My Autoimmunity Story
My first patch of hair loss happened in 2016, and grew to the size of a softball on the crown of my head. The doctors gave me a diagnosis of alopecia areata, which is one of over eighty autoimmune conditions that humans deal with today. I also had other serious autoimmune issues and symptoms beyond alopecia. To say autoimmunity is scary is like calling the ocean wet. I was terrified, heart broken, and overwhelmed with hopelessness. But after having a months long pity party for myself, I rolled up my sleeves and started to learn….
My background in health & fitness was a huge benefit for me, and I devoured hundreds of studies, and every book on autoimmunity I could get my hands on. After connecting several dots, my approach to healing has evolved into something like a beautiful oak tree.
Each branch of my oak tree is a different virtue or practice for healing; I now follow the AIP diet, intermittent fasting, and nourishing movement. Every day has some relaxation and peace built in. I do things I enjoy on a regular basis. The list goes on, but the most important part of my healing tree is the roots. The roots of my healing tree are spiritual connection and peace.
My health issues taught me to build my life around peace, instead of waiting for my life to be a certain way to feel peaceful. One small way I did this was putting a zen den where a dining room would usually go. This one little thing inspired me to relax, meditate more, stretch, and take better care of my inner world.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, has helped me more than nourishing the roots of my being, and listening to my soul. My connection to my soul informs the choices I make, the way I treat myself, the way I see the world, and the way I feel inside!
If you don’t have time to read the rest of this article, here’s the summary.
Health problems are an opportunity to bring more awareness and connection to the areas of your life that need it, and to live from your soul more than from your body.
We are getting into woo-woo territory, I know. But I’m here to give you anything and that has been useful for me. And tending to my soul was and is the only key to true health for me. It’s possibly the key for you too…
Health Problems are Messengers
Health problems are a Messengers From Your Body. And what is the message? That certain aspects of your inner and outer world aren’t in harmony. When we begin to listen to the messages, and take care of our entire being, our entire being begins to take care of us. This is love in action.
The way most issues are treated today is a doctor gives your symptoms a label, like “hoshimotos” or “Multiple Sclerosis” or “Alopecia”. You’re then stuck with this terrible label, a set of preconceived notions, and a hopeless feeling inside. Your messenger now becomes a target, a villain, or a life sentence. The treatment plans can be even bleaker.
Here’s the truth… doctors may be able to help you with your symptoms, but they don’t know why the illness happens, they don’t know what you’re meant to learn from it, and they certainly can’t cure most things. That’s because many health problems can only be cured by getting to the root cause, which is different for each person.
We’re taught to see health issues as giant enemies invading our lives. The truth is that most health issues are messengers, carrying the wisdom of an infinite universe. The messages they hold for you are unique for your journey. The messages they hold carry the key to your own harmony, your own inner balance, and your own healing…or at least managing your illness and improving it.
It’s a radical concept, but open your mind and ask…
What if your health issue is a doorway to a life in balance?
What if it’s a messenger from your body, inviting you to make the changes you’ve been ignoring?
What if it’s your chance to grow and evolve into the person you were always meant to be?
The Healing Power of Doing Nothing
If you’re experiencing any sort of health issue, it’s a great time to step out of the mind and let our soul guide the way. But how, exactly, do you do this? You live from the parts of yourself that are not physical. There’s no better way to do this than by getting quiet.
In more practical terms, start by doing nothing for a time each day. Some people call this meditation. You could also call it “doing nothing.” It’s not some big habit to tackle. Just sit with your eyes open or closed and relax for a set time every day. Don’t go into thinking about things, just breathe, relax, and rest. If you do have thoughts, notice those, and say “I’m thinking, now back to relaxing.” If you have emotions come up, let them be fully felt, and cry it out if needed. Just sit and do nothing, feel, notice and let go. The longer you do this the better.
I know it may sound unappealing to a “Type A, big achiever”…but just do nothing anyway. When I started doing nothing everyday for thirty minutes to an hour, my life started to change. My self talk was healthier, my inner world became more peaceful, and I started living from my heart instead of my head. This led to things like ending toxic relationships, doing more yoga, pursuing new goals and hobbies, and taking trips I’d always wanted to take.
What to Expect When You Do Nothing
- When you start your “doing nothing” practice, you’ll start to get important insights.
- Things will come up that you’ve been ignoring, or suppressing.
