I was asked a really interesting question the other day. Someone I met at a recent speaking engagement was interested in working 1:1 with me but had one big question:
“Will working with you change my personality or who I am?”
And I have to be honest, it stopped me in my tracks for a moment. I mean, what exactly do people think that I do?!
The short answer is "no - working with me will not change a person's personality".
The longer answer is yes, coaching will change you, but not in the way you may think.
You see, the process I use is designed to awaken you to your deeper potential and get the ball rolling on creating a life that you love to live. It's about redefining how you see yourself and giving you the tools to express your authentic self more freely.
And it's about changing your experience from one of brokeness to one of strength and healing.
So will that change you? Absolutely!
But what it's really doing is allowing you to find You and be You without all the fears and worries that may be stopping you from being, doing and having everything you want.
In other words.....
Who you are will always be the same, but your ability to express and live your life as You may be suffering which means the coaching process is designed to breakthrough the layers that are preventing you from BEING your authentic Self.
Which means Coaching doesn't change you; it allows you to BE you.
Curious what coaching can do for you? Great! Let's chat. No obligations, just information.
Not quite ready for that step? That's great also and may mean your first step is to join me at one of my upcoming workshops or retreats.
Either way, let's get your journey started - together ❤️
With so much of the world gone virtual, sometimes it seems that the more we connect the less connected we feel. And that can suck a bit so in an effort to combat this sense of detachment, I wanted to reach out and introduce myself properly.
So, hello! And thank you for being here.
Let's begin with the easy stuff... You may or may not already know that I am a Health Empowerment Coach which means I work with women and men, 1-on-1 or in classroom settings, to help open up new doors, make sense of the chatter in their head and offer a new perspective on health and healing. In other words, I am their tour guide on the wonderful path to peace.
Some things you may not yet know about me:
1. I am a self-professed Hippie Nerd. I grew up wearing medicine necklaces and carrying crystals with me, even though I didn’t understand yet why I was so drawn to them. I love Star Trek and all things science (yup I'm a bit of a dork). In high school I excelled in advanced physics, biology and chemistry and have always believed that the answers to the meaning of life will be found in the quantum world. I have a philosopher’s heart and a scientists mind and for many years I struggled to reconcile these two parts of myself.
2. I look like Mayim Bialik (aka Amy Farah Fowler from The Big Bang Theory aka Blossom) and as a result always look vaguely familiar to a lot of people I meet which can get confusing sometimes!
3. I spent the first half of my life very sick. My first memories are of hospitals and throughout my entire childhood and early adulthood I was cycled through every specialist and expert you could possibly imagine. If there was an –ologist (as in neurologist, gastroenterologist, psychologist, cardiologist…etc.) I have been to them. There are very few medicals tests I have not undergone at least once and very few meds I haven't been prescribed at some point in my life. Between the ages of 4 and 35 I underwent over 40 surgeries on my left eardrum (truth be told we lost count after 40 so we don’t actually know how many I had) and when you count my other surgeries I have been under anesthetic and hospitalized around 50 times. Suffice it to say, I have done everything to heal on the physical plane that our current medical system has to offer and despite all the work and all the scans and all the pills, I continued to get sicker. One of the benefits of being a very sick child is that I am no stranger to illness and physical di-sease so I learned the medical system very well. And it also means I have walked the path of healing many, many times and know it well.
4. I'm a hula-hoop dancer. Yup - you read that right! Believe it or not there is a whole underground community of Hoopers (as we are known) and I always have at least two hula-hoops in the back of my car at all times in case the urge to hoop strikes me when I'm out and about.
