Breast Implant Illness

breast implant illness

OK. This is about to get really awkward.

But, there is no way I can NOT share this with everything that I've learned. Even if my discomfort, or yours, saves just one person from suffering.

You see, I've recently had a huge breakthrough regarding my health. The final AHA moment. It's funny, I finally started writing my next book and then the floodgates opened. People and information and opportunities are coming to me. That's when I know I'm doing what I'm meant to.

Before I get weird, let me paint a brief picture. In my 20's I was tired. Exposure to Lyme, EBV, mold, HPV vaccine, divorce and ER/ICU nursing. But with all that, I was able to push through and ignore the fatigue.

In my 30's though, that's when I hit my wall and had some extreme ups and downs with my health. Here's where I'm about to get weird. Guess what the changed my life for the worse??

Breast implants.

Still with me? Good.

After a lifetime of insecurities of what God gave me, I surgically added toxic bags to my body like many other women do. What I didn't know at the time is about a thing called Breast Implant Illness. I didn't know that this was the final straw that sent my body into autoimmune crisis, inflammation, adrenal crash, postmenopausal hormones, debilitating pain, food intolerances, brain fog, extreme fatigue and more.

I'm in a group of over 42,000 women (yes, FORTY TWO THOUSAND and that is just who stumbled upon this one group) with similar (and even worse) consequences from implants. And thousands of women healing after getting them removed.

I had heard about BII, but didn't think it was me. I was fine. They were crazy. But more and more of my friends are getting theirs removed and healing and even reversing some of the long-term damage. I've seen some pretty amazing miracles after getting the implants removed.

So, now what?

I'm consulting with surgeons and planning on explanting as soon as I can (will have to be after my trip to Europe). I'm not sure how I ignored the fact I put bags of over 40 toxic chemicals near my heart, lungs, thymus gland. Like, it would be ok but yet my toothpaste must be fluoride free and I only use wooden spoons to cook. I have actively removed toxins from my life in order to heal but neglected to look at the obvious.

All you have to do is a little research about BII and the toxins in implants and you'll know, this isn't safe to put in your body. It's amazing to see all these women finally healing after years of progressive illnesses.

I do have underlying issues and also have 10 years of damage to repair but I cannot wait for this next step in healing.

And with that, is a whole other subject on self-love and confidence. There was nothing wrong with my a cup but yet I felt pressure to adhere to a certain aesthetic. I'm going to embrace and be very proud of my post explant, classy, natural body. I hear flat is the new black anyway <3

There is a distinct possibility that you or someone you know may be suffering from some mysterious illness, always tired or worse. If implants are in, BII should be addressed. I know it's a tough pill to swallow (and one I've avoided for a couple years) but there is NO WAY implants are good for you. And the gummy bears are the worst unfortunately.

Here are some resources to get you or somone you love started:

https://healingbreastimplantillness.com/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Healingbreastimplantillness/?ref=br_rs

Awkward moment over. I hope you know I only got publicly weird because I love you guys and hate to see so much suffering <3
Gretchen

How to Write a Book

Gretchen Stewart How to write a book

I've had a lot of people come to me asking about how to get started with writing their book.

I know, it can seem quite daunting at first. It's something most of us WANT to do but so many factors hold us back. Very few of us follow through.

Since I was young, I wanted to write a book. But, I questioned my ability. I've read so many great books my whole life and felt I could never live up to my standards!

Between questioning my ability, I also asked myself "who" would want to read what I have to write, I held myself back for years.

As my confidence grew (maturity and personal development helped with that), I became less afraid. And then, when I decided to share from the heart I knew it was right. Yes, maybe I'll never write to my standards but I can't be wrong sharing something I'm passionate about that would only BENEFIT others.

So, I started little by little. I wrote every day. Even if it was garbage, I got in the habit of writing. Eventually, I got better at expressing myself. Then, the more I wrote the more "things" just came to me. And slowly but surely, a book was formed.

If you want to write a book, my biggest recommendations to you are:

1. Write. No matter if nobody will read it. Regardless of grammar, just do it. Even if it's just a brain dump! Get in the habit of writing a little each day. You'll be amazed at what starts to form!

2. Don't edit! Shut off that inner editor when you are writing. It takes two different parts of the brain to write vs edit. Make mistakes and edit later! That's a completely different mind shift and first, you MUST tap into your creative side. Express yourself! After the first draft is done, you can go back and edit and stuff will come to you. And don't forget, if you plan on publishing, you'll have a professional editor and proofreader help you later on!

Happy writing my friends!
Gretchen

Slow Living Series (Part 2)

How slow living has helped my family.

Slow Living with kids

Moments. 

Our whole life is compiled of moments.

And, the most precious moments are made with the ones we love. 

