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Have skincare issues been a part of your life? Tune in to hear Barbara Jackson's story and how she's helping women take back the reigns to their skin! Click to listen.

Clearing Acne & Learning to Love YOU

My first acne breakout didn’t come until I was 27. It only lasted a few weeks and hit me near the beginning of my health crash. In the end it seemed to be a reaction to something. And with all that was going on in my sick body, the sky’s the limit as to what.

Anyway, I remember what it felt like. I remember feeling SO UNCOMFORTABLE in my own skin.

“Is that other lady in the doctor’s office staring at me because of my skin?”

“That kid is pointing. Great. I bet I know what he’s pointing at.”

Thoughts are delightful, aren’t they?

And while I most definitely wanted it gone, I hadn’t the faintest idea of how to get rid of it.

I tried over-the-counter creams. Medicated products. Read articles. I hadn’t yet stepped into the world of natural medicine or I would have searched their resources and tips, too!

It was a short-lived experience, but we were scheduled to travel to Colorado for a family trip and we’d be snapping a family photo. And I felt zero enthusiasm. (My story for the last few years, but that’s for another time).

I was caking the makeup on everyday, just trying to feel like at least one part of me could feel “normal”. But I knew up close it was noticeable. It had spread to my chest and the top of my back and I felt gross. Embarrassed. And I wanted to hide.

I didn’t. Hide, that is. I snapped the pic and you really can’t tell with the amount of makeup I’m wearing. But I walked away from the several week experience with so much compassion for those who’ve dealt with long-term issues with acne.

Today I’m chatting with one of the sweetest souls about her own journey with acne. Barbara Jackson is an Esthetician and Acne Specialist whose passion for skincare was born out of her own story.

From battling with self-esteem to learning tools and lifestyle changes that impacted her skin in a positive way, Barbara is a wealth of information. And her down-to-earth approach will win you over in a heartbeat!

Tune in to hear her heart for other women as well as pick up some skincare tips to get you started on your own skin-clearing journey!

To listen, you can hit PLAY below or find the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!

 

 

Have you dealt with skincare issues? What are some of the tools or products that have been game changers for you?? I’d love to hear!

Connect with Barbara

Visit her website!

Connect on Facebook!

Tune in to learn a few tips you can incorporate that will help you as you craft the perfect skincare routine for YOU.

Barbara Jackson understands how acne can affect a woman's self-esteem. With how busy our lives get it can be easy to put our skincare last, but Barbara's on a mission to help empower you with skincare tools you can incorporate into your everyday! Click to listen to this episode of The Wellness Crossing.

Today I'm hanging out with Barbara Jackson, an Esthetician and Acne Specialist who is such a sweet soul. She's talking all about her journey with skincare, from the effects it had to her self-esteem as a teenager to discovering how empowering lifestyle changes could be on her skin. And she wants to help you, too! Click to listen in.

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I don't think I used to ever give a second thought to how I responded to fear. Sometimes I was strong and pushed through despite the thick cloud fear brought. But others, I would curl up, completely crippled by the weight of the fear. Today I'm talking about 3 ways I've been changing my relationship with fear. Because I believe you can, too! Click to listen in...

3 Ways I’m Changing My Relationship with Fear

When I was about four years old I was playing in my Grandma’s closet one day when my younger brother shut the door on me. I remember how quickly my young little mind translated the door being shut as I’M LIVING HERE FOREVER.

I didn’t, of course, live in that closet longer than a mere 10 minutes. But in the moment I was gripped with fear that what was really just a funny little adventure for my brother meant something far more drastic.

For years after, the idea of being enclosed in a small space terrified me. And I wouldn’t dream of stepping inside a closet because my little mind believed the door would always close. All because it had happened…you know, that one time.

And while I’d love to laugh this off with an “I’ve grown past this”, which holds truth, there’s more to the story. Because can still find my relationship with fear to be as consuming as it was that day in my childhood closet.

