Updated: May 18, 2021
Finding answers and insight from the mud and muck to transform your well-being
Like a lotus, my wellness journey started surrounded by mud and muck with chronic Lyme Disease conditions and a toxic cocktail of symptoms I had battled for years. As I detoxed from Lyme from 2017-2020, its coinfections and years of working and playing hard, I started to free myself from these harsh conditions. As I heal, I open new dimensions of myself like a new lotus petal to the sun.
As I emerge from the mud and muck in 2021, the lightness and serenity I feel, as well as my body’s resilience is something I am so thankful for. The love, compassion and self care that I now champion is stronger than ever. At times I have setbacks as balancing health and life can be a challenge, but I keep focused on the now to rise through adversity and find something to be grateful for even when obstacles present themselves. Learning how to embrace the gifts I am supposed to receive from this process has been my quest and finding a Lyme literate doctor after many years of searching for an answer was key to healing.
Along the way, I have gained insight into myself and the world around me in ways I could not have imagined before. May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and I am honored to share this support to help you and your loved ones. These 11 seeds of wisdom are vital to me and worth sharing with other Lyme’s warriors so that your journey can be filled with more serenity along the way.
1. You are your best health advocate. When you feel something is off in your body, don’t let any doctor or medical professional shrug off your symptoms and not dig deeper into your labs. For me, the uncovering started when I was trying to figure out why I had Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. I knew that you just don’t wake up one day with an underactive thyroid. Numerous thyroid docs told me that my lab ranges were normal, but I sure felt like I was fatigued beyond normal. After years of inaccurate diagnoses and doctor visits, I finally found a functional medicine doctor who ran a test for Lyme Disease and found that this is my root cause. Seeing a specialist for Lyme and eradicating it and co-infections in a slow and steady approach so that my body can eliminate the toxins while rebuilding my health over the last couple of years was key.
2. You must focus on loving yourself and being more gentle. As an alpha, A-type personality, I am continually learning the power of loving and gentle thoughts and actions. If I am having a tough day, feeling physical pain, tired or just in a funk, my life becomes better if I ask myself the question, “What can I do to love myself more?” or “How can I be more gentle to myself?” At first these questions seemed absurd to me, but every time I answered them my soul would give me the best tools for self healing. Answers ranged from: you have permission to not do chores, watch a comedy, read a spiritual book, go walk out in nature, spend time with loved ones, or spend some time in the sauna. Every time I listen to this inner voice and follow through, I feel better.
3. Building in time for self care is critical and meditation is your best friend. I used to burn the candle at both ends and enjoyed the work hard, play hard mentality. I now realize I was pushing myself to the brink and had to change my philosophy of carpe diem to include down time. Meditation has been my saving grace. After 20 minutes of meditation, I am more relaxed and in tune with what my mind, body and soul needs in a caring way. My creativity gets sparked and I feel refreshed. At a minimum, I do meditation during my lunch break. I have also found meditation as the best way to chill out when waiting in lines, riding as a passenger in a car, or any other situation where there is down time that can be used in this precious way. Meditation is one of the fastest routes to get still and find your joy; from here your true blessings rise up right in front of you, cutting away all the baggage and useless clutter that can cloud your true spirit and mind.
4. Quality sleep is essential. In my teens and 20s I loved drinking coffee at night and writing until the wee hours of the morning. I also enjoyed going to live music events and exploring nightlife until the sun rose. I had to take a hard look at how these habits were not serving me any longer. At first it was incredibly bizarre to give up coffee and be in bed by 9 at night, but after I gave it a chance I found it so delicious to take care of myself and get closer to 8 hours of sleep a night. I weaned off coffee by decreasing slowly, switching to decaf and then ultimately making herbal tea almond milk lattes such as CCF tea. I took Valerian root for 6 months to help me stay asleep as I could go to sleep well but woke up from 1-3 a.m. with my mind running like a hamster on a wheel with random thoughts. After this short course of Valerian, my body reset and I can now sleep through the night. I have now found that delta wave music assists me to not have as many crazy dreams that wake me up in a frenzy. YouTube has a treasure trove of free, eight-hour delta wave music sets that make it easy to set the stage each night for sound sleep.
5. Find spiritual visionaries to help you rise above. In the darkest hours of any illness, it benefits to have an A team at the ready to help you feel more free. Without a doubt, these superheroes came to my rescue in the form of videos, books and podcasts - Sadhguru, Roger Gabriel, Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, Ahlea Khadro, Heather Dane, Eckhart Tolle, Yung Pueblo, Thich Nhat Hanh and Andy Puddicombe.
6. Call on grace, joy and ease. I never found it beneficial to play a victim role with this illness (or in other facets of my life, and I have to attribute this to my mom who was adopted and never let any hurdle stop her passion). Of course I was upset and questioning everything at first, but then I switched gears to do everything in my power to lessen chronic Lyme and see life and my journey with more grace, joy and ease. Meditation has helped me to not get upset at things that don’t matter and have more grace when dealing with difficult situations. I have found more joy in the simple things - doing yoga on my back patio, listening to music, a quiet night in at home with my loved ones, enjoying daytime activities, connecting with my family support system over FaceTime, and reading something nourishing to my soul on my Kindle. I am also doing better at finding ease in the now. As I let go of some Alpha tendencies that aren’t serving me any longer, I am doing a better job of catching myself in forceful mode. For example, if I am washing the dishes and catch myself clenching my teeth, I now relax my stance and laugh at how uptight I was and tell myself to find more joy in even the basic tasks. Instead of forcing actions, I am going more with the flow and feel more light and airy as I go about my day. Sometimes making a game of what would the opposite of the old me do leads to the best results to heal.
