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A Phoenix's Journey of Resilience, Hope, and Healing

A Phoenix’s Journey of Resilience, Hope & Healing

A Phoenix’s Journey of Resilience and Hope

What if we could rewrite the story of our diagnosis? 

I wonder…how many Phoenixes do we all have inside of us just waiting to be freed to rise? 

There are unpredictable life challenges that test the very essence of our being. Turning points that threaten to consume us in the flames of hardship. But from the ashes of despair, there arises a reborn Phoenix – a symbol of a resilient spirit that refuses to be extinguished. My journey through my own personal storm began in 2012, when a single phone call left me shattered, and set me on an undiscovered path of transformation at the age of 32.

Ring-ring…On a quiet evening, back from work in NYC, my doctor dropped the bomb after reading my recent MRI results on the phone: ‘You are in the very early stage of a health condition called, Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis.’ Time froze. My entire world dimmed, but a spark of resilience ignited. Little did I know that flicker would be a flame of spirit that refused to be extinguished.

At the time, I was living the best life of my career with UNICEF around the world. I was thriving on the surface, but I was burning out on the inside. The universe had plans to shake me up and reconnect me with my true self.

Although my left leg was numb, I didn’t feel very sick in my spirit. Deep inside, I knew I could heal myself. I refused to surrender to the darkness that engulfed me. Instead, I directly turned to the power of Soka Gakkai Buddhist practice – a safe place where I could find refuge from the raging storm within, and rediscover my strength and inner guide again. With each breath and chant, I reclaimed a sense of peace, a sense of purpose in the face of overwhelming odds.

Confronted with a Western medical system that offered palliative care, pills and injections, I knew that my body needed a gentle natural path to recovery. Turning to the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, I embraced a holistic healing approach that honored the interconnectedness of body, mind and spirit. In Kerala, India, a specialized clinic for neurological disorders guided me through a four-year healing journey of restoration and recovery. Immersed in herbal remedies, oil treatments and nourishing practices, I discovered a renewed vitality and strength. My MRIs results were much better, tangible evidence of my healing progress. And I could feel the power in my left leg again. It was the most beautiful feeling ever, like a newborn discovering new things!

Ayurveda revealed the power of aligning our body’s balance with the natural flow of life force – the prana. It showed me that when we nourish ourselves on all levels (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually), true recovery is possible – even at the cellular level! Now, I’m a testament to the transformative potential of ancient Ayurvedic wisdom in modern healing.

Awareness is a choice, hope is a practice. Body and mind go hand in hand: physical wellness can only be achieved in conjunction with emotional wellness. I confronted my past traumas and unresolved knots with the support of a trusted coach and therapist. 

They say you have to die a couple of times to truly start living. For me, the metaphorical death came not once, but many times over in the past – in my damaged health, in the unraveling of my identity, in the breaking of my heart. Each loss sparked a rebirth, a renewed spirit and soul that propelled me forward on my journey towards embracing my whole humanness. Now, I’m a Phoenix, rising from despair to soar into the boundless skies of possibility. As I started to rebalance, new doors opened. I’ve created educational programs on social issues in middle and high schools, gained three yoga certifications, taken on Buddhist leadership, found love, and become a mother. The envisioned motherhood has been my beacon of hope, the lighthouse during my long healing journey. Each step brought a newfound purpose and meaning. Each day became a testament to my resilience, to the strength that lay dormant within me, waiting to be awakened. 

As my body heals and I am able to find my voice, I celebrate my life’s beauty and health with renewed joy every single day.

Nowadays, I feel I am truly finding my way back to my path. I’m becoming a mompreneur coach on a mission to found a holistic educational center. I’m  creating an imperfect, but sustainable life of value that is aligned with my body-mind balance, purpose, and family. I am not there yet, but there are sparks that are manifesting into success. 

What are you grateful for? I am so grateful for the journey I am on.  I am also grateful for my earlier illness. I hold deep gratitude for my diagnosis, an unlikely ally that revealed a formidable force within me.  A diagnosis doesn’t have to be a life sentence. We can make conscious healthy choices and trust our bodies with patience and persistence. So we can rewrite the story of our diagnosis as a catalyst for greater life expansion. 

Overall, my story has taught me that real heart-led happiness is sparked from within, and our struggles are our greatest strengths. My healing journey is far from over. With each step forward, I carry with me the wisdom of overcoming hardships and turning them into opportunities that serve a bigger life purpose, one breath at a time. 

There are many phoenixes within us just waiting to be set free to rise., Let them be strong and spark up in the world. 

If you are curious to know more about my whole life story, it will be featured in the third edition of the Women Thrive Book Series, coming out this month of June 2024. 

Six Recovery Tips To Rewrite The Story Of Your Diagnosis To Empower Your Phoenix’s Journey

1) MINDSET

Nurture a positive mindset and belief to get healed through meditation and mindfulness practices. Trust the healing capacity of your body with patience, persistence, and determination. Your illness does not define your potential, or your destiny. You are not your illness, you are meant for much more. 

2) INTUITION

Listen to your body’s wisdom to find the right doctor, therapy and healing approach for you.

3) NOURISHMENT

Boost your well-being with a wholesome anti-inflammatory diet rich in nutrients, along with vitamins and supplements. Balance out proper rest, adequate exercise, and movement.. 

4) SUPPORT

Be surrounded and cocooned by the right tribe around you, nourishing and caring relationships in an uplifting environment.

5) INTEGRITY

Address your emotional wellness and make peace with your past: confront your buried traumas and unresolved knots with the help of a trusted therapist/coach/practitioner.

6) SUSTAINABLE CHANGE

Reinvent your life to make it organically healthier and sustainable. Decrease your stress levels. Align your lifestyle with your values and ultimate purpose.


About the Author

Women Thrive Magazine Author - Anna Berardi

Name: Anna Berardi

Professional Title: Creative Social Change Maker

Bio: A creative social change maker, Anna has spent the last two decades working in international education, advocacy and communications in the fields of public health, social issues and the human rights of adolescents and children. Her work with UNAIDS, UNICEF and NGOs has taken her around the world to Honduras, Panama, Peru, Jordan and New York. As a social studies teacher, she has developed an educational programme on contemporary social issues for middle and high schools in Valencia and Florence, Italy. Having become a mother 2 years ago, Anna is currently reinventing herself as a mompreneur and coach. Through her healing story, she aims to empower the readers to direct their healing process, unlock their human potential and rewrite the story of their diagnosis in a brighter manner, as a catalyst for greater life expansion.

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Media platform spotlighting and celebrating entrepreneurial women and their achievements. Creating a platform where every woman can be seen and heard. We are disrupting the media industry by democratising media channels for women. If you have a business or an idea and you would like to rise and thrive, you are in the right place.

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