As a little kid, I knew who I was: a wild magical creature who delighted in the gifts of the Earth and the mysteries of the universe–feasting on red clover and honeysuckle, grinding berries between stones to make "potions," thatching faerie huts with slabs of damp moss, talking to bugs, singing to birds, drawing channeled images of interdimensional angels, and happily passing long afternoons with my face pressed in the dirt watching golden light dance through blades of grass.

Then, as most of us do, I forgot. The magic was conditioned out of me and replaced with corn syrup, plastic and The Pledge of Allegiance. And I got very sick, and very very sad. I was slapped with a long string of diagnoses, including Type 1 diabetes. My adolescence and young adulthood was a horrorshow of illness and medications that caused side effects for which more medications were prescribed. After ten years of this nightmare, I realized I had no idea who I was without the antidepressants, birth control pills, antibiotics, acne medications, antiandrogens, prescription migraine drugs and insulin injections I had been taking regularly since before I was old enough to question any of it.

As a teenager I struggled with anorexia. In retrospect, there was some deep wisdom encoded in that. Food is so directly representative of our relationship to the Earth and to life itself, and the foods I was raised on (diet Coke, factory farmed meat and dairy, pesticide-laden anemic produce….) held an energetic resonance of torture and corporate greed. On one level, my eating disorder was a symptom of a toxic culture, but on a deeper level, by rejecting food I was rejecting the toxic culture itself. Unconsciously, I recognized there was no food in my food.

In my senior year of high school, thank God, I followed a strong intuitive urge to go work on an organic vegetable and herb farm. Reconnecting with the Earth like that – getting my hands in the dirt and hanging out with plants all day – transformed my relationship to nourishment. I began to remember what had been forgotten. Frying up a pan of freshly harvested turnips, sweaty and exhausted from my first day of work in the fields, my whole body sang in joyful remembrance: “This food is medicine, not poison!”

Around that same time, the wind carried to me whispers of wise women curing menstrual cramps with ritual moon baths and aborting pregnancies with the laying-on of hands. Having been on synthetic birth control since age 14 for amenhorrea, later diagnosed as PCOS, I was, needless to say, intrigued and inspired. I started experimenting with phasing out pharmaceuticals and exploring "alternative" (ancient, sacred) healing modalities: herbalism and folk medicine, acupuncture, Qi Gong, meditation. Over the course of a (harrowing!!) year, I weaned myself off the insane slew of drugs I’d been on for years – all except insulin, which I still currently rely on to help manage Type 1 diabetes, a complex and deeply rooted condition I am continuing to learn from.

The next major event in my journey as a healer came In 2012, when I was in a fatal car crash. At the moment of the collision, I had a lucid experience of being saved by the angelic form of my best friend, who had died a year prior: I felt his presence as a warm bubble of white light that shielded me from injury. By all accounts, given the circumstances and severity of the impact, it was miraculous that I lived at all – but in fact I was left without a scratch on my body.

The car crash was an initiation. It cracked me wide open. It was like I was catapulted into a different dimension, slightly to the left of the one I was in before, where suddenly magic was real again. Suddenly I was talking to dead people, seeing colors I’d never seen before, feeling like I could start a fire with the light and heat coming out of my hands. Strangers, psychics, were coming out of the woodwork to relay messages, always essentially the same: “Everything that’s happening to you is real, and it’s happening for a reason. Have faith. You are being guided on a path.” That time was an intensely concentrated period of psychospiritual awakening, but come to think of it, it kind of hasn’t stopped or even slowed down ever since…

My work since then has been about finding my way home, back to the wise child who knew who she was, and helping others do the same. Remembering that we are all connected and that we are Love. Repairing the damage. Reclaiming magic, reclaiming our authentic power. Dancing. Singing. Fasting in the wilderness sometimes. Eating a lot of really good food other times. Hanging out with plants. Hanging out with people. Listening within. Falling more deeply in love with myself as You as Nature as God every damn day.

As I continue to walk the healing path, I come again and again to the understanding that pain, suffering and disease are invitations: portals to awakening. Our bodies are constantly communicating to us in poetic metaphors densely encoded with information, and they can teach us everything we came here to learn. All we have to do is listen.