At 15, I lost my ability to walk normally down the school hallways. My mom had to cut up my food for me because I couldn’t grip silverware. I lost my ability to close my hands into fists, and at night I had to wear these god awful arm/hand braces to keep my fingers from completely curling into my palms. The severity of arthritis progressed rapidly. Having grown up active, and then playing high level volleyball in high school, I was in shock, terrified, and overwhelmed with depression.
I had a hard time processing what was happening to me, and why it was happening. I remember laying on my mom’s bed, my head in her lap, she stroking my hair as I cried, and pleading to her, “why me?” She said, “I don’t know why honey, but I do know that one day you will know, and it will all make sense.” What she said to me at the time made me angry, because it gave me no resolution.
Over a decade ago, I didn’t know whether that was actually true or not. In the past years as I’ve continued my own health journey, and continued to connect more to myself, I’ve continued to help women in their own health and happiness. And it has become more clear to me that this is my why. This is truly why I got sick to begin with, to have this gift of a relationship with myself and to guide women into transforming their own.
This hasn’t been the only time in my life where I’ve had that same question. Wondered the reasons for life experiences, and every single time I remember that it’s not about having the answers in the moment. It’s about living your life in a way that allows you to make sense of them later, and that comes from the relationship within.
Steve Jobs gave this famous speech called connecting the dots, and what he talks about is the great part of life that we all seem to forget. We all want to know why something is happening to us right now, when the reality is that we can’t connect the dots to make sense of our life until we’re able to look back on it and reflect.
It’s like connecting the dots on a map, or drawing a picture, you have to wait for those big moments in life to happen, and to happen again or appear in a different way to actually be able to say “Oh my gosh, now it all makes sense, I was lead here, through that experience.”
And then we can look at our lives as this big journey where one thing explains another, and in total it makes us who we are. This requires patience, it requires learning who you are and understanding where you’re right now, without worrying too much where you’re going to go. You’ll get there, and when you do it will all make sense.
In that vein, I’ve been waiting to share a part of my story until it felt like the right time. Until I had enough time to process, collect information, tune into myself and really understand where I was in my life and be patient with the “why” of things happening.
I am on month 4 of a Lyme disease protocol treatment.
When I was diagnosed it was a flood of emotions. I hadn’t been searching for a diagnosis of any kind per say. I was exploring why I was reacting to certain things, why I seemed to have certain pains that I’d not before, or that were there before but came back on only subtly. This diagnosis was so vastly different from my initial one 12 years ago.
It came more from curiosity and less from desperation. It shocked me, mostly because I was actually suspecting that I may have originally been exposed to mold and had mold biotoxin illness, but also because there’s a possibility that I was actually misdiagnosed 12 years ago. This of course, is only speculation right now.
It’s a lot to absorb. I decided to trust myself that I would know how to move forward in the ways that served me and my health, whether that was treatments, approaches or how I handled sharing publicly. I realized that what I needed was to be supported by myself, my family and my friends as my highest importance. It’s important to me that I make my own choices, my own judgment calls based on my intuition, this is how I stay connected and true to who I am.
I am SO grateful for this diagnosis.
On one hand, there’s a very real possibility for me to truly fully be free of illness, instead of managing one that is in remission with a lurking possibility of a flare. On the other hand, what I have experienced to date with treatment has allowed me some of the most deep, intimate and tremendous growing experiences with myself. More than I could have imagined. This time around in a healing process I already know myself so much better. I am far more equipped and aside from that, I am really in line with what I need, what I don’t, and how to take care of myself through this process.
The ironic, and possibly hard thing to relay over a single blog post is that at the same time I received this diagnosis, I am also the healthiest I have been in literal years.
It’s hard imagine if you saw me now, but I am off 7 medications with little to no pain day to day. I used to take 7-10 NSAIDS a day (not including the other medications I was on at maximum doses to help manage arthritic pain. Currently my body is responding incredibly well to the Lyme treatments. My Lyme doctor, who sees patients worldwide, is convinced that I am not more sick or in more pain than I am at this point because of all the healing I have already done to date. Which is why it’s so important to remember that health is not linear, and that there are always improvements to be made, but the effort that goes in, we do see the benefits of those.
