If you look at the photos above, you'll see a big difference between them (and I'm not just talking about how much photo quality has improved in the past 11 years!). While the body in these two photos may not look that different to you, the energy within these bodies is like night and day.
At age 17, I was suffering. I hated my body and didn't know what to do with it. This continued on for about 10 more years. I struggled, I dieted, I exercised, I tried everything. And even though my body changed very little from my heaviest to my lightest, I had a very distorted perception of myself. No matter how "fit" or "thin" I looked, I hated what I saw in the mirror.
No matter how many people told me how beautiful I looked, I could not believe them.
I studied Kinesiology (fitness, nutrition, & health) in college, almost exclusively to figure out how to change the body I was inhabiting. I would work out sometimes twice a day. I would starve myself or only eat salad. I would neglect rest and hygiene in order to punish myself for having an unlovable body. I was so unhappy with the way I looked that I geared my whole career path toward getting a better body. But this is the only body I'd ever have. And while I wanted to physically change it, it was actually a spiritual change that made all the difference.
I found yoga in college, which really helped me start appreciating the experience of being in a body. I started to enjoy movement that was more gentle and healing to my body. And yoga began to open me up to a deeper spiritual awareness of being a soul inside this body. But my struggle continued for years and years. No amount of external validation would prove to me that I could love my body.
After college, I realized that I didn't just want to understand the physical body and become a personal trainer. I wanted to dive deeper and discover what was inside of this body. Through my knowledge of fitness and nutrition, I could manipulate the physiological functioning of my body to lose weight or tone my muscles. But this wasn't enough. Even when I lost weight and saw physical changes, I still wasn't happy with my body. I still didn't feel at home inside myself.
As my spiritual awareness expanded and I focused intently on practicing self-love, I started to notice a pattern. What I saw in the mirror had nothing to do with the way I looked physically. What I saw in the mirror was a reflection of the way I treated myself. On days when I would eat healthy and exercise, I would see a beautiful girl in the mirror. On days when I would be overcome with guilt for having binged on sweets in order to cope with my emotional pain, I would see an unlovable, fat girl in the mirror. And in these two different mirror images, my weight would be IDENTICAL and my physical form unchanged. It wasn't my body I was seeing in the mirror. It was the tortured soul of a girl who could not feel at home within herself. It was ugly.
The healing really took place when I started to wake up and heal my emotional wounds. I recognized that I would binge eat or indulge in sweets or other treats when I was feeling pain, anxiety, sadness, shame, or other dark emotions. I would soothe myself with comfort foods. But of course this would backfire when I would look in the mirror and realize that I had disrespected my body in the process of avoiding my emotional experience.
I started to meditate. I started to experience spiritual awakenings. I started to value my soul. I started to feel at home inside my body.
I began to desire treating my body well, not so that it would look any certain way, but so that I could provide a beautiful sanctuary for my soul. I wanted to love my body, not to be beautiful, but to FEEL amazing inside of myself and to keep my energy as pure as possible so that I could FEEL the presence of my soul.
And you know what?? When I stopped caring about what my body looked like and I started caring about how I felt inside, my body became more beautiful.
I remember a few months ago, I had my last big breakdown about my body image. It was the culmination of a massive pattern that I was healing. I was on the edge of a new realization, a brand new awakening. I had been sick with exhaustion from the mental anguish of self-judgment and shame. I was in disbelief that I could still possibly be struggling with this issue when I felt so spiritually mature in many other ways.
WHEN WAS THIS EMOTIONAL TORTURE GOING TO END?!
I wanted freedom from this suffering. I was reaching the brink of this crisis. Out of sheer desperation, I was finally feeling ready to change my old patterns and enter a new paradigm. I wanted to make a new deal with the Universe where I could finally be at peace within myself.
I was in the shower. I was bathing myself and sliding my hands over my soft flesh. Looking down at this physical being that seemed so foreign to me at times, I heard my intuition speak to me loud and clear:
"If you want to be free and peaceful in your soul, you need to be willing to gain weight."
