Meet OBI student Wendy Kimball

Feb 17, 2022

My Journey to Self 

The overwhelming gratitude began earlier this week when a photograph came up in the “Memories” section of my phone. It was a picture of a wonderful group of people who invited me to join them at their dinner table on a volunteer cruise to the Dominican Republic that I took exactly five years ago. 

I was traveling by myself by design. Don’t get me wrong—there were many who wanted to join me on this amazing trip, and many more whom I wanted to invite. If I took this trip today, my invitation list would be long and would include my friends, my family, and my breathwork-facilitator-training classmates and teachers. Who wouldn’t love taking a small-boat cruise with 700 people who are all passionate about travel, giving back, and deep self-exploration? These were my people, but this cruise was vastly different from others I had taken in the past. It was not about other people this time—it was about me. 

No one knows what to expect when a self-journey begins. No one knows where they are headed or where they will end up. That was the case for me when I booked this trip. At the time, I did not know that this was the beginning of my journey to self. What I did know was that something was very broken inside of me. I was not in alignment. I was not in balance. I was not myself. Where had I gone?

I was so burnt out and overworked at my job that I found myself numbing to escape (using food, the internet, tv, my phone, and daydreaming about a different, better future). My body was fighting back against the stress with tight shoulders, hips, and back. At night, I would clench my jaw and grind my teeth. Often, I did not sleep very much, thinking about all of the deadlines that were approaching, emails I had to read and respond to, and all of the meeting preparation and coordination I had to do. I felt anxious every morning as I headed out the door to a job that no longer fulfilled me. (I enjoyed many of the people, but not the work.) I kept telling everyone that I was “fine” even though clearly, I was not. I was there for others, but not for myself. These were all signs and signals that it was time for a change, a shift, and serious healing. 

This cruise was a turning point for me. It gave me the time and space I desperately needed to think, to explore… to breathe. To find out what was broken and in need of healing. 

Today, I celebrate and have gratitude for the messy, amazing, hard, courageous, and transformative journey I have taken so far. This journey to self has led me to a job that aligns with my true self and gives me the opportunity to empower others on their individual journeys. Along the way, I have received many tools, insights, challenges, knowledge, roadblocks, teachers, wisdom, mentors, and the support from home and across the world that I needed to continue this journey.

Over the last five years, I have accomplished, healed, learned, and unlearned so much. I feel so much healthier than I did five years ago, so much more my true self. Although I am not used to celebrating myself, especially with others, here goes. Here are some of the many highlights of my journey thus far:

  • Deciding to take this above-mentioned volunteer cruise to help those living in the Dominican Republic, and fully participating in the self-growth and self-awareness workshops on board.
  • Negotiating a six-month leave-of-absence from a leadership position with local government to relax, heal, unwind, volunteer, learn, and travel.
  • Retiring with grace from a 27-year career to create a wellness business (Nurtured Growth) that encourages and empowers others to heal from stress, tension, and trauma.
  • Following my heart and getting certified in coaching and TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises) after witnessing how much these modalities helped me and others.
  • Volunteering at home and abroad (planting seedlings, clearing non-indigenous plants, cleaning up beaches, building coral nurseries, working at a women’s co-op, packing fresh produce for distribution to the elderly, etc.).
  • Traveling and learning from and about people and cultures around the world in places like Thailand, Galapagos Islands, Honduras, and Belize.
  • Being open to healing, forgiving myself and others, showing my true emotions, growing, and trying new things (even when it was super hard and outside of my comfort zone, like drafting this article).
  • Speaking my truth and asking for help (this is a work in progress).
  • Following my intuition to the most wonderful and beautiful places like One Breath Institute and its incredible breathwork-facilitator program.
  • Losing 40 plus pounds (and counting) in the last year or so.

As you can imagine, my life is very different these days. I am much more balanced, aligned, and happy. I wake up each morning anxiety-free. For the most part, I am able to create and schedule my days. I still have work to do, but I make myself a priority, making time for exercise, relaxation, dancing, breathing, TRE, special time with loved ones, traveling, and learning. As for my body, it is no longer having to fight the stress, so most of the aches and pains have faded away. And now, when someone asks me how I am, I no longer give them a stock answer. I tell them how I really feel and most times that is way better than “fine.”

I have learned the importance of looking back and appreciating how far I have come. Thank you for listening and celebrating with me. Take some time today to celebrate and have gratitude for your own amazing journey to self.  

Wendy Kimball, owner of Nurtured Growth

Transformational Coach

TRE Provider

[email protected]

*Since publication of this blog, Wendy is now a certified Trauma-Informed Breathwork Facilitator.  Learn more about Wendy and book a session with her here.



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