But, what if we aren't present during those important moments. What if we were distracted? Stressed? What if our life passed by and it's too late before we realized that we don't get a do-over. What if we blinked and our children were adults and we missed the extra snuggles and light lisp of their toddler voice? What if our significant others felt unloved or unimportant because we didn't take the time to just sit and listen and BE?

Most of my favorite memories are simple moments. The ones where I felt truly connected to another human being.  And my favorite human beings are my family.

When I embraced Simplicity and slow living I found myself savoring these moments so much more. I made my family a priority and I vowed to honor them by being present. What do our children want most out of life? To feel loved. What do our children need the most? Time with us. How do we strengthen our relationships with the person we love? By showing them we care by being present.

Yes, life has demands such as jobs and errands. That said, how much of what we do can be eliminated? Saying yes to too much, trying to please others can inadvertently dishonor our priorities. 

My mindset shift evolved slowly. I started doing LESS. Saying no more. Stopped the frenzy to keep up with the Joneses. I was driven to pursue my books but no longer desperate to out earn or out succeed the competition. I did things on my own time.

Instead I sat and watched. I put down my phone. I let the dishes sit in the sink and enjoyed my kids. I had long, leisurely dinners with my husband. I have days where we have absolutely no commitments and we do what we want. And sometimes that's nothing! What has it done for my family? Well, my kids are HAPPY, truly happy and tell me all the time. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and are stronger than ever. We aren't perfect of course, but our relationship is solid. 

At the beginning, living in the moment can be stressful. You may want to check your phone, you may worry about missing out (FOMO), you may worry if you are doing "enough". You are. Honoring your family priority.

I get that the idea sounds good in theory but may seem impossible. Start slow like I did! Take a few things off your calendar. Politely decline. Cancel if you have to. Put an alarm on your phone that says family time each evening. Pretend your on vacation and have no worries in the world and sit and look at your significant other and listen to their day. The laundry can wait. Better yet, delegate work if you can. 

Unhurried time with family is the BEST time. 

I strive to be an available member of this family. Here with them, present in the moment. I never want the people I love to think the phone, computer, self imposed deadlines, activities, or housework is more important than them. Nothing else matters.

Happy Slow Living!
Gretchen

Read more about slow living here: Slow Living Series Part 1

To delve deeper into embracing a Simple lifestyle and WHY, order my book Simplicity

Slow Living Series (Part 1)

How slow living has helped my relationships

Gretchen Stewart

We are hyper-connected but yet feel disconnected. We are in a hurry, rushing from one obligation to another.  Information bombards us constantly. We eat on the go. We "schedule" time with our friends. We are Pinterest Moms all while running our side hustles. Debt, stress, insomnia, caffeine cycled with alcohol in order to deal.

A few years ago I felt that pressure too.

But I gave it up.

For good.

Before I wrote my book Simplicity I started to embrace a slower, more intentional lifestyle. I decided it was time to take control of my life or I was going to completely burn out or.....end up on my death bed asking "What was it all for??".

Slow Living can mean different things to different people but to me it's about being present in the moment. Not keeping up with the Joneses. Being mindful about what I do and who I do it with. Caring less about a little mess but instead savoring the moment. Deepening relationships. Letting go of excess. Being flexible and spontaneous. Saying yes! And saying No thanks!

The benefit I want to highlight today in this Slow Living Series is strengthening relationships. When I embraced simple, slow living I weeded out negative people from my life (or at least decreased my interaction with them as much as possible). Instead, now I invest my time with people I like, respect and trust and vice versa. Quality over quantity. 

I'd much prefer a relaxed afternoon of conversation than rushing to different events and making small talk.

My effort goes to people that I enjoy spending time with, that challenge me and accept me. We are the sum of the people around us so it behooves us to choose wisely. Life is too precious to squander away our time with people that do not value or appreciate it.
 

Tell me, do you wish your life was slower? How has your busy lifestyle affected your relationships? Or, how has a slower lifestyle helped your relationships? I'd love to hear!
 

To read more about Slow Living, check out part 2 of my Slow Living Series here

Happy Simple Living!
Gretchen


 

You can order a digital copy of my book Simplicity below:

 


 

 

It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving.
— Mother Teresa

Maximizing Your Day

gretchen stewart maximize your day

Yesterday I was invited to speak on a Maximizing Your Day Panel with Erica Castner of thequeenofresults.com. It was a great local event in Ft Myers, FL with powerful women business leaders in the community. I was honored to be on the panel with these incredible women.

Since it was a private event, I'm sharing below a snippet of my answers.

  1. How do you have the energy for so many projects?
    I put my health first. After a long illness and battling debilitating fatigue I learned that I had to put my oxygen mask on first. I sleep 8-9 hours a night, eat healthy, take my supplements, rest when I need to and say no to things that sap my energy. 
     
