Lauralyn is a certified Life Coach, Restorative Yoga Therapist, Meditation Teacher, Reiki Master and Pilates Instructor. Her training in holistic wellness includes cognitive behavioral coaching, reflexology, cranial sacral therapy, nutrition, Restorative, Hatha and Kundalini Yoga. Her work has been featured on a variety of blogs and TV programs, she has taught healing workshops in Southern California, New York City and the U.K. and established the first therapeutic yoga therapy program for the U.S. Army at Fort Bragg. Prior to opening her coaching practice in 2005, she attended Marymount Manhattan College and the State University of New York where she studied journalism, political science and psychology. She worked in publishing for many years, now she writes to raise awareness about issues she cares about, and share stories of hope and healing.
All I remember is a co-worker said I looked green. I was a senior in college, working at The Strand bookstore in Manhattan when my vision went black and I was rushed to the ER. It took days for the doctors to decide what was wrong with me. When they said it was Crohn’s Disease something didn’t feel right. But I shrugged it off. I was an ambitious 21-year old. I just wanted to take whatever pills would fix the problem and get on with my life. I soon learned there was no magic pill to fix me. Within a few years, I was taking forty pills daily for symptoms that kept popping up like whack-a-moles, I could barely get out of my apartment the pain was so horrendous, and one too many sick days got me fired from a promising job at a literary agency. When I complained, the doctor said I had to accept my fate. When I countered that I really believed these symptoms were related to food I was eating, I was told that wasn’t true and if I couldn’t handle the diagnosis I should let a psychiatrist help me. Feeling belittled and defeated, I dutifully took the pills given to me, and swallowed the hurt when I had to accept that my vision of how my life would turn out wasn’t happening.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU IGNORE YOUR INTUITION
That inner voice was begging me to take my power back. So I started researching the diagnosis, learning everything I could about it. Still believing certain foods had something to do with my symptoms, I consulted several doctors for second opinions. Incredibly, not one doctor ever questioned the original diagnosis, even though I never had the most common symptoms and none of their treatments ever worked for me. The medications only made me sicker.
In my mid-twenties, I moved to Seattle thinking a more affordable, slower paced city would improve my health. I worked at a barely-ever-busy vintage bookstore, repairing ephemera. I didn’t realize that the change had to first come from within. This escapism led to my worst health crisis, and taught me that less stress doesn’t equal better health if you’re not addressing the root cause of your problem. I stopped all immunosuppressive drugs while unknowingly fighting severe systemic infections and cluelessly binging on my worst food allergies! My overwhelmed body flew into an inflamed rage. I was in unbearable pain, unable to eat, unable to walk, rapidly losing weight, big, fluid-filled blisters popping up on my legs. I was flown back to New York, an emaciated skeleton confined to a wheelchair, severely anemic, my organs shutting down. Starved of nutrition, my body had consumed muscle so beneath my skin you could feel the exposed bone. The specialist, a “top” doctor in New York City, told me he didn’t know if he could save me. His exact words were, “You need to be hospitalized immediately, but the way things look right now, I don’t think you will live more than eight days.”
I was scheduled for a blood transfusion. Numerous IV drips were attached to my body, my narrow veins collapsed, and needles were moved from arms to wrists to between my fingers. I was too weak to shower for weeks, and didn’t have an appetite for months. One time, after a painful experimental test, the nurse left the room and forgot about me. I was trapped in a wheelchair, sitting in my own sickly wet fluids, alone in a stark, cold, empty hospital room for hours. The memory of that frightening abandonment, alone in a hospital basement, and feeling helpless, stayed with me for years. I would have later have panic attacks visiting anyone who was hospitalized, the hospital smells, noises and latex gloves triggering a reliving of that awful day.
All of us believing I didn’t have very long left, the doctor met my spiritual request. A kind priest knelt before my hospital bed, read me my last rites and fed me my final communion. The pain had been so excruciating, I was ready to see that gorgeous white light. I felt the presence of Jesus hovering over my left shoulder, filling my body with a peaceful warmth. But God had other plans for me.
