The mind-body connection is not something I started out understanding. 11 years ago when I became fascinated with holistic nutrition, I didn’t quite get the depth of the way our mental and emotional state affects our physical body. Over the years, as I deconstructed my own health and that of my clients, I came to find that not only is the mind-body connection very real, that there is tons of science to support it, and that it is usually overlooked, but by excavating the subconscious mind and subconscious behaviors of a person (and where said trauma stems from), we can reverse or improve the health condition.
You see, all diseases begin as a result of imbalanced energy. (Please go back and read that sentence to let it sink in. I’m sharing the hidden collective unconscious information I have channeled over the years for your benefit, but it’s up to you to believe it). Eleven years ago I would not have believed this if I had read it. Only when I lived and observed it could I see that it is true and it is why human beings are so sick, on medication that only stabilizes but almost never cures, and why some sicknesses do not respond to traditional (or holistic) treatments at all. It is part of the reason there are no cures for diseases and why people who have had similar life traumas often have similar illnesses.
Empathic people are especially prone to energetic imbalances. In fact, I have never met an empathic person who was not energetically imbalanced. I have also never met a person whose chakras were balanced rather than being blocked or overactive. Here’s why:
Empathic people are born into families where abuse is present (even if there was no abuse in your childhood, you have been bullied, coerced, threatened, or shamed in some other area of your life). ——>
Empathic people have energy usurped from them by karmic partners/narcissists. ——>
Empathic people get punished for being who they really are. ——>
Empathic people learn to alter their energy to please the people around them or avoid the people around them. (This most often happens on a subconscious level). ——>
Over time, the inauthentic energy profile that the empath has adopted as an adaptation method becomes ingrained (aka ego forms and inherent chakra energy is altered). ——>
Because the energetic profile is unnatural, it becomes a stressor to the physical body. Over time, disease begins to develop as a response to the incessant energetic stressors. ——>
The empath becomes sick and possibly seeks diagnosis. While medication may provide some relief, they still do not feel well, are still triggered into the old familiar energy pattern when certain people/situations present themselves so they constantly cycle in and out of wellness.
Only by identifying the subconscious energetic trigger, behavioral (stress pattern with hormones, the nervous system, the brain, etc) can the disease be eradicated. (The body must also be supported with nutrition, sleep, relaxation, supplements, etc, of course).
Now, that said, there are certain kinds of empaths whom I consider “high processors“. This means they are constantly receiving boatloads of incoming extra-sensory information (intuitive insights and channeled messages) and energetic residues that they are not consciously aware of, yet is still stressing out their nervous system, hormones, blood pressure, blood sugar, kidneys, liver, thyroid, brain, etc. The average empath is receiving all kinds of data too, but the high processors just go at it non-fucking-stop. They are constantly stressed and do not know why, they are always on high alert, they may have trouble sleeping or enjoying life. They know everything about everyone and say nothing. They need ample time to veg-out at home doing nothing because everyday life is such a trigger. These people are also prone to anxiety, depression, panic attacks and PTSD.
Imagine if every day of your life (until you become aware of it, that is) feels like another battle to walk into, another day that could figuratively kill you, more people you have to encounter who either drain your energy or force theirs onto you. Imagine if your nervous system were operating in high-drive for 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years at a time — all day, every day. What would be the health consequences as a result?
When your brain is operating at a higher level, your nervous system will be affected. This means your adrenal glands will be producing cortisol (the stress hormone) in over-drive. As time goes on, your body will not be able to keep up with the demand and cortisol production will slow, leaving you in a state of adrenal fatigue and completely wired but tired or lethargic. Your blood sugar and blood pressure may surge, then drop. As more time goes on, your thyroid hormone will be affected and you may become hypo- or hyper-thyroid. Due to all the cortisol that once hit your system, your immune system will not be able to fend off yeasts, bacteria, and viruses appropriately. You may get sick often. Your digestive tract will also become “leaky”, and the epithelial cells in the gut lining will become weakened, allowing food particles (proteins especially) to pass into circulation in the blood stream where they do not belong. This is where you become allergic to foods and the environment. Over time, your sex hormones may also be affected. “Bad” disease-promoting genes may also “switch on”, leaving you prone to the genetic issues that have plagued your family for generations.
