“For every hour spent with technology, one needs to spend an hour outside in nature.” -Richard Louv
Healing is never just about one thing. The progression of chronic disease involves numerous factors and so does healing from it.
I teach wellness because I want to give people the holistic tools to feel more alive. I like to think of eating real food as a gateway to a more vibrant life, not the end all, be all. Taking care of your body is the first step towards fulfilling your destiny.
As Stephen Pressfield says in his book titled Turning Pro, “The physical leads to the spiritual” (p103).
The thing that kept me going through the ups and downs of my own healing process was that I wanted to contribute something to the world. I think we all do. It’s difficult to feel motivated in a body is that is sick. I know because I used to have bouts of inflammatory-induced depression to the point of sobbing on my bathroom floor, wondering what this life was for.
Suicide would cross my mind. I just kept going through the motions, hoping for more. My spirit was trapped in my body that just wanted to lie in bed all day. In fact, that’s one of the questions I ask my clients: what will you do when you feel better? What will you do with newfound energy?
Well, I will tell you about one of the things I did after coming out of my last round of depression…I started using social media as a creative platform.
I just turned 40 years old, so my generation didn’t grow up with email and the internet. I had my first email account in college, along with my first laptop. When social media started showing itself, I just wasn’t interested. I was “too busy for that shit.” I signed up for a Facebook and LinkedIn account and never participated.
Shortly after giving birth to my son in 2012, I literally deleted these two accounts. Bye. Bye. If I got one more insincere happy birthday message from my Facebook “friends” I was going to scream. I was disgusted with it. As an outsider looking in, I saw only the dark side: people depicting nothing but the “happy, happy joy, joy times” of life or their latest accomplishments, along with their beautiful faces or hot bodies. All the while, observing people unable to look each other in their eyes in real time. I did not want to have anything to do with any of it.
If you know me, you will feel my passion for life (that’s the thing that got me off the bathroom floor), but that passion has another side to it - righteousness. I like to think that I have educated opinions about topics that I study, but I made a mistake with social media. I had an uneducated opinion. I thought I knew the “right way” but I didn’t.
One potent form of healing is admitting when you are wrong.
I started to realize that I had made a mistake when a colleague told me to read Tribes by Seth Godin. I didn’t purchase the book until I went to a functional medicine conference, and I heard about it again. Fascinating read about how the world has changed and that this “thing” that I hated with all of my being was here to stay.
Ha! Well, that book and a few conversations with colleagues lit a fire under my ass that isn’t burning out anytime soon. Thank you, Universe!
Up until recently, my motto had been Go Local. Now it is Go Local AND Go Global.
Three years into motherhood I was ready to enter a bigger game. I set up numerous social media accounts, checked them out and decided to put my efforts into Instagram as eatinpeacewc where I now have 3,000+ followers, which means nothing and something at the same time. While I hope my posts are useful to my readers, my journey with social media journey has changed me in a positive way. It has literally healed my soul on an unexpected, deep level. Here is what I mean by that:
#1. I am getting more comfortable living with fear and a sensitive nervous system. I am learning to trust.
When I got involved with Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, I was so scared that I came up with a plan. I would pay Drake’s babysitter to post my content. That way if something sucked or offended someone, while I may have created the content, hey, she posted it. It took about a week to realize that this thing called social media was safe to explore! And yes, I have stepped into controversy at times. I have stirred the pot. I have made mistakes. I have learned something. And I am still here – alive and well.
In his new book How to Be Here, the author Rob Bell says this:
“If you are working on something, about to deliver it, moments from opening the doors, an hour from everybody arriving, a week from the release date, two minutes from getting the results back, and you have butterflies in your stomach, be grateful. You are in a wonderful place. Nerves are God’s gift to you, reminding you that your life is not passing you by. Make friends with the butterflies. Welcome them when they come, revel in them, enjoy them, and if they ever go away, do whatever it takes to put yourself in a position where they return. Better to have a stomach full of butterflies than to feel like your life is passing you by” (p106).
#2. I have reignited my love of sharing ideas and connecting with people, and that’s the upside of social media.
I enjoy networking and consider myself a perpetual student. Now I get to do this on the world- wide web, expanding my reach far beyond the people I am physically with. One of my first virtual friends was the Forest Wyfe. She’s a wonderful herbalist! Her family gave up the city life to go live in the Appalachian Mountains, and she’s documenting this transition for herself, writing of falling in love with the land and the seasons. Her Instagram account is amazing. I wouldn’t know her if I wasn’t here in the virtual world. Reconnecting with old friends is great, too.
