Following Your Bliss Will Heal You
I realize many people think that "Follow Your Bliss" is a trite aphorism. In my more cynical days I probably agreed with them. However, when I received my Hashimoto's diagnosis in August 2014, those three words weren't trite at all.
Those three words became my strategic plan to radically change life as I knew it and to heal my chronic illnesses.
Giving myself permission to finally do what I love to do - while ignoring the social constructs of "selfish" and "irresponsible" and "guilt" - became a full on necessity. I committed to that necessity with zero Plan B.
On the one year anniversary of my diagnosis I walked away from a 15-year career, sold everything, and booked a one-way ticket to Bali. I'd never been to SE Asia before. I just knew that's where the adventure needed to begin.
On the two year anniversary of my diagnosis I'm celebrating having traveled solo around the world for an entire year. I've also learned that following my bliss has in fact put my Hashimoto's into remission.
Let me say that again, because it's still surreal to me:
My Hashimoto's is in remission.
After two years of an obsessive commitment to healing, and one of those years spent living my dream life traveling full-time around the world, not a single autoimmune antibody is alive and well in my gut. Not. A. Single. Antibody. Full remission.
You guys. You guys!
There's no pill for Hashimoto's autoimmunity. There's no medication to kill off the antibodies. There's only an elimination diet, comprehensive lifestyle changes, mountains of nutritional supplements (Hello, USANA), and medications for hypothyroidism (if you and your doctors choose that route). The way I saw it, there was no way to put my Hashimoto's into remission without following my bliss.
I simply wasn't able to manage the Autoimmune Protocol Diet and eliminate chronic stress while working 60 hours a week in a toxic environment. I wasn't able to get crystal clear on what I wanted - and why I wanted it - until The Desire Map lead me to my Core Desired Feelings. I wasn't able to full optimize my health and healing until USANA supplements worked their magic.
I wasn't able to fully understand my own strength until I stepped off a plane into the paralyzing humidity of Bali's southern coast and whispered to myself, "Well, now what?"
I look back at my life pre-diagnosis, I look back at that girl in the photo above, and it feels like an entirely different lifetime. She was scared and sick and tired and anxious and wrapped up in the bullshit of what she was "supposed" to do and who she was "supposed" to be. I love her, but she was so lost. My life was misaligned from who I am at my core and it was making me sicker every day.
I say this a lot when working with my coaching clients: I was an over-achieving stress case addicted to external validation. I didn't think I was worth anything if I slowed down. I cared what other people thought about me. I was living from a paradigm of fear and scarcity.
Sound familiar? Any other "good girls" out there burning themselves out and feeling totally disconnected?
I look at the woman in the grainy iPhone photo above, a picture taken just a month ago, and I see a badass with a great tan from Albania's mediterranean beaches. I see a woman running her own business. I see a woman with zero chronic fatigue, very little anxiety, only occasional brain fog, 100+ lbs lighter, and living with no apologies.
How? How did I turn 180-degrees in a year?
I finally surrendered. I admitted to myself that I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.
I'm here to tell you, love, that you don't need to prove anything to anyone. You don't need to earn your worth and be granted permission for a damn thing, not from your boss, your dad, a god, your neighbor, and certainly not from amorphous social constructs you didn't create.
You're allowed to be happy. You are. You're allowed to let your joy rise up from your core and take over your life. You're going to love harder and serve more fully when your own cup is full. I promise you. Your life will benefit from a healthy dose of selfishness and radical self-love.
It's your turn, babe. What radical shift is needed in your life?
Love + healing,
If you'd like to read (or re-read) a few milestones of this grand adventure:
Featured on Be My Travel Muse: How Traveling with A Chronic Illness Helped Me to Heal