by Meghan Telpner
Five years ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a condition that is commonly believed to have no cure. I was given the options of surgery and medication for the rest of my life, still without the potential of a cure. My doctor told me that diet would have no effect and that I would have to learn to live with it.
Not one to play by the rules, I decided to create my own. I chose a natural route that included meditation, yoga, acupuncture, rest, and a diet comprised of whole, unprocessed foods. Within one month I was symptom free and remain so five years on. I have since become certified as a nutritionist and run a cooking school in downtown Toronto. I am firm on the fact that getting sick was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and getting well was the greatest adventure ever. This is what I learned healing from an incurable disease.
1. Take other opinions with a grain of salt. It is just an opinion and only our own opinions of ourselves and our current situation really matter. I received the opinion that I had an incurable disease and nothing I ate or did regarding my lifestyle would have an effect. I chose to trust my own opinion that this was not true. That has made all the difference.
2. Learn how to cook… really well. Prior to this experience I owned one cookbook calledHelp! My Apartment Has A Kitchen. Four years later, I own and operate a cooking school. I believed strongly, despite my doctor’s contradictory opinion, that a disease of the digestive tract would obviously be affected by what passed through it. It therefore became my mission to know exactly what I was eating and so I learned to cook from 100 percent whole ingredients. With all the processing happening in my own kitchen.
3. Yoga is more than twisting yourself into a pretzel. I used to be one of those before-work workout nut heads who rolled into the gym at 6:00 a.m., kicked my own bottom for an hour, and then raced off to work. When high-impact workouts were no longer an option, I turned to yoga. Yoga is a gazillion times harder than climbing a stair master or doing crunches until you want to puke—because it makes you actually look at yourself from the inside and realize some change has to happen.
4. Life may not always bring you sunshine and rainbows, but if you wait out the storm long enough, they always appear if you look for them. That’s all I have to say about that.
5. A cute outfit doesn’t mean much when you feel like total crappola. Great health makes you look (and feel) great—way more than high heels or manicured nails can.
6. Always, always, always trust your intuition. If you can’t hear it, that means your life is too noisy. Be still a little bit everyday and you will start to hear the voice, and over time you will learn to listen. And over even more time, you will learn that it is always right.
7. When you do something in your life that other people deem impossible in their life, you suddenly become labelled “an inspiration.” I like that I inspire people but I don’t wake up every morning with the thought, I am going to inspire today! I just do what I do, because it feels right for me. Likewise, the people I find inspiring are just doing what seems right to them. I think this means that we all inspire others in our own way, just by being true to ourselves.
8. When something goes wrong in our body or in our mind–whether it be a disease, an injury, or a broken heart–“fighting” it doesn’t help us heal. It creates more resistance. When we can learn to feed and nourish and give ourselves what is needed to work with the challenge rather than against it, that is how we heal.
9. Vegetables are delicious. They used to make me gag. Then I learned I just didn’t like hard chunks of carrot in my salads. There are loads of other ways to enjoy carrots and loads of other vegetables I love to eat. I just had to get creative and explore the unknown.
10. I am better off happily creating than creating to be happy. We think that if we work now, even if we hate it, that the benefits or payoff will bring happiness to the future version of ourselves. When I think back five years to who I was dating, where I was working, and the life I thought I was working towards, it is definitely not what would make me happy today. Wouldn’t it be a waste of precious time to take on misery now and try to achieve something that is only serving to satisfy and bring joy to a future version of myself? I would end up disappointed for a good portion of my life.
Things can change in an instant, with a diagnosis, a disaster … anything! The greatest gift we can offer ourselves is to wake up happy, excited about the day ahead, and go to bed pleased with the job that we did, accepting that the process itself is the outcome, and that we did our very best at every given moment.–
About the author: Spirituality & Health guest contributor Meghan Telpner, nutritionista, writes from Toronto, where she owns and operates a cooking school, authors the daily blog Making Love in the Kitchen, leads wellness retreats, authors e-books on healthy living, and much more. meghantelpner.com