This felt like a major leap in faith. It was a risk that I had never wanted to take. I had always wanted control over the way I looked and to be spiritually enlightened. But I somehow knew that it was time to give that up. I was finally aware that, sometimes on your spiritual journey, your body needs to change in order to provide a good home for the soul. At times when you are integrating a lot of new energy, your body may need to gain a little weight in order to feel more grounded and embody the new frequencies. At times when you are manifesting and creating change in your life, you may lose weight in order to let go of old energies and make rapid shifts. Sometimes the body is a mystery to us and we simply need to TRUST.
Trust or suffer, that is our choice.
On that day in the shower, I finally said yes to the offering from my higher self. I created a new agreement with the Universe. I would trust my body to shift and change as needed while I focused entirely on the health of my soul.
You guys, the results have been INCREDIBLE.
I don't know if you can tell from the photo above on the right, but I am finally comfortable inside of myself! I am finally at home in my body and my soul is happy in its sanctuary. I am at peace. I am free.
I eat what I want, but I want what feeds my soul. Sometimes that's chocolate cake. Sometimes that's kale salads. I want to eat what makes me feel alive and vibrant! And that's usually something healthy.
I don't feel the need to overeat or binge. I'm aware of my emotional waves, and I ride them with a peaceful willingness. No longer do I need to drown out my pain with a painfully full belly.
I move my body in the ways that feel good and loving. I exercise when I have energy. I rest when I'm tired. I stretch, I take baths, I breathe deeply, I nurture myself when I am sick.
I don't worry anymore. I'm not afraid to change and shift. And I'm in utter disbelief to report that surrender is what gave me the most beautiful body. This body is unique. This body is mine. And I am okay with that.
I am not perfect with this new paradigm, but I am happier than EVER. I am more in love with myself than EVER BEFORE. I have arrived. My soul finally wants to be inside this body, and I am home.
If there was one thing that I would recommend to you if you also crave this comfort inside your physical temple, it would be to WAKE UP. Let your soul be felt inside your body. Stopping running from your truth by ignoring the messages from your body. Commit to trusting your body and creating a safe space for your soul to rest. Create a sanctuary inside yourself.
I would be honored to help you with this, and the first step I suggest is trying my free starter kit. It will show you the doorway to peace, presence, and comfort in your human form.
If you have questions or would like to work with me 1-on-1 on your healing journey, message me here.
I love you because I have found a way to love me.
May you have the most epically beautiful healing journey.
Shame is one of the lowest emotions we experience as souls in a human body. When I say low, I mean that every emotion has a frequency. Those feelings that make us feel light, lifted, and energized have a high frequency. And those feelings that make us feel weighed down, exhausted, and drained have a low frequency. And shame? It's right down there with the lowest of vibes.
It's that feeling of deep regret, guilt, and embarrassment.
For some of us, shame is a part of our daily life. Perhaps our families taught us to feel ashamed of ourselves for certain behaviors, traits, or desires, and we've never learned another way to feel about ourselves. For others of us, shame is a rare and dreaded feeling that we avoid and don't quite know how to cope with.
Though it's a shame that we ever have to feel so low, there is a higher purpose for this dark emotion that contributes beautifully to the evolution of the soul. When we approach shame as a teacher and a blessing, it actually helps us shift back into the light.
Shame from a spiritual perspective
The experience of shame is often brought about when we awaken to a part of us that was previously hidden. Where the ego is unaware of itself, it creates a shadow: a dark place to hide away the parts of ourselves that we can't accept. And when some of these shadow elements are brought into awareness, it can be very painful. We can feel ashamed about these parts of ourselves that we previously kept hidden out of awareness.
What we may not realize is that this is all a part of our awakening journey. We came into these human bodies as powerful souls to enlighten the darkness, to shed light on the shadow. This is our healing process. When the darkness has come fully into the light, we can integrate all aspects of the soul and return to our oneness with the Universe. So the soul journey is really all about bringing light to the darkness within.
This shame that we feel, then, is actually a powerful sign that transformation is taking place.
