• Deja Riley Izydorczyk


When I started this blog, my goal was to share some passionate conversations with my friends in written form. I've gotten to talk about nutrition, focus, love and mental health amongst other topics with each of them and in doing so I've found a new way to live in my purpose. The late, great Maya Angelou once said "When you get, GIVE. When you learn, TEACH. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." I hold that quote quite close to my heart in sharing these stories with you and I want to first THANK YOU for reading, following my journey and helping me to find new purpose.

A few of weeks ago, I sat down for a MIND + BODY + SOUL session with my beautiful best friend from home, Jaimie Goodwin. She gathered her thoughts on some of the things we discussed and now I get to deliver a piece of her awesome story as well as tips on how to PREVENT physical injuries + how to live a life full of PASSION + PURPOSE.

From the voice of Jaimie...

I grew up in Virginia Beach, VA which is where I met my beautiful friend, Deja. We both grew up with the dance studio as our second home. I always knew I wanted to be a dancer. I didn’t know what I wanted to do exactly but I knew it involved dance. I’ve always recognized how big of a blessing it was to have a strong passion as a child. It has saved me so many times from retreating or rebelling against the cards life dealt. For a long time, there wasn’t one year that went by without a major tragedy occurring. I learned quickly what fight or flight was. I do a bit of both, depending on what I’m facing. Despite the setbacks, I fought hard through my late teens and twenties to follow my dream of dancing and I was able to dance professionally on so many platforms. In my first 18 months working, I had opportunities such as being featured in a McDonald’s commercial, becoming a top 10 contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, and performing on screen in High School Musical 3. After that, I moved to LA and performed on award shows, tv shows, more movies, commercials, and music videos. I’ve toured the world with several dance companies and danced for Jlo, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Adele, Katy Perry, and many more. But amidst all of those awesome experiences in the past 14 years, I’ve also had 4 reconstructive knee surgeries. I’ve had 5 ligaments replaced, my meniscus repaired and then removed, new bone put in, and numerous things tightened up here and there. It’s been a total of about 4.5 years in and out of surgery and physical therapy and while sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if I never had those issues, I also wouldn’t take it back. I’ve learned more about myself, about life, priorities, love, and magic, than I ever would have if I had been handed everything without the struggle. Every thorn and every little step, even the ones that didn’t make sense at the time, have always been exactly what I needed in the end. I feel honored to carry this story and these experiences and I’m excited to see what else is in store.



Everyone is born with one, and it’s meant to guide you to the things meant for you. Yes, life is challenging, things get hard, but you were made to be abundant and joyful. And with a little stillness, some listening, and a lot of work you can find your way.


Don’t be afraid to let your passions grow and change, and don’t be afraid to let yourself grow out of them and into something new! It’s hard to let go of things you love or are comfortable with, but there's no one saying you can’t try them back on later. Your passions remain with you even if the seasons change.


It sounds intense, but it needs to be! It’s the best part. Your passions lead you to your purpose. And your purpose thrives off of passion, especially in trying times. This is why athletes can train like titans, and why first responders can literally turn into superheroes. Passion is love ignited. It spreads like wildfire and clears the path for a bigger purpose. It blazes through challenges and revives us over and over again. Having faith that there is always a purpose fuels that flame.  Neither can manifest or survive without each other and both require trust.



The idea of purpose can be intimidating. It gets so blown out of proportion, or really perspective, in our constantly grinding lifestyles. There’s so much pressure on having purpose, as if purpose can only mean saving the world, owning a business, inventing something, or otherwise breaking the glass ceiling. Yes, some people are called to do that, and if that’s you hearing that gentle calling, or feeling that nudge in your gut then please don’t let fear stop you. However, purpose isn’t just in the groundbreaking events, purpose is in the things we do daily. It’s in the moment a friend needs your shoulder to cry on, or the text you send your parents that makes them feel loved. It’s in the way you treat the people around you, your pets, the environment, and yourself. It’s also in the job you do that may sometimes feel insignificant. I promise, it doesn’t go unnoticed. The universe doesn't miss anything. It’s just planting seeds. The universe knows your strength. It primes you until it knows that you are bigger than the task at hand, and then it delivers you the test, demanding that you prove it, TO YOURSELF.


