Gratitude for Healing. Step by Step.

Over 400 days ago, I began walking daily. I began walking for exercise purposes and as a way to start each day with a moment of solitude. I had no expectations going into this practice, no goals or benchmarks I wanted to hit. Minus a few days here and there, I’ve managed to keep it going, to keep walking. And I couldn’t have imagined the ways in which this practice would heal me. 

Recently, when I hit my 400th day of walking, I took a longer walk to celebrate and thought about why I’ve stayed committed to this practice even when I’ve wanted to quit, and reflected on how my life has changed over the last few years. Amidst a year of uncertainty and doubt, I am better because of walking. 

Woman walking on sidewalk
Woman walking on sidewalk

My walking practice has not been something I’ve shared with others, for the most part it has been a solitary and intimate practice. But when I walk – even though I am alone – I don’t feel lonely. I’ve taken my daily walks across the country, committing to the practice even when I’m traveling for work or pleasure. I’ve taken my daily walks in locations that hold the most gorgeous vistas, like Rocky Mountain National Park and in the hills of Montana. I’ve taken walks in suburban sprawl, neighborhoods where houses are only several feet apart and house cats watch you from window sills. I’ve taken walks when I didn’t want to, where they have been just a quick jaunt around the block near my hotel, because I’m tired from a day of  travel. I’ve also had my fair share of airport walks, which are pretty self-explanatory: my daily walk happens walking from Gate A12 to D47, and if I’m lucky I pass a Starbucks on the way. 

Press Coffee Shop Dayton Ohio

Walking has taught me about the power of commitment. It has taught me that prioritizing something that makes me feel easeful and at peace with myself – even if people don’t understand it –  isn’t selfish. It has taught me that I am worth it. Walking has punctuated my life with the gift of presence. I notice the small things now: the direction the clouds are moving that day, the patterns of bark on trees, the way rain sounds. This newfound presence has carried over into my everyday interactions, creating within me more of a desire and awareness of being someone who makes people feel seen, safe, listened to and held. I notice the color of peoples eyes when I’m looking into them and the different ways my friends hug me. I am a better person to myself and others because of my walks.

I feel proud of myself for believing that I am worth these moments that I notice on my walk and in my life, and with this pride comes a huge sense of gratitude and acknowledgement that I am here to savor my life, and soak up each second with excitement and curiosity. 
Lady sitting and looking out window of a coffee shop

Here are some life lessons I’ve learned while walking:

    • Look up.
    • Meaningful habits happen daily.
    • Pick up the trash. It’s not your problem, but it is your Earth.
    • There is no bad weather, only bad clothing choices.
    • Making a commitment to myself and following through is what Love looks like.

Walking daily has blossomed into something much deeper than hitting a step goal or getting outdoors. Although it has been both of those things. It’s about living in the pause. About embodying the phrase “thank you” when I step on the Earth. About taking a moment, whenever I feel I need it. And whenever I think I don’t. 

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but your peace is important. Carving time for yourself is crucial to your healing. Every step you take, even if you feel lost, is leading and guiding you. Do not lose sight of how far you’ve traveled in this life. I know that every path hasn’t been beautiful. I know that some days it feels hard to walk through the absolute rockiest parts of the path. But you can make it through – step by step. 

Home is anything and everything and anyone I can walk to. May I always find joy in the steps. This is my prayer. 


Want to go for a walk?

The Healing Power of Writing

At nearly 27 years old, it is safe to say that writing in a journal has been my lifesaver for many years. Acting as a spiritual guide and detailed snapshot into my own subconscious, it has brought awareness to many areas of my life that I – at the time – wanted to ignore. In many ways, the personal habit of writing landed me where I am today – making a living by way of expression through words.

I, as I’m sure you have too, have gone through many difficulties and challenges in life. From the loss of loved ones to getting scolded by a parent, there have been a plethora of instances where in the midst of pain I have instinctively reached for my journal as a source of clarity and solace.

During pain of any sort, it can feel like we are free-falling. Writing helped me hold on to the pieces of myself during times where I wasn’t sure I’d make it. However, at 20 years old, after me and my then-partner called off our wedding, I began the most important journey of my life: the Inner Journey. We are all familiar with the feeling of wanting to run from our emotions, and yet the beautiful thing about writing is that while it can still be difficult, writing allows for a safe space to navigate life’s ebbs and flows.

