I’m honored to have a very special guest posting for me today – Amanda, the founder of Grow Soul Beautiful. I’m sure you know all about this site from her hugely popular Instagram #YogaADay challenge. I guest posted for her in the past and love doing little post exchanges like this. She even has a giveaway for you! Enjoy and take it away Amanda!
Somewhere along the way over the past 32 years, I turned into one of those people. The fitness freak that runs 9 marathons in 14 months. Don’t ask me how it happened- I certainly didn’t set out with such a fanatical goal. It was probably the culmination and the peak of my need to over-achieve. I’d already proved I could graduate tops in my engineering class. I’d already proved I could land a fabulous job and a handsome husband. I’d already proved I could travel the world, own a fancy house, and run the Houston marathon each January. And yet, somehow, I was still out to prove something to somebody every time I crossed the finish line after 26.2 miles.
It was near the end of this madness that it really started sinking in that life is about more than things I can achieve and prove to others. Despite all the impressive accomplishments and even a satisfying new PR time in the hellacious Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon, it wasn’t enough. I’d finally swung to the extreme of success by the world’s standards, only to find out I’d been measuring it wrong all all long. It was time for me to re-define success on my own terms.
I could whip out calculus formulas like nobody’s business, but couldn’t find an ounce of creativity inside. I could pound out all those miles of running, but I still hated my body and could barely touch my toes. I had the dream life on the outside, yet I was empty, scared, and hollow on the inside. Slowly, week by week, I started a journey of self-discovery and doing a lot of inside work instead of outside work. Journaling, coaching, vision boards, retreats and e-courses helped me find myself, re-define how I wanted success to look in my life, find ways to ignite my creativity, how to trust myself and my intuition, and most importantly, why self-love is the most important thing I could ever accomplish.
To say it’s been life-changing is an understatement. It’s not some giant shift I noticed one day, but it’s gradual slow, evolution of how I see myself and what healthy means to me. It’s more than fitting in my skinny jeans, running marathons, or even being successful by the world’s standard. Healthy is about body, soul, mind, and spirit. I now place as much importance on meditating as I do track workouts. I value stretching myself artistically as much as I do stretching my body during yoga. I avoid filling my heart and mind with bad thoughts and experiences as much as I avoid sticking toxic and unsavory things in my mouth. My health is now evaluated beyond the physical to include my emotional well-being, my spirituality, my sexuality, my relationships, my inner creative genius, and my thought life and connection to self.
Over the last year, the idea of Grow Soul Beautiful was borne out of my passion to share with others that health is more than exercise and self-love is more important than achievements. I wanted to encourage and inspire readers to spend just as much effort making their inside beautiful as they do their outside. My passions are yoga & photography- both incredible outlets to connect the mind+body, nurture the soul, and encourage us to be playful and creative. I strongly believe that we can share stories about ourselves and capture valuable memories through simple photos, and the power of photography, especially self-portraits, can nourish our creative juices.
I’m so excited to give away a set of Vision Quest Photo Assignment Cards with 36 prompts for Personal, Spiritual, and Artistic Growth to one lucky reader. Entries close tomorrow (10/26/12, Friday) at 11:59PM EST. To enter, you can do the following and leave a comment for each:
- Comment here with your favorite yoga pose (mandatory).
- Follow @GrowSoulBeauty on Twitter and comment here saying you did.
- Follow Grow, Soul, Beautiful on Pinterest and comment here saying you did.
- Follow Grow, Soul, Beautiful on Google+ and comment here saying you did.
- Follow @GrowSoulBeautiful on Instagram and comment here saying you did.
General Giveaway Rules: No Purchase Necessary. This giveaway is only open to residents of the continental United States. The email addresses that are collected for this giveaway will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner and will never be given out to anyone nor sold. The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted via email. The winner will have 72 hours to respond. Please make sure you check your junk mail folder.