5. I sing in an women's a cappella, barbershop chorus and recently became part of a quartet called Firefly.
6. I used to have a severe bug phobia. In fact, that phobia is what led me to the work I do today! Picture this: I was 31 years old and positively terrified to leave the house during the summer months because a moth or bee or fly could come near me. I could barely even get myself down the garden aisle at the local Home Depot because of all the cans of bug spray with realistic images of bugs on them. It was bad. And, as you can imagine, it was becoming very invasive in my life. I finally got to the point where I was like "Okay, I'm done" but was disheartened to learn that when it comes to phobias there are really only two options: desensitization therapy, which means they would put me in a room with a bug. I mean, who in their right mind would sign up for that?? Or hypnosis, which I totally didn't believe in at all. But I was desperate and couldn't leave my house without a panic attack. I had begun to lose hope until I sat down with my Coach that first time and within one session she nailed on the head what 13 years of talk therapy had never gotten close to. I was astounded. And I thought it was too good to be true. But I was desperate. Three months later I was shocked to find out that not only was the phobia gone but the life-long fog of depression and anxiety that I thought I just had to learn to live with was gone as well! And being the nosy nerd that I am, I just had to know how it worked. So I took the course and long story short, here I am, helping to guide others on their healing path.
7. I love cats. And dogs. And, frankly, anything that hops, skitters or snuggles. I have always had furry critters in my life and consider them my family just as much as the two-legged, hairless critters I share my life with.
8. I feel truly honoured and blessed to have crossed paths with you and I am really excited that you are here ❤️
So that's me - in a nutshell!
I wanted to talk to you about something really important today: hope.
Hope is such a powerful thing, isn't it? And yet, when it comes to healing things like depression, anxiety or past trauma, hope is one of the first things taken away from us.
I remember sitting in my psychiatrist's office at the age of 32 and being told that, statistically, the chances of me ever recovering from the anorexia and bulimia that had taken close to 13 years of my life were close to nil. And that I would never be able to get off my anti-depressants but that I could learn to "live with and manage" my anxiety. And when I questioned this process I was told I needed to be realistic. Logical.
But here's the thing: logic doesn't take in to account how I *felt* which was totally and utterly hopeless.
You see, sacrificing hope for realism may seem like a noble cause but it's not. That light at the end of the tunnel that we all talk about? That light is hope and without it we are just lost in the dark with no end in sight. It's no wonder so many people choose to give up.
But I know that's not you because you're here, reading these words. And that means you still have hope.
And that's a beautiful thing.
I had a very interesting conversation the other day and I wanted to share it with you.
I was talking with a very good friend of mine and he was adamant that doing emotional work cannot help depression or anxiety because "depression and anxiety is the result of a biochemical deficiency" which means medication is the only thing that will provide long-term help.
I remember when I was in deep pain and I sought help from my doctor for my anxiety and he explained to me that, much like a diabetic, people with depression and anxiety just don't have enough serotonin and taking an anti-depressant simply helped to rebalance the brain.
Which is true.
But here's the thing....
Emotions are biochemical messengers that are transmitted via neurotransmitters and hormones, right? So emotions change our biochemistry, right?
Which means that repressing anger (or any of our emotions) regularly will cause a specific shift in the brain biochemistry which we will then experience as depression or anxiety.
But - and this is important! - while depression does involve changes in biochemistry it is not the cause - it is the symptom.
Working on the emotional level allows you to heal the biochemistry imbalance from the inside out and so achieve real healing (versus symptomatic management).
Is this making sense?
And let me say this: better medicated than dead. Seriously. Medications 100% saved my life.
And, I no longer need them.
So if depression and anxiety are just the result of a chemical imbalance - explain me. Explain how after 13 years of fistfuls of drugs and cognitive therapy and hospitalizations I have been medication free for close to 7 years.
You see, here's the thing: antidepressants are great because they stop you from driving off the cliff of your life. And that's a really, really important thing.
And once you've brought the car to a stop you need to learn how to turn your car around and drive away.
Because there is a whole world out there that is not the cliff and you can rewrite your story any time you want to.
If this resonates with you, come join me at my Rewrite Your Story class and let's teach you how to do a three-point-turn ❤️
When was the last time you got mad?
No really. I want you to stop. Take a moment and really think about it.
When was the last time you got angry? And I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill mild irritation or frustration that we all allow ourselves to feel on a regular basis. I’m talking blood rushing, heart pounding, good ‘ol fashioned PISSED OFF?
Do you remember? Can you?
