How a Health Journey can be Your Guide to Living a Better LifeJane Stark
July 6, 2018
In the fall of 2014, the universe decided to let me in on a little secret. I had the power to change my life. I didn’t have to accept it or play the victim to my current life circumstances. And neither do you.
At that time, I was a mom to two little girls ages 2 and 5, working full time in my marketing business, and supporting a husband in a new career that required him to travel. Long story short, I had no idea who I was, other than by these extrinsic titles we use to identify as a mother, a professional, and a wife. I felt a lot of pressure (self-imposed) to live up to these persona’s and I was completely lost.
So, what did I do? I kept pushing through, ignoring the whispers from the universe. Until one day the universe didn’t whisper, it yelled. I had ignored what was going on in my body for so long, thinking that if I just did all.the.things. then it would get better. It got worse. I found myself in tears at my kitchen table, diagnosis in hand of a painful condition called Interstitial Cystitis, which causes symptoms of pain and pressure in the bladder, combined with chronic back pain, and adrenal fatigue.
Sadly, some version of my story rings true for way too many of us.
Back to that secret from the universe … it doesn’t have to be this way. We can choose a different path, we can heal and we can thrive. But it’s a choice and it’s a journey. One that I’m so grateful I chose on that day back in September of 2014. It’s not an easy journey but it is oh so worth it.
What Did That Journey Look Like for Me?
It Looked Like Determination and it Looked Like Trial & Error
In the beginning, I wasn’t sure what I needed or where to start. There is no one path to follow for this kind of healing, we are all unique and what worked for others didn’t necessarily work for me. So, I just started. I had to throw a lot at the wall and work with what stuck. This journey takes patience, grit and a whole LOT of loving-kindness towards ourselves (something I was not gifted with).
It Looked Like Lifestyle Changes
I started looking at what I was putting in my body, on my body, in my mind and in my schedule. Let’s call it a life detox. I adjusted my diet and cut out caffeine, processed foods, sugar, and alcohol. I paid close attention to what kind of products I was using on my body and in our house. I looked at my calendar and what I was saying yes to that should be a no. I scheduled in meditation or ‘no thinking space’ – in the early days, this looked like 20 minutes a day lying on my bed with a heating pad and a guided meditation in my ears.
It Looked Like Putting Myself First
All my life, I bought into the busy mentality, that my value was tied to how many things I could successfully juggle at one time. With a full-time business, two kids and a husband at home, it was difficult to understand how I could put myself first. I was really believed that I didn’t have time to go that appointment, take a hot bath, sit down and read a book in peace for 30 minutes etc. *Another secret: you don’t have time not to.
I’m not talking about getting your hair done, going to the gym, or getting your toes painted. Those are all important AND they’re more to-dos on your never-ending list. They don’t serve us if we aren’t taking care of ourselves at the core, or at the soul level. What do we really want, how do we want to be, what do we need? The only way we can answer these questions is by creating space. Space to be with ourselves, to nurture our souls, to tune in, and to listen. This looks different for everyone but for me it is long hot baths, time in solitude, talk therapy (with a coach, my husband, or a girlfriend), listening to an inspiring podcast, reading a self-development book, seeing my osteopath once a month, and seeking out help and support when and where I need it.
Slowly over time, I started having some good days interspersed amongst the bad. Eventually, the good days outnumbered the bad. It was a slow, uphill battle but I was winning. And my passion for holistic health and wellness was born.
What my lifestyle looks like today is different from those early years of starting, but the mainstays of living a life where my mind, body and spirit are aligned is key. Listening to my body and trusting it, are what keep me on the path to health and happiness. My identity of who I am; outside of a mother, professional, and wife, has flourished. I am stronger, I am healthier, I am more determined, I am passionate, I am awakened, I am ALIVE.
I still struggle to see my condition as a gift but I do believe that it is my guide, it keeps me on track to living my healthiest, best life. When things start to slip, I hear the whisper and take a quick inventory of my life to find what’s out of alignment. I course correct and I usually start to feel better. Now, how powerful is that?
We all have these guides in our lives, it is just a matter of how we choose to see them. Are you living your life, or letting life happen to you? I could have easily chosen to play the victim, to feel sorry for myself and question “why me?”, and I think we should. It’s whether we can move through that and come out the other side asking, “what is this trying to show me?” is where the true power lies.