At this point, daily life becomes a challenge because you simply feel unwell all of the time. You visit a doctor who either can’t diagnose you, or who puts you on a medication that only slightly helps but never gets to the root of the issues. You may also dabble in nutrition and supplements or other healing modalities, and while it helps, it never completely eradicates the problem so you give up. This is where energy work comes in.
Until you fix the energetic problem, you cannot fix your health. High processors, whom I work with most of the time, have to find a way back to themselves and their true nature. This involves identifying core wounds, learning/completing your life lessons, escaping karmic partners, resolving your karma, and acting out your own power unabashedly. Until you do so, you will live in a state of constant triggering and feel completely uneasy in the world. High processors are a special type of empath who are here to change the world with their inherent knowledge and information but “to whom much is given, much is expected.” Please do not sit on this gift and let it make you sick. Please learn how to uncover it and use it to your advantage rather than have it cause disease. There is hope for you.
Despite being told we “don’t know” why diseases happen or they only happen as a result of a shitty genetic Russian roulette, the truth is that illnesses come about for numerous external and internal reasons according to the individual’s gene mutations, experiences, core wounds, health history, chakra imbalances or karma, chemical exposure, and more. Therefore, the specific diet a person should be eating will vary according to this personalized history. It is why, although I believe there are dietary practices or theories that are in many ways superior to a standard western diet, there is truly no one-sized-fits-all approach. Who you are determines what you should be eating, not the other way around.
This is the standard I have held myself to over the last 8 years while directing clients in comprehensive nutritional plans. You are unique, your diet should be equally unique. Unfortunately, we are saturated with programs, books, classes, and internet experts telling us there is only one perfect diet (Paleo, Autoimmune Paleo, Keto, Vegan, etc etc). Will you trust your body or will you trust these money-making schemes?
Like I said, there are certain nutrition practices I think we should all to a large degree adopt (unless there is a specific contraindication for you personally). Take, for example, the fact that indigenous cultures and peoples instinctively understood things about food that our modern society overlooks and takes for granted: food should be consumed in its whole forms, it should come directly from the earth, it should be organic and unsprayed or not irradiated, and that you should consume what is local and available to you.
Another principle that transcends time and peoples worldwide is the idea that every meal should contain a raw or fermented food that is rich in enzymes. In Eastern Europe, we see this practice as the dollop of sour cream on the soup or the raw butter on toast; in Latino societies, we see it as the unpasteurized alcohol or fresh condiments consumed with food (tepache, chicha, salsas, curtido); in Asian cultures we see it as the fermented vegetables added to meals or used as side dishes (banchan, for example). These traditions are not “primitive”, they are ancient wisdom that should be respected.
You see, enzymes aide in digestion and not only help your digestive tract to break down foods so they do not end up as inflammatory immune threats, they also help the kidneys and liver in processing foods. Enzymes can also be called life force or energy: they are living and alive and killed by cooking processes. Energy isn’t just about picking up the bad attitudes of others when you walk into a room, it is about what you intake in other ways, including what you eat.
When you eat dead foods, your body has to compensate for the lack of enzymes or water that would normally be found in unprocessed foods. Over time, this creates a deficit that forces your digestive tract, kidneys, and liver to work extra hard. Imagine the consequences of a lifetime of eating foods with no life force. Think back to how many modern meals we eat that are completely dead and devoid of any enzymes: fried potatoes, meats, pizza, pasteurized dairy, roasted vegetables, rice, bread, and on and on. While many of these foods can be healthy when sourced from quality purveyors, or when prepared in certain ways (grass-fed burgers, for example), they are still dead and force your body into an energetic deficit.
Another way I’ve heard “life force” interpreted when it comes to food is this: the kind of food you eat, when, how, and at which pace, affects how you feel afterwards. For example, you will feel differently eating a salad versus a bowl of pasta. One will probably leave you feeling light and energized afterwards, and one will leave you feeling stuffed, lethargic, and ready for a nap.
