ABOUT ME - DR T - The Long Version
I am a writer, and writers write. This is the story of the last three years of my life and how this website came to be. It's not short, it doesn't fit the typical webpage, and that's the way it is. I have spent too much time trying to fit my "square peg self into a tiny round hole." I'm not doing it anymore. After all, it was you who clicked the "long version" button that brought you here.....
In 2017 I made the painful and difficult decision to resign my assistant professorship at Bastyr University, and to return to my roots… Chicago. After three years teaching and before that five years earning my PhD, I was burned out, riddled with anxiety, suffering from depression, and far from home, isolated from family and friends. I landed at my mom's place in the suburbs of Chicago and hibernated for five months.
My annual physical woke me up: I was heavier than I’d ever been, suffering from high cholesterol, gastric reflux, elevated blood sugar, and worse, I felt like crap. Reading the doctor's report shocked me into action. Within a week I decided to see if I could stay off meds by making the same lifestyle changes I had suggested to my students. I drew on everything I knew, from fitness to food to self-compassion, scoured the depths of my soul, and began to heal.
I spent most of 2018 re-learning how to care for myself – exercising, eating, connecting to my spirit, socializing with friends, creating art, writing, and cooking. I learned how to eat a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet and how to prepare this food in ways that never left me missing animal products, sugar, oil, or salt.
As I healed I began to contemplate my future, and I knew, as I always had known, that I wanted to start a business to help women become well, but this time I also knew I was ready to do more than dream… I was ready to act. I began to create a business model to guide women toward discovering the joy of wellness. A retreat from the Center for Courage and Renewal helped crystallize my ideas and upon returning home, housesitting on the beachfront in Chicago reminded me that if I approached this project from a place of love, I could not fail.
By spring 2019 I was ready to return to the only place that felt like home - Rogers Park; I wanted to surround myself with kindred spirits… my people, friends I knew and loved. I was walking distance to the beach, and amazingly, within a mile of a labyrinth! I could feed my soul whenever I wanted, whichever direction I walked. I rediscovered my community, full of diversity, artists, people who held a strong belief in social equity and justice for all and built new connections that nurtured and sustained me.
Still, I struggled to create my right livelihood. I tested out ideas and strategies for helping women, all the while not quite realizing I was also trying out different arrangements of my own 6 selves, full of passion for so many seemingly disconnected things- cooking art, writing, teaching, spirituality - it seemed a monotone jigsaw puzzle without borders. But in September, the fog lifted during the Women's Business Development Center’s annual conference.
Someone asked me what my company did, and I replied, “It's a women's wellness collective designed to help women see the power of being well in multiple dimensions.” The words came out of my mouth, but I could not say where they came from. Suddenly I envisioned a tribe of women dedicated to creating joy through wellness, for both themselves and their communities, and then carrying that message forward as ripples in a pond to grow the tribe and help heal the world one whole, well woman at a time.
Re-energized, I worked feverishly on my business plan. That fall, the last piece of the puzzle came one night as my friend Erica and I made art, drank wine, listened to fabulous chick music, and just enjoyed being together. She said something that triggered the concept of the six selves, exactly what it was I cannot say, but the idea danced in my mind, and the transition from “dimensions of wellness” to the six selves was complete. I set up my The Whole Wellness Project, LLC in December and held my first event, a retreat, Leap Forward, Land with Love on February 29th, 2020. Then came COVID.
I cried, I wrote, I thought- for weeks, then months. Finally, I realized it was OK. Because I saw the call was bigger than me helping women in my community. The call was to reach women across the nation and beyond to create a bigger tribe because the problems of this world are monumental. I got to work creating this website, from scratch, on my own, and I re-imagined my business virtually, the possibility of reaching out and touching more lives was too exciting to be afraid of. This has been a labor of love and touches my six selves in a kaleidoscopic way I could not have imagined; I’m using all of myself and serving the world in a way that feels right.
I hope there is something here for you, something good, something that puts joy in your heart and connects you to the wonders of living a whole life! Here's to you, here's to me, here's to all the women in my life and yours!