7. Fill your temple with organic, healthy food. Before I was diagnosed with Lyme, I did a deep dive into healing my gut microbiome with Gut Thrive in 5. During this program, my meals changed vastly - I learned to increase my veggie intake so I had at least 1 cup on my plate, consume at least 30 grams of protein and have 1 tablespoon of a healthy fat. At first, I felt like the biggest weirdo eating the equivalent of dinner for breakfast but soon realized I was no longer hungry in between meals. My skin complexion cleared up, I felt lighter and not bloated, and I did not get sinus infections as much. With a clean gut, I started to love spices I would have never touched before - Indian and Jamaican spices that warm the palette and taste great with veggies and in nut milk lattes. After Gut Thrive, I have enjoyed trying out new veggies that I have never tasted and now love collard greens, beets, turnips, parsnips and more. Batch cooking helps to take the burden off of daily cooking and I rely on high-quality, affordable protein powders to make a dinner smoothie so I can eat more lightly before bedtime.
8. Only use body care products that you can trust. I have done a makeover of all products that go onto and into my body. From hair dye to lessening frizz, to toothpaste and mouthwash, body wash and lotion, and makeup, it has to be made from all-natural ingredients or it doesn’t belong on me. I’ve had to do massive detoxing from heavy metals, so take it from me that you deserve to have quality products in your bathroom and bedroom so that you honor your skin and organs. You’ll look just as good and feel even better when you make the switch.
9. Affirmations can go a long way in helping you to focus on the good stuff. Detoxing from Lyme can get hardcore at times (two coffee enemas a week show you grace under pressure, literally!), and affirmations can come in handy to get you out of a funk and back into a more graceful mindset. Here are some of my favs:
I love myself and know that I am enough.
Stay open to the journey and my true purpose will be right in front of me.
With patience and gentleness, I will attract all that I am seeking and was created to blossom here.
I am not my mind, I am not my body. (you are a soul)
I love and approve of myself.
I am on a firm foundation.
Send love and healing to each chakra/energy center and body part, and this is a proven way to relax your whole body in very little time. (This is also a great way to get to sleep and get back to sleep if you are up in the middle of the night.)
I have all the time that I need. (This releases the pressure that I put on myself to get something done since I am a recovering overachiever.)
Only love is real.
Only what is timeless is real.
I am safe and protected.
I am a gift.
My cells are getting healthier every day.
Every cell in my body is filled with universal healing light.
I am worthy of being healed. My body knows how to heal itself. Every day and in every way I am feeling healthier and healthier.
I am willing to release the patterns in me that created these conditions. I am worth the time it takes to learn how to nourish myself. I love you, body.
I attract the right people to help me heal.
I choose to love myself with each thought I think and with the food I eat.
I am building a life that nourishes and supports my health and happiness.
10. An attitude of gratitude wins the day. Simple pleasures are blessings, so every day I try to praise the things that bring a smile to my face. It can be the trees in bloom in spring, the way the sun is showing through the clouds in the morning, the warmth of a blanket and softness of a pillow, a hug from a loved one, dogs smiling on a walk, or warm water on my skin. It doesn’t take expensive things and time-consuming distractions to make a difference in how you feel and live. Gratitude in the now is a big game-changer, so keep this thought in high regard and it will reward you throughout the day.
11. Scale and refresh your way to more freedom. Delegate and outsource projects to get more time back to focus on what matters to you and where you can make a big impact. While in the zone, be sure to take a refresh break - at a minimum - every 1.5 hours. Whether you take a few laps around your workspace to get some chi flowing or have an impromptu dance party while your favorite song is on during batch cooking, you will be more productive and healthy when you mix up your focus every so often. Think of being in the zone as your productivity sprints and the refresh time is your recovery.
These seeds of wisdom are precious gifts that I am grateful to have learned. They also made the arsenal of antibiotics, enemas, sauna sessions, heavy metal and parasite detoxes, supplements and protocols far more bearable - both in the moment and in reflection. As Heather Ash said in Warrior Goddess Training, “The shift from being other-focused to being inner-focused takes courage. It is easier to follow what we know, to stay safe in the familiar. But on the path of the Warrior Goddess, there is no one-size-fits-all template, no mold to follow, no get-out-of-jail-free card, no white knight to save you, and no realized master or loving guru or powerful shaman who will instantly awaken you to who you really are. This is one journey you will make alone, but, surrounded by supportive sisters and brothers, you will turn to face inward, clearing out any debris, noise, stagnation, or dullness to reveal the radiant jewel of you.” Om mani padme hum
Learn more: Krystina Steffen is a Tampa meditation teacher and combines meditation, breathwork, and sound healing to help Inner Heights Meditation members with breakthroughs for their serenity, healing, creativity, and more. Connect with classes, workshops, and more at www.innerheightsmeditation.com.