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.

I started experimenting with phasing out pharmaceuticals and exploring "alternative" (ancient, sacred) healing modalities: herbalism and folk medicine, acupuncture, Qi Gong, meditation, fasting. I started working on biodynamic farms and learning directly from plants. Getting back outside to be in direct communion with the natural cycles of the Earth, as I did so naturally as a child, has been absolutely vital to my personal healing. Since most of my illnesses were stemming from toxic foods, getting directly involved with the source of my nourishment was pivotal. I can’t overstate how difficult it was to get off the pharmaceuticals, but I was determined — I knew in my bones that there was a better way. 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 profound teacher I am continuing to learn from!)

The next major event in my training 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 where 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.

My work as a healer 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 deeply connected. Reclaiming our magic. Dancing for the trees. Singing for the squirrels. Fasting in the wilderness sometimes. Learning from plants. Learning from people. Listening within. Falling more deeply in love with myself/ You/ Nature/ God every 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.