So today I’m coming out of the closet (see what I did there?) and sharing some of the ways I’ve been intentionally changing my relationship with fear. Because at the end of the day, why would we ever want to live a life ruled by fear?

And yet it happens. To most of us. Just tell me if any of this sounds familiar to you, too…

We hesitate to move, we resist change, decide against that bold step out into the unknown all because the F-word grips us with it’s manipulative whispers.

“You aren’t strong enough.”

“You aren’t talented enough.”

“You’ll do it WRONG.”

“People won’t want to hear what you have to say.”

Sometimes the whispers are born out of an experience we’ve had that leads us to believe THAT EVERY SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCE WILL BE THE SAME. If I got hurt once trying this, why the hell would I do it again? If I couldn’t do it three years ago, why would I trust I could do it today?

In other moments we find ourselves justifying our way out of something because we believe the fear is there as some sort of indication that danger lies ahead. Our primal instinct, instead of questioned, is responded to with fight or flight. But fear told us to. So it’s okay, right?

But the beautiful truth I’m hoping to share with you and me is this: we can CHANGE our RELATIONSHIP with FEAR.

We can take the reigns back, release the haze of the fear clouds, and embrace truth. And today I’m gonna tell you about 3 REAL ways I’m shifting my conversation with fear. Because I believe it can help you, too!

Listen in…

 

So tune in below or find The Wellness Crossing over on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!

 

 

Do you feel like fear is something you need to change the conversation with in your own life? Let me know below! I’d love to cheer you on, friend.

Fear can be crippling or it can be the launching pad into where we're supposed to be. Into healing, releasing negativity, slaying that next project, raising a voice that needs to be heard. Listen in on this episode of The Wellness Crossing as I dive into 3 ways I'm learning to change my relationship with FEAR. Click to listen!

Fear can be crippling or it can propel us to where we're supposed to be. @kamilingren

Fear would like us to believe it's arrived because it's not safe to step outside of our comfort zone. It whispers "You aren't strong enough." It hold us back. I know I've felt the weight of fear more often than I'd care to admit, but I've been learning how to change my relationship with fear. And I want to help you do the same! Click to listen in to this episode of The Wellness Crossing.

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What's it like being diagnosed with Painful Bladder Syndrome (Or IC) when you're much younger than the average patient? What alternative treatments are out there? Join me on the Wellness Crossing to hear Stephanie Mora's story of inspiration and bravery. Click here to listen!

Living with IC & Thinking Outside of the Box for Treatment

You never know what random connections or interactions will ignite an unexpected friendship do ya? I am living proof of that.

Some of the friends in my life have come from meeting in college, my small hometown connections, or church gatherings. But there’s been this growing group of friends that I’ve connected with in the land of the internet. Where many of the bonds have been formed from behind screens, but with much heart.

And today’s podcast guest is one of those beautiful souls.

A couple of years ago I’d entered a beauty giveaway Stephanie Mora was holding on her blog, Stephie Estie. And somehow the stars aligned and I WON! (I’m pretty sure it was the first time I’d won a blog giveaway. And this girl was wide eyed and giddy.)

But anywho, since that giveaway Stephanie and I have become dear friends. Over the last two years we’ve bonded over blogging and navigating our lives with chronic illness. And I’ve love how we encourage each other on our paths to living our best life in spite of symptoms.

Today I’m just so incredibly happy and honored to have her sharing her story on the podcast! She’s talking all about what it’s been like to be one of the young ones living with Interstitial Cystitis, her journey to diagnosis, and the unexpected form of treatment she began earlier this year.

This is the kind of chat I believe reminds us of our own humanity. How unnerving it can be to search for a diagnosis when you’re certain something isn’t quite right in your body. The lengthy process that is learning more about your specific condition. And finding treatment, hope and community to help you along the way.

Grab your favorite drink my friends and join Steph and I on the Wellness Crossing couch! To listen, simply hit PLAY below or find the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play!

