When on any healing journey, there are near-constant lessons weaving their way towards us.
Every experience, emotion, relationship, and struggle has the opportunity to teach us valuable lessons, and this truth can be even more magnified when on a healing journey.
Through the conscious choice to live from a place of awareness and take responsibility for our life, we can begin to peel back the layers and fully connect with the lessons we are meant to receive.
My healing journey began in 2009, shortly after moving to NYC to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. I had recently been diagnosed with celiac disease and knew that the extreme fatigue, gut imbalances, and discomfort I was experiencing couldn’t be normal. This interest in health and healing was only heightened when I was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia only a few years later and was told I would need a life-saving bone marrow transplant.
Throughout the past 11 years of this journey, I have learned countless lessons. Here are some that currently stand out:
1. My health and continued healing goes above all else.
There have been times in my life when I put others' needs before my own, and time and time again, I've learned my lesson. Through honest communication and strong boundaries, I have made a commitment to myself to always put my health first. If I am not healthy, I can’t be present or there for anyone else.
It isn't a selfish act — I am incapable of pursuing my own goals and devoting energy to those I care about if I'm not healthy, so protecting myself and focusing on continued healing is paramount.
2. Be prepared for low days.
I learned a long time ago that while on this healing path, there will be low days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years. This can range from physical to mental and emotional. Instead of allowing these moments to catch me by surprise, I anticipate them and make sure I’m prepared with a strong healing toolkit filled with practices and resources to support myself through whatever emotions come up and whatever my experiences are. A few of these tools are:
Journaling - I love this sketchbook for its thick pages. I will often do stream-of-consciousness writing for as long as I need to release any stuck energy, thoughts, or emotions in my body.
Infrared sauna - I recently invested in a full-size one after years of using this portable one (which I highly recommend) in NYC. It's a really big investment, but truly nothing has been as effective in supporting detoxification, relieving pain, and improving my chronic fatigue.
Permission to rest - I love my work and look forward to creating and connecting daily, but when I'm having low days, I know the best thing I can do for myself is to give myself full permission to relax. This could be a nap, movie on the couch, or a few hours at the beach. Most importantly, I release any "rest guilt" and enjoy my time offline.
Water - I find that I am able to rest + renew (and do my best thinking) when in water — taking a healing bath (I typically do epsom salts + essential oils), a shower, or going to the ocean if I can. Being in or near water is deeply healing.
Time outside/in nature - I am grateful to live in Florida now where I can go for a quiet walk outside whenever I need, but even in NYC, I would find sweet little parks to visit or take myself on a walk by the Hudson or East River.
3. No one can heal me except for me.
I spent countless years and dollars trying to find the answers to my problems in other people — whether it was a healer, doctor, or beyond. While I attribute aspects of my healing to the support and knowledge I gained from others, I now know that no one can heal me except for me.
It takes great strength from within to come to this realization and to know that it will be an up and down journey; that there will be disappointments and hurdles along the way. It is of course important to trust medical professionals, but at the end of the day, it is as much mindset as it is anything else. I am the one who has to do the inner work so I can move forward from a place of peace, trust, and ease.
4. Creating a strong healing support system is everything.
Although healing begins with taking responsibility for your own life and healing, no one can do it alone. Creating a strong support system will be the foundation from which you grow, and those who are part of your healing support system will be some of your greatest mirrors for personal growth.
Having this support system of people who can be present, offer guidance and solace when needed, and reflect back to you just how far you've come can be invaluable as you make your way through healing. It can be as simple as a loved one making you a favorite meal, or it can be knowing a therapist is holding space for you and listens without judgment.
5. Eastern and western medicine are both equally important.
Exploring and experimenting with natural healing modalities is one of my greatest passions, but I also know that without a bone marrow transplant, I wouldn’t be alive today. Even when you want to heal as naturally as possible, there is no replacement for the potency that thousands of years of science provides.
It is important to respect both forms of medicine as they can work beautifully together to support truly holistic healing. Ancient practices such as acupuncture can be as transformative as western IV therapies. Having faith and trust in your chosen medical professionals is a huge part of any treatments you may go through.
