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When did you first start to notice that your life wasn’t as lovely as you wanted it to be?
Crying in the bathroom at work was my first sign that things weren’t right, that my life wasn’t as lovely as I wanted it to be. The moment that I knew my frustrations, pain and sadness wasn’t normal though was in one of my first yoga classes… my teacher told us to take a deep breath. Then she said, “No really, take a deep breath.” That second breath filled my lungs, helped me connect with my authentic self, and touched my spirit. That second breath opened me up to possibility. It was then that I realized I had been suffocating for months. Holding my breath. Holding back.
That class was the tipping point for me. The moment I realized that I wanted a more joyful, fulfilling, lovely life.
Tell us about some of the changes you made and how they changed things?
Yoga was my first big change as I started going 3 – 4 times a week and trying to really adopt the principles. It immediately changed my life – I could breathe easier, felt more connected, more alive, like I was creating space for growth. That was the summer of 2009. Then in the fall of 2010 I took another huge leap in my holistic health journey and became a Vegetarian. This was another health change that affected my entire life :: I became less judgmental, more open to other’s ideas and new possibilities, and better at listening to my body. It was a beautiful time of transformation. I could literally feel my spirit, my mind, my body growing.
Then last year I embraced adventure and let go of the fear and limiting beliefs holding me back, which was only possible because of the foundation created by yoga and my vegetarian lifestyle. I wasn’t scared anymore… So I began letting my authentic self shine, speaking and living from my heart, and trying new things like :: acupuncture, horseback riding, boxing, and many more adventures that I had always been too scared to try.
I’ve learned to love adventure so much that it’s my word for 2013 as I have a lot in the works: creating my own life coaching biz, starting a Reiki practice, becoming certified in yoga, and self-publishing my first novel and lots of eBooks. This confidence, passion and sense of purpose that has helped me believe in myself and my dreams comes from all the changes that I’ve made over the last few years. I can only imagine what will unfold on my journey within the next few years.
Since you’ve become a vegetarian, do you have a new list of favorite foods to share or any favorite veg blogs that our readers should check out?
Oh yes! My taste buds have completely changed over the last 2+ years… I’ve fallen in love with simple, clean eating. Some of my favorite dishes include: green smoothies, fresh home-made juice, hot Muesli with cinnamon on top, vegetarian chili, and sautéed greens (like broccoli rabe and dandelion greens). I’ve found my favorite foods aren’t heavy or complicated meals; rather, I love bringing out the natural flavors of fruits and vegetables.
Anytime I want to find a recipe, try a new dish or look for inspiration I rely on ::
One thing: even though I love living a compassionate lifestyle I believe we are all flexitarians and the best way to be healthy is to listen to your body and nourish yourself.
You have a feature on your website called wellness warriors. What is a wellness warrior?
I strongly believe that health is more than your weight or fitness level. Total well-being is when you are nourishing your mind, body, spirit and soul.
Wellness warriors are those who are leading the way through their own experiences, lives and beliefs – they inspire and encourage all of us to be more connected to our bodies and more mindful of how we are treating ourselves. They aren’t miracle workers and they don’t have a magical cure. They simply know how to help others tap into their own inner strength and wisdom, whether that’s through sharing their own stories and experiences or offering tools and guidance.
I love showcasing Wellness Warriors in the hopes of empowering others to take an active, mindful, intuitive approach to their own wellness.
I read that your first novel is being published this Winter. Congrats! What was the book writing process like and what is your book about?
This story came alive a few years ago but it wasn’t until last November that I really gave it the room to breathe and grow – that was when I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where you attempt to write an entire book in one month. And I did it! I literally wrote over 50,000 words in 30 days. It was crazy.
Since then I’ve dedicated myself to editing, refining, polishing, and self-publishing Amelia’s story (that’s the main character).
Her story is one that really resonates with me… it’s about the drama, complications and decisions that come with being a young adult. It’s not an unusual or shocking story. No witches or special powers. But it’s filled with grief, heart-ache, determination, passion and hope. It’s a story of a family gradually learning how to deal with grief, a new mom learning how to embrace the new path in front of her, and a young girl trying to keep it together when it seems like everything is falling apart. Amelia’s story isn’t unique but it’s powerful and hopefully will bring comfort, inspiration and empathy to all those that have been in her shoes.
Writing is hard work but it’s my purpose.
Writing is how I hope to inspire, empower, support and comfort others. Writing makes me more me.
What makes your life lovely?
Mindfulness. My love. Friendship. Family. Quiet mornings. Hot coffee. Chocolate. Snuggling at night. Winter walks. Yoga. Writing. Reading. Symbolism. Compassion. Curiosity. Joy.
When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate,
And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.
- Shauna Niequist
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