In 1997 CJ found the courage to leave an unhealthy and unhappy marriage that lasted 17 painful years. She was a newly single mom raising five girls (four of whom were teenagers!) The kids were angry because of the divorce and constantly fighting between themselves, both physically and verbally, as well as with her.
CJ faced several challenges as she returned to the workforce: she had started her family instead of finishing college, and as a stay-at-home mom while married, she hadn’t worked outside the home for many years. Her earning options were therefore limited, and she was stuck in low paying jobs that sucked her dry physically and emotionally. Juggling finances, fear of getting sick and missing work, and lack of health insurance all contributed to her stress.
Then disaster hit – CJ was in a series of 3 car accidents over an eighteen-month period. Because she lacked health insurance, getting proper care was an added financial stressor. Shoulder, neck and back pain became a daily reminder of her lack of a good paying job, one that would include health insurance. All of these factors led to a constant struggle with low self-esteem: CJ found herself filled with anger, self-loathing, doubt, and fear. She was in a negative downward spiral, and had no clue of how to effectively reverse her life into a more positive direction.
Searching for solutions, CJ started paying attention to the people she knew who were happy with their lives. These weren’t rich people who “had it all” – these were everyday people who were happy, seemed to have purpose, and maintained a positive outlook on life. The common thread she discovered was that these people were committed to personal growth and self-awareness. They took workshops, they read books, they kept journals, and they walked the path of ongoing self-discovery. They didn’t allow any obstacle – even lack of time or money – to stop them on their quest to improve themselves. Somehow, they always found a way to keep going. CJ committed herself to joining them on that path of discovery, optimism, and growth.
At first, she feared that her limited finances and the chaos of shared custody would be too much to juggle, especially when it came to paying for and attending the personal growth workshops and classes that she was drawn to. Then one day someone quoted Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: “Whatever we put our attention on will grow stronger in our life.” CJ found that when she focused her attention on her personal growth, opportunities magically arose that allowed her to manage her time and money in a way that allowed her to keep moving forward.
CJ’s journey as a single mom learning to love herself was at times challenging and terrifying, yet surprisingly also exhilarating. As she opened up to new ideas and actively searched for ways to do life differently, she was introduced to amazing people, teachings and modalities. These, in turn, ultimately led her to healing her physical body, her emotional pain, and her relationships – with her daughters, with ex-husband, and most importantly, with herself.
CJ waited a couple of years after she divorced before she started dating, because she realized she wanted to make some personal changes and understand herself better first. She really didn’t want to attract the same kind of man again! When she was ready, CJ then embarked on the period in her life she laughingly refers to as her “serial dating frenzy.” She would date someone for a few weeks then stop, for whatever reason. She kept thinking “surely I’ve done enough personal work that I can find love and get on with my life.”
Looking back, it became clear to her that there were a couple of reasons why it was taking so long for her to find her new love. About eight years into being single, CJ began questioning why love and relationship was eluding her. In the quiet moments of meditation the answer came to her: “You are showing your daughters the importance of being a strong, independent woman – one who doesn’t choose a life partner from fear, but rather from a happy and confident place.” This understanding helped CJ to stop the “serial dating game” and move into a place of acceptance and peace. She shifted her focus from finding love to finding her passion and purpose. By making that shift, she opened herself to being available for the kind of relationship she was truly looking for. Within a year, she had met her now husband and has the loving, supportive partnership she has always wanted!
CJ learned how to release her toxic past, create healthy relationships, set and maintain strong boundaries, and live a life of joy. It hasn’t been easy, it didn’t happen overnight, and wasn’t exactly what she expected! At the end of the day, however, she can honestly say it was worth every effort. “Before my journey,” CJ notes, “I was constantly worried about how I could set my daughters up for greater success and happiness in life. It turns out that the best way to do that was leading by example.” This was highlighted by her daughters commenting on more than one occasion that “our lives and our relationships got better when mom started doing all her weird personal growth stuff.” Hearing this and recognizing that her transformation has had such a profound impact upon her kids is the cherry on top of CJ’s joyful sundae!
During her quest for knowledge and healing, CJ completed hundreds of hours of training and much ongoing personal work. She attended the Self-Awareness Weekend in 2009, with the intention to become a SAW facilitator. She freely admits that, because of all her previous work, she didn’t expect to gain much from that experience. However, her SAW weekend helped her to face fears she didn’t realize had been holding her back! CJ was also able to release a lot of anger and resentment and finally put an end to her past co-dependent tendencies.
Today, in addition to co-leading the Self-Awareness Weekend, CJ works with people who are overwhelmed, overworked, and under-appreciated. Most of her clients have tried traditional solutions and have not gotten the results they needed. Using the very modalities CJ used for her own healing and studied over the years, she now transforms the lives of others. She loves working with powerful-but-exhausted men and women and setting them on the path to regaining their balance and re-discovering their passion for life. CJ says: “It makes my heart sing when I can visibly see the transformation and empowerment happening, as I help them un-load their past baggage and claim their powerful voices. I absolutely love seeing their truth finally honored, their spark re-kindled, and their passion ignited.
CJ's offerings on Bridges
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