In fact, I want you to try to remember an actual time when you were pissed off. Can you do that? If so, I want you to think back to that time and… what do you notice? What were you hearing, seeing and feeling? Where in your body does that sensation of anger happen? Point to it. Seriously – I want you to go ahead and point at that part of your body.
And say hello to your Anger.
Maybe this exercise was easy for you. Maybe you found it a bit challenging to actually recall a recent time when you were angry.
Maybe you are so good at being a Giver that you never really get mad -- ever! You may even proud of that fact and believe yourself to be really easy-going. Laid back. Cool as a cucumber.
Or maybe you are afraid of your anger. Maybe, growing up, you were taught that anger was wrong or made you a bad person and should never be expressed.
Maybe you were even told Anger was dangerous.
That's what I was taught.
Growing up in, I was taught that love meant never being angry, always giving the benefit of the doubt and being willing to give in to keep the peace no matter what the personal cost.
The idea of getting mad used to scare the hell out of me and I used to do anything – including rationalizing and justifying someone else’s behaviour to my own detriment – just to avoid feeling my own anger.
You see, deep down I didn't really trust myself. And I feared that once that box of anger was opened, like Pandora's box, I would never be able to get it closed again.
But I was wrong.
It turns out Anger is one of the most important emotions you have because it is the signal from your unconscious mind that you are taking on too much. Or giving your Self too little.
Anger is important and yet it is the first emotion we are taught to turn off. And in doing so we do ourselves a great injustice because it leaves us powerless to get our needs met with any amount of regularity or consistency. And so we begin to wither....
This is beginning to make sense for you, isn't it? Good!
Because whatever your current relationship with your Anger, maybe it's time to get better acquainted with this part of You.
If you are ready to stop being afraid of your Anger and learn how to leverage it for your continued health, I invite you to come join me for my Rewrite Your Story class ❤️
The other day, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I came across this post:
"Depression is REAL. People can smile all day & still be broken inside!".
And I have a real problem with this...
First of all, no one is broken. I know it doesn't feel that way and, heck, I even had a doctor tell me I was broken so I get why it's so easy to believe this. But I'm here to tell you it's bullshit. Straight up, you've-been-lied-to bullshit.
Second, the fact that we have to still assert that depression is real makes me sad because it means that there are still people out there that think that having a bad day and suffering from depression are the same thing. That depression and anxiety are things that can be "snapped out of" and that if you can just figure out why and get more information you would surely see how much better life is without it.
So let's talk about this for a moment.
Depression IS real and it has absolutely nothing to do with someone's intelligence or ability to recognize all the reasons why they are suffering. This is one of the pitfalls of traditional cognitive behavioural therapy which believes that if you spend enough time exploring the WHY of it all, eventually you will have no choice but to change your mind and therefore heal.
The problem is that after 13 years of traditional therapy and 4 years of studying and obtaining my BA in psychology I could tell you all the reasons WHY I felt so shitty but I still had no idea HOW to make the changes.
I remember telling my psychologist at the time that my head knew exactly what she was talking about, but I didn't know how to make my heart believe it.
And therein lies the problem with traditional talk therapy.
You see, at the end of the day Why is a useless question to ask because all it does is satisfy our curiosity while providing absolute no clues as to How to start making changes.
But here's the cool thing: you can begin to work on the How without ever knowing the Why and find the healing you have been searching for.
Is this making sense?
If you are ready to let go of the Why and being to explore the How of healing, I invite you to come join me for my Rewrite Your Story class.❤️
Guest post written by Adam Cook (www.addictionhub.org)
Recovery from addiction can be a long and difficult road, but you have managed to make progress. Now you must learn to move forward and get your body and mind back on track. Here are some steps you can take to keep moving forward.
Get New Hobbies
One of the big adjustments you’ll need to make what you do with your time. If visiting a bar or another substance-friendly venue was your former past time, you may find you have too much time on your hands. You should start filling that time with hobbies that interest and engage you.
These can include learning a musical instrument, taking a cooking class, hiking, or any number of activities. How can you discover the best hobby for you? Read recommendations from The Fix on how to get started.
