There are times in life where we have to stop and almost disappear from the chaos of the world. Where we need to pause and take a step back, in order to rediscover ourselves. This world can dazzle us, confuse us and make us lose sight of ourselves in the never ending race of work, errands, social media and responsibilities. I had recently tuned off of social media for a while as a means of detoxing my mind and heart. I realised I was losing myself in trying to keep up with the demands that bloggers naturally fall into with time. Juggling the online and offline balance can become overwhelming, and sometimes we just need to shut off and connect with ourselves again.
However, just before my soulful retreat had begun, I had a very special person reach out to me about a wonderful memoir she had written on her life. During these two months since our initial conversation, I have both read and reflected on her story with deep fascination, empathy and awe. The exact inspiration that my heart and mind needed to be stirred with in order to come back out from my retreat. And with this, I will begin the post which will be a review of her book ‘Fit for Joy‘. I use the term ‘review’ lightly, as I actually intend this post to be both an analysis of the book, whilst also being an observation of the impact it had on me as a reader.
Fit for Joy is written, and based on the life of the author Valeria Teles. Originally from Brazil, she recounts her life starting from her difficult childhood, where ultimately her social anxiety and codependency stemmed from. Born in an abusive household, Valeria pens out her intimate thoughts and heartbreaks that she had experienced during this time. The way the physical and emotional abuse had shaped her during such a vulnerable age, ultimately causing her to mature well beyond her years. The emotional depth that she unravels through her words to illustrate the numerous emotions felt, striked many chords in my heart. Whether it was her numbing fear, the uncertainty of life, the overbearing confusion or feelings of isolation…I travelled with her words, and experienced it with her, almost as if I was there with her. The beauty of Valeria’s memoir is that it’s a universal story in a metaphorical sense. No matter what your journeys have been like, no matter what your story is, the experience of Valeria somehow, in some way, becomes relatable with every single one of us because we can find our story in hers. Our pain in hers. Our words in hers.
As I read on, and ‘watched’ Valeria grow as a person, I pondered with admiration on her endurance, her ability to keep growing as a person, and her determination. Life threw her in many directions, and quite literally from Brazil to New York; but there was an unrelenting fire within her, which made her never stop trying.
Made her never stagnate and stop moving.
And this is when something happened within me. I felt gratitude. Of my own life and with everything in it. Why? Because you witness through Valeria’s words etched out of her heart, that no matter how broken, alone and confused you are or have been, you will always have reasons to be thankful for. It’s about mindfulness. The little Valeria in the beginning of this book, through her innocence wasn’t aware that she had already cracked it. She was already practicing mindfulness. Throughout all the different forms of emotional turbulence that she was experiencing, she would observe little things around her that still gave her joy and peace, even if it was temporarily.
We often hear the saying that ‘it’s the small things that matter’, or that ‘money doesn’t equate to happiness’. These sayings get thrown around a lot but rarely are they truly pondered on. Everyone is still on the rat race for creating their own form of ideal, until they’re worn, torn, numb and exhausted. The perfect salary, the perfect body, the perfect relationship, the perfect house, the perfect diet…I could go on or you could fill in the blanks, but you’ll realise, a list like this never seems to end. The road to perfection is never ending because that destination doesn’t exist. What does exist is self love and mindfulness. And when we listen to a story that is so raw, so honest and so heart rendering as Valeria’s, these sayings that get thrown around, suddenly become embedded in our hearts so fully, that we truly stop and look around to see everything in it’s trueness. We question ourselves on what gives us a temporary high, what gives us a stable form of happiness and makes our heart happy.
Valeria shares with us that being physically fit is not the only aspect of health nor does that alone equate to being healthy. Valeria discovers this and teaches us that ultimate health is about balancing and nurturing the emotional, mental and physical health in order to reach and maintain the most ideal equibriliam. Following Buddhist teachings and now being an online fitness coach, author and the creator of the Fit for Joy philosophy, Valeria guides us to the truth that through feeding our soul, heart, mind and body, opens the gateway of contentness and peace.
Fit for Joy is a memoir that is profound, beautifully haunting in some parts, and ultimately leaves you feeling inspired, mindfully awake and motivated to start again, or to keep going. Through Valeria’s soul searching, my heart desired to imitate the same search, to find my ultimate joy. I absolutely recommend Fit for Joy for everyone to have a read of.
Check out Valeria’s website here:
Fit for Joy can be purchased on Amazon: