In the past 3 years I’ve experienced grief, postpartum depression, and a lot of anxiety. Starting only months after my father passed away in 2015, grief with anxiety made me feel like the world around me was just crumbling and I had no way to put it back together. I was different now and the truth was it became more difficult to do the things I didn't really want to do. When you set out on a path in your 20's, it's hard to then change course a bit or pivot if that path turns out not to be exactly what you wanted. I now see it as a part of the grief process and the inevitable dismantling of your former self once you are on the other side of loss. The perspective you gain is transformative. As I tried to get back to normal life, I began having immense anxiety. I would shake, my heart would race, and I would feel like I couldn’t catch my breath.
I have always exercised, having started with a personal trainer in my teenage years and trying every type of exercise there is. In the throes of my anxiety, I felt pretty helpless as to how to feel better. I came to find that the only thing that worked was movement...exercise...and sweating until the anxious energy could move through me. This time, I was moving to heal myself of the unrelenting thoughts of fear going through my head. My intention was to heal my mind, instead of tone my body.
I would move and sweat and listen to my breath and little by little the heaviness would go away or lighten. It would come back the next day but if I kept moving, it got better and better. I was having heart palpitations every day, and physical manifestations of the stress. Those disappeared about 6 months after devoting myself to exercise. I would come home and be present with my children and husband in a way that felt impossible before. I felt more joy and hope. I wanted, simply, to do more of it, and possibly even help others through the struggle of finding your way to a healthier way of life.
So here I am, with as much clarity as I've ever had before in my life. I am leaping into the world of wellness, health and fitness. I'm not quitting my day job as a lawyer, but I'm just doing more of the things that I truly enjoy and that give me light. I became certified to teach group fitness and barre classes. I have been studying, researching, and practicing daily the exercises that feel the best and have created the most change in my body and I'm ready to share with others what I've learned.
Here’s what I know now and the basis for this new adventure:
Health is a privilege. You get one vehicle to go through life in. If you don’t take care of it, mind and body, it will give up on you. If your goal is longevity, to be with your loved ones as long as possible, treat your body as the temple that it is. My dad’s body failed him at 58 years old. His soul had the age of a 20 something year old, but his body was done. He died of his first heart attack. I learned the day we lost him that we can have dreams and goals, but if we don’t take make our health a priority, none of it will happen. Our bodies were made to do amazing things, so why not use them to their full potential while we can.
Knowing yourself is the true work of your life. I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to fit a mold or please other people. When the comfort zone I had built in my life fell away and I had no control over putting it back together, I was left with just me. I had no clue who I was. I didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t know where to start. So at the top of my to do list was clarity. Get clear about who you are, and that will guide you to what you should do with your day and how you should live your life. I've learned that being a lawyer is a part of me, but this is also a huge part of me too.
Stop resisting your intuition. Once you start listening to your intuition, gut-feeling, inner knowing or whatever you want to call it, I guarantee you, you will feel an ease and joy that you haven't felt before. I am learning that it wasn’t my life or my circumstances that caused the anxiety, but my resistance to who I really am. If you're struggling with this, I would strongly suggest starting with movement. Movement helps you to get back in your body. It anchors your mind to the present moment and makes it easier to hear yourself and your own intuition. It's a tool to use again and again, day after day to come back to yourself. It detoxes and heals the body but also floods the mind with calming chemicals to experience greater peace and joy in your life.
Face the fear or live with regret. Lastly, what I have found to be the most important for me is at this moment as I share with you this passion of mine I’ve held in my heart for years…. is you get a choice in life, you can choose excitement and new possibilities that inevitably come with fear, or you can choose regret. Uncertainty is scary. But each time I feel the stranglehold and paralysis that comes with fear, I ask myself,
“But what about regret? If it’s too scary, fine, but will I be able to live with regret?”
If your answer is no, then you must do the thing you fear.