You may swing from boredom to feeling overwhelmed with all your responsibilities because you are unsure of how to manage your time. This can help:
Embrace Healthy Habits
This is also an excellent time to begin some healthy habits. Your body has just gone through a big detox so these will support your health:
Getting Balance In Your Life
There are a few more things you can do to bring balance into your life:
While in recovery, there are a number of things you can do in maintaining success on your journey to sobriety. Filling your time effectively, getting healthy and maintaining a balanced life can all help you achieve your goals.
As originally published in Live Out Loud, The Sisterhood Folios
I was nineteen when I received my official diagnosis, but of course by then I had already been suffering in silence for years. Anorexia. Bulimia. Major Depression. Generalized Anxiety. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Suicidal ideation. And self-harm (which means there are scars on my body that I put there).
In other words: broken.
Every doctor I saw, every specialist I consulted all agreed; I was broken. And they were right, because when you’re told over and over again by very smart people with lots of letters after their names that you are broken, well…. eventually you begin to believe them.
I wasn’t born broken.
In fact, according to the great Aristotle, one of my favourite philosophers (yes, I have a favorite philosopher because I’m nerdy like that), we are born perfect; blank slates upon which life inscribes her Journey. Tabula Rasa, which literally means “blank slate” means that no one is born broken so, I could not have been born broken, no one could. Even if it doesn’t always feel that way.
Growing up I didn’t feel broken.
In fact, I had what I considered to be a very normal upbringing and spent my childhood doing the usual childhood things. I had plenty of friends, I did well in school and I had the usual childhood experiences including first crushes, chickenpox, dance classes, and sleepovers. And yet, as time went on the pain got worse, the fear got bigger, and my body began to crack under the pressure.
My earliest memories are of hospitals. When I was two years old I was diagnosed with a rare kind of heart murmur, the kind that makes even doctors scratch their heads and ask, “What is PDA?” Patent Ductus Arteriosus is a benign condition in which one of the arteries near the heart remains open after birth allowing blood and vital oxygen to bypass the lungs. Nowadays this can be easily corrected with day surgery, but back in the early 1980’s, this type of murmur was rare, and the surgery to correct it had only been performed a handful of times in Canada. Because the murmur was so loud, the doctors were having a hard time deciding if it was just PDA, or if there was a defect inside the heart as well. Consequently, I spent weeks in the hospital, both before and after my surgery, undergoing tests and scans and, finally, a nine-hour surgery and recovery. You would expect that I would have been upset being away from home, away from my family. But I loved it. I loved the attention; I loved the quiet. I loved having my own TV that I could watch, and my own dinner that was just for me. Being so young you’d think I wouldn’t remember any of it, but I do. I remember more than most.
From a very young age I also remember hating myself. Fast forward a bit and I’m five years old, playing in my room, and I remember digging my fingernails into my thigh; punishing myself for doing something wrong and knowing, with certainty, that I deserved it. The pain was still quiet; still easy to avoid, but the pressure was building.
I’ve often wondered, over the years, where such intense self-loathing came from. Where does a five-year old learn to hate herself so much that she feels the need to cause herself physical pain? In examining this question I have had to face some hard truths about my childhood, truths that, to this day, I am still attempting to reconcile.
From the outside my family was loving and supportive; a little nuts, perhaps, but always there for each other. Or so I thought. It’s amazing what you can find hidden in the shadows, and, unfortunately, the closer I looked the more I could see. While outwardly everything was wonderful, behind closed doors a different story emerged. A sister who couldn’t love me. A mother who put her own needs first. Words portrayed as soothing caused scars deeper than you can imagine, and, just because they are invisible, make no mistake, they can still bleed.
Things really began to get bad as I neared my final days of high school. From the outside, everything seemed great! My GPA was 4.0, I had my pick of universities, and an incredible circle of friends. I find myself appreciating and loving these relationships more and more, the older I get. I think they saved me, actually, even if they don’t know it. But no matter what I did, or how successful I was, the pain got worse and the fear got bigger.
