Time for Change
In March 2010 I was turning fifty years old and facing down demons in my life. Our home was going on the auction block on my birthday. I was fighting fear and had two voices in my head. One was filled with hope, the other with panic and fear. Looking back on this time, I remember it so vividly. Months of fear slowly began to turn to hope and for no other reason than I stopped listening to the voice of fear and started to believe that no matter what, I was guided and loved and it would be ok. It was in this trying time that I started my blog. Helping people made me feel better and kept me distracted, and lo and behold then everything began to change. Slowly, the tide turned and not because I was making any money but because I had decided to replace fear with love and all of you helped me do this. So many people were tuning in and reading my blog and trying these wonderful foods and getting better. I would get letters of healings and to this day I cry when I get them and whisper a prayer of gratitude for each and every person.
We didn't lose our home. Through all of that, I found my way to you - hundreds of thousands of people who would become my heroes in a symbiotic relationship centered around cultured foods and the bacteria that I love so much. I think we really need each other - even the parts where we struggle and reach out. So my brokenness brought me to you and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Last week I got this post on one of my YouTube videos, confirming to me once again how much we all need each other.
"Hello Mrs. Donna Schwenk, I'm a soldier who suffered a severe injury during my service. Apart from the physical injuries, I also suffered from major depression. Late last year, I came across a kombucha/cultured drink from the grocery store and realized it really helped improve my stomach issue. I started drinking it every day and, to my surprise, I found out and believe that it really helped me with my mood as well as a lot of other issues. I was curious about making kombucha at home and I came across your videos on YouTube. I immediately was drawn to your energy. I ordered the tools to make Kefir right after watching your videos that night. Now I have started my first batch of Kombucha and Kefir. A lot of the things you mentioned in this video really resonate in me. Thank you for sharing your story and sharing your knowledge about cultured foods. I am emailing your video to the behavior of health providers in my previous chain of command. I hope this will help the fellow soldiers too. The universe wants the best and brightest in all of us through amazing ways. I respect you for putting such positive energy and amazing knowledge out here. May the universe give a thousand times back the joy you have given to the world."
Mylo ~ lifeisbeautiful
A habit is something you may not know you are doing; but once you realize you are doing it, then it becomes a choice and you can stop doing it or keep it going. So why don't we stop doing things that bring negative consequences into our life when we do them? Perplexing, isn't it? You just know somewhere deep inside that if you could just master a few areas in your life then you could live up to the potential you have inside of you. Once you keep practicing things, they become automatic; and when faced with a decision, you are always going to choose the thing that will bring you the most relief in the moment - unless you retrain yourself to do the opposite, or get so mad at yourself - or sick, and then a crisis will make you change. I see this again and again, but there is another way. A kinder, gentler approach and it involves reaching beyond what you presently live out every day. It is the little things we do each day that make up the fabric of our life. We all want something miraculous to change us, but that is seldom how it is. Thirteen years ago, I never dreamed I would be eating and making these foods and teaching others to do the same. My life consisted of my just getting through the day because I felt so awful. Trying to survive and take care of my family, my needs were on the back burner; but I got gentle nudges that felt like someone was trying to help me. I was constantly being reminded that I was so much more. I would read books and listen to lectures online and I would ache inside. I wanted to change and be well, and not just my body but my spirit was so hungry and I didn't know what to do.
Asking For Help
So I begged for help from a deep place in my soul. "Take the desire away or help me change and show me the way." A few weeks later, I found kefir and slowly things began to change. I started rituals every morning. I would make and consume kefir every morning and then a few months later kombucha, and then cultured vegetables. I wasn't adding huge amounts of cultured foods. I was just slowly replacing them for some of the things I used to eat and drink, and then my whole diet began to change and I felt so, so much better. Then as I felt better, the world around me started to change. Little things began to mean so much to me. The kindness of strangers holding doors for me. My husband, and the way he would go across town to find my favorite blend of iced tea and hold my hand while we looked at lawn furniture. Watching my oldest daughter, Maci, heal and so many of my children's friends. It was as if healings were happening all around me and life took on a new meaning. My life was now filled with helping others and the pain I went through had a new meaning. It wasn't all for naught.
"We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then, is not an act but a habit."Aristotle
Seek answers and fully expect to receive them
When my body healed, my heart opened and one night I had a very vivid dream. I was sitting on a shore by the water and I was talking to a wise old man and asking him questions. "Why had I been so sick and what does all this mean?" He looked at me with his kind eyes and said, "Often someone will allow themselves to become sick so they can seek the answers. They will find the answers and share them with others so they can be well, too." Then I woke up and wrote it down and never forgot it.
The longer I write my blog, the more I open up and want to share with you who I really am, so I can help you, too. I ask questions and seek answers every day of my life, fully expecting to receive them - and I always do. Nobody gets there alone. We all help each other and doing little things in your life can make a huge difference. I have little things I do every day that shape the foundation of my life. Many years ago it started with making kefir. I couldn't find the happiness and joy I was seeking when I was so sick I didn't want to get off the couch. So as little and insignificant as it sounds, making kefir every morning was the starting place for me. How could a food start a spiral of events that would lead me here and make me think I could help people who were suffering? I am still that girl who sat at home and watched other people change their lives and would hurt inside because I wanted to do the same but didn't know how. This was how I did it, so simple anyone could do it one day at a time. Did I become sick so I could help others or was it just a dream? The longer I live, the more I know that nothing is a coincidence. I know that we are very loved and guided, but we have to ask for help. It is like following breadcrumbs that lead us to the life our heart is longing for.
I hope this year will be a new start for you, with things that will change you from the inside out. I pray I can help you find your new start and stand in the gap cheering you on until you find your way. It's what friends do for one another.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."