Jonathan T.

My trip to Kripalu helped me find self-love during the darkest time of my life.

From September of 2018 to January of 2019, I hit rock bottom. I lost my father to diabetes, failed at a relationship with a woman I dearly loved, moved to a new city, started a new job that required weekly travel, and tried to sell my house from afar. The stress I endured, physically, mentally, and emotionally, compounded and slowly broke me.

My personality changed. I went from spontaneous to apprehensive. Energized to exhausted. Happy to sad. I had trouble thinking and controlling my emotions, and I realize how a few big decisions seemed very uncharacteristic of me. The trauma changed the neuroplasticity of my brain, causing me to develop more negative thought patterns in order to keep me safe. I constantly felt like I lived in a world of crisis, jumped to conclusions, and personalized things. Just not me. Thankfully, I found Maria Sirois' course at Kripalu, Finding Happiness After Loss, and learned how to use positivity to persevere. 

One method we practiced was identifying our six top character strengths, and remembering how to lean on them during the hardest of times. I identified Discipline as one of my six, and I lean on it hard every day. Following my time at Kripalu, I literally looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself if I were strong as I thought. I wasn't. I was weak. So I started a routine of waking up every morning at 5:00 am, running six miles, and banging out weights for an hour. I have done this every day for six months. I haven't felt this good in a long time.

Also, because of my discipline, I created more time in my day to handle life's challenges, and have grown exponentially. My love of running helped me finish my first-ever 26.2-mile race, in the New York City Marathon, raising close to $4,000 for the American Heart Association. I also setup a fund, the Loc Hoang Truong Fellowship, to honor my dad at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

I'm the fittest that I've ever been. I'm excelling at work. My personal life seems in order. But most importantly, Maria taught me the most invaluable lesson of all: self-love. And I love myself even more with each passing sunrise (which I have caught every day). 

Before arriving at Kripalu, I despised my "woe is me" attitude. Today, I embrace my new life mantra: "Try me." So despite the seeming Everest of hardships I endured these past several months, I have come out of my own personal hell as an unbreakable, tenacious, and overflow-of-love badass. I never knew I could feel this fantastic or inspire so many others to keep on fighting. 

Thanks, Maria. You're the best.