Have you ever felt something wasn’t right but you couldn’t quite put your finger on it? In astronomy there’s actually a name for this (hey, I told you I was a nerd). Averted vision is a well-known scientific phenomenon that states when viewing fainter stars with the naked eye you need to look just to the side rather than directly at the star in order to really see it. Biologically, this is because of the disbursement of light-detecting cells in the retina of our eyes. And like a shadow seen only out of the corner of your eye, I, too, found the harder I tried to look at the cause of my pain, the less I was able to see.
And so I began to break.
The first time I began to notice the cracks was right before my high school prom. It’s so cliché isn’t it? And I hate that I’m a cliché, but I really did want to transform myself that night and have everyone notice me. Notice me and say, “Wow, look how beautiful she is.” It was one week away from prom and my mom and I were at the dress shop for a final fitting to ensure the alterations were done correctly. I was in love with my dress. I had picked out a beautiful, soft yellow, chiffon gown, and I was so excited to wear it. But when I went to try it on we found it was a little snugger than it was supposed to be – they had taken it in too much. And instead of saying, “Oh, nuts, they botched the alteration,” my mom asked me instead, “Did you gain weight?” And in that moment something snapped inside me. It was an innocent enough comment, but like the straw that broke the camel’s back, in that moment I decided that I would fit into that dress. No. Matter. What. And in making that decision I stepped through the looking glass and into the world of eating disorders.
That summer I starved myself down over 40 pounds existing on a diet of pills and a mere 300 calories a day. My own friends barely recognized me. And still the pain got deeper and the fear got bigger.
People tend to think eating disorders are just about weight, or getting attention. This certainly plays a part, but consider this: an anorexic uses their conscious willpower to override their body’s own built-in self-preservation mechanism. It is a slow suicide; death by a thousand paper cuts.
It is about fear and control.
It is about self-loathing and shame.
Anorexia is born of a profound and persistent desire to destroy and obliterate the Self, to literally disappear from existence. Trust me when I tell you that the level of pain and shame that is required to literally starve yourself to death is not the result of not having a flat tummy or wanting to be a size 2. It comes from a much deeper, much darker place. I know. I’ve been there.
I’ve always been what you would call an over-achiever. I am the one who is always prepared, always organized, and always growing. In high school I was on the honor roll; in university I was top of my class. Whatever I do, I do it well, and I put my heart and soul into it. Which is what made my eating disorder all the more devastating. But it wasn’t until I got my ‘official diagnosis’ that I really thought I was broken.
I remember sitting with my mom in the waiting room of a prominent psychologist in the suburbs of Toronto that summer. The walls were a god-awful shade of pink; the kind of pink usually reserved for nursing home carpets, or funeral homes. I was scared. After months of vicious anxiety, crushing sadness, and the loss of a significant amount of weight, I knew something was wrong but I just couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t stop. My arms bore the scars of my pain, deep cuts made by my own hand in an attempt to reconcile the depths of agony I was experiencing. I remember asking myself often, “Am I crazy? I must be crazy. But do crazy people question their sanity? In which case the fact that I’m asking if I’m crazy must mean that I’m not crazy.” I would play these questions over and over in my mind. I remember hoping that the doctor would recommend I be admitted to the psych ward because all I wanted was for the pain to end. The only way I could think that could ever happen was if I was medicated into a stupor. Upon hearing the diagnosis my mom was furious, and I never went back to that horrid pink office again. But the diagnosis followed me out the door.
Through all of it I still managed to graduate high school with honors, attend university, and make the Dean’s list. But with each passing day the pressure continued to build; the pain became unbearable and the fear consumed me.
I finally broke.
The day started off surprisingly well. I was feeling good. I had seen my therapist earlier that day and things were going quite nicely, all things considered. After months and months of adjusting my medication we had finally found a mix that was working and didn’t send me into a manic state. I hadn’t hurt myself in nearly a week, which was a new record, and I had systematically gone through, and come clean about all my stashes of sharp objects. I had thrown them all away, removing all temptation; something my therapist had recommended. It was the weekend and I was in my first year of university and working on a research project for my philosophy class. I remember that I had gone looking for a paperclip, which always ended up at the bottom of my drawer. And as I was looking and moving things around in the drawer I noticed something sharp that I had not yet disposed of, and so I gave it to my parents to throw away.
