So here I sit, instinctively terrified and disheartened to be going through another autoimmune flare. Although postnatal autoimmune flares are nearly unavoidable, I was admittedly a bit cocky! I thought I was going to dodge that bullet. After all, I have been stable for 3 years, my diet is phenomenal, I am taking all of the helpful supplements allowed while I am nursing. Still, I am 20 pounds heavier than the week I gave birth to my daughter 8 months ago. My face is red, my heart is racing, and I’ll be damned if I can’t remember what I watched on TV and how I got to bed last night. I know this all too well. But, I am hopeful and grateful. Here is why.
The gift I found in 2012 that led to my three-year remission was supreme acts of self-love and self-nourishment. Instead of “Go! Go! Go! –ing” all of the time, I forced myself to stand still. It took so much self-control and was very uncomfortable. Apparently, I was addicted to being a human DOing, with no skill in how to be a human BEing. When I stood still, the muddy waters settled and I could see my priorities, dreams, and values so clearly. I can honestly say that I have never been more happy and alive. It was the biggest gift to myself and my family. In fact, I am 100% sure that FLI wouldn’t even exist if I hadn’t embraced that experience.
With all of my good intentions, I have spent the last 3 years living, once again, as a human DOing. Building the FLI program has been a labor of love, but is also a huge undertaking! I asked myself, “What did I need when I was ill? What could have prevented decades of suffering?” Yes, guidance with autoimmune-specific, personalized nutrition. Yes, a very knowledgeable Doctor. Yes, supplements to help break the vicious cycles/loops that the body can settle into. Yes, proper testing and diagnostics. But also, understanding, support, emotional healing, safety, community, and love. Building that with FLI has been quite a project!
I will exercise my wisdom. I know what to do. My friends, I must rest. With a lot of help from Christine, our program is beautiful and unique. It is filled with so much love and I am very proud of it. I have many more ideas I want to develop for my beloved patients and clients, but it will have to wait. The program is more than enough, exactly as it is. I need the muddy waters to settle, once again, and to direct far more love and nourishment to my own body and soul. I need a winter’s rest.
Here’s the beauty. I KNOW that I wouldn’t be flaring again if I didn’t have more lessons to learn and a huge gift to myself waiting to be unwrapped. I have an idea what it may be.
When you had to have your blood drawn every week in childhood, when your nickname was “Turtle”, when you were taken out of your career because you were too ill to continue, and when cannot remember your daughter’s first 3 years of life, there are some stories that you start telling yourself about who you are, how life is, and how other people are. Those stories become beliefs. Those beliefs both have energy and take energy.
I need to examine those beliefs, challenge them, embrace them, thank them for serving their purpose, and release those that no longer serve my soul. That is tough work, right there. To help myself reflect, I think I will leisurely write a journal, of sorts, chronicling my experiences with this disease and how it shaped my beliefs. I will inevitably need support to break through self-imposed barriers.
Thankfully, I am blessed with an amazingly insightful team to help me when I get stuck. Christine was hired as FLI’s wellness coach because of her wisdom and her empathetic, healer’s heart. She has the unique ability to put herself in your shoes, but offers a new perspective, that sometimes you are just too close to see. Having had her own health struggles, she “gets it” in a way that most cannot. My dear friend, Amy, is another coach of mine. She asks me really tough, deep questions that help me figure out what stories I am telling myself which are not based in fact. And, finally, my friend Jessica reminds me over and over in her life’s work, how essential radical self-love is to healing, particularly with autoimmune conditions. She appeals to my science-loving heart by proving her theories with research studies.
In 2015, at our weekly FLI clinicians meetings, we spotted a hugely impactful pattern. In both our local patients and distance clients, there is not a lot of self-nurturing going on. We realized rather quickly that the entire FLI team was guilty of the same! For this reason, we decided to dedicate 2016 to the theme of “Embracing Empowered Self-Nurturing.” I feel so grateful that the very thing I need to recover from this latest setback is something I can embark upon with my beloved community. Please feel free to join us in seeking wisdom, peace, and opening that beautiful gift that hides behind your illness.
Big hugs to you,