My Comeback Story

“From Chronically Ill and Depressed to Vibrantly Alive”

I overcame being chronically ill and depressed in my youth to becoming one of the most vibrant and alive people I know. Being diagnosed with a chronic digestive disorder at the age of two, developing severe eczema, and asthma by the age of three resulted in me adopting a restricted diet and being dependent on medication.

Doctors told me there was no cure. And that I would need to take medication to manage my symptoms my entire life.

I refused to accept this.

I surpassed my own goal of living a high-quality life without any medications and have become a health example to everyone around me.

I want you to know who I truly am. The “about me” pages that I see on blogs tend to talk about how happy and healthy a person is and how much they have accomplished in their epic life.

My dear friends and family have seen me travel the world, have a beautiful kid, meet the man of my dreams, and live symptom-free as well as depression (and anxiety) free. They have also seen me at my worst and know how low and dark I have been. In my teens, I had little reason to live, my experience of life was miserable. I was bloated, constipated, in pain, foggy-headed, depressed, and anxious. Today, I live in a completely different reality, one in which I am excited to wake up every day and to live my life; I have no intestinal pain, I have an epic relationship to food and my mind is clear.

Overcoming my life long sentence of doctor-prescribed medication…

In my teens, when I started questioning my doctors about all of the medications I was on, they told me that I would need these medications for the rest of my life. I remember walking out of the office and feeling 1000% determined to live a life without medications. But I had no idea how I would do this.

Fast Forward twenty-five years…

I recently had a blood test; the nurse told me that I have the healthy blood of a teenager. I live symptom-free, without any medications, by using food and brain management (of thoughts and emotions, like stress) as my medicine.

Curing my own depression by Learning how to feel and how to think

As I went into university at the age of eighteen I was relatively physically healthy, but I still suffered from depression (and some anxiety). Again, I was on a mission to find a way to live a life free of depression and anxiety and again without medication. For the next decade, I dove into personal development, self-help, meditation, yoga, energy healing, dance, therapy, and psychotherapy.

I lived and worked at Esalen Institute, home of Gestalt therapy and incubator of the Human Potential Movement, for five years. I participated in over one hundred workshops; all of which helped me get to know my Self and gave Me permission to feel my emotions. This was the first wave of relief to my depression: learning to feel.

I also lived, worked and studied at a raw food zen retreat center called BodyMind Restoration Retreats up in Ithaca, NY. Beyond raw food cleansing, I learned about my mind. I learned how to watch my mind, I learned about awareness. I learned how to follow my breath. And I learned the beginnings of how use my mind, instead ot it using me.

“Learn to use your mind, and not let it use you,” is one of my well-remembered teachings from David.

David, Zen Master

Overcoming belief systems that did not serve me, to becoming a master of my own life.

I have always been an odd duck and a black sheep. The life that was explained to me as a way to live a good happy life, never felt good to me and never felt like it fit me.

Questioning my internalized belief systems were the beginning of my lifestyle revolution. To name a few old belief systems of mine:

  • I used to unconsciously believe that I needed to be ‘good’ to be loved and accepted.
  • I used to live with a scarcity mindset, where nothing ever felt like enough, especially me.
  • I unconsciously ate all the emotions that I did not know how to feel and process properly.

I was crystal clear, from a young age, that I did not want the typical life of two kids, a husband, a nine to five and a house with a white picket fence. I am so happy that I followed this truth of mine, it took me to amazing places and made me who I am today.

My Twenties

After graduating top in my graphic design class, I said no to a life in a cubicle; I headed straight for yoga teacher training and continued towards my unusual life.

  • I started and owned a one-of-a-kind hand-made hat business that was wildly successful.
  • I tried a poly-amorous relationship, with whom both of them, I remain to be best friends with today.
  • I had a wild run in the pot industry in Northern California.
  • I spent many weeks of many years participating in building the best city in the world: Black Rock City. Where I met and married my Man (not the same year.)
  • My feet have walked on half of the world’s continents.
  • I explored my own inner realms with a few plant medicines while traveling South and Central America.

At the base of my chosen life path are my intentional belief systems:

  • There is no ‘good’ nor ‘bad’, boy, girl, or even human. We are innately worthy and our worthiness is different than the quality of our actions and behaviors.
  • My relationship with my self is the most important relationship for me to tend to; it is my truth, my inner compass, and results in the quality of my inner Self. Without it I suffer and feel lost.
  • Failure is apart of life, feeling it and facing it opens up my life.
  • Life is half easy and half hard. Half positive and half negative.
  • Food is medicine.
  • The answers we each seek are ultimately found within us.
  • The persistent focus of becoming more me; generates my true connection to my potential.
  • Incorporating challenge into my life, often choosing to feel uncomfortable, generates a satisfied and meaningful quality to my experience of my life.

