I wish I could say having short hair was entirely my choice, but unfortunately it wasn’t. Last year, I came down with a horrible parasite that deeply afflicted my skin, health, hair, vision.. everything. The parasite ravaged my skin. I broke out everywhere, including my face and body. My hair disintegrated through the process. For the first time in my life, I was ashamed to leave the house. I never dreamed I would experience that. Even my own friends hardly recognized me. I had always been healthy and vibrant. My skin, along with being totally broken out, turned grey. I looked like a cancer patient. It was the first time I lost a lot of things, all at once: my health, my looks, several close relationships, 2 pets and more.. I almost lost myself in the process.
Every day I felt horrible and had little energy. It was hard to keep my spirits up.
I had gotten the parasite from a dog that I had adopted from the shelter, and had no choice but to return him. Many days were spent remediating the house, trying to find a cure, and doing what I could to treat myself. I spent about 5 hours a day treating my skin and health. It was exhausting. Oftentimes there felt like there was no end in sight. I felt hopeless and totally out of control. How could this happen to me?
There was no “cure” for the parasite. I tried everything, including taking an internal pesticide that was essentially a poison. Since my regular diet consists of organic foods and vegetables, you can only imagine how desperate I felt when I turned to western medicine. In the end, I was made to take full responsibility for my health. It was both a scary and empowering experience.
While I don’t have any photos of when I was sick, here’s a sense of how much had changed for me over the course of a year. It was a journey to keep cutting my hair short. More on that later..
There were some major life lessons and experiences I learned though through the process:
1) Listen & Follow Guidance: Every day I journal and write “morning pages” from the Artist’s Way. I had written in my journal one-year prior, about a dozen times, “If I stay in Ann Arbor, I will get sick.” I did not listen to myself, but instead, tried to create a life from my ego. In my mind, I felt it was time for me to “settle down and get a house.” After so many years of travel and synchronicity, somewhere in the back of my mind, I felt guilty for living a lifestyle that had provided me so much pleasure and abundance. Maybe my luck would run out, I thought. After leaving LA, I didn’t want to put myself out there anymore. I thought I’d settle down and have a quiet life, but the Universe had a different plan.
It made me think that the Universe wants us to live our biggest, baddest, brightest selves.
2) It’s Important To Be Aligned: When you’re not aligned to your true path, which is really living your true self, the Universe will kick you in the ass to get you aligned. When I got really sick, it made me think about the way I was living my life. I knew I wasn’t aligned to my truest and deepest self. I knew I was playing it safe and living under the radar. Getting sick was a big wake up call. It made me pay attention. It made me see where I was living out of integrity with myself. The experience forced me to live my full self. I had to be honest in every part of my life. Many parts had faltered.
While I loved Ann Arbor, I wasn’t all that happy there, nor was I experiencing any positive flow or momentum. Everything seemed to go wrong when I tried to create with my ego. When I let go of trying to make things go a certain way, everything opened up and synchronicity found it’s way back into my life.
3) If it’s Not Healthy, it’s Got To Go: When I was sick, I had no energy. I had but a tiny bandwidth of energy. If something in my life did not align to health, it had to go. It came down to one simple question: “Is it healthy?” The answer was either: Yes or No. It became very clear, what was healthy or not. I could not afford to engage in unhealthy activities.
Before then, I would entertain a lot of different kinds of energies in my life; including drama and back and forth situations that I seemed to have unlimited energy for. But when I got sick, I could feel how even a little tug on my energy from an unhealthy connection would really throw me out of balance. During the process, I let go of unbalanced relationships that did not include reciprocity, nourishment or encouragement. I no longer had energy for them, and now that I’m well, I no longer have energy for them. By valuing myself, and my time and energy, I realize how instrumental it is to having true health. It is more clear to me now, what’s healthy and unhealthy. Getting sick aligned me towards a higher sense of health, and what I feel, greater purpose and potential.
Admittedly, I was surprised and almost embarrassed by the amount of turmoil and loss I experienced in 2013, especially after writing about the shift in consciousness we’d experience individually and collectively. (Moving Toward Source, and the Healing Journey). I had no idea that my own world would fall apart so drastically. Everything I knew had been challenged and turned upside down, especially those things I had considered “spiritual.”
It’s taken me a while to process and integrate the experience of getting sick. I learned so many life lessons through the process. Since there are quite a few things I’d like to share, I decided to break them up over several blog posts.
What I realized is that when hard things happen, they can bring us down, or build us up. How we perceive and process those experiences that can shape us or break us. Sickness can take you on an unexpected journey. You can use it as a spiritual tool to awaken and pay greater attention. It took me a while to learn this .. and feel like myself again.
“There is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were in before.” Henry David Thoreau