  2. Where do you find the confidence to do what you love? 
    Once I simplified all aspects of my life, I was able to see things clearer. I have a book coming out this fall called Simplicity which dives deep into this but to summarize: eliminating other people's opinions and expectations is one way I grew confident. I stopped revolving my life about perceived societal expectations. The less I consumed other opinions and quieted my mind, I gained clarity and perspective. The fear of being 100% authentically me dissipated. I started living life on my own terms. 
     
  3. How do you choose your power team? 
    Two ways. After embracing Simplicity I was able to cull the people in my life that were energy suckers, rubbed me the wrong way or had too much negativity. I carry that over in business as well. Also, I took a test called Wealth Dynamics which was one of the most insightful personality tests I've taken. It shows where you are on the spectrum and what to look for when picking a team to grow your business. I'm a Creator and I need detail oriented people, deal makers/negotiators, networkers to help grow my business. If I put too much energy into the things I'm not strong at, I get burned out. We all do. It's about balance and finding the people that compliment your weaknesses because we can't do it all
     
  4. How do you have the TIME for all of your projects?
    I take baby steps every day. I intend to grow my businesses but also enjoy my life. I put my health, family and creativity time over anything else. Each day I take some quality, uninterrupted focus time on one project. Multitasking saps our creativity and lowers our IQ. Short bursts of intense focus then I let it go. I do not burn the midnight oil. I do not lose quality sleep. I just chip away. Some things I move fast when I'm on a creative run and other times I slow down if I need to. I'm no longer in competition with anyone else. I'm only driven by my creativity (Simplicity mindset I talk about in my book) and passion so my projects have become FUN.
     
  5. How do you take action on your ideas? Once I know I have an amazing idea, I just move forward before I have all the answers. I let myself be a little ignorant because over research is paralyzing. One day I called my lawyer and told her I wanted to form a publishing company. I did it before I had my business plan. A few weeks ago I called her and told her I wanted to form a nonprofit. I just do it. And then I slowly chip away at the details, I get people on board to help me. Don't think, just do. Have you read the War Of Art? It's about taking ACTION. The most successful people in life aren't necessarily the smartest or most organized...they are the ones that take action then tweak, adjust, learn and perfect.
Gretchen Stewart Panelist

Gretchen Stewart

Was this helpful? Please reach out to me for any questions, concerns or comments. What has helped you maximize your day??


With love, Gretchen

Letter Contest

Simplicity Letter Contest

Simplicity Letter Contest

I am writing a book titled "Simplicity" (brief summary below) and am offering a contest to have a short letter you write featured in my book. If your submission is chosen, you also receive a free signed copy of Simplicity once it is published! I will be picking up to 10 letters to be included in the book.

Simplicity is for people who want to eliminate overwhelm and learn to cultivate a life of freedom, focus and joy.

In this revolutionary and refreshing personal growth book, author and philanthropist, Gretchen Stewart, simplifies how to take an intentional and intellectual approach to this increasingly complex world. Using personal anecdotes, real life letters, and a common sense perspective, she tackles the complicated struggles of the modern era. Each chapter is designed to help you:

-Decrease the stress of daily demands and increase focus
-Learn to live unapologetically with intention and authenticity
-Create a life of freedom that you love

Simplicity will bring clarity as you deconstruct the stress-inducing complexity that keeps you from being your best you! You’ll learn how to rewrite your life; it’s time to stop task-list living, and become an authentic work of art. Simplicity isn’t just a philosophy, it’s a way of existing. Eliminate the overwhelm and start cultivating your life of freedom, focus, and joy. 

Contest Guidelines:

  1. Submit a short letter (2-4 paragraphs) on your feelings regarding subjects listed below. What your thoughts, concerns, difficulties and perspectives are in your words.
  2. If your submission is accepted, your short letter will be in my published book either without a name or first name only.
  3. Once the book is published, you will received a free signed copy from me
  4. Submissions must be your own words
  5. Once your submission is accepted, I own the copyright and can print and publish the words. You will sign a consent that I can use your submission in my book Simplicity.

Details:

Subjects and letters you can submit:

  1. Do you feel comfortable being creative? Why or why not?
  2. How much time a day do you spend consuming media such as TV shows, movies, social media? Do you find it hard to focus on tasks or are you easily distracted?
  3. Do you own more stuff than you need? Do you feel you have many things but always want more?
  4. Do you feel at peace with your life (calm) or do you generally feel stressed and chaotic? Why?
  5. Do your kids have activities each night and on the weekend? Is your calendar full of tasks and to-do lists? 
  6. Do you feel free to be your authentic best self? Do you show the world the real you? If not, why?
  7. Do you say yes to everything you are invited to do even if you don't want to? Why?
  8. Is  the impact of consumerism and global warming a concern of yours? Why or why not?
  9. Do you feel your daily activities and action are done with intention?  Or without much thought, just autopilot? 
  10. Are you happy? Why or why not?

