By the time rosacea became an ‘issue’ for me, I was good and done with having skin problems, period.
It was so unnerving, disappointing, and flat-out frustrating to notice that my skin wasn’t as clear and even-toned as I wanted it to be… yet again. The thought of revving up my engines once more to deal with yet another skin issue made me cranky, and part of me wondered what I was missing. Was there some crucial, secret piece of information– out there, somewhere– that would finally unlock eternally perfect skin for me, if only I could find this precious nugget of knowledge? Was there something I just wasn’t ‘getting’, and if so, for the love of god could I please just GET IT, once and for all?! It was beyond frustrating to be smart in so many ways but to be failing, again and again, when it came to clear skin.
I tried to tackle rosacea the same way I had successfully tackled my acne before: aggressively, systematically, and hyper-critically.
I took allergy tests and proceeded to eliminate all of the offending foods from my diet, even the mostly benign foods like romaine lettuce. Yes, I said romaine stinking lettuce! My dear husband and I adhered to a brutally regimented elimination diet for several months, and still: absolutely no changes to my cheeks, which seemed to be permanently awash in a rosy flush– almost like they were taunting me! (I should mention that these dietary attempts at eliminating rosacea were in addition to the various creams, lotions, oils, vitamins, and stress-reduction techniques I tried as well.)
To be perfectly honest, I was furious with my rosacea.
I hated that it didn’t respond predictably– or at all– to anything I tried, and I bristled every time anyone cheerfully commented on the redness of my cheeks, “Looks like you got some sun!”, “That must have been a pretty intense workout you did!”, “Look at you, all sweet and rosy-cheeked”. GAH!
I wished, more than anything, that there was something I could do, diet-wise or food-wise, to get rid of my rosacea for good. Even if it was ridiculous and labor-intensive, like, “Just make sure your water is exactly this temperature– no warmer and no cooler– forever and ever!” or, “Your rosacea will disappear if you eat 3 grams of this rare and exotic plant every day”. If I knew it would work, I totally would have tried anything.
More often than not, though, skin issues (and weight issues, I might add) aren’t as simple as just eating or not eating certain things.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but skin (and weight) issues are not just physical issues. Nope: They’re more complex than that. Subtler. Finer-grained. More holistic. And that means they need to be approached holistically. Energetically. Compassionately.
I know. (Enter collective groan…)
I came to realize that I was basically hemorrhaging energy by trying to eradicate my rosacea.
A good chunk of my thoughts, feelings, and actions every day were being spent on being irritated with or embarrassed by my rosacea, and when it came time to showing up for my real (soul) work, receiving divine inspiration and creative insights, or basically being the best version of myself I could be… I simply couldn’t. After all, I had already spent my energy being frustrated with my skin, depleting myself and totally distracting myself from what really mattered by being so obsessed with something that– honestly?– doesn’t really matter.
(Maybe you do something similar with your skin, or perhaps you leak energy when it comes to your weight, obsessing over portion sizes and the number on the scale rather than writing that book proposal or letting yourself be totally open and vulnerable in your relationship. I’ve been there too, dear one, and I know how much courage it takes to plug those energy leaks and to step into your true calling instead. But: please do it.)
Today, rather than viewing my rosy cheeks as something awful that needs to be ‘dealt with’ and eliminated, I’ve adopted a totally new perspective. Ready for it? Whenever I see my reflection or otherwise notice a flushing in my complexion, here’s what I think to myself:
This. Is. Spirit.
That ruddiness in my cheeks? SPIRIT.
That neon redness shining out from my face like a beacon of love? SPIRIT.
Those bumps that flare up occasionally in my complexion, causing my skin to look rather textured instead of smooth? SPIRIT.
It takes practice, but viewing my complexion as one of the ways that spirit flows through me and out from within me invites me to bless my skin and be thankful for it, rather than demonize it or make myself wrong for having rosy cheeks.
I’ve also been taking this one step further lately (thanks in no small part to the incredible Lauren from Inner Hue, who I have been working with one-on-one for psychic development, which– aside– is flipping FANTASTIC!) Working with Lauren has taught me to view my rosacea as a gift and as a strong indicator of my connection to spirit (or source/divine/god/goddess energy– whichever word resonates most with you.) She has ultimately helped me transform something that I once viewed as a terrible liability into something that I see as a sacred and cherished gift. How’s that for a turnaround?
Here’s what I hope you will take away from my personal Story of Skin:
We all have things that we’d like to change about ourselves, especially physically.
And many (if not most) of us will try almost anything to get those changes happening for ourselves. We’ll detox. We’ll exercise. We’ll buy special creams and religiously avoid certain foods in our diets. We’ll swear off chocolate, take caustic medications, and subject our bodies to all sorts of torture, all in an effort to get rid of something, whether that something is acne, excess weight, body hair, crooked teeth, or whatever.
That takes energy. A whole lot of energy.
Where else could that energy be spent? Kissing your daughter? Laughing with friends? Enjoying a leisurely walk outside? Taking singing lessons? Where else could that energy be spent?
I invite you to ask yourself this question, not in a judgmental, “should, should, should” kind of way, but in a curious, “I wonder what I would truly rather be doing with my time and energy?” kind of way. Where does your energy actually want to go? Where does it truly wish to flow?
I also invite you to experiment with a new perspective on your physical, I-wish-this-part-of-me-was-different, self. Can you be thankful for it? What are you learning from it? What are you gaining from it? How is it actually a gift?
I hope you’ll discover, as I have, that the moment you stop berating your body is a very powerful moment indeed. In that moment, you call back your energy from where it was being wasted (truly and tragically), and you begin marshaling that big, beautiful energy in the service of something much greater. Sure, your physical body might not transform overnight– and it might not even transform at all, speaking as a woman with still-flushed cheeks– but you’ll be changing where it matters: at the level of your very soul.
All my love, –Dana xx