I just watched Brene Brown's inspiring Tedx Talk on The Power of Vulnerability.
It has helped me to realize how, by making myself vulnerable and sharing my story of illness and healing, I can encourage others to do the same.
In 2005, I let down my guard and admitted to friends and family that I was feeling awful and could not continue with work or daily activities. Many listened.
This vulnerability came with a huge wave of shame.
While I was caught up in comparing myself to the predominant work ethic around me, I felt incapable and weak. I "should" just grin and bear it, right?
Well, that was not possible. I was so sick that there was no choice but to surrender.
Despite my shame, a miraculous web of support lifted me.
The helping hands came in many forms: friends, family, doctors, naturopaths, herbalists, shamamic practitioners, and countless others.
The support also came from the plants and and the food which which I worked to heal myself.
Yes, I healed myself.
My own vulnerability opened the floodgates of support and turned my shame and grief into gratitude. I have so much gratitude for illness and for its teaching that I do not have to live life the way that dominant culture dictates.
The immense gratitude I felt bolstered me to heal myself.
Slowly, made peace with my chronic parasitic infection and all the co-factors it caused. From anxiety and depression to dramatic weight loss, constant intestinal cramping, and an eating disorder, I made peace with all of it.
Even at my worst, I was still dancing.
I chose to live differently. I realized that stress is the root cause of illness.
Thanks to a wise and supportive friend, I went on a meditation retreat.
Mindfulness revealed to me how stressed I was.
I realized that I went about my life in a constant state of hurry, worry, fear and self-doubt. My yoga teacher, Prem Prakash, taught me that I must drop these four states in order to be free from stress and live in the present moment. Thank goodness I listened to him.
Present moment awareness is and will always be the key to remembering, over an over again, that vulnerability, gratitude, mindfulness and non-judgement are the practices that allow me to live a unique and meaningful life.
I wish for others to heal themselves of the cultural wounds that keep them oppressed and stuck in rigid thinking. I wish for others to avoid going through the immense pain and suffering that has led me to this understanding.
See who shows up to support you and what wounds they expose in return.
Lean into this exchange with compassion, both for yourself and for others.
This mindful act is the root of health.
I am constantly working to remain mindful and aware of my tendency towards stress. It's a practice. It's never over. But I strive to practice with joy and appreciation for each moment.
Here's to another day on the planet!
With heart-felt connection,