What I have learned so far, in recovering to full health, in specific to Lyme, has been invaluable. The knowledge I now possess that I didn’t have before is incredible. The deeper understanding of my body has allowed me to access new parts of myself that I didn’t know were untapped. While all of those things are intensely true and real for me, I realized, they were not the “why” of this illness.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to my friend who right now is in the middle of some major healing, to the point where he’s been laying in bed for literal months. This isn’t his first rodeo. It’s far from the first time he’s spent months in bed, but as we were talking he said to me, “Ya know, I’ve been trying to figure out what the lesson is this time, why it is that yet something else is going on with me. And I’ve been struggling with feeling frustrated about it, and at the same time not feeling inspiring to other people on how I am dealing with it.”
His words resonated so deeply within me. Not only figuring out the why, which as we just discussed, can only be seen in retrospect, most of the time. But not feeling you’re inspiring people.
Ooph that is rough, right? The weight of feeling responsible for other peoples’ inspiration, motivation and change is huge.
When I got this diagnosed I made the conscious choice to not share until I knew it actually felt right to me. Sharing without processing, sharing without connecting to myself, sharing mindlessly, essentially was not on the agenda for me, it just wasn’t an option.
I am not looking to be another person you follow on social media who’s healing from an illness and doing it amazingly. If you look back on my Instagram posts from 4 years ago I highlight this by showing you all the serious unpleasant parts of healing.
I didn’t share immediately because it matters more to me that I actually connect to myself, instead of trying to look for outside validation. I think it’s great to be inspired by other people, I could list off so many that I am inspired by. And you may be inspired by me, but what I don’t really want you looking to me for inspiration, I want you looking within yourself, because that’s what I did. It matters more, that you see me finding inspiration within myself, to know that you can do the EXACT same. That is your own power, and not mine, but in witnessing others journeys’ we often discover the power within ourselves.
Sure, I have lots of insight on treatments now. If you have Lyme (or RA, Ankylosing Spondylitis, IBS, Hypothyroidism) I can tell you what supplements to take, what foods to eat for optimal health, how to move to support your body healing, etc. That stuff is valuable, sure, and yet what I realize, what I know in my heart, with the most clarity I have ever had – it is not my purpose to tell you what will work to eradicate illness from your body. Because all of our body’s are different, unique universes.
It is, however, my mission to help you understand how to support yourself, find yourself, believe in yourself, nourish yourself, connect with yourself, and love yourself through it.
I fully believe that everything we experience during our time here on Earth is here to teach us a lesson, and not in some kind of punishment way, but a lesson so that we may actually learn, and go forth and teach others what we’ve learned. So that we can make each other better for ourselves.
Everything makes sense when we look back and connect the dots. I could have shared with you, the day I got my diagnosis. I could have shared with you when I started treatments. But that wouldn’t have served me. And the thing I knew is, it wouldn’t have served you either.
What makes sense to me now, that didn’t feel as clear then, is that the only way I serve you better in the work that I am meant to do, is by connecting more to myself. By making myself the biggest priority, that is how I am serving you. That is how I learn, how I master what I teach.
Having this diagnosis is literally what led and guided me to create what I have been dreaming of creating for years. To create a program and platform for women to learn to eat better, connect better and move better, together. To have resources, community, understanding, and information during the journey of life, which at different points will give us a big ‘ol dot that we aren’t sure how to deal with.
Soul Power is what I wish I would have had when I was first sick and diagnosed at 15. I can’t imagine how different life would be for me if I had had the kind of support that will exist in Soul Power.
Then again, I wasn’t meant to. Because it was meant for me to be challenged in ways that would bring me closer to myself, to master the relationship with myself, so much so that I could teach other women how to love themselves deeply and support them through some of the most trying (and happy) times in their lives.
Right now, I am standing (dancing!) at my desk while I write this. I am full of purpose, truth and peace. I know this is exactly what is meant to be. I feel immensely grateful that I am charged with this gift to help women come more fully into themselves and to be actually living their healthiest life, because that’s what I am doing, and I don’t plan to go it alone.
I’d love to share the details of Soul Power with you. Enrollment ends at midnight today. See here for details.
I received my diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis in May of my freshman year of high school, after six grueling months of no answers, loss of mobility, and dozens of dead-end doctors appointments.
