You also started a podcast in addition to blogging, what sort of topics do you discuss? Any guests?
Yes! The podcast is probably one of my favorite parts of Just Love Just Light recently. It’s usually me having my morning coffee after meditation and just releasing the downloads. I talk about everything from my day, what I am personally learning at this stage of my human experience, and sharing light and love where I can. I started it to create a space where we can be vulnerable and true to ourselves. So far, I haven’t had any guests, but I recently started formulating ideas so I can start creating that dialogue! I love discussing with others and think it would be a great outlet. I think a bit of both: personal accounts and discussion with beautiful beings in my life would be a great perspective or angle to reflect on.
Would you mind discussing your auto-immune disease and how it has fueled this endeavor?
Not at all! I have a rare auto immune disease called Takayasus Vasculitis, pronounced tah-kah-YAH-sooz Vasculitis. One in two million people get it a year and it affects the main arteries of my body. The inflammation it has caused has resulted in the loss of many of the main arteries in my body. It has truly inspired this blog because I want others to know that there is no struggle in this world that can define you. We give definitions to our lives and how we want to perceive ourselves in this lifetime. I had to learn to love myself in spite of knowing I’d never be “normal.” And the universe took the lead and has allowed me to be here in spite of what I lost. My body began to build its own bypass veins, which is why I am here today to tell the story! We can absolutely heal ourselves through our thoughts and actions and I want share that message.
You have had miraculous success with your disease when you switched to a plant-based lifestyle. Can you elaborate on the healing journey that you have had? The good, bad and best practices?
Switching to plant-based has been a game changer. I was vegetarian for 10 years or so, but recently switched to vegan at the beginning of 2019. When I decided to get off medical treatments, I began to really investigate how the planet can heal. I started with smoothies every day, then began an ayurvedic approach with herbs and tinctures; to where I am at today, which is still both of those things and a full balanced plant-based diet. My disease can cause a lot of pain, so I turned to medical marijuana and it helped me immensely to handle the pain. It allowed me to begin the journey of clearing my system from the five years of immune suppressant drugs I was on.
“the universe took the lead and has allowed me to be here in spite of what I lost.”
Over time, my body has balanced itself out with the nutrients I need. Though I will never get my main arteries back, my body continues to create those bypass veins and I get a little stronger every day. I feel like the best practice moving towards natural healing is doing research and slowly finding what works for you and having patience with the process. Every body is a little different in its own way, so certain things may work better for you than others; also taking personal account that you’re getting enough nutrients from your diet. However, self-love and self-awareness has been the biggest healer. Learning to embrace myself for who I am and the body I was given, while also learning to be aware of the things within me that were causing me stress, anxiety, and fear. I had many doctors tell me I wouldn’t make it this far, and I did. That was truly the hardest part of self-awareness: trusting that I knew my body and trusting the earth to do what it must. Seeing myself as the nature I am. Everything has a reason, even these bodies. One doctor’s opinion is not the end all.
Can you tell me more about the few products you have been selling on Etsy as part of JLJL?
I have a cute little side business of natural lotions called “Paz” meaning Peace in Spanish. They are made entirely from earth’s ingredients and are incredibly moisturizing and help alleviate pain naturally! Any way that I can bring the healing power of earth to others is a total win. However I recently closed my Etsy shop to focus on the blog. I am still happy to take orders through direct message on my Instagram @justlovejustlight and my personal account @stefanijo_ .
Besides spreading gratitude and positivity… what else brings you joy and inspiration? This can be volunteering, readings, music, meditations, etc.
Stefani: My daily meditation practice is a time for me to go within each day. To remind myself of my connection with everything and to set my intention for the day ahead. I love to end it with a guided meditation from my Guru Mooji, or Sarah Blondin on Insight Timer. I love listening to talks from Ram Dass, Alan Watts, Abraham Hicks, and Infinite Waters throughout my day to keep me grounded and inspired. I also spend a lot of my time outside.
I have found that changing what I surround myself with throughout the day has helped me to live in my own happiness. I am a huge fan of ambient, post rock, instrumental music, so I can always be found with music on throughout my home. And doing Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube! Volunteering is also a big part of my life. I volunteer for an organization called the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance which is a big part of my daily joy. We clean up our coast lines, do kayak clean ups, and expand our knowledge of the environmental impact on our beloved Puget Sound. These people are truly doing the work to change legislation and work toward a more sustainable future. Since being in quarantine, I’m trying to find ways to continue these pursuits which has been fun to uncover. Ultimately, I thrive on just connecting with people I love: spending time with my partner Alex, laughing, loving, and hanging with my cat Jude and dog Penny are my truest joys. Life at this point inspires me a lot. I feel that is where it all comes from.