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the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.
I love this picture. I love it because it is so random and (im)perfect. My moccasins, my wool socks, my dog, the fact that I am randomly practicing an inversion/backbend in the middle of my living room…
Joe took this picture on Sunday when I was trying to show him “Chin Stand”, the new yoga pose I had learned in my favorite Vinyasa class (shout out to Red Lotus). I asked him to try to take a picture, because despite the fact that I haven’t mastered the pose, I still felt pretty bad ass being able to (somewhat) get into it.
When I saw the picture, I instantly thought about how goofy I looked and honestly had NOintention of posting it.
But the more I looked at it, the more I started to appreciate the fact that it was GOOFY and it was NOT perfect.
It made me think about society, social media, and how it seems like it is mentally ingrained in all of us that our flaws or imperfections should be kept to ourselves, behind the scenes.
Well here is a reality check: flaws are normal
imperfections make us unique
the two of them together make us awesome and interesting.
I have a confession: I am not perfect.
I am not a perfect yogini
I don’t follow a perfect diet
I don’t have a perfect body
I may not always have the perfect things to say
I don’t have perfect days
I don’t write perfect blogs
(continue to fill in the blanks)
It took me a lot of time to come to terms with the fact that striving for “perfection” is exhausting and unrealistic.
In our quest to reach these unattainable standards, we slow down our ability to move forward in life. We often lose our sense of adventure and spontaneity. We miss opportunities and often times, lose the beautiful quirks and qualities that make us special.
Acknowledging and embracing my flaws and imperfections has taught me so much about who I truly am and how I want to live my life.
I allow myself to be vulnerable. I share my doubts, my fears and my insecurities.
I don’t strive to be perfect, I strive to be authentic.
When we allow ourselves to let our guards down and let people in- that is when we can truly start to LIVE.
Every day I am learning more and more that things don’t have to look perfect, situations don’t have to be perfect, and I certainly don’t have to act perfect in order to have a wonderful fulfilling life.
I am perfectly imperfect and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Everyday Goddesses is a series featuring women who embody strength in the health and yoga community.
Melissa is someone I’ve been lucky to connect with through the health and wellness blogging community, and I was very excited when she agreed to be featured on Everyday Goddesses. I look forward to reading her insightful and honest writings, and couldn’t miss an opportunity to introduce you to a glowing inspiration in this community. A self-described crazy dog lady, yogini, and creative photographer and writer, Melissa is someone who finds great joy in helping others thrive.
“I see my life as a journey towards health, genuine happiness and living each day to my fullest potential.” says Melissa, “I believe that the key to a happy life is balance, laughter and authenticity.”
I first connected with Melissa over our shared experiences of recovering from an eating disorder. Like many other men and women, Melissa…
“I am thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength”.
My favorite quote, and I use it in many of my posts. It is relevant, relatable and 100% true.
Struggles in life are inevitable. Everyone (whether they admit it or not) goes through challenges to some degree. I have made it known that I have had my share of ups and downs. I am blessed with the fact that the good times (ups) significantly outweigh the bad times (downs). Regardless of how I defined a memory, a situation, or significant moment, I have learned to use each and every one of them as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Over the years I found that I would sometimes float through the good moments without taking the time to pause and reflect. I never acknowledge specifically what happened, what I had accomplished, the work I had to do to get there, etc. I didn’t give myself a “thatta girl” for working hard if I had achieved a specific goal. I didn’t always take ample time to think about how lucky I am to share memories with a loving boyfriend, family, or friends. You get the point…
Then when the trials and tribulations came around, they rocked my world and wreaked havoc on my well being. I would get upset, anxious, and let them weigh me down for a decent period of time. Those hard moments came in and I let them blur my vision of my life in its entirety.
Let’s face it, humans tend to dwell on the negative.
As I have grown up (yes I know I am only 26), I have learned that challenging situations do not always have to be viewed as bad, or as a personal weakness.
I have been working diligently over the past several months to shift my mindset and change my perception when the difficult moments come into my life. When shitty situations arise, I take a step back, analyze the situation, and then look at myself.
What am I making up of this situation?
Is what I am making up about this situation true?
How can I change my outlook into something more positive?
I know this might sounds a little corny, or maybe a little too “optimistic” but it really works with practice. We need to understand that we can’t always change what happens in our lives, but we can change how we choose to look at the situations. Sometimes making a simple attitude change can drastically change our outlook on life.
Instead of beating myself up about the past, or having regrets about ____, I try to see these moments as building blocks that are vital to the structure of my entirety. Building blocks that have built me into who I am today.
I am learning to quit identifying with my past challenges, and letting them define me. Ever since I was little my mom would say “Everything happens for a reason”. As cliché as that sounds…. It is true.
All situations, whether they are good, bad, annoying, terrifying, etc. tend to lead us into something better… even something great! We have to come to terms with the fact that life happens to teach us lessons and to push us out of our comfort zones at times. When these lessons come around, try to see them as opportunities rather than burdens. Use this as motivation to make changes and improvements in your life.
Once we stop focusing on the negatives and identifying ourselves with what “went wrong” in our life, we can begin to forgive ourselves and work towards a brighter mindset.
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Be the change you wish to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi
Yoga, dogs, and inspirational ideas to ponder.
