Balance has never been my strong suit. Typically, when I do something or make a change, I’m ALL IN.  RIGHT NOW. I also like to feel some satisfaction right away, or my commitment to that action or change begins to wane. In the past, if I strayed off course or made a mistake, I would high-tail it back to old patterns, unable to find balance in the moment and pick myself back up. This was not an effective or healthy way to approach change and growth in my life. 

The personal growth I have experienced with EGCM and Gestalt work has helped me work through this unhealthy pattern and find some natural balance. Recently, I celebrated my 40th birthday. While I’m not one to get hung up on my age, this year, the milestone kept creeping closer, and I was unsettled and unhappy in one key area. I felt very disconnected from my physical body. It didn’t feel like mine, and I certainly didn’t like how it was showing up. The stress of work, school, business, farm, and the kids’ schedules had taken its toll over the past few years, and I was a mess. A lot of that was being stored in my physical body, and I had shut it down. This spring, I made a personal commitment to move my body more, which began with short, daily walks during my lunch period. Then, I attended an event that had a fitness component that was way outside my comfort zone. In public. Not only did I survive it, I found that it rekindled something for me that I hadn’t realized I had been ignoring. Since, I have committed to a regular yoga practice with a lot of available support, so I may continue to rebuild my connection to and honor my physical body. The kickass workout is a perk. You know what? Some days, IT’S REALLY HARD. Mentally, I don’t always want to do it, and it is tough to get on the mat. Some days, it is physically hard, and I don’t feel like I can do it, so I honor where I’m at, and I adjust.  It isn’t something that I have to do. It is something that I get to do.  Perspective is powerful.

All of this has me reflecting on how we approach personal growth. Our society demands the all-in, right-now approach.  All or nothing. But this is dishonest and unhealthy. It isn’t how a personal journey goes. There isn’t anything wrong with us when we stumble or adjust. We shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty when we do.   Balance and self-compassion are key. We won’t magically feel better when we reach the end of whatever road we are on. Instead, we have to embrace and celebrate our journey — the difficult messy parts as well as the milestones. 

Personal growth isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It requires grit and perseverance. Whether mental, emotional or physical in nature, the growth and change we seek (and even that which we don’t), lies within a few essential steps we can take as many times as we need to until we get to where we want to be…and beyond.

  1. move through fear + apprehension.  
    Our comfort zones are, well, snuggly and comfortable places to hang out. However, they do not encourage expansion and growth, certainly not through something that feels a bit difficult or even a little scary. Moving forward requires stepping through fear and apprehension of what lies outside of what we know. Take the first step, then the second, then the third. Is one full step too big to take on? Break it down into smaller pieces. Each step builds movement, and movement builds confidence. Begin where you are, honor yourself, and keep moving forward.

  2. allow for slip-ups, mistakes, + a return to old patterns.
    As humans, we are much more comfortable with what is familiar, even if it isn’t what is best for us, and, given the opportunity, our minds and bodies may take the first possible exit back to what it knows, back in the comfort zone. It takes time for our bodies and minds to make new pathways, connections, and habits. Awareness of this return to an old pattern is key to lasting change. Remember: 👇

  3. be gentle. self-acceptance and kindness are essential.
    Personal growth has no place for perfectionism or demeaning self-talk. As humans, we make mistakes. They are essential to our learning. How we respond to them is where our power lies. Be gentle with yourself. Receiving a slip-up, mistake, or return to a familiar old pattern as a learning opportunity to build self-awareness and allowing yourself a bit of grace is the first step into forward momentum.

  4. stick with it.
    Personal growth progress is not a linear process. There are ups and downs, twists and turns. Perhaps Chumbawamba said it best:
    🎵..Sing with me.. 🎵

    I get knocked down, but I get up again.
    You are never gonna keep me down.

    When you get knocked down, start back at #1, repeat.

  5. find the positive + celebrate your successes. 🌈☀️
    This is my favorite part. This is the sunshine and rainbows of personal growth, and it is something we can find in every moment. In fact, it helps us remain in the present and is essential to our long-term success. Celebrate even the smallest of successes. Did you get knocked down? Celebrate your willingness to get back up and work some more. Your focus can help determine your trajectory forward in whatever area in which you seek growth.  A positive focus creates a positive momentum forward, come what may.

→ The horses and I can help supercharge your personal growth and vision.  Want to learn more? Contact me to schedule a free 30-minute exploratory phone session.

→ Want to join me in my yoga practice? Check out Yoga with Adriene. Her monthly yoga calendar and YouTube videos are amazing.

Healing and wholeness from the inside out

At times, we see our physical bodies as a separate facet of ourselves, one that may feel at odds with the other parts of us.

Sometimes we are faced with pesky, minor illnesses or allergies, and our immune systems aren’t up to par or out of whack.

Strep throat.

Maybe our bodies simply don’t look and feel the way we want them too, despite our efforts, and we struggle with how we feel about ourselves.

Weight gain.
Poor self-image.

Perhaps, one day, we receive a life-changing diagnosis. 

Heart disease.
Autoimmune conditions.

When we experience a health condition, no matter how big or small, we may see our physical body as an inconvenient adversary because we don’t like how it is showing up.  We think it isn’t working properly.  But what if there is more under the surface? What if a strong sense of emotional well-being supports strong physical health?

Caring for our physical bodies with traditional medical care, especially when they are in need of extra TLC, is essential. That being said, one very powerful way we can support and help heal our physical bodies is by lovingly attending to our mental and emotional well-being at the same time. Our thoughts, outlook, and mental-emotional well-being are extraordinarily powerful and have an enormous impact on our physical healing and overall health.  Recently, I watched the documentary Heal, which is currently available on Netflix. It fascinated me to see the potential that exists for any type of healing when we carefully attend to our thoughts and shore up our emotional needs while we care for our physical body.  This, after all, explains how placebos work for some people and how others heal from conditions that are deemed ‘incurable’.  One thing that struck me during the film was the work of Dr. Kelly Turner, who cited examples of patients who experienced radical remission from some of these ‘incurable’ conditions.  She lists nine key factors that were observed as a common in the purposeful steps that these patients took in their healing journey. Surprisingly, only two of the nine relate directly to physical well-being. The other seven focus on strengthening our emotional, social, and spiritual health. All of us can adopt these nine factors, and regardless of our current level of health, we will be even healthier for it.

Dr. Kelly Turner / Radical Remission /

Sometimes, the emotions, experiences, or traumas we face in life can be ignored, stuffed down, or tucked away and not fully processed or felt, leaving them incomplete.  Often, these operate subconsciously, and we are unaware of their ongoing impact. This “unfinished business” can continue surface in both our mental-emotional and physical well-being.  Working with a certified EGCM practitioner is one way to help bring this unfinished business into our awareness and facilitate its completion, identifying subconscious patterns, releasing suppressed emotions, and helping us move forward. In fact, the word Gestalt means a return to wholeness.  A healthy self includes all parts of self, or the whole of you. Consider:

  • Are you viewing your physical body as an adversary or an ally? 
  • What opportunities do you create to take control of your health? Use your intuition?
  • Do you have a strong, readily available network of social support? If not, what is one thing you can do today to reach out and make a connection with someone?
  • Are there things in your life, big or small, that feel “stuck”? How open are you to exploring what lies beneath the surface so you can process and release it?

Despite any mental, emotional, physical challenges we face, when we heal what is under the surface and return to a greater state of wholeness, we are stronger than we were when we started.