Monday, December 8, 2014

Sharing the Gifts of the Magi

It's that time of year again.

Yesterday my daughter handed me a tablet (she still uses the paper kind) and asked me to write down everything I wanted for Christmas.  I looked at her and wondered what I had done to reduce the spirit of
The "Gifts of the Magi" include health and prosperity.
gift giving to simple task of completing a shopping list.

I didn't have to wonder long.  I can see that it all started in the not-so-distant past, back when I had a j-o-b. My daughter was born in November, and it seemed only days after her first Christmas, still healing from my C-section, that I had to return to work or lose my  j-o-b.  Since I had what I thought at the time was a pretty good position (I was a postdoctoral researcher, and most of my colleagues from graduate school were still seeking jobs), I believed keeping my j-o-b was the best decision for my family.  I wanted my children to have better opportunities than I had growing up.

When she was only 8 weeks old, my daughter's newborn life was catapulted into a harried routine of travel to the sitter, home after five, and a tired mom who was rushing to feed her, cook dinner, clean kitchen, clean kids, prep for bed, and finish the work I'd brought home from the office.  I was equally catapulted into the growing demands of my profession, confounded by the needs of my daughter, her three year old brother, a spouse who constantly traveled, and an overwhelming set of physical symptoms that my doctor could never properly diagnose, but could always write a prescription for. By the time my daughter was 6 months old I was so ill from medication side effects that I swore off medical doctors for the next twelve years. I tried natural remedies, but success was always minimal.

My family and I moved forward in this way, and the years began to pass.  Like so many from my generation, holidays became hurried chaos aimed at getting gifts under the tree to meet our growing children's needs and delight their imaginations while juggling the seemingly endless demands of work, family, visitors, and seemingly constant illness.  Too often, holidays just seemed to create just one more set of chores and stresses.

Soon, my kids entered school, and their time also became precious.  There was homework to complete, and there were always school activities, sports practices, and meetings to attend.

When you are caught in the rat race, it is easy to run so fast that you miss a turn or fail to see a stop sign.  In the years that followed, I was very much aware that my lifestyle was affecting my health.  I often wondered just how long I could keep the pace.  I worked hard to make "lifestyle changes" like eating better and exercising more to boost my health.   Work demands always seemed to interfere with those changes.  Each year demanded longer hours on the j-o-b, and provided less time for self-care.

The sad truth is that I was on a fast moving treadmill, and I and couldn't find the "off" switch.  Year after year I kept putting one foot in front of another, until one day, my feet just quit moving.  Yes.  You guessed it.  The treadmill kept running.  It wasn't pretty.  Now, I had no choice but to return to a doctor.  This time, she found a diagnosis.  She called it Fibromyalgia, and sent me for a second opinion.  He called it Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Both called it "severe", and recommended a lifestyle change that my  j-o-b could not accommodate. I called it hell. My symptoms included systemic pain, constant fatigue, a baffling inability to concentrate on anything at all, difficulty balancing, blurred vision, disorientation, and a startling tendency to think one idea, but speak something else. This speech problem left me talking nonsense, and did a number on my credibility both at work and at home. The only treatment my doctors could recommend that was different from what I had already implemented on my own was to reduce my work stress immediately.  Easier said than done.

I immediately initiated paperwork to secure the disability insurance my employer had called a job benefit. To my dismay, I found that disability insurance is only a benefit if you have a very expensive attorney. My expensive attorney advised that I simply must cling to my j-o-b, no matter how poorly I performed, until my agency approved my disability or my employer fired me. This need to keep working, fully aware that my performance was atrocious, was made even more humiliating by an employer who took deliberate and ridiculous steps to prolong the process, even after I fully disclosed my condition and prognosis.  It took about a year from the time my doctor said "quit," and wrote orders restricting my efforts to almost nothing until my agency let me go. After 13 years of outstanding and superior performance ratings on the job, and one year of sharply reduced performance, I was sent home without so much as a get well card or a good bye.  My career as I knew it had ended.

spent that last year not unlike Rip Van Winkle.  I was often asleep or close to it.  I slept at home.  I slept at work.  And in route to work, I would often have to pull over on the side of the road to sleep until my fatigue passed sufficiently to drive.  I would drive my kids to their practice, and sleep in the parking lot till they were done, just so I would be rested enough to drive them home.

Thanks to an amazing husband, my kids continued their education, their sports, and their lives despite my inability to contribute.  They made excuses for me at family gatherings, and learned to take good care of themselves.  They learned that mom was not there for them anymore, and that she really was not much fun  anymore.

Meanwhile, I worried constantly about their future.  I knew I was not parenting.  I knew I was not teaching them what they needed to learn.  I was neither providing for their future nor my own, and only an overworked spouse with stresses of his own was keeping my family housed, clothed, and fed. I knew we could get by for a while, assuming my husband did not get sick.  Indeed, I was thankful for the resources we had at our disposal. But I also knew that our condition was not sustainable.

