by Gretchen Schisla
Recently, I had an enlightening and crazy fun experience attending a Hay House author’s conference in San Jose. The focus was on self-empowerment (stuff I love), with keynote speakers including Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson, among others.
The format included 24 speakers in 20-minute segments over 2 days, which turned out to be the perfect amount of time to learn about each author and their personal message or quest.
As I listened to all 24, each was as compelling and powerful as the one before. Similar themes were repeated: overcoming adversity, finding your passion, telling your story to the world, and serving others. Doctors, activists, social media experts, actors and even a congressman embraced similar ideas with humor and grace. All are thriving in their lives and businesses – and were eager to share their experience on the stage and through books.
What struck me the most, and what I’d like to share with you, were their stories about wellness. Many had been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses early in their lives, such as cancer – and they were holding these diseases at bay by shifting their food choices, creating positive thoughts and seeking alternatives to traditional medicine.
These life-affirming advocates inspired me:
Kris Carr is a New York Times best-selling author and wellness warrior. Nine years ago, as a young woman, she was diagnosed with a rare and incurable stage 4 cancer. Changing her daily patterns and writing the survival guidebook “Crazy Sexy Cancer” not only saved her life, but it began a revolution that many have followed. Kris believes cancer prevention is the best cure. She says her goal is simple: “To deliver fun and inspiring education that will help you become the CEO of your health.” Refusing to call herself a cancer survivor, she prefers to be known as a “cancer thriver.”
Nick Ortner is a proponent of and teaches Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) also known as “Tapping.” It’s a healing intervention for relieving physical pain, stress and anxiety. Many practice and use these simple techniques to overcome fears and real pain. Nick guided 500 people through a 10-minute tapping exercise and it felt great. In 2011, 350,000 people took part in theTapping World Summit, an event that Nick also led.
Michael Eisen grew up feeling like no one understood him. School pressures, especially tests made him feel physically sick and anxiety prone. At 50, Michael’s father made profound changes in his own life, beginning with reading 52 self-help books in 52 weeks. Mike figured if his dad could improve his life, he could do it too. He stopped studying for grades and studied to learn. Seven years later Mike has devoted his career to helping young people. He founded the Youth Wellness Network, an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth across the globe to live happier and more positive lives. YWN specializes in creating and implementing wellness programs in schools and organizations.
Lissa Rankin is an integrative medicine physician and founder of the online health and wellness community: OwningPink.com. Discouraged by her own health issues and the broken health-care system, Lissa investigated why some patients experience miraculous cures from seemingly incurable illnesses, while others remain sick – even while they receive the best medical care. She asks her patients, “what does your body need to heal?” Often, she discovers it’s not a medical issue, but more of an unhealthy situation or relationship.
Congressman Tim Ryan, author of the new release “A Mindful Nation” takes a refreshing, holistic approach to politics. Tim explores how research proves the benefits of mindfulness, and how it’s taking root in school programs, hospitals, doctor’s offices, the military and other vital institutions. He combines a practical approach with a hopeful vision for how mindfulness can help reinvigorate the American Dream. One enthusiastic audience member shouted out, “When will you be running for president?” leading to a round of applause from the crowd.
Hearing from people who overcome tough challenges and thrive always pulls me back to my core. It helps me reevaluate what’s important, the choices I make and reinforces how critical it is to take better care of myself on all fronts.