By Jackie White
Meet Tracy Traeder. She is an energy manager, happiness and wellness facilitator, intuitive developer, meditation facilitator, compassion promoter and blogger. She sounds like a woman following her passion and she is, but it wasn’t always that way.
For many years, Tracy suffered from a myriad of ailments including fibromyalgia, migraines, back problems and insomnia. She kept her physical pain to herself and pushed through each day. She says she was a “hot mess’, but felt that this was the hand she was dealt and there was nothing she could do. So, how did Tracy go from a hot mess to someone who is leading a purposeful life? You could call it a wake up call of epic proportions...
Let’s rewind a bit. Tracy grew up in a large family and not only has 5 siblings, she also has a twin brother. Her two older brothers became accountants and Tracy found she too had a knack for working with numbers. The obvious choice for her as she entered college was to become an accounting major at the UW Madison. This choice would almost guarantee her a safe and secure job and although she did consider pursuing social work or psychology, she felt those choices were risky and that she didn’t have the courage or the belief system to do something different.
Tracy married and built a family with her husband Tim. She worked diligently in her job as an accountant for 13 years playing out a script that she thought she had to follow. She wasn’t finding fulfillment in her job. She again considered pursuing other career choices, but the thought of going back to school to pursue something else felt overwhelming. Ultimately, she chose to stay in the job that felt logical to her. At this point in time, she also added anxiety to her list of issues and was feeling that something really was just not right.
On September 11 2001, Tracy’s wake up call arrived. The attack on the United States shook her to the core. Thankfully, Tracy was not near the sites of the tragedies, but saw the devastation and loss of life being broadcast and it hit her hard. All the people who thought they “had time” to live out their lives, lost their lives in an instant. Tracy realized right then that she had to stop running on the hamster wheel that was her life. That tragedy was the catalyst for Tracy to say that wasn’t going to waste another day.
Tracy told her husband “I don’t want to go back to live this life that is not mine to be living”
During this time, Tracy was home on maternity leave with a newborn and her 3 year old. She told her husband that she couldn’t return to her accounting job and that she had to start really living her life and not just go through the motions. Thankfully, Tracy’s husband was on board and together they worked out the details. Tracy became a stay at home mom.
She began to feel some relief by caring for her children, but just as things were calming down, Tracy’s father’s prostate cancer re-surfaced. The doctors were doing all they could, but Tracy felt compelled to help her father and became focused on finding alternate therapies for him. As everyone knows, mothers are better than the FBI in researching information and Tracy was no exception.
Tracy attributes much of the knowledge she acquired on alternate therapies to her personal trainer. He introduced her to the concept of mind, body and spirit. What she was learning lit a fire in her soul. She began to really dig in and educate herself on positive psychology, health and wellness, mind care and spirituality. As she learned, she implemented some of the concepts and therapies for herself and began sharing them with close family and friends.
Tracy began to meditate and turn herself inward. She began to connect with the person who she always had been, but had long been buried under someone she wasn’t meant to be. As Tracy began to follow this path, her physical ailments almost miraculously fell away. She was feeling whole again. It had been a long time. Tracy now understands that because her mind and spiritual being was out of alignment, it caused her dis-ease resulting in all of the ailments. Once that was addressed, life became easier in all aspects.
This metamorphosis also triggered a memory Tracy had always seen in her mind. It was a flashing neon sign that said “Save the World”! Tracy always wondered what that was all about. Finally, after some time, she connected with what that meant for her and that was to share the teachings she had learned in order to educate others on the value of nurturing their mind, body and spirit.
She hoped to create ripples of healing for others as she healed herself. Tracy realized that during this time of discovery, she opened a door that held her passion in life. Her purpose and destiny were right there. When she realized the power in nurturing your mind, body and spirit, she knew she had to share this with others. Her personal trainer gave Tracy her first opportunity by asking her to lead a meditation class. She was hesitant, but decided that she needed to take that first step and just start. She started on a journey that at the time wasn’t clear, but it was fueled by her passion and each step forward became easier and easier. Tracy shares that for those who are wanting to follow a new path in life that taking the next small right step is the best way to propel yourself forward.
The integral connection between mind, body and spirit can create dramatic shifts in a person’s life. A mindset that aligns with who you really want to be in life can truly impact the quality of your life. Tracy feels that people can suffer physically like she did or can experience anxiety or depression as a result of disconnection with who you really want to be. Many people today live in a numbed state that not only numbs out the bad in life, but also the good in life. Tracy suggests a prescription for your soul by making the shift to reconnect with yourself and to follow your purpose in life. Doing this will bring you to a place of peace and of knowing that you are living the life you were supposed to live.
Tracy’s Top Tips for Reconnecting with Yourself
Pay attention - is your body or mind trying to tell you something?
Learn to allow life to unfold
Don’t resist going with your gut
Be curious about life
When challenges arise, arise to the challenge
Live life with love, forgiveness and compassion
Start a gratitude practice
When you begin to implement these things in your life you retrain the brain to connect on a deeper and more spiritual level. When you do this, your purpose in life will begin to be more clear.
One note on spirituality: Spirituality is not defined by any religion. Instead it is how you connect with power greater than yourself.
Today Tracy Lives in Fitchburg Wisconsin with her husband of 22 years, Tim. They have 3 children: Brady 21, Mackenzie 18 and Peyton 17. She is living out her purpose in life. She writes a blog called “Braving the Hot Mess” which can be found at www.bravingthehotmess.com. She also runs workshops and classes that help people realize the potential in their mind, body and spiritual wellness. Her website is www.tracytraeder.com.
Final note of thanks: Tracy and myself met in elementary school and over time were separated by high school, college and life. Somewhere along the way, I found Tracy’s classes and we were brought back together. I am thankful for her guidance and leadership in this area of mind, body, spirit as I can easily say, it’s unfolding has put me on the path to my destiny. Thanks Tracy, you have made a difference in my life!
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.