How can you pour in to others when you are struggling with your health? How can you shine your light when you are focused on survival? I have been there, and it felt impossible to do the things I was called to do when I was distracted and depressed by health issues. I knew that it was time to make changes, but the radical lifestyle changes I was facing seemed insurmountable at the time. Of all the lifestyle changes I learned that I needed to make, the diet changes seemed the most difficult to me. How could I give up gluten, dairy, sugar and completely change my diet? I had no idea where to begin or how to proceed. That was several years ago now, but I still remember how difficult it felt at the time. Every time another woman approaches me about my healing journey, I hear that same difficulty in her voice and response when I tell her that diet was a big part of the change for me. I just spoke with another woman a week ago who suffers from endometriosis, terrible hormonal imbalance symptoms, and I suspect thyroid and adrenal problems as well. When I explained that I am on an anti-inflammatory diet to help reduce the inflammation that led to some of my symptoms, she asked what I eat. When I explained no gluten, no dairy and no sugar, her immediate response was, “I eat that all the time! I can’t do that!” My heart went out to her, because I can remember the same desperate cries in my own mind when I confronted my diet changes. I am not the only one who faced the seemingly insurmountable task, and neither is she.
In an effort to help others, I have looked back at my journey and identified two major factors that proved to be main motivators for me to make, and continue to make, the necessary lifestyle changes to restore wellness. If you need some motivation, I hope what I am about to tell you will be welcomed and prove itself valuable.
Motivator #1 Take Responsibility.
One of the hardest steps in life is taking responsibility for yourself. In terms of a wellness journey, that means several things. First, YOU must take responsibility for how you got to this point in life. For most of us, it took 20, 30 or even more years to become settled in to our lifestyle habits and become as sick as we are. That won’t go away over night. It will take time to make the changes and even more time to see the results. Second, we need to stop thinking that there is a magic pill out there that will cure us. It does not exist, which means that we will need to put in a lot more effort than popping a pill to see our wellness journey through. Third, it is not your doctor’s fault, or any one else’s for that matter. You make choices every day on what you put in to your body (nutritionally, emotionally, mentally, etc.), it is your responsibility to make better choices. You must also realize the limitations of doctors. Western medicine is based around emergencies – not general wellness. Most doctors will not give any advice unless you have a specific diagnosis. But what if your blood levels are still within regular limits, but at the high or low end? Who will help you with that? And what about symptoms that remained undiagnosed? You need to realize your doctor’s limitations and seek the right help for you. Whether that means seeing a different doctor (I like integrative medicine doctors) or doing some research on your own. You were given this one body on earth, it is your responsibility to care for it.
I suffered for years with no diagnosis. After having two miscarriages and even worse symptoms, I finally had a Stage 4 Endometriosis diagnosis, and I was told that I had endometriosis for over ten years. That was over ten years where I was doing nothing to help my body recover from illness, instead I was feeding in to it. Endometriosis is a particular case, in that you can’t have an actual medical diagnosis (in western medicine) without surgery. Once I had my diagnosis, I looked back at all the times I went to the doctor with symptoms that perfectly fit endometriosis, and yet it was never once mentioned to me as a possibility. This is not a blame game, but I just want to illustrate how doctors have limits. They don’t know everything, and science does NOT have all the answers. Once I did finally get a diagnosis and knew what I was fighting against and was told what western medicine recommends as treatment (medication to put my body in to menopause in my early 30s or a full hysterectomy and hormonal replacement therapy), I knew it was on me to find another answer.
Motivator #2 Love Others.
While the first motivator is somewhat obvious, albeit difficult to actualize, the second may come as more of a surprise. The first time I made a switch to a non-toxic personal care product, it was for toothpaste. Why did I do it? It was for Chris! He had stains on his bottom teeth that would not go away. He even tried the expensive whitening treatments at the dentist, but they would come right back. I love Chris, and that motivated me to search for an answer for him. And from that, my toothpaste recipe was born. That was over five years ago, and Chris hasn’t had the stains since! From that initial recipe, my dabbling in diy personal care product and cleaning recipes snowballed, as did my use of essential oils. But, it all began with my love for Chris. I wanted healthier products for myself too, but I wasn’t really willing to commit the time and energy to it until I was motivated by love for someone else.
I see this time and time again for people. They will live with their impaired health for years, but when they have a breakthrough and really want change, it is typically due to someone else. They tell me they want to make changes because they want to raise their children in a healthier lifestyle, or there is a need to be healthier for others. While they will be focusing on themselves and their lifestyle, what really motivates them and gives them the passion to start it and stay with it is usually due to their love of others. Doesn’t that sound like the message of Christ? When we love others, as Christ loves us, transformative things happen.
Excitement fades in a moment and trends pass away. Wanting to have a body that looks like his or hers, or wanting to follow the latest diet will leave you empty. Instead, I want you to be motivated by love. That is what will spark a lasting passion in your life dedicating you to a wellness journey for the benefit of those you love. That will make the difference. You won’t think twice about the diet and lifestyle changes when you are committed to how it will change the lives of others. What at first seems so difficult, you will be able to handle with ease.
Where have these motivators taken me?
I am not “cured”, and I consider a wellness journey something that will always be a part of my life. But, I have seen tremendous results from a natural path of healing. To Wander Freely and travelling the country would not have been possible for us 3-4 years ago, but now look at all of the places we have seen and the people we have met! I can’t think of a better way to explain how much my health has improved than knowing that I went from barely being able to work part-time and spending much of my time in bed or on the couch, to becoming a fulltime RVer and being able to embrace each day with energy. The photo at the top of this page was taken in the Badlands of South Dakota. A photo tells a thousand words.
I hope these motivators will find a way in to your life to help guide you to restore your own wellness, as they have mine. Take responsibility. Love others. Pursue wellness.