Then, in December of 2012,  a small miracle entered my life. A friend called, saying she had something to show me.   I asked her what it was.  She said it was important.   I asked her what it was about.  She said it was about my health. Annoyed, I asked her to elaborate.  She told me to get on the internet, open a website, and watch a video.  Now, at the time, I could barely even see a computer screen (did I mention my blurred vision?).  The light from a monitor gave me headaches.  I was not excited about watching her video.  But I didn't get many phone calls from friends anymore, so I agreed.

Thus began my journey into a brave new world pairing multi-level marketing with scientifically validated natural health and nutrition products.  A world that will soon rise to the forefront of sustainable healthcare reform.  The video my friend guided me to highlighted a natural dietary supplement that activates a biochemical pathway I knew well.  I had studied the pathway in graduate school.  I was even familiar with the scientist who had developed the product.  I had no doubt that this product was credible, and that it represented my best hope for recovery to date. I got goosebumps watching the video as I considered the implications of activating my body's own cellular defense machinery.  Soon, I was placing my order.  The company I bought it from was helping my friend earn income, and I liked the idea of helping her earn income in our community, as opposed to paying big pharma far from home.

By New Year's Day, only a week after starting my new supplement, I could feel my mental fog lifting.  My head was clearing, and I felt like I was on my road to recovery.   Like a maniac, I started calling everyone I knew to tell them about the video.  I was not very sophisticated about it.  The fog had lifted a little, but it hadn't cleared completely.   My husband and kids were horrified that I was telling people about a network marketing product.  I didn't care.  I had spent thirty years combining all sorts of conventional and alternative treatments with no success.  Now that I found something that was making a clear and positive difference, I wanted others to know about it.

Soon, others in my family were taking the product.  Within a few months, my waking hours had doubled, my dad's blood pressure was down, my brother's blood sugar was stable, color was returning to my grey hair, and I was seeing well enough to read again.  This is when I began to investigate the possibility of a new career that included multi-level marketing.

As I explored the industry, I saw that, like any legitimate business, a steady effort could pay off.  Unlike other businesses, an MLM business could be worked from home, when I felt good, and could be set aside when my symptoms flared.   This seemed critical for managing my health condition.  More remarkably, if I built my organization well, my income could continue to grow even when I could not work.  This potential for creating residual income made me wonder why MLM is not offered more openly as a part of every family's financial planning strategy.   Had I understood MLM twenty years ago, would I have ever chosen to work 60 and 70 hours a week at a job that destroyed my physical health?

While investigating the industry, I discovered a new company whose products and philosophy aligned more closely with my personal background and interests than the first.  This company offered bioavailable nutrition and a medical device that relieves pain.  I knew that if I could simultaneously relieve pain, detoxify cells, stay off medications, and manage stress by working from home on my own terms,  I could also manage my fibromyalgia. Suddenly, my future was looking brighter.

Today my illness is largely under control.  I work from home, where I assist many who can benefit from my expertise.  I watch my kids play sports.  I set my own hours.  I use products from amazing companies on the leading edge of a revolution that integrates low stress, work from home lifestyles with cutting edge natural health products and whole, organic nutrition.  I am growing a business with one of these companies.  (I don't recommend growing MLM businesses with more than one company.).   I still have fibromyalgia, but today I can say what I intend to say.   I no longer fall asleep while people are speaking to me.  My pain is reduced, and I take no prescription or synthetic drugs of any kind. I rarely see a doctor, and I can read a computer screen clearly enough to write this blog and manage my own web site.  I am contributing to my family once again.

Remarkably, I am finding opportunities for professional creativity and development that I never anticipated. I am developing new skills and meeting new people at a pace I could not have imagined in my previous, institutionalized career.  Because I am no longer buried in bureaucracy, I can work less, learn faster, and accomplish more than ever before.  For all of this I am grateful.

So when my daughter asks, "What do you want for Christmas?" I can only think, "What more could I want?" I have my health.  I have a future.  I have my family.

In my childhood, I learned of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh that the legendary Magi gave to the baby Jesus on that first Christmas.  I knew what gold was good for, but only in recent years have I recognized that frankincense and myrrh were not just "incense" or embalming fluids, as I was taught then.  Frankincense and myrrh have powerful healing properties that pharmaceutical companies simply cannot replicate.  What the Magi were bestowing on the baby Jesus were gifts of "health and prosperity."  These are the same gifts that my friend bestowed on me the day she insisted I watch her video.  My friend introduced me to the tools I needed to restore my health and create prosperity.  She gave me the opportunity to begin restoring my lost income.  By introducing me to a natural health MLM, my friend had blessed me with the gifts of the Magi.  

oday I challenge my readers to consider my story, and look at their own current or future needs for residual income and natural health.  Consider whether there are people in your life who have chronic health concerns that have responded poorly to medication.  Consider whether there are people in your life who need high quality nutrition, experience physical pain, or are working too many hours to spend quality time with their family. How many do you know who can benefit from the blessings of the Magi this holiday season?  
I advise you not to wait until life leaves you no other options.   Take time this year to consider how your life would change if you had ready access to total nutrition, natural health products, and a residual income opportunity that can bring you financial freedom.  Research the industry.  Learn the risks and the rewards.  Learn the skills that are required to succeed full or part time.  Then speak to the person who led you to this message, and ask them to tell you more about the gifts of the Magi.


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