The doctor stood by my hospital bed, flipping the lab reports in my chart back and forth, reading and re-reading. He admitted he couldn’t explain how my chemistries had changed overnight. By all accounts, it was a miracle. The blood transfusion was cancelled. The powerful drugs kept pumping into my system, the fevers subsided, and eventually I was discharged. I returned the flimsy gown in exchange for my clothes, and was horrified by the reflection in the mirror. High doses of the steroid drug Prednisone had morphed my body into what looked like a misshapen, lumpy marshallow that had been awkwardly squished in a Ziploc bag. I walked out, floating, as if in a bad dream.
I survived, but I didn’t get well. For a decade, I popped antibiotics and pain relievers like candy, lived with pain that left me breathless, barely functioned with flu-like exhaustion and, feeling powerless in my body, was crazy anxious. The diagnoses kept multiplying: Fibromyalgia, my whole body hurt. Rheumatoid Arthritis in my right leg, bad days triggered a limp. Epstein-Barr Virus, I was chronically exhausted and brain fogged. Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder, my periods were hell on earth. Anytime my intuition kicked in, and I proposed the idea of underlying causes to my doctor, I was told condescendingly that my feelings weren’t valid and I was just having difficulty accepting my fate. It was like being stuck in an episode of The Twilight Zone. In my late twenties, my body gave up. I was forced to quit my publishing job that had finally fulfilled a dream of writing full-time, professionally, despite my health limitations. Feeling totally defeated, I relied on disability and food stamps to survive and prepared myself to move into section 8 housing. All of my dreams of what I would accomplish, and where I would be by a certain age, professionally and personally, felt mercilessly ripped from my hands. Feeling ashamed, embarrassed and powerless over my destiny, I could barely look my former co-worker in the eye as I tearfully accepted free food donations from her father’s butcher shop. My life felt all wrong.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE THE COURAGE TO START TRUSTING YOURSELF
Here’s what inspired me to help you.
I reached my breaking point. I had enough. I was done with the lazy, heartless doctors who thought they knew everything but knew nothing about me. I was done using food stamps and hoping my next disability check would see me through, constantly reminded how my body failed me. I was finished feeling so damn limited in every way. I was ready to bust the doors to freedom wide open. Hot tears running down my cheeks, I prayed, “God you help those who help themselves. Show me how to help myself!” I clung onto my faith, and let it propel me forward in a big way. I was ready to take my power back, and trust myself. I made a big change in my beliefs, my thoughts, my lifestyle, my social circle. Anything that wasn’t resonating with health and happiness had to go. I fired arrogant doctors and sought alternative health care. I detoxed my body, mind, my life. I allowed my intuition to guide my decisions. This decision not only saved my life, it changed the course of it.
My intuition about food was right – simple food intolerance tests revealed I had 27 different food sensitivities, including gluten whose symptoms mimicked Crohn’s. Another test revealed I had two genetic mutations hindering my body’s detoxification pathways called MTHFR. I learned that about 80% of toxins I’m exposed to aren’t being flushed out from my body as they should. A person without these mutations clears 100% of toxins out. That was a big eye-opener! This gene explained why I had nutritional deficiencies despite my healthful diet, why I was at higher risk of getting sick, and what my immunity needed to be strong and modulated. And yet another test revealed autoimmune Pernicious Anemia, solving the mystery of my near-death experience nearly two decades earlier: severe food intolerances + untreated autoimmune Pernicious Anemia + weakened immunity + bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections = deadly. It was an absolute miracle I survived, especially considering the doctors never treated what really needed healing. My new doctor verified I never had Crohn’s. It was true, I had been misdiagnosed all those years. Validation at last. Free at last.
Now I don’t consult anyone without consulting my intuition first. God has led me directly to the right healers for my body! Health care is a constantly evolving field. Those who limit themselves to outdated textbooks and ignore their intuition also limit their ability to help people. When we ignore our intuition, we limit our ability to help ourselves.
