I am hoping that this page, Discovering Wellness, will give you a good background into why I do what I do, who I do it for, and how I hope it will make a difference in your life and mine! There have been more days than I can really count that I have pondered over what I hope to achieve with the many thoughts and ideas that I have circling within my mind and heart. Some thoughts, I am lucky enough to get to share in a yoga class; others I get to share in a group presentation or workshop; and others, I simply get to share with friends and family.
If I had to find only one word that could sum up the passions and purpose behind all that I study and pursue in my personal and professional interests, I would choose–
whether it is Wellness for the individual, Wellness for the family, or Wellness for the community. I have spent a good portion of my time and energy trying to understand how to find it, how to keep it, and how to share it-
Wellness is a whole lot more than good health and clear skin-
Wellness is more than diets that keep us in our ‘skinny’ jeans or fitness that keeps us looking muscular-
And Wellness is whole lot more than self-confidence and positive thinking-
Wellness is how we manage the successes and the failures of daily life; it is how we internalize expectations, hopes, dreams, goals, and and all of the external chatter that fills our minds with clutter and chaos!
Wellness appears in the way you think, feel, and interact with yourself and the world around you.
Wellness is compromised by any imbalance within the Four Pillars of our Self- physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional- and I have come to a firm belief that to separate wellness and to try to address only one of these pillars is as futile as attempting to repair a broken bone with duct tape and a lollipop!
For the past several years, I have been studying the impact that religion has on adolescent wellness. My graduate research centered on Perfectionism, in and out of religion, and what this perfectionist mindset is doing to contribute to high levels of distress in today’s youth. This topic is so important to me, that my doctoral research will be an extension of this same critical topic. Though my research is entirely focused on adolescence; the more I study, the more I am convinced that this is a problem that goes a lot deeper than adolescence. Our kids are learning, and chronically immersed in, patterns of thinking, coping, and comparison from parents, teachers, leaders, and peers; and it is time to stand up and fight for WELLNESS in ways that we have never done before.
I kind of wish I could say that I fell into this study by random chance or that the topic had been assigned by my mentoring professor. Unfortunately, I can’t say either! I welcome you into my heart as I share MY story of HOW this topic came to be so important to me. As you read From Wrinkled to Shattered- please know this is my personal story of complete immersion into the distress that is consuming our kids. It is not made up or glamorized in any way, you’ll read my account of the year that shook my faith, my family, my confidence and transformed me from a bystander to an advocate for WELLNESS: for us, for our family, and for our communities! I have hesitated to share this story, because as a mom and a member of a large family- this story is not my own. However, you will soon realize that this story is TRULY not MY own- but it is a living reality that is played out in living rooms and homes all across our world!
One of the greatest gifts I have been given is the opportunity to teach and inspire people every day in many different classrooms. I hope to be with you on your good days and in your rough days. Though I don’t think I will ever knock your socks off, I do HOPE to give you a little bit of perspective and peace on the days when things feel a little dark and heavy in your life and point you towards gratitude and joy on the days when the sun seems to guide your way. It is my hope that you can gain a little strength and light from my words or stories- if nothing else, I hope that together we share a few giggles and shed a few tears!
My hope and prayer is that the small and simple messages you will hear from me will guide you through whatever peace or chaos you find yourself in today and tomorrow. If not for you, than maybe for someone you love- because sometimes the best thing we have to offer is a prayer, a kind word, a compassionate heart, and a listening ear.