Landing here

2H5A6195.jpg

There are some difficult truths that lead everyone to their strengths and passions. This could mean taking a short direct trip or a much longer, bumpier, adventurous and not so glamorous one. You can imagine which one i decided must be my path.

My mom was a strict and tough love type of person so when she spoke you really listened. She told me a couple times between ages 9-12 that i would be a good teacher because i was self confident and strong. Well, I enevitably dropped the self- confident and strong sometime between high school and graduating from college. In my own mind I was doing all the things I was supposed to. After graduation I moved to New York to work in marketing/advertising for a year before I decided my mom was right - I really wanted to teach. I didn’t know why but after a year of being in a classroom on the lower east side of manhattan with pre-teen agers I was sold! I eventually decided young children cared more for my attention and continued on. I then made up my mind that my own two children needed me to “teach” them and control their every move for the first 10-12 years of their life. They thoroughly appreciated the helicopter mom until I wasn’t the happy, relaxed, patient mom I promised myself I would be.

After I had my first child i saw major changes in my body physically and emotionally. I was irritable, less patient, frustrated and not enjoying all the moments I knew I was supposed to me. I chalked it up to not having a mom to lean on and support me in this transitory period, hormones, and being at home a lot with an unhappy infant. I acted on what I was supposed to be feeling as opposed to how I actually felt. It was easy to hide emotions when it learned growing up. My family existed with a lot of love but also a lot of hidden emotions. Those hidden feelings took up residence in my body in various places but mostly in my gut. This only led to further health issues later on and added emotional stress.

The supressed emotions and anxiety led me down the path to overall health healing for which now I am so thankful. As i see it now healing isn’t a destination and if it is i don’t want to get there yet! There is so much substance when you start to recognize your vulnerability and open up to it. Its self exploration, appreciation for each step even the tiny ones, and eyes wide open almost like a re-introduction to living an even more grateful and loving life. There are so many facets of health and wellness to capture and benefit from. From my own severe gut issues to weight, autoimmune diseases, heart and blood disorders and more; i’ve seen so many go through various changes based on their needs and desires and work to change their habits. Ive also narrowed down what i believe to be the four major areas to evaluate when looking at one’s WHOLE HEALTH self:

  • The first is the compassionate recognition. By this I mean the accountability of where you are and how you got to this point are all the result of personal choices. This is where I let go of the victim and gently look at myself and my choices. Although it may seem like a vision into the past, its not. Using loving kindness and accountability can go together. Its important to realize we have all the love and capability within us. This was and still is one of the toughest parts of whole body/mind for me. Ive always considered myself vulnerable with close friends and family but when i took responsibility for myself and all my decisions up to this point it was eye opening and somewhat frightening; and it usually is. Its so easy to avoid, run around and make ourselves busy with daily lives, especially in these highly competitive and stressful metropolis that we live. Once I quieted myself enough to look closer I was able to gently forgive myself, leave the victim behind, work towards presence and lean into the accountability. Meditation, journaling and vulnerability to oneself are just a couple of the tools to do being this process of what i call the wakeup the mind. This will bring into focus all choices and habits which determine your overall health.

  • The second is movement and it is a must! Any kind of movement is acceptable but this is a nonnegotiable for me and something i believe should be for everyone. In order to process your feelings and move them throughout your body, so they are not stagnant, it is imperative. Stress lives in our cells and mitochondria so without moving to alleviate it i feel it grows harder to move past. At the height of my stress - the middle of my divorce with a child on the spectrum and a two year old as a single mom, moving from home to home my body felt rock like. It would operate as I needed but I wasn’t able to read other peoples emotions much less my own. Movement was the only thing that got me through this and many other difficult times as well. When we are stressed we are usually operating out of fear and combining meditation and movement we have virtually free tools to turn that around.

  • The third is gut health. Although this is a large encompassing topic -more on that later- it is so essential to read your body and listen to know what it actually needs. Whether its bloating, food sensitivities, acid reflux, Hashimotos, or just brain fog there is so much that can be done to help and heal the body from the inside out. It also carries our immunity, emotional well-being that goes undiagnosed, digestion, and so much more. Healing your gut is not as big and scary as it sounds. Its small adjustments with the guidance of a doctor or health coach to ultimately be living at your highest capacity.

  • Food and nutrition are the fourth area of healing. This part is a broader topic and can be broken down many different ways. This needs to be individualized for each person. Although clean eating itself is a great way to start to have more energy, each person’s food and dietary needs vary depending on the health issues or ultimate goals.

Using these four areas of wellness I was able to look at my whole intention and rebuild not only my body but my way of thinking to have more clarity, energy, and live at my full potential for myself and all those close to me. What started as wanting to reach a destination has become the most profound, gratifying, fascinating journey filled with twists and turns that keep me looking forward, loving and appreciating every single day. My hope is these four areas of health will inspire others to take a closer look at where their whole self needs more loving care because it is by far the best way to attain personal goals and intentions.

Jennifer Duffie