Growing Up Herbal
I was blessed to be born in a Ukrainian household where herbal remedies, whole-hearted home-made meals, and running barefoot in my grandma’s gardens were natural ways of life. Brewing herbs, making ointments, and extracts were common things to me.
Learning the Way Nature Heals
“If we only switch focus from “fighting a disease” to providing necessary nourishment to the body, it does miracles from within.”
The first most profound impression on me was witnessing the way my mother treated my baby sister’s asthmatic bronchitis. Under the guidance of a well-known MD, she diligently treated my sister to health using homeopathic medicine, diet, and particular breathing exercises.
Even after my sister got well, annual trips to the Black, Baltic, or Azov sea were positioned not just as family vacations but as preventative measures and necessary health aid. We would go early in the morning to the shore “for a drizzle.” Walking along the shore and breathing in a magic healing sea mist was the best inhaler my sister could ever have.
Along with that, there were frequent trips to the pine forest. We would stay in a tiny cabin, spending our days outside in the woods mushrooming, swimming in a lake, hiking while breathing healing pine fragrances, which support respiratory function and have an overall calming effect.
I quickly learned that the body naturally heals itself with the necessary support of herbal aids, proper diet, activity, and nature. If we only switch focus from “fighting a disease” to providing necessary nourishment to the body, it does miracles from within.
“…it was pure joy and love…”
More than 30 years ago, my beautiful daughter arrived in my life. The responsibility of handling another life that solely depends on you prompted me to study all I could gather on the subject of nutrition, herbs, and natural elements.
She never had store-bought baby food. I made it all, including yogurts, kefir, cottage cheese, not to mention juices, soups, and the rest of it. I understand that to some, it seemed a bit obsessive, but to me, it was pure joy and love. I continued to nourish this life with all I could until I had her, creating beautiful memories on the way.
Over the Ocean and Through the Woods
“I was determined to find a way to get my energy back and live a full-fledged life.”
Twenty years ago, I took my sweet ten-year-old daughter, and with four bags and two master’s degrees, I made a move to the USA. I dove into a high-paced life, melted into an American pot, built a successful business, grew a beautiful garden, formed real friendships — five years flew by in an instant.
It was then that my health started to deteriorate before my eyes. I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. That left me with a condition called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in addition to destroyed joints, binocular migraine, vitamin deficiency, and lost memory.
Struggling to put myself back for a while, I turned to doctors. The doctor’s solution was: narcotics for muscle and joint pain, sleeping pills with antidepressants on top. Without hesitation, I refused the treatment. “You have to learn how to live with it then, as there is no other treatment available” – was their reply.
I took this as a challenge. I wasn’t interested in finding ways how I could live with it. I was determined to find a way to get my energy back and live a full-fledged life.
“Then I researched, and researched, and researched… I was trying to get to the root of it, and then I remembered not to fight but to nourish, and I got it…”
First, I picked myself up and moved from Boston to Florida! I felt the need for Sunshine, salty Ocean, and Warm Sand. Then I researched, and researched, and researched… I was trying to get to the root of it, and then I remembered not to fight but to nourish, and I got it.
I figured out how to supplement my body with necessary nutrition and activities, and gradually I started feeling better. I watched the doctor’s eyebrows rising as he compared my blood test result. He asked me what I was doing. I started sharing with excitement but was respectfully interrupted. “Ok, ok,” he said with a smile, “Whatever you are doing, please, continue.” The proof was in the pudding!
I felt that I was slowly gaining back control over my body. I was able to maintain sturdy energy levels and keeping up with the best of them. The future seemed to be bright and promising again.
On the Dark Side
“all was there in its shining glory, but my body no more…”
They say you never know what tomorrow brings. So true. The chain of devastating events pinned me down, stripping me from my identities, throwing me into a whirlpool of deep depression. I lost control. I didn’t know how to continue…
Next thing I know, I’m in the doctor’s office… alone… “You have cancer.” she said, “You need surgery now, in a week it will be too late.”
The world flipped on me once again. I cried as I was driving myself home, and then the next morning… I wasn’t sorry for myself, I was thinking of all those I would leave behind, all those who relied on me one way or another… and the tears stopped… I walked outside and sat under the palm trees in the backyard.
I sat still with my eyes open, watching my body melting away and disappearing in thin air. I was totally present, yet I wasn’t. I could see and feel everything, but my body. Sweet birds busy nesting on a giant oak tree, palms caressed by the tender breeze, wild orchids kissed by the morning sun, crisp blue sky… all was there in its shining glory, but my body no more.
I don’t know how long I was sitting there — neither can I put this unbelievable experience in words. I thought I totally lost it and went off my rocker. I brushed it off as stress-related and carried on. After this experience, I was calm and, strangely enough – happy. “I need a couple of months to get my affairs in order before I go,” I figured. And off I went.