6. Some people won’t understand what you're going through, and that's okay.
I learned early on in my healing journey that no one can truly understand my experience, even those who deeply want to. I now know that family and friends have the best of intentions and are navigating their own experiences. Even if they say hurtful things, I always remember to see it through the lens that they're doing the best they can with what they know.
Certain situations within healing journeys are fraught with not knowing what to say. People feel discomfort and worry for your well-being, and as such they may inadvertently be insensitive. This can be about things like the ways in which you choose to take care of yourself, boundaries you have put in place or even what you're eating/not eating. Know that most likely, their comments come from a place of love and they are not in full understanding of what you and your body are going through. Unless a person were going through the same exact thing, there's no way they could know.
7. Time offline is not optional, but necessary.
We live in the digital age, and it has no "off" switch. There are constant notifications, messages, and calls, and there is a certain expectation to always be available. On my healing journey, I've learned the immense value of going offline.
Taking breaks to delve into creative pursuits, take time in nature, connect with loved ones, read, or even just quietly be is healing and rejuvenating. It lessens stress and reminds me that the notifications can wait — my healing is far more important.
8. Work and aligning with my purpose is one of the greatest forms of self-care.
Supporting others on their healing journeys is my purpose in this lifetime. I truly believe that everything I have endured on my own health journey — physically, mentally, and emotionally — was to align me with this purpose. Getting up every day and doing this work is my greatest joy and the time when I feel most in flow. I know that creating consistent space to stay focused on my work no matter what else is going on in my life is one of the greatest forms of self-care I can give myself.
9. Technology disconnects me from my intuition, but time in nature quickly reconnects me.
Technology can be a huge energy drain. Mindless scrolling does very little for creativity, openness, and intuition, and immediately disconnects me from my inner voice. Going out into nature is helpful in reconnecting me to those same things. It quiets the mind so messages and ideas can come through, providing clarity.
I love to leave my phone at home and go for long walks. It is the most incredible medicine. Studies show that time outdoors has physical and psychological benefits, as does walking. It's simple, it's healing, and it's free!
10. Have patience and surrender.
The healing process cannot be rushed, no matter how hard we may try. Whenever we attempt to push anything in life, that energy often creates the opposite result of what we're trying to achieve. Even in moments of the deepest frustration, I have tried to choose patience and surrender to the process of healing. My body is doing the best it can and it's essential to trust that.
Patience and surrender is a practice, and being gentle and forgiving opens up the space for deeper healing. It's something to remind yourself of daily as you move through difficult times.
Through surrendering to Divine (or whatever your higher power is) we can open up the space for miracles to unfold in our lives. Keeping an open mind and trusting that the Universe has our best interests at heart is an expansive practice.
11. Through the physical, mental, and emotional pain I have experienced on my health journey, I have been able to access my gifts.
It wasn’t until last year that I uncovered my ability to channel the Records, a gift I truly don’t believe I would have access to without the physical pain I have endured. It was through a strong push from Spirit to take the Akashic Records training, without any expectations, that I first began to open the Records of different partners and in a group setting, and it was then that I received the message that this was a gift that came from my health journey.
I know I wouldn’t have even felt the strong push to go to that training had it not been for the connection to my intuition. This connection, as well as my ability to receive information about my own path and those in my life, comes through stronger than ever and in ways I previously wasn’t able to access before walking this path. I believe my sensitivity to receiving information has been heightened in every way. When I am grounded in my body and environment, I will often connect to my intuition by asking myself a question and feeling into the answer.
Empathy and the ability to deeply feel into another person's experience has allowed me to guide others on their healing. For most of my life, this gift has been difficult to manage, but I have learned to put boundaries in place (often picturing an invisible white shield around myself when there are emotions I don’t want to take in) and using tools to shake off the energy such as breathwork and dancing.
And the most important lesson: Be open to miracles! As my dear friend Jasmin often asks, are you available for miracles?
The messages and lessons I continually learn throughout my healing change often. I am constantly appreciative to receive them and reflect on how far I've come. I am honored to share my gifts with others as they move through their own healing, and to support them as they come into their own understanding.
Image via Pinterest