After six months of draining the lives of so many family and friends, I decided to receive intensive therapy once and for all. I was losing my husband, alienating friends and family members and spending days and weeks inside the house. I had two little girls to take care of and I could barely take care of myself.
I had spent years hating myself, belittling my talents, beauty and brains. It took a good four years to work through all the pain and hurt I had caused myself. I worked really hard with the therapists — marriage counselors, eating-disorder specialists and parenting coaches. They taught me new ways to look at the world and, indeed, I found the world to be breathtakingly beautiful.
A pivotal moment occurred on one of my annual “me” trips that I started taking — no kids, no husband, no friends, just me.
My trip was set in a mountainside resort in Central Virginia. I sat down on a large boulder after a long hike, pulled out my blank journal and began to write. On one side of the page I wrote, “Accomplishments.” On the the other side I wrote, “Things I am grateful for.” I found that my lists were getting so long that I had to flip the page over and write on the back. I couldn’t believe how rich my life was! I had spent so much time worrying about others’ lives, but I hadn’t taken a look at my own so deeply. I had to stop to make it to yoga at 10 AM, so I dusted myself off and hurried down the mountain.
The yoga class was small, set in a tiny studio in the back of the resort’s fitness center but, boy, did BIG things happen during the two-hour class. As I moved from one difficult pose to another, I felt my fears about life float out of my body. A transformation was happening right before my eyes. The meditation was long … tears were flowing from my eyes … joyful tears … I was free, free from my own fears and expectations. I felt solely responsible for ME and only ME. And I realized, finally, that I love ME!
Since then, I feel fully recovered. I’m embracing learning through mistakes, loving harder and growing everyday. Yoga and meditation have changed my life. I meditate every morning and sit with myself several times a day and focus on my breath. The tasks, frustrations and stressors of each day that we all experience seem to float in and out of my conscience. I feel fully prepared to to take on whatever heads my way. And yoga has changed the way I feel about my body.
There is hope for you if there was hope for me. Surround yourself with cheerleaders — a support team that will encourage and cheer you on. Whether it’s a church group, rehab, support group, mom’s club, online forum … whatever support feels like to you, seek it out. Everyone has a story. And so many are glad to help. At my lowest point, I was considering taking my own life, but I knew in my soul that I had a lot to live for. Life is a treasure!
Each and every one of us has a fireball of strength. As the verse says, we came into this world as a light. Let YOUR light shine!
We asked experts, authors and readers like you to share their stories of Hope. Every day for the next month, you’ll find new tips for optimism on Gaiam Life, the Stream of Consciousness blog and our social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And don’t miss the GaiamTV.com Hope Film Festival, with FREE films all month long.