In nutrition school, I also learned that coming together for a meal is about more than a social gathering; it is also an exchange of energy between the people sharing the food. Sure, you will get to talk, enjoy the people you are with, and get energized (or, perhaps, brought down) by their personal energy, but you will also end up collectively feeling the same way afterwards if you all eat the same thing. It’s one reason we congregate for meals: to get into a kind of positive groupthink with family or friends. This is in large part due to the fact that if you are sharing one big meal rather than everyone ordering something different so you will likely have similar blood sugar responses, levels of satiety, and therefore the same energy during and afterwards. On the flip side, we also know that having inhibitory responses (ie: getting stressed, nervous, holding back, being ashamed, etc) slows down the thyroid immediately and prevents thyroid hormone from being released, which aides in digestion. Food brings people together for many reasons, and energy is one of them.
My nutrition school professor also described the energetics of food with this example: a famous and highly sensitive Japanese nutrition expert (a leader in the Macrobiotics movement) was so energetically sensitive he could always feel the energy with which the food he was eating was prepared. So once, a man tried to purposefully trick him to see what his interpretation of the food “energy” would be. This chef danced around the kitchen, clapping his hands, yelling, jumping up and down as he cooked. When the food arrived to the table, the nutrition expert took a few bites and said he was very confused with what had been done to this food. While it tasted delicious, he said the energy was chaotic and crazy and couldn’t understand what had happened while it was cooking. Despite not being in the kitchen while it was cooking, he knew something was “off”.
If you are a highly sensitive person, you may not feel the food life force quite to this degree, but your body will likely internalize it and it could stimulate or sedate you based on who prepared it and the emotion with which it was prepared. Now think about what happens when you go out to eat: the food you’re eating may be prepared by a worker who doesn’t particularly care for their job, slaps the meal together in a hurry with little love or care, and gets it to the table as quickly as possible. It’s one reason home cooked food tastes so good and we crave holiday gatherings or food from the “mother”: most likely, she put her heart and soul into it and prepared it with love.
The takeaway here is that you are an energetic being with constant energetic requirements. You must in-put good energetic sources of food, and be surrounded by positive energy while eating in order to aide the digestive tract and other vital organs.
Each and every one of us is covered in a thick, complex, tangled web of fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue that sits under your skin and on top of your muscles. On anatomy diagrams, fascia looks like the off-white strings and planes that sit on top of or in lines up and down the muscles. It provides structure and support, helps transport nutrients, helps regulate nervous system function, helps keep you hydrated, helps you maintain a healthy youthful appearance to the skin, and much much more. Some forms of fascia are also known as “scar tissue” because it is considered fibrotic tissue.
In addition to the physiological roles fascia plays, fascia also keeps your secrets. It collects your memories. It remembers your joys, but largely it stores your traumas. It forces you to live in the pain of the past instead of being able to be present in the moment. Your fascia has kept a record of every time you misused your body, forcing it into bras and cinchers, too-tight jeans, or awkward shoes — and why you did so. It also remembers how often — and to which degree — you’ve smiled, laughed or cried, winced, squinted, questioned, tensed, quieted, forced, sat or walked. It’s the literal, tangible mind-body connection and it is the record keeper of you.
I’ve had clients ask me before, “I know everyone talks about a mind-body connection but I just can’t visualize it. How does it all connect?” I tell them the mind-body connection is the fascia, the connective tissue. Not only can you feel it under your skin with your fingers, you can also see it with the naked eye — constriction or restriction, bulges, tightness, thick skin/”big boned”, cellulite, crepey skin, and asymmetry are all likely fascial distortions. Don’t get me wrong — we need fascia. It is an integral system and structure of the human body and some kinds even support your organs. But most of the obvious fascia people are carrying around these days is full of adhesions, or thickened, jumbled, tangled fascia resultant from trauma to the area (such as accident or surgery), improper use of the area (or surrounding areas), improper diet, dehydration, infection, and in rare cases certain genetic conditions.
It’s like we become covered in scar tissue of our own making. Let me explain. Let’s say you have an inhibitory throat response such as choosing not to speak, holding back tears, being fearful of making noise or “rocking the boat”. Well, as a result, the surrounding structures (nearby muscles, joints, tendons, etc.) will be used improperly because of the tension. Over time, this physical response becomes your go-to pattern. After years of making those dysfunctional movements, you create asymmetry that changes your fascia, which changes your appearance. It’s a way for your body to compensate and provide structure or balance in the midst of dysfunction. In theory, the more fascial adhesions (jumbled, dysfunctional fascia) you have, the greater the challenges you have faced. Or, the greater the adhesions in a certain area of your body, the greater challenges to that area, both physically and spiritually.