When:

I will select winners on July 15, 2017. You will be notified by email. If for some reason, your letter is taken out during the editing process, you will still receive a signed copy of my book as a thank you for your time and acknowledgement that you won.

Thank you so much for participating! Feel free to reach out to me with any questions regarding this contest and good luck! The more honest, real and raw you are in the letters, the higher probability you will be chosen!

With love,
Gretchen

How to Submit:

Please fill out the form below or feel free to email your submission to howdy@sunshinepress.co
Thank you, Gretchen

Name *
Name
Gretchen Stewart

Gretchen Stewart uplifts the world with her writing and speaking sharing unique insights that have brought her joy, purpose and peace. She is the founder of Sunshine Press and the author of multiple bestselling books and founder of the philanthropic Joy of Living Project.. Hosting Joy Of Living Masterminds and Retreats in exotic locations worldwide, she is able to help transform others with her indomitable spirit.  From the innovative philosophy of her “Joy Manifesto,” to her published books on overcoming challenges and finding joy, to inspirational speaking; Gretchen is an unstoppable dervish of positivity. She lives in sunny Florida with her amazing husband and two beautiful children. Find her on gretchen.bio and sign up for her VIP Insider for upcoming books, exotic retreats, online classes and more.

Joy Of Living Mastermind

I spent roughly 5 years battling a debilitating illness. Throughout this time I had periods of such fatigue that I could barely lift my legs and get off the couch. Some days I would just cry, and cry. I felt like I had so much more to offer the world and most importantly, I felt my family deserved the WHOLE me and not just the shell that was trying to mask the fatigue and pain.

I'm grateful for this pain and suffering I endured.

Deep inside I knew there was a reason...a silver lining...a purpose. Every time I thought I found it, I'd be knocked over again though. I'd ask WHY?? Why was my suffering so endless?

Gretchen Strait Stewart

I filled my time reading books, researching science and looking for answers. It wasn't until I did a few key things including shutting out all the noise of other people's opinions that I was able to emerge my cocoon to fully be my gloriously flawed self. At the same time I found my doctor, I was emotionally growing.

Since I've had this physical healing and emotional awakening, I've founded my publishing company Sunshine Press. I've written 10 children's books soon to be published. I've co-authored a book coming out this summer (details are just about to be released!) and I'm currently writing another to be published this fall. I've been sought out and asked to speak at the Massachusetts Women's Conference (select few speakers in front of 10,000 women leaders), I have my first Joy Of Living Retreat in Hermosa Beach, Costa Rica and am planning two more in 2018.

I'm not saying this to brag but to show you the magic that can happen with self examination and surrounding yourself with others that LIFT you higher. A huge part of my success is the people I very carefully curate in my life. It's my mission to use my experiences and knowledge to serve you.

With that I'm starting the Joy Of Living Mastermind. We'll have a hand selected group of people who want to learn and grow into who they were meant to be.

We'll use the collective conscious of a driven group of people and tackle subjects like:
-finding your purpose
-living authentically
-focus
-happiness
-creating abundance
-creating your life message
-serving ourselves then using our gifts to serve others

and more!

We will be starting this group in June and I only have a few more spots. 3-6 at the most.

Here is some more info, but most importantly, please reach out to me for any questions you may have! https://www.gretchen.bio/mastermind/

Joy Of Living Retreat in Hermosa Beach, Costa Rica

Joy Of Living Retreat

You hear waves crashing on the beach as you slowly wake up. You walk out of your room to a cup of hot Costa Rican coffee and the sweet smell of pineapple. A gentle yoga session has you limber and fully AWAKE, ready to take on the world. Brunch is served poolside as you watch the birds fishing in the ocean for their breakfast. Your biggest “concern” of the day is deciding what you’ll wear…..a sundress or shorts over your bathing suit?


You’re surrounded by other like minded women who are interested in learning the art of joyful living. Workshops will be led by Gretchen on joy, mindset, simple living and vitality. Each day you’ll have activities such as: a boat ride to a private island, hiking in the rainforest, waterfall tour, learning to surf, massages, paddle boarding and more.

At sunset you sip your rosé or margarita by the ocean. Transportation will be ready to take you to a delicious local restaurant. Then the next day...repeat.

Not only will you be immersed in a beautiful atmosphere, you’ll be invigorated by what you are learning and the people you are surrounded with. This retreat is more than a vacation, it will set you up for a joyful shift in your being. The Joy Of Living Retreat is created for the busy mom, business owner, professional or anyone who is ready to make it their intention to live with joy.

HERMOSA BEACH, COSTA RICA | JOY OF LIVING RETREAT | NOVEMBER 5-10, 2017

Hermosa Beach, Costa Rica wellness retreat

Join us for a 5 day rejuvenation retreat in breathtaking Hermosa, Costa Rica. We'll be calling Hermosa Beach House home during this joy inducing, yoga and adventure retreat. There's an ocean side pool and guests will have a choice of single or double rooms


ABOUT THE RETREAT
 

During our time together we'll eat fresh, local Costa Rican and gourmet cuisine. We'll explore the rainforest and beaches of Costa Rica with activities such as hiking, zip lining and waterfall tours.

