Our hope is that open and honest conversation will allow for those involved to have a deeper understanding of others within our shared community. Please read through our available book topics below.
Not All In My Head
You may not suspect just by looking at me that I am living with a mental health condition, but that doesn't mean it's all in my head. Mental illness is as real as any physical injury or illness, but misconceptions and stigma still surround it today. My passion for mental health advocacy didn't begin until I needed support from those living with mental health conditions just as I was diagnosed with. Through my journey of living with depression, anxiety, and recovering from an eating disorder, I'll share how working through these struggles has helped me become the mental health advocate and artist I am today. My hope is by sharing my story I can continue to fight the stigma about mental illness and help others living with a mental health condition. This story is not a tragedy. It is one of connection. It is one of hope. You are not alone.
Victim to Victorious
I spent most of my childhood living in a home of mental/emotional and mostly physical abuse. I was raped by my stepfather at the age of 14. I moved away to a huge city knowing no one and the abuse continued until I left home at 16 with one bag and nowhere to go. I got mixed up into a life of sex and drugs and became an active hard addict for 15+ years. I went to rehab in August 2013 and have been clean ever since! I am a true testament that you have the choice in life: either let your circumstances DEFINE who you are and who you want to become or let them DRIVE you to greater heights!! It’s my true mission, passion and calling to share my story with the world in hopes that I can help someone else’s wounds with my scars.
I'm a Canadian, and America is now my sixth country of residence. I've also lived in Australia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait and Germany as a student, an international educator, and finally as a homemaker. Each place has taught me a little more about my own cultural background and challenged what I thought I knew about each region of the world I've lived in. I've had to overcome language barriers, learning beginner Russian and German (I didn't have much luck mastering Arabic) and also cultural expectations traveling as a single woman.
Nearly 3.3 million Muslims in the United States are often stereotyped as an extremist minority. The fact is that the overwhelming yet silent majority of Muslims share similar beliefs and ethics in their daily lives, as the two other monotheistic religions. I enjoy sharing my life as a Muslim in America with others who want to learn more.
I’m a gestational carrier, or gestational surrogate. I carried for a family previously, and delivered their child in July of 2016. I’m am currently pursuing another surrogacy. I love to inform and educate people on this topic, and to help dispel misconceptions about the process.
Living a Waste Free Life
Have you ever considered how long it takes objects to break down in the landfill or come to terms with the fact that all plastic items are eventually destined with the landfill? Two years ago I fully internalized the global problems of waste and plastic pollution. Inspired by the examples of Bea Johnson and Lauren Singer, I began to aspire to live a zero waste lifestyle. Is aspiring to zero waste easy? No. Do friends and family in my life embrace the change with open arms? Not exactly. Does it feel good to live according to your convictions? Absolutely! I hope you'll join me. It would be wonderful to share my zero waste adventure with you.
Freelance Contemplative & Mindfulness Coach
Mindfulness changed my life, but I try not to make a big deal about it. It won't solve all your problems, but it can lead to feeling more at home in the messiness of real life. I went on my first silent meditation retreat in 2002 and have maintained a daily practice ever since. I use what people already know about physical fitness to help them exercise their attention — an idea I explored in my TEDxColumbus Talk: Don't Try to Be Mindful.
Changing careers in midlife is a challenge and an opportunity. Being well-informed in many areas is critical for your success. If possible, arrange a sabbatical from your present career to help you decide. Explore your talents, write down your thoughts, and do your research!