The common thread woven through my life experience has been the persistence of my remarkable spirit. As a child it was clear I was a sensitive soul. I would take comfort looking up at the moon in the night sky knowing that every person in the world saw the very same one. I would lay in a field of fresh cut grass apologizing to every blade for it being cut for our human pleasure. Being in the forest or by a body of water brought me a sense of wonderment and peace. I was a deep thinker and took great pleasure in exploring my world with a curious mind and an open heart.
By late childhood and adolescence I experienced family breakdown and maternal abandonment as well as other traumas and attachment wounds that left me feeling lonely, disconnected and heart-broken. My connection to my spirituality was replaced by a relentless pursuit of academic achievement; doing took top priority over being. Over time I felt lost and uprooted.
With the best of intentions, I immersed myself in positive psychology and the self-help movement believing that if I could just change my thoughts things would get better — if I could just work hard enough I would feel better. I devoured self-help books hoping with all hope that the next one would have the answer I was looking for. I studied a variety of healing modalities and became certified as a holistic health coach, but the more I studied the more disheartened I became. Anxiety and shame grew exponentially and, even with a toolbox full of tools, I felt powerless to change my experience.
Everything changed when I understood my challenges were a result of experiencing complex post-traumatic stress. With the support of a therapist, I began to understand that I needed a radically different approach. Rather than forcing change, I — albeit begrudgingly — started to develop skills to slow down and listen to the wisdom of my body and my spirit to uncover what I needed to heal. Developing a keen sense of my needs led me to a crossroads where I made the decision to address my relationship with food and my body head on; in order to embody my truth I had to admit I was struggling with an eating disorder and ask for help.
As I moved forward on my recovery journey I worked to strengthen my self-compassion and to see my behaviours as coping strategies that supported me through very trying times. It was clear that the behaviours were not serving my highest good and, with support, I consistently challenged myself to find healthy and nourishing ways to care for myself. Feeling the need to control my life through my eating disorder started to be replaced with practicing vulnerability and asking for help. Deprivation began to be replaced with nurturing and experiencing abundance. Slowly but steadily I began to trust that I was going to be okay.
Now, I consider myself recovered from the eating disorder - it is a small piece of my story and I can say with certainty it's chapter has come to an end. My journey of healthy embodiment has shifted to supporting nervous system resilience and embracing experiences of safety and trust within my own skin. To better serve my clients, I have expanded my skills and knowledge as a holistic health coach to include a greater understanding of disruptions to healthy embodiment and eating challenges. I endeavor to support women to reclaim a sense of agency with their bodies to foster a sense of appreciation and empowerment as we navigate a cultural landscape that objectifies the female body and hinges our social power on how closely we meet north american beauty ideals. Recovering self-trust and reclaiming our bodies as a site of agency and power opens us to our true potential as human beings and liberates us to make the unique contributions we are here to make.
I believe with new experiences, trusted friendships, empowering support and a willing spirit, recovery is possible.
If you would like to jump right in and gain knowledge and skills to empower you on your recovery journey, check out my free Body Liberation Book Club. Both online and in-person options are available, so you can participate wherever you are!
Thank you for taking the time to read my story and I invite you to connect with me through my blog or via social media below.
Certified Holistic Health Coach, Institute for Integrative Nutrition 2012
Student of Psychology, Current
What Others Are Saying:
"From the moment I met this woman, I knew that she had a voice that was meant to be heard... and when she speaks, even at a whisper, I hang on every word. Stacey is angelic grace in human form. She has a capacity for unconditional love, acceptance and compassion that I have never known in a fried. I am blessed to walk in this human world with such an angel. "
~ Amanda K
"Purity, honesty and grace are a few of the qualities that I experience in Stacey's presence."
~ Deanne R.
"Earthy, spirited, groundedness. Intelligent, fierce advocate for her children, knowledge seeker and intuitive. Quiet grace, a watcher/observer."
~ Karen H.
"Oh Stacey, you know things and see things about what it truly means to be human ... in all the beauty and brokenness that is human experience. We so need folks who can take this truth and turn it into love ... and you can. I know you can and I know you know it too."
~ Carol P.