Over the course of the retreat we'll have yoga classes, guided meditations, massages and Joy Of Living Workshops.

ABOUT THE WORKSHOPS

The workshops are one hour classes where Gretchen teaches subjects such as: simplicity, minimalism, mindfulness, following your purpose, living authentically, how to get more done in less time, stress reduction, healthy habits, powerful positive mindset tools and more. The classes are practices and concepts taken from her upcoming books. Read more about Gretchen here.

ABOUT THE FOOD AND DRINKS

Each morning you'll wake up to fresh brewed Costa Rican coffee, snacks, nuts, fruit and smoothies. After a yoga and/or meditation and a workshop will be a full brunch buffet. Every evening at sunset is a cocktail hour by the ocean and each evening dinner at one of the top local restaurants is included.

ABOUT THE HOTEL

Hermosa Beach House Hotel is a small, boutique hotel directly on Hermosa Beach, Costa Rica. A quaint, family style hotel that will make you feel like you are at your second home. Read more about the hotel here.

THE DETAILS

How much:  
$1300/per person Double occupancy in smaller room
$1500/per person Single occupancy or double in larger room

10 rooms all have cable/WIFI/air/hot water/ refrig/microwaves/safes.

Smaller Room Double Occupancy: Deluxe cabinas with a full bed and a set of bunk beds.
Single Occupancy: One full or one queen bed
Larger Room Double Occupancy: Either two full or two queen beds in different rooms

When: November 5-10, 2017


Included: At every retreat all expenses are paid except for airfare and personal expenses

  • Transportation from location airport and to tours, restaurants and activities
  • Morning smoothies, full brunch, snacks, refreshments and dinner each night
  • Massage 
  • Welcome dinner and bonfire
  • Sunset cocktail hour daily
  • Yoga and guided meditation
  • Free signed copy of one of Gretchen's published books
  • Daily tours & activities

Not Included: 

  • Your round-trip airfare from home
  • Souvenir shopping, personal phone calls, extra spa services, taxis beyond provided transportation, laundry, and tips for your room maid 
  • Personal, medical or trip cancellation insurance
  • While there is a cocktail hour daily and some wine included in meals, guests are responsible for any extra alcohol or personal shopping they might want. 
     

OUTLINE OF OUR SCHEDULE
 

Sunday:
Arrive to the hotel around 3:30
Introduction, check in, welcome sushi party, bonfire

Monday:
8:00am yoga
10:00 am brunch
11:30-12:30 workshop
1:00 pm canopy zipline
4:00pm workshop
5-6pm sunset cocktails
6:30 dinner at Grafitti

Tuesday:
8:00 am mountain hike with mountain top yoga
10:00 am brunch
11-3 free time, swim and massages
4pm workshop
5-6pm sunset cocktails
6:30 dinner Lemon Zest or Wishbone

Wednesday:
7am-6pm Tortuga Island Boat Tour
6:30pm Dinner at Greenroom or Vida Hermosa

Thursday:
8am Yoga
9am workshop
10am brunch
12pm paddleboarding
4pm workshop
5-6 sunset cocktails
6:30 dinner at Tsunami Sushi

FLIGHTS

Arrive in SJO airport in San Jose Costa Rica on November 5, 2017. You will have transport bring you to the hotel. Details coordinated after you confirm your spot at the Retreat.

Living With Intention

LIVING WITH INTENTION: PART 2 OF THE FREEDOM SERIES

freedom series

My lifelong journey to joy has had potholes, roadkill and dead ends. Thankfully, between the tribulations came the epiphanies and 17,000 watt light bulb moments exploding shards of wisdom inside my head.

One of the biggest fragments that joyously stabbed me in the brain recently was deciding to cultivate an attitude of intention (in everything I do). I chose to simplify and adopt a more minimalist mentality where purpose is everything.  Viewing things in this new way has made me increasingly AWARE of what I do and why I do it. Minimizing the “stuff” in my life has made room for self reflection. I internalize my actions and my purchases which causes me to pause and ask myself things like:

“Do I really love this? Does it bring joy to me?”

“Will doing or saying this offer value to others?”

“Am I doing this for fulfillment or achievement?”

“What is my intention for doing this or buying this?”

I’m still in this ever evolving process and learning more about the mindset and myself daily. I started by reading books, watching documentaries (Like “Minimalism”) and culled the overabundance of “things” I had. Curating what I allow in my life brings me joy….I’ll only be keeping and doing what I love.