 

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Interstitial Cystitis Solution: A Holistic Plan for Healing Painful Symptoms, Resolving Bladder and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, and Taking Back Your Life (<—-affiliate link)

More about Stephanie…

Stephanie Mora is a southern California girl who fancies herself a Nancy Drew of skincare with a generous dose of compassion sprinkled in.  She was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis at the age of 20, which altered and helped shape her path later in life.  After graduating with a degree in English Literature, she decided to pursue her passion in skincare and became a licensed esthetician.  Fusing her love for both writing and beauty, she created her blog, Stephie Estie, where she writes about makeup, skincare, health and cosmetic chemistry.  

She is also now a proud owner of her own skincare practice in Hermosa Beach.  As someone who deals with chronic illness, Stephanie knows the importance of taking time to decompress from life’s daily demands and strives to bring a calming essence to her clients.  When she’s not working, you’ll find her reading, kickboxing, taking as many dance classes as she can and adding to her ever expanding lipstick collection.
Connect with Steph on Facebook | Instagram

Stephanie Mora: Thinking Outside the Box with Interstitial Cystitis Treatment

Living with interstitial cystitis at the young age of 30 undoubtedly has its challenges, but if you listen in to hear Stephanie's heart you are sure to leave inspired to rise above whatever circumstances you're facing. Join me to hear her story on the Wellness Crossing! Just click to listen.

Learn how an unexpected treatment is giving my friend Stephanie hope in her healing journey with interstitial cystitis (also known as Painful Bladder Syndrome). She's not about to let a diagnosis keep her from living her best life possible and her strength is something to aspire for! Click to tune in to this episode of the Wellness Crossing.

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In a world where the ill often are overlooked or feel invisible, it's so important that we learn to honor our true self. Kat & I are chatting on the podcast about what that looks like for us as we transition from illness to wellness. Click to listen in!

Honoring our True Self & Transitioning from Illness to Wellness

In these last few months of seeing my health begin to improve, I’ve found myself in unfamiliar territory. Much like there’s no road map for how to navigate the life of chronic illness, there’s most definitely not one for how to transition from illness to wellness.

So I’m often testing boundaries as I try and figure out how far this healing body can really take me. And while not every attempt has gone well, I am grateful for the courage it takes to both reach outside of my comfort zone and learn to rest.

But I’m also struggling with all kinds of emotions. Over how good it feels to enjoy more of life outside the home. And the tensions I can feel between embracing newfound healing and hurting for those I love deeply, still waiting for their own healing strides.

I’ve wrestled with the questions of “what next”. What to do with this blog, my creative passion, and my desire to help others on their healing journey. And now that wellness is entering the picture more and more, the more I wonder what the best next thing is.

For now, I’m giving myself plenty of room to process, explore, dream and create. While also making sure I emphasize healing every step of the way. Today’s podcast episode is of me doing that with one of the sweetest souls, Kat Woods.

Kat and I connected on Instagram in the last couple of years and have been healing from the same health challenge (#lyme). This was the first time we’ve spoken with each other off the screen and squares of Insta and we both agreed it was JUST the conversation we both needed.

Kat is a trained chef, an indie-cartoonist, and an all-around vibrant being. She began the blog, Hope Heal Cook, and has been inspiring and encouraging others with her beautiful nourishing meals. The way she has labored in love for her body’s nutrition is absolutely amazing. Just check out her feed and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve learned more about produce from her than anywhere else! Particularly how many fruits and veggies I didn’t know existed. 😉

Pull up a chair (or headphones) as we chat all about our individual journeys through healing. We’re unpacking how we’re learning to transition into a new “normal” and how Kat supports her body through diet.

Listen below or tune in to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!

 

Show Notes:

Be sure to check out Kat’s book “The AIP Instant Pot Cookbook“!

Find Kat on her blog, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Follow along and connect through the Hope Heal Collective Instagram feed!

 

How to support and honor your true self? Leave a note in the comments! I love hearing & learning from you!

 

Catch up on all the episodes of The Wellness Crossing Podcast by clicking here. 🙂

 

Kat Woods on the Wellness Crossing: Honoring our True Self and the unknown territory of transitioning from illness to wellness. Click to listen!

