The end of 2017 was truly humbling for me.
I want to share this profound experience with all of you, because I think this is something that desperately needs to be heard, not just here in the U.S. but all around the world.
As you know I am a holistic practitioner with a focus on healing with nutrition and herbs. I am also a yoga teacher, and work hard each day to be aware and connected with my body and what it is telling me. I eat a whole foods, plant-based diet, and take my daily herbs for organ and gland support.
On December 5, 2017 an unexpected event triggered some stress and anxiety for me.
Keep in mind that I have been stressed my entire life, and this was not a new phenomenon. I am very easily triggered, my fight-or-flight response activated in an instant, and sometimes without me even realizing it.
Up until this point (December 5th) I had been mildly stressed for about a month or so, with all kinds of new exciting things coming into my world. As wonderful as they were, my stress response is sensitive, and my body responded in excitement as well as fear. (You know that feeling when you get SUPER stoked about something, but it’s new so it’s also kind of scary? THAT’S the feeling I’m talking about.)
I knew I was stressed, but I pressed on, each day moving through my schedule of things planned, new projects I’m tackling moving into 2018, and meeting amazing new people who can help me in my ventures.
I could feel the anxiety, and I could feel it in my belly. I described it to a friend as my stomach feeling like it has its own heartbeat, like it was going to beat so hard it would explode out of my abdomen. I felt a lump in my throat, a lump I can only describe as feeling like a marble, attached to a cord running all the way down my esophagus and into my stomach. And there in my stomach was a rock, the very same rock with its own heartbeat ready to burst out of my belly at any given moment.
On December 12, 2017 I ate a salad with tomatoes on top. It was DELICIOUS. In fact, I even posted about it on Facebook it was so good. About an hour later I found myself in extreme stomach upset, and all I could do for the rest of the night was sleep. I ate nothing between 1pm that day and the next morning.
For about two weeks after that, I knew something was going on digestively, but I chalked it up to the tomatoes which have a history of irritating my stomach anyway. (Really don’t know why I ate them in the first place with that prior awareness!)
Finally it got to the point where eating caused pain and discomfort with every single bite, and even every sip of water. I had to skip Christmas dinner. All I was able to eat on Christmas day was a smoothie.
Some of you may also be aware that I have studied an assessment method called Iridology, which is an assessment of the iris (colored portion) of the eye as it relates to tissue states and genetic strengths and weaknesses.
I took some photos of my eyes, and sent them off to my mentor, an amazing holistic health practitioner. She and I both looked at my eyes and saw inflammation in certain areas and organs. Why?
And then it dawned on me. Stress.
Even though I had been eating well, practicing my yoga, and generally taking care of my body, stress is always I factor for me and always has been.
I recently watched a documentary called “Heal,” which can be streamed on Amazon TV. It is all about the mind, emotions and stress, and their connection with the physical body.
From watching this as well as from my own recent experience, I realized and am confident that most of my physical problems from my past and into the present are directly related to my stress and anxiety levels.
No matter how well we are eating, or how physically fit we are, or how many great supplements we are taking, nothing can erase the damage stress can create in the human body.
I am still currently on the mend. And, although I have not made it in to see my Naturopath yet (don’t worry, I have an appointment…they are busy this holiday season!), I am treating this digestive pain and discomfort as if it were a stomach or intestinal ulcer. AND IT’S HELPING.
I don’t have a scope, or an ultrasound machine to actually see what’s going on in there so I can’t say for sure. But if I’m trusting my intuition, my stress triggered an ulcer (or some other type of inflammation/irritation), and it takes weeks, sometimes months to heal from something like that.
So I’m taking it slow. I’m doing everything I can to eliminate or minimize stress in my world.
I’m having conversations with God which I’ve never had before in my life. I’m asking questions like, “What’s next?” and “What do I need to know right now?” and “Is there something I need to let go of?”
I’m continuing my practice of gentle yoga, and I’m going for walks on sunny days, just talking to God, and praying and praying.
I cried for an hour yesterday. Sobbed, in fact. It was a great energy release which I truly needed. My stomach pain almost instantly went away. It has returned today, very mildly. But I will continue moving forward and talking to God and asking and praying and being kind to myself.
My current diet consists of warm bananas with cinnamon and ginger, warm homemade apple sauce, papaya, and soup. Last night I was able to eat a mashed sweet potato without discomfort…score!
I am losing unhealthy weight again, as I did three years ago with the stress of relocating. The stress response has unimaginable impact on the human body.
Through all this I am learning to stay humble, and to remember that anyone can get sick at any time, for any reason.
I am learning that I need to do life differently than I have been, maybe ever. No more pushing harder and harder. No more pressing forward when my body is saying no.
Healthy eating is a HUGE part of the picture. But it’s not all of it. If our mental and emotional health are not addressed, the physical body will communicate with us in countless ways.
Stress and anxiety are extremely detrimental to our health. When we are in fight-or-flight mode, our digestion, assimilation, elimination and immune system are turned way down, so we can use 100% of our energy to “run from the tiger” so-to-speak.
Do you have stress and anxiety? Is it intense? Is it long-term? Is it affecting your daily life, your work, your home? Is it affecting your concentration and focus? Is it making you sick to your stomach?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, I hope you will consider taking a good look at that stress to see where it might be coming from, and how you can let it go.
We live in a crazy world, where we are bombarded by anger, fear, negativity, chemicals, heavy metals and other toxins seen and unseen. It is more important now than ever to take care of ourselves, to listen to the ONE body we have carrying us around on this planet and do for ourselves what needs to be done to heal.
That includes food, physical and mental exercise, and daily calming practices. Whatever is eating at you, it’s not worth the stress. Let it go. Breathe. Just how kind can you be to yourself this blessed new year? I am with you and support you all the way. Let’s do this together <3