Purpose, no matter how big or small it seems, can always be broken down into tiny little pieces. Like the beginning of a puzzle, it may all seem random,  but  you know it all fits together somehow. You trust that it does, so you take it one piece at a time until the picture becomes clearer and clearer. That’s purpose. Broken into pieces throughout our life, sometimes feeling random, and most of the time putting us on an endless search for something that’s translucently reflecting back at us at all times. But what if we stopped searching SO hard and started trusting? What if we saw all the little pieces clearer because we weren’t so worried about how fast we could see the big picture? 


Trust is scary and necessary for growth. Trust is what allows us to let go of the search for something greater and start enjoying the journey TO that something. Trust opens up our minds to more possibilities of greatness, more avenues to walk, and more peace as we make our way. Trust comforts us and it takes away the feeling of scarcity. It replenishes us with abundance.You may not always see the purpose behind certain moments in your life, in fact that may happen more often than clarity. But if you can practice trusting that the things you go  through, the gut instincts you feel, and that the things that make you happy are truly meant for your growth, you will uncover purpose in your life like you've never seen before. Piece by piece you will learn new aspects of your purpose throughout your life. What an incredible, unpredictable, absolutely thrilling life this was already created to be. We don’t have to recreate it, we just have to discover it.



Muscle imbalance and overuse is one of the biggest causes of injuries. Cross training can help strengthen different muscles than you’re used to or help you use them in a different way.  Cross training adds balance to your muscle strength and prevents overcompensation and overuse injuries. It can come in many forms and it’s always great to try different things to see what you enjoy. Just aim to practice something that feels like it challenges your body to move differently.  For example, as a dancer I practice diverse movement qualities. A lot of stretching and elongating yet also a lot of dynamic, weight bearing movement. I choose to crosstrain by hiking, doing yoga, pilates, boxing, HIIT workouts and light weight lifting. All of these things compliment my practice but work my body in new ways. Get creative! It can be quite a rush to try new things and it will definitely pay off!


Active rest is also extremely important in preventing overuse or recovering from injuries. Things like: heat, ice, cryotherapy, infrared saunas, massage, rolling out, stretching, taking baths,  and if you're really active, even just scheduling a time for your body to completely rest and heal are all great tools for practicing active rest. These things bring another type of balance to the body. A healing practice that allows the body to accurately recover and perform at its best.


Knowing when to do something for your body can be as crucial as what to do. If you’re having any pain it can be tempting to throw an ice pack on it but if you’re still planning to break a sweat, you should apply heat before you work out and ice after. Same thing with stretching, always practice dynamic stretches that activate the muscles and get the blood flowing before you train and then treat yourself to a nice long static stretch to relax or improve flexibility after something cardiovascular. This prepares your body with the circulation it needs to relax and give in to a long stretch.

10. Because I couldn't leave this out: MIND OVER EVERYTHING

You probably know the saying mind over matter and it’s really true with everything, especially our bodies. Our minds are constantly manifesting our hearts to beat, our lungs to breath, and it brings every cell in our bodies to life in every instance. The mind is essential in recreating cells in the healing process, and your mental state greatly influences how that plays out. That’s why it’s essential that we keep our minds healthy. Things like meditating, reading and moving can all help improve your mental wellness. Practicing being an observer of my thoughts has really helped me become more aware of where I can give myself grace as well as constantly working to lean into the positive voice in my head. Again, you can use your happiness compass for this one, and explore what works for you.

WOW WOW WOW! I always knew my dear soul sister, Jaimie, was filled with so much life + wisdom but I'm still impressed by all of this incredible knowledge she's shared here. You can find her on Instagram @jaimiegoodwin and all over the world wide web. I hope you will continue to follow her journey as she is truly a phenomenal woman! Until next time beautiful people 💕

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