- You might get memories, or old emotions, or blatant truths, or new hopes.
- You’ll be more in tune with your intuition
- It’s also possible that nothing will happen at all for awhile.
- No matter what you get, it’ll always be exactly what you need. Receive it all, and let your soul inform you if any action is necessary.
Doing nothing is a powerfully healing practice. It could be as simple as taking a nap in the afternoons because you know you’re tired! That is a spiritual way of living.
Some More Healing Tools to Consider
Start adding these things in little by little. One thing at a time. Be kind to yourself and know this is a journey that never ends, and there’s no hurry.
Start with the ones that you know you need to most.
1.Connect. Connect with each person you meet. Expect the best of every interaction. Connection happens every time you say hi to a stranger, or any time you hang out with a loved one, even a pet. There is no such thing as a small interaction. None of us are alone in this life. Be there for others, connect when you can.
2. Relax Every Day. Deep rest helps you to heal, because it brings you to your most natural state. Deep rest has nothing to do with Netflix, or reading a book. Deep rest is the act of letting your body and mind just be. Yoga Nidra is my favorite form of deep rest. But a hammock or a warm bath work great too.
3. Dissolve Trapped Emotions. Suppressed emotions get stuck in the body, and cause disharmony. To dissolve old emotions, it’s important to feel them. Notice any sensations emotions are causing in your body, and truly feel them. This might mean crying, screaming, sobbing, or any other form of expression. Let it happen, and let the emotion go. This is an ongoing, never ending process, by the way.
4. Let Joy In. Decide to let joy in. Take the leap of faith that all is well, and allow yourself to feel joy whenever the opportunity arises. If no such opportunities arise on any given day, create them for yourself. Joy does not live only in the loud, exciting moments. Joy sits quietly in the corner of every moment, and steps forward when called upon.
5. Choose Peace. Put peace first and foremost. As if it’s the most important thing in your life (hint..it is!). Peace is more important than traffic, your bank account, any petty drama, work trouble, or anything else. Choose peace. If anything is disturbing your peace, change the situation or learn to be peaceful about it.
6. Have Fun. Plan fun things. Whatever that means for you. Go out on an adventure somewhere. Learn a new thing. Go to a cooking class. Dance around your house. Learn an instrument. Do a craft. Have fun, and have fun often.
7. Unplug. Unplug from all electronic devices as often as possible. The more frequently you unplug, the more space you’ll have for inner peace and healing. Acquire a taste for boredom, and do things without background chatter of TV or podcasts. Overstimulation hinders healing, so give your mind and body a rest by unplugging daily.
Give more energy to these things, than on the symptoms of your condition, and more than just your body will change. Your entire life will change.
A Tiny Bit of Science
If there is any shred of doubt in your mind that you can aid healing with spiritual practices, consider the field of Neuroimmunology. Neuroimmunology is the study of the nervous system and its effect of the immune system. The nervous system is greatly impacted by our state of mind. Thoughts have a direct impact on the body, especially the nervous system. If you’ve ever experienced a fearful thought, followed by a constricting of your breathing, you know this is true!
Spirituality is one of the most powerful ways to transform your state of mind. When you bring spiritual awareness into your life, your behaviors change. When your behaviors change, your thoughts change. When your thoughts change, your nervous system changes.
In new research, they’ve found that a nerve called the vagus nerve plays an important role in the functioning of your nervous system. A well toned vagus nerve puts your body into a relaxed, restful state, leading to better health. There is also a growing body of evidence that spiritual practices, like yoga, help to tone the vagus nerve!
This path of healing has deepened my spiritual practices, leading me to get multiple yoga teacher certifications to learn more about the profound healing aspects to spiritual practices. What I’ve learned is that most spiritual practices have scientific evidence to support that they heal.
How Long Will Healing Take?
This question can be freeing, because the honest answer when you get to a place of peace is it doesn’t matter. Not because you don’t want to be healthy, but because you reached a place of peace inside that outer circumstances can’t touch. This peaceful foundation is the ground of healing all things.
So, oddly enough, when you can come to a place of not worrying about how long, that’s when you’ll notice things start to change.
Just keep taking deep care of yourself, and let the universe work out the rest.
My Challenge to You
The only way to know if there is a spiritual component to your health issue is to try out some spiritual practices, and see what happens.
After reading through this article, notice which practices peak your interest. Notice which areas feel the most pull in your body. Then try them for one month and see what happens…