A confession: I've been going through a lot of changes as a person these last few months.
Part of it stems from finishing my 5th and 6th books The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living and Happy Herbivore Holidays & Gatherings (out next month and this November).
When I signed my first book contract, I had no idea what would happen... would that be it? One book turned into a contract for two more, and then three more for a total of 6.
For years my fate was decided. I was going to be working on and writing books, and working on and writing books I did.
Finishing up my contractual obligations has been very bitter sweet for me. I'm very proud of the work I did, the work YOU did, the work and progress we made together in bringing health and plant eating to the masses.
I love all six of my books in ways words could never describe. I feel at peace, complete. I feel that I gave these books my everything -- my all -- and that I left no stone unturned.
I'm not saying I'm quitting or retiring (I'd miss you too much!), but having this sort of freedom.. having the chance to "choose my own adventure" again, has been a wonderful time for reflection and change.
Happy Herbivore has grown with me, and later apart from me, since we started together in 2006. I'm not THE happy herbivore anymore... I'm not a one-woman show. Happy Herbivore is a community, and legally, a corporation. I like to think happy herbivore has become something inside all of us. She's more than me... she's you.
I've had my joys and sorrows, but no regrets, and above all I have been thankful for every day, every step in this journey.
Thank you, a thousand thank yous, because without you, I wouldn't be here.
I wrote this on Facebook on Wednesday (read the comments here, and here. It's worth the scan -- so many brave souls!).
I have had depression... I have OCD and barely slide into the "functionality" side of that scale. Mental illness is not shame. Everyday I'm in light is a reminder of the darkness, and that the darkness is not my fear. You can be a millionaire and be different. You can be successful and be broken. My OCD gave me wings. I just had to learn how to live in a world of people that had brains different from mine. Your specialness is a gift. Dare to be different. Let the light in. and don't be ashamed for any of it. Imperfection is perfection. I love you. YOU HELPED ME FIND PEACE. You saved me from my self. good night, good luck!
I have blogged about my depression before, and with your support, then explained why I was depressed in the first place. I recount some of this in more detail (and how I came out of it) in my book, Zen Life.
I've also blogged about having OCD (and all the anxiety that comes with it).
The short story: Happy Herbivore grew out of that dark time in my life.
Photo credit: Ricardo Serpa 2012
What you may not know is I have been depressed (again) since. Some psychologists call it Founders Depression, and it's a nice way of saying that sometimes success is the worst thing that can happen to a person.
I still can't explain it. Despite all my success, and everything I should have been and was thankful for, I laid on the floor crying, and wondered if it would be better if my life just ended.
I had chronic insomnia. Panic attacks.
Scott (my husband) would ask me why I was freaking out, what happened? But nothing had happened to me. Nothing that I could justify my behaviors with.
Sales weren't down. My employees weren't quitting. Trolls didn't attack me on the internet (that day)... and yet, I was hyperventilating with anxiety.
I finally had a big "a ha" moment last month. I was snowboarding (of all moments and places) when I pulled over, sat down, and started sobbing. (This is how depression works). I hated myself for crying when I was living the dream. I was snowboarding on a Tuesday, on a three week vacation with my husband and dogs, hello! Get a grip!
And then I stopped crying and started laughing hysterically (this is also how depression works) because I suddenly realized why I was depressed, why my OCD and anxiety were off the chart (and that no amount of snowboarding would fix it).
I realized there was this certain thing in my life that made me miserable and sad, and OCD-crazy (and then anxious and finally depressed) and it was writing cookbooks. It wasn't the act of writing (I love that part... I love creating recipes for you) it was working with my publisher.
All the other work I do did not negatively effect me in this way. I love writing meal plans. I love answering emails. Facebook, Twitter, writing blog posts, making videos, speaking at conferences, and so forth... but even seeing an email from my publisher pop up in my inbox would send me into a visceral panic attack.
To be certain, I don't want to throw them completely under the bus. I have my complaints, and I'm sure they do too. Yet I believe that relationships can be toxic, and it's no-one's fault. (I talk a lot about this in Zen Life, Oil and water vs. peas and carrots).
The opportunity to "choose my own adventure" sent me on a soul safari.
And now, as you may have guessed, my life and Happy Herbivore are evolving.
Going all the way back to the beginning, taking a deep breath, and examining the story board called my life, I realized that at the core I just want to help people. I've always just wanted to help people...
I want YOU to live better in all the ways you can. I want you to be happy, healthy and fulfilled.
I want to do whatever I can to get you there. Even if it means sharing the most painful moments of my life, like my battle with depression... because if I can get out, you can get out. We can get each other out.
You saved me. Happy Herbivore saved me. Two times. I'm ready to pay it forward, pay it back, pay it in hugs. Love + Gratitude.
And so THIS is the evolution and future of me/Happy Herbivore.
I want to start a beautiful (r)evolution.
I'm redesigning happyherbivore.com (as well as getmealplans.com) in the coming months to help you live better and succeed in every facet of your life...
I'm going to have all sorts of free tutorials and videos, live sessions with me and other coaches to help improve your health, change what's on your plate, enhance your career, follow your passion, declutter + organize your home...
More deets coming soon, but to kick off this (r)evolution
AND to kick off this Spring:
I invite you to join me in the "Spring into Health" 28-Day challenge!
I will personally email you each day with tips + motivation, and be here for you by email for support. Joining the challenge is totally *free*. To sign-up, go here.
SO let's start LIVING BETTER.
Free badges -- grab them!
Get daily tips + email motivation from me. Totally free! You got this!
Sign up here.
*This a challenge to live better in all the ways you can -- eat better, sleep better, be more positive, whatever your goals are. It's about success, not rules!*
A Challenge is also always more fun with friends, so encourage your friends and family to participate and sign-up for the 28-day challenge as well!