Over the last several weeks, I have found myself carrying extra stress. I’m sure you can imagine, and I’m sure you can relate. Here’s the thing, as a woman with a degree in psychology and as a yogi, I have figured out how to manage and eliminate the side effects of stress quite well. I understand that when we put expectations on ourselves or others, it builds our stress output.

Think about this: You are a young woman who enjoys playing basketball with the guys; you love the competition and have fun. All is good, no stress. Well, then some of the girlfriends of the guys show up and they start rumors and attack you for trying to take their men. Or, conversely, the guys start picking you last when their girlfriends are around. When this happens, one can build stress in a few different ways. We can stick our middle finger up, keep playing or even find a new place to play. We can also begin to judge ourselves because of the judgement from others. Is what I’m wearing a problem? Maybe I shouldn’t talk to the guys. Maybe I shouldn’t play with the guys. How do I get the girlfriends to like me? All of these new thoughts are not part of who this young woman is, but she began allowing the judgements of others to define her and to shape how she speaks and acts.

This is one way that we take on stress, often unknowingly. Well, in the last month or so, I started getting in my own head. I started thinking that I wasn’t enough because others have been on the judgement piece. I started editing my words and actions so that I could manage how others would react to me. And of course, that began to physically manifest in nausea and sleepiness. Yikes! What a trail to travel. I DO NOT recommend it. *The only way out is to remind yourself daily of your worth. And if you don’t know your worth, reach out. I’ll help you see it!

One beauty I have realized is that we as humans are potential energy. As we stand today, we have all of the energy and drive inside to become whatever it is that we want to become, if we decide that we can actually become it and we do the work to achieve it. Often the greatest battle is not with others, but with our own inner demons. As a woman on the growth path, I have been slaying dragons this week! When I have to address my own doubt, I take a break to breathe, to come back to center and find my truth once again.

I firmly believe that our personal truth is the pillar that we stand on. And when we step off the pillar of our truth because others don’t see it, it is vital to our drive and path to stop and re-center. So what is my truth that I had to come back to?

I am a woman with a simple dream. My dream is that all my neighbors, friends and family can live in a society that is supportive and intelligently governed. (I did say simple, not easy) I grew up studying other cultures, learning about ancient civilizations, and finding the greater truths offered by those great ones who came before. I learned about Einstein, Tesla, Curie, Earhart, Lincoln, King, and more. All of the people I admire have used their intellect and their heart’s desire to serve humanity. And frankly, there is nothing more I desire than to serve humanity.

I’ve never been excited about flashy new things or brand name clothing. Instead, I’ve always been driven through life by service to others. Along the way, I studied and observed. I took in the world around me, building the pillar under me as I learned with each lesson.

For example, I worked in many underserved communities and found that justice is part of my pillar on which I stand. By experiencing the difficulties of having to jump through hoops to get grant money just to serve lunch to children, I found that the systems were not always just. That really bothered me. And while I didn’t stick around and continue serving in that particular community, I did take the lesson with me. I took that injustice I saw and I stood on the truth that justice is vital to community survival.

As I witness the media and all the unhappy people attacking really wonderful human beings for every little mistake they make, it’s disappointing and it’s stressful. It’s disappointing to see who we have become as a society when we no longer value kindness, generosity and community. Instead we value fame, fortune and pain.

And in my last few weeks of coming back to center, I have found new value. What I know is that when the world is darkest, it is important for people like myself to shine our light to the world. I am an example of a flawed human being who has a dream and is willing to do the very hard work to achieve it. Will I be president? I think so, but that’s not the point. The point is that by shining my light and being my authentic self, I am lighting the flame for others around me. For all of those who do not feel comfortable with the way things are in our country, for all of my brothers and sisters who are afraid to wave your flag of difference because it hurts to be attacked, and for all of those with a bright light within, I am here to spark your flame.

May my dream spark your dream. May my light guide you toward your inner light. You are here for a reason. You have purpose. And I ask you to hold on. Keep working toward your dream. Keep your light alive. Cheers to learning, growing and becoming all that we are meant to be.