I get to meet women from a diverse background living boldly and changing the stereo-typically norms in how they achieved success despite the obstacles they've endured. In 2016, we are launching the B.I.G. Series a series of interviews highlighting innovative and bold women that include articles and photos stories on their journey and their beauty rituals.
First up is Jennifer Racioppi, a health and success coach guiding women on how to to gain clarity, understand the importance in listening to their body and using their inner voice to find their power to help overcome setbacks and obstacles to succeed in both their personal and professional life. Let's get started.
What started it all? I suffered as a teenager from really difficult menstrual cycles. By the time I turned twenty I survived gynecological cancer. This launched me on a journey to find great health.
Can you talk about your journey waking up in the hospital, where you are now and the 3 lessons that you learned from the journey.
Sure. My journey with cancer began in 1997, so that was a very long time ago. However, I will always remember the day I woke up in the hospital after my radical hysterectomy and itchy from morphine. My doctor entered my room to give me my first dose of estrogen replacement, and instructed me that I will need to take it every single day for the next 30 years.
Woah. It took me a couple of years to really understand the side effects of this surgery. While my immediate infertility was obvious, I didn’t understand that the night of my hysterectomy I went from being a 19 year old girl into a post menopausal woman. And I certainly wasn’t prepared for the vast array of symptoms I went through thereafter. 18 years later, I am loving life, feeling super healthy and so grateful for my journey-- even though my journey has been so ridiculously rough.
3 lessons I learned are to be first and foremost be your own expert. When I was growing up I knew things weren’t right with my reproductive system. I constantly went to the doctor asking for help and was consistently told I was a normal girl with normal hormonal balances and was prescribed birth control. My body did not do well on the pill. And yet, I was constantly prescribed different versions of it to see if my symptoms would get better. It wasn’t until I received my first cancer diagnosis that my symptoms were taken seriously. This taught me a huge lesson… To always be my own expert first. Nobody knows you better than you. Trust yourself.
The next big lesson I learned was to take risks. After my hysterectomy, my body went fully into shock. Nothing in my life felt normal. I felt like a shell of my former self, and I didn’t know who I was, let alone how to live. I found myself slipping into deep clinical depression. Fortunately though my spirit of adventure took over and I found myself traveling.
It started with a trip to Africa, then another to Europe. After both of those trips, I moved across the country to relocate in California where I lived for 7 years. I fully engaged outdoor activities, like swimming in the ocean, snowboarding, and hiking. I followed my bliss and this led to deep revelations and ultimately profound healing. Moving and travelling meant taking risks. Learning how to be comfortable in the midst of everything feeling so uncomfortable led me to new frontiers and beginnings.
Finally by learning to trust myself and allowing myself to take risks I found ease in following the natural rhythms of life. By engaging in authentic behaviors that resonated deeply with my soul and that challenged me profoundly I found and even deeper trust in myself and in my life. Finding this trust has been my deepest healing yet. I let things be natural and tuned into natural rhythms and cycles even more.
As women we are connected to the natural hormonal rhythms of our body. When we tune into them, and leverage them, they guide our lives. There’s an internal waning and waxing that directs our intuitive knowing and the sequencing of our lives.
When we tap into this, and really flow with it, we open up to our feminine power in a major way. I’ve learned through my health crisis and my professional life, that ignoring these rhythms as women not only dis-empowers us, but also complicates our ability to make progress in the external world too.
To that end, my coaching philosophy combines women’s health practices, positive psychology, success coaching with astrology… I believe all of these things are fundamentally connected. By looking at the full system of our body, in conjunction with amplifying our natural strengths, while simultaneously living in sync with our spiritual purpose and the cosmos, not only do we achieve more substantially in the world, but we build our resilience too. Building our resilience is key to making our dreams come true.
Our resilience is what allows us to deal with the many challenges of life without backing down or running away. It’s the most essential piece of create success. As women, our resilience is deeply influenced by our hormonal health. So we can’t ignore it. Further, we can’t stop there either.
Stepping into our power means, trusting ourselves to be our experts, learning how to take risks and simultaneously letting things flow naturally too. My coaching philosophy embodies the very components that helped me heal my life after cancer.
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