From Chronically Ill to Corporate Healthcare: Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2

The classic, romanticized, over-simplified version of the Lightworker Hero’s Journey has five stages:

  1. Sleep: For a number of years, our hero lives a relatively normal, albeit materialistic life, perhaps pursuing career success of some kind, completely unaware that there is more to life outside this physical reality.
  2. Tragedy: Hero has a traumatic event – usually debilitating illness or a near-death experience – that shakes up their whole paradigm.
  3. Awakening: Hero has a spiritual revelation, and also realizes they have amazing psychic and/or healing abilities.
  4. Healing: In a relatively short timeframe, our hero radically transforms into a self-actualized, spiritually aware, thriving individual.
  5. Service: Hero now inspires and supports many others in living more fulfilling, rich lives, which usually involves writing a best-selling book and traveling around doing lots of public speaking.

At many points along my path, I read and heard many of these hero’s journey stories, and I was extremely jealous. How I longed to experience steps #4 and #5, to finally heal and become an influencer in my community!

Yet I felt hopelessly stuck between the second and third steps. I had already done the “awakening” part, but I was still sick, still struggling. I judged and resented myself for not achieving the prescribed next steps. I hated myself for not getting it right. If I could just get it perfectly right, I would be healed.

Did you know that when you’re anxious, your body is physically unable to heal itself?

I was in a constant state of crippling anxiety.

I was so anxious about doing everything right to get healthy that I was preventing myself from getting healthy. And the worst part was, I knew that was exactly what I was doing, but I couldn’t stop it, no matter how much meditation or yoga I forced myself to do.

Secretly, I was still hoping for that one magical healer, or diet, or supplement, healing modality, or spiritual practice to save me, to make me all better.

But it just wasn’t going to work that way. It was going to take time.

Gradually, over time, I learned how to take better care of myself.

Gradually, slowly, with much effort and many mistakes, I learned to break the habits that were holding me back – not just the material habits like sugar, alcohol and drugs, but the habits of mind and spirit that were even harder to get a handle on: Judging and criticizing myself, neurotic perfectionism, using any little shortcoming as an excuse to beat myself up.

I worked with many practitioners, many of which were extremely helpful, but none of whom fulfilled the impossible “savior” role I was hoping for in a healer.

Yes, I got better. But it took many years of persistence and patience. All of that has taught me how to love myself and others, and for that I am grateful.

Meanwhile, I had many relationships with friends and mentors, some rewarding, others challenging. I had many ups and downs in my career.

In 2018, I had gotten myself into a very difficult financial place. I had previously done pretty well between working for myself and piecing various types of work together, but some poorly judged decisions got me into a place where I had to get a full-time job.

In March, I wrote a detailed description of the type of job I wanted – “manifesting” style a la The Secret.

I used all the skills and tools I had learned as an intuitive practitioner to firm that description in my psyche.

I read my statement aloud to myself daily. I recorded it and overlayed a binaural beats track to listen to while I slept. I started meditating daily, and writing down all the things I was grateful for. I accumulated a list of several hundred affirmations to support my desire to get this job.

Then I took action.

I applied for jobs. I networked and connected with industry leaders.

Because of the pain I had suffered while being ill and dealing with the medical system, I vowed I would never work in the healthcare industry. I applied for jobs in technology, marketing, media and entertainment. I got no callbacks. I became very discouraged.

I eventually thought “what the hell” and applied for half a dozen jobs at the CVS corporate office, located 20 minutes away from my house. One of those jobs was a data analyst position, specializing in clinical services, on a “B2B innovation” team. I thought it sounded intriguing, and sent my resume out, not expecting anything to come of it.

To my surprise, I got a callback. Then I got an interview, then another interview.

In July, I started my job in the healthcare industry.

I realized that job fit every single element of the manifestation statement I had written for myself months ago. For the record, here it is:

I have established a stable, guaranteed income of at least $4500/month, after taxes.  This guaranteed income is generated by a full-time, permanent, high-paying professional day job, where I am highly valued for my education, skills and experience.  

My day job is rewarding and uses a combination of analytical skills and interpersonal skills, while being low-impact when it comes to emotional labor.  When I am at work, I feel intellectually stimulated, energetic, safe, free, and at ease. I enjoy the intellectual challenge this job gives me, because it allows me to exercise and develop my logical and mathematical mind.  

