The First Step Toward Liberation and Living Your Purpose

life on purpose

What sets your heart on fire?

What is your biggest wish for the world?

What is your greatest hope for those that you love?

What is the passion that you couldn’t ever really squash even if you tried?

Look into your heart and let the answer come forth. No editing or playing small or discrediting yourself. Just answer honestly – for yourself.

Now, ask yourself this: What do you spend the majority of your time thinking about?

It is my hope that everyone can step fully and fearlessly into their true power and potential.

It is my wish for the world that each and every person can create a life for themselves informed and inspired by their pasts but in no way defined by them.

I work toward being this change in the world every day through my mentoring, yoga teaching, writing and speaking.

I hope that all people in recovery from eating disorders and addictions can come to a place in which they are no longer bound by their struggles or their recovery plans – that they can find true healthy freedom in themselves and in their lives.

The yoga teachings show that this is possible. That liberation, while living our lives, is possible. The Sanskrit for such is Jiva = individual soul and Mukta = liberation.

I deeply believe this and put it into action on a daily basis, but it wasn’t always so.

For a long time I hid from myself behind the mask of an eating disorder. After a decade of full recovery I found that in many more subtle ways I was still hiding from myself.

I was enrolling in college classes to fit into the mold I thought I was supposed to comply to while knowing that the traditional education model wasn’t for me and that in all honesty it was an escape from moving forward and expanding in my own way. I thought it would make my parents happy and that if I could just get a degree that my massive student loan debt wouldn’t be in vain.

I was bouncing between trying to be a devoted student and teacher of my yoga lineage and searching out my own style of studying and learning. I was clinging to my teacher’s approval instead of rocking the boat and setting my own course.

I was looking outside of myself instead of looking in and wondering why I felt so disconnected from myself and my passions.

Over time I uncovered so many ways in which I was vacillating between following the rules and rebelling until I became aware that my actions in following were out of line with my own inner guidance, moral compass, or desired vision of myself and the world.

I would follow along until I realized that I was “doing it again” and then I would cut and run. For a long time I would run right into another situation where I would repeat essentially the same pattern.

My role would remain largely same although it was a new teacher, a new college, a new relationship, a new job.

New outside experience, same internal misalignment.

I needed a path to follow because I was too scared to create my own. Although it’s taken many years to admit that.

I am not sure if  I was afraid that I wasn’t enough or if it was because I was afraid that I may be too much. I am leaning towards the latter.

I have heard so many other people share their similar stories with me that it breaks my heart.

Now my first question to many of those who come to me for mentoring is “What would you rather spend your time thinking about and acting on?”

Never once has anyone answered me with wanting to continue thinking about food, body image, drugs or alcohol.

We only have so much mental and emotional bandwidth. We only have so many hours in the day and we never know how many days we will have.

Once we know what we are passionate about and what we would like our purpose to be we can start getting brave enough to move forward in thoughts and action.

We can be the change we want to see in our own lives and in the world.

Regardless, what it comes down to is that I spent a huge amount of time thinking about things and taking actions that did not fit with my passion or purpose.

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  1. says: Adri

    Yes, passion is essential but I have no time to think about it when food is the only thing I’m focused on 🙁

    1. says: Katie Ashley

      Adri, I understand. Start with little things. A favorite song, a favorite color to wear, a favorite street to drive down – look for joy somewhere. Start to notice the times that you feel “tuned in” like you know what you are doing or could do it for hours.

      For me, examples now are teaching yoga, snuggling with my son, and hulahooping on the beach. In early recovery it was drawing, sitting on the beach, and going to see live music.

      I didn’t start with a big passion or one that was even clearly “my passion.” Instead, it was just tiny microscopic moments of feeling “connected” or being happy. Eventually, by focusing on the more and more I began to focus on food less and less.

      Good luck. I would love to hear about your journey. Let me know what you discover!

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