What does it look like to honor our true self while healing? Join Kat Woods and I on the podcast as we chat all about transitioning into wellness, how we are embracing our full selves and more! Click to tune in :)There's not a road map for figuring out how to transition back into wellness when you've been healing from a chronic illness. Today on The Wellness Crossing Podcast Kat Woods and I are chatting about our recent journeys of entering back into a new "norm" and what it looks like to honor our true selves in the process. Click to listen to the episode!

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Tune in to hear Matt's story of how neuroplasticity brought hope into his healing journey from child abuse and anxiety. His authenticity and openness is sure to encourage and inspire you that healing is possible for you, too! Click here to listen now.

Neuroplasticity & Hope For Survivors: A Podcast Episode with Matt Pappas

If there’s one thing that’s been made clear on my healing journey, it’s this: there’s no one way to heal.

Why?

Because healing comes in many different forms, paths, treatment protocols and timelines. Our bodies, emotions, even our brains – they’re all individually ours.

Which is why it’s my aim with this blog and podcast to share real stories and inspiration from a variety of people. From different perspectives, walks of life, and approaches to healing.

Because whether we’re healing from something physical, emotional, neurological or even spiritual – all of us are on our own unique path to healing. And will need a healing plan that caters to our own personal situation.

Which brings me to our guest for today’s episode on The Wellness Crossing: my friend and fellow healing advocate, Matt Pappas from Surviving My Past.

He and I have been cheering each other on ever since we connected last year through the Chronic Illness Bloggers community. One of my favorite thing that has come from starting this blog has been the connections that I’ve made. Especially the ones that feel like real friendships, where you know the other person has got your back. Matt’s one of those friends.

I always leave a conversation with Matt feeling encouraged and am so happy to have him on the podcast today!

Today we’re talking about his experience with neuroplasticity and the profound ways it’s brought hope to his healing journey. He’ll be sharing what it looks like to incorporate neuroplasticity techniques into his everyday and several resources he’s found helpful.

Since I’ve been exploring the land of retraining neural pathways, what Matt had to share was really exciting. Because while his healing journey may look different then mine, we’ve both seen the powerful effects that neuroplasticity can have on healing.

So tune in to be inspired and encouraged that you, too, can find hope. And that healing is possible.

 

Books on Neuroplasticity & Healing From Trauma:

(If you click on the images below they’ll take you over to Amazon so you can check them out. These are affiliate links.)

 

        

 

Other resources mentioned in today’s episode:

Rachel Grant Coaching – http://rachelgrantcoaching.com/

Connect with Matt:

Blog | Podcast | Twitter

Did something Matt shared resonate with you? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Tune in to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!

 

Matt Pappas is unpacking how neuroplasticity has been a game changer for him in his recovery from child abuse, bringing hope and healing to what can otherwise feel like a hopeless situation. His story is sure to inspire! Click to tune in to the episode.Neuroplasticity has been shown to help those recovering from emotional trauma. Matt Pappas is sharing his story in this episode of The Wellness Crossing and it's sure to inspire you! Click to listen.

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Feel like overwhelm has become your baseline? That used to be me, too. But I now have tools that help support me back to a state of calm. And I'm sharing them on the podcast today! Click to listen in :)

Reducing Overwhelm and Creating Calm: A Podcast Episode

I have a long history with overwhelm. Starting as a young child I remember my thoughts running wild with worry. As I grew, I went through life carrying a high level of responsibility and near-constant knots in my stomach.

And as often as those outside of me would recognize that I was “stressed” or “overwhelmed”, the most commonly-passed-on advice was the following:

“Don’t be stressed.”

Yeah…thanks. (But not really).

It really wasn’t until the last few years that I started pursuing what change could look like. I wondered what it could feel like to have tools that I reached for, and that actually…you know…worked?!

Flash forward to this year and I finally feel empowered with tools that have helped me engage with calm in moments where overwhelm used to be inevitable. And there’s something so wonderful about not feeling like I’m spiraling downward without a life raft!