Fascia is the mask we all live in. And fascia never lies because you created it.
In the case of hypothyroidism, you may notice “thickened” skin around your neck but especially near your thyroid or voice box area. If you try to gently pinch your skin but cannot grab a very small amount — getting only large thickened chunks — it is indicative of fascial adhesions. You should be able to grab just the epidermis layer of your skin without too much resistance from the dermis.
Sure you might have plenty of fascial adhesions on your neck area and be hypothyroid, but how do the fascial adhesions affect, say, your actual thyroid gland? Well, on the surface of the thyroid is a substance called thyroglobulin. It is a protein precursor of thyroid hormone and acts to collect nutrients (such as iodine and tyrosine) from your blood stream and store them on the surface of the thyroid gland. That way, your body readily has nutrients available to it any time it needs to make thyroid hormone. But now imagine on top of your thyroid/thyroglobulin, you have a thick mesh strangling the area, cutting off blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients from entering the area — or only entering very slowly. Suddenly you have a thyroid crisis because that vital gland is not able to receive what it needs to function optimally. Mind-body connection. Now imagine this happening all over your body.
It gets tricky because fascial adhesions can also extend to other related areas in order to compensate. You see, fascia is like a spider-web sheath covering your entire body from the top of your head to the tip of your toe. It’s all connected so the neck fascia you’ve created from holding back your thoughts or emotions, which is now choking your thyroid gland, then works it way up and extends to the sides of the neck, to your cheeks and face to create the classic hypothyroid “puffy face”, and over the shoulders, creating a thickening there too. Dowager’s Hump or myxedema can develop. And on it goes.
With fascia it goes like this:
your experiences cause you to generate thoughts/feelings
your thoughts/feelings create your reality
your reality determines how you are allowed to, are encouraged to, or want to move your body
how you move your body determines which areas develop fascial adhesions
therefore, the areas that contain the most adhesions are the areas where there is a core wound or life lesson that needs to be resolved
I try to infuse most assertions I make to you with an anecdotal story to back it up. I want you to see that the information I share with you isn’t about getting likes, recycling outdated information, repeating the same things everyone else is telling you, etc. I want to share new and innovative information that is affecting you but that you might not have heard before. I share this information with you because it changed my life so dramatically for the better, and I have seen it do the same for my clients. But it’s still hidden. So here’s the story about why I “got into” fascia and why I believe this is the next biggest thing you should know about, if you’re not already intrigued:
I was diagnosed with a “mild” scoliosis in 1997 — a lower-back curvature. I don’t remember the curvature degree at the time of diagnosis (or that anyone even measured it because I was diagnosed by a school nurse), but about 4 years ago, according to an x-ray done by a chiropractor, it was at 24 or 22 degrees. As a child and young adult, I woke up every few nights with spasms in my lower back that startled me awake and gave me nightmares. My back would consistently “go out” and I felt pressure, couldn’t bend in certain ways, and was in aching pain most days. I went to chiropractors on and off over the years since being a teenager and even did some physical therapy and massage, and saw a podiatrist to try to help my back. Though they provided temporary relief, I would always end up feeling the same as before a few days after appointments.
Then after my daughter was born in 2012, I suffered a near month-to-month string of slipped discs. It went on like this for a couple of years — going to the chiropractor in hopes I wouldn’t re-injure myself, using a decompression table to get the discs to go back into place without surgery (it worked thankfully), trying to stretch and exercise, etc. But nothing really seemed to improve my back issues and pain. Then one day I stumbled upon information about fascia. It was a video of an expert talking about the role of fascia in our health and appearance. I was so intrigued at the idea of using myofascial release to overcome my pain that I started immediately.
I have been using myofascial release (MFR) for over two years now. For me, it has been an absolute miracle. First, I haven’t had a slipped disc or rib go out of place since using MFR. More importantly though, I have had three chiropractors tell me they can no longer see a scoliosis curvature in my spine. Meaning, I reversed my scoliosis. I’m not saying this is possible every time. What I am saying is that no one had ever offered me another option to help my back pain and no one offered any good answers for why it developed in the first place. I learned that my scoliosis was considered “functional” meaning it could be traced back to something and, therefore, potentially corrected. I believe this is true for many modern health conditions.
