I’ve been waiting to tell you something.
And it’s been going on for months, actually since last summer.
There were so many times I wanted to tell you, but I was so lost inside it all, I didn’t want to confuse you. Every time I come to the keyboard, my intention is always to help.
That’s really why I create. And I have a feeling you feel the same way.
It’s the vow I’ve made to you and every member of this community.
And now with all that is going on in the world, I knew this was the time to reach out and share, because I wanted you to know you are not alone.
I imagine you feel scared, overwhelmed, and are questioning so many of your dreams you started the year with.
Do you remember what was alive in your heart when the ball dropped?
Does it still feel possible?
Today, I want to just sit down with you, heart to heart and share finally what’s been going on.
Last year I started to get migraines. It was really scary, because I hadn’t had them since I was much younger. When I was 8 years old, I had them every day, and was diagnosed with food allergies.
This was pretty radical considering it was the mid 1980’s and at that time, all our food was processed. We quickly learned that MSG, caffeine, all processed meats, cheeses, chocolate, and preservatives were actually the triggers for my migraines. I eliminated all of these things for a year and the migraines disappeared.
This was the beginning of starting to learn about my body, and also starting to have a relationship with it.
In high school, I started having severe headaches again, and was sick off and on for most of my sophomore year, missing a week of classes, almost every month. I saw so many doctors during that time, and they just put me on pharmaceutical drugs that made me feel spacey. After a year, the headaches went away, and so did all the intense symptoms.
Through my 20’s and 30’s if I would get a headache, it would be from exhaustion, and few and far between. I watched friends suffer from migraines and felt I was out of the woods. I truly thought that time was over.
And then last year, in June, they began, And they were awful.
I found my body shutting down. And the most scary thing was, I didn’t know why this was happening.
And to raise the stakes even higher, I was scheduled for an IVF transfer.
When I started taking the synthetic hormones last July, my symptoms exploded. I started getting sensitivity to sound and light, and extreme fatigue. But I thought, it will all be worth it, because I will be pregnant.
So, I endured with this vision in my mind, while the symptoms got worse and worse.
And then the IVF didn’t take. I was devastated, and now I was left with a body that was screaming, daily, and depression.
I started working with a nutritionist, and had an enormous amount of tests taken. They found all kinds of deficiencies, in basic minerals in my body, which was so alarming. I had no idea…..
So, I changed my diet. I started the protocol of supplements, and it got worse before it got better. In the month of September, I actually only had two days that were symptom free.
And every day I was in fear.…fear of the symptoms. Fear of the fatigue. Fear of the pain, and fear of what was going on. I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to be present for my life, for my family, and for all of you. And what did this mean for motherhood?
And while I did improve in October, I plateaued. I knew in my gut we hadn’t gotten to the root cause of my condition.
So I took more tests, and asked for help.
I was working with an amazing nutritionist, an incredible integrative medicine doctor, and a miraculous acupuncturist, and yet at some point during the winter, all three of them said to me,
“I don’t know what’s wrong with you”
This set me into a panic. Because neither did I, but I knew we hadn’t found it yet. And I knew I couldn’t go on living like this. I was having dinner in the dark with my husband, and driving with sunglasses because I couldn’t take the lights. I was pretty much home-bound because being out with bright lights and loud sounds overwhelmed my system.
I canceled so many social gatherings, and stopped taking dance class. I was missing so much, and experiencing enormous hormonal changes, anxiety, and deep loneliness.
In December I took a final round of tests, and spent much of the Christmas vacation exhausted. Normally on Christmas day I am the elf handing out presents and cooking in the kitchen. This year, I barely sat up on the couch and ended up going to bed in the afternoon.
Was this every going to change?
Have you ever felt that?
And then in January, the results came, and as soon as I heard them, I knew they were right. My whole body said yes.
I actually had gut toxicity from mold and toxin exposure. Did you know that when your body is exposed to toxins, it actually holds on to them? The only way to rid yourself of them is with a binder. This is why I was feeling better with diet changes and supplements, but not fully recovering.
And the gut is really the KEY to everything…your central nervous system, your endocrine system…your overall well being. They say the gut is the second brain, and you have countless nerve endings attached to your gut. This was opening up a whole new explanation to why I was experiencing so much anxiety.
