A very open and beautiful post from my guest blogger Laurita about what it means to surrender, to feel and to start over again, with a different tribe and new energy.
thank you Laurita for sharing xo
My name is Laurita Gorman and I am honoured to have been asked by Jenn Pike to be a guest blogger on her fantastic site! When asked to write a blog about what I love and am passionate about, a few things quickly jumped to mind; travel, yoga, and holistic healing.As an enthusiastic yogi and healer, I have multiple hats I wear on a daily basis; from being a social worker by day to being a yoga instructor, reiki practitioner, and therapist/coach by night, needless to say, I am a multi-passionate being! Let’s not forget my love for travel and the fact that it’s never too long before I feed my wandering soul and am jet setting to another far off place around the globe for some barefoot backpackin’! However, behind the job titles, the credentials, and the travel stories, lies a very painful road that most of you are unaware of.
It began in my pre-teen years when I started struggling with waves of crippling anxiety, bouts of depression, and an extremely low self-esteem, which caused me to miss many days at school because I told my parents I “wasn’t feeling well” but had no clear physical symptoms (red flag parents!). By the time I turned 15, I was using and abusing drugs and alcohol, rebelling against everything and everyone, skipping classes and barely passing my courses, getting caught up in the wrong scenes and crowds, and isolating myself from my family. To the outside world, I was just partying, having fun, and “fitting in”, but on the inside, I felt alone, scared, and was trying to cope with the intense emotions that accompany anxiety and depression. No one really noticed that anything was wrong, as it was routinely sloughed off as typical teenage behaviour, until my friends began to notice scars and marks as a result of self-harm. I come from an amazing and very loving family who are very supportive, so naturally my parents tried their best to help and brought me to the doctor, but as the typical rebellious teen I was, my family was the last place I wanted to turn to for help, and so I further isolated and suppressed. Of course, as I now know, suppressing my inner demons just continued to feed the problem and in turn wrecked havoc on my physical body too!
It wasn’t until I was 18 that I got connected to a private therapist, on my own accord, after talking to a trusted adult who recommended I see him for “healing”, and for the first time opened up about my past traumas and chaotic conflict that was loitering through my head. I was naturally intrigued by this “healing” stuff and hadn’t a clue about what is was, but I didn’t need to understand it at the time, so long as I was open and receptive to receiving it. Now, I don’t mean to sound too corny, but my first appointment with the private therapist was life changing! There was a shift, a breakthrough in my subconscious if you will, and a feeling I hadn’t felt before that I couldn’t articulate. Life for me began to change from this point on with my new found awareness, hope, and perspective. This is where my journey to health and wellness truly began. I am not going to lead you to believe that it was a quick fix by any means, but rather, a long journey of self-exploration which ultimately lead me to self-empowerment. My intense emotions began to settle a bit and I continued into my final year of high school and completed a co-op placement working in a special education department. I knew at the age of 18 that I loved to help people! I didn’t know in what capacity, but I knew I wanted to be part of people’s journeys, to listen, to support, and to simply bare witness to their stories. I also knew that through my own life experiences, that I had something to offer others and was able to demonstrate empathy and compassion to those needing to be heard and validated. Coincidentally, or not, I enrolled myself to study social work, first at the college level, and then moved on to complete my bachelor and masters degree and landed a job working in the mental health field. Don’t get me wrong, I still was confronted with bouts of anxiety throughout my time in university and while working as a social worker and struggled to find the right tools for me that could alleviate some of the distress.
Fast forward a few more years when my curiosity lead me to my very first yoga class, which at the time was becoming increasingly popular as a means of exercise. My first class was a vivid experience I am sure to never forget! As I walked into the dimly lit room, adorned with an array of colours on the walls and ceiling, and symbols and messages written in a different language I did not recognize, people lay quietly on a mat with their eyes closed, listening to the sound of loud, deep breathes filling the room, and feeling the vibrations from the music softly playing in the background, I suddenly felt this indescribable sense of peace, calmness, and stillness. I struggled following every movement and yoga posture because it was all so new and foreign to me, but that didn’t matter to me because for the first time in awhile, I was not critical of myself for not doing something correctly, as the typical type A personality side of me was so used to doing. At the end of the class, everyone returned to lie on their mats with their eyes closed, while the instructor spoke soft words of love and encouragement. This final moment on the mat really resonated with me as my mind was fully engaged and present in that room with not a whisper or a glimpse of what the future may hold. From then on, I was hooked, and although I began yoga for the benefits of physical movement and exercise, I continued for the benefits for my mind and soul. The more I practiced, the less my anxiety symptoms acted up, so in a sense, this was my form of “medicating” myself to alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
Fast forward another few years, to the day I was overjoyed to find a brand new yoga studio in my town, Simplicity! After only a short time of being a member, I began working behind the desk and found a whole new tribe of people I fell in love with, which came at a very important time in my life while I grieved and coped with separating from my then husband (that’s a whole other blog post!). This was my home away from home, my place of community, my place of connection, my place of support, and my place to just simply be! It was my one stop shop for gaining knowledge about nutrition, the body, health, and wellness and everything else in between! Simplicity became my chosen family and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My hope for you reading this is two-fold; that you come to realize that everyone has a story, a place of pain and struggle, regardless of appearances, credentials, or possessions, and that by removing any shame or guilt about our past, we can choose to appreciate its lessons for us, use our story to help guide us to our life’s purpose, and allow our story to help the greater good of humanity. My other hope is that in the face of pain, struggle, fear, and inevitable life changes, you choose and opt for growth, as oppose to staying stagnant and resistant! When I finally surrendered to all of life’s changes and embraced the ebb and flow and chose to grow and evolve with it, I experienced more happiness, peace, and confidence than I ever thought possible! You owe it to yourself, to your self-worth, and to your potential to live the life you have always imagined! By following and living by these next 5 steps, you will be well on your way to feeling more joy and fulfillment in your life:
- Acknowledge you are stuck, remaining stagnant, and avoiding change.
- Seek out and ask for help and be receptive to receiving support and feedback.
- Take action steps every single day toward what you actually want and avoid focusing on what you don’t want!
- Find your tribe! Find the people who lift you up, cheer you on, believe in you, and push you to move forward!
- Enjoy the ride! It’s a wonderful journey to embark on and it’s ok to use a tour guide that can help you sight see on this road to self-discovery!
Now, time to be real, be raw, and bare it all, and get out of your own way!
“And the time came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Nin