This is a word I am often drawn to and find comes up in my daily speech and thoughts. To me, transformation represents an outlook on life and how we perceive what is going on in the moment…I have found within my personal teachings that with awareness and compassion, we begin to live in a transformative state, or flow state. Not fighting the experience, just witnessing it and allowing the moments to teach and guide us. 

Yoga has been the common thread that ties my experiences and my challenges all together in a mosaic of pain, creativity, struggle, growth, connection, and love. Each component is beautiful and critical to my unique journey towards finding my inner light center, my passions and ultimately connecting continuously back to myself. 

Each person’s life contains a constant tide pool of pain and lessons learned. It comes in and takes over for a period of time, then releases its hold, allowing for insight and the discovery of lovely hidden treasures—when we are able to open ourselves up to the ebb and flow.

My past emotional pain, which I now call “echos of lessons I am in the process of re-learning,” is a constant teacher. At a young age I was always curious of everyone and everything around me,  being deemed over-sensitive for most of my life. I was exposed to violence and felt vulnerable which has the ability to change you in a powerful way. I feel the struggles and challenges of others in my heart and mind, however this superpower has also paved the way for me to learn about my true calling. I have found incredible insight and been guided towards my natural ability to teach, grow and explore constantly with many bumps along my life’s journey. These bumps lead me along a path towards Elevated Connection. 
This tale of healing and connecting begins to unfold around the age of 11 when out of nowhere I became incredibly  ill. It seemed my body was, for reasons unknown, eating away at my muscular tissue. The doctors and specialists were unable to figure out how best to help my body fight the infection. Even though I was young, I remember lying awake at night with the inner knowing  that my body was fighting for life but I was too afraid to ask anyone what would happen if my body no longer fought back. In the end, I was extremely lucky, after the doctors put my young body through a trial of drug concoctions, I survived. It was the starting point for a lifelong journey of physical struggle as well as self healing. 
My beautiful and miraculous body is my constant inner guru, for she is gloriously powerful and resilient, as well as sensitive in many ways. Fascinating how being sensitive has been highlighted as a negative in our society…I push against this form of thinking, since my sensitivity has been my superpower throughout much of my life and has guided me to heal myself and others.
Each of our gifts and curses have a way of showing us what and who we truly are—it is always our choice how we choose to look at them.
I began a lifelong mission to connect to my body and mind in a very deep and meaningful way. From the hormonal imbalances that plagued my body since age 11, I formed growths in my uterus and surrounding area. These growths have made it challenging for many parts of my body to function properly. I remember one doctor telling me in my early teens that I would most likely never be able to carry a healthy child to term. Physically, I developed late and had horrible pain every month, at one point when I started to menstruate I would bleed for 25-28 days of the month. It was a challenging and confusing time that because of the sudden rapid growth of my body I developed hormonal sclerosis of the spine, forcing me to stop my sports from the sheer pain and agony I felt. I was terrified and living in fear of the future. I was truly at mental and emotional war with my body.
I was highly resourceful and determined to learn how to heal myself. Over time, the realization sunk in that doctors could only do so much. Synchronistically, the world of Yoga magically appeared in my life; someone in passing had told me about the benefits of yoga, and I became curious.
The first yoga class I took was a game changer for me. I began asking questions and using my inquisitive mind to map out how these movements and poses were allowing me to feel stable and balanced in my body—something I hadn’t felt for months or on an emotional level for much much longer! I was just enthralled with the way I felt and the way my body responded to these shapes and movement I created with my physical form. 
Each and every Yoga pose I learned became a unique chart that steered my body away from pain and into the awareness of opening, and releasing into an endless container of self love. My mind became calm and contemplative instead of reactive and overwhelmed. Little by little, I began to love and trust my body again.
Then an incident occured that haunted me for years to come and still brings up moments of struggle and inner shame. As a teen I was raped by someone I trusted and it took such a toll on my emotional state that I retreated away from certain elements of my life—yoga included. At this moment in my life, I stand strong in the knowing that it was not my fault and that I had no idea I would be treated like that. I share this part of my story to witness my own fear that I feel coming up while at the same time intuitively knowing that I must share this part of my story…if it has the opportunity to give another the courage to open up to feelings and release that pain, to relinquish them from being a victim then there is beauty in the sharing. 
I felt shame and deep loneliness for awhile, but it also taught me the valuable lesson of learning to reach out for help and start to talk to professionals who could guide me through the process of forgiving myself and the other person, releasing my fear, and eventually coming back to loving myself once again. 
Over the years I became strong in mind and body. At 16, I began my first of many yoga teacher training programs. The years of daily practice felt just as normal as breathing to me. My deep desire to help others took on a life of its own so that in three short years, I was teaching yoga and practicing massage therapy as my first modality of body healing. I was in my element—healing, teaching yoga, and coaching swimming, guiding myself through the maze of life. I felt strong and confident in myself and my skills at such an early age. I was ready to take on life with both hands!
As seems to happen after a lull of calm, I began to develop allergic symptoms to everything I touched. Dust, perfume, grass, animals, even certain types of fabric would send me into a full on bout of itching frenzy. At night I tied my hands up with socks to prevent scarring from the itching all night long. There was no rhyme or reason why this started happening. After a year of doctors performing tests and prescribing me high doses of prednisone, they had no idea how to help me. I was quite literally going a bit crazy, feeling helpless and completely out of my element! During this time I dove deeper into my Yoga practice and started learning more about meditation and visualization. This helped me on a daily basis, and over months and months, I finally felt able to control my body’s automatic need to itch. 
For days I would feel itchy but would use my mind to switch off the desire to itch. It was a small success in the grand scheme of things, however it helped me greatly when I started embarking on my personal mission to solve this issue and move forward from being stuck in this disastrous state. I started researching. When it came to cases like mine, all signs pointed towards seeing a naturopath.
