My Recovery Story: Healer, Heal Thyself

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”-Dr. Maya Angelou

“Healer, heal thyself.” These are wise words to live by; they have saved my life. I’m sharing my story to remind you that you are not alone and that you have a path of healing and growth to unfold for yourself. We are all healers in some way and our most fundamental job is to find and love ourselves and share that love

What is your story to unfold? 

Here's a photo collage of me at 4-years-old and 49-years-old. I took the later photo in a beautiful moment when I was looking in the mirror and I could see my "inner little girl" looking out through my eyes. She was happy and safe in there (my heart) so I put these 2 photos together to share what I saw in that moment.

Have you ever had a moment like that, when you could "see" or "feel" your inner child?

As far back as I can remember, dance has always been a lifeline for me. As a child, I did struggle with flexibility due to holding trauma in my body. But by 19-years-old, I knew something wasn't right.

You know how you just know something's wrong, yet you don't know what's happening?

I started to gain weight, have panic attacks, and feel miserable, but I didn't know what it was. I thought I was just deeply concerned about the state of the world and human rights (which I also was). But I was projecting my unacknowledged pain out onto the world. 

In my early 20’s, I began to experience health issues due to past emotional trauma and childhood sexual abuse-severe low back pain-though I still didn't know what was happening at the time. I hadn't yet deeply explored my own childhood story or understood what I still had to heal in my heart.

At 23, I was told that I had scoliosis and would suffer chronic back issues for the rest of my life. I was determined to change my destiny so I set about treating myself holistically with a combination of massage, herbs, emotional/spiritual healing, chiropractic, and acupuncture. Receiving the healing touch of massage therapy played a huge role in reclaiming my health and inspired me to make it a regular part of my life. 

Then a couple of years later, my father became fatally ill with cancer and I literally thought my life was over because the trauma bonding was so strong. At 25-years-old, suffering from kidney stones due to the stress and on the verge of a breakdown, I was blessed to work with a spiritual guide and teacher who gave me the clearest unconditional love and tools of self-love that changed my life forever. That was the positive turning point for the rest of my eternal existence.

Have you had your turning point? Possibly many? Did someone specific show up to help you and change your path forever?

But it wasn't until many years later that I fully embraced the gift of love I was given. I sabotaged that love and kindness and those gifts; I was still going to have to fall down and get back up over and over again for many years until I was ready to face my shadow and take full responsibility for my own healing and recovery. Then I could begin to shine my light and embrace my purpose.

But until that time, I have lost my way a few times.

I have found myself in perilous situations. Due to unresolved trauma and pushing people away from me (regardless of the wise guidance and loving support around me), I incurred great personal losses and have undergone severe depression, psychosis, and dissociation to the point of being suicidal. Many years ago, I also spent time in a psychiatric facility in order to become stable again and save my life.

In crisis, I opted to take prescription medication to come out of the debilitating darkness. This medication resulted in 2 separate experiences of rapid weight gain, both within a single month: 50 lbs, and years later, 20 lbs. 

Both times, under professional supervision, I carefully weaned myself off of the medication (which had stimulated this excessive weight gain, most notably in my belly) and worked my way back to myself, my normal weight and natural body frame. I had to detoxify my internal organs, especially the liver, from the medications and heal my metabolism back to full function. 

I did this through spiritual/emotional therapy, personal spiritual practice, excellent hydration, a diet of lots of fruits and vegetables, juicing and live sprouted and fermented foods, proper rest and relaxation, and a consistent fitness routine with a knowledgeable and compassionate personal trainer.

Has anyone been a light and made a difference on your path?

Because of this very positive experience with a personal trainer the first time, I was inspired and ready at 42-years-old to finally pursue a goal I had held for several years before that–becoming a holistic personal trainer myself. I then infused dance into the training and offered this option.

Being on a creative and spiritual path is a deep walk. As a wise spiritual teacher once told me about life on this planet, especially in these times: “This is not Club Med.”

I am at times overwhelmed and in awe of how much we are loved, supported, and celebrated by the Divine. Mine is not a religious path but simply a spiritual one. I draw on this love and support on a daily basis and become stronger, clearer, and more true to myself day by day because of this commitment to my soul and whole self. And I share this Divine healing connection in my work supporting others to heal.

Everyone has their own path of healing and must find what works for them. I maintain a regular self-care practice of daily prayer, meditation, and self-reflection–my “temple time”. This gives form to everything else I do.

Do you have a relationship with a Higher Power and a spiritual practice that supports you?

Practicing gratitude (no matter what), dance as prayer/meditation, healthy diet, breath work, self-massage, regular bodywork and exercise, time in nature, and hydrotherapy are my other essential tools. For me, it is not a luxury, it is a matter of life and death. It has saved my life.

I’m “really living” now. There is no turning back.

DO NOT GIVE UP! YOU CAN FIND YOUR WAY BACK TO YOUR TRUE SELF AND YOUR TRUE BODY DESIGNED BY YOUR SOUL AND YOUR HIGHER POWER.

I continue to learn from my life challenges and experiences and incorporate them into my work. My life and work are now based in self-love: a path of service to the greater good and a creation from my heart.

What is your most fulfilling path of dreams?

My other personal passions include music, nature, warmth and sunshine, quality time with friends and family, yoga, bicycling, swimming, hiking, writing, reading, travel, languages, cooking, eating, and sharing good food, thrift shops, interior/furniture design, comedy and just laughing, gardening, and all things connected with the ocean and warm water. 

Blessed Be.