Interview #2 of 52: “Be Your Best Friend”

I started following Rachel several months ago when I fell down the yoga portal of Instagram. You know the one I’m talking about…you see a cool pose, that leads to a video and all of the sudden you think you can do a handstand, right? Well somewhere along that journey down they yoga rabbit hole I came across Rachel.  Her clean photos, intentional videos and palpable happiness jumped off the screen and made me want to follow!  It only seemed natural to ask her to be a part of my 52 inspirational women of this year!  This is my interview with Rachel! 

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Rachel, a 26 year old yogi, lives in the woods outside of Portland, Maine with her boyfriend Drew and their dog!  Rachel splits her time between bar tending at a brewing company, teaching a few private yoga sessions with friends and family and working on a ski mountain.  She keeps things very simple!  When she gets home, she and Drew devote their evenings to their yoga practice and lots of crafting.  She’s in bed by 8pm in order to get up at 3:45am to head to the mountain and do it all over again.  As she’s getting up at 3:45am instead of saying “Ugh I have to go to work today I say ‘I get to….’ ”  This is just the beginning of what you will learn about Rachel.  Her intentionality and charisma kept me on the edge of my seat!  I kept wanting to say “YES! TOTALLY!!”  This girl packs an inspiring punch in that little body and I’m thrilled to share more of it with you!

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As Rachel described her life to me, there were nuggets of wisdom and self awareness that I’ve never really heard from someone.  I actually had to stop and ask how old she was because I was so blown away!  For example, she has a note on the side of her bed that says:  

GOOD MORNING!

Express gratitude

Set intentions

Take 5 deep breaths

Smile

Forgive myself from the mistakes I made yesterday

You see why I immediately fell in love with this girl!  “If I start may day with a clear head and forgiveness towards myself I can help more people and that makes the world a happier place.”  She can’t get over the joy of living another day sometimes!  She knows each day is a total blessing and she is going to take full advantage of that!    

That little snippet of Rachel today shows you how huge her heart is!  But let’s rewind to show you where she began!  Her journey all started when she went away to college at UMO.  She found herself in a toxic relationship, was treated like an outsider and as a result, got caught up in the party scene.  There was a long time there where she simply wasn’t taking care of herself.  It was out of self preservation that she started staying in her dorm room and in that dorm room, the Rachel I spoke with started to form.  “I became my best friend in that room. I realized I was a good person and I wanted to protect the core of me. I owed it to myself to be nicer to that person.”

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That realization was really the beginning.  In efforts to remove more toxic situations around her she left the gym where she was over exercising, self conscious, and more concerned about what other people were doing.  She took it back to her dorm room where she began her yoga practice.  Excuse the cheesy metaphor I’m about to drop, but I believe her dorm room was the cocoon that allowed Rachel to grow and blossom into the incredible woman she is today.  Her yoga practice became her outlet and having grown up with no religion this became her own “spirituality.”  She finally wanted to take care of herself.  So in this little dorm room she morphed into the stunning yoga beauty you see today.  “I’m not this body, I’m what lives within this body.”  And with an incredible amount of introspection and clarity she started treating her body with respect and kindness.  

Her growth didn’t stop here.  She kept a journal all throughout this process and continues to do so today.  “I have about 30 journals…I save stuff.  Maybe it’s a weird deep seeded fear that I will forget my life later” she says with a little laugh.  But through the process of journaling she was able to hear the way she thought of herself.  “I started feeling shameful for what I was reading” referring to the negative things she had written.  “I was embarrassed for how I was treating myself.” By removing the toxic relationships around her and being open to her own transformation, she soon realized that there was an inherent goodness within her and that she would not find the love she deserved until she loved herself.

“Not loving yourself does more damage to YOU than anyone else” she said as she revealed how she held onto this part of her past and didn’t share with Drew for the longest time.  “Self acceptance is always going to be a work in progress…everything is fluctuating…it’s a wave…always.  But as long as you make the ride fun, thats all that matters!”  I couldn’t help but be in awe of this girl.  College is not easy.  Our bodies are changing, we are introduced to parties, different foods, later nights, and we have the freedom to do whatever we want. That can lead to weight gain, being outrageously self conscious and turning to the wrong things for comfort. “For so long it was me against everyone else. I cared so much about what everyone else was doing.”  

