Mother’s Day is often a day full of mixed emotions for me. Challenges and tragedy struck on the early side in my life. My parents divorced. My mom was diagnosed with cancer, my dad remarried, and my mom died all in a matter of seven years between the ages of 10 and 17.
I have had two moms in a way, both of whom I am grateful for in such different ways. Each of them have taught me some valuable lessons that I am reflecting on today. They shaped who I am and how I operate through their love and through their mistakes. And the reason I’m sharing this with you is because Stoking Radiance was born through and shaped by these lessons.
- Life is short.
I hesitate to share this because it seems like such a cliche, and yet, it is absolutely definitively true. My mom was 41 when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, underwent a forever altering surgery, and began to lose her life. I’m pretty sure she had other plans. She was traveling the world, testing the waters to change careers, and starting to date again when she had the seizure that led to an MRI and then to surgery.
While my mom was relatively seemingly physically healthy, her young death was the catalyst for me to decide to dedicate my life to staying physically fit. Little did I know that decision would eventually be to run a fitness business!! A series of choices fueled by my knowledge that life is short, and that I didn’t want to waste my time doing things that didn’t fill my soul that led me to this point.
“What are you doing that is not serving you?” has been an incredibly powerful question for me.
- Staying true to yourself despite obstacles paves a more liberated path for those who come after you.
My mom’s father told her she could not go to college. She defied him and persisted despite his anger. She was the only child of his 8 to obtain a college degree – until much later when at least one of her sisters also went to school.
Her willingness to stand up for herself has inspired me in tough times, and as I am getting older, I see how important it is to pursue what feels like liberation to you despite your fears, doubts, and the voices of others. Whether your path leads you to freedom or not, following it frees other people to do the same.
- Holding onto your anger does more damage than facing and finding your way through it.
When I was younger, I hypothesized that my mom’s brain tumor grew because she had unresolved anger towards her father. Whether I was right or not, there were a lot of reasons for her to be angry, and I’m not sure she ever had the chance to work through them.
That belief persisted, and when I saw how my drinking was my own way of holding onto my unresolved emotions, I realized that I needed to stop drinking. Numbing out was my way of holding my emotions at an arm’s length. I am learning to be with my emotions, to recognize their power, and their limits. I’ve done this through meditation, through therapy, and through reading books that focus on developing emotional intelligence.
I know now how important it is for our mental health and our bodies to recognize, acknowledge and work through our emotions to the best of our abilities (self-compassion is key!).
- Beauty augments our joy.
My stepmom’s life is steeped in beauty. From her artwork, to her cooking and meal presentation, to her clothing, and more. Before I met her, my attention to beauty was in the backseat, but with her influence, I learned to appreciate attention to detail. Beauty infuses all of my choices and I continue to see the world with so much more depth and awe, and wonder because of it.
- Taking care of yourself and facing each step of life as honestly as you possibly can as you age makes a huge difference.
My dad and stepmom have demonstrated this in their lives very purposefully. When my dad met my stepmom, he began a process of eating more healthfully and taking care of his body differently. He never told this to my sister and me, but I saw how his efforts changed him. Over the years, the two of them have striven to take care of their bodies, both nutritionally and physically. They prioritize movement as much as they can. They have found a place to live that is supportive to them as they age, providing them with the kind of community and experience they want. They have talked to my sister and I about their health directives and their will.
I appreciate this proactive no nonsense approach to getting older. It is not comfortable to face the reality that our bodies are aging, that we might die. While many people may be doing this, I find a deep gratitude for the acknowledgement. I also am so inspired with the way that they continue to move, watch their nutrition, and care for their bodies. I want to be like them when I’m 80.
Stoking Radiance is helping active men, women, and youth develop radiant bodies and minds without beating themselves up.
But what is radiance?
- An awareness that life is short
- Caring for your body by both pushing into discomfort and ensuring it has what it needs to be in top notch condition
- Caring for your mind by gaining tools to care for your emotions, stay alert, and build resilience
- With self-compassion
- And an openness to find wonder and beauty
- Which almost always means pushing beyond your comfort zone
- So that the kernel of light deep inside you shines more vibrantly
- So that you can live your most alive and beautiful life
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