With the help of the right diet for my body and treatment that resonated with my specific needs and vibration, I overcame the myriad of disabling symptoms that had plagued me. I pursued an education in holistic healing based on what had transformed my body, mind and spirit like nutrition, restorative yoga, meditation, Pilates and energy healing which is why I am passionate about teaching these therapies to others. Allowing my intuition to guide me, I moved from New York to Los Angeles, a mecca for holistic healing. I opened a successful healing studio providing a holistic retreat overlooking the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean, and I loved witnessing my clients experience their own miracles. My life finally felt right.
HOPE AND HEALING FOR POST TRAUMATIC STRESS
Stress and PTSD: why I help those seeking healing.
I’ve had a few significant traumatic events in my lifetime, including that near-death hospitalization, but an unexpected house fire won the prize for PTSD. I was sound asleep in my little one-bedroom bungalow in Santa Monica when the blaring fire alarm woke me up. Disoriented, I opened a door a few feet away and a fireball shot inches from my face. Angry flames were engulfing everything I owned. While I was sleeping, an electrical fire sparked from an old drying machine. I had been complaining to the landlord about it for months. Half of the tiny bungalow was on fire by the time I woke up. The bedroom was thick with grey smoke, I could barely breathe. The fire chief told me if I had slept a few minutes longer, I wouldn’t have survived.
While a battle ensued between the sketchy landlord and The Red Cross fighting on my behalf, I was left numb, disassociated and homeless. There was no way I was jumping back into teaching yoga classes and counseling people as if everything was fine when it wasn’t. I needed time to heal myself. My best friend encouraged me to move in with her for a while. She was an Army Nurse stationed away from her Marine husband. She had a spare room for me and would appreciate my company. Heart racing and intuition guiding, I took a huge leap of faith, just as I had when I moved across country from New York to Los Angeles. This time I traveled to Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of Fort Bragg, the largest military post in the world. I devoted myself to healing the symptoms of PTSD that interrupted the peaceful life I had worked hard to create. Inspired by the holistic techniques that helped me, I eagerly got back to work developing the first therapeutic yoga program for the United States Army’s active duty wounded soldiers at Fort Bragg. The program, supported by the Warrior Transition Battalion and Womack Hospital, helped active duty soldiers manage stress and pain from deployments, illness, PTSD and intensive military training. I was promoted to the military’s Exercise Specialist, and met my soldier husband, proving to me once again that there is a reason for everything.
HERE’S WHY I BECAME A COACH
I keep it real because I’ve been through some real hardships.
When I work with you, I keep it real. Can we make life magical? Absolutely. Is it always butterflies and rainbows? Absolutely not. There are some nasty storms that pass through with a ton of life lessons. I don’t pretend that overcoming pain and trauma is easy. It’s not. Or having faith always comes naturally. It doesn’t. What I have to offer you is worth trying because this soulful work creates peace, clarity, and grace. I won’t tell you how to feel, your feelings tell us a lot about what your soul needs to heal. I won’t judge your journey. I won’t pressure you to make changes you’re not ready for or tell you what you “should” do. I will tune into your heart and ask your soul to share it’s wisdom, and when you forget, I’ll remind you that Divine is there, inside of you. When you consciously remember the abilities God already gave you, how Divinely loved you are, and clearly see where you came from and where you can go from here, you’ll naturally be motivated to make positive changes and march through those tough times.
God has a plan, trust it is in your highest good.
When I was in the thick of loss, pain and spiritual numbness, I couldn’t imagine happy outcomes. I’ve had a million reasons to be unforgiving. I’ve worked hard, and have had harder setbacks. My patience has been tested to the limits of this universe. I’ve been hurt by people who were supposed to have my back, and I didn’t stop loving, didn’t stop caring because bitter isn’t a taste I like. I’ve criticized myself for being too openhearted in some situations, and also admired my spirit for being so abundant with love in a world that needs it. I know what it feels like when it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When you’re trying hard but nothing is working, you may start to doubt, lose hope, feel defeated. Let our work together be a guiding light through the darkness, lightening your load, inspiring your inner wisdom and leading you to brighter days. With the help of your higher self and guardian angels, we will tap into healing perspectives and ask for specific ways you can charge your spirit with positive energy, pursue your dreams and create your own happiness!