The following poem I wrote to commemorate my amazing experience:
(2015 © Julia Delaney)
Then it was extensive surgeries and long months of chemo. I’m eternally grateful for all who stuck by my side for the long hall.
Nourishing Back to Life
“She used the freshest ingredients and induced the food with such love and tenderness that only mother and father can give”
With a lot of parts missing, my carefully reassembled body was placed in the car and safely delivered home from the hospital.
I wasn’t able to do much, really. One of my beautiful girlfriends took it upon herself to prepare the most thoughtful and nutritious meals for me. She used the freshest ingredients and induced the food with such love and tenderness that only mother and father can give. Almost every day during my recovery, she would breeze by and leave healing food in my fridge, checking on me gingerly.
My body was slowly kicking back in gear, learning the ways around missing parts. I started paying enormous attention to everything that entered my body, including water. I was hunkering down in preparation for rounds of chemo, ready to maintain.
When Your Food Becomes Medicine
“As all my major identities were stripped of me, I was able to see a beautiful life inside, longing to live.”
During those times, it got to be all about maintenance. I became very studious with my weekly blood tests, which I would meticulously dissect. I was researching vigorously and adjusting my nutrition day by day, according to my body’s needs. Raw and cooked, sweet and sour, orange, red, green… my food was my fuel and my medicine.
Even though my badly battered body was becoming more feeble with every round of chemo, my doctor was quite impressed with how well I was doing in comparison to other patients in the same situation. Impressed enough to ask me what I was doing. I started sharing with excitement but was respectfully interrupted. “Ok, ok,” he said with a gentle smile, “Whatever you are doing, please, continue.”
The physical after-effects of chemo were devastating. But during this period, something fascinating became very apparent to me. I could clearly witness the separation between me and my body. I knew that I wasn’t the body, but this body was mine. As all my major identities were stripped of me, I was able to see a beautiful life inside, longing to live.
And Now Yoga
Moving to recovery efforts, a nutritional aspect of nursing my physical body back to health was easy and natural for me. This part, I got down.
But how to nourish the precious light within I’ve yet had to learn. The strong longing to know was ignited in me, and I was on a quest to find out. I had a burning need to know what is this life inside of me? And where am I going after my brief visit on this beautiful planet of ours, really?
I start practicing kriya yoga and meditation. As my body limitations lessened, I jumped on the plane and went to India. By exploring myself through yogic culture, I was able to grasp and implement so many fascinating things! My quest brought me to the incredible places I never knew existed. Defeating all odds, I was able to do things I never thought possible.
Shortly after my first trip to India, I slowly but persistently started practicing Hatha Yoga. The effects of Yoga practices, in combination with the energy igniting food I crafted for myself, outdid all my expectations. Striving and reaching for the stars, I was able to go back to India for an advanced meditation program.
Tending the Soul’s Garden
In the realm of Life, I’ve tended to both my well-being and my struggles, much like a gardener tends to both flowers and weeds. I’ve known the earth’s blessings, nourishing myself through the natural world, through its herbs, sustenance, and the breathtaking scenery that leaves me in awe. I’ve felt the sting of loss, the weight of despair, and the cold shadow of illness. But I’ve also known recovery and growth, driven by an understanding deep within me, something more profound than mere flesh and bone.
What I’ve discovered is an unfolding path where every step is both teacher and lesson. Through the challenging yet enlightening trials of disease, the wonders of healing, and the blows of mortality, I’ve found that the answers were never someplace out there but always within. The external teachers, the gurus, coaches, and guides, have their place; and as wonderful as they are, they can only aid so far. The most profound exploration is in digging deep within ourselves, uncovering wisdom embedded in the very core of who we are.
The way our bodies connect with nature’s grace, the dance between nourishment and care, the harmony of the physical and spiritual—it all speaks to me as a mirror of Life’s intricate connections. I feel these bonds in my very core.
But this isn’t a sudden flash of insight or a brief revelation. It’s more like a garden that needs constant tending, a lifelong opportunity to feed our deepest selves, to stretch toward the sunlight, to wrestle and reconcile with the tangled beauty of who we are and what it means to be alive.
And so, I continue to tend to my garden with all the care and love I can muster, for in this gentle cultivation lies not mere survival, but a flourishing, a thriving, a blossoming into the very essence of who we are and might yet become. With hands in the soil and heart open to the seasons of life, I trust in the innate wisdom that guides me, knowing that we are, each one of us, the gardeners of our very souls.
So, here I am…
Hi, my name is Julia.
I’m exploring a phenomenon called Life.
connect with me here on PositivePranic.com
or on any social media platform @positivepranic
Be Alive 🌱
Love ❤️, Julia
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