Tag Archives: transformation

USHER arrives… pockets of thoughts.

Life in the fast lanes…


Sun In Bloom has undergone magical transformation.  If you have not experienced Sun In Bloom since our renovations, I encourage you to stop by to experience the delicious inspiring and creative space we’ve unveiled.  It’s everything I dreamed it would be.  With patience and hours of hard work and determination, I now walk into Sun In Bloom feeling that I’ve arrived home. It is a reflection of me and everything I always wanted you to experience.

We are all very proud of our work at Sun In Bloom and the gifts in return have been so fun.  Most recently, USHER walked into the restaurant to sit down for our weekend brunch. Yes! Usher. Humble and quiet at first, he soon felt at home, released his guard and expressed how much he was loving his experience.  His favorite food was clearly the Strawberry fudge cake.  Hands down my favorite dessert too!

And last weekend I attended the Vegetarian Food Festival at the Met Life Center to introduce Sun In Bloom to 3000 expected attendees over the course of two days.  We prepped all week leading up to this event and arrived with 3000+ gluten-free vegan cookie samples.  I had so much fun watching the delighted responses to our samples, especially children trying these delicious healthier cookie option and parents beside themselves with the bright-eyed happy responses they witnessed.  It was simply an energizing weekend.  We also raffled off a $50 gift certificate and after drawing a business card from over 200 that entered…the WINNER IS…..Jaclyn Barth.

We are so blessed to be here with this opportunity to be part of the change we hope to see in the world.  And it is all because of your support.  Always grateful.  Always thankful to all of you!

And here’s my most recent personal journal entry…

Can you imagine what a daily log would look like if you recorded every thought that passed through your conscious, but you chose not to speak or share because of an insecurity or doubt?

10 years ago I was diagnosed with systemic candida.  It explained my history of chronic fatigue, constant stomach aches, severe bloating, constipation, anxiety, depression, memory loss, and a serious sugar addiction.  And even after being diagnosed with something so damaging to every system in my body, I continued to maintain all of my unhealthy habits that supported the growth of yeast.  I just couldn’t find the strength to face everything this “dis-ease” was supporting me to hide from and somehow found comfort living in a heavy fog.

Eventually I did hit rock bottom.  And it was this fall that pushed me forward in my journey. 

Although my awareness for the importance of what foods I was choosing to nourish myself with became increasingly present in my thoughts, it was discovering Bikram yoga that nourished me with the strength I needed to begin deconstructing the walls I had surrounded myself with.
I sweated out years of abuse and faced my fears in the studio mirror every day.  The transformation was significant.  My light turned ON and it was so bright.  Just like a baby bird chipping away at it’s egg shell, every day I was chipping away at mine until eventually I stepped out from the dark into the light.  This moment I will never forget.
 
But as soon as I stepped out of my shell, my desire to shed layers I was clearly still withholding grew deeper.  Also, Candida continued to show up present in my blood stream.  This is when I turned to my choice to live a raw food lifestyle.  As soon as made this commitment, I began to cleanse at an even deeper level – on both physical and spiritual planes.  And the combination of practicing yoga daily and consuming beautiful organic live foods opened the curtain to a life of truly being ALIVE. Life became an exquisite show.
My experiences were extraordinary and I never imagined the possibility of falling down again.  But the reality of my story is that I have… I’ve fallen hard again.  And although my sabotaging habits are leaps and bounds “healthier” than those I was choosing 5-10 years ago, I’ve continued to live with a secret.
I am addicted to sugar. 

Definition of addiction: Physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects.

Since opening Sun In Bloom (2+ years), I have become 100% physically and mentally dependent on sugar (agave, dates, fruit, grains, rice, cookies, cupcakes, muffins) to support me in powering through my days and the loneliness I experience in holding up all of the responsibility of owning a restaurant.  
And although I drink green juice religiously and now very consistent with creating space for my yoga practice and gym routine, my secret is that I find every way to sneak sugar into my blood stream because my reality is that as soon as I inject, I can go another mile.