It’s been through my recent exploration of neuroplasticity and the brain’s natural role in healing that I’ve recognized that calm doesn’t just happen. It’s created. And WE can create it.

Tune in to today’s episode of The Wellness Crossing, where I’m diving into the tools I use to support calm. These are the tools that help me bring my mind (and body) into a state I can feel both comfortable in and empowered by. And you can, too!

Related books I’ve read:

(Affiliate links below)

The Honeymoon Effect by Bruce Lipton

Have you tried any of the tools mentioned on the podcast today? If you’re looking for a resource to help you incorporate some calm-supporting practices into your daily routine, you can download my free resource: Brain Vibes!

Tune in to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Play!

 

Learn 6 tools I use to reduce feelings of overwhelm and bring my mind (and body) back to a state of calm in this episode of The Wellness Crossing Podcast. Click to listen in!In this episode, we're talking all about overwhelm and how we can bring our minds back to a state of calm. Tune in to hear about my journey through overwhelm and the tools I've learned that help me create more calm when I'm feeling stressed. Click to listen in!

For far too long I lived without tools to bring calm in moments of overwhelm. Be it symptoms, too much on my plate, or challenging relationships, I felt helpless when stress settled in. But this year I've been learning to embrace tools that actually help me create calm! And I believe you can, too. Click here to listen!

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Learn how my new approach to the gratitude journal has reshaped the way I look at living the grateful life! Click to read more.

Living Gratitudes: A New Approach to the Gratitude Journal

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting this blog!

Growing up I always had a journal running. Sometimes it would sit for weeks without a single word hitting the page. Other times I’d write novels each night, processing all of the feels and every single tiny detail of my elementary school, junior high, and high school life.

You know, the important details. Like what I ate, who said what, what my wedding would look like and just how many dreams I had about how my life would unfold.

A few years ago the idea of a gratitude journal was brought up in a conversation after a friend had read the book, One Thousand Gifts. She mentioned how she had taken the idea and started her own journal, each day writing down a few things she was grateful for.

I would periodically follow suite in the years that followed. Purposing to write down a few things here and there throughout the week that brought a smile to my face. That made my heart sing. Things that were just plain pretty, funny, or enjoyable.

But last month I decided to take this idea of a gratitude journal and put a spin on it. Instead of merely writing things down each day, I would take a short Instagram story (a video of just a few seconds) and I would verbally share something I was grateful for that day.

So every day (okay, okay so I forgot one, but doubled up the next day) I would log in to my account and record my gratitude. And thus my #livinggratitudejournal was born.

It was an interesting experience because not only did I do it every day, but there were a few people who joined me! And I absolutely loved reading or hearing their entries. It inspired me to look differently at my own world, uncovering new things that I found I could find gratitude for.

So why spoken gratitude instead of writing?

Really, as I’ve been learning more about the art science of neuroplasticity techniques, I’ve seen how powerful engaging as many senses as possible can be for helping along positive change.

For example, writing down something I’m grateful for is great in and of itself. But what can it look like to take that even further? Our brains respond to patterns, emotion, neurochemicals – they’re constantly looking to us for reasons to establish truths. And they also are affected by words.

So if I want to establish a state of gratitude as an outlet for bringing my mind and body to a state of calm and healing, if even for a moment, engaging more than one of my senses in this practice of keeping a gratitude journal is like icing on the cake. AND sprinkles.

Of course, now I want cake. Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate for me in this dreamland, please.

But back to this learning business.

Where were we at? Ah, yes engaging more senses. So writing a list of things I’m thankful for essentially covers two senses.

First, it covers thought because if I’m writing it, I’m also thinking of it. At least for a brief few seconds. Second, it covers sight. Because obviously: ink on paper.

So adding in another layer, like speaking it out loud, brings even more depth to this act. And even more so when I stop and actually meditate on each gratitude.

 

Learn how to keep a LIVING gratitude journal: what it is and WHY it can make an even greater impact on your mood and mindset! Click to read more :)

A little practice exercise.

