I found myself blankly staring at the glowing red exit sign of the hospital recovery room, wondering how I’d arrived at this place in my life. I was numb.. scared… overwhelmed… grief-stricken… and alone. I just wanted to be on the other side.
It was early December 2015 and, at the age of 42, I was a newly-minted breast cancer survivor. The rawness and shock of that fact consumed me, offending every part of my being. I felt completely chewed up and spit out by life. And the road to recovery laid before me was so daunting that it made Mt. Everest seem like a short hike up a small hill.
When I look back, I realize that cancer was just the physical manifestation of all the deep-seated feelings I’d swallowed, ignored, and buried for decades. It was symptomatic of the unhealthy way I was in relation to myself and the embodied result of feeling like I was never doing or being enough.
I lived in the front pocket of lack and locked the fear of disappointing others in the cavity of my chest like a caged songbird. I was constantly seeking outside validation. My own mental and emotional wellbeing was relegated to the bottom of my neverending to-do list. And I played the caretaker role to perfection, needing to prove my worth by making everyone but myself a priority.
I knew that things needed to change.
In that recovery room, I vowed I would heal my body, mind, and most especially, my heart. My well-BEING journey began by shifting my awareness to my needs, FIRST. I began spending time being in my body, really owning my emotions and allowing my mind to rest. Compassion became my constant companion. I stopped looking for my deficits—the ways I wasn't living up to a standard of someone else's idea of who I needed to be.
Freedom and healing arrived when I opened myself up to feel, intuitively, what I needed in my heart. In that process, I found the courage to own all of the beautiful, broken parts of me, set boundaries, and live and love from a profound place of knowing within.
Over the course of seven years, I have journeyed back to my center—a place of wholeness… and embraced being perfectly imperfect. I now feel what it means to have a lived experience that matches how I want to move through life in my relationships and, most importantly, as the true expression of myself.
I’ve built a sacred daily practice that I protect as if my life depends on it….because it does! And I want to help you do the same—to curate a ritual that you carry into your life with effortless ease. Building a dedicated practice that sticks is not a one-size fits all approach; it takes courage to show up and be a fearless explorer of your inner world, day after day.
Join me for a 3-day intimate and inspired women’s retreat, nestled into a beautiful wooded sanctuary in West Michigan, where you’ll discover so much more than just a weekend away.
I’ll walk beside you and empower you to live your ONE BEAUTIFUL LIFE, a life that’s filled with days of wonder, rich connections, creativity, and self-love.
“...Do you REALLY want to do this until you are in your 60’s?’
I was sitting in my cubicle office when the all too familiar question began to tug at the back of my mind. It wasn’t even 10am yet and already I was fidgeting and anxious, attempting and failing to focus on the piles of work in front of me. I was 24 years old and working as an engineer, a career path I’d pursued largely based on the advice of other people. After years of difficult coursework, summer internships and climbing the ladder in a competitive field, I was already ranked as a specialist and working on high profile projects. Having reached all these outward marks of success, I was waiting for the feeling of worthiness and contentment to wash over me. Except, it wasn’t washing over me. Instead, I was restless and miserable. It felt all wrong. And I had no idea what to do.
At a young age, I’d developed this idea that there was a kind of “recipe for happiness” in this life. The ingredients were to work hard in school, pursue a career in a respectable field, get married, buy a house in the right school district and fill it with smiling children. This idea had been reinforced time and time again as I grew up, so I trusted it more than I trusted any sparks of doubt I felt around it. It was so important to me to come across as a logical and intelligent young woman that I ignored all the signs that this recipe for happiness may not actually work for me. I ignored the fact that working in a cubicle made me feel like I was suffocating. I ignored the yearning to travel the world and write, saving it for my few precious weeks of vacation time each year. I ignored the sinking pit in my stomach when I saw a pregnant woman at my work, trying desperately to muffle the words that would inevitably come up in my mind…oh my God, what did you do? Now you can never leave.
I told myself this was all just a part of growing up and being an adult. I thought that responsible decision making meant I followed the happiness formula diligently. Even traveling and seeing all the different ways people were choosing to live their lives, I told myself this kind of “free decision making” was reserved for people who were really lucky. I told myself I was too far in to make a change. I told myself there was no going back. I felt completely stuck.
At this time in my life, a self care routine became a kind of necessity for me. I’d show up for work, determined to put my best foot forward, and then I’d go home and collapse on my yoga mat in my backyard. It became a form of personal maintenance.
With consistency though, the simple act of self-care began to morph into something deeper for me. And as I learned how to listen to my needs, I realized that I didn’t know myself that well. I realized that far from being a passionless person, I actually have passion by the bucketload. I was just looking for it in all the wrong places. Resources began to fall into my path and I rediscovered natural talents. I learned how to self-soothe when those feelings of shame bubbled up to tell me to stop wishing for something else – that I was a fool to be so ungrateful.
And In time, I expanded my comfort zone and began to show more of my genuine self to the world. I became a yoga teacher. I learned how to forage. I meditated on my roof with the morning sun. It was like coming home to myself. Even on those days I could only squeeze in five minutes.
I see now that my self-care rituals offered me a powerful doorway inward. And when we tend to the core of who we are with tenderness and love, our inner voice gets louder. Self-honoring decisions inevitably begin to follow. And from that sense of personal autonomy and power, our lives can transform into something beautiful. Whether the changes are small or big.
It took me nearly eight years to admit to myself that the answer to my opening question was “NO”. I didn’t want to work in a cubicle until I was in my 60’s. Once I stopped trying to mold myself into the person I thought I was supposed to be, clarity began to arrive. I learned how to nurture my way through the fear of vulnerability, making changes one small step at a time. My journey included years of extreme budgeting to pay off debt and save money, eventually leading to a year of big decisions that included: resigning from my job, fulfilling a calling to volunteer in Africa with my husband, spending 6-weeks backpacking and living out of a tent in the wilderness of Patagonia, returning home to sell our house (you know, the one in the proper school district), move to a smaller home in the country, and start a wellness business, which is now known as. This path didn’t unfold all at once. It’s been hard work, and fear was with me every step of the way. But once I started making decisions based on a deep understanding of who I am and what I want in this life, I found the bravery I needed. Because no matter how it all shakes out, I know that shooting for what feels true and authentic to me will never be a mistake. Because it’s my one beautiful life. And I want to live it that way.
My self-care rituals have connected me to the core of who I am, offering me so much more than feel-good moments in my days. They have offered me a sense of autonomy and personal power in my decision making. They have brought me to a calling for a career that is perfectly tuned to me, which offers me a radical sense of purpose. And as a result of all of this, my relationships with my family and husband have deepened. Because they see who I am and know me better. I never realized how much this matters. But now that I’m here, it’s changed everything.
This is what I wish for you.
I wish for you the unwavering understanding that you are deserving of a beautiful life.
I wish for you a sense of deep knowing and trust that you hold the answers deep within.
I wish for you the understanding that it is not selfish to care for yourself, and that by honoring who you are, you invite those who you love closer to you. And you invite them to do the same for themselves.
Join me this August for a 3-day intimate and empowering women’s retreat, hosted at a beautiful forested sanctuary in west Michigan. You’ll be welcomed exactly as you are and you’ll be invited on a journey of discovery into what ONE BEAUTIFUL LIFE means for you.
I’ll hold space for you, gently guide you, and welcome you to dream, expand, and grow into who you are designed to be. One self-loving gesture at a time.