I grew up believing everyone would find their own love story and live happily ever after.
In my heart I was always a hopeless romantic.
But in my body I was often shut-down and afraid.
Out in the world I felt unsafe: men with their wanting eyes; women with their judgement.
Shame was the feeling I felt more than all the others emotions combined.
I got the message that the best thing I could be as a woman was pretty and nice.
Pretty for the boys (because my value was dependent on my looks) and nice for the girls (because my worth was dependent on being liked).
Striving to fit in those perfect little boxes all the time broke me inside.
I felt empty, lost, and so disconnected from who I really was.
I drank and ate to numb the pain.
I slept around carelessly because it was better to betray my own body than disappoint someone else.
Then I became a mother and I committed to becoming a stronger, healthier version of myself for my son, because it was just going to be me raising him.
Then I fell in love and got married to an amazing man
I believed that this redemption story and true love would rescue me from my past and save me from myself.
But it only took me so far.
When I first found my faith through my husband, I through myself into church and becoming a "Godly Woman."
My relationship with Jesus was great, but I never could get on board with all of the religious messaging I began to hear.
Sunday morning made me feel less empowered as a woman instead of more.
Despite trying everything church-culture, pop-culture, and self-help gave me as answers, I still carried so much shame inside and it was effecting everything...
So in my morning quiet times and in my yoga and meditation practices, I began asking a simple question:
What does it take to be free?
One day I thought I heard an answer,
Just breathe with me.
That was all I got, but it was enough to jumpstart a new embodied approach to my own healing that would guide me on my path to freedom.
What I didn't know then, but know now after years of study, application, and training in the field of mind-body-spirit integration, is this:
Our own body's wisdom is our key to change, heal and grow, develop real self love, and become truly free.
And it's the one thing that is most often left out of western therapy, counseling, and spirituality.