The work flows and comes easily to me, while providing some fun challenges.  Every day at work feels like I am playing a fun game. I enjoy the company of all the people I work with, and we genuinely respect and value each other.  I feel highly respected and valued by my coworkers and supervisors, and I am always treated fairly.

The company I work for is stable, secure, and a paragon of ethical business practices.  I feel aligned with my company’s mission, believe in the work they do, and am happy to support it in the role I play.  I have clear boundaries established around my role where I am able to skillfully perform the duties of my job, while trusting others to do their work properly.  

At my workplace, everyone cooperates and communicates clearly with each other to make sure all necessary work gets done within reasonable time constraints. As a result, I am able to leave the responsibilities of work at work when the day is over, and feel no need to carry them home with me. I have ample time to devote at least twelve hours a week to my business, where I can be fully authentic and grow my business the way it is meant to naturally, safely, and with complete honesty and alignment.  

I also have ample time and space to care for myself, Jenny, and those I love.  I have full faith that everything will work out exactly as it is meant to be. Meanwhile, at work, I know that I have a role to play that fits in perfectly with my highest mission on earth as a lightworker.  I feel excited, productive, and prolific as I take on my life with fresh energy and a positive outlook every day!

March 4, 2018

I manifested my dream job, in an industry I felt deep resentment and pain for.

Can you guess why?

The obvious reason is that that part of me – the part of me who had been hurt by the healthcare system, who had been made to feel like a helpless, hopeless victim – needed healing.

I struggled internally with working for a corporation. I struggled internally with working in healthcare. Sometimes, I still feel conflicted, and struggle with that.

And underneath all of that, I know I am where I am because I’m meant to be.

I get to work with clinical leaders who genuinely care about patients, who I wish could have been my medical providers while I was ill, and who I believe will be able to lead the industry toward more empowering and affirming care.

I get to use my gifts and skills to help move big business decisions and processes. It’s exciting and fun.

I feel happy and at ease on a daily basis. It feels miraculous.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I have learned to trust. And my story is far from over.

My life is not perfect by any measure… and the best part is, it doesn’t have to be.

Whether you’ve had similar experiences to mine or not, I hope my story can encourage you to pursue those things you always wanted, but felt held back from.

Most of all, I hope hearing my story will open a door in your life to be more open and honest – with both yourself and others – about your own experiences and journeys.

In order for love and compassion to win in this world, we must first realize it for ourselves, knowing that we are worthy and deserving of vulnerability, honesty, and truth.

I have been blessed with struggles and challenges, and also with the opportunity to live a new, healthy, happy life. I believe that ultimately, learning to love who I am and speaking my truth has been the “cure” I searched for all those years.

If you have a gift or experience you’d like to share with others, I encourage you to take that leap and share it, no matter how “out there” it seems. It may feel scary, but it’s worth it.

Disclaimer: I am an employee of CVS Health. My words and thoughts are 100% my own and do not reflect the values or beliefs of my employer.

From Chronically Ill to Corporate Healthcare: Part 2

<< Jumped in at the middle? Go back to Part 1

Spirituality became a huge part of my healing journey. I was very much at odds in this respect, since I had grown up in a decidedly atheist family with no exposure to religion, and then in 2011 had an encounter with Jesus that changed my whole outlook on life. It was an inevitable shift that came about after years of inward struggle, then spending a couple of months being heavily involved with a traditional Bible-believing church.

By the way, I was still sick. And I desperately wanted to be cured.

In a weird juxtaposition of events, I had earlier that year become certified in Reiki Level One. Then months after I “got saved” and publicly pledged my life to Jesus, I discovered that I had the ability to channel and receive psychic messages.

I knew my church didn’t approve of these practices, nor did they have a positive outlook on me being trans, but I stayed because I craved fellowship and community with people who were just as on fire for God as I was. Eventually, after a year of regular attendance and involvement, my wife and I left that church after the pastor made a final decision that he wouldn’t endorse or affirm our marriage. It was a difficult time for both of us that tried our faith.

Since then, we have both been connected with several different faith communities, some of them affirming and resonant, others that still seemed to stray from what we knew as our spiritual truth.

Many people ask me: “Why didn’t you just join a liberal/”open and affirming” church in the first place?” I have many answers to that question, which I’ll address in another article. For now, I’ll just say that finding a faith community is never “one size fits all” – it’s a blessing to find anyone who can lift you up and strengthen your faith in a way that is in line with what you know to be true.

