Savannah van der Niet
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and things work out the way they are supposed too. Let me share the example that brought me to write this blog; I found myself at a crossroads over the summer, travel or school (many young adults nod in agreement because they've been there)? I left it to fate and here I am, a student at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Maybe some background is required for you to fully understand what this is all about. From May of 2013 until May 2014 I was working an intense contract job as an event planner that led me to absolute exhaustion by the end. It was worth every second as I learned things about myself and what I’m capable of that otherwise would have taken years to figure out. I had the amazing honour of working with a colleague to open a Mental Health Support Centre on a campus that so desperately needed it. We worked long hard hours to advance the student culture and increase the level of engagement. The Student Support Centre was (and, yes, still is) our pride and joy. While planning multiple events each month for 16,000 students I was also working as a server/bartender a couple of nights a week because why not stretch myself to the very limit?
That's what our culture and society has taught us is the way to get what we want. Working that hard and spreading myself that thin wasn't new to me but for some reason that year took me to my breaking point. Towards the end of the term I was beyond exhausted and downright drained. I had nothing left to offer. I was extremely sick all of the time and it took everything in me just to get out of bed in the mornings- screw making any effort in looks department; it was enough for me to just put on clothes. I had never felt this before. I was used to being insanely busy. I prided myself on thriving in that environment. So why was this any different?
Oh right, because it's not normal to work yourself to death (hindsight, right?). Being that stressed out for that long was bound to bite me in the ass at some point. I decided to see a naturopath in hopes of solving all of my problems in one go, walking out all shiny and new. Health doesn't seem to work that way. Even while sitting with the naturopath, I played off every one of my health issues as completely mind blowing. "No, Dr. I have no idea why I can't sleep ever and need 7 cups of coffee to get through a day" or "Ya, I may be busy but I can handle it. That's really not the issue here".
She looked at me after I ranted about life and everything I had going on for about 45 minutes and simply asked, "When was the last time you cried?". Umm, what? Cry? Who has time to cry? Why would I cry when I'm perfectly happy? I chalked it up to not my thing and moved on. She gave my some different tinctures and remedies to try and told me I needed to slow the hell down and take care of myself. I knew this. As an avid yogi, I knew this. I need to take care of number one. Easier said than done though am I right? Maybe, but it is oh so necessary. Two nights later, my ex and I were sitting in bed (well he was sleeping, but weird, I for some strange reason couldn't sleep...). I tossed and turned for hours. Suddenly he turns over and says, "Everything ok over there?" That was it. Like a damn waiting to burst, I broke like I have never broke before. It was one of those beautifully disgusting cries where you can't even breathe. The boyfriend, bless is heart, just held me and anytime the crying seemed to slow he held me tighter because he knew that would make me cry more until I got it all out. I will never underestimate the power of tears again. I hadn't realized just how much I was holding in and just how much all of those little flecks of sand were building up like cement inside me. I like to think that cry was the beginning of my journey back to me. I’ve always been a healthy person who enjoys taking care of myself but I had definitely lost myself in that year. After that, I really sat back and revaluated my life and where I wanted to be, and more importantly, who I wanted to be. Once the term was over, I scaled my life back completely. I served a couple nights a week so I could fund my life but nothing more. I went camping and spent many nights by the lake. I needed to be in touch with the Earth again and really ground myself. It was no quick fix; recovery took quite some time but I learned from every step of it. I thought maybe taking off to travel again would be what I really needed. I always found everyone is the best version of themselves when they’re traveling. No one knows who you are or the baggage beyond what you've packed for the journey. I spent a lot of time planning my trip and was extremely excited about it but there was always this little nagging thought of wanting to start planting roots of my own and to grow the life I was currently living. I knew I wanted to do something that allowed me to help people and truly make a difference.
The one job that I kept coming back to over and over was something to do with healthy, holistic living. Especially after the experiences I have had and the miracles I have seen when people make healthier lifestyle choices. I did more research on Naturopaths and holistic health than I ever thought possible; which is how I stumbled on the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. A girlfriend of mine was registered in the program I looked into for weeks (even though I knew within the first five minutes of reading the description that this was exactly what I wanted). It was fairly late in the summer by the time I applied and was wait-listed. The lady was even nice enough to inform me that it didn't look promising! I was bummed but I told myself, "I get in if it is meant to be, if not I travel". Two days later she called me to say she had a spot with my name on it (not literally but I did get a name tag). I was ecstatic. So I went camping. *** Eight months after graduating from the program, a trip to an ashram in India under my belt, two Wanderlust festivals in two of the most beautiful places in the world and a crazy new chapter unfolding, I can safely say Follow your open heart and soul every damn time and honour what you feel- you’ll love what’s in store when you say yes to yourself.
Be well & Live loud, Amanda