The idea I want to share with you today is this:

Writing, by hand, is a way to slow down and become radically present with your story as it is unfolding.

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

you cannot outrun your own emotions

When I’m not writing for work, I’m writing for play. Specifically, writing as a way to facilitate healing. My purpose lives deeply in self-healing work and I thrive off of helping others (and myself, most importantly) see that they have all the tools to give themselves the healing they need. One thing I’ve realized is that you cannot outrun your own emotions. Inevitably, they will catch up with us, though we try hard to deter this truth.

Writing is bearing witness to your own story, and your journal and pen give you a safe space to show up authentically. Humans are innately narrative beings, and our identities hinge on the stories and beliefs we have about ourselves and one another. And oftentimes, we forget that we are in charge of the stories we tell about ourselves.

When life gets hard, we want to run. Run from every tsunami of emotions, every hard conversation, every opportunity to cry. What is much easier is choosing to be a victim. “Why me?” is a question I’ve asked myself many times, and while it would be easier to say life is unfair, it’s not. Life is challenging, beautifully terrifying, incredible and crushing at times – and the Universe allows things to unfold as they do for a purpose beyond my limited comprehension. Part of my healing journey is metabolizing my pain, integrating it into my life and discovering new ways to navigate it – and the most powerful way I’ve found so far is through writing.

Integration Welcomes Transformation

So, rather than running from our pain, what do we do?

Ask it some questions. Get to know it. Comfort the hurting parts of yourself that you’ve deemed too “dark” to show. Write someone who has hurt you a letter, and say everything you need to say.

Several years ago, during a rather depressive state in my life, I had a profound and simple realization:

that it was up to me to rewrite the stories I had about myself and my life.

You see, I grew up with parents who had rather difficult upbringings and have stayed in victim mentalities for most of their lives. They have adopted negative beliefs about themselves that they have carried for years and still do in many ways, that have impacted their entire trajectory of life. I love my parents dearly, and following this example was not something I desired for my life. Being the hero of my own story was what I truly wanted, and writing allowed me to see that the obstacles to be overcome in life are the potent, magical and dynamic moments in our lives that shape our personal stories.

Becoming the Hero

In order to become the hero of my story, I had to forgive those that had hurt me. I’m still working on this to this day, however I’ve made huge strides – reaching out to previous partners, writing letters to my parents, diving deep into my feelings and allowing myself the space to navigate them. I wrote many things down, things the people who had hurt me would never see. But the mere act of writing it all out, getting it out of my head and onto paper, was like soothing balm to every wound I’d been carrying for many years.

Writing is a way to release the negative narrative we carry and allow for something better to exist.

Self-compassion is the superpower I never knew I had that writing aided me in cultivating, along with gratitude. Having a gratitude practice is as simple as writing down five things you’re grateful for at the end of each day. However, humans are harsh storytellers of our own stories, we tend to dwell on the negative: the heartbreaks, the missed opportunities, the previous roads taken; and we allow our “inner editor” to manipulate us into thinking that we simply are no good. Writing is a way to release the negative narrative we carry and allow for something better to exist. It helps you slow down with your inner dialogue and change the script – because it’s all about how we tell the story of our lives.

Grief helped me see the healing power of writing, and grief can show itself in many forms: seeing a loved one struggle with addiction, experiencing divorce, losing a child, getting fired from a job, the list goes on. And the beautiful opportunity within each of those experiences and beyond is the chance to choose healing for oneself, to give yourself the space to feel.

If you were raised like me, you may have subconscious beliefs that say that the brave ones armor up and store their emotions away. Yet, the truly brave are the ones who welcome the unwelcome, and feel the difficult emotions life gives us.

The Invitation

I invite you to take ten minutes, starting today, to begin the healing power of journaling. Write down affirmations. Things you are grateful for. Maybe start with a prompt, like “Today, I feel:” or “What made today great?”. And maybe you’re thinking, “well, I don’t have ten minutes!” – yet, we scroll our phones. We send loving kindness to others in texts, emojis and voice messages; yet when was the last time you sent yourself words of love?

So tomorrow, simply begin. Allow pain to lead the way, and step into the role of the hero.


Send me a note in our contact form.