Allow me to put this idea into practice. I’ll start with this one for an example:

“I’m grateful I could walk around my neighborhood today.”

To be intentional with this I first have to have thought of the question “what am I grateful for today?” And then, naturally, I find myself searching for at least one answer.

Once I land on an answer, I can be intentional with my response. More than just stopping at the one sentence, I can pause before writing it down and think about why that particular thing came to mind. Did it bring up any good feelings? Did I see something beautiful on my walk? Or did I feel more connected to nature and less “stuck” inside?

Pulling out every little detail in my thoughts, really painting a picture of this thing I’m grateful for in my mind can help send my brain all those positive, good neurochemicals like dopamine or oxytocin.

Now, I can either scribble down a few words or I can spend a few extra seconds and write down all those good details in a journal. There’s no pressure to over-perform, this is about finding what works best for you. Do you need to write more than a few words to feel like you’ve connected to that gratitude? Or are you already feeling it after spending that short time meditating on all the deets? You do you, boo.

Finally, the speaking part. What I learned through having a commitment of doing it daily was that it challenged me to step a little outside of my comfort zone. But in a really good way. Because it shifted my focus each day for those few seconds onto something positive. Away from any negative lists or self-pity and toward cultivating a calm and appreciative state.

Living grateful

My Living Gratitude Journal was an exercise in learning to LIVE grateful. From noticing tiny buds on a walk to seeing improvements in my health. Improvements that I was challenged to focus on instead of the symptoms that were left unchanged.

And you know what? It felt dang good. It wasn’t always easy, but it always felt more hopeful to spend even a few seconds embracing a light-filled perspective.

Would you like to learn a few neuroplasticity tools to incorporate into your day that will help you support your brain as you heal? Then this free resource is for you, my friend!

This year I tried something new with the gratitude journal idea: I kept a LIVING journal! Click to find out more and learn how YOU keeping a living gratitude journal can help reshape your mindset and support your overall health.

 

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Did you know that there's healing that can be found by transforming the way we think? Here are 3 practices that are helping me release negative thoughts and reclaim health! Click to read more.

3 Practices That Help Me Release Negative Thoughts & Heal

My original version of this post was first published on ProHealth’s Inspirational Corner.

As I sat outside sipping on my cup of tea this morning, the cool air brought a smile to my face. In the quietness I brought my mind into the moment, took a deep breath and closed my eyes against the rising sun’s bright beams.

And then I did something I’ve been doing more of lately. I silently reminded myself: “I’m strong. I’m happy. And I’m healing.”

You see, I recently started a new treatment that’s brought up a lot of new emotions. Renewed hope for healing, a genuine happiness, and more quiet rest in my mind. And while the quiet and calm have been so welcome in this tired body, I’ve discovered some buried debris:

Some negative thoughts I’ve held onto about my worth, purpose, and talents.

You see, I’ve worked through a lot of the things that have surfaced in these years of health challenges. Ideas that I’m not enough. Thoughts of comparison with someone else’s talent or ability. Beliefs that what I have to share isn’t of value to anyone else. It’s really quite a messy collection of harsh words and emotional knick-knacks that I just don’t need.

So I’ve started to question, what do I believe about myself? Do I really believe that my diagnoses define me? That my thoughts, experiences, or talents have no place in this world? Are they really “not good enough” or am I just afraid of letting my talents shine?

I don’t want to live buried by a pile of doubts and insecurities so I’ve decided to intentionally shift my thoughts. And in doing so, my aim and hope is to make more room for self-kindness, acceptance, and grace. Let me share a few ways I’m tangibly putting this into practice…

Daily gratitude journal.

Over the years, the people I’ve met with health challenges are some of the most grateful, appreciative bunch I know. We see the beauty in the simple things, soak in the things and moments that matter. So I wanted to be even more purposeful in this. Writing down a list of the things I’m grateful for has created a perfect space to allow the good in my life to shine.