My gut needed to heal. This is why it was sending so many signals and messages. Thankfully, now I knew WHY.
I needed to detox, and in a way I had never done before. I had lived in this new house in NJ for over a year with mold before it was remediated, plus had mold issues in my apartment in Astoria. This was cumulative. So, in January, I started a four month protocol that is the most intense I have ever been on, and in January, I had 20 good days, and then in February had 23.
This month has been tricky…I’ve taken a step back, and it has been such a place of tenderness as I watch the real virus that is spreading across the globe, Fear. Which is why I wanted to reach out and share this with you.
Because I know fear. I know it VERY well. We’ve been intimate for months now, and what I learned very quickly was I needed HELP to meet it.
I also learned very quickly that my fear and panic made the symptoms worse. But I didn’t trust this. I trusted what I knew, which WAS to panic in the face of the symptoms. I trusted freaking out, getting stressed, and holding on.
Thankfully, after going through my divorce, I knew that the only way I was going to get through this time was with help. So, I asked for it.
From my coach, from my teachers, my family, and my friends….I knew I was struggling, and they all helped me with the same place….
The exact moment when the symptoms were coming in and I wanted to freak out.
That moment when I wanted to freak out about the future. Except I was doing this before it even happened.
I was trying to manage the disappointment, by getting scared. I didn’t have the headache YET, but I was expending a TON of energy to manage it BEFORE it even came.
And my loving support system kept bringing me back to my greatest tool, being present. Recognizing what is possible NOW. That healing happens NOW.
And I started to cultivate a middle ground. One where I could see how easy it would be to jump off the cliff and freak out, one where I was making a new choice. One not based in managing the future, but instead just being present with where I actually WAS.
And I found the symptoms would lessen. I could place my attention on something helpful, like Qi Gong, EFT, meditation, or massaging my energy points on my face. And most of all, I could actually FEEL what I was feeling NOW instead of trying to feel the pain of the future.
And tears would fall down my face, because I was uncovering compassion in the face of my fear. And that was the true healing balm.
I was creating trust within.
Trust in a process that in the moment of a symptom, I could stay grounded.
Trust in my healing.
One of my teachers gave me this beautiful Pema Chodren quote,
“The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.”
And my heart opened, in fact it continues to do so. Softly, tenderly, so I can live my life, and so I can write this to you.
These are scary times, and the spread of fear is where I have been most concerned. You are allowed to FEEL the fear. And I want to remind you always have a choice in the face of it. There are a lot of narratives out there that leave us dis-empowered with decisions being made for us. Decisions that are keeping us from making our Art.
But, when you check in, what is alive in YOU?
As I was dealing with my horrible migraines everyone around was really scared too. Even my husband wanted me to go see a neurologist, but I knew from my experience as a teen that would lead to no where, plus every time I checked in with my body, it said NO.
So, I trusted that, and I stayed the course, even in the face of fear, and now I am finally healing. I didn’t go with what everyone around me thought was right, the conventional model that had failed me as a teen, I trusted myself. And the journey has led me to create an even stronger connection.
One where I found the truth for MY body.
One with doctors who were on the same page as me.
One with support that could hold me in my struggle with compassion.
And this holds true for you during this time.
With so many news stories, and statistics telling you what you SHOULD fear, my question is, does that ring true?
How does this really sit with you?
What do you trust?
Or who do you trust?
What if there was a small pause you could take….one where you are just present and actually feeling what you need. What if you weren’t trying so hard to manage a future that is being fed to you?
As Artists, we are the truth tellers. We are the translators. And that means we stay connected to how we feel and what we need.
Because during this time of fear, I could have believed I was doomed. But because I had support around me bringing me back to my power and my strength, I was able to show up for the work I love and actually create a whole new website.
My art didn’t stop.
In fact, this healing time has turned into an absolute treasure trove to draw from. For the first time since I was a child, I have an idea for a short story…
I read an article today that said this is like an analogy of an elephant jumping off a cliff to avoid a house cat.
But you don’t have to. In fact, it’s your art that is the net.
Trust your heart.
And know you are not alone.
Thank you for being in my life. You were and continue to be a deep inspiration when the lights are dim. I thought of you many times in those dark rooms last year.
Together, we raise the light and get back to what we know and trust.
The beauty of Art.