A Vulnerable Story About Hitting Rock Bottom & Finding My Purpose

I was called to step into leadership from a young age. As captain of my soccer and cross-country teams, I always loved exploring how to inspire and empower others to their greatest potential.  When my dad passed away when I was 17, however, I pulled back into a cocoon of safety and isolation. In an attempt to experience control over my life, I pushed away friends and community and fell deep into the grip of an eating disorder.  The more out of alignment I became with my life purpose and my potential, the more my health deteriorated.  I struggled with PCOS, adrenal fatigue, severe anxiety and depression and medicated myself into a numb state of apathy and acquiescence.  Without trust in the basic goodness of life, my strategy was to simply survive, control, and do my best to protect myself against uncertainty.

I was at home from college one weekend, alone in my mom’s home and in the darkest depths of my eating disorder.  I became incredibly aware that I no longer wanted to live.  Not like this.  I knew in that moment that something had to change.

Something shifted that day. I could feel the yearning to live again deep in my bones.  I was ready to break out of the small existence that I had crafted in fear.  I decided I would take a year off of college and travel to South America with the money I had saved up from summer work.  I researched volunteer opportunities, hostels, and the logistics around climbing Aconcagua – the highest peak in both the Western and Southern Hemisphere. And then I bought a one-way ticket.

I was allowing myself to choose something different, even when that was met with doubt and disapproval by my loved ones.  Without the support of my family, I was given the opportunity to truly take a stand for my own life. Because deep down I sensed unrealized potentials that beckoned me to the unknown.  I deeply desired to contribute more authentically with the gifts I was given, and to live more fully in a way that felt like my own. And while I didn’t actually know what that path was, I was developing the skills of listening to my intuition and following my heart.

My year of climbing, exploring, and volunteering in South America created an opening in the darkness.  I returned to the states with more self-responsibility and a commitment to do what it took to heal and awaken to the joy that was available to me in each moment. 

Over the 13 years that followed, I immersed myself in the healing arts. Each degree and certification I acquired felt like just a piece of the puzzle. I was picking up hints and breadcrumbs.  I was honing my skills and cultivating qualities that I would need for what awaited me.  Each step, invaluable. Each part of the journey, indispensable and necessary for my growth and evolution.  Along the way, I healed my eating disorder and the painful relationship I had with my body.  I healed the PCOS, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, and depression. I uprooted disempowering beliefs, moved energetic blocks, and nurtured my connection and trust in Divine Guidance and the overall goodness of life.

And yet, I was growing weary and hopeless about finding the work I was meant to do. But I couldn’t - I wouldn’t - settle.  I could taste the kind of work that I wanted to do in the world – deep, spiritual, integrative, holistic, transformational, and healing.  But I struggled to find the platform.  I worked for beautiful organizations doing work that ultimately didn’t allow me to operate in my zone of genius.  And I worked in my zone of genius for organizations that stood for beautiful things but were deeply flawed and lacking in their leadership.

I prayed for guidance for weeks around quitting my job and going full-time in my business, and when I felt it in my heart, I took the leap before the net appeared.  What happened was incredible.  In the month after I gave my final notice, my practice filled with ease and grace.  Soul-mate clients found me in magical, unexpected, and often mysterious ways.

I could finally bring all of my gifts to the table.  Being multi-passionate wasn’t my flaw anymore – it was my superpower! My work as a massage therapist, yoga teacher, nutritionist, and eating disorder counselor all molded me into being a powerful space holder for deep healing and transformation.  My purpose, my passion was helping other women find their purpose, lead with presence, and heal their mind, body & spirit to fully access their authentic power in the world.

What I discovered along the way, was that my life path and my life purpose are one and the same. Instead of life being a linear path up a mountain, it’s more like a traverse of peaks and valleys.  There are leaps of faith requiring great courage, trust, and a surrender to the unknown; there are painful times of transition and loss in which I can sense unrealized potentials asking me to overcome a new threshold, re-commit to myself, unfurl a bit more, and say yes to life in a bigger way.

And I’m still dancing, still finding my way alongside my brave-hearted clients who have made the courageous commitment to feel more, be more, awaken more, and live more. To choose their soul’s yearning over their fears. 

Being a leader has become more about becoming the conscious creator of my own life – being the change, embodying my values and purpose, and holding power with presence.  Our dreams and desires will not be magically fulfilled.  We need to take the stand, make the commitment, do the work, follow the light, and TRUST.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” (Anaïs Nin)

Jessie Kuehn1 Comment