I used to hate myself.

Seriously. It’s true.

How’s that for an introduction?

A colleague recently called me the ‘guru of joy.’ I was a little taken aback by that because for nearly ALL my life, joyful would have been the last word I’d use to describe myself.

Funny and sarcastic, definitely. But joyful? No chance.

Because if you really knew me, you’d know that I had a very unsettled and challenging childhood. Looking back, it’s fair to say I grew up in an emotionally and psychologically unsafe environment.

If you really knew me, you’d know it was me sporting that blue mohawk and combat boots in high school. I never felt like I belonged anywhere, especially at home and at school.

I was angry. Raging, actually. I was pissed off at: Apartheid. Racism. World hunger. Hypocrisy. Animal abuse. Child abuse. Yuppies!

As a teenager, I could very clearly see that the adult world was F-ed up as hell and all those stupid systems that so-called adults worshipped weren’t working.

I was also angry at the systems within my family that I couldn’t escape. Alcoholism. Codependency. Emotional instability. Divorce. I felt powerless and I freakin’ hated it.

Which is why I ran away from home. A few times. And then I graduated high school a year early and ran away legit from the ‘burbs of NYC to find my wings in the City of Angels (LA).

Only I didn’t find wings or angels (though mad props to my own team of guardian angels, without whom I’d be dead 5 times over by now).

Instead, a naïve 17-year-old on scholarship at Occidental College found a deep and pervasive insecurity. I found confusion and a profound sense of not-belonging that traveled with me. And hallelujah, in East LA I found self-destruction on a whole new scale.

But somehow, year over year, despite many bad decisions and downright scary choices, I managed to not die (or end up in jail).

The anger got pushed waaaaaayyy deep down in there, and I began to chill out. I was becoming one of those so-called adults. I dropped out of college nearly as many times as I restarted, but finally got a Bachelors of Fine Art degree at 30.

But through it all the self-loathing persisted. My self-talk was a disaster and I was stuck in perfectionism, which, for an artist is really easy to pass off as “keen attention to detail and craft.”

I was terrified that at some point everyone would find out that I was a hack.

(Just like they found out I was a country bumpkin after moving from rural hippie New Mexico to just outside of New York City when I was 11. Yep, a kid straight up asked me on the school bus if I was a hick. Was it the hand-me-down Wranglers that gave me away? Or my homegrown bowl haircut?)

I never felt talented enough, smart enough, and certainly not pedigreed enough. I doubted everything I did. And of course, I had body issues, even though I look back now on a super svelte, lean, gorgeous bod and just shake my head in wonder.

And because of that not-enoughness, I over-gave, I over-promised, and I sold myself short. For yeeeeaaaarrrsss.

Which was the perfect recipe for disaster. Like clockwork, my life fell apart as soon as I turned 40.

I thought eating right and daily walking was good enough self-care to counteract the daily poison I was feeding myself in the way of self-doubt, self-deprecation and a firmly entrenched belief that I was a high holy piece of shit.

My adrenals thought otherwise, however, and my hormones crashed and burned. I was a mess on the floor for a looonnng time. (Literally on the floor crying, alone, asking God/Spirit/Universe to either heal me or end this suffering.)

I was too ashamed to ask for help and too unworthy to spend money to hire alternative medical doctors. Stuck doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.

I tried to mask it, but every day I wanted to die. And every day, a barely audible voice said, “Just get through today.”

It took awhile (because I’m super stubborn and thought I had to go it alone – that was my shame with a jigger of internalized white supremacy talking, by the way), but I finally worked with a few folks who got my physical self stabilized.

But it wasn’t until I received energy healing that things started to really shift for me. I had been in therapy on and off for many years, but it was the energy healing that began to heal my abandonment complex and my own worthiness wound.

It can take time to break habits and patterns that don’t serve you, but considering how long I was stuck in limiting patterns, with hindsight I can see now just how quickly my experience began to change.

I had been walking around with a broken heart all my life. No one modeled healthy self-esteem, much less self-love. My worthiness wound made me feel like I was wrong and bad my whole life. No matter how hard I tried to be good or perfect, I could never measure up.

It’s ironic, and then not ironic at all, that I am now guiding others to heal their own worthiness wounds and to embrace and accept all aspects of themselves.

I am so grateful that I crashed and burned because it meant I was able (forced, actually) to create a life for myself that lights me up and fulfills me at a very deep level. A life where joy shines through all my cracks.

In order for me to heal, I had to get it deep into my bones what it means to practice radical self-acceptance, radical self-compassion and radical self-love.

In that very dark period of crying on the floor (aka surrender), I was getting a ‘reorg’ by Spirit. I was downloading and processing a whole new paradigm that was necessary for me to transform my life.

This experience ultimately led to the creation of my signature program, Born To Flourish. I was guided to a framework to help other women heal their trauma and learn to love themselves so they could create lives they really loved, too.

And I didn’t know it when I first launched Born To Flourish that my clients would ultimately create everything they wanted (aka manifest like a mofo) once they healed past trauma and learned to radically love and accept themselves as well.

And so we come full circle to that angry teenager. I’m still angry at the world (but in an empowering way now). Because the world will tell you that you are meaningless unless you consume, unless you have a societally acceptable job, spouse, family, car, etc (which we all internalize subconsciously).

And it’s all a lie. Because you are enough. You matter. You are whole. And you are worthy to receive everything you want, simply by the fact of your birth.

If you are reading this far, you also have a soul’s longing to experience true emotional freedom and the satisfaction that comes from living your soul’s purpose.

And all of that is not only possible for you, Raul, but it is yours to embrace and embody. It is actually why you are here.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you for receiving this story. If any of this resonates with you, I’d love to hear about it. And I want you to know how honored I am to be with you on this journey.

Big Love and Transformation,

P.S. If you really knew me, you’d also know that my good friend and step-father recently died and I am here writing to you in part because he had the awareness and courage to name the gifts he saw in me. We honor our ancestors (and we become better ancestors) by showing up fully for our soul’s journey. ♥️ ♥️ ♥️

P.P.S. If this resonates because your own past is keeping you stuck in pain and isolation and you KNOW more joy is waiting for you, I invite you to apply for a complimentary Fear To Freedom Breakthrough Call with me. We’ll deep dive together and I’ll share three personalized recommendations to get you out of fear, doubt and stuckness so you can create a life of joy, purpose and belonging. A life you really love.