“No experience really goes wasted. A true understanding is to see the events of life this way. You are here for my benefit, though rumor paints you otherwise and everything is turned to one’s advantage when he greets a situation like this. You are the very thing I was looking for. Truly whatever arises in life is the right material to bring about your growth and the growth of those around you. Everything contains a special purpose and a hidden blessing. What then could be strange or arduous when all of life is here to greet you like an old and faithful friend.” 

~Marcus Aurelius

Every day (if we are lucky) we wake up, get up out of bed and go about our days. We have to keep going to bed, sleep and get rest in order to wake up again and again. We all know this.

What I’ve recently discovered though is that we also need to be woken up again and again while we are physically awake, living our lives day to day.

Recently, I got a big wake up call when I lost three of my main modeling clients and therefore the majority of my income. In the process, I realized I was placing so much of my self worth in my career, and whether or not clients validated me by booking me for their print campaigns.

I translated losing clients to not being worthy enough as a model or person. Yikes!

Working through these issues literally woke me up. I truly understood not just intellectually, but now energetically and emotionally that our self worth comes ONLY from the inside—nothing outside of ourselves can ever give us the joy and validation we seek and desire.

This perspective shift, which is what a miracle is, saved my life, and I thought because I had been woken up, I awake and good to go.

Then on October 26th, 2015, one of the most important people in my life, jumped off a bridge in Pasadena, committing suicide out of blue, coming as a complete shock to us all. Nothing could ever prepare me for the debilitating sadness, anger, confusion and grief that would accompany the days, weeks and months that followed.

While talking to a mentor about my depression and the grieving process, she looked at me and said, “This is all happening to wake you up.”

Wake me up? But I’m already awake! I’m wide awake!

She said, “We have to keep waking up again and again. We must keep waking up if we want to grow.”

It wasn’t easy, but slowly I began to see that there are spiritual lessons in our traumas—gifts, if you will, in the form of deeper self love, care, respect, creativity, power and purpose.

In my pain, I have found spiritual lessons, and have been given the tools to help improve the lives of others (as well as my own) by talking and writing about my experiences and creating a community of like-minded individuals to share their stories, heal, grow and wake up!

I have found deeper meaning to the pain, and have developed an even stronger faith in myself and the Universe. I see how everything is perfect, and happening for me and my highest good, not the good of my ego. I trust in that, even when it seems impossible to do so.

I appreciate my life in a profound new way, feeling truly grateful when I wake up every morning to another day where I can choose to be and create whatever I desire.

I have been forced to look at my life, and redefine my definitions of success and self worth.

For me, it is the quality of my relationships, most notably the one with myself. It is peace of mind, being gentle with myself and others, having a kind heart even when it is challenging. It is living every day with courage, confidence, authenticity, vulnerability and joy. It is looking in the mirror and being proud of the gorgeously flawed woman staring back at me, because if nothing else, I am brave enough to be myself.

Now that is a gift!

How do you define success and self worth? I’d love to hear from you!