything is go, go, go — resolutions, goals, change this, change that, new year, new you. It’s a forced, frenetic energy. What if it was all easy? Why do we choose to make things so complicated?

Today, I release the need to know, control or to see any further ahead than this very moment, right now. It will be easy and I will enjoy the ride.


Gift of Weight Gain in 2017

During the second-half of 2017, I added an additional 25-pounds on my 5’2-frame. For months, I’ve been carrying around tremendous amounts of guilt and shame for this weight gain. At one point, I convinced myself that if I could get my physical body back to where it was 3-years ago, then I could be happy again. Instead of confronting the truth, that life had changed in completely radical ways this year, I continued to deny my pain. Life would never be the same, but I couldn’t bring myself to believe it; I was too overwhelmed by stress and sadness.

How many of us share the same experience? How many of us have hidden or denied our pain instead of honoring those emotions? And how many of us have felt shame for it?

Working through loss and grief does require some movement. Whether it’s walking around the block or simply walking away from the old reactions and automatic responses that keep us in pain and do not bring us the peace and love we are seeking, it is important to remember to keep the old, wounded energy moving on. About 2-months ago, I finally surrendered. And with each breath, I learned how to be compassionate and gentle with myself. Eventually, I gained control over my emotions; I allowed them to surface instead of resisting or suppressing them. I learned to sit in pain, accepting it without judgement. In understanding that I only had to face one day at a time, I began to cope. And here is the lesson that I can share with you — stop wishing to go back; appreciate the present moment and know that you are perfect, just as you are. It’s time for us to start working with our bodies, not against them. And that starts with self-compassion.

This year, I became so frustrated that I just stopped. Stopped reading, studying for my next certification and pushing myself to learn more. Stopped trying to maintain a clean diet. Stopped running and working out. This was probably the best thing that could have happened. Gaining 25-pounds gave me the incredible opportunity to find a deeper appreciation for my body. When I look in the mirror, I see a body that supported me through another year full of challenges and changes. It was with me as I made some of the most difficult decisions of my life, as I faced fears and took risks. It experienced loss, heartache and fought extreme bouts of depression. It felt the rollercoaster ride of medication changes and suffered through the physical side effects. It worked 7-days/week with very little time off. It made sacrifices and endured sleepless nights. It got me up after those sleepless nights and devoted all of my attention to teaching and working with my clients. It gave me the energy to keep and maintain my personal relationships, even during times when I was feeling burned out and worn down. It broke down, fell apart and continued to carry me through. When I look in the mirror and see that my face is fuller, my stomach is rounder and my thighs are thicker, I see a woman who ventured into unknown territory and a body that supported that. This is the deepest level of self-compassion that I have ever achieved.

Despite what I do for a living, body acceptance has always been a HUGE struggle for me. I work in an industry that’s obsessed with physical appearance and my own weight has always been open to criticism. When I lose weight, I hear about it. When I gain weight, I hear about it. And as a professional, I’ve been guilty of not treating myself as a client. For many years, my irrational mind made me believe that I was somehow above my clients and peers; I was the exception to the rules. But truthfully, I’ve been fighting a painful battle with my weight and body-image for as long as I can remember. As an adult, my weight has fluctuated from 135-lbs to 185-lbs; I’ve worn everything from XS and size-0 to LG and size-13/14. And some people will argue that even at my biggest, I still looked good. But it’s not about how they feel about my body, it’s about how I feel about my body.

I’ve trained for specific athletic endeavors. I’ve trained for speed and power. I’ve trained for strength and hypertrophy. I’ve trained for endurance. I’ve trained for fat-loss. I’ve trained inconsistently without any structured program or methodology. I’ve trained obsessively without adequate rest. I’ve trained with injuries and physical ailments. I’ve struggled with depression, obsessive dieting and disordered eating patterns. I’ve struggled with the pressure of being a role-model that “walks their talk” and the scrutiny of colleagues and clients. I’ve struggled to keep a smile on my face and a positive attitude when someone makes comments about my weight fluctuations. I’ve struggled with feeling unworthy and not enough in my personal and professional life. I’ve struggled with my confidence as a professional because hiding these secrets makes me feel hypocritical and less credible. This is not my essence; this is not who I am.

Why am I telling you all of this? After over a decade of working in the fitness and wellness industry, I’ve had the pleasure to meet and work with countless people dealing with similar struggles. I hear their stories, celebrate their successes and help them learn from their defeats. I laugh with them, cry with them and talk them off the ledge when they’re ready to jump. Why am I qualified to do these things? For the first time, I realize that it’s not the impressive resume of certifications that I’ve worked for years to build — it’s because I am one of them. Today, I embrace my story to help you change yours.

Truthfully, I’m not too concerned about the weight. I know my body will release it when it’s ready. So, I’m starting the new year with a focus on creating a lifestyle where I’m able to pay attention to my body in the way it deserves. I plan on sharing a series of posts over the next several weeks explaining what lifestyle changes I’ll be making in my life in order to take care of myself even better. It’s going to be a lot of little things, no drastic changes. And it will be a combination of what has worked for me in the past and new strategies that I’m excited about implementing.

If you’re interested, stay tuned!


