Being human involves a process of growth, change, self-reflection, lessons learned from mistakes and past experiences, and evolving wisdom. There are things I know now about healing that had I known as a young adult would have positively served my life. Perhaps I would have had a less bumpy road to travel--or would I? Perhaps every trial and tribulation was precisely placed in my life to lead me to this moment where I am here with all of you. These answers remain part of the mystery of the universe. What I know for sure is "HOW" I evolved, grew, and changed to know what I know today. I know it was the evolution of my life and the lessons learned that have given me the confidence from within to manifest a life that is more joyful, healthier, vibrant, and uniquely me than I experienced in prior years. I also know that I continue to evolve....EVERY DAY, EVERY HOUR!
There were some critical moments in my evolution that have brought me to the incredible life I have today. I wasn't always evolved at my full potential. It seemed for decades I WAS STUCK! There was one main reason why I was stuck--
I also participated in only one type of physical healing--Traditional Western medicine. I took antibiotics, pain medication, followed my physician recommendations, and went through numerous diagnostic tests (MRIs, CT Scans, blood work). But as I evolved I realized there was more to healing than this, and I expanded my awareness. My curiosity and open-mindedness allowed new ideas to come into my world, and I learned there were other types of healing that addressed the PHYSICAL aspects. I started to feel better as I made other physical changes that included dietary changes, nutritional supplements, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc. However, I still believed that healing involved only these physical changes. Focusing solely on the physical dimension limited my healing potential--I could only evolve so far in my healing and then it stopped. I didn't improve and in many ways I worsened.
It was hard to obtain an education as a first generation college student--not only because I was braving new terrain, but because of affordability. Fortunately, my studies were always important to me and I obtained full tuition scholarships for my undergraduate degree, something I am eternally grateful for. Education--from my undergraduate degree through my graduate degree--offered some of the "medicine" I needed. I learned to critically think, to ask questions, to be a gatherer of information, to formulate my own ideas and opinions and to have them be considered by others. My brain got stronger because I learned how to use it efficiently, and I learned to be a "life" researcher and historian. My graduate degree in social work took my life to another level because social work is all about emotions, connection to people, feelings, relationships, and authenticity. Through my graduate program yet another dimension of healing was presented to me...
Trust issues, fearing for my safety, and believing others would never accept me for "me," kept my life isolated and lonely. However, the relationships of my graduate program showed me the necessity of having people in my life: I NEEDED THEM. As peers showed me that they "got me" and loved me just the same, years of shackles began to fall away from me and I started to experience what life is about when I am free to be ME! Being supported and accepted for being me had positive health effects on my body. I evolved to another level of awareness as I experienced the long term benefits of friendship.
When I was first introduced to psychotherapy I was a young teenager. I was 87 pounds and going to die from Anorexia Nervosa. Fortunately, my psychologist offered me hope and an excellent treatment plan that focused on familial stressors and internal stressors. My parents were in the midst of a tumultuous divorce and my psychologist was accurate in her assessment: Anorexia Nervosa is a family dynamics issue. When my family strife reduced, I would improve. This is exactly what happened. We worked proactively in therapy to build my coping skills and psychotherapy became something I desired to participate in well beyond this phase in my life. To this day I still embrace psychotherapy. It is invaluable having an outside, objective, professional person offer insight and help you find your own way through life.
For years I pondered the question of what comes first? Do my physical problems cause my emotional problems or do my emotions cause my physical problems? I tried to separate the emotional from the physical and for a while it worked. However, I hit impasses in my healing. I faced times when nothing I did physically had any impact on my serious disease condition. I never obtained enough healing to stabilize for long periods--just short periods of time. I always skated along the "serious" side of the path, occasionally entering the critical condition phase, but mostly staying in the serious phase. I knew there had to be more to healing. I kept wondering and searching.
Believe me, I have tried to create order to my life and history by packaging it into a chronological series of events. However, it became abundantly clear that each time I had a physical symptom there was something emotional going on in my life and each time I had something emotional going on in my life, I got sick. When I went through a major mold crisis in my residence, my illness worsened. However, this time I knew it wasn't only because of the mold. It was obviously because of the stress and upheaval. I lost all my possessions and lived in a hotel for an unfortunate period of time. As my health spiraled out of control, my first marriage also did. We were too young to withstand such stress and our bond was not solid enough to offer each other the foundation of support we both needed. As my marriage fell apart so did the relationship with my mother. It reached critical mass. Finally all of the years I had met my mother's approval came to a halt--DIVORCE broke all the rules. Unable to navigate the emotional turmoil of disappointing my family, ending a relationship I cared about, saying goodbye to material security, and venturing into the unfamiliar as a single woman once again, my body screamed at me; I developed much more severe complications of Crohn's disease. These symptoms became a symbol of my emotional state. They represented my attachment to my mother's approval, my struggles with letting go, my grief over a failed marriage, and my self-hatred because I couldn't get my life right. Weeks later my beloved pet companion died of a stroke, unexpectedly, and I physically and emotionally plummeted.
Following a crisis, humans are often most receptive to change. I had to look at my life and move forward or else sit in the abyss of what I felt was tragedy. I chose to prevail...this opened yet another blessing that enhanced my evolution in priceless ways.
This technique changed my life because in 15 simple treatments I saw the pain in my abdomen begin to melt away, the blood in my stool resolve, the burning in my bladder end its lifetime cycle, and my weight increase. I could eat more food than I had ever been able to consume because of allergies, and my hope and joy returned. NAET, created by Dr Devi Nambudripad, is an alternative non- invasive allergy elimination technique which increases the immune system's strength and helps the body no longer react to environmental, food, pathogenic, and toxin triggers.
There is no doubt that as NAET began to substantially heal my immune system, it laid a foundation from which more healing became possible. But there was another intervention that was healing my immune system and my shattered emotional spirit. Ballroom dance brought me back to my true self. It awakened me to my existence as a vibrant, deserving, woman who is capable of healing. My discovery of a passion for Ballroom dance has saved my life again and again and continues to teach me how to love and nurture my body. Before I started ballroom dancing I was afraid of connection with other humans and didn't feel my presence in my own body. I was "out of my body" and "in my head" most of the time and I was NOT attuned to sensations in my body. Without noticing sensations, it is difficult to notice symptoms, register pain, identify feelings and emotions. This makes it difficult to heal as we need a "map" of our bodies in order to heal and request the help we need. Not to mention, my inability to recognize my own stress response and gut reactions to events around me made it difficult to intervene before my physical body downward spiraled.
There was yet another barrier to healing that undoubtedly causes more self-harm than anything else: Self-Hatred and Self-Loathing. I DID NOT LIKE MYSELF. How can I heal if I don't find a way to appreciate and love myself?
Ballroom dance offered me the following gifts to my life:
There are many modalities I have explored in my life and approaches to illness and trauma. However, no research has quite awakened me to the reasons why I have a disease, Crohn's disease, concentrated in my gut and most notably the small-intestine, more than the work of Dr Emeran Mayer. He provided a framework from which I could understand what I already intuitively knew was true about my body.
His work enlightened me with the following information:
Fundamental Guiding Principles:
So here I am today, evolved at the present moment based on the knowledge and wisdom I have accumulated thus far in my life. However, tomorrow I will be even more evolved than I am right now because my learning and my body and mind are always growing and changing. I find comfort in my lessons from the past and how they have been affirmed over and over. These fundamental guiding principles capture my evolution thus far: