It’s rare that you get honest, good feedback when you’re launching a business. But, today, Ariel & I got a piece of feedback that struck a chord. We’ve shared a ton about how excited we are about our partners - and we truly are. But we haven’t really been sharing about the foundational thread of this experience.
For the first 27 years of my life, I didn’t know what self-connection was. “Self-awareness” was all I knew and it came in the form of knowing what my faults were and trying to do something about it to change them.
When I had my first, big, real-life meltdown, accompanied by my first experience with depression and anxiety - call it my Saturn Return or just call it your late twenties. I had been working 12-15 hour days, 6 days a week (sometimes 7) for a couple of years, building a business as Head of Admissions while traveling the world.
The end of a tumultuous relationship, a crisis at work and some personal drama led to a full-blown burnout. That was when I forcefully realized that I had completely lost the connection to myself.
I had burned out previously, but this type of burnout was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I had ignored all the signs - the intense spikes in stress, total numbing with food and fun, carving out no real time for myself outside of work to relax.
Time to ‘rejuvenate’ meant spending time with other people, with work friends, doing anything fun. I was traveling the world, exploring new cities, diving, taking weekend trips. But, I never once stopped to ask - what does my body need? What does my soul need? What do I need?
This burnout was different. It forced me to stop. To sit still. To feel things I had never felt before (and truthfully, hated feeling). To think some scary, surprising thoughts.
But, it introduced me to what we in the witchy woo woo wellness world call my “Shadow” realm. The Wild Unknown calls it “the place where dreams, fears, and mysteries are born...many great artists have roamed this inner landscape...it’s where imagination and creativity drift freely upon the midnight air.”
It’s scary there. But it shows you the truth about the stuff you’re not dealing with, the stuff that’s blocking you and holding you back. The shit that’s building up that you’re not taking care of.
It was here that I discovered I had some healing I needed to do. I needed some real TLC. But I didn’t know what that meant or how to do it.
Was it just working less?
Was it taking time off and going on vacation?
Was it working out more?
Was it seeing a therapist?
What would bring me back to feeling like ‘me’ again?
I didn’t have a lot of answers, but I didn’t feel good and I knew I couldn’t keep living the way I was living. I didn’t really have a self-care practice though.
I used to hate massages because they were boring.
I hated yoga because I didn’t ‘get it’.
I hated alone time.
Baths? Forget it.
I decided to just do one thing at a time. Pick a habit I wanted to build. Any habit. And go from there. I started with the thing I had the most familiarity with: exercise.
I would run every day. I knew that after I ran, I felt good. Really good. So I started running every day.
And it felt good. But, I knew there was more.
Shortly thereafter, I felt ready to build in a second habit. That’s when I started @headspace. Three minutes a day right after my run. Run, then meditate. Then coffee & breakfast and start my day.
Granted, I had some ups and downs after that. There were still a few months here and there where I’d completely fall off the wagon. Stop running. No meditation. And of course, I’d feel the repercussions immediately.
But I kept trying. And every time I rebuilt the habit, it got stronger and stronger.
Eventually, I built journaling into the process.
And then tarot.
And in the midst of all this, I did some incredible work with a therapist I can only say works magic and would recommend to anyone who is seeking.
And upgraded my meditation to @transcendentalmeditation.
But, most importantly, through all of this, I was doing the work. Each of these tools opened up something me. Helped me explore what I needed to feel balanced. Helped me unpack some stuff I had been holding onto for a very long time (we all have it).
And ultimately...all these things brought me back to me.
Today, I feel closer to myself than I ever have. I can’t say I feel back to ‘normal’, because I have a completely new normal. My normal is so much more connected. It means listening to my body and my heart and my mind and paying attention to what it needs on a moment by moment basis. It means creating space to relax in ways that really work for me. It means respecting my daily practice as the foundation of what I need to be at my best and leaning on the toolbox of wellness resources I have for the days when I need something extra (aka when the retrogrades and my open emotional center (thanks human design) and the continuous challenges of life throw me off course).
Call it a spiritual journey, a self-connection journey, whatever you want. For each of us, it looks different. I’m grateful for that burnout. It’s what I needed to jumpstart my journey into who I am and who I am becoming.
At THE DEEP, you’ll get to explore some of the tools I’ve personally used to connect more deeply to myself. If you join us, my hope is that you’ll walk away with at least one, but hopefully many, tools you can add to your toolbox to help you along your journey to being your best self.
Use the code VIP to get $50 off your tickets. Link in bio. If you have any questions about anything, shoot me a DM. I’m an open book <3