My Love Note to 2017

Dear 2017,

Your predecessor (2016) was a year of breaking deeply-rooted patterns, letting go of attachments, graciously surrendering to hardship and supporting myself through extremely painful periods of grief. It was a year of intense healing and forging resiliency. It was a year of dissolving boundaries and consciously shedding layers of stories, identities I was invested in and roles that defined me. I finally learned how to fully love myself, feel completely worthy and no longer stuck in a disempowered narrative that had me believing that I am not enough. I learned how to show up authentically, connect from my heart and share these lessons with others.

But this year, it all fell apart.

I rapidly grew tired from trying to hold all the crumbling pieces of life together. I wanted to give up and throw the towel in, wave the white flag and call it quits. Some periods of life are not easy. They call for deep inner work and emotional heavy lifting. You blessed with me a year of important lessons and opportunities for massive growth. And those opportunities came with a whole lot of tears; I’ve cried more this year than any other year of my life.

You gave me the permission to get messy, fall apart and lose myself in the chaos. And you never failed to provide a silver lining in every heartbreak, every stumble and every shaken reality. You taught me how to shout “YES” to life at the top of my lungs, even in the darkest and most frightening moments. You helped my discover the power in my voice and for the first time in my life, I feel free from self-inflicted judgement. You showed me the incredible beauty in vulnerability. You worked your magic and invoked the parts of my self that have remained dormant all my life, helping me reconnect to them, setting them free, allowing them to integrate, so that I could become the full expression of who I truly am.

Thank you for divinely orchestrating every synchronistic moment, from the major shit-storms to the beautiful highlights filled with infinite amounts of love and light. There were some wonderful surprises this year, the kind that restore my faith and give me hope. In the process, I found family, friendship and sisterhood, the type of love that runs deep. Without it, I’m not sure where I would be.

For this and so much more, I thank you.


Merry Christmas, 2017

Many holidays were birthed from or originally contained rituals that were designed to help human beings connect to the seasons and the passage of time in meaningful ways, yet we seem to travel further and further away from these roots each year. To revitalize the meaning inherent to the holiday season, I always encourage people to create rituals for themselves that will remind them of the underlying principles of all rituals — to let go of what no longer serves your higher purpose and send an open invitation to the qualities that you would like to enhance in your life.

This is the time of year when we start to do a lot of things without much attention; we start running on automatic at the very time it would serve us best to be more intentional. There’s so much packed into the few weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day that it hardly seems there could even be room for holes. And yet, they’re there — those spaces between what we’re doing and what it all really means. It’s easy to rush past the meaning in our efforts to just get it all done. This year, I made it a point to be intentional and fill those holes.

Beyond the decorating, shopping, cooking and parties, there are “reasons for the season” and if we put first the true meaning of our holidays, the real reason we have them in the first place, our priorities become clear, making it easier for us to follow suit with our actions. And if we take an honest look at our priorities, we can probably separate those things we do out of a sense of obligation and duty from those in which we truly find joy. This is what I deeply wanted — to slow down and focus on the true meaning of the holiday season, to establish and define traditions, to make the days leading up to Christmas be all about spreading pure love and joy. And here we are, with the actual holiday finally upon us.

Despite what the lyrics may say, the holidays are not the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. I will admit, I’ve been struggling. This will be the first Christmas without two of my sisters and for the past several weeks, I’ve been desperately trying to avoid feelings of sadness — turning it off in public, so as not to dampen anyone else’s holiday spirit. Honestly, I’ve been hiding out in my apartment to avoid those uncomfortable moments. Because when you have lost someone special, your world loses its celebratory qualities; holidays only magnify the loss. For the past several weeks, I’ve been feeling fully overwhelmed by the realization that the gaping hole that is left behind by the loss of a loved one, is something that will never truly go away. I deeply and intimately know this, having been without my parents for most of my life adult life. This year, I find myself deep in the grieving process over my parents, sisters and friends that passed this year and before — every significant loss that I have ever experienced. It feels extremely raw and it’s a lot to process. Whenever I get impatient or frustrated with myself, I have to remember that there is no typical loss and no typical response to loss; our grief is as individual as our lives. And I need to give myself permission to be sad, to move through my grief in a way that feels comfortable.

If you’re facing a similar battle with grief, please know that you are never alone. And while the grief doesn’t go away, it will fade and every passing day, every passing holiday, every passing year will bring you a little bit closer to celebrating memories of your loved ones, the holiday season and the beauty of life again. We just have to remember that love and support is always there for us, even in ways that cannot be seen or comprehended. Give yourself permission to create meaning in your own way. Don’t hesitate to do whatever makes the holidays more meaningful and more bearable for you, but remember to create space to honor your grief and pain.

For me, there is always great pleasure in helping others and immersing myself in gratitude. And after a morning of teaching and volunteering with old and new friends, I’m looking forward to a quiet afternoon and evening of writing and reflection. There are so many wonderful things to be grateful for this year and I want to count those blessings. Even the saddest goodbyes ushered in the most amazing opportunities to open new doors, light the path of healing and ultimately, discover peace.

So, Merry Christmas! To anyone whose holiday plans are not shaping up as “expected,” I pray that you take comfort in what is, rather than what hasn’t come or what used to be. That you remember that the future is still bright. And that you carry the joy and surprise of the season with you, no matter if someone or something else comes along to share it with you. Whatever you’re going through right now, it’s my pleasure to share my own process and remind you that all you need this holiday season is a little faith, patience and YOU.