So I went to see an incredible naturopath, who helped guide me back towards acknowledging and stepping into my personal healing power. It was our first visit and within minutes, she checked my skin, tongue, and eyes. She was able to offer me immediate insight and this provided a light at the end of the tunnel. She was horrified, no one had thought to look at my liver. It seems my liver had been fighting its own personal battle. Since I was 11, my liver had been trying to rejuvenate from the side effects of the medicine that was given to save my life. Over time my liver tissue was slowing dying, so by 17 years old my body had began to go into a state of cirrhosis. My liver was only functioning at 30%, so my skin was taking on the lion’s share of trying to get rid of toxins through the itchy red bumps that were all over my body.  It was another long 14 months of being itchy, feeling repulsive and being ridiculed by people who didn’t understand. With time and patience my body began to heal.
This was a powerful lesson to learn: 
Our bodies are always working towards healing.
It may at times seem like the body is working against you, however when I changed my perspective, the realization I came to was that my body was diligently working for me every day without fail. The shift? I just needed to learn how to listen to the unique language of the body and create space by giving the body what it needed to heal itself. With help from my naturopath, guidance from my yoga teachers and a strict daily regime that was all geared towards healing every cell in my body, in 2 years I was finally able to function and had been successful at healing the body and gaining such clarity on how to move forward in my life.
I took on the world after that experience, training for triathlons, completing an IronMan competition and several half Ironmans. I travelled for months learning to surf in south America, exploring incredible rock climbing, and scuba diving in Thailand and Vietnam. I started two businesses back at home that were geared towards teaching yoga and helping others on their healing from the inside out. I would stretch daily and connect the breath and body when first waking up to the world, my meditations and awareness exercises were a part of my daily healing and reconnection with myself.
As I was busy exploring my world,  a crucial piece to my own puzzle was missing: I was lacking balance. I came face to face with the lesson of the statement or the word NO. I came into a time in my life that was a true test of finding out what inner strength really meant.
This lesson took hold as a powerful attraction to another and I made a choice in a partnership, this whirlwind romantic love bombing threw me so far off course I found that gradually and so slowly I no longer knew or recognized who I was. I could feel my inner intuitive guide screaming in warning, yet my Head-Heart seemed to compose excuses and justifications of the ways I was being treated. Each subtle maneuver was done with such precision, I didn’t have the tools to understand what was occuring in my mental and inner dialogue until it seemed it was too late. Never admitting to myself that a dangerous game was being played and my lack of understanding would teach me some tough lessons.
Asking what IS this type of love? I struggled to prove to that partner that I could live up to the expectations of being the perfect partner, business owner, confidant, money saver, friend and even the person who faked being happy so no one could see the pain and anguish I was in on a daily basis. Receiving the miraculous news I was pregnant, beyond all belief that it was possible, I struggled and felt like I was emotionally and mentally drowning. Feeling like I had no way to get to the surface for a gulp of air. This new reality literally struck me full on in the face as I was shaken out of my state of denial. It left my head spinning and my heart dragging three miles behind me.
I had chosen the route of constantly trying to be perfect for a person who expected this perfection in every way, never loving or caring for the I AM… When someone is choosing(consciously or subconsciously)  to bring their own interior self anguish forward onto another is heartbreaking to observe, even more traumatic to be an active participant in this reality. I felt like my mind was put through the blender. In one moment, my partner could have me feeling like I was the most amazing and incredibly loved person & then with a flip of a switch there would be words that cut me so deep, I would drop into a deep state of despair.. no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t drag myself up until my partner allowed it. 
Like humpty dumpty, this partnership was like falling off a high wall over and over again. Each time I fell off, I would pull myself together, make up some plaster and put on a smile as I struggled to gain my courage and confidence to leave. I had lost all contact with my former self, my family and friends, even my meditations and visualizations were filled with nightmares and thoughts of not being good enough, how silly and stupid I was, how I had to work harder, be better and show.. no Prove, to this person that I deserved love…why did this love hurt so much? I had fear in my life like I had never experienced before, fear of the truth, fear of the unknown, fear that maybe my partner was right and I wasn’t good enough. 
NO.. this is not me, these are not my thoughts, why am I letting another put their control on me?? I started to find my way back to my yoga practice & in secret I would meditate as I began to clearly & ever so slowly over years of taking back pieces of myself, see the lessons this phase of my life was teaching me. 
First lesson was the realization that there are pieces of the self that could never be taken away by another. I just needed to trust they were there & find those inner wise and compassionate conversations that would steer me towards self love again. 
For me, Kundalini Yoga will always hold a special place in my heart because it  guided me through the fog of injustice & victimhood I was trapped in. I was so fearful of taking that step into class. I look back on that fear now and realize with fresh eyes that I was fearful of the change…even the positive change felt alien and terrifying to me. I had lived for years in a low grade state of fear. I had isolated my emotional self, choosing to not feel at all instead of the daily anguish and pain I was living in…my thought was, what would happen to me when I started to feel again??? 
With gentle and continuous steps back towards my yoga and meditation practice, I gained the courage to leave that relationship and started to set healthy boundaries once more in my life. I no longer allowed another person’s voice, thoughts, actions or even looks to control me. This fundamental lesson taught me that I always had a choice – it wasn’t an easy choice, at least not for me, however when I chose to see that this person’s actions were just a representation of how they treat themselves, then I can release the hurt and move forward from letting the words or actions have any effect on me at all. The story of the abuse, struggle and challenges became my personal teachings for true empowerment. I stand proud in the fact that I was able to get out of a situation that brought me to my knees. My body and mind had felt like it had all but collapsed under the immense pressure of that situation, with the kundalini energy building and clearing away the rubble, the breath was all I needed to start thinking clearly and slowing rebuilding.