And then I lost. My. Shit.
Suddenly the reality of my situation came crashing down on me – I had nothing left to hurt myself with, and the thought of that sent me spiraling into a breakdown of epic proportions. I was hysterical and I couldn’t get control back. Have you ever seen the scene in Greys Anatomy where Cristina breaks down and can’t stop crying? It was like that – only it wasn’t happening to a character in a show. It was happening to me. My parents tried frantically to calm me down but nothing was working. No matter what I did I just couldn’t stop shaking. I couldn’t stop crying. That’s when we decided it was time for me to go to the hospital.
I remember very little about the rest of that night. Memories come to me in flashes; little snippets of a movie that I know I’ve seen but the details are a blur. I remember sitting under one of those old TVs they used to have screwed into a corner on the wall (these were the days before flat screens) and I remember wishing it would fall on me so the pain would stop.
I remember meeting with the on-call psychologist, a weenie little guy with a receding hairline and a bowtie (a frickin’ bow tie!).
I remember the scratchy feel of the hospital gown against my body and how I kind of liked it and found it comforting.
I remember my dad going out to a local donut shop at 3 a.m. and bringing back a batch of fresh-from-the-oven cheddar biscuits.
And I remember Dwayne, an incredible soul who was part of the hospital’s Crisis Team (a team I would meet many more times over the coming years). He was the first person to acknowledge me. To notice me, not just my pain. And he was the first person who told me I was not broken.
It would take me another 13 years of pain and darkness and fighting to finally understand his message.
In Japan, there exists a beautiful art form known as Kintsukuroi (keen-tsoo-koo-roy), which means literally ‘to repair with gold’. It is the art of repairing pottery with molten gold or silver, in essence highlighting the scars of the break. Rather than attempt to hide the injury or pretend it never happened, the Japanese understand that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken and healed.
You see, life is a process of change and re-birth. The old systems and ways break down to make way for new learnings and realizations. It is beautiful and painful and poetic. It is simultaneously wonderful and horrible.
Change is inevitable, and yet we hold on to the old ways so tight that it is not the change itself that hurts, only our reluctance to embrace a new way. I never really understood the idea of surrendering, but after drowning in my pain for over a decade it became very clear. Learning to surrender is about learning to let go even when every fibre in your being wants to cling tight. Letting go is harder, but it will hurt less once you surrender.
No one is ever broken because we were never whole to begin with. We are in a constant state of change, of breaking down and building back up. Each time learning more. Each time becoming stronger. A broken bone is known to heal stronger than before the injury. A broken limb will never lose the scar of its journey but it is stronger for having healed, and can never break the same way again. It is unbroken.
Just as our bones break and heal stronger, so, too, do our minds. And so the goal is not to be whole, for that is just an illusion. Aim, instead to be stronger. Wiser. Unbroken.
It has been six years since I walked away from my eating disorder and began my journey back to health. And like all big decisions, this, too, came as an epiphany. It was a definite decision that took me down to the darkness, and a decision that brought me back out. The power of our decisions is astounding. In a split second – bam! – you can decide to do something different and completely change your reality. And while we all have this ability all of the time, it is typically only during periods of extreme turmoil that we actually choose to tune in to this ability and change our lives.
My moment of clarity came a year after losing my father to liver disease. In the wake of my grief my eating disorder had worsened. I spent my days planning my binges, and then purging everything I had eaten. I was in constant pain and I knew that I couldn’t continue on. So I made a decision. I knew what would happen if I continued on the same path. I had already lost several friends to eating disorders and, regardless of what society thinks, those of us who suffer from anorexia or bulimia are acutely aware of the damage we are doing to our bodies. I knew that if I continued at that pace, it was only a matter of time before my body gave out. And so I decided to choose a different pain, the pain of recovery. Because even though it was equally as painful (if not, more so), at least it was a pain fueled by hope. And so back out of the looking glass I went.