This was 100% me in college. Can you relate? I cared way too much about what I thought others were thinking of me that I treated myself the way I thought I should based on this weird reality I created.  For me, this realization didn’t come until my 30s.  And from time to time I still find myself doing that! Maybe you can relate to this….You know that moment when you put yourself out there, send someone a message, and get crickets in return.  We come up with a scenario that is enveloped in negativity only to find out the person hasn’t even read the message or were just late to respond.  They have no problems or issues they just didn’t respond when we thought they should so as a result we crate this terrible scenario in our heads.  It’s crazy!  Why do we do that to ourselves?  As we talked about this for a bit she said “What’s that one saying?” as she refers to the quote that says: “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”  And that’s Rachel.  She simply blooms. 

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I asked if she had any remaining self-limiting beliefs or thing she continues to struggle with?  “I can sometimes beat myself up over things that happened the day prior.”  We all do it, we go out with friends and we eat too much and drink too much.  We feel like crap the next day.  “I make a point every morning to just let go of what happened because it doesn’t really matter today.”  She’s right!  It doesn’t matter at all!  We can’t change it or reverse it so it’s pointless to send ourselves down the shame spiral of yesterday’s guilt.  

Additionally she fell pray to the concept of “I’m only one person.”  “I always wanted to change the world.”  However, once she got older that concept was so overwhelming she gave up on believing she could make any measurable impact.  “How can one person possibly do that or even start that?”  she continued.  Feeling small, she started to minimize her dreams and goals.  She started to live more “realistically.”  She graduated with a degree in Anthropology “which I’ll never use” she says laughing.  But once she got out of her own way she saw that each person has their own unique contributions they can bring to the table.  “If everyone contributes in some small way…big things can happen” she believes.  And I do too!

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I asked what her dream life would look like?  “I would love to live in a tiny home. You know, the cute efficient homes!”  Big homes freak her out.  The smaller the better for Rachel!  She would love to live in another country for a while.  But her number one is to be with Drew.  To live in the woods, grow a family, cook delicious food, and do yoga.  “All I wants is to be smiling every day.”

Before we got off the phone she shared her top tips to the person reading this right now:

  1. Don’t take life too seriously.  Think about something that you’re getting stressed about and ask yourself what this concept will look like in a week, a month, a year?  Is it really worth the stress you’re putting your body through now?
  2. Show gratitude.  Be grateful for everything you’re given.  Blow your own mind and be in awe of whats around you!
  3. Let go so you can make space to bring in.  Its not until you really release and let go that you’re able to fully bring in what someone else has to offer you.
  4. Acknowledge that your journey is different than everyone else’s.  Be grateful that your path is different!  Your path will wind in different ways and they may touch each other at just the right moment.

She continues on by sharing that “our veil of perception is totally normal because we’ve accumulated it our whole lives and it’s really hard to see through it sometimes.  But when you can break through the perception, you can see people for who they are and for what life is.”  JAW ON THE FLOOR!  It’s so true - our reality is only what we perceive it to be.  That means we have a choice in how we shape our reality.  There are many times we think we are victims of our circumstances and we allow ourselves to float along in life.  But when we make the effort to see through that veil or even lift the veil, we are allowed to dictate our own reality.  What an amazing image and reminder from Rachel.  

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Her wisdom was beyond me and I asked for her to share a few more words to the woman who is trying to get started.  She shares that “there is nothing more sacred than you and your spirit.  But if you’re feeling low there is a reason.  And you’re the only one who can really fix that.  Believing in yourself, your capabilities, and your potential is the first step.  You deserve this.  You should be your own best friend.”  

Interviewing Rachel was like a mirror for me.  She’s been through the tough moments in life, she’s said the mean things to herself and she’s compared herself to those around her.  However, it was her inner strength and deep desire for something better that carried her through.  Her eloquent descriptions of mastering her mind and her gentle reminder of how simple the process can be if you let go, was not only refreshing but a reminder to never stop working on myself.  I feel like the world is a better place with Rachel in it.  She might just be “one person” but her impact on this planet will be felt by many.  

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Thank you for taking the time to read my 2nd of 52 inspiring women!  Please feel free to share your comments, feelings and send this to a friend you think would benefit from reading this!  If you want me to interview someone you find incredibly inspiring, I would be truly honored to meet them!  This is a journey that has no parameters or rules!  Let’s have fun with it and continue to spread the message of empowerment, love and kindness - to ourselves and others!

You can find this incredible spirit on Instagram at @WildMeYogi.  

You’ll see her wild adventures, epic hikes, fairy tale love, homemade skin care line and her deep passion for life!  

xo

Becky