What is Alive and Well?
By Cissy Brady-Rogers
When I began offering health coaching groups for women with food and body conflicts 10 years ago, “Alive and Well” emerged as a title that embodied the long range goal for participants: to be alive and well in their bodies by building a trusting, respectful, cooperative relationship with themselves. At the beginning of each group I clarified that Alive and Well wasn’t a weight loss program:
“I don’t guarantee you’ll lose weight. You may even gain weight. But, I trust that after 10 weeks of immersing yourself in this new way of relating to food and your body, you’ll be a bit kinder, gentler and hopefully more appreciative of your body’s amazing capacity to shelter and carry your goodness amidst the challenges of life.”
The impact of the program varied from woman to woman. Being “alive and well” is different for each of us, because we are all unique. For all of us, it’s about finding increasing freedom and empowerment to trust ourselves. It’s about loving and enjoying being Beloved daughters of God who focus our energy on more important things than the number on the scale or keeping up with the Kardashians.
For women, like Kristen, an artist, mother and leader in her faith community, being alive and well is about changing long standing, self-defeating ways of being in their lives—especially around food and their body. “I had no idea how not having boundaries was literally eating me up and weighing me down. By doing what others asked, wanted or expected I was sacrificing MYSELF and what a terrible loss that is! By getting in the habit of checking in with myself first and letting go of people pleasing I have a new freedom. I feel freer from compulsive eating and especially from self-loathing. It was much easier than I thought it would be…I really thought people would be mad at me, or stop being my friend, but the opposite is true. I have friends that are more loving and less abusive today. My family too is treating me as well as I treat myself.”
For other women, like Lisa, a psychotherapist raised in a very conservative church, it’s about finding their voice and self-authority: “Alive and Well awakened me to both my body and my soul. It challenged the rigid thinking I was raised with. It put words to what I’d felt but didn’t know how to express. I was empowered to make my own choices and extend grace to myself.”
The overwhelming outcome from my offerings over the past 10 years is embodied in Jourdan Turner’s summary of particpant responses to an event she organized for her community at First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood: “The women are clamoring for more!”
In response to that need, together with a gifted board of directors, I launched “Alive and Well Women” as a nonprofit organization to help as many women as possible discover their own version of being alive and well. Through workshops, trainings and subsidizing costs for those with financial constraints, we hope to bring the healing power of compassionate community to a diverse group of women. We believe that investing in these women will transform their lives and empower them to be agents of change in their families and communities
Our blog highlights the voices of our leadership team as well as community members. We tell our stories of being alive and well, of failing, succeeding, struggling, waiting, listening, learning, growing, changing, refusing to change, losing our way and getting back on track when we find it. Most of all, we speak from our hearts and tell our truth, just as we are!
We look forward to sharing our lives with one another and our visitors. Perhaps someday, you’ll share your story here too.
Cissy Brady-Rogers and Lisa Pileggi
Alive and Well Women Board of Directors