The only way out is through. This was my mantra and this is what I clung to as I moved through the pain of recovery (and make no mistake – recovering from an eating disorder is incredibly painful - physically and emotionally). After years of denying my body nourishment I had to learn again how to eat, how to notice my hunger and how to take care of myself. It has been a hard road and yet, it has not been as hard as I thought. Because once you make the decision to change, everything after that is just details.
Today I am fully recovered, medication free, and thriving. I am blessed to have met and married my best friend, Brian, and his love and support these past 13 years have meant more to me than any words could ever express. In 2014 I made the decision to start my own business and am now honored to help guide others on their path to recovery, using the tools that helped me to help them heal through the pain of depression, anxiety and childhood trauma. Every client who finds their way to me brings me new learnings as well, and helps me heal at deeper levels. I am so grateful to all the amazing souls I have met on this Journey.
Live Life Unbroken. It’s just three little words, but they have had such a profound impact on my life.
I hear so many people say that they are broken; that their problems are insurmountable. That they cannot be fixed. It hurts when I hear this, not just because it is awful to see a beautiful soul in pain, but because I have been there. And my message of hope remains: No one is ever broken.
Your Motivation Strategy is the unconscious process you use to keep yourself moving forward on your path. Which makes it pretty darned important, don't you think?
While many motivation strategies are positive (mantras, vision boards, inspirational photos and quotes), many are not.
Too many women I know motivate themselves through negative feedback. They internally yell at themselves or shame themselves until the guilt pushes them forward. And while this strategy is highly effective in the short term, the long term consequences are extremely damaging and will ultimately lead to procrastination or outright failure.
Think about it: if you had a trainer yelling at you "What the hell is wrong with you, you idiot? Get your disgusting ass to the gym! You lazy pig, stop dragging your feet and just do it!" - how long until you just...stop...listening....
Now, think about what you say to yourself; how you motivate yourself. Are the words you say to yourself empowering and if not - how long until you stop listening and then label yourself as a "lazy procrastinator".
If you are stuck; if you need to move forward and just can't do it, try changing the way you talk to yourself. Motivation comes from within and begins with the words you use.
I am so excited to have been chosen as Women's Post "Woman of the Week"! Thank you to the amazing Katherine DeClerq for capturing my mission and message so eloquently ❤️
View the original post here: http://womenspost.ca/woman-of-the-week-jennifer-febel/
Originally published Feb 1, 2017 by Women's Post
You are not broken.”
That is Jennifer Febel’s personal, and professional, mantra. When she was 19, Febel was diagnosed with a multitude of mental disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, suicidal ideation and self-harm. “In other words: broken,” she says. In fact, one of the many doctors Febel saw on her road to recovery actually used that term to describe her condition.
Those words had a deep impact. For years, Febel thought she had to live with “being broken”. She was given medications and coping options — but nothing helped. Eventually, her anxiety grew until she couldn’t leave the house.
That’s when she took a chance on a wellness coach, who was able to convince her to look past her scepticism and try some alternative mind-body tools. “The most powerful moment from me was when my coach told me “You are not broken”. To have someone say that was profound.”
“After 13 years of struggling and medication and therapy, I was able to come off meds and I never looked back. I was able to feel how I wanted to feel.”
Febel has an incredibly bubbly personality and a genuine smile. Invite her to your party and she may bring her hula hoop and perform an impressive dance routine. Her fast wit and positive outlook on life is contagious — and if she didn’t open up about her past, no one would know how much she struggled.
Her decision to see a wellness coach shaped the rest of her life and inspired her to go into the field herself. Febel is now a certified wellness coach and master hypnotherapist operating out of Bradford, Ont., with clients across Simcoe, York, and the GTA. Her business, whose name Live Life Unbroken is inspired by her own personal experiences, helps those with phobias, anxiety, depression, trauma, stress, and general wellness goals. She emphasizes that she is not a medical doctor and cannot treat these disorders, but she can help relieve the symptoms.