Shame is a messenger
When shame shows up because the ego has become aware of its shadow, we are being given an important message: healing is taking place, darkness is becoming light, and it's time NOW, more than ever, to love yourself completely.
After an element of shadow has been brought into the light, it can never again return to the darkness. This is a powerful healing transformation.
How long has this shadow been hidden? For how many lifetimes have we been blind to our lower aspects? My friend, this journey of awakening has been long and tiresome. The fact that we are NOW, in this moment, bringing a part of the shadow into the light is a real miracle! It is time to celebrate our progress, not agonize over the person we once were.
When we experience shame, we often ruminate about our mistakes and torture ourselves with judgment. I'm suggesting that we celebrate instead. We have become brave enough to see the truth. We have become awakened enough to heal old patterns. Recognizing the shadow is 90% of the battle, and the shame we feel is a sign that we made it. Instead of sinking into despair, let your shame swiftly transform into compassion and love. Now more than ever, we deserve our own love.
In these moments where shame arises, receive it as a messenger, a sign that you have accomplished a great healing. You are integrating your spirit; you are becoming whole. Call upon your higher self, your inner wisdom and light. Wrap yourself up in the most beautiful blanket of love and acceptance. Shame is a sign that you are becoming more whole and darkness is coming into the light.
For a firsthand experience of this healing transformation, please enjoy the meditation practice below.
It is an honor to share my inspirations with you. I hope that you have become inspired to give yourself more love, not less. Stay inspired with me and try out my free Inspired Life starter kit.
I can't wait to hear about your amazing journey, beautiful soul.
For centuries, monks have lived in solitude on distant mountain peaks in order to meditate, connect with the divine, and find inner peace. Of course, these are the ideal circumstances in which to find your center and live in bliss.
But you and I? We live in a time where we are being asked to find peace while living IN THE WORLD. With wars. With mass shootings at music concerts. With political turmoil. With racism, sexism, and discrimination. With earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and forest fires that destroy cities and towns. With angry, scared people.
Okay so, this is a much more challenging task, right?
My friend, we were born to do it. There is no mistake that we are living on the planet right now. This mission for peace is the destiny we came to actualize.
Many of us will find the calm & quiet we desire in our own homes. We have altars, we light candles, we play soft music and create a safe sanctuary for ourselves. This is beautiful, and quite necessary, in this day and age. In the quiet of your home, it's easier to find peace.
But how are we supposed to maintain our centered, calm state when we go out into the world with honking horns, negative attitudes, and frustrating situations? I do believe this is the next challenging step for humanity: creating peace where there is none.
It starts with you and me.
If you're reading this post, then you are someone who is awake. You are someone who is aware of yourself and working to be a better person. I'm glad you're here.
When you and I make the choice to maintain our center and sense of peace out in the world, we actually shift the energy everywhere we go. We turn stressful situations into graceful, ease-filled moments. We soften the fear and anger in others and spread a message of hope. We turn violence into peace JUST by staying centered.
This is our gift to give the world right now.
It's not an easy task, but practicing these 3 steps will jumpstart your ability to maintain your inner peace out in the world.
1. Surround yourself in light
Before you leave your house, close your eyes and imagine wrapping yourself in a blanket of light. Ask your higher self, angels, or guides to cloak you in a protective globe of white light that shields you from negativity and stressful, chaotic energy.
I really love using visualization and energy work to keep my vibration high when I go out into the world. If you don't believe in woo woo stuff like this, then I suggest experimenting with this like playing a little game. Don't take it seriously, just have fun with it. Allow yourself to play with energy and see how it works. After you experience the power of your own visualization and intention to protect your energy, you will most certainly believe in it.
2. Watch the thoughts you keep
We truly take our power back and own our inner peace when we start taking responsibility for the thoughts that we keep. Thoughts are fickle and fleeting, but if held tightly, they turn into the beliefs that determine what we attract into our realities. If you want to keep your peace, start by monitoring your thoughts.