This was something I was drawn to when I first moved to Costa Rica in 2009 with just a few suitcases and a pocket full of Fight Club quotes like “The things you own, end up owning you” & “Reject the basic assumptions of civilization-especially the importance of material possessions”. Yet at the time I still had a $145 a month storage unit in Albany, NY as my security blanket.  I had the right idea but a few missing pieces to the puzzle. Although I did embrace a simpler life while living there; when I moved back to the U.S. I found myself filling my closets and house yet again. I’d constantly “get rid of stuff” to simplify (as I loved the aesthetic and it felt good to get rid of things) but I’d go back the next week to buy subpar clothes and stuff I didn’t need at the nearest Marshalls and TJ MAXX.

I was drawn to minimalism but the exploding light bulb didn’t happen until I sought out mentors and found a plethora of information and insights in books and online. It was then I was able to connect the dots and thus truly and fully embark on this leg of my joy journey.

There is something that happens to when you learn to let go. You realize you don’t need as much as you think you did to be “happy”. You start to live life on your own terms instead of what the marketers “trends” are that month.

Minimalism isn’t just about the aesthetics and having a clean and simple home….although I truly feel like I can think better without chaos around me. Minimalism also isn’t just about digital declutter (damn that feels good too though!). Yes, it’s about keeping only what we love as far as material things. It’s also creating the exact life we want by our own rules. I am now intentionally shaping my life of meaning and substance without the distractions of other people’s agendas.  

 

Here are some intentional things I’ve done so far:

  • Cleaned out my home- closets, junk and spice drawers, pantry, kids toys, clothes and “decorations”. We are only keeping what we love!

  • Computer- cleaned up my desktop, got rid of unneeded documents and photos

  • Iphone- erased all unused apps. Turned off all notifications and erased some social media

  • Limited my scrolling on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to just a few minutes a couple times a day. I love connecting but do not want to spend my day on other people’s terms

  • Cleaned out my inbox on gmail. I deleted ALL unnecessary emails and put what I did want to keep in specific folders. I also unsubscribed from newsletters I did not love

  • Gave away, sold and gifted things that we only “liked”

  • Stopped making page long to-do lists. I have 3 goals for each day and that’s it. My day mostly comprises of honoring my top three priorities in life: my health, my family, my creativity.



What this has done for me already:

  • I have WAY more free time than I ever imagined I could have with 2 young children

  • The simpler, cleaner environment relaxes me and boosts my creative spurts

  • The kids play by themselves even longer. It’s crazy, but with less toys they are more inventive and never bored.

  • I don’t have to clean as much as it’s already pretty clean!

  • Living with intention gave me more time to create instead of consuming other people’s creations.

  • Saved MONEY! No more binge shopping. Everything is intentional and essential. I literally only buy what I love now.


What I'm not:

  • Done: I have a long way to go!
  • Perfect: we are all a work in progress. Also, there is no right and wrong way to be a minimalist. We set our own rules and do and keep what WE love

It is my intention that this article inspires you.  This is not a “right or wrong” way essay on how to live. This is just one leg of my personal road to happiness and joy that may help you too. The more I curate my life, the more I fulfill my purpose of serving others. If this serves you, please feel free to share!

What Freedom Is Not

What Freedom Is Not: Part 1 of the Freedom Series

freedom

We are chained.

 

We are at the feet of our abuser, our eyes squeezed begging for more

                                                                                                                    more

                                                                                                                                    more.

We are bound, our slave master looms over us from the time we wake up until we lay our heads on the pillow sizing up our day against our pseudo-friends on FaceBook.

 

We are shackled to deadweight. Nothing we ever do is enough to lift him.

 

Until…

          Unless…

 

We open our eyes and finally look over and SEE....the irons aren’t connected?

 

We thought that this was “life”, our vision vertiginous by the billion dollar “master” telling us what to eat, wear, look like, buy and that we will never, ever, ever be enough.

 

Our imprisoner is bought and paid for. Our perception of reality is clouded and blurred by the bright flashing lights of the marketing and advertising industry.

 

We do not need all that stuff to be happy. That is not FREEDOM.

 

The very things we are striving for; the closet full of clothes we semi-like, the junk drawers full of forgotten notes and dead batteries, the “atta-girl, atta-boy’s” on social media and the 1,000 extra square feet of unused space in our house does not matter when we are cold and lifeless under grass and dirt.

 

Freedom is not filling our pockets  with “patent green” flattened out cotton fibers.  “Another 50k and I’ll be ok” “Oh wait, I need another 100k”...it will never end when we think like that.

The vicious cycle of chasing more of the unattainable imprisons us.

 

Freedom? If it can't be bought....what is it?

Sure, we all have different interpretations. Here’s what it’s NOT:

 

  • Caring what size goody bags the other mothers make each holiday for your daughter's kindergarten class. One upping is not freedom.

  • Making 200k a year but spending 250k in order to delusion ourselves into thinking we make 300k. Living beyond our means is not freedom.

