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The Shining

Yes, I titled this post "The Shining." Yes, it's October. No, it's not about the scary movie.

It's about the ways we radiate our light and embody our brightest, bravest, most courageous and brilliant selves.

The phrases "best selves" and "best lives" have begun to get a bad rap in certain circles. Lately it's even become trendy to show how cool one is by heaping disdain on the personal growth and wellness practices. Entire books have been written eschewing self improvement. Why? Because they're defining it wrong. Because they're doing it wrong. Because they can't see beyond the surface of the newest workout fad and finding the perfect smoothie recipe. But wait, I myself have cast some side eye at the yoni egg. Well, that's because a $66 vagina egg has more to do with making money than making a difference in someone's life. But, putting in a little effort to grow and get healthier and happier and evolve and achieve? That's what personal growth and wellness are truly all about.

What I hope the naysayers come to understand is: we do the things not to fit society's image of perfection or "have it all," but to feel our best, achieve real goals with our health or our finances or our relationships, and to end the vicious cycles keeping us stuck or regretful or resentful. We journal not for the sake of journaling but to remind ourselves what our dreams are for the future (and also because writing them down makes us more likely to achieve them). We meditate not to be like Gwyneth but to calm our own negative self-talk, breathe, and more easily recognize harmful behavior patterns. We eat kale and drink matcha not to Instagram it but to improve our physical health and live longer, avoid unnecessary medications, and have fewer aches and pains and reasons to see a doctor. I won't apologize for wanting to shine, to perform at my peak, not be a slave to prescription drugs, and be better tomorrow than I was yesterday. I know the results I have achieved - and that I've helped others realize - and I know what works.

I do recognize that all this self-actualization is attached to a certain amount of privilege, but I have also experienced what it feels like to have $17 in the bank, be unemployed, go without health insurance, and struggle with anxiety and depression. I'm no stranger to struggle. That makes the shining all the brighter on the other side.

I also recognize that during times like these, shining can be hard and uncomfortable and incongruent. It's natural to have dim days. In the latest episode of my series Sparked, I share 12 tips and resources to cultivate our light even in periods of darkness. Check it out here.


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