Tiffany's Story - The healing journey

"Our brains are not the place where fullness comes from. Fullness comes from the heart."

Illustration of 3 mountains

Aarushi: When did you start using the Gratitude App?

Tiffany: In 2019, I stumbled across it in the App Store while searching for tools to support me on my self-healing journey. I had been on this journey consciously for 5 years at the time. In November 2014, I was diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder. I was 29 years old.

The diagnosis part threw me for a loop, but the experience I was very familiar with. I’d experienced a psychotic break as an adolescent. At 12 years old, I decided to steal a car to “joy ride.” No peer pressure; I was alone. No agenda except to drive the incessant buzz of thoughts out of my mind.

I crashed the car; totaled it and was apprehended by police for fleeing the scene. I was charged as a juvenile offender and sent home with a probation sentence and community service. I tried to escape the pain, guilt, and shame resulting from what I’d done by running away from home.

But I found more trouble and experienced more trauma. Eventually, family support, a little bit of therapy, and threats of being institutionalized were enough to ward off the manic behaviors, but for the rest of adolescence and for most of my young adulthood, I struggled with bouts of major depression.

Fast forward 17 years, and another “big break” came. Same feelings on the inside, but my life circumstances were much different. I was an adult -- a mother, a new homeowner, entangled in a toxic relationship, and caught up in a self-sabotaging loop of desperate workaholism and seeking affirmation from outside myself.

The coping mechanisms that I'd used in the past were no longer effective. Come to think of it, I never really had any tools. In my family, you just move on and do better.

And I’d like to think I was doing my best, but the daily stressors in my life were bigger than my capacity to bounce back. It was like these stressors had metastasized into triggers and my mind and my life was spiraling out of control. The unchecked trauma of my past was coming to the surface for me to deal with.

I admitted myself into an out-patient mental health crisis clinic, where I enrolled in a treatment program I had little confidence in from the start. But I didn’t know where to start to get better--to feel better.  

The more I engaged in the treatment process, however, I began to discover the root causes of the disorder in my mind. And instead of medicating them, and essentially numbing them with “treatment,” I decided I wanted to eradicate them, face them, and accept who I was with them, and then consciously design a better life for myself without them.

In the beginning, I relied on gratitude as a mindfulness tool for coping with loops of anxious thoughts bum-rushing my waking mind in the mornings and keeping me up well into the night.

The practice of gratitude slows me down. And while I love the way that Spirit flows through me, it's a gift, but if I'm not mindful, then my ego gets all tripped up. And either, I'm “doing too much” and getting nothing done, or I'm burnt out.

And then when I get burnt out, it takes months for me to recover physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. So I need something that's going to reset me every day. Clear the slate, help me not bring yesterday's stuff to today... help me to stay in the moment, help me to appreciate myself and the people around me.

The vibrational energy generated from showing appreciation for the things I have has this way of miraculously creating space for me to realize more of what’s always been there, and I’m inspired to express more gratitude.

I don’t know what else to say, gratitude opens up the heart space, something the treatment process, as I experienced it, does not give much attention to. I needed a wellness regimen that would ease my mind and open up my soul.

Oh yeah, so back to the app. I started using the Gratitude App in 2019 as a means to hold myself accountable for practicing gratitude. I’m a journalist by trade, so documenting my gratitude was important to me.

When life is happening, it’s easy to forget the little things that make life possible in the first place. So the journal feature with writing prompts is a tool I use to keep me in a mental discipline, and in Divine order.

I often express gratitude to my body for being strong, adaptable, and reliable day after day. As a homeschool mom, content creator, non-profit management consultant, and youth development professional, I'm always going and my mind is always moving.

My brain literally moves faster than my body on any day. I love creating ideas, solving problems, and being in a community with like-minded souls.  So gratitude is the only thing that I could find that aligns my mind, body, and soul.

Now there are other techniques, I do breathing techniques, I do yoga, but gratitude is what puts my consciousness where it needs to be, I can be in an energetic space to receive the benefits of those well-being practices.

Aarushi: So, you talked about gratitude, helping get your consciousness where you want it to be, and being mindful. Can you tell us more about this? How does gratitude help you do that?

