i have something important to say
We resonate with Lauren Lovatt.
Lauren is a freelance chef and entrepreneur. Her culinary creations, sourced from Earth's natural ingredients, are NEXT LEVEL! She's also an inspiring advocate for mental health issues and shares anecdotes that amount to an overall recipe for happiness and wellbeing through her campaign 'Feed Your Mind Candy'.
It’s also worth mentioning here that Lauren has suffered immense tragedy in life involving her boyfriend's suicide and a battle with an eating disorder.
I have been following @lauren_lovatt for some time and LOVE her work! Whilst I have never met her in person (and I would love to collab with her one day) we have connected on Instagram and I feel like we resonate on so many levels; mainly our love of plant-based foods and our past experiences of mental health issues. I recently read her blog post ‘This one’s important’ and I wanted to share some of the inspiration that I found there.
Lauren wrote the article whilst ‘living the life’ in California, 'surrounded by amazing people, places, and experiencing all sorts amazing things’. The external appearance of her life could most definitely have been a ‘comparison trigger’, inducing envy on so many levels, and yet she writes; 'although my life may all seem sunshine and roses, things don’t just go away. Old habits can be hard to leave behind and although I now certainly know how to manage my issues and cope with triggers, there are times when old issues are uprooted’.
speaking up: embracing our vulnerability - our scars - our shame
'It's always so hard to speak out and find the words to say what you are feeling, but when you have something to say it's important to say it; for yourself and everyone around you.'
We must speak up against the #positivevibesonly trend. Denying and hiding negative feelings, our struggles, and the ugly shit that life has a tendency to sometimes throw at us leads to disconnection and further suffering when life isn’t going so well. If we come to only open ourselves up for connection to the good, the positive, then when life takes a different (undesired) turn we can feel unsupported and alone. Authentic connection to our human experience means accepting that vulnerability is an unavoidable reality of life (as are many other challenging emotions) and they arise along our journeys to test us; they encourage personal growth and can actually foster greater resonance - connection - to life, to our sense of self and to others.
Despite how hard it may feel we must speak up. This may mean sharing a post online that is a raw and honest reflection of where you are at, or maybe it’s being open about why we are cancelling on our friends. When I was in the midst of my depression I would arrange a meet up with friends, knowing that it would ‘do me good’, the day would arrive and I would lie about why I could no longer make it rather than explaining that 'today is a struggle for me and even just getting up out of bed seems like an insurmountable challenge’. Who knows what new levels of resonance and connection you could open up with others and this kind of honest, meaningful connection transforms our lives. You’ll inevitably 'win some and lose some' - some people might not get it and that’s fine, but by opening yourself up and through the sharing of your reality you’ll help both yourself and many others who perhaps haven’t had the courage to be honest about their feelings.
Even now I catch myself before speaking up about mental health issues and my own experiences of them. It’s hard to find the words to describe how it feels. It feels very physical - like a choking, a block at the back of the throat. I know that speaking up about my past and sharing my experiences will help others and yet something often tries to stop me. I think it’s shame on some level. It tries to convince me that no one is listening and even they were then no one cares what I have to share. It’s utter bullshit of course but it surfaces nonetheless and so I completely resonate with Lauren’s courageous attitude - even though it feels hard and we struggle to put our message into words for fear that they'll do our story and the stories of others disservice, WE MUST SPEAK UP. Not only is it a form of personal catharsis and it helps others to feel supported and lets them know that they are not alone. Most magical of all, it creates connections that celebrate all that has helped to shape us. Success is often enriched by, and forged from, difficulty and challenge, and when we share our stories we help to inspire others who in the present moment cannot fathom turning their lives around.
The importance of gratitude as a wellbeing practice
Lauren writes, 'I wasn't going to post this on here, thinking this site should be more of a chef portfolio, but the only reason I'm able to do what I'm doing now is because past experiences have driven me forward.’
I completely resonate with her mindset centred on gratitude towards all of the tragedy and pain that she has experienced and how it has enabled her to grow as a woman. I too feel like immense pain is akin to a rite of passage into womanhood; a womanhood that feels and resonates deeply with all that life has to offer.
I am grateful for having experienced a breakdown in my mid-twenties. Don’t get me wrong, when I think back to memories from that time they can still feel raw and painful. The power they have over me now is of a very different nature but they still claim some of my heart space. Being able to voluntarily tap into this source of former pain provides a means for resonance with others who are struggling to see light and hope further along their journey. It means that I can feel deeply - the pain but even more so the joy, gratitude, and beauty that exists in everyday life.
The vulnerability that I now experience when thinking about my depression and former mental health struggles is no longer an all consuming sense of shame and hopelessness - it’s a kind of vulnerability that shines a light on how strong I have become because of those challenges and of how empowered I now am as a connected woman. In hindsight I feel so much gratitude for my suffering because it’s helped to shape me into the woman that I am now proud to be. And most of all I am grateful because ‘the only reason I'm able to do what I'm doing now is because past experiences have driven me forward’. My past pain has provided a means for deep and meaningful connection with others, it’s revealed my purpose (being a container for others to pause, reconnect, and then go on to realise their dreams) and, because of it and all of the lessons that I have learned along the way, I can now say that I love what I do - I am in love with life.