That is the power of unraveling your fascia. It’s like a way to work backwards and confront every challenge you’ve stored in your body head on. As you use MFR, your fears and insecurities rise to the surface, the lies and cover-ups rise to the surface, and your true power starts to rise as you let go of the trauma. As an Intuitive, I operate through waves of insight that come to me, well, intuitively, as well as through reading and observation. This was the case with my foray into fascia: I learned the information, applied it and observed the effects, then it just “came” to me: the fascia is the record of your mind-body connection and we’re covered in fascial masks to hide or compensate for the trauma.
As each fascial layer was peeled away, I was left with questions. Myofascial release on my feet caused my pelvis to flip up and out. I had been walking with my tail literally between my legs for decades. Why had I felt the need to do that? In order to hide. Why did I feel the need to hide? Because of learning disabilities, un-supportive environments, fear of being seen for fear of punishment, extreme religious oppression, etc. You see, fascia holds the answers but you have to ask yourself the questions. Once you start asking the questions, you then begin the process of testing your subconscious mind to see which answer is correct. Once you find the correct answer, you release the emotional attachment or stress response to the corresponding wound. That is how you know it is true. In the process of MFR, you may also clear up stagnant lymph, restricted blood flow, saggy or unhealthy looking skin, trim inches, reduce pain, and have wide range of mobility again. Mind-body connection.
You deserve to know about yourself first and foremost because self-awareness brings healing. You are so unique that no one-sized-fits-all approach will ever work. Think of your fascia like a soul blueprint. It helps to gently illuminate what your fears or weaknesses are in order to improve yourself, helps you get out of the trauma by identifying the toxic cycles in your life, it tells us about the state of your physical health, and once released, it helps you move onto a healthy future instead of clinging to the pain of the past without realizing it.
First, know that there are ways to smooth out the fascia and restore it to its proper function and appearance. Myofascial release, proper hydration (which is about way more than water), essential nutrients for collagen health, liver and lymph support, acupuncture, and more. I come at this from an informational standpoint. I educate my clients on the issues they’re facing then what they can do about it. But there are plenty of ways to do this yourself or with a trained professional. Dysfunctional fascia does not have to be a life sentence.
Secondly, know that it’s a long process. Imagine decades of your body layering adhesion ontop of adhesion. The process of breaking this down can take years in some cases. So do not get discouraged. Also, will you likely experience detox symptoms physically and emotionally as you retrace the dysfunction, much like a game of connect the dots. But as I always say, if you want to heal, it is worth it and the only way past it is through it. Once you acknowledge what has not worked, you can release it both emotionally and physically in order to get to the root of who you really are without trauma and pain on your body or in your mind.
If you are interested in learning about your unique fascial adhesions, core wounds, and life lessons, please read about Body Readings.
Every single one of us has been a recipient of the trauma someone else imposed on us — every single one, whether you realize it or not.
Often, clients come to me with so much grief and negative energy affecting their every move, every thought, every decision about life. They want to feel happy, but they actually feel quite sad. They want to feel motivated but they instead feel fatigued beyond belief and don’t think their efforts will amount to much. They want to like themselves but they can’t stop the self-deprecating tape playing in their mind: “you aren’t good enough”, “you’ll never be pretty enough”, “you’re dirty”, “you’re not smart enough”, “you need to atone for the sin that is you”, “things will never work out in your favor”. Or they feel they are going at life alone because no one is on the same page as them.
They don’t understand why they are feeling this way because they’ve had a “good” life, or they have a “good” spouse, or they are doing their best to change their diet for the better.
Here’s the thing: it’s not your fault.
We are players in a bigger system that we have not had control over until this moment in time. Our current reality is the sum total of what has happened to others before us and how the cycle has repeated to this day. Last October was a huge “breaking of the dam” watershed moment in time and we are being given the option to stop the secrets and the culture of silent pain. It is an unraveling and undoing of the way things have always been done and it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to confront the problems so they no longer make your body and spirit sick.
Unhealthy cycles are not broken until someone consciously chooses to break them. Until someone says something about the problems, or until someone does something radically different from what was done to them, the toxic cycle will continue.