Two weeks after receiving my diagnosis I went to my doctor at the Pediatric Rheumatology department at D.C.’s Children Hospital to adjust my treatment. My doctor took a conservative approach at first starting with sulfasalazine and it wasn’t helping in the slightest. My mobility was severely declining, and something had to change. It’s that day that I started Enbrel. If you didn’t know, Enbrel is given by injection, which meant before leaving the hospital I had to learn to give myself a shot. I was old enough to be able to do it myself, and also wouldn’t always have my mom around to do it. It was the beginning of my medication journey, that would start with an injection at the hospital and two every week for the next couple of months.
It was in that moment of giving myself a shot, I realized, that I was the only person who could do this for myself. I was the only person who could give me any relief. It was this great act of self-love that I’ve not fully acknowledged before. This huge action of love that would take me to the next level of myself healing.
My doctor came in after it was over, sat down next to me and asked how I was feeling. I’d been tearing up a bit, emotionally overcome with giving myself a shot, and I just shrugged my shoulders. She then, asked me a question that has stayed with me for the rest of my life. “Kari, would you be willing to speak to some residents at the hospital who are studying this disease? Your experience is really valuable and I’d love for them to learn what this is like for you.”
“No, I can’t do that.” I replied, completely in shock. I could barely hold it together talking to my mom about what was happening to me, let alone a room of strangers. How was I supposed to explain my experience when I didn’t even understand it yet?
The holidays are a time that are typically one of three things for most people; over scheduled busy, joyous but full of obligation, or often tainted by loss. Underneath all of these is stress, and with that our stress hormones spike up. They aren’t such a bad thing, except for when they are prolonged over a period of time. Even when it may not feel like you are super stressed from the Holidays, there can be a certain amount of pressure around this time of year to be social, be happy, and in general have a certain level of output at demand. It can be exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be.
In creating the ultimate self-care holiday gift guide this year I really wanted to give a broad range of ideas for all ways to show you really care and know the person you’re giving to. In this gift guide I have focused on self-care, beauty care, foodie friends, mindfulness, healing, the gardener, and movement. These are all areas of focus that will help to make anyone’s 2018 happier and healthier! Happy gift giving, may you give with love and intention!
So far as time can span, women have had an integral role in creating community, fostering connection, providing support and leading the structures of foundation in their communities. Women’s circles have been gathering together throughout the ages. They have supported one another through life events, through child bearing, death of loved ones and have uprooted and fostered movements that have changed history. Women’s circles and gatherings have consistently been a part of our makeup.
Circles of women are sacred. They have been happening in all kinds of forms from ancient rituals to tribal ceremonies and even religious gatherings. The communal sharing of support for another has had powerful impacts on establishing strength as women and forging paths of greater purpose.
In the modern world, we have lost this communal way of gathering together as women. More than ever people feel displaced and a greater yearning to feel a sense of belonging. The greater question is how can those of us who are longing for the sacred in everyday life and those yearning to grow spiritually best be connected through an online medium. Creating an online circle, a space for gathering together under the premise of learning and diving deeper into ourselves as been where I see the intersection between deeper connection to oneself and a greater connection to each other happen.
We have to create the opportunities we want to see not only for ourselves but for each other. It’s always been a mission of mine to help people feel less alone in their journeys and to offer the insight I have during my time here on this Earth. One of the ways I feel most currently called to do this is to truly take the online community that has been manifested here and provide an opportunity to real time, vulnerable and meaningful connection to blossom. We live in a unique time for women’s circles to be created as there are no geographic limitations in connecting to one another as there were in previous generations. We are not restrained in finding the people we connect with, but more so in making and facilitating the time to do so in an intentional and integral way. It is such a pertinent time to form strong connections and output our light to the greater global community.
It is the strength and support of one another that allow us to see our own personal strength and feel empowered in our individual and collective purposes. As women we are nurturers by birth and our spirits are called to do greater work outside of ourselves. But it is only with the understanding of caring for ourselves, nourishing our souls, that we can truly do the life’s work that is meant for us in a way that not only impacts the greater world but that remains sustainable and steadfast for ourselves.
Sacred women’s circles offer the space of connection, community and congregation. They are steeped in support, growth and personal vitality that ripples into a larger community. As women, we are the bedrock for growth and opportunity to create both outwardly and inwardly.
It has been my desire to offer the space to connect more deeply to each other, learn how to take of ourselves and grow together and it is filling my soul to be offering them to you now.