And in my quest for living the most full life possible being in alignment with my higher self, I am more aware than ever of the pocket of thoughts I hold onto.  They are my secrets.  Thoughts that enter into my consciousness and I hide them away because for whatever reason I do not have the courage to share them. I might feel self-conscious or that I need to protect someone from hurting their feelings.  The reasons for justifying why not to share are endless, but all stem from fear and insecurity.

So, here I am… making a commitment to a sugar-free lifestyle for the next 90 days.  No fruit or grains, dates or sweet treats of any kind and very low glycemic vegetables. Serendipitously I started started just 90 days before my next birthday.  Living my life again fully is the perfect prize to keep me motivated on this journey.  And if I can succeed, this will be the first time in 10 years since my diagnoses of candida that I’ll truly accomplish doing the anti-candida diet and on the path towards living an candida free lifestyle.  I just know the light is going to be brighter than anything I’ve ever experienced!

 

 

Day 31 – HOT Raw and Juicy Adventure… Did I say Sabotage? No, I meant to say…Opportunity!

As soon as I started to feel myself taking off for flight, life presented challenges.  Seriously, it was like I lifted off the runway only to then realize my gas tank was half full.  So, I had to touch down, put my wheels back on the runway, and turn around.

Due to the nature of how I started Sun In Bloom, with my piggy bank filled with pennies I had saved from teaching yoga classes over several years, if a Sun In Bloom team member calls in sick, it translates to me working a very long day.  Or, this is the story I’ve written based on my fear of the penny jar becoming empty.  So, last week, as I was entering my bliss in my 4th week of juice feasting, and was taking flight, a team member called in sick each day.  Which means, I am on my feet, without break, for 14 hours.

Looking back on all the chapters of my life, I believe it was working in the Emergency Room (ER) that led me on my meandering path seeking wellness. My body never adapted to the 12-hour graveyard shifts I worked 4-5 times a week.   And to cope I developed an addiction to sugar and caffeine.  You would never believe the quantities I ingested and how I’d find ways to inhale these chemicals.   I basically hooked myself up to an IV pumping caffeine and sugar directly into my blood stream.  Looking back, I can’t believe this was my life.

It was not long after I developed these habits that I started to feel very sick, tired, and depressed.  I constantly battled fatigue.  I was always constipated, bloated, and suffering from severe inflammation.  I stopped menstruating.  My body hurt and I was literally living in a fog.

My idealized dream of what it meant to be a doctor in our country was quickly tarnished when I sought help and was pushed around the medical system from doctor to doctor with no positive outcome.   As a result, I adapted to getting by in my life being “sick”.

Frustrated and disenchanted with my experience seeking help within our health-care system, I left behind all of my studies and hard work to go to medical school and decided to pursue my photography and passion for music.  And with the flip of a page, I changed the course of my destiny.  But, I was also living with a secret.  And my secret was that underneath my mask of charisma, success, and fun, I continued to struggle with my reality of feeling sick and tired every day.

I honestly forgot what being alive felt like and alcohol and drugs became the perfect prescription to numb me from the pain and support me to live the double life of being the charismatic, successful young woman I was, as well as the deeply depressed and lost girl I had become.  And with a little practice, working hard and playing hard quickly became my routine.

A couple years later, I had a life-changing experience with Michael Franti, an incredibly talented musician and human being who chooses to live a self-aware and conscious lifestyle.  A yoga session in his green room before a Red Rocks show changed my life.  The next day I started a daily Bikram Yoga practice. And within two weeks, I resigned from my dream job, called my Mom to ask for help, and one month later I packed up my sweet condo I had bought and renovated (thinking I’d spend my life in Colorado) and moved home to NY.  I just knew I had to make some big changes, but I had no idea where they would lead me.