Tiffany: When I flood myself with gratuitous thoughts, my consciousness is miraculously elevated, and I feel at ease. There’s this rapture of “knowing” that overwhelms me, assuring me that all is well with the world around me, even though nothing in my circumstances has necessarily changed.

Every time I witness this shift in my perspective, I witness a miracle-- and that realization lights up my soul.

So over the years, I’ve come to utilize gratitude as not only a mental health practice, that reminds me of how resilient of a human being I am, but it is also a spiritual practice, a “rich jewel,” that reminds me that the Divine is living in me, through me, as me.

In my search to be well and whole, I discovered Conscious Life Design Systems, a principle-based, living system that supports people in living from their deepest intentions, rather than from their circumstances.

CLDS gave me structure, processes, and power tools that helped me put my life back together by consciously paying attention to the interactions between my energetic, mental, spiritual selves and bringing them together through a series of processes we call building pyramids in consciousness.

Those processes include: releasing self-talk, setting intentions, identifying rich jewels, and time reframing. We use the 4-sided pyramid structure in a self-paced movement to activate life designs on five levels: spiritual, personal, relationships, life work, and community.

“Rich Jeweling,” particularly, is the process of identifying and establishing rituals that keep us focused and anchored in our heart’s intentions by reminding us of our divinity.

Divine reminders, we say, are “rich jewels” in our conscious life design. The Gratitude App is a rich jewel for me in so many ways. It takes my gratitude practice to another level.  

It's a quick coherence technique that allows me to tune into my heart’s deepest intention, allowing me to access the intuitive wisdom that helps me approach situations with more emotional balance, clarity, and compassion for myself and others.

Working with CLDS gave me a new language to articulate my life experience; it gave me a new way to communicate with myself, especially during recurring episodes of severe ups and downs.

And so, whatever gets this brain of mine in alignment with what my heart wants, I'm going to do it with passion. When I came across the Gratitude App, I saw an opportunity to integrate The “Gratitude Marathon” on the go.

The “Gratitude Marathon” is a personal practice I have cultivated for times I find myself stuck in a rabbit hole of getting down on myself. To lift me out of that loop of “internal gossip,” and what we call in CLDS negative self-talk, I drop the top five things that I'm grateful for, at the moment, without getting all caught up in my head.

In the past, I carried a pocket journal to capture these brief one-line statements of gratitude for anything to the birds singing outside my window to the argument with my mother that gave me so much clarity after I “slept on it.”

Now, I have the app on my phone for those times when going analog just isn’t convenient. The “Gratitude Marathon'' and this app are a combination for me.

Aarushi: Alright, so you've been doing this? And how does it make you feel? How have you changed?

Tiffany: In the Conscious Life Design System, we believe, there's a divine order to all life and activity in the universe, and to be in the flow is to be well. In our practice, life naturally unfolds in the following sequence: Spirit, Person[hood], Relationships, Life, Work, and Community.

As much as possible, I work to align my conscious thoughts to that order of living.  Even if I cycle through that order a couple of times a day, I am mindful to stay in order.

The journal feature on the app really helps me to refocus my attention on the “right now” moment, especially when I get too emotionally invested in something or focus on my intentions is derailed by distractions.

The habit of journaling every day--whether in a digital or analog format-- keeps that path of appreciation worn for me.. keeps me in the flow of fulfilling my highest intentions for the future by recognizing intentions already fulfilled in the past-- with some bonus blessings that I didn’t have sense enough to even count, of course.

I am now 36 years old, and I can honestly say my gratitude practice, and experience with the Gratitude App, has supported me time and time again in transforming anxiety about the future into excitement about the “power of now,”.

Adverse experiences with the mental healthcare system here led me to pursue a more holistic path to well-being. I am grateful for the experience, though, because it led me to believe what I always knew in my heart to be true-- I am more than my mind.

Here lately, I’ve been increasingly intentionally about creatively expressing my gratitude.

I created a folder in the Zen section of the App titled, “Notes 2 SELF.” I check it more often than I check my social media pages in a day. When I want to regenerate a feeling of appreciation in me or shift into a gratuitous mood, I read this messages I left for myself, which is a medley of Biblical scriptures and lyrics from songs the choir used to sing at the Baptist Church I attended as a youth:


‘I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13).’

“When I look over my life and I think things over, I realize I am blessed.

All of my good days out way my bad days and I won't complain.”

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