There are several different circles offered depending on what you’re feeling most called to work and connect on right now. They run twice a month for a period of 3 month commitment. At the end of that you can enroll again as the course and women’s circle grows and evolves together.
Renew your connection to your body and your heart. In the Fundamental Nourishment circle you will expand your understanding of yourself, your deepest needs and how to feed your soul and body from a strong foundation of balance and ease as you navigate your life. Connect with other women who are tapping into their personal strength and offering the support of their vital energy.
- create the foundation of connection to your innermost core
- develop a deep relationship with who you are
- connect with other like-minded women
- be supported by a strong community
- foster lasting relationships with yourself and others
- learn to take care of you from a place of understanding of yourself
Open yourself to joy with self-care rituals that truly fill you up and nourish your soul. In the Self-Care Circle gain a better understanding of what you need for self-care, deepen your self-love and connect with women supporting women in a strengthening and relationship building environment.
- discover what self-care means for you
- learn to embody your body
- connect deeper to yourself and to other women
- create ritualistic self-care practices that feed your mind, body & soul
- enhance your sense of grounding & maintain a strong foundation
Moon beams have powerful energetic waves that create shifts and changes. Captivate on these in congregation with a community of women in the Moon Circle. Local to Seattle, you will be person to person and introduced to women within the community. Be open to the gifts you need to receive and learn where to let go.
- strengthen your spiritual connection
- reunite with the cycles of the Earth & Moon
- cultivate an in-person community of women
- be supported and understood
- have a deeper awareness of the Universe
I am honored to share space with you all, and I am blessed to be able to create this opportunity for deeper connection. Join me in creating a vibrant and powerful community of women supporting women.
Each time women gather in circles with one
another the world heals a little more.
I had every intention of jumping in the water, just not fully clothed. I fell in. Hard. Though I like to think it looked semi-graceful , I know that I basically just looked like a flailing seagull using it’s wings for the first time, hoping to make landing on a rock. Which also happened, now with two jammed toes both black and purple but thankfully not broken.
The funny thing is, I loved it. I am pretty sure I was laughing as I was falling in, tumbling through the rocky water. I came out of it, without falling completely in, but my bottom half soaked and my heart happy. My childlike joy beaming from deep within my bones as I laughed ardently at myself and the beautiful mess I’d made. It’s one of the things I deeply treasure about myself. I came up, mostly unscathed and feeling so incredibly full of life. And I had this feeling of what it means to “jump in with your clothes on.”
The leaves have begun their transition into a slow, fading form of life. Their yellow has been showing and some deep reds have started to appear. When they fall it’s only with grace that they reach the Earth, and this process of death is actually the beginning of renewal, not simply an ending. It is cyclical, as are the seasons of our own lives. We too, are changing with the seasons and letting go of the old.
Moving from one time in the journey of our life into another chapter which may look vastly different than anything you’ve ever experienced before. To me, the most important part of transitions, new beginnings, or different chapters is about shedding the old, the stagnant and the unnecessary that doesn’t serve us.
“The inertia of the mind urges it to slide down the easy slope of imagination, rather than to climb the steep slope of introspection.” – Marcel Proust
I’ve not been asked very often to bake cakes, mostly because I think I am really a terrible baker, which essentially just comes down to me being terrible at following precise measurements. I like to explore, create and bend the rules. Baking doesn’t allow for this. However, there are a few things I have been requested to bake, oatmeal raisin cookies, Christmas cake, and cranberry orange scones. I’ve now recreated two of these to be grain-free, I haven’t yet nailed the third. But these were perfected in traditional flour baking, and I knew them with precision and almost by heart. So when I decide to bake something grain-free it has to be perfect, otherwise, in my opinion it’s just not worth it!
When I was growing up, I imagined a life for myself. At the age of 6 this life was becoming a veterinarian and living on a giant farm filled with rescue animals. I can’t say this isn’t still a semi- dream of mine, but I quickly realized when I was 9 and fell in love with my very first dog of my own that I didn’t have what it took to be a vet (sensitive empath alert!) so it was around that time I decided I’d become a chef. I cooked meals for my family, made them enter the dining room like a restaurant and handed them menus while I went and got their plates ready. It was then again, when I was 14 that I decided I most definitely would not be a chef,