Not many people know this, but I am in the process of healing myself from frequent migraines. Ever since my daughter was born 7 months ago, I’ve been plagued by recurrent and extremely debilitating migraines.

The first one happened when she was only a week old. It hit me like a freight train, with a pain emanating from my right eye, so intense, it felt like being stabbed by a thousand knives. It took me 3 days to recover, to be able to walk again without shaking and stand up without feeling dizzy. It scared me deeply. Not only could I not take care of myself during this episode, I could barely take care of my baby daughter. Even more frightening was the fact that my mother suffered from chronic migraines during most of her life, as did her mother and sister.

Dread set in. Was I condemned to inherit a genetic cross to bear?

Over the last few months, the migraines came on too frequently, once a week or more. I began to avoid things I normally liked doing, like exercise, to circumvent any possibility of bringing one on.

I began to feel like I had a handicap. I knew I couldn’t live like this. A turning point came 2 months ago. We took Nahal on her first airplane journey (she screamed the whole flight,) and I arrived to Lima with a killer migraine. After an hour stuck in traffic in a taxi, we arrived at the house of a friend of my husband’s. It was our first meeting. I was a wreck, red eyes bulging out of my head. I said, “ Hello, nice to meet you. Can you please take me to a dark room.” Not my best first impression.

After that migraine, I took some time to seriously look at the underlying factors that contributed to their onset, to see if I could identify a pattern. What was the fateful recipe? As a healthcare practitioner and one that contemplates the intrinsic nature of health and disease, it seems apparent that each pathology has a different etiology. Simply stated, the root cause of each disease emanates from a confluence of contributing circumstances. This is why often in cases of serious disease, the same treatment protocol doesn’t respond in the same way for different individuals. We all have a uniquely detailed story that initiates the lessons of sickness into our lives.

Some of the unconscious patterns that were triggering my migraines were:

• Moving too fast

• Thinking too fast

• And doing too much.

I’d done enough self-work to be aware of these tendencies for years. But still they were in play and now, the pure intelligence of the body had manifested a mechanism to accentuate that importance of addressing the seriousness of these tendencies and severely underscore their deleterious long term affects on my body, mind and spirit.

There was no more waiting till tomorrow to work on these issues. Not if I truly wanted to regain my health. And I do.

Each day, I’m learning to be content with the slow process, like being able to hold an asana deeper and longer than the day before. To retrain myself to single-task as opposed to multi-task. To take more of my own advice in regards to self-care, not as a regimented list of things to do but the inner self-care practice, such as how you treat yourself in each thought, in every moment.

I am acknowledging and releasing my ego’s desire to want to be an adept in many fields: yoga, Ayurveda, shamanism, herbalism, teaching, writing, entrepreneurship, gardening, cooking, and the list goes on. Accolades temporarily feed our ego self but the deep-seated lassitude that accompanies trying to maintain a persona wears on the spirit and its natural evolutionary process. While it’s depleting just to hash it all out here on paper but simultaneously relieving and even empowering to bring it to light by giving voice to it. I am much more than the sum of my talents, skills and experience. Ah, there I said it.

I’m recognizing anxiety, in its subtle multitude of elusive forms and learning to release it. I’m examining how to discern the difference between fear; legitimate and objective fear versus subjective fear and its bedmate anxiety, the unjustified fear of fear. Experiencing fear is an inevitable part of life. We are biologically and chemically entrained to respond to it. I want to learn to stare it down, to confront it. To move through it, not avoid it or worry about the possibility of it.

I’m remembering how to let go of deeply rooted programming regarding success, as defined by biased cultural demarcations such as career, fame, looks, finances and more recently, by Facebook likes. Let’s face it. This is an insidious societal sickness and unless you live in WIFI free cave somewhere, we are all affected to some degree or another.

The migraines manifested in my life to teach me that the time is now to integrate these lessons and even more layers that I’m in the process of uncovering.

You are my witness of this.

Upon sharing my realizations with my mother, she said, “I had many similar understandings about my behavior that were causing my migraines. I just could never change the patterns.” It is my intention to change these patterns in myself. I want to truly honor this gift of life that I have been given. In doing so, perhaps my daughter will inherit patterns that reflect a more positive, healthful awareness of the inherent value of her being and how to care for it.


This I know in the depths of my being.