Topics I tend to write about with some frequency. There is no doubt that I am passionate about those subjects, and like to express my passions and share them with others through my writing. The articles in my blog are intended to provide hope, motivation, and bring light and hope into a world that can be so dark at times. However, another issue that is extremely close to my heart, doesn’t find its way into my blog posts as often as I would like it to. Because it is a sensitive subject, sometimes I feel like it is better off confined to the private pages of my personal journal. That topic is: Eating Disorder Recovery.
In this post I am allowing myself to be open, honest and vulnerable in order to make a point. If you are close to me, there is a good chance you know my story… or at least parts of it.
I have struggled on and off with disordered eating since I was seventeen years old (junior in high school). The key words there are “ON AND OFF”- I have had long periods of positive progress and recovery, and also periods of unfortunate relapse.
A few general statistics about Eating Disorders:
Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.
Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment.
Only 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders.
Up to 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.
95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.8.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
Those statistics make me so sad.
This past summer, I finally sought treatment for my ongoing battle. When I finally made the decision to go it blew my mind at how difficult it was to:
Find a treatment center in Michigan (I didn’t)
Find a treatment center that took my insurance (no Michigan centers meant no in-network insurance coverage)
The actual cost of going away to get the treatment I needed (2 months of treatment is close to $100,000)
The fact that it was so difficult to find and afford, adequate care made me SO angry. The whole process was a pain in the ass. I am blessed that I have insurance, and was able to go get the help I needed, but most people are not so lucky. Way too many men and women go untreated, or improperly treated because of the astronomical costs. Therefore they are stuck trying to “fix themselves”. Sure this may work in the short-run, but in my experience and my research, the likelihood of relapse is a lot higher.
So yes- I went away to treatment for two months last year. It was the scariest, hardest thing I had to do in my life, but I am glad I went. Although I still had some difficulties upon returning home, it taught me a lot about how strong of a person I am. The support I got from my family, Joe, my friends and coworkers made my time away a little easier as well.
Although I know I still have some work to do…. (But who doesn’t?!) I am writing today from a place where I can honestly say I am feeling the best I have in the past (almost) 10 years.
So why the heck am I going on and on writing about this?
I like to think that I was faced with these challenges to not only test my strength, but prove that I can overcome anything. As I continue to make progress on my personal journey, I have a deep desire to help others and use this battle for good. I want to get more focused on my desire to make an impact on treatment options, yoga therapy, and making these resources not only more available, but also more affordable for people who may be struggling.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a “Yoga and Body Image Intensive” put on by an organization called “Eat Breathe Thrive“. This is a non-profit organization which prevents and helps individuals recover from disordered eating and negative body image through yoga and community (I highly recommend you check out their website)!
Over a three-day period, I met an amazing group of people who all share a common interest in Recovery, Community, and making some sort of impact (even if it is just in their own lives). I left the intensive feeling inspired, hopeful and optimistic that I can use my battles for good and to benefit the lives of others. My goal upon completing the separate trainings is to start and run a program in Michigan, and eventually start my own work with helping others overcome their own unique challenges. Since there are currently no programs running in my area, I see this an a perfect opportunity to start something wonderful !
Look around my house, read my blog, talk to anyone who is close to me…. there are signs everywhere that indicate an immense passion for the practice.
There is no denying that yoga is HUGE in America right now. Studios are popping up left and right, more people are becoming aware of its benefits, yoga pants have become an acceptable item of clothing to wear almost everywhere, etc. etc….. its great!
As the practice becomes more mainstream, and continues to grow in popularity, I often like to step back and reflect on how I discovered the practice in the first place. Regardless of what I post on social media, or the pictures of me (and the dogs) in various poses, yoga carries a very deep meaning for me and holds a very strong place in my heart. Going beyond the cute yoga pants, and being ridiculously flexible, there are countless reasons why I love it so much, and more importantly why I am so passionate about sharing my knowledge with others.
My yoga journey began back in 2012 when I was seeking recovery from my battle with an eating disorder. After making positive strides towards my health, I was ready to start exercising again. The RD I was seeing at the time suggested that I give yoga a try, to incorporate some “mindful activity” into my life. (Mind you- growing up I was a competitive athlete: volleyball, soccer, track, etc. so yoga always seemed a bit “mellow” for me.) I was thinking to myself, which I think so many people do before their first class: “I am not flexible, I am not graceful or coordinated, and I have no idea what all that yoga lingo is all about“. But I went anyways… and I am glad I did.
I quickly feel in love with the practice.
I believe that yoga has the power to heal and to truly change lives. Yoga has been a crucial part in my life during all of the ups and downs over the past several years. Throughout my recovery, the practice has alleviated so many of the day to day challenges that were associated with such a complicated illness. Not only do I continue to notice physical changes in my strength and flexibility, but also dramatic changes in my emotional and mental wellbeing. I don’t stress out as easily, I am more present throughout my day, I have more energy, but most importantly, yoga continues to remind me to love and appreciate myself and my body as a whole.
Today, the practice continues to keep me grounded, give me confidence, and allows me to let go of doubts and insecurities I have about myself. I believe that yoga is a personal practice that provides endless opportunities to grow and learn. It reminds me to trust that everything is happening exactly as it should- and be PATIENT with the PROCESS. ❤
As I continue my journey as a teacher, and I student, I hope to use my personal story and experiences (on and off the mat) to inspire others. If you want to practice with me, click here to see my current teaching schedule!
Do you practice yoga? Share your experiences with me in the comments below 🙂