Sure, social media has a dark side. EVERYTHING does. You see what you focus on. Some things I witness on social media astound me. I ask myself: how can that be useful to anyone?! Delete. Some people do the same thing to my posts. GREAT! I want to find the people who are truly interested in vitality and wellness.
The ability for the small business owner to promote their product, services and ideas on social media blows me away. I feel like a kid again. My sense of awe for life is returning through this technology that I used to make fun of! Isn’t life funny?
#3. Posts turn the ordinary into art.
If you’re not familiar with Instagram, it is based on pictures. When whatever I’m experiencing strikes me as being worthy or beautiful, I snap a photo and then I say something about it. I don’t always know what I’m going to say, but if I just sit with it, something comes and sometimes that something blows me away. Wow! I didn’t see that coming. I am accessing a part of myself as a creative being that I didn’t know I had, and it’s so much fun to watch it unfold.
I got a call the other day from an old friend following my Facebook account and she said, “Who are you?!”
I said, “I’m me! You are seeing my internal world that I keep hidden. And there’s this creative force moving through me that is so damn fun.”
I just started a book titled Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare Just Show Up by Patricia Ryan Madsen. The author takes all the wisdom she has learned from improvisation and applies it to life. Brilliant book. She writes this, “You don’t need to do anything at all. Trust that the gift is already there. Then discover what it is...Ideas, songs, poems, paintings come through the individual but are not thought to be of him. In Bali everyone is considered an artist. Art is simply what one does, not who one is” (p39).
Is this thing called social media really ART, instead of the demonic force that I thought it was? I think it is probably both, as it reveals the best and worst of mankind. It turns out I’ve been prejudiced against social media; lumping it into a category of uselessness and excessive vanity. What a turnaround for me.
#4. I am so over perfectionism.
One time when I was in college, I called home and I told my mom, “Hey, can you do me a favor and bring me a shirt that’s in my closet when you come to visit?” She agreed and I said, “Ok, great. When you go into my closet. Turn to the left. Third stack of clothes from the right, there should be a peach shirt, second from the bottom.” She said something to the effect of, “Shit, Char, are you a serial killer?” I said, “No, I’m just a perfectionist.”
I thought perfectionism was noble, but it is really fear, in disguise. I had to get over the desire to be perfect in this realm of social media. I take a picture. I say something about it. I hit the post button. Later, sometimes I realize that I needed to say it differently. Sometimes I make mistakes.
People are more forgiving than we think.
Most people are too busy with their own lives to care about yours. They may have a fleeting thought, but then they move on. As one of my mentors used to say, “Everyone’s worried about what their neighbor thinks. Trust me. He or she isn’t thinking at all. Thinking is hard work.”
#5. I am finding my voice in the world.
There are a lot of issues that are important to me, like how we feed our families, childhood vaccinations, how we birth babies, getting people to understand the value of sleep, the value of a fever during acute infections, how food allergies are a causative factor in many chronic diseases…I could go on and on. Many of these topics are controversial and need a voice. Bottom line: I am finding my voice, and it feels soooo damn good.
It feels so good that I am writing a book titled Eat in Peace to Live in Peace: 7 Secrets to Claim Your Vitality. Writing a book has been a long-term dream of mine that didn’t find me until I reached a new level of vitality.
I am starting to see that art comes in many different forms and has the potential to expand the artist’s consciousness. Participating in art and the creative process, rather than just being a spectator, can make you a better, more compassionate human being. At least, that’s what has happened for me. I feel less judgmental of both myself and others.
I am sharing my passion with less righteousness.
I could say to myself, “Oh, wow, I have been missing out all these years!” But the truth is that I have been doing exactly what I needed to be doing, and so have you. We are always where we need to be until our souls desire another level of expansion.
So here I am, folks, in this strange and welcoming virtual world where every post and every blog is like throwing a pebble into a pond and watching the water ripple out, never knowing who I am going to reach and how my writing will affect them, but trusting that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing.
Thanks for being here with me! And if you know someone who judged social media, like I did, pass this on to them (print it if you need to). Healing can come in the most unexpected ways, even through technology – hope to see you on Instagram. Once again, you can find me at eatinpeacewc!
And please sign up for my newsletter, so that you can keep learning and increasing your vitality.
Meanwhile, stay tuned for my next post where I will talk about holistic ways to deal with rejection. Once you start putting yourself out there, your coping mechanisms for rejection will define you, not your successes.