Knowing your passions is all part of your evolutionary journey in life. Why did your soul decide to come to this earth?
Let me take you on my whirlwind passion journey to see how I finally came to know my true passion and purpose in life.
Early on, I knew a bit about my gifts, but didn't quite realize they were gifts and what purpose they would serve until into my 40's. All my life felt very untraditional and off the beaten path, through both monumental and devastating events and things that have happened in my life. These are all the things that made me who I am today. All of which are parts of my ultimate success and path to wholeness.
I came into this world to my parents Leesa and Tim Gilmore. There was a 7 year age gap between them, my Dad (a Vietnam Veteran) age 27 and my Mom, who delivered me at age 21. My life started out experiencing a lot. At age 9 months, our apartment building was flooded and I experienced one of my first major traumas, as we lost just about everything and we had to move in with my Grandma and aunt.
Three years later my younger sister Erica completed our family. Stability was not a foundation for me early on through age 18. We moved frequently, as my Dad (who had PTSD, OCD and so much trauma), was constantly paranoid and led us to pick up and move about every 6 months.
As I look at this from a new perspective today, I see this not as trauma, but the ability for me to be versatile, resilient and nimble. While our home was different so often, my family dynamics stayed the same.
We stayed in familiar neighborhoods and for the most part, had the stability of one school district. However there were times when we uprooted and went to the suburbs or SE Minneapolis. In SE Minneapolis, I was in 1st grade and we had drug dealers, prostitutes and gangs at the park across the street. We played in the park right along side them and my Dad was always out there fending them off. Shortly after that, we moved to a MPLS suburb where there was a lot more land and wild animals. This really piqued my interest with nature. Before long I came home with salamanders in my pockets and played in the woods until dusk.
Math was always a challenge, as well as processing multi step equations in chemistry. I went through my entire school journey not knowing that I had a learning disability. I did well in school overall (as I love to learn), but was crippled making it through some of my math classes. About 10 years ago, I discovered I have dyscalculia-(issues processing multi-step equations in math and chemistry). I find out later on my journey, what this is linked to. Read on to see why further into this blog post.
At age 8, I learned about sports, especially the world of soccer. I became so enthralled by SPORT that I found a way to fund my soccer trips all over the country, starting at age 12 when I started traveling. I sold poinsettias and candy bars like there was no tomorrow. I babysat, starting at age 11. I started working at the neighborhood grocery store at age 14 and that was the way I funded my early passion. I found rides for myself and made sure to be selected for any and every opportunity I came across.
Persistence, determination, stubbornness, confidence, reading, researching, hungry to learn, these were all the things that empowered me to do more, to shake the feeling that I was poor and inferior and less than because I did not come from money. Soccer was such a foundation in my life, that it overrode peer pressure and doing things because others were. I was so dedicated to my first passion, that I was set on my life’s path without wavering. These were ground breaking fundamentals for me.
As a family, we hiked every Sunday (in the 80's & 90's), we ate healthy and learned that taking care of our body was the ultimate wealth. We grew up with my Dad being Buddhist and my Mom Christian Science. We didn’t rely on the Medical world really and used a lot of homeopathy, herbs, vitamins, supplements and plants to heal. My Dad and Mom both demonstrated that strength training and running were the keys to a healthy life of movement. As I look back, we were poor in measure of money, but so wealthy in sense of our health & wellness.
Thank goodness because my junior year, our world was turned upside down. We discovered my Dad had Lung and brain cancer, which tied back to his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. Agent Orange is an extremely toxic chemical pesticide defoliant used to reduce the jungles of Vietnam, so the U.S. could see their enemy. Monsanto/Dow Chemical companies are the makers and made billions off of these products.
We later learned that my Dad was even a barrel handler in the warehouse, being heavily exposed to the toxins daily. This part of my journey was tumultuous for a 17 year old teenage girl, but looking back at the constant movement our family had and limited stability, that resiliency created a surface to hold on to as we navigated 18 months of unknowns, while my Dad bravely battled his cancer, but unfortunately lost the battle. The instability, created stability for me, as an 18 year old that lost her Dad 5 days after high school graduation on Father’s Day (June 18, 1995). I held onto the iceberg and looked at life ahead. We were told since it was an environmentally derived cancer, the agent orange would have no impact on off spring or future generations.
This was a huge concern initially feeling angst that we might also die young, due to cancer from Agent Orange.
I hadn’t applied to any colleges yet, since everything was up in the air. When my Dad passed away, I wrote an essay to the University of St. Thomas. I told them I wanted to come to school and study Environmental Studies so that I could help the environment and stop big companies from creating toxic hazards that were killing people and the environment, as they had with my Dad. I was accepted.
