A Struggle From Childhood
I remember feeling sad and anxious starting from an incredibly early age, maybe fourth or fifth grade. I grew up in a small town on Oahu in Hawaii. So it definitely wasn’t a lack of sunshine.
I kept thinking to myself, when I get older and get to high school I would feel better. When I didn’t feel better in high school I definitely thought college would be where I would find happiness. It turned out high school and college were very even darker times for me. As an young adult I couldn’t even imagine that I could feel happy. Though one thing that kept me motivated for life was my dreams of being a great entrepreneur and making an impact in the world.
During my freshman year in college at the University of Nevada Reno, I cried a lot and called whomever I could talk to. Cell phones weren’t everywhere yet so I had to sign up for a lot of credit cards to get those calling cards. One day as I cried to my sister using the payphone in the dorm hallway, my sister said we should go to this place called Tassajara, a zen center in Los Padres National Forest in Monterey County, California. In exchange for being a staff member during their guest season we would be able to live there for free.Without knowing much about it I said “yes we should go! The depths of anxiety & depression made me feel hopeless. I felt I needed something very different to save myself. I was excited with hope that this would save me.But being at Tassajara was very hard for me. My thoughts would criticize myself for not staying focused. I saw the others around me being much more dedicated to meditation. I would think to myself, I would be a better person if I was a “good meditator” too. The main positive was that I started a meditation practice. After Tassjara I came back to Hawaii to finish college.One day as I was leaving the History of World Civilizations I remember thinking to myself, hmm I don’t have to go home and read the book because I actually followed along during the whole class! Because my mind wondered a lot, I usually walked out of class clueless, preparing myself to read to pass the exam. This was an initial benefit from my meditation journey.
However, because of my unchecked critical voice, I still resented zen meditation. I blamed it for it’s strict rules & very abstract writings. After college I moved to New York City with no
In addition I started to consistently meditate in the mornings. Most sessions were only between 15-40 minutes. The meditation helped me in the mornings when my anxiety was high. And it helped me as I lived a hectic life as an entrepreneur building a tennis school in New York City called BumbleBee Tennis. I loved that business! It was so exciting to watch it grow and feel like a leader. At one point we were doing tennis in 3 boroughs – Queens, Brooklyn & Manhattan. Because tennis was a leisure business I found myself working everyday with crisis of court access and no-show instructors coming up frequently.
One winter when I came back home to Hawaii just completely anxious, my sister asked how I was doing. I just burst into tears. My sister, who had maintained her practice much more seriously since we came back from Tassajara years before, suggested that I do an eight-day meditation session that was coming up in December at the Honolulu Diamond Sangha.Again desperate for a change, I signed up. I went in hoping that I would have this big awakening and fix my depression & anxiety.The first 5 of the 8 days were long. I drew pictures & business ideas in a notebook even though we weren’t supposed to write. My mind would worry about my business, think of new ideas, and just wonder. My heart felt many emotions. Days passed* as I sat there and meditated with mostly impatience and struggle. *You might be wondering if during these sessions I meditate all day without break. Fortunately no. The day is broken up into 4 sections of about 2-3 hours. Within each section we meditate for 25 minutes, then do a 10 min walking mediation, and then repeat. Certain sections such as the morning has some chanting, and the afternoon has a dharma talk by the teacher. We also talk to the teacher (called Dokusan) each day for 5-7 minutes.Then on one of the last few days I experienced an incredibly quiet moment. I was sitting outside waiting for my turn to talk to the teacher. The sun seemed to shine with this yellow warmth and the trees moved gently. My attention was keenly aware of my body moving with my inhales and exhales. Was this my aha? Was I finally “cured” of depression and anxiety? I hoped so.Unfortunately, it was just a few hours later when thoughts flooded my awareness again. Back to normal I thought!But that was also not true. I understood a quaintness that could exist for me and felt closer to it.When I returned to my life, anxiety still came often. But at the same time, I knew that if I meditated and exercised, I could generally connect with a quieter happy place. And in this place, I could actually feel like things were OK and that I was OK. This was my glimmer of hope and something I could connect with when I lost my grounding. Meditation coupled with exercise, was my dynamic duo that could make me see the beauty in the clouds, grass and my life. So when I rose in the morning, even though it definitely felt like a baby dinosaur was dying inside of me, I would always think, I don’t know if I’m going to feel better this time…but every time I exercise & meditate I did, so that’s what I’ll do. I felt so transformed by these 2 practices I wanted to share it with others.Thinking back maybe that’s why in 2014, without much counsel, I took over the lease of a failing gym. I had gotten into investing because I had bought a few real estate properties at this point from the profits of BumbleBee Tennis.I had these dreams of using this gym to share exercise & meditation! I did get to share things while also developing a business, which has been my other love. After a turnaround & many adventures (including somewhere in there a failed cycling studio), 6 years later I sold the gym for a profit. I learned so much from that experience that I’ll share in a future blog post.I pondered for a couple of weeks on what my next project would be. Should I stay in New York City? And then boom, Covid hit. My ex-boyfriend whom I had broke up with 2 months before told me I should be with him in Atlanta (yeah that came out of no where in this story). It felt right so in 24 hours I moved myself to the South!For the next year I worked on Fit Coach Secrets, a podcast about finding success in the fitness business. I loved the entrepreneurship that these fitness coaches demonstrated. I realized I also wanted to connect with others through fitness (still) and also through meditation. I had been working on this ambiguous concept of Exercise Meditation, what if I shared that? I was excited because it would also give me a chance to have a reason to be more attentive during my meditation.In addition I realized I wanted to share my love for entrepreneruship, systems, investing and self care.
So after wrestling a good amount with obnoxiously noisy self-doubt I finally found myself coming back to these 2 topics:
- Exercise Meditation – Guided fitness workouts that incorporate meditation, journaling and affirmations to help you feel energized, inner peace and a deeper connection with yourself.
- Lioness – Women on the hunt for more…time, money, joy & purpose. Subject areas are entrepreneurship (& investing), productivity/home/life systems & self love.
- Topics include How to start a business, managing small business books, time-saving systems for home, life, & work, investing in real estate and caring for ourselves. In addition I’ll have guided brainstorming sessions to ignite your creativity, find your purpose, or solve that pesky problem to move you life to the next milestone!