I hit rock bottom when my mom came home from her brain surgery. I was 14. One day my mom was my mom. The next, she was transformed into someone who was forever mentally changed. That was years before I started drinking.
Since that moment, I have used many methods to get through loss and anxiety, towards recovery: religion, therapy, spirituality, exercise, smoking, alcohol. Each tool has served a purpose and has led me to Stoking Radiance.
In my teens and 20s, I found solace in prayer. The stillness of contemplative prayer brought my soul relief while the connection with my church family provided me the community to be safe in the grief I experienced after my mom died.
I left the church in my mid 20s and began honing my fitness, fulfilling the promise I had made to myself when I was 18 that I would stay fit both in mind and body to avoid what had happened to my mom. I swam, rollerbladed, ran, biked to work, salsa danced, found my way into running, then into triathlon, and then into strength training.
I also started drinking wine. A drink a night became 3 glasses or maybe a bottle of wine as I transitioned jobs, got married, moved, had a baby – all without my mom. Wine became my trusty friend and easy, though unsatisfying connecting device.
When I stopped drinking alcohol in 2017, I knew I was not living in alignment with the integrated body and mind, themes I was teaching in my fitness classes. I could see the destructive patterns my old “friend” alcohol had allowed me to perpetuate, and through my still budding meditation practice and therapy, I could see that there was an ocean of emotion I had been covering with a blanket.
Meditation quickly became a central part of my recovery. It has been a salve through the intensity of being with my emotions without my old numbing out tools.
I also discovered that meditation and strength training go hand in hand. What we learn as we move and push our bodies translates right into tools we can use for training our minds. At the same time, practicing awareness during our workouts augments how our body responds – your muscles fire when you pay attention to them.
Now, I’m taking the most effective tools I’ve learned and am learning (I’m always growing!) and putting them into Stoking Radiance. Here I’ll be sharing the struggles, the challenges, the failures, the joys, the connections that I make and have made along the way, all through the vehicle of building strength and cultivating stillness.
We are our radiant selves when we tend our bodies and minds. I ignite women and men to build strength and stillness to minimize anxiety, navigate loss, and see their possibility glowing through it all. It is by Stoking your Radiance that you fuel your heart and body.