You have to go through those mountains and valleys – because that’s what life is: soul growth

I have learned to honour the emotions that pulse through me and to give myself what I need when I need it. My mental health is a top priority of mine and I have created a life free from alcohol that was built little by little with each personal milestone.

I truthfully spend a lot of time taking good care of myself and in turn, other areas of my life flourish. It turns out that a well-balanced Christina really is a good thing for everyone and everything. I overcame the guilt I had about taking time for myself when results started pouring in.

I choose to surround myself with people who are dedicated to a passion or have a great interest and hobby in their life and those who are actively working towards creating the best life possible for themselves. I recently met a real-life woman who is sober, just like me. I accentuate “real-life” because in my day to day life I do not know another woman who has chosen to be sober from alcohol. I know that many of us exist online on forums and groups. It is refreshing and uplifting to be surrounded by like-minded people.

The mindfulness that I have learned to acknowledge really began last year when I attended Prairie Love Yoga Festival. I had the opportunity to learn fascinating skills that I took off my mat and into my daily life. I was a little nervous to attend because I only dabble in yoga when the mood strikes and my flexibility is not what it used to be. I learned that yoga is much more than physical though. The mental component struck a chord in me and I feel like I have soared.

I attended again this year and left with a rejuvenated mindset on what I need to do to accomplish my goals. It has been neat to take part in a community event that is focused on wellness beyond the physical and to learn from people who have dedicated their lives to their craft.

I had the opportunity to take part in workshops led by Ally Maz last year and this year. She is passionate about real talk and the healing power of yoga. I am eagerly anticipating her first book that will be published next year.

This year holds a special sweetness for me. I decided that I would conquer mental, physical, and personal feats using my version of success. Only I can define what success looks like for me. I am focused and I do what is important to me.

My wish to hike or camp is often fulfilled every weekend. The trail allows me to dust off the week before me and to mentally prepare for the week ahead of me. Since June I have had some mind-opening experiences on the trail and I believe they have transformed my way of thinking through different perspectives.

  • Hiking solo overnight on Mantario Trail
  • Experiencing both heart break and redemption on Hunt Lake Trail
  • I carried everything I needed on my back to survive on Appalachian Trail and I smelled so bad. Living without deodorant and squeezing through a narrow aisle next to people while I was in a store resupplying was a humbling experience.
  • Asha and I reclaimed our space together out on the trail and I refuse to live with “what if?” dread because of other people’s off-leash dog decisions

There will always be something that will try to throw me off my good-game, like the dormant depression, ever lingering anxiety, or a curve-ball from every day life. What I know is that I have learned some fantastic tools to help me and keep me steady.

Dierks Bentley’s The Mountain:

Well you better know the bottom if you wanna be a climber
‘Cause there’s always another one a little bit higher
Just when I think I’m finally done I’m staring at another one
So I reach down deep and I lace ’em up tighter

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