I deeply appreciate my healthy body and my loving heart. My life is full of a lot of what I love most: Hikes in the woods, reading poetry and drinking tea in bed, puttering around the house, dancing, drumming and singing. And for my work I get to help amazing people bring more ease and joy in their lives and experience waaay less suffering. This is what I always wanted.
I love my life, but it wasn’t the one I was handed. I created it myself.
I was a magical wild child with a deep soul-longing for communion with the natural world and for stirring music, dance, art, and ceremony. But, like many others, I grew up on fast food and TV.
I watched helplessly as the people I was closest to suffered greatly from lifestyle diseases. You know, the kinds of diseases that come from having an unhealthy, and unhappy life. In the case of my mother this was particularly difficult and painful. She was always in pain or digestive distress. She struggled mightily with mental illness, and later with the cancer that ultimately led to her death.
That was as painful as it sounds. And it scared me. Like every other being, I wanted health and happiness. I felt in my gut that was possible, even if so much of what I saw around me was suffering. So I began learning how be healthy….
MY FIRST ATTEMPT TO GET HEALTHY
This was the late nineties when “low-fat” was the only healthy diet and people were afraid to eat eggs and butter. After growing up on fast food, I tried the low-fat thing, to my detriment. When I was thirteen, after a year of increased exercise and a so-called healthy diet of salads with nonfat dressing, fruit, juice, nonfat yogurt, chicken, turkey, and packaged whole wheat bread, I developed two stress fractures in my spine, which I now believe were mostly caused by nutrient deficiency. I spent five months in a back brace with a doctor’s order to avoid all exercise except walking.
The widespread approach to diet and health from magazines and popular books hadn’t worked. So I began questioning authority, asking bigger questions and seeking answers beyond the ordinary. Self-reflection was inevitable.
I began learning about traditional foods and vegetable gardening, and slowly I crafted a more moderate diet based on whole foods. My family thought I was weird, but as along as I washed the dishes, they didn’t mind me teaching myself how to cook beans from scratch, and bake bread, and roast beets...
I also spent hours at the public library reading mystical poetry, world mythology, and Zen philosophy. In my seeking I discovered Yoga philosophy and practice (just the physical therapy I needed) which later led me to the sister science of Yoga: Ayurveda.
AYURVEDA KNOCKS MY SOCKS OFF
Holy Smokes! Ayurveda settled in deep and worked its magic. I was 20 years old and on my path of wellness and self-discovery, but Ayurveda took all that to another level. It gave me a language and a framework to understand how food and my body fit in with the larger cycles of day and night, and the changing of the seasons. Ayurveda connected Earth and Sky - and me to myself in a way I had never known.
In contrast to the confusing, contradictory, and changeable world of modern nutritional science, the ancient science of Ayurveda simply made sense.
I remember a winter when I lived alone in a little apartment with my cat, and almost every evening I made a simple, small pot of soup for myself using Ayurveda to guide my choices of ingredients. One night barley with carrot and celery, another night sweet potato and squash with dried sage from my little garden. If I had fresh bread, I would eat that too, with butter.
Never before had I felt so peaceful and satisfied. It was a difficult road to get there, to that little kitchen table with my bowl of soup and to that sense of total peace and satisfaction in my heart, but there I was.
And I began to feel in my gut that helping others to find their own version of that peace and satisfaction was what I was born to do. If I could walk that wild, winding road, anyone else could too, in their own way.