What Sparked the Fire…

I grew up under the care of the traditional medical model...and later I became trained in that model. I am so grateful for all that conventional medicine was able to give me and my patients throughout the years. Yet my journey has led me to the truth that there is so so much more. 

I grew up with a list of health issues. I had vague autoimmune issues they could never diagnose as "one" thing, irritable bowel syndrome, strep throat 1-2x a year (antibiotics every time), and daily struggles with stress, anxiety, and self worth. The physical things were obvious, the deeper emotional and spiritual were not. No one, not even myself, had a clue to what was going on because I was, "So with it and successful." However, that perfectionism, that "high performer" was my vice. For some it is drugs and alcohol... for me it was high performance, being the "mom and rock" to everyone, and control. It was being "the good girl." And life went on.  

I started to learn about more holistic medicine in my 20s. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired physically; I discovered nutrition's power in healing, along with integrative and functional medical modalities that tended to better support the human body's innate ability to heal itself. All of this was very exciting and sustained me for about 4 years. However, life started to show me that something was still missing...

It was in 2015-2017, in the thick of the most chaotic and stressful season of my life thus far, that my subconscious "good girl" vice started to crumble. My marriage started to fall apart. My autoimmune issues started creeping back in (not as bad but still). My hair started falling out. I gained 15 lbs. out no nowhere. I was stunned and frustrated... my exercise routine was great, my nutrition was on point, I am in therapy for my marriage. I AM DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT. I mean, right? 

In 2016, when my physical ailments were stacking up, I came across mind body medicine. It taught how our emotional and spiritual health tie directly to our physical health. I had heard of that, but didn't know anything other than the concept. Everything I had done for myself up to that point was outside of myself. I decided to start asking, "What is going on within myself? Why am I feeling so angry? Why am I stressed? Why in my marriage do I feel like I am taking crazy pills? I am married to a good man. Why is this all SO HARD." 

For the first time in my life I began to explore my thoughts, emotions, deeper wants and desires. I started to ask, "Who am I... what do I really desire and want? What brings me joy?" I got to know myself, my needs, my darker parts, my depth. It started to wake me up to my whole. I had been living a fragmented life, and I had been using different things to patch it up. The thing I had to come to learn the hard way is that the patch work is only temporary and not sustainable, and it comes crumbling down eventually; and that is exactly what happened.

I woke up in the spring of 2017 and realized my marriage didn't need fixing, it was that we each married the wrong person for us. I realized how small I had made myself to "fit" into it so it would "work." I realized how I had been everyone else's rock but neglected my own needs and wants, and had invalidated my own emotions (in particular anger, pain, and grief) for 30 years. I had been living an "unwhole" life. I WAS DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT EXCEPT ME. 

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I decided to end the marriage. Then 2 weeks later I was let go of my job due to budget cuts. I could not believe it. I was now naked... alone in a new city with no job or successes to hide behind, with all my vices and denials behind me. I was finally awake and started to feel the pain, anger, shame, and "shortcomings" I had been subconsciously dodging for a lifetime. And I had a choice to either get another vice, or start to confront all of me... my past, my childhood, my darkness, the holes within me at that present time. And so I chose the latter. 

Going inward to explore all of this was one of the most difficult yet freeing journeys of my life. There were days I spent curled up into a ball sobbing.  There were days where I felt this crazy rage and I just screamed into a pillow. I finally allowed myself space into my darkness, and in that darkness was the answer to my completeness.

One of my favorite short stories goes like this :

There was a man in prison for over 20 years. Everyday he sat by the window of his cell where the warm light came in. It was familiar, he could see with it. However, if he had just gone into the terrifying darkness of his cell, he would have found out that the door was open on the other side the entire time. 

The answer to my wholeness and healing was finding the path out of my own personal prison that kept me from experiencing my truest, free, and whole self.  So I went into the darkness of the cell, navigated it. I was terrified, but being brave means having fear and doing it anyways.

Doing the inward journey has led me to living a life that is authentically mine, one that brings me joy daily, even when there is grief or pain. I went back to work for the airlines part time so I can travel the world in my free time. I dress the way I want. I got my septum pierced. I started showing my true colors in their fullest. In addition, many of my physical ailments have significantly improved or completely dissipated. And in all of this, I started this practice because I wanted anyone who desires to experience this wholeness and freedom to be able to.

I am that good girl everyone knew, but I am also that bad girl, the one who also stumbles along the way. The girl who does well but also goofs up because she is human. I will always be nurturing and loving, but I also know now how and when to set boundaries, and not take on what isn't mine. I can now own my "NO" and "HELL YES!" I am professional, but I am also a wild free spirit who thrives on creating. I need to create. I value doing a good job, but I no longer feel like things have to be perfect in order to feel like "enough" or like I need things to be perfect to matter, or for me to matter. I embrace now that I am not responsible for others' feelings, and I can now trust my intentions and goodness. I just am enough and matter. And I trust that in my fullness, there is space for others who can embrace all of me, too. I am whole. 

My goal with Inner Fire Wellness is to provide a safe space for all who wish to explore themselves and go inward and become whole to truly heal. Everyone's path is different... at Inner Fire Wellness the goal is to help people ignite their "spark" to light their path, wherever it's going. 

Shine on,

Erika