My yoga practice sent me down this path in which I developed a deep sense of self-awareness and I believe it has been this self-awareness that ultimately changed the fabric of who I was choosing to be in my life.  My yoga practice saved my life.  For the first time since I had hit rock bottom working in the ER 5 years earlier, I tasted the experience of feeling alive.  And I wanted this to be my experience everyday!

After so many years of feeling sick and tired, I had honestly forgotten how it feels to be alive and what life can be when you are energized, clear and happy.  And then I discovered living foods.  This is when I exceeded all my expectations for what healthy living might feel like.  I opened up spiritually and tapped into an energy resource that was unbounded by the walls of fatigue and depression.  And as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I have no doubt, it was this space of pure potential that opened up the opportunity for me to manifest Sun In Bloom.

But, as soon as I approached this place of personal expansion with Sun In Bloom, I was working extreme hours unlike anything I had ever experienced and felt that everything came crashing down as I relapsed to my state of dis-ease that struck me when working in the ER.

I quickly dug a very deep hole called self-sabotage.

So, as soon as I found myself working 14 hours everyday this past week, an intense fear surfaced.  Is this what my life is going to look like again?  Why does this happen every time I’m just about to lift off this runway?  Is there any hope for me?  Or do I just have to accept I am stuck – this is my life now.  This is what it’s like when you are the head chef and owner of a restaurant.

We were short-handed with staff and I was unprepared for my juice feast.  I had run out of important supplements, did not have time to prepare as much juice as I needed, and did not believe I could fit in yoga or exercise into my 14 hour work day.

However, rather than completely folding in on my fear, something miraculous did happen – I stayed in action.  I posted an ad, interviewed several cooks, invited one to train, and trained my entire team to support me in areas of the business that depended completely on me.  But, I found myself in the situation where I needed to taste recipes.  And because I tasted recipes, I believed I had sabotaged my juice feast.

Yet, with perfect timing, a powerful conversation about self-sabotage with my dear friend showed me that this was simply a beautiful opportunity.

It was an opportunity to be gentle, kind, and loving towards myself.  It presented this perfect opportunity to let go of judgement or expectation for this journey to unfold with perfection.  It provided me with this opportunity to practice creating a new pattern in which I remove the actions of self-sabotage.

As soon as my chef returned Saturday, I jumped back into my yoga routine, prepped my juices and followed my body’s desire to continue juicing.  So, here I am, Day 31!

And I truly continue to feel more alive each day.  I feel closer to my essence.  And my story here is just like a child who falls.  She scrapes her knee, but with a quick wash, she is running through the field again, following her bliss.

Day 11: HOT Raw and Juicy Adventure… Releasing sabotaging beliefs.

Day 11: HOT Raw and Juicy Adventure.

Yes, life is an adventure! And the story we tell ourselves is the basis of our lives.

Over the past couple days, I’ve felt this powerful letting go of attachment to both how I identify myself and sabotaging beliefs.  It feels like the clouds are separating after a big storm and an awe inspiring light is beaming through; a mesmerizing light that captures only what is present and all fear, worries, and the chattering mind become still.

Clouds Light

Before opening Sun In Bloom, my identity was Aimee Follette, the Bikram Yoga teacher. Previous to teaching yoga, my identity was Aimee Follette, the publicist and marketing director for the Fox Theatre, a music venue in Boulder, Colorado. And prior to this identity, I was Aimee Follette the girl who was going to go to medical school and become a doctor.

In college, I was living multiple lives as I juggled my identities of being a talented art student, psychology student, 4.0 pre-med student, girlfriend to an extremely abusive boyfriend, domestic violence counselor, and secret addict on the side.  A dark multi-identity, I know -  not the woman I see myself as today.

High school was another confusing chapter. My parents and I clashed. They didn’t understand me; I did not understand them. We were all frustrated, angry and it was just a really sad era of my life as I tried to navigate my identity as a teenager, balancing my desire to be the “smart” girl and the “popular” girl. Being an over-achiever and wanting to be liked turned into a mega-mess.