Breaking unhealthy cycles is one of the hardest things you will ever do because other people may actively work to prevent the change since it feels too scary to them. Pain is all they have known and it is familiar; unacknowledged pain allows them to maintain power or control; it allows them to keep pretending the choices they made were okay; it keeps them from the pain of regret or guilt. It prevents you from being able to rise into the shining being you really are. And it makes you consistently strengthen activity in certain regions of the brain that make this cycle worse over time.
Here’s what you need to know for your health: because of trauma you are operating out of your “lizard” brain or Amygdala. The Amygdalae which are so primitive, they’re often called the “lizard” remnants of the brain, are two almond-shaped sections of nervous tissue located in the temporal lobe. Amygdalae are part of the limbic system which is responsible for emotions, survival, instincts, mood, sexuality, addictions, and memory. It’s function has been linked to neuropsychiatric disorders that involve anxiety and fears.
You will have dominant Amygdala function whether your trauma has been acknowledged thus far, or whether it still remains in the subconscious corners of your mind. The Amygdala is the fight-or-flight, reactivity, fear center of the brain. It remembers most every misdeed others have done to us so that we can constantly be on the defense in order to protect ourselves. It is a coping mechanism and survival tactic that, while once essential, has overstayed it’s welcome. In large part, we’re not hunter-gatherers needing to protect ourselves from apex predators or starvation. It’s making us sick from the stress.
Sounds a bit like adrenal fatigue or hypothyroidism, right?: frazzled, stressed, broken, in states of heightened awareness, in the red, on the defense constantly because we need to protect ourselves from perceived threats. If you are operating out of the Amygdala as a fear center every day, imagine the repercussions for your hormonal health – constantly in a state of flux, constantly swinging from high to low, or just getting so burnt out that your T4, T3, TSH, cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone and completely out of whack. Imagine the repercussions for your immune health – chronically infected with yeast, bacteria, parasites, or your body may be engaged in an autoimmune response where it is attacking anything and everything that is a non-existent threat (food proteins, your own tissues, etc).
There is a solution.
The solution is learning to tap into a vastly different area of your brain that, instead of relying on old bad memories to create our future reality, it relies on problem-solving, solution-seeking, future-oriented goal setting, and personal behavioral modification. It’s called the prefrontal cortex.
The prefrontal cortex is located in the frontal lobe — right where the sixth chakra or intuitive “third eye” is located — at the front of the forehead. There is a scientific link between your will to live, personality, and the functions of the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, processing, updating, redirecting, and moderating social behavior. Activity in this brain region is in large part a collection of thoughts and actions in accordance with your internal goals. It also helps one differentiate between various thoughts in order to come to reasonable conclusions that will benefit you in the future and are not based in reactivity and fear. In other words, it helps us plan and seek future, positive experiences instead of constantly reacting to old problems.
Here’s how to tap into your prefrontal cortex:
- identify your subconscious triggers (I do this for clients in Energy Reading sessions)
- work through your problems/sin/karma (what you choose to call it doesn’t matter)
- learn cause and effect – how your actions affect others and how others actions affect you
- enact the laws of cause and effect in your life
- stop the negative cycles you have inherited from others
- map out and visualize the future that you want for yourself
- find solutions to get the future health and self you desire, then pursue them hardcore until you get the results you want
- strengthen your own energy through prayer, positive affirmations, meditation, Energy Readings, reiki, acupuncture, yoga or gentle forms of exercise, close friendships with people who know how to reciprocate, doing hobbies you enjoy, etc.
- figure out which diet you should be eating for your unique gene mutations and health problems
- get rid of toxic people or energy vampires in your life (relationships that drain you or in which there are strings attached for purposes of power, control, and manipulation)
- learn about or discover your true personality, apart from what others expect or demand of you
- stand your ground and do not be moved – remember that no one deserves to elicit your stress response
Remember, we are not lizards. We are mammals with a spiritual lineage and the fear center that was once essential for survival is overreacting to your detriment. It doesn’t jive with our modern world. While there may be legitimate threats to your well-being (car accidents, money troubles, relationship problems), you are more than a reptilian stalking prey or finding ways to prevent becoming the prey. You are more than that. You have to remember this essential part of your soul in order to stop the cyclical fear patterns that are making you stressed and sick. You can transition to a new thought process, it is possible. When you do, watch how your health and life improve dramatically for the better.