I forged ahead and started in September going to school and playing D3 soccer. Another dream for me. I stumbled in the first year, trying to figure out how to write a sentence, let alone an entire paper, as the brain fog misted over my cognition in grief. I stayed afloat because my soccer team kept me accountable, the training did wonders for my mental state and by spring of the next year, I was slowly emerging as a new person. I was a child who faced so much loss, but came out an adult who gained so much knowledge. I emerged from my deep dark times of my freshman year in college and became almost reckless for a moment, doing things like partying, smoking weed and being at risk of being taken advantage of.
Then I met my husband Derek, I began to refocus on my passions and transferred to the University of Tulsa to play D1 soccer. Once again, I spoke to the Dean and told them my story, as well as the the D1 coach and told her why I wanted to play and she invited me on to train and find “my way”.
My passions rekindled to learn everything I could about protecting our environment and our health through the University of Tulsa, as well working for the City planners in Tulsa. They were way ahead of their time and already implementing Green & Sustainable practices far beyond MN where I couldn’t find a Job at the time of graduation. As an intern, the city of Tulsa put me in charge of coordinating and putting on their first city wide Eco- fest. I even drove my first “EV” (Electric vehicle car) a Ford EV mustang around a race track in 1996. I worked in partnership with 50 companies and organizations on sustainability and created booths for each partner to show case their support for the Environment and our health. That was so profound as a 19 year old to have that opportunity to fully run with it. It was a huge success that ran over 2 days for people to come and visit over their lunch break in downtown Tulsa.
Upon graduation, I was not able to find a Job focused on my passion of the Environment and health & Wellness. I started an initial job for about 6 months and then joined Pillsbury, where I started my career in the food industry. We were then bought by General Mills, where I moved through progressing roles from Customer service, Category management and sales. The whole time I was there, I was learning as much as possible about the food industry, how it works, what was changing in food and how it was affecting us as humans.
I had another unique experience within General Mills, as the president of an Employee run club called the Environmental Awareness committee. We brought profound change to the company in the forms of sustainability, guiding employees to use reusable mugs and water bottles instead of styrofoam cups, double sided copying and so much more. We also created eye opening opportunities like having Will Steger, who came to speak about his encounters with Climate Change, with over 2,000 people coming to listen. I helped Gene Kahn (CEO of Cascadian Farms) in the beginning of developing the first corporate CSR (Corporate Sustainability report) for General Mills and so many other pivotal foundations. I moved through the food industry working on other small organic companies that gave me amazing business experience. In parallel to my career, I held on to my passion of soccer and sports. I continued playing soccer with my husband Derek and started coaching at age 18. I progressed through my licenses moving up to my C license. I coached for a total of 28 years and really leveraged the concept of holistic coaching to coach the whole athlete, mentally, physically and emotionally. Today, I continue to coach my sons futsal team.
Back to my Dad’s exposure to Agent Orange. In 2012, science made a huge, unfortunate discovery that the exposure to Agent orange (while environmental), had an impact on the off spring of those exposed in Vietnam, due to Epigenetics (where stressors, events, exposures, etc. are written into the DNA at conception). They have since discovered that it affects not only the offspring, but 5 total generations. Research has linked a numerous amount of physical, mental and emotional effects, including the learning disability I have called Dyscalculia. Numerous other physical effects have affected my sisters life, and some things have passed on to my kids as well.
Back to my career, it was time to leave, I still longed to fulfill my passion of environmental sustainability and health & wellness. I had learned the ins and out of the food industry and had enough of sales. I loved the people and the relationships, but guess what?! I have a learning disability called Dyscalculia and it made it really hard for me to do the financials in sales, which is a really critical part in planning, forecasting and making legit, prosperous deals. So I took a major leap, and dove off the deep end and started a holistic homeless agency with a business partner in a non-profit. I had the vision of creating a “Holistic” homeless agency, that not only looked at the opportunity to get someone in housing, but to keep them in housing. How? By breaking the cycle of poverty by looking at their pillars of wellness and creating supports necessary to build and strengthen the pillars that were missing or hindered. This was going awesome, but we gained popularity too fast and things changed and this no longer aligned with my passion.
In June, 2022 I firmly decided to regain my focus and remind my self what my passions were. Health, Wellness and the environment. I started F.Y.T. Health & Wellness because of all my life experiences and the medical journeys I have had for myself, and the ones I advocated and navigated for, I decided to share my gifts and build a business out of it. Over the last 30 years, I have learned profound, life changing knowledge. So today, I present F.Y.T. Health & Wellness/Reiki practice. Giving people the solid foundation to look at their life from a holistic lens. To establish and strengthen their pillars of wellness that provide the ability to proactively assess their mental, emotional and physical foundation. Then, developing a customized dashboard that allows them to identify their core issues that are driving problems and come up with viable solutions to remove those barriers.
Check out the website on how to book a session for more details. https://www.fythealthwellness.coach