Resiliency and Adversity

I remember setting out on my first big travel to a new continent at the age of twenty-two. I remember being scared about my health, I remember feeling nervous about who I would meet, and wondering about how the long list of unknowns ahead of me would end up.

I also remember being sure that I would figure it all out. This self-cultivated feeling of self-confidence has been my greatest ally. This thought, ‘Everything is figure-out-able’ has opened up the world to me and removed many potentially self-imposed obstacles and limits.

I am currently the woman of a seaman; we have chosen a lifestyle of travel and living without a home. We have a thriving, healthy, and happy little one; I am a full-time traveling mom.

Update since 2020. We are no longer living on a cruise ship and we are about to move into an airstream to continue our adventure.

The resiliency, that I now possess, astounds me.

My now well-versed skill of dealing with adversity is remarkable.

Looking back twenty years, my current life is deeply impressive. “From Chronically Ill to Vibrantly Alive” (and traveling the world); I could not be more thrilled about what I have created in my life and who I have become.

  • Optimal physical health
  • Emotionally capable and authentically resilient.
  • Mental Mastery

My Recent Chapter that Lead Me to Today.

Five years ago, I stepped away from my last well paying source of income, I was a type of boutique farmer. I left because I felt a calling from within me, I knew there was something that my heart and soul wanted to bring to the world. A life project that I wanted to birth. After I had healed my Self, I was ready to contribute to the world!

Step one was figuring out how I wanted to contribute.

For a year, I spent hours every week sitting with my Self, asking my Self open-ended questions and then listening to my internal answers.

My first clue was that I wanted to write; the theme that continued to come up was that I wanted to inspire people to change by believing that new (and challenging) things were possible. I started a hobby blog but soon realized that I would need to brand our family to make an income from advertisements, which I did not want to do.

I knew there was more… I kept taking my Self on long walks, asking my brain questions and continued to listen.

I figured out the components that I wanted to create in my life.
  • To be a word artist.
  • To be location independent.
  • To financially support my family while we are rock climbing around the world.
  • To live a lifestyle where we (my fam and me) spend time together, breathe fresh air and eat clean food.

And then it all clicked for me…

My newest Chapter: Life Coach

I believe and feel in every bone of my body that coaching is what I am meant to do. I am over the moon excited to have finally figured out what I want to offer the world.

Life Coaching has sounded like a cheesy profession until I met my mentor Brooke Castillo, an educated psychologist and more impressively self-hep guru. She and I share many of the same teachers and belief systems. I am fortunate to study her life-changing work and am profoundly excited to share this revolutionary way of how to approach one’s own life: Mine, Yours and anyone who is interested in mastering their internal reality.

It was not until I met her and her model that I fell in complete love with coaching. The applicable structure that she teaches is brilliant and I am deeply grateful for what she brings to life coaching and the world.

Me as a Food and Mood Coach:

There are two causes for chronic digestive disorders. Food and Mood which accumulate into lifestyle.

Diet, Stress, and Lifestyle; as doctors will say but they do not tell you HOW to change.

I do.

Food

I teach people, like you, how to heal our guts.

I coach on the mental and emotional drama that creates stress and damages our guts.

I help you grow into the version of you that shows up for yourself and your gut.

Mood

The big mystery that plagues digestive disorders is the stress piece.

Stress is a type of emotion.

I prefer to define it as unprocessed emotion.

Unprocessed emotions cause digestive distress.

I will teach you, show you, guide you exactly how to process emotions.

I can teach you how to control your stress (without willpower, force, avoidance, nor food).

When you sign up for my program, I will teach you exactly how to heal your gut.

You will have full and total control over your stress.

There is no magic pill. (Great movie though).

But the process is worth the price of admission a thousand times over.

Heal Your Gut

My Food and Mood Program that will Heal Your Gut. Guaranteed.

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Here is my YouTube Channel

If you like feel free to like, subscribe and share with someone you love.

pssst… I have a Podcast en route!!

Soon to come, September 2020: I would greatly appreciate it if you took a quick moment to support my podcast by subscribing to it on iTunes or Google Play. If you are using an Apple iPhone or iPad, then go here to subscribe. If you are using another type of mobile device, then go here to subscribe. Anyone using their computer can just go to iTunes or Apple Podcasts on their iPhone and search for “Zen Odyssey.”

With Unconditional Love,

Chandra Zas