Amazing moment captured of me in awe of my little sisters tiny fingers. I am 5 years old.

I am the eldest of 3 sisters. I can recall my parents telling me at seven years old that I was suppose to be the “good example” for my sisters. I always felt wrong. I was responsible for all of the bickering, fighting, conflict, and unhappiness in my family.

Growing up in Lexington, Massachusetts for the first 5 years of my life, we had a beautiful back yard that met up with 4 neighbor’s yards. My parents tell me I was visiting with neighbors from the time I could crawl.  And some of my fondest memories are with these people that I only knew in my earliest years of life.  I also remember imagining and wishing at this time that I had a different family. I wanted a perfect family with happy parents who acknowledged me and gave me attention and affection.  I wanted to feel loved.

Pictures capture a very different story! How could this little girl possibly feel unloved?

This is a story – a little girls interpretation of a series of events that she strung together to create the basis of her life.  And from my interpretations, I created a belief that my parents did not love me the way I wanted them to.  This led to complex insecurities that I’ve carried with me through out my life and that have played a large part in the story I’ve created.

My parents are amazing – the most intelligent, loving, and generous people I know.  I revere both my Mom and Dad for their individual talents and accomplishments in life as both parents and active members in society. And I feel gratitude every day to them for giving me life.

Our relationship today is a different story from the one I tell above. It’s the story of a girl with two perfect parents who love her very much.

Family dinner at Caravan of Dreams... look at all the orbs! Yes, we are truly happy.

As soon as I became conscious of my true identity, the essence of who I really am, I freed myself of the “baggage”.  It’s been amazing to experience life living out-loud, standing in my truth, and being me. Sharing my life without apprehension or fear that I am not living up to the “identity” I imagined my parents wanted me to have has opened up the possibility for me to experience a truly loving relationship with them.

But, when I opened Sun In Bloom, I relapsed back into insecurities, as I attached meaning to events, like the criticism, judgment and feedback I received from the public.  And as I allowed negative beliefs to take root in my body,  I succumbed to their power to cause dis-ease (in my case – hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, candida, chronic fatigue).

Breaking free of sabotaging beliefs can feel like you are taking on a massive war by yourself – you against a zillion powerless thoughts that consume your mind at every moment.  But as I became more aware that I was allowing these beliefs to control my life in every aspect, I listened to my gut and followed the calling I felt to juice for 60 days and take control for how I feel in my life.  Day 11, I can’t even begin to explain in words the love and courage I feel and how they overshadow the moments of fear I continue to experience.

Waking up on this rainy day was magic. My body, mind and spirit were equally energized. I drank 32 ounces of green juice, tacked my messy room and made it to my 10 AM yoga class.

Practicing Bikram Yoga has saved me at different points in my life and today’s practice was very special.  For the first time since I returned to my practice after being out of the room for nearly a year, I felt empowered as I looked into my reflection in the mirror.  My body felt strong and flexible.  Pre-cleanse, I’d have minor panic attacks looking at my reflection when I would see a body that was inflamed and tired.  My mind didn’t give up in eagle.  I went into the depth of the posture where I had left off two years ago.  My spirit felt happy, joyful, and love.  I’ve practiced nearly every day while drinking only fresh pressed organic juice, which is what my body has desired.  I know I want to experience my life having a mind-body connection.  It is in this space of connection when I am not only feeling optimal health, but I am happy.

Love is a powerful experience.  Detaching from the meaning we’ve given to events in our lives will make room for new beliefs and the possibility to create a story we want to tell the world.  And I dream everyone will allow him or herself to be vulnerable enough to feel love, see that events have no inherent meaning, and experience the story they truly want to live.

Love, Aimee

P.s. My Mom just informed me that my Dad is moving towards a vegan lifestyle. Amazing! I do not push my beliefs onto my parents. I only share my experiences and information. And my Mom is making green smoothies in the Vita Mix she gifted herself with the one she gave me as a birthday gift three years ago. If you read this Mom and Dad, I love you!