Wake Up Call

My wake up call came, like it does for many, in the form of illness.

After years of pushing myself relentlessly through grad school and demanding jobs, I taxed out my adrenals and ran myself into the ground.

I had been so focused on taking care of others that I hadn’t even noticed that I had stopped taking very good care of myself.

When I became pregnant with my daughter, my body was so depleted that I became very, very sick with a condition called HG (hyperemesis gravidarum).  Weakness and sickness took over my life.  I was in and out of the hospital frequently, and on most days, I barely had the strength to walk from one room to the other.

I was flattened and humbled.  My whole world became about survival.  About trying to keep down one little sip of water, one microscopic bite of food.

I grieved for the freedom and vibrant life that I had lost, and I realized for the first time that health is a profound gift.

Eight months later, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl.  The sickness faded away and I began a long healing journey to try and regain balance and strength in my life.

I was no longer interested in practicing psychotherapy.  I was just interested in being a mother and deepening my relationship to nourishment on every level.

We moved to the country where life felt gentler and time seemed to move slower.  I studied organic farming with the soulful Living Lands Agrarian Network.  I started juicing, making my own herbal remedies and learning to prepare more nutrient-dense, healing foods.

Perhaps most importantly, I surrounded myself with other women who were living embodiments of nourishing wisdom—women who taught me the value of treating all of life (including myself) with honor, reverence and respect.

It’s now been three and a half years since my sickness.  My daughter is in preschool.  I’m now a single mom.  My career has taken a whole new direction.  And because of everything I’ve been through, I feel stronger than ever.

As a culture, we have lost touch with our inherent nourishing wisdom.  It’s my calling to help us recover that wisdom, to cultivate it, and to restore our bodies, souls, communities and planet back to a state of balance and vibrant health.

The lessons I have learned come down to this:

Self Love + Living Foods + Community are a powerful combination for transformation.

Years ago, when I was in the midst of my sickness, it felt like a curse.  I see now that it was my greatest teacher.  My sickness forced me out of a frantic way of life that was unsustainable and led me to a life far more rich and beautiful.

What was your wake up call?  Leave a comment below and share.  I’d love to connect & hear your story.

Lots of love & gratitude to my friend Tatiana Daikoff who took the picture at the top of the page while making a batch of wild rose mead (honey wine). 


4 Responses to “Wake Up Call”

  1. Lou says:

    My wake up call was becoming pregnant, and realising it wasn’t only about me any more…. giving up smoking, alcohol, artificial sweeteners and additives made me realise how GOOD I could feel. Now a vegan, whole food, natural diet is the only way for me – making and growing my own as much as I can…. getting into fermented foods, sprouting – it’s all so exciting and vibrant!

    Wow, wild rose mead sounds AMAZING…. have always wanted to try brewing my own mead :)

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Lou,

      Thanks for your comment. Sounds like we are on similar journeys. I love it!

      Have you checked out Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz? It’s a great resource for making meads and ciders. ♥

  2. Ajnira says:

    Hi Natalia, I have a very similar story! I was a 29 year old Wall Street superstar back in the 1980’s and I burned myself down to the ground by working 23 hours a day, and not sleeping for 3 years in a row. I totally melted down. Like you, it precipitated a lot of soul searching and unplugging from everything that brought me to that moment. Not only did I switch gears from finance to natural healing, but I also had a spiritual path open up to me. It took me a full 10 years to hit absolute rock bottom and 3 years to dig my way out. I now have a mind-body-spirit fully integrated healing practice that’s off and online, and I’m trying to launch my message wider and to bigger audiences. Perhaps we are soul-sisters! I am resonating with you more on each encounter. Feel free to connect with me. I’d love to explore where that could go.
    Much love and many blessings, Ajnira

    • Natalia says:

      Hi Ajnira! Thanks so much for connecting! I find a lot of us can really connect to Melissa’s story here. Often it is when we hit our breaking point that we are able to make the necessary changes to truly live our soul’s purpose. I am so glad to hear you have found a such a fulfilling way to share your work with the world. Wishing you all the best with it!
      love & blessings,

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