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My Unexpected Path to Purpose

How my mold illness transformed my life for the better.

Mara Landis happy and healthy at home. Living and advocating for a chemical free (as possible), non toxic life. Driven to help everyone to feel, get and be better.

What do you want to be? Who do you want to be?

If only “life purpose” came with a diploma – a declaratory document rolled up, doled out with a clear statement, ”this is what you are intended to do with your life.”

I can now see the number of times the universe tried to nudge (as opposed to “whack”) me throughout my life to go within, do my learning, walk down my “intended” path, but I resisted. I chose to ignore the opportunities to grow or evolve until I hit a breaking point.

My calling came in the form of toxic mold. Fourteen years ago, my family and I were sick. Nobody knew what was wrong with us—not even the forty doctors we saw. To question one’s environment as the cause was an anathema at the time and not one doctor suggested this as a possibility. Thankfully an acquaintance shared with me an article about mold which led to the root of our problem. But even when we knew the cause, the doctors still did not have the answers. Instead, they doomed me and my family to a lifetime of symptoms.

Consumed by fear after 9/11, a friend suggested I see her “healer.” I told her, “No way. I don’t need a psychic.” But when she suggested it again a couple of years later, as a means of dealing with the toxic mold crisis, I was feeling overwhelmingly scared, depressed, and desperate to get better, so I agreed. I had nothing to lose.

I first met Jenny Lethbridge in 2006. Without touching me, just by focusing on me, she projected energy into my body. What she did was intangible, but the effects were palpable.

Prior to the energy work, she seemed to see through me, she saw the real me – fears, insecurities, sadness, my childhood – as if my life had flashed before her. What could have taken hours to convey to a therapist, she saw in an instant. No need to tell my story. She just knew.

“You strike me as someone who barrels through life with intensity. We are going to soften you. Let’s start with judgment.” Those were her initial, surprisingly accurate words. When she said “we,” she meant she and her “spirit guides.” She taught me to set an intention: to release me of judgement and others judging me.

On that auspicious day, in the one hour I spent with Jenny, I glimpsed freedom from my mind, my greatest obstacle. When she told me I could open my eyes after the energy work, sunshine streamed into the room. When she asked me to feel inside my body – a foreign concept, but one I had no problem doing – the one hundred pound weight of anxiety had lifted.

So much of who we are is ingrained. Judgment, worry, and fear can become our natural states. When faced with the opportunity to let go, do we? Who are we without our obsessive thoughts? Who are we without the narratives we have repeated to ourselves throughout our lives? Jenny helped me to discover that without toxic emotions and crippling thoughts, I am free.

That day changed my life on many levels. My initial session unleashed an insatiable curiosity. I needed to know all I could about spirituality and then mind and body. I began exploring all that crossed my path– books, practitioners, healers, modalities. I explored stillness, something Jenny encouraged me to make a priority in my life –no screens, no books, no sudoku or crossword puzzles, no busyness. No distracting fillers. I was to sit, breathe and meditate. Surprisingly, out of all my explorations, in stillness I found the most movement. I discovered the movement of my breath. I watched the movement of my thoughts and the internal workings of my soul. In stillness, I discovered that once awake, it is hard to go back to sleep.

If Jenny had told me about all the work I would continue to do for years to come in my first session, I would not have believed her. Self evolution takes a lot of time and commitment and while it can be very challenging at times, perseverance is so worth it, because with self evolution comes purpose – that “thing” that had eluded me for so long. As I healed “all” of me – mind, body and spirit or my soul – kindness, compassion, and understanding replaced anxiety, worry and judgment. Through breakdown, I broke through. Life got brighter. My perceptions shifted. Everything I did had meaning, even the “mistakes.” Although I “kissed many frogs” throughout my experiments in getting better, each ”wrong” turn, in hindsight, only enhanced who I am today. I learned there are no mistakes when we approach life through the lens of learning. Challenges are our gifts.

I know I am not alone. I dabbled in the blogging world, an outlet for my insatiable thirst for knowledge and I connected with so many people like myself. Different roadblocks, different illnesses, different circumstances, but similarly awake and driven, like me, to share what worked in order to help others. If I could get better despite my doctors telling me I would have my symptoms for life, couldn’t others? And if all these “bloggers” and countless others were better despite the odds, I reasoned, shouldn’t the world be paying more attention to these personal experiences and not dismiss them as anecdotes as my doctors did when I told them how I got better? These questions led me to my lightbulb moment –my true purpose  was revealed to me: to aggregate all of our stories, our tips and triumphs – to empirically document what works when it comes to well being – so that all who are curious and all who are struggling can discover possibilities for feeling, getting and being better. 

Who I am now is certainly nothing I could have ever imagined as a child or even in my 30s going about my life as “mom.” Not once in all those years, spent dreaming of potentially being Jane Pauley or Katie Couric (a long-held fantasy), did I ever consider a life spent encouraging people to share what works and trying to help others to feel, get and be better. But the unexpected –in my case, mold – led to finding my purpose, a path discovered through discovering myself.

Please visit Nutmeg Aspirin. Share your experience. Share what works and help us help everyone to “feel, get and be better.”

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