Yoga is miraculous in that it does not control, it has no limits, it is open space within the body and mind for both the individual and then simultaneously it is also the connection between each of us. 

Yoga is just one form of this, over the years, I have taken training that has busted me wide open in all the most magical and purely energetic ways possible! This ever-evolving state of discovery that IS pure connection, is where I truly believe deep healing begins. When we connect with ourselves, we learn to love unconditionally and stand strong in who we are, then that inner love spreads outward at such a velocity it expands beyond what we can comprehend – we begin to see the world with compassion and a depth of understanding that can not be gained through fear and resistance. 

Today, my journey continues and the path is ever changing. It’s a pleasure and a gift to know that I have tools that guide me, empower me, shine my spirit, and light up my life. If ever I can offer anyone out there insight, wherever you are on your journey –  lean into those lessons, feel them and create with them. They will surely bring things into complete clarity. 
The true power of Self-healing, self compassion and the gift of joyous daily living is something that each person connects with in a different way. 
For my own journey, the self-truth that runs true to my very core, I have come to realize this: I move my body to re-connect my mind and ignite my spirit of the breath to continuously connect to the soul self that guides me and is always nourishing me along my chosen path – This path is a choice and that is meant to Empower, do not tread lightly, instead embark with fearless tenacity towards what you want, need and desire in this lifetime!  
This is what ElevatedConnections is to me…transformation towards loving myself and through me I love all who are on their own unique path of inner & outer realizations.
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