Every moment, we have the opportunity to let go of thoughts that aren't serving us. When we go out into the world, we are bombarded by thoughts, attitudes, and energies of the people around us. Many times, we get upset if we start encountering a negative thought or vibe. We mistakenly take it to be our own - we take it personally. We assume that if we are thinking a thought, it must say something about who we are. No. A thought is a thought, and nothing more. You have the power to keep and release thoughts any time. This is your power to create peace.
The moment we get frustrated by the negativity we encounter is the moment we start taking it on and matching it vibrationally. We lower ourselves by identifying with the negative thoughts we encounter. This is a CHOICE. In any moment, we can release the thoughts we don't wish to keep and continue on our merry way.
Choose your thoughts wisely, my loves.
3. Embody love
You know what's the greatest protection against fear? LOVE. If you embody love everywhere you go, no negativity will touch you. If you grace every person you see with loving energy, everyone will be transformed by it. No matter how negative or scared or angry someone is, you will not be affected by them.
Feel love in your heart, in your body. Carry it like you are a vessel of love (cuz you are). Breathe love and speak love. Think love and feel love. Lead with a heart of love and peace will follow you everywhere you go.
If you have any hesitations or questions about these steps, check out the meditation video below for detailed guidance.
I love you guys, and I wish you the utmost peace and calm every day. I will see you out there in the world, and we will smile at each other. And we will make the world a better place.
All love always,
We all know that diet and exercise are very important to weight loss and health, but I want to remind you that mindset actually comes first. The mindset you need to develop in order to lose weight (and keep it off) is that of completely loving and accepting yourself.
I know this seems a little bit counter-intuitive because most of us who are trying to lose weight are in the habit of feeling bad about our bodies and punishing them with strict diets, excessive exercise, and negative thoughts.
But it’s time to stop that pattern once and for all. No longer should you hate your body, starve yourself, push yourself too hard, and ultimately collapse back into unhealthy eating and self-loathing. The time is NOW to start loving and listening to your body.
All healthy behaviors start from a place self-love, and once we decide to completely commit to loving ourselves, we create weight loss that lasts! No more swinging back and forth between gaining and losing weight. Loving your body creates life long change and stability.
So how do we develop a self-loving mindset?
First of all, we need to become aware of our thoughts and silence the voice of the inner critic (the voice in your head that says you are too fat, not good enough, not beautiful enough, etc.). Start to listen to your thoughts and cut out any negative thinking patterns.
Secondly, replace those self-critical thoughts with words of kindness and love toward yourself. Be proud of yourself for trying your best to lose weight; celebrate those things that you love about your body; appreciate your health and your life.
Finally, we must develop a deep self-awareness by getting in touch with our bodies and listening in. The path to true health and wellness is through the guidance of the body.
The body always knows what it really needs in order to be well- what foods to eat, what exercise to do, when and how much to rest. We just aren’t used to listening to this wisdom from the body! We typically use our minds to choose behaviors that we think are what we need, but they often go against what the body needs.
Example: you push yourself to exercise when your body really needs rest, and so you get sick with a cold. Or your body is craving meat because you need more protein in your diet, but you force yourself to eat salad instead.
The wisdom of the body is vast and extensive. We just need to learn how to trust it. Listening deeply to the body’s needs will help us develop a loving, trusting relationship between mind and body.
The body trusts that the mind will nurture it and care for it, and the mind trusts that the body will lose weight and stay healthy. This positive relationship between mind and body is the sweet spot for wellness and happiness!
In order to practice this deep self-awareness, you can try a meditation where you listen closely to what the body is telling you. Start by sitting or lying down comfortably. Close your eyes and feel the room around you. Feel the ground beneath you and the air touching your skin.
Then feel your whole body: your feet and legs, your hips and back, your belly and chest, your arms and hands, your neck and head, your face and your breath.
Listen closely to what your belly is saying: are you hungry right now? Are you already full? Are you satisfied? If you are feeling hungry, what are you hungry for? Quiet your judgments and assumptions, and listen closely to the guidance of the body.
Then listen to your heart: what does the heart need? Does it need more self-love and acceptance? More compassion and patience?
Finally, listen to your mind and the quality of your thoughts. Does your mind know the truth of your body and your heart?