  • Going to TJ MAXX every Friday after payday to buy more mediocre, poorly made leggings and coffee mugs only to have the adrenaline rush dissipate as soon as we get home and tuck our new purchases away. Owning more stuff is not freedom.

  • Hating what we do to pay the bills is not freedom.

  • Saying YES! To every committee, party, meeting and event that’s thrown our way. Living our life on other people’s agenda is not freedom.

  • Boasting on social media in order to get more "likes". Peacocking in hopes of being accepted is not freedom.

 

What is freedom to you?

Young, Sick And Full Of Dread

young, sick and full of dread

My curly haired daughter filled me with dread as she happily bounced over to my horizontal body on the couch. “Come see this mama”, she said as she pulled my limp arm. I mustered up every ounce of my willpower to smile back and start lifting my deadweight legs.

I had saved up 6 hours of energy to play with her after she came home from her little school. Determined to shield her from my pain and exhaustion, I went with her hand in hand.

At this point in my life, I survived on love and sheer determination alone.

Month after month, year after year I was getting worse. I partially succeeded in hiding my debilitating enervation from my friends and family but it was getting harder to hide from my daughter and husband.

2 year olds are perceptive.

My husband is my best friend.

I cried to him on many occasions, feeling terrible that I wasn’t a “good” mom and wife. Frustrated that my physical body couldn’t keep up with my mind. Pissed that conventional doctors were failing me. Saddened that I couldn’t do as much with my little girl as she deserved. Heartbroken after another miscarriage because we wanted to grow our family (which we eventually did!).

I sat on the floor with my little girl that day and resolved that enough was enough. I had to find my own answers and stop relying on weak doctors telling me my “TSH is fine, it’s just hormones, can’t find anything wrong.” I decided to claw my way out of this dark, damp pine box before the cover closed and the dirt hammered the top. This wasn’t living. Hell this was barely surviving.

So I researched. Studied. Read. And thus began my journey into finding answers to the question:

WHY THE HELL DO I WORK OUT, EAT RIGHT, TAKE CARE OF MYSELF, THINK POSITIVELY, AM A GO-GETTER BUT YET FEEL SO LIFE ALTERINGLY SICK AND TIRED?

I’ll condense my journey in this essay in order to potentially fast track helping you (or someone you know). At the end, I’ll share some resources that have helped me.

First, I read the book Stop The Thyroid Madness and discovered my hypothyroidism was grossly neglected and under-treated (criminal!). The thyroid is a complex gland that releases T4, T3, T2, T1, calcitonin and works in unison with other parts of the body. Many vitamins and minerals are often depleted when the thyroid is neglected. My adrenals were shot, my body was extremely stressed. I found a functional medicine doctor who at first listened and did understand the complexity of thyroid disease and adrenal crash/fatigue. We worked together to obtain labs and proper treatment of my chronic disease. In addition to that; I accelerated my quest to become toxic free with my food, products and household goods (more about that a little later).

Healing adrenal issues isn’t cut and dried and that took some time, diligence and patience. I’d take 2 steps forward and a few steps back despite following the protocol my doc gave me. I’d sit in her office and cry with frustration asking WHY? Why do I still have days, sometimes weeks or months where I could barely move or think?

She had the foresight to look into my genes and had me get my raw DNA from 23andme.com. But where she went wrong was taking my data and running it through a generic online app that spit out generic advice. I was prescribed bioidentical hormones (at age 38) and tons of supplements that actually did my body more harm than good. My ammonia levels were through the roof, I was given supplements my body could not “process” and many other things were left unaddressed.

[On a side note, it was sobering and difficult to sit in her office crying yet again over my fatigue and have her question if I was just “depressed” and “did I even like being a mother?” when I was just fed up with being tired for years on end.  On top of it all; I was having mood swings from the progesterone she prescribed me (but didn’t check my labs for). Even me, a medical professional and self advocate fell into the pitfalls that many others do with inadequate care. It saddens me that so many out there are feeling the way I did but dismissed by their docs. If nothing else comes from this article, I hope people stand up for their health and never give up until they find a doc that truly listens and digs deep]

So again, I had to start from scratch to find the right person to help me….and I did. I found (through a friend) a specialist that looked at my raw DNA, studied my labs and history to create a bio-individualized plan specifically for my needs.

I’ll attempt to simplify: we all have some genetic mutations that our ancestors developed for our continued survival. Those mutations combined with our lifestyles create our current state of health.

