How I saved my own life, got my health back, and learned to thrive
By Dr. Elena Villanueva
I used to believe that sharing my story was a “no-no”, that there was shame in what happened to me and how I lost everything, including almost losing my life. However, over the past five years I have been encouraged to share my story of hope with others, and by doing so here, I hope it does the same for you.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know one of my taglines is “You are NOT broken. There ARE answers and there ARE solutions!” I resonate deeply with this, as this is my true message to the world. You see, I once believed that I was broken because none of the specialists I saw had any answers or solutions for me and because of what I believed to be true in my life back then.
In my Mental Health Masterclass V2.0, 5-part series, I go into detail in part 4 about how sick I was physically, how that spiraled into severe depression, anxiety, and memory loss… and how I eventually lost my ability to speak or even remember my son’s name. I showed pictures of the storage shed I lived in after losing my home and everything in it, how I had literally hit rock bottom after having run three successful sports medicine practices, and how I felt that dying would be easier than living one more day.
The hardest part of sharing this was showing a photo of myself back when I was sick. Even looking at it now brings up a boatload of emotions. Looking at that past version of myself, I can clearly see how much she suffered and how sick she looked. And I have compassion and love for the old version of myself, and I am proud of how in the depths of despair she managed to find her hidden strength, not only to go on, but to change her reality, and to change everything about herself and her situation that wasn’t serving her any longer.
What I am most proud of is the memory of that pivotal day and that “ah ha” moment where I stepped outside of my comfort zone and everything I had thought to be true to think outside the box to find NEW answers and solutions. That was the first day of the transformation that led me down the path of where I am today… and it was a journey — the healing process was not linear. It was uncomfortable at times, made me cry sometimes, and there were times I had doubts… It was a journey of dedication, self-compassion, and learning to feel enough love for myself that I would not give up.
Several years into my healing (yes it took several years to get my health back to baseline), I remember deciding how I would never go back into practice again. You see, I had created a story in my head that I had failed because I lost my practices during my illness, so I associated practicing with failure… It’s a long story as to how I finally decided to go back into practice for myself, but in short, I had a mentor who had known me from the time I had started my first practice, plus a dear friend (who is now my husband), who both gave me a totally different perspective on my story. They helped me see that my mess was my message and THAT was my gift not only to myself but to others.
Their message resonated deeply in my heart, and not long after that, I found myself with a burner phone and some business cards, renting a small 12×12 room with no windows where I hung my diploma… That is where Modern Holistic Health was born and quickly transformed into a global educational platform that now serves clients in over 18 countries, educating them to understand how they CAN heal themselves not only in body, but in mind and spirit, which is the only way to get true and complete healing in your life.
You see, I’ve been there. I’ve lost it all, I’ve walked the dark corridors of depression and massive anxiety, I’ve experienced debilitating pain and physical illness, and I’ve experienced all the struggles that go with being chronically ill, and I want to share with you the ONE biggest factor that helped me heal in mind, body, and in spirit. I want to share with you the ONE most important change I made that turned my life around and recreated the new me I am today… the healthy, passionate, loving, energetic, and driven petite 5’2” human that I am today. I hope that this resonates with someone to give hope, courage, and the belief that ANYTHING is possible IF you are willing to step out of your old box of beliefs and perception to learn how to harness your power to heal yourself and create the reality you truly desire.
You see, once you realize this powerful and very true statement, you also realize that YOU have the