was founded on the lofty notion that the condition of our minds and bodies is something we should take more personal responsibility for.
It’s something my mother instilled in me from a young age. Living with rheumatoid arthritis, her hands and feet are slightly crippled and her toes have folded over, yet she rarely visits the doctor, refuses the plethora of tablets on offer and manages her wellbeing through a mixture of learning about how her mind and body works and a huge dose of personal determination.
Having watched her journey unfold, I’ve never quite understood why, so often, we hand ourselves over to a doctor when we feel ill or down and hope for the best. We want someone else to take responsibility for our wellbeing, to provide a quick solution so we can just get on with our lives. But with such little questioning, research and understanding of ourselves can mean that we end up with very little control over the outcome.
My own journey began at 18, when the stomach pains I’d had for years became more serious. At university my flatmates would tend to me and then leave me in a darkened room, whilst they went out partying. By 21 the pain would cause me almost to black out. Yet, working as an au pair at the time in Italy and feeling vulnerable, I too handed myself over – to the family’s doctor. I was desperate, very poorly and needed help, quickly. Like so many others with this kind of general problem, I got passed from pillar to post, from doctor to doctor, culminating with an endoscopy and finally some nice shiny pills. The doctors labelled it ‘chronic gastritis’ and sent me on my way.
Of course it’s understandable that when it’s not ultra serious or life threatening, doctors really don’t have the time to fully get to the root cause; like a headache, or depression, or stress, or as I had, serious tummy aches. It all goes into the same pool of guesswork. And the end result is quite often the same; you get some medicine and the doctor hopes for the best, quickly moving on to the next case.
Of course, doctors and hospitals absolutely have their place; they perform seeming miracles on a daily basis. Yet to me, the way we often disengage from our problems and ill health reflects the relationship we have with ourselves; detached. In a busy 24/7 connected world all we want is a quick fix. We don’t want to look too hard or too deep; we just want a solution to our problems and to get on with our lives. And of course sometimes the problem goes away. But what if it doesn’t? What if there’s a whole lot going on under the surface that we can’t yet see. It’s just not as simple as a quick fix. What was once a series of severe stomach pains was then being masked by a series of drugs. But the drugs don’t fix the problem, they cover it up.
So very soon after, I began to wonder what was really causing my issues. Why did they start in the first place? Taking a course of Zantac was never going to provide the answers. And there began my journey. It’s taken me years of research to work out what was going on; finding the best complimentary health experts, some inner soul searching and even a session with one of the country’s top astrologers to really even begin to understand how my body and mind works. And it’s been quite a journey.
We are all extremely complex. We’ve been led to believe that we’re all the same – one type of drug, one type of diet to fix all. Yet the phrase ‘one man’s pleasure is another man’s poison’ is not just a phrase, it’s fact. Coffee and wheat are certainly not my friends. Yet they may be ok for you. Meditation is a real struggle for me, yet being outdoors and doing exercise lifts me up like nothing else. Yet you may find meditation really works for you. And so the list goes on. And once you think you’ve solved one problem, another pops up requiring investigation and self-enquiry. They’re called layers and we have lots of them to work through until we begin to understand and make real progress on our journey to a healthy life. They begin from the time we’re in the womb and are pretty much unavoidable – when our mothers got upset, or smoked, or got stressed or fell, or ate badly and so it continues into childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Every single thing that happens to us or to those around us can have an effect, both mentally and physically. The more we look into it, the more fascinating and frustrating it becomes.
I’ve ventured far and wide to learn from amazing doctors, teachers, nutritionists, therapists and health experts, who not only help ordinary folk like me, but also high profile celebrities and even prime ministers, to get back to wellness and achieve a greater understanding of themselves. Yet not everyone has the time or the money to travel far and wide to attend a workshop or a 1-1 session with experts who can help. Often, we turn online for answers. Yet because information is so fragmented, it can take up huge amounts of time and can often written in ways that can scare and intimidate.
That’s why I set up The Life Adventure. I know the role technology can play in the future of health and wellbeing and also, almost ironically, how it can help us create communities in which to share the knowledge we’ve gained and the experiences we’ve had. The platform will be full of fascinating workshops, stories, tools, tips and techniques to try, delivered by amazing, leading experts as well as fresh rising talent in the most engaging format possible – video. From the mainstream to the alternative, there will be something for everyone, both inside and outside the workplace, in a language that won’t scare. Whatever you’re interest, your passion, your problem or your intrigue, we’re offering to take you on a life-long journey to health and understanding, one that perhaps you never imagined possible.
So what happened to my stomach pains? Well, it’s taken me years of research to find really good quality information and experts who are unique in their understanding of how the mind and body works, but gradually, through a mixture of systematic kinesiology (a system that uses muscle testing to read our bodies and find where health issues stem from), online learning about diet and nutrition and plenty of emotional delving, I’ve managed to peel away many of those layers and I’m now in much, much better shape. The journey of course never ends. But one thing I promise you, is that once you begin to understand yourself more, the more fascinating the journey to wellness and indeed, to life itself, becomes.
Justine Clement – Founder