Mary Ruddick, Owner of Enable Your Healing, LLC enableyourhealing.com
How did your healing practice come about?
I was always interested in fitness and in eating right. However, it almost feels like I fell into this career. During my first semester of college as a Sustainable Development major, I lived on a field station in the Bahamas. Close to the end of the semester, I came down with a rare viral infection that damaged my nervous system and left me chronically ill for 14 years. Four of those years I was mostly bed-bound and house-bound, so I spent a lot of time reading. I read everything from medical journals, to books written by doctors, to stories on healing. There was so little written on the disease that I had that I started researching other illnesses. I collected stories from people that had healed "incurable" illnesses and then I implemented their healing modality into my routine. After a great deal of learning, I started conducting studies on my body, and I started getting better. At my worst I was on 17 medications, a breathing machine, I was too weak to hold a book open without a device, and I was living in my parents house on Social Security Disability. I decided then, that if I had to wear purple and dance the jig to get better, that I would. My health experiments began soon thereafter. I tried 16 different diets, hundreds of supplements (some of which were life altering, others of which were benign), I tried nutritional IV therapy, acupuncture, cranial osteopathy, nightly meditation, light therapy, gratitude journalism, EFT, affirmations, green smoothies, juice cleanses, detoxes, you name it, I tried it.
Ultimately, it was a combination of three medical diets that put me into remission and allowed me to get off of all my medications, the breathing machine, and Social Security Disability. While going through this journey, I met many others who were lost and looking for a way out. I began mentoring people on their healing path, and each time I saw someone heal, I knew that there was nothing else that I wanted to do with my life. I went back to school, finished my undergrad and then did a post-grad nutritional counseling program. I opened a private practice soon thereafter.
Do you regularly practice your healing modality? If so, how have you been transformed?
Every time I eat! My diet is less strict now than when I was healing, but I still maintain it for prevention. I feel great, I never catch a cold, and I know that as long as I maintain my health, I will never go back to the way I was. I still try out new diets and experiment because I've found that I can help people the most when I've walked in the shoes I am giving them. It is very different to have book knowledge rather than experience. Both are necessary. Nutrition is a vocation for me, but it is also a hobby. Before this experience, I read nothing but fiction, now my book shelves are full of medical books and my Amazon cart is always full. I also really enjoy the challenge of giving up new foods and of constantly learning and evolving.
This experience changed my worldview completely. For one, I never knew how important health is. Without it, even hobbies become tedious. I also didn't realize how broken our medical system is. I had really worshiped at the alter of Western Medicine, and it wasn't until I experienced the system first hand that I realized that it really doesn't heal anyone. Surgical and emergency care is great, but I had no idea how terrible the chronic illness care was. The knowledge on how to heal is out there, but it is all lost in PubMed, and no one is putting all these brilliant studies together. In today's healthcare system, you really have to become your own doctor, your own advocate, but that isn't taught. Rather, we are taught that our doctor will give us a pill and we will feel better in a few days. The truth is that you are the one responsible for your health, not your doctor, and that it is up to you as to how healthy you are. You have to take full responsibility if you want to heal. Ultimately, I will never look at health the same, and I will never feel like a victim again.
What can you suggest for people looking for health and healing?
Read. There are thousands of great books out there on how to heal, all with a slightly different take, but the more you read the more you can sift the wheat from the chaff. And never give up. There are thousands of things to try, so many that you could spend a whole lifetime experimenting. Spend a good 3-6 months on each healing modality, and if you don't see improvement, then move on to the next one. Collect stories from others who have healed and read them when you are down. Know that healing is possible, no matter what you have. And practice meditation. Nothing is as overwhelming in the now.