"You are not as a mess as you think you are! In fact you are probably so close to achieving something so magnificent and you don’t fully realize it yet. "
Whatever it takes! These three words take on a whole new meaning when you are ill, don’t they? From the very first time I heard the words “Ulcerative Colitis” I was on a mission whether I knew it or not to do whatever it took to get better. That I was ready to do whatever it took to heal my mind so that I could get better! During my recovery from a really nasty flare in 2015, I was very honest with myself and repeated over and over to myself, dammit I am going to do whatever the hell it takes to get better! I embarked on a whole new lifestyle. I changed how I ate. I removed things in my own world that were causing me to fall apart on the inside. I altered my perception on healing and no longer viewed myself as a victim of this freaking disease! I can still feel the day when I knew that things were going to be different. It was an amazing feeling. So much so, that I get the goose bumps thinking about it right now as I am putting my thoughts out there for you to read. This was an unusual feeling. One that I hadn’t really felt before and one that embodied the concept of “whatever it takes”. Almost three years later, I am still a work in progress! We all are in this perpetual state, aren’t we? If we are really honest with ourselves, it’s a never ending process.
That’s a good thing though. Change is good and especially if those changes are life giving, life altering. I firmly believe that the small course corrections in how I was viewing my life really sparked healing. This is how it starts; small changes that make a big splash! You are not as a mess as you think you are! In fact you are probably so close to achieving something so magnificent and you don’t fully realize it yet.
When I started to re-frame how I was looking at this boulder, it started to break apart right in front of my eyes! Suddenly those irrational thoughts of where I was at on this non-linear path of wellness started to float on. The thought was losing its two feet to stand on because I was allowing rather than pushing. I have always felt that my own autoimmune hell was in big part due to my inability to go with the flow of life rather than pushing against it. When I started to let go a little bit my own body gave me re-insurance and I started to see signs that this GAPS diet, this change in lifestyle was really having an impact on my mind and body. The more I let go, the better my outlook became.
This is a huge thing to learn not only in times of illness, but just life in general right? Think about any situation and be really honest about it and ask yourself, am I living in sync with life or am I trying to control the things that are not able to be tamed? Setting realistic goals and achieving them is different than pushing. It’s kind of a fine line between too much and too little. Too little and you beat yourself up for not getting there. Too much and you end up with your adrenal glands screaming at the master orchestra conductor, the pituitary gland to help out. You end up wasted from the head to the toes. Once that happens anything meaningful you are working on is seriously in jeopardy of being phased out.
Healing Our Body Through Allowing
The big learning lesson for me through this health journey has been about letting go of control. I was wound so tight for so many years that my own little world mirrored my internal chaos. And it was a tiny world for me. My mind was pretty closed up to new ideas as giving up control of “my way” made me way too vulnerable. It made me feel weak if I didn’t have all of the answers and the only messages that really came to me were in the form of pain, inflamed intestines and despair. This wonderful thing that I have learned about myself is what I think makes me connect well with others, connect well with my clients.
I fully realize now that my “whatever it takes” is different than someone else’s version. My threshold is pretty high in some ways when it comes to life, especially the things I do to try to heal. However, the healing journey and process unfortunately at times had become like a full time job on top of my full time job and took on a life of its own. I know I am not alone with this. Countless numbers of people trying to find their own path out of their own hell have taken on every old and new type of fix imaginable. For me this second full time job of wellness had really become a drain on my energy at points. It became a chore. I had to reinvent myself and my way of thinking on this very thing. I had to give up control to get better. The message is this, don't get sucked into this trap of trying to control every facet of your recovery. Its hard to get out of and can become too much very quickly. Just know that you will heal if you fully allow and within your own zone of healing. In my practice I fully embrace this mentality and know that for one my threshold to change can be entirely different than someone who comes to see me to make change. Keep in mind, that the idea of “whatever it takes” doesn’t mean blindly throwing darts hoping to get a bulls-eye. It means things like finding new ways to change your mind set about illness and healing but doing it in a way that is comfortable and in alignment with your own ideals. Maybe you have a level of guilt because you are comparing yourself to someone else’s journey and where you are not. Your ability to mind shift at any one point in time can be a moving target. Your threshold may be low now, but quite possibly it will ebb and flow to the point where you are ready for new ideas at points in your future. The quickest way to sideline improvements is to compare what you are doing with what someone else is doing. The bottom line is that at any one point you may need do multiple things to bring on positive change. Dance to the beat of your own drum! Do what works for you! Ask yourself if you feel better? If so then thats great, you are on the right path! If not, move forward and fake it until you make it. Where we get into trouble is when we set the wrong expectations, our reality doesn’t manifest and then we are left holding the fragments of our goals. I hope this reaches you and I always wish you the best along your own personal journeys. Thanks for reading!
Ian Sandage is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who speaks from the personal experience of someone with autoimmune disease and the highs and lows of a health journey