As it stands, my life is full of garden fresh vegetables, a loving partnership, a fulfilling teaching practice, and a peaceful mind. 

But it wasn’t always this good. 

A few years ago, I was a hustling actress in Los Angeles, sampling every trending cleanse or detox, physically exhausted, nature-starved, and pretty much broke from the costs of managing my severe Candida. I tried pills and juices, colon cleanses and at-home enemas, naturopaths and homeopaths, and Pancha Karmas. It appeared (and felt) like my entire body was falling apart, deteriorating (and I was only 30!). I’d hit rock bottom and was looking for answers I couldn’t get from the multitude of mainstream and alternative doctors I sought out. 

Luckily, it was at this time that I happened upon an enigmatic book that, in 700 pages of iambic pentameter, describes the nature of why we suffer emotionally and become sick physically. It’s called, A Course in Miracles (Marianne Williamson and Gabrielle Bernstein are two of the more famous teachers). Though the book was kinda intimidating, I was just desperate enough to give it a try. I started reading it (even though I didn’t entirely understand it at first) and began the workbook’s 365 lessons that began a year-long meditation journey. Due to the chaotic nature of my untrained mind, each daily lesson was a focal point for my mind to grasp onto. I was training my mind, moment to moment, to turn to the loving thoughts the course suggested and replace my negative thinking.

As I worked through the lessons and practiced the daily meditations, I realized how insane and attacking my thinking really was. It became clear that my unhealthy mind and my unhealthy body were likely connected. And some research shows that mediation can help promote physical health in the body at a cellular level.

Slowly, I came to the insight that my body reacts to what my mind believes to be true about it. I realized that my digestive issues and Candida were likely consequences of a lifetime (or lifetimes!) of unloving thoughts, beliefs, and ideas about my body. I felt I had to own the deterioration of my body. This wasn’t happening to me; it was happening because I was directing the body to respond. I was thinking unhealthy thoughts, thereby creating an unhealthy body. It wasn’t my body’s fault. 

What did I do about it? I started asking myself questions: How do I think about my body? How do I treat my body? What am I putting into it? 

I began saying a prayer everyday. I listed aspects of how I have judged, attacked,  hated, or worshiped my body, such as engaging in risky behavior in the past, extreme exercise, and eating unhealthy food. I apologize to my body and say: 

I understand now that you follow only my direction in all of my unloving judgments about how you look. And I have been very, very unfair. You have only done what I have asked, even in selecting this appearance. I have been wrong in judging you and very unloving for judging your [insert body judgment]. 

You are designed perfectly for the life I have chosen to experience in this incarnation. For all those unloving things I have said or done to you, I apologize. 

From here on out, I will treat you well. I will respect you. I will not hate you and I will not worship you. I will thank you for giving me this holy opportunity to walk through this life and encounter the unloving ideas in my mind. From this day forward, I will not hate the body or attack the body or judge the body. I will appreciate the body and I will listen to the messages it is sending me. 

My incessant focus on healing my body through external means was actually my obstacle. For me, there was no silver bullet healing technique. I finally understood that focusing on the body and improving the body were the same thing. I wasn’t focused on spirit or on love. Instead, I was focused on “improvement.” I was focused on attacking my body because it wasn’t functioning properly. Operating under the belief that the mind creates the body, I went directly to the mind (the cause), not the body (the effect), for healing.

The more I focused on love using a meditation program, acting on my highest excitement, sending my body loving messages, and loving food, the faster my ailments eased and, finally, ceased completely. I had the creative power to use the body for love or for fear. I had to choose the body’s purpose with intent.  

Instead of being at war with my body, I began to develop a healthy relationship to it. I exercised because I wanted to give my body a chance to move after an hour or two in front of the computer, to feel that juicy feeling in my hips when I hiked, or to enjoy my own strength through weight training. I became more sensitive to my body’s subtle needs and desires. Now, I’ll take a midday nap and eat seasonally and ayurvedically. 

For me, the key to healing was through investigating and identifying what my baseline attitude was towards my body. Today, I still have upkeep on my mental health, a daily “weeding” of my mind for thoughts that I no longer choose to nurture or accept. And my life and health are better for it.