Why did I share my deepest, darkest secret about doing crystal meth at the height of my fitness career to stay thin at any cost?
Because one thing I have learned after teaching intenSati for so many years is that, as Brené Brown teaches, shame cannot survive being spoken.
For years when I was a leader in the fitness industry with packed classes, sponsorships by big name brands, and the largest paycheck of fitness instructors in New York City, I was miserable because I was hiding a dark secret. I was hiding the fact that I was binging and purging and using drugs to annihilate my hunger and achieve the thin ideal I was constantly chasing.
When I started to teach intenSati, it was a gift to myself. I was spiritually bankrupt; a zombie of a person, disconnected from my own feelings.
If you have ever been to an intenSati class, you know that it begins like a yoga class with a dharma talk, and in my version of this talk, I had one rule: say whatever it was that I didn’t want anyone to know. My only goal was to share something my ego would rather have me hide. What I realized was that by sharing my story in a loving community, I was breaking free from the shame addict mindset that had me believe what the ego said: that something I am, have done or have experienced makes me unworthy of love and belonging.
What had caused me to become spiritually bankrupt was my intense fear of being seen for who I truly was and therefore I was constantly hiding myself. When I faced this fear of being honestly known and telling the truth, I began to heal.
It is fulfilling to be able to show up in life fully, transparently and vulnerably; and I attribute that to being in a community where you and I are committed to sharing with each other on that level. Once I experienced the incredible healing from just showing up fully and authentically with my friends, I was empowered to do it everywhere in my life.
If you are feeling spiritually bankrupt, or like a shame addict where you simply feel like you can’t get out of a downward spiral, remember that shame is the source of our destructive and hurtful behaviors. Find someone you can trust and open up. When you share yourself, your fears, your story with others and open your heart, you too will begin to heal.
In my healing from this shame addiction, I have realized that it was never about the “perfect body” I was chasing in the first place. It was my fear of not being enough exactly as I am.