Some examples of the toxic load on our genes in this day and age (causing a sharp increase in autoimmune illnesses and cancers in children and adults):

  • Roundup (pesticides) in our food

  • GMO’s

  • Fake sugars, fake ingredients

  • Gluten (from low quality sources)

  • Our guts are lacking the proper intestinal flora and not absorbing vitamins & minerals

  • Toxic plastics...literally everywhere

  • Additives like folic acid in our foods (and those of us with MTHFR cannot process them)

  • Tons of toxic laden vaccines, often with fetal cells injected into us and our kids (I’m not sitting here saying I’m anti-vaccine but I have been educating myself on the quality and quantity of vaccines we are given in this day and age)

  • MSG and other crap disguised as “natural flavors” or “spices”

  • Cancerous toxins in our makeup, lotions, soaps and products

  • Drinking water with fluoride, pharmaceutical meds, arsenic, chlorine and other toxins

  • EMF’s

  • Lack of sleep (decrease in melatonin production which is an anti-cancer natural hormone), tons of stress (elevated cortisol and adrenal burnout) and a society that worships the hustler that never sleeps in order to pursue their dreams or the Pinterest mom that can do it “all”

I’m not saying all this to scare you but for you to realize what our genes are trying to endure.

The specialist I found spent hours pouring over my SNP’s (DNA) and created a phased plan to heal certain methylation pathways and my gut and eventually lead my body back into homeostasis with just a few supplements that my particular body needs.

Just a few of my concerns: autoimmunity, mutations like; MTHFR, PON1, COMT, CYP1B1, BHMT/PEMT, FUT2, GAD enzyme SNPs, high cortisol, low melatonin, high oxalates, low GABA and more.

Some labs I had drawn in addition to the basics: Nutreval, Spectracell, Cyrex Array 5, three day Comprehensive Stool test, Rhythm Plus from Genova Diagnostics (30 day hormone test). Next I’ll be checking my food sensitivities via the Cyrex Array 10.

I’ve been working with my new specialist since October, 2016 addressing my sleep issues (I use the Oura Ring out of Finland), hormones, history, biochemical pathways and genetic mutations.  Each month the shroud has been lifted more and more with just a few minor self induced setbacks (like that month I thought unlimited gluten and processed food would be ok). I can also say that I no longer live in DREAD of letting my family down....which is everything.

Since I’ve shared just snippets of my story to friends and on social media I’ve had countless women and men reach out to me with similar issues. I'm not the only one, there are many of us secretly suffering:

Fatigue

Autoimmune issues

No answers from doctors

Can’t sleep

Achy

Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired

I will share more and more of my story as time goes on (as well as resources that have helped me). Feel free to comment your insight, questions or concerns below. I may or may not be able to answer but I can always help direct you to someone who can. Do your due diligence and learn as much as you can and never take NO for an answer on your own quest for health. I truly feel most Functional Medicine doctors have an extensive knowledge of the whole body and if you still don’t get to the bottom of your issues then finding someone who truly understands SNP analysis.

{I’m not a doctor nor do I play one on the internet. This is purely my experience and not intended to replace medical advice. Please see your doctor that you trust for expert medical care}

Resources to get you started: (I'm not affiliated with any of these and do not make money by sharing this info with you)

23andme.com

MTHFRSupport.com

Documentaries:

Fed Up, Food Inc, Vaxxed, Consumed (on Netflix: movie about GMO's and glyphosates)

Thyroid:

Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?

RF

Exposure: http://www.naturalnews.com/054165_cell_phone_radiation_brain_tumors_government_study.html

6 Step Morning Ritual

6 step morning ritual

We must do it all.

Build our careers, make more money, take care of our family, make our homes Pinterest-worthy, meetings, deadlines, playdates, make sure our kids lunches are cut up in pretty designs and of course, organic.

Meanwhile, all of this pressure and burning the candle at both ends is driving us into the ground. We need a huge Starbucks to get going in the morning and wine & melatonin to shut down our racing minds at night.

Can't think.

      Can't sleep.

              Can't get it ALL done.

                       Pressure. Fatigue. Stress.

Doesn't sound fun does it? Why do we do this to ourselves? Have we lost sight of taking care of ourselves? When was the last time you took care of YOU? Felt relaxed? Content?

ARE YOU ENJOYING THE JOURNEY OR IN A DAZE FOCUSING ON THAT ELUSIVE "SOMEDAY"?

Someday is actually today. Cliche I know...but I've been there too! The pressure, self imposed deadlines, competition against myself and my perceived societal expectations burned me out. I had an adrenal crash that practically had me bedridden. 

It took me a couple years but I slowly learned how to:

  • FIND JOY EVERY DAY

  • OVERCOME COMPARISON

  • FOLLOW MY PASSION

  • ENJOY THE JOURNEY

  • SAY F@#$ WHAT OTHERS THINK AND HONORED MY PRIORITIES

  • GET MY MOJO BACK EVEN WITH TWO YOUNG KIDS

  • FIND BALANCE.

I'm here to share with you what I've learned the hard way. Simple steps can make a huge impact in your health, energy and relationships. 

I created a simple free guide to get you started on beating the burnout and starting your JOY journey. 6 simple steps that I do each morning that has made a huge impact on my energy and mood. Enjoy!