And this list is not just about noticing the good, but also recognizing my efforts for the day. This can look like “I’m grateful I did a great job at sticking to my treatment schedule today” or “I’m thankful I was able to commit to my appointment even though it took a lot of extra effort.” It reminds me of positive truths like: I’m strong, committed to my health, determined. And when does that ever not feel encouraging to hear?!

(I’ve also been doing a Living Gratitude Journal for the month of May in my Instagram stories. Short video clips of something I’m grateful for each day. If you’d like to follow along for inspiration – or join me – come visit my feed and click on my profile pic!)

Speaking kindness to my inner self.

I can be incredibly hard on myself. So learning how to treat myself with the same gentleness I wish to give others has been a process for me. And one way I’m challenging the tide is by silently reminding myself of my worth. Affirming what makes me, me.

The more I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone with this one the more emotional healing I’ve experienced. Why? Because I’m actually starting to believe what I’m saying. That I’m talented. That I’m important. That I have something to offer the world. The beauty in growing in how I self-talk and care about myself is that I believe I’m becoming more equipped for encouraging and supporting others around me, too.

Meditation.

Meditation is something I’ve only recently begun exploring, but it’s such a treasured new experience! I love how calm and relaxed it can make me. So each day I make space for a bit of meditation before bedtime. And I do my best to get in another hour at some point during the day.

It’s something that has taken practice (and I still have room to grow). But I make a great effort to remain focused on healing for that hour. My body sometimes gets restless and distracted, so it’s been important for me to learn to be gentle with any thoughts that arise. Which can look like calmly reminding myself/my mind that it’s time for healing. And in giving myself permission to let go of any harsh thoughts during my meditation I’ve found that the harsh thoughts have lessened as a whole!

Finding My Center.

These three practices, while small and not-so-out-of-the-box, have played an important role in centering me on my quest for healing, fullness and purpose. Because as I’ve approached each one with intention and grace, they’ve helped quiet the thoughts that don’t serve me well. It’s helped me refine my focus on healing, be more gentle with myself, and be more accepting of where I’m at right now.

And it’s given me hope that there can be a full life in this moment – as I embrace the now, hope for tomorrow, and learn to dance in the freedom to dream.

Have you tried any of these practices or have one you’d add to your own list? What inspires you to stay mindful in healing?

If you’re looking for some guided meditations, here are a couple of my faves: Meditation Minis by Chel Hamilton and Tracks to Relax for bedtime. But there are a lot of other great guided meditation podcasts on iTunes if those don’t quite resonate with you! Or you can check out what’s available for beginners on Amazon.

(If you click on one of my affiliate links in this post, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase – at no extra cost to you!)

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Do you feel 'stuck' as someone who lives with chronic illness? Do you feel like there's no way to change your current situation? Today Kerry Heckman is sharing her thoughts and experience on making positive changes that have helped her heal. Click here to read the full post!

How to Make Changes in Order to Heal

Do you feel 'stuck' with pushing through the pain of chronic illness? Never feeling like you'll ever get better? Kerry Heckman is sharing her story of leaving her full time job and the healing that it's brought her. Click here to read her full story!

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase through one of these links I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep this blog running so thank you!

Today’s guest post is written by Kerry J Heckman of Body Mind Lyme.

In her book Mind Over Medicine, author and doctor Lissa Rankin discusses how she changed her patient interview process. She used to ask patients about symptoms. Then, she started asking patients, “What do you need in order to heal?” The answers surprised her and changed the way she practiced medicine. People started saying things like, “I need to quit my job,” “I need to leave my relationship,” etc.

Often times there is a voice in the back of our mind telling us we need to change something. For me that voice started many years before my diagnosis.

It told me I needed to leave my job. I was working as a school social worker with mountains of work and heavy responsibility. I ignored it and kept pushing myself and pushing myself, ultimately making myself sick.

The Lyme disease, which I’d most likely had since childhood, came out of remission. Then, I no longer had a choice. It was either me or the job. There is no doubt in my mind that if I had stayed at my job I would’ve ended up on disability. My body just couldn’t handle the level of commitment that was expected.

