I have been searching for vibrant health, inner peace, and self-love for all of my adult life. As a shorthand, let’s call this magical trifecta “wellness.” And I can tell you, firsthand, that this kind of wellness is not easy to achieve. It is certainly not something that ever came naturally to me. I do not say this to discourage anyone from seeking it out – in fact, I am here to tell you quite the opposite. I say this to encourage you to manage your expectations rather than set yourself up for disappointment. I want you to find joy in growing these three powerful aspects of your life each day as I have. Because I did not achieve true inner peace until I was 60 years old, and I am thriving in pure appreciation and gratitude now that I have arrived.
I was diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 32, but, long story short, I knew that the standard western cancer treatment was not right for me. Despite my medical doctors urging me to do full-on chemotherapy and radiation protocols, my intuition told me that was not how I was going to heal. I trusted my gut and cut back to half of the radiation treatment and decided not to do any chemotherapy. Instead, I explored many holistic alternatives and combined them with traditional treatments. And I beat the disease. But even so, I was still not well.
I want to share my journey towards wellness and the steps that I took to arrive here today. And by “here,” I do not mean a static state—as I mentioned, practicing wellness is ongoing. I have tried every diet: vegan, keto, paleo, South Beach, you name it. I have dabbled in various forms of emotional and spiritual modality: floating, praying, yoga, meditating, acupuncture, massage therapy, talk therapy, cryotherapy, Reiki, I could go on. I wanted so badly to find answers that I searched for them as if they were missing keys.
I do not want you to have to go through all that I did. I want to help you arrive there with more ease. This journey is not one-size-fits-all. I cannot just tell you that what I did will work for you—we all have to turn inwards and listen to our intuition. But I can help guide you there to avoid the frustration of searching for something in the wrong places.
My seemingly simple advice is to trust yourself and trust that you are on the right path, regardless of the struggles you are enduring at the moment. Trust that you already possess all of the answers within you. If we calm our minds and allow our endless thoughts to quiet, we become receptive to the universe and can better understand where to begin. The journey can be very daunting; at least it was for me. But we must never give up.
A big hurdle for me was that I thought it was too late to find what I was looking for. But eventually, I learned that time will pass regardless of how you spend it. And now, at 60, I am so glad I did the work. And you can, too! I have broken down the steps you can take to start you on your path to achieving wellness in all three categories mentioned above.
Find the right doctor. Be it functional, integrative, or naturopathic—the right doctor is not always the person with the most accolades, but rather, the person who makes you feel warm and hopeful and aligns with the way you see the world. Find someone who will get to the root cause of your issues, not just treat your symptoms. And have them do bloodwork on you, but not just any bloodwork—the right bloodwork. I am a huge proponent of the answers you are looking for lying in your blood. Do your research to know what tests to request and what questions to ask about the results.
Go plant-based. It does not have to mean 100% vegan for everyone. I am not telling you what to eat, but rather, how to eat. The power of whole foods from the earth, like vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, grains, and nuts, are all you need to thrive. We should think of animal-derived foods as an indulgence, not a necessity. To make sure I am getting what I need from my food, I juice vegetables every day. It increases the bioavailability of vitamins and nutrients and has immeasurable effects on our health. Once I started thinking of food as nourishment for the machine that is my body, I stopped craving nutritional zeros like sugary desserts, simple carbohydrates, and fried foods.
Speaking of health: exercise! It was not until I changed my relationship with exercise that I realized the intense, sweaty, near nausea-inducing workouts did not give me the results I wanted. I had to tune into my body with yoga and slow down. I cannot recommend this tip enough: Think of some of your movement as a way to calm the system down rather than push it to its limit. And balance out your exercise with sleep. Get plenty of sleep, and focus on de-stressing.
