I’ve been posting on this blog for about two years now, and just realised that I have actually never shared my personal story with you. I tried to write it over a year ago, but when I read it back, it sounded like a giant bunch of unglamorous dribble, so I trashed it thinking no one would be interested and that was the end of it. Except now, I’m about to launch my second app, and more than ever it seems fitting to share a bit about myself, to give context as to why I do what I do, and what fuels the passion I have for it. Maybe it’s time to have another crack at that story…
Just as I was thinking this, I got side tracked as I normally do, and picked up my angel cards to ask a study related question. I only drew one card, and it was ‘Come Out of the Closet.’ At first I went pffft. You angels are on something. What relevance does that have?! Until I remembered my previous train of thought. The message, of course, was to share. So, if you feel like grabbing a hot chai and getting comfy, I’ll do just that.
Where it all started
Three years ago, I left a decade long career in Advertising. It was simultaneously the most exciting yet scary thing I have ever done. I left partly because I needed to heal, and partly because it was time to fulfil my soul purpose.
Time to heal
About six years ago, I was diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disorder - Inflammatory Bowel Disease. In the medical tradition, there is no reason, rhyme or cure, and harsh steroids and/or surgeries are the standard form of treatment. Since that diagnosis, I have been on a winding path to healing - as naturally as I can. Inflammatory Bowel is one of those nasty’s where you look fine from the outside, yet you can literally be burning up on the inside. Stress greatly exacerbates the condition, and many foods are incredibly problematic - wheat, gluten, dairy, oily foods and refined sugars.
Towards the last few years of my advertising career, I wasn’t able to manage the stress as well as I used to, especially when we were really put under the pump with tight deadlines, working weekends or till early hours of the morning. I ended up with Adrenal Fatigue, and yet another nasty autoimmune condition - Interstitial Cystitis - a chronic and very painful inflammation of the bladder and urethra – something I would not wish on anyone, that’s for sure (this is an entirely different thing to cystitis/a bladder infection by the way).
The things I tried
In my quest to heal, I tried all kinds of alternative therapies, and worked with many, many healers. I tried Chinese Herbalism, Western Herbalism, Acupuncture, Energy Healing, Rife Therapy, Intravenous Vitamin C and Mineral Therapy, Bowen Therapy, and some truly radical diets (to name but a few). Of course, I also went from specialist to specialst (and had many an invasive procedure), trying to find missing bits of the puzzle, and truthfully, collecting nothing but frustration and bills.
I experimented with raw foods, and a very simple diet specifically for healing the gut, and found some improvement. However, it still wasn’t enough to make me feel comfortable. I somehow found myself at a fasting clinic – a pure water fasting clinic – and went on to do a therapeutic 17 day long medically supervised fast, in the hope of allowing all the compromised parts of my body to repair and renew themselves. It was so incredibly hard, as I don’t think I had the right mental headspace for it at that time.
I had so many low vibrating thoughts and feelings rattling through my mind, and felt really down and out that I was here fading away while my friends were out enjoying carefree Sunday Sessions at cool new bars in Sydney. On top of this, sadly, the moment I started eating again, my symptoms returned, and I was heart broken.
The things I learned
It did teach me one thing however, and in the end, I realised that if I truly wanted to heal, I had to remove the biggest stressor in my life - work. Time for a career change that would both fulfil my true purpose and enable me space to really heal. Thankfully, this had been in the wiring for me for a long time, and I had already enrolled to study Natural Medicine a couple of years prior (I just hadn’t completed any papers – thanks to too many late nights and weekends spent in the office). Time to actually roll my sleeves up and go back to study. Yes, yes, yes went my heart.
The big career change
When I walked away from my career, I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders. I travelled to Bali on an impulse for six weeks, to complete intensive Raw Foods training, which further strengthened the love affair I’d had with these beautiful natural foods over the last few years. I became a certified Holistic Health and Wellness Coach, and completed an amazing Shamanic Herbal Apprenticeship, learning to tune into and work with the energies of these incredibly generous and healing plants. Today, I am studying full time, still working toward my degree in Natural Medicine. I love, love, love every second of it.
Where I’ve ended up
During this time of re training, I’ve managed to tame that pretty wild inflammation in my body (most of the time – with autoimmune conditions, it’s about management). I’ve learnt to seek balance, and to nourish my body with pure, unadulterated foods. I’ve also cultivated a strong meditation and self love practice. And, I’ve also had to work my way to accepting that this is my chosen path now, and even though its been a hard road and incredibly humbling being a student again with no money, it is ultimately serving me (and later, others) at such a higher level.
Throughout this process, I have been sharing my learnings and discoveries on my blog here at Ascension Kitchen. Going back to basics (and nature!), and stepping out of the fast lane have taught me much, and this is the message I now hope to share with others. When I think of what’s to come, I get excited now, not panicky like I did working in the corporate world (can you relate to this – Holy Sh*t!! How the hell am I going to meet that deadline! Looks like it will be an all nighter! ).
Food, herbs and thoughts as medicine are my passion, and I’m really enjoying and looking forward to refining my new craft of Herbalism. I adore the magic and alchemy it brings to the table, literally.
I also have a lot to be grateful for – mostly – you. I’ve been extracted from an environment where it’s very competitive and linear, and repositioned in this beautiful space where there is community and connection with like minded souls. I’ve also had the privilege of coaching some amazing people on their own path to health and wellness.
Thank you for reading this, I feel happy now that you can understand better what I’m about and why I do what I do and create what I create.
Love, peace, health & beyond,
Thank you for sharing Lauren! I was always curious about the persona behind this beautiful blog. Happy to know you better ! xx
Luz Elena Langle Gomez
Hi Lauren! Thank you for sharing your brave and inspiring journey. Your healing path is helping so many of us in our pan paths. Blessings an love from México!
I appreciate that! If you are interested, I am always happy to provide a review and/or giveaway copy of the ebook or paperback if you would find that valuable! Feel free to contact me. I always love to connect with like-minded individuals! Jennifer
Always keep going Kara, we can do it together 🙂
Thank you Jennifer - I will check out your book also 🙂
Simone Penn - just replied to your email 🙂
Hi Tess, IC can be very tricky to diagnose, but that absence of any kind of bacterial infection is one key sign pointing in that direction. For me, sadly, any kind of sugar was painful - fruit - even grains - as they convert to sugar in the body. Coffee, anything acidic, and, weirdly, B vitamins when taken as a supplement. Cranberry juice is probably the worst thing. Once you have a diagnosis, you can do so much to help with the pain, there are lots of helpful herbs that have a demulcent affect and soothe the bladder lining (eg. slippery elm). A good herbalist can help you a lot, as long as they know that it requires a very very different treatment approach to the normal cystitis. In the first case, avoiding sugar like the plague may be enough to help with the pain... additionally, consider a parasite - a naturopath/herbalist with a hemaview live blood analysis can test for this. This is all just my personal experience of course, hope you start to feel better, I wish more was known about this condition, Lauren x
hi wilma...i love YOUR line "...self love gives us the ability to turn the key"! i think thats the bit I'm struggling with at the moment. how do you love a body that continually fails you in such a big way?