Making changes…

I know the response many people have when they hear this; they say, “I can’t quit my job.” Lyme disease treatment is outrageously expensive and most insurance companies won’t reimburse doctors for treatment, so we are stuck paying out of pocket. I completely understand that leaving a job is not possible for many Lyme patients, many of whom live on the brink of poverty.

If you can’t leave your job or make the other major changes you need to heal right now, it’s about finding small ways in which you can work toward the changes. The voice inside my head started telling me I need to leave my job five years before I actually made it happen.

Taking small steps is okay.

You don’t have to quit your job, move across the country, or leave your unhealthy relationship today, but it may help to take some time to think about what it is that you really need in order to heal. Start thinking about small steps you can take to move toward that place.

Can you make a commitment to updating your resume, or make an appointment for couples counseling? Can you make a Pinterest board of the place you want to live and research home prices in the area? At the very least can you start a 5 minute a day meditation practice in order to start listening to yourself and asking the question, what do I need heal?

One of the first small changes I needed to make was to change my belief system. I needed to go from looking at my illness as a terrible thing that was thrust upon me, to a message. My illness was here to tell me something and I could either listen and make changes, or I could fight against it live a place of anger postponing the healing process. I started to get quiet and really listen.

“Find a new forest.”

Sometimes we think we are completely stuck in our circumstances, and that we are out of options. My personal belief system is that is never true. There is always a teeny tiny adjustment we can make (even if it is just in our attitude), which can tip the scales in our favor. A wise person once told me that I needed to get out of the forest I was in, because all I could see were the trees that were already there. I needed to find a new forest, so I could see new trees, and new possibilities.

Quitting the job I thought I would have forever was the scariest thing I’ve ever had to do – scarier than the MRIs, the hundreds of needles, and the swabs shoved up my nose. Now every day I wake up and know that I chose myself, I chose my healing, and I made the right choice.

Kerry can be found over on her blog, Body Mind Lyme, where she aims to create a positive space for those healing from Lyme disease and other invisible illnesses. She’s a contributor on the Global Lyme Alliance blog, as well as the websites Lymeology and The Mighty.

You can also connect with her on the following social media outlets: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

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This episode of the podcast is dedicated to all you brave mamas who are fighting chronic illness while raising their family. Tanya Fierro is joining me on the podcast to talk about the challenges she's faced and how she's learned to navigate them. Click here to tune in!

Motherhood & Chronic Illness: A Podcast Episode with Tanya Fierro

Every time I connect with one of you fellow spoonies who’s also a momma, I am so inspired by your strength. On top of the layers of struggle that sickness brings, somehow you wonder-moms are raising your kids with so much heart and care.

You’re tackling what you can in the home. You’re showing up whenever you can for the big moments, and embracing the small ones on the daily. You are patient. You are giving. And you are rockstars.

Since I don’t have personal experience in this area, I wanted to chat with someone who could share their experience and encouragement with other parents who chronically ill. Someone who understands the unique challenges of balancing a life of pain and mothering (or fathering).

A chat with Tanya Fierro

So today, I’ve brought on Tanya Fierro to chat about her own experiences with motherhood while living with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. She writes over at My Fruitful Home, sharing inspiration and helpful tools for living life fully with chronic illness.

Tanya’s had her share of heartache and struggle. Her understanding of loss has been an encouragement and comfort to me as I continue to live with the memory of my own. And I know that her story will inspire and connect with so many of you, too.

So whether you’re a mom, chronically ill, or hoping for motherhood someday, or just want to listen, you are welcome to join us on our virtual couch today. I’m telling you guys: her honesty and kind heart are such a light.

You can tune in below to hear us talk about the challenges she’s faced and what she’s learned through more than 20 years of motherhood and illness.

What is one thing that helps you navigate motherhood while living with chronic illness? 

Want to connect with Tanya? You can find her on her blog and on Facebook. 🙂

 

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