Find ways to lower your stress, whether it is by working with palo santo on your desk, mindfully pursuing an enjoyable hobby, taking regular relaxing baths, or practicing gratitude journaling. And pay attention to your food. Treating junk food as a staple in your diet is not conducive to stress reduction. All four of these pillars of health have to be in balance. Exercise, de-stress, eat, sleep, repeat.
Listen to your intuition. Trusting your gut is real, and in doing so, you will find that you do not need to overthink your life’s questions—your body is already telling you the answer. Do not shy away from cleansing. Detox the body of pathogens like heavy metals, pesticides, flame retardants, indoor molds, and glyphosate. Detoxing will work wonders on your sense of clarity and calmness.
Tap into your self-worth and self-esteem. These can come with therapy and energy healers who can help you identify the source of your fears and anxiety and help you let them go.
Meditate. Meditation is non-negotiable. It clears the mind, heightens your ability to be present, and gives you a sense of calm—like a shower for the inside of the body. It transforms the way you feel even when you’re not doing it, arming you with a capacity to handle stress and adversity that you did not have prior. Meditation increases self-awareness, creativity, patience, and tolerance and reduces negative feelings such as fear, depression, and stress. If you only take one piece of advice from this whole article, let it be meditation.
Practice gratitude every single day. The happiest people are the most grateful ones. It is easy to take things for granted: your family, job, health, income, home, etc. These things are not guaranteed. Many people do not have them. We do not realize how nice it is to breathe until we have a cold. Do not wait for the cold to hit you, so to speak—learn how to revel in how comfortable you are every single day. Start each morning by going over everything you have to be grateful for, and end each evening by reflecting on your most fulfilling moments, and chase those moments the next day. And write it down!
Try plant medicine. I recommend looking into psilocybin mushrooms. I credit them for so much of my transformation. I believe that almost everyone could benefit from a journey with medicinal mushrooms.
Being aware of and prioritizing your needs allows you to be the best version of yourself, and that is self-love. Be picky about with whom you spend your time. Choose people with high vibrational energy who make you laugh and inspire you. The idea is to be surrounded by people who lift you. You must cut out the people who bring you down and do not serve to enable your growth. Be comfortable with the fact that not all relationships are required to last forever. Do not hold onto damaging relationships solely because someone has been in your life for a significant amount of time. You will feel instantly lighter once you remove the shackles of toxic relationships from your existence.
Humans are social beings. We thrive on connection, so do not be quick to shut others out when they are trying. Remain close with your inner circle and let other people in. We must practice forgiving ourselves and others—but remember that forgiveness and cutting off an unhealthy relationship are not mutually exclusive. Rely on your intuition to guide you in these difficult choices. One thing that has changed my life yet is so simple and perhaps obvious is to expect to be disappointed at times and accept it. Radical acceptance helps you understand that feelings of disappointment and aggravation will pass.
Lastly, let go of perfectionism. Let go of what you think you should be like, and work on accepting what and who you are. Take what you see as your flaws, and learn to find them endearing and love them. That is what we do for the people we love, and we must love ourselves the same way.
Upon turning 60, a big part of me felt panicked that I had reached “old age” and that it would all be downhill from here. But what I experienced was quite the opposite: everything came together for me at 60. It was a profound experience for me, though it terrified me on an existential level. But I never stopped striving for wellness, and through this process, I can say in all honesty that I feel better at 60 than I did at 50, 40, and even 30.
I have been searching for wellness my whole life, and to finally be here – experiencing true health, inner peace, and self-love – is the most beautiful gift that I have ever given myself. I feel so incredibly blessed every day that sometimes I am overflowing with gratitude. There are always going to be obstacles, low days, and challenges that arise. But we can overcome them—we can overcome anything by staying positive, hopeful, and determined.
I make recommendations about lifestyle choices and products, but the root of what I do is heal. I am a healer. And although each of us must find what works for us, my recommendations have helped countless clients, and I believe they can help you, too. But at the end of the day, the answers are within you. You already have the power to heal yourself and it is never too late to go within and find it.