Could you come into more alignment with your mind, body, and heart? Start to really trust the wisdom of your body and silence the voice of your inner critic.
When you practice this mindset for losing weight, soon you will love the body you already have!
As I'm sitting in a coffee shop, typing away, with my lavender latte, it's raining outside here in "Sunny San Diego." Isn't that so life?! We can't hold on too tightly to expectations and outcomes. Sometimes it just pours rain in a sunny place.
And there are times when we are drenched and downtrodden by our own storms within. Dark clouds loom over hope, and emotions flow endlessly like infinite drops of rain. At least that's how I feel sometimes.
At these moments of darkness, I often feel lost in life or unclear about my path and purpose and what to do next. It's apparent that I'm stuck in my mind and can't hear the voice of my soul, the voice that always feels like home, the voice that guides me back to inspiration, hope, and clarity.
So how do I get back there? How do I start to feel at home again in my heart? How can I hear my soul?
This morning, two things became clear to me as I walked under a turquoise umbrella through the drizzle to my favorite coffee shop. Two important things showed me the path back to my soul.
1) Don't indulge your fears.
2) Follow your joy.
Ahh this first one is crucial and sometimes tricky! The mind loves to get wrapped up in the illusion of fear because its job is to protect you. So the mind will wander off to deep, dark, scary corners of the imagination thinking about all of the possible bad things that could happen to you. And hopefully by analyzing a million possible nightmares, the mind will figure out how to prevent them! But we know in our hearts that this is a dreadful waste of time & energy. So how do we stop ourselves from burrowing down into the rabbit hole of fear?
First of all, it's important to differentiate between the voices in your head. For simplicity's sake, let's just say you have a small mind and a big mind. The small mind is the one who indulges in fearful worry, trying to control circumstances and outwit the Universe. The small mind will drive you crazy if you let it!
But the big mind is the voice of strength, love, and protection. Big mind is the one to shut it down when small mind is scampering off into fear. When you feel your small mind wandering away into anxiety, stop those thoughts immediately and don't indulge in the tendency to daydream about your worst nightmares. Feel the guidance and love of your big mind, like that of a protective parent.
"No sweetheart, don't go there. You're going to be fine." Then laugh, sing, pray, or refocus on a hopeful thought to keep your energy up and out of small mind territory.
With practice, you'll soon start to recognize the voices of small mind and big mind and can learn to control the fearful indulgences of small mind with the direct, loving guidance of big mind.
So that's part 1: Don't indulge your fears.
The next part is really fun: Follow your joy!
One of the best ways to reconnect with your soul is to do what feels light, joyful, inspiring, or relaxing to you (often in the most simple and humble of ways). Honestly, your soul doesn't care how productive you are, how much money you make, what you ate for breakfast, or how many calories you burned at the gym. Your soul operates in BEING not DOING.
It can be tempting to think that you have to have a certain career in order to be living your soul's purpose. Or that your soul is only satisfied when you are "successful" on the outside. But truthfully, the soul exists in the pure laughter from deep in your belly or in the quiet peace of feeling your connection to all of life. The soul leaps for joy when you choose love over fear. The soul wants you to express as much joy as possible, not to be as rich, fit, or important as possible.
So when your small mind starts to worry about your success, your purpose, and your path, remember that your purpose exists only in this moment, right now. And your purpose right now is to let go of your fears and reside in your joy.
Following your joy can be anything that lights you upside. It could be something small like treating yourself to a latte, wearing your favorite shirt, making a homemade gift for a friend, or taking a picture that inspires you and posting it to Facebook. It doesn't have to be revolutionary, important, OR make you lots of money. The way back to the soul is through joy in the simple, small things.
Don't look for your soul in your career change, in your workout routine, or in your next relationship. Find your soul in the spark of joy within you that has no words, no expectations. Find your soul in the easy way of being that you already are.
With much love & joy,
P.S. Check out this video I made on Meditation Monday that discusses these two steps to hearing your soul
Gia writes about her journey through life and the many twists and turns of spiritual growth, relationships, health & healing, life as a performer, and the ever-unfolding path back to her heart.
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