“Basically, my job is to help people figure out what they actually want and then chart a path to get to it,” she said. “We often know what we don’t want – I don’t want to be anxious or stressed all the time – my role is to help them find out what they actually want and how to go about getting that.”
How does she do that? Febel likes to think of the mind like a computer, and her job is cognitive tech support.
“Nothing needs to be fixed. Sometimes, over the course of your life, you download a virus. You call in the geek squad — that’s me! Someone who can manoeuvre the system.”
The current medical model sees mental health as a hardware program, Febel says. Instead, she thinks of things like anxiety and depression as software programs that need to be uninstalled. To do that, she uses advanced mind-body tools that are practiced in 38 countries around the world to find out what’s happening at the subconscious level.
“The problem is you don’t know what you don’t know. The problems are at the unconscious level,” she says. While most cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on the “why”, Febel focuses more on the “how” in order to relieve the symptoms of the “virus”. “In my mind, who cares about the why. It just satisfies curiosity. We focus on how the problem is created– then we can change it.”
Febel respects and encourages the skepticism associated with hypnosis and personal coaching. “That was me,” she said. “When I saw my coach I thought it was a hoax.”
“If you want to freak people out at a party, tell them you are a hypnotherapist. You get two reactions –‘ cool, can you hypnotize’ me or ‘I can’t be hypnotized. ‘I see it as my job to educate. Skepticism is the doorway to the wonder of change – just avoid letting it get in your way.”
In addition to one-on-one coaching, Febel runs a number of workshops through Live Life Unbroken, the most popular being a one-day workshop called “Reboot Your Inner Spark.” This course allows participants to tap into their own intuition and learn how to start healing naturally.
Last year, Febel began a new program called “Leadership Alchemy,” which touches upon communication and connections in personal and professional situations, or how Febel describes it, “how to be a true leader in your life.” She is also co-running a women’s wellness weekend where she will be leading some classes on revitalizing your chakras. During that weekend, women will be taught to find balance and centering in their daily lives, as well as participate in other wellness activities like yoga and magnified healing.
In addition to her workshops, Febel is also a regular presenter at a number of conferences and events. She is currently working on a presentation that will encourage women to stop being so nice. “When I’m “nice”, I have no boundaries. I’m doing what everyone else wants,” she says. “It creates “angry nice girls” who on the surface doing well, but on the inside they are angry and sad. Banish [the word nice] from your vocabulary. Be compassionate. Be kind. Nice doesn’t help anyone.”
When Febel isn’t working, she sings with York Harmony Chorus, an award-winning acappella group of over 40 women that sing in four-part harmony. The chorus competes regionally once a year and Febel helps with choreography and PR, as well as performs. “Every week I get to spend a few hours with these wonderful women and that nourishes my life in so many ways.”
Febel is someone who constantly loves to learn and try new things. She works with her own coaches and uses her own mind-body tools on a regular basis, starting each day with a grounding or energy-balancing exercise like tai chi. She loves to curl and is constantly reading or ordering books online. The one book she returns to on a regular basis is Quantum Healing: Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine by Deepak Chopra.
After years of dealing with frustration and blame from the medical community, I finally chose to take control of my own health journey; a path which has led me to where I am today.
Who am I?
I am on a mission to help spread the idea that no one is broken (no matter how broken they may feel) and that healing emotional health can be achieved.
So who am I? I am someone who has walked the path of brokenness and lived to tell the story. I specialize in bringing a mixture of humour, honesty and personal truths to help inspire a new perspective on health, growth and change. I am also a self-proclaimed "Hippie Nerd" and love to combine my love of all things nerdy and science-y with a little infusion of "woo-woo" spirituality.
PLEASE NOTE: Time Line Therapy®, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Hypnosis are alternative, complementary therapies that utilize guided relaxation, visual imagery, creative visualization, hypnosis, NLP and stress reduction processes and techniques for the purpose of self-improvement. The coaching process is not a substitute for traditional medical care and we encourage you to discuss your coaching journey with your primary health care team. Additionally, you should continue any present medical treatment and consult your regular health care provider for treatment of any new or old illnesses.