February 27, 2015

The Wellness Warrior

I am writing with a heavy heart today. Just a few hours ago, I found out that the world lost an incredible being: Jessica Ainscough, The Wellness Warrior. As I was sitting down after eating my lunch, I logged into my email account and I saw the message. The news hit me to the core and I am still reeling.

I've learned about the power of technology quite a few years ago - I wouldn't be connecting with you here & now otherwise - but until today, I don't think I fully understood just how massive an impact someone from the other side of the world whom I had never met before could have upon my life. All thanks to the power of technology.

I remember the day that I discovered Jess' website so clearly. The details of how I first arrived there are a little blurry in my mind now - I think it might have been through an article she wrote for Mind Body Green that I came upon while researching something health related - but I knew that I had found something very special. I spent a couple of hours reading through countless posts that she had written. I couldn't stop myself and I was literally shaking with excitement. The only way that I could take myself away from the computer screen was to get up, then and there, and go to the kitchen to make a carrot and apple juice, just like I read that she was making as part of her Gerson therapy regimen. It was the first juice that I ever made and something completely unlike me; I always pin, bookmark, or save things I want to remember in some way, but I never actually get up and try them right away. Jess was the only one who got me to do that, who inspired me to a level beyond what I had known before. I was not (and am not) in even a remotely similar situation to hers (on days like today especially, but really every day, my health is one of the things I am most thankful for), but I found so much inspiration in her story and her determination regardless.

I discovered a whole new world through her. I discovered the world of juicing and the world of health blogging. I learned about the empowerment that comes with taking control of your life and your health and the importance of self love. I discovered IIN through her, as well as B-School. This was about three years ago, in the early stages of my current health and wellness journey. There is no doubt in my mind now that I wouldn't be able to call myself a health coach, that I wouldn't be so deeply immersed in the wellness world, and that I wouldn't be the person that I am today without her - her bravery, her kindness and her brilliance.

I am sure that there are many many people out there who feel the same way. My heart aches for her beloved father, her devoted fiance and all the loved ones who will have to keep going in her physical absence - I say physical, because I know that she will forever live on in their hearts, the same as she will for all of us who never got a chance to be in her presence yet were deeply impacted by her message. I can't even imagine the amount of hurt that they are going through right now, but somehow I know that they are also proud to have shared their lives with her.

I don't understand why such tragic things happen and right now, I'm not trying to. All I want in this moment is to take some time to remember, recognize, and celebrate Jessica Ainscough, the true wellness warrior, and all the wonderful things that she stands for. I can only hope to become as kind and brave as she has been in my own lifetime and I'm thankful to have such a fantastic example and ideal to strive towards.

My heart is aching today and writing down all these thoughts has been helpful. I could say so much more, but I will stop here for now. Thank you for indulging me.

I will end with the words that I first saw today in my inbox next to her fiance's name, that I think are the essence of Jess's legacy:

Be Kind. Be Brave. Be Well.

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