Cheryl’s Story: Finding joy by showing up

Many of us will never face the kind of challenge that Cheryl found herself up against, but it opened the door for her to discover mindfulness and mindful eating. Listen to the inspiring audio recording with Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD as she tells her story of finding joy by showing up for “what is.”

Cheryl, formerly an avid, competitive runner and rugby player, had lost the ability to walk (later found to be the result of Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder). As most people would, she struggled to accept what was happening to her. Desperate for relief from her “intolerable” circumstances, she was introduced to mindfulness. She crawled to her back yard, laid down in the grass, and was present for whatever showed up.

Beautiful woman laying down in the grassIn that moment, she experienced profound joy by simply “being.” “I always thought that happiness was what happened when you got what you wanted,” Cheryl explained. Up to that moment, she had believed “that things would not be OK until this was ‘fixed.'” However, through her mindfulness practices and acceptance, self-compassion, and curiosity, she discovered that joy was possible despite her difficult circumstance. Unexpectedly, the binge eating she had struggled with since age 13 also decreased, then eventually stopped!

Although she still has difficulty walking at times, she now has great appreciation – and even reverence – for something she used to take for granted. As a dietitian, nutritionist, and educator, Cheryl also brings mindfulness directly and indirectly into her relationships, including her relationship with food.

As you listen to this interview, did you think of struggles (large or small) in your own life that you’ve had difficulty coping with? Is it possible that showing up for whatever “is” will allow you to find joy in the present?

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