Having been challenged by a life threatening illness at 35, I quickly realized I wanted to not only heal my physical being, but also to discover how my body arrived at this place of dis-ease. I was lead on a healing journey of the mind, body and spirit. Over the course of three years I discovered how my dis-ease was the end result of traumatic life experiences, as well as extreme ecological and socio-economic changes. Understanding how my body manifested dis-ease was the key to determining the best approaches to support my healing and reclaim my life.

What follows are the concepts that I found most helpful on my healing journey. I hope you find this information empowers, inspires and supports you on your own healing journey.

MIND

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.” is is a poignant quote by Buddha that relates to how we think about our bodies, our health and our lives. Our thoughts create energetic imprints that have physiological and emotional manifestations, often resulting in dis-ease. Realizing that your words, thoughts and actions are powerful energetic ampli ers, both for your internal and external existence, helps bring you into a state of awareness. Here are some suggestions to master your mind.

1. Be intentional about keeping your mind in check. Commit to a daily practice that will create inner peace and stillness. Visualize being like a still pond in the midst of chaos or simply remind yourself to breathe through a di cult moment; this will give you pause, so that your mind is responsive rather than reactive. Meditation with soothing music, along with a breathing exercise will help.

2. Make a list of the ways in which you feel blessed in your life and post the list near your bed for a daily reminder. is starts to cultivate a feeling of gratitude.

3. Make a list of the things that bring you joy and go do them! Even if it is for an hour a day. is self-nurturing act will enhance your feel good hormone, serotonin, and it will help you become more centered and sure of yourself. Reconnect with nature.

4. Visualization and affirmations can be helpful by replacing worrisome thoughts with pleasing outcomes. Visualizing yourself as healthy, vital, energetic and happy will help reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Creating an affirmation of an ideal outcome will put your subconscious to work. If you can visualize it and feel it, you can be it.

5. Be aware of the Mind – Body Connection. Believe it or not the gut is our “second brain”, which is why we experience “gut” feelings. The intestinal nervous system is wired to the brain and is in constant communication; keeping a healthy gut means keeping a strong connection.

6. Cultivate relaxation in your daily self-care. Be it an afternoon nap, sitting with your favorite book and cup of tea, a hot bath, or a 30-minute walk in the park, your chosen form of relaxation can make
world of difference, improving your sense of wellbeing.

BODY

I cannot stress enough that we are what we eat. Eating organic, local and seasonal foods will support your health and healing process tremendously. I experienced the adverse effects of nutritional changes at age nine as a result of moving from Ecuador to the States. I grew up with a deep connection to the earth, to food and to animals, and I had never consumed food from a can or a box, or any food that was frozen, dried, genetically modified, or highly processed. I had been used to tasting the vitality and energy of food that traveled less than 20 miles to reach my plate. Coming to the States and consuming highly industrialized foods had several side effects including malnutrition. I literally cried for the first year, over the colored sugary water called OJ, while memories of fresh squeezed juice made by my grandmother flooded my mind and heart. Here are some nutritional tips for a healthy body, mind and spirit.

1. Consume local, seasonal and organic produce, and animal based products that are free-range or pasture fed. Consuming less animal-based protein not only supports your healing process, but also has a positive impact on the environment.

2. Opt for naturally made body care products and be discerning about the ingredients. Fluoride in toothpaste has been known to cause calcification of the pituitary gland. Aluminum-based deodorants have been shown to cause congested lymph nodes, which can lead to cancer. Some of the ingredients in sunscreen can increase estrogenic activity and have been shown to not be an effective UV-protective measure. Our largest organ is our skin and it is one of our detoxifying systems. While our skin releases toxins it also absorbs what we apply to it.

3. We have the best pharmacology available to us through fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, fungi and leafy greens. When shopping look for the best color, texture, hydration, freshness and energetics of your food choices. Eat local, seasonal and organic.

SPIRIT

Spirituality is a very personal and intimate relationship to God, Spirit, or All-That-Is. I’d like to speak about healing our spiritual essence. My spiritual practice is every bit as important as my nutritional habits. The practices that follow played a profound role in my spiritual healing and I share them to support you in your spiritual healing.

1. Use the power of prayer. Prayer is an intimate conversation with God, Source, our Spirit. In prayer we find strength, courage, comfort; it renews our perspective and brings light into the darkness of the fears and doubts we may be experiencing. Create sacred space for daily prayer ritual; make it your own, it’s really all in your intention.

2. Support your spirit through community. Engaging with your community will keep you engaged in life. Even when things seem grim, go and attend that jazz show or movie night at the park. Call friends or gather your family and spend time together. Creating a sense of community will help you see that
you are not alone and that you are loved.

3. Feed your spirit by doing what brings you joy. Creative outlets are very nourishing. Remember when you were a child and enjoyed your existence through play and creative outlets? What were those for you? Create a list and start playing!

4. Allow for grieving, especially in the face of dis-ease. Be present with feelings of shock, denial, anger, guilt and depression, and then move toward forgiveness, compassion and acceptance. Feel what you need to feel and then allow for total release.

5. Forgiveness is the key to healing. Forgiving those who have hurt us – beginning with ourselves – is critical in healing the mind, body and spirit. Stored anger and resentment only perpetuates dis-ease. Remember the spirit heals first, and then the body follows.

6. Liberate yourself from the past. It will infuse you with the energy necessary to recreate your present.

Reclaiming your life starts with the desire to live, to forgive, to take ownership and responsibility for your life and to evolve from a place of surviving to thriving.

Valeria Alarcón is an Integrative Nutritionist and Health Educator AADP, whose mission is to empower individuals to create fundamental changes for reaching optimum health and vitality. As a cancer survivor and thriver Val knows what it takes to reclaim life and vitality, and she is delighted to be of support to you! www.VitalityWithVal.us.

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