Adding religion and spirituality to the mix made my health journey nothing short of a thrill ride. While I was trying out different restrictive diets, some of which included fasting to “cleanse” the system, I was taking advice from Christian leaders who encouraged me to fast and pray so I could figure out whether God wanted me to de-transition or separate from my wife.

I went days at a time without food, my weight dropped below 100 pounds, and I became very weak, both physically and emotionally. I experienced the euphoric highs of spiritual bliss, and the heartbreaking lows of self-doubt and condemnation from my faith community.

While all this was happening, I was praying constantly for God to heal me, somehow, just show me where I was going wrong so I could finally feel well, and live a normal life. I wondered whether I was being punished for having a sexuality, being trans, or simply for continuing to exist. My self-hate was so severe that I surrounded myself with mentors who believed I deserved punishment, while ignoring the kindness and wisdom of the people who loved me the most.

(For what it’s worth, I am still married, am not celibate, and have not de-transitioned, and I am healthy and happy.)

OK, I thought. I’m paying my dues – lots of spiritual growth, struggles, learnings, and realizations of the truth. Do I get to have a happy life now? Do I finally get to get better? What is it going to take, God?

Continue to Part 3 >>

From Chronically Ill to Corporate Healthcare: Part 1

When I first “awakened” (as the cool kids say), I was at the end of my rope.

I was suffering from recurring antibiotic-resistant infections and autoimmune disease simultaneously. I habitually abused my body and mind with drugs, alcohol, junk food, and toxic relationships. I was chronically depressed, and woke up every single day wanting to end my life.

How did I end up in such a bad place? In short, it was an accumulation of many years of low self-worth, holding myself to impossible standards, and succumbing to a self-defeating attitude of hopelessness and failure. The backstory I’ll leave for another time.

Today, I’d like to talk about how I got out of that destructive place, to the life I live now, which I’m grateful to say is infinitely happier, healthier, and more whole.

My journey began in 2009. At this critical point in time, after I had had enough of the constant struggle and helplessness, I realized I had to take responsibility for my own health and life.

I had spent almost a year stuck in a revolving door of doctor’s offices, lab tests, and prescriptions. I experienced skin abrasions and eruptions that would never heal, joint pain, and fevers that seemed to occur randomly with no explanation.

I had seen many doctors, who kept giving me conflicting messages about what was wrong with me. I was repeatedly misdiagnosed, and was prescribed many medications that hurt my body. Every time I was given a new prescription, I hoped it would be the one to finally help me. But it never was, and I just kept getting worse.

Many of my doctors were disrespectful towards me and dismissive of my concerns. Despite my having obvious and visible symptoms, I had many encounters with doctors who told me I wasn’t actually sick, and what I had was just a temporary problem that would resolve in a week or two.

I wanted to believe them… but no matter what they said, my symptoms persisted.

It didn’t help that I was (and am) also transgender – even though I was three years into my medical transition, and “passed” in everyday life, healthcare providers often felt uncomfortable treating me, and didn’t want to get too involved. So my treatment suffered as a result of their discomfort.

I had no support – or at least that’s what I perceived.

I had a few party friends to drink and do drugs with, and an open relationship with a boyfriend who saw my illness as an inconvenience. When I got referred to the ER because a MRSA infection was threatening to reach my bones, he chose to drop me off at the ER and spend the rest of the afternoon at the local gay bathhouse, because it would have been too boring to wait with me and keep me company.

When I started to awaken, I realized I had to cut people out of my life, and so I ended that relationship and all the “party” friendships.

I graduated from college that year.

I got a new girlfriend – Jenny, who I had been crushing on for years. I had always thought of her as unattainable, but I finally started feeling confident enough to make a move. (Jenny and I are now happily married.)

I started to eat healthier.

I quit drinking, then started again, then quit again, then quit drugs, then started again, then quit everything except weed, then quit weed… rinse and repeat.

I tried herbal supplements, plant-based diets, grain-free diets, non-gmo, organic and local foods, raw foods, fluoride-free water, parasite cleanses, heavy metal detoxes.

I developed a voracious appetite for information – anything and everything to do with health, nutrition, holistic therapies, and radical experimental treatments. I devoured books and websites on nutrition and naturopathic medicine.

I vowed that if I ever found a way to heal myself, I would pass that blessing on to others. To follow up that vow, I ended up training to become a certified health coach and a community herbalist.

And magically, my life changed, my problems vanished, and I got all better!

Just kidding. It didn’t work that way.

I was in for the long haul.

Continue to Part 2 >>