Okay, where were we? Oh yes, I had landed a "dream" job, was climbing the corporate ladder and had what seemed to be it all. I was on the path I should have been following.
But what seemed picture perfect on the outside, inside was anything but that. Every step forward on this "right" path felt like another brick on top of me, preventing me from where I really wanted to go. Every promotion was validation in the wrong direction and seemed to add to the growing list of reasons "why I shouldn't do what I love".
I made changes here and there to my life that I thought would fix the feeling I felt was missing. I moved from super large, corporate agencies to smaller, independent marketing shops. I left a serious relationship that was no longer serving me. I started a new side project, a small, local catering company, hoping to keep my passion for cooking alive but at times it seemed more like a chore after working a long work week.
Now, don't get me wrong, there were some incredible things came out of this time in my life and working in the agency world. I worked with incredible people who I am still close with today, including, my boyfriend! So really, it couldn’t have been THAT bad, right? 😉
But the work continued and so did the stress. It just always felt like a part of me was missing.
And then, in December of 2015 I made a spontaneous decision to attend a week long Chakra Yoga Retreat in Mexico that coming January. I say spontaneous since I came across the retreat information, led by my local yoga studio The Giving Tree Yoga, while I was on a whirlwind month of travel & deadlines for my job right before the holidays. I was stressed, tired and felt like one of those mice running on a wheel. I was going as fast as I could but I didn't seem to be getting anywhere. At least not anywhere where I wanted to be.
So when I saw the information about this seven day retreat in beautiful Mexico that would focus on our chakras and delve into discovering which ones were blocked or may be too open, I knew to take it as a sign to go.
Then, after a month of waiting for my trip (and a snowstorm that grounded many of us in New York for an extra night), I made my way to Mexico for retreat where I knew no one going. Thankfully, we had such an incredible group of supportive women on this retreat and our daily practices, both morning yoga and afternoon meditation helped me explore many areas of my life I had tucked away.
As part of our retreat, we each had an individual chakra reading to help us understand areas of our lives we needed to focus on. And boy did my reading hit the nail right on the head.
Simply put: my life was not aligned with the values I held. I was not living a life of integrity (heart chakra) and I was not speaking my truth (throat chakra). I wasn't overly shocked by this news but hearing it put so simply was incredibly jolting. It was the first step of acknowledgement that set fire to a rapid course of self discovery and realignment to my true self.
I came home re-energized and ready to pour myself into some serious soul searching, even if I didn't know where to begin. I took tiny steps here and there but then in the Spring something unexpected happened. I signed up for a workshop led by a friend, Kristen Sweeney, who is an incredible yoga teacher and her friend Katie Johnston, also an IIN health coach. Ironic side note that I actually met Kristen at one of the agencies I worked at a few years prior.
This workshop was centered around managing stress and uncovering the biggest (and perhaps unknown) stressors in your life. It took place over an evening with an intimate group who all gathered for their own reasons for wanting to gain control of the stress they felt everyday. During one of the exercises we were asked to share with the person sitting next to us what we had been feeling and wrote down during the exercise.
And that's when it happened, when I realized talking with this person next to me whom I did not know, why I had been holding on to my current life which was causing me so much stress.
I felt GUILTY.
Guilty that I wanted more from my life. That I already had so much but wanted more, not in a material sense but in a much deeper sense.
I felt guilty for wanting to be happy.
Coming Up: Taking control of my own happiness and how I re-found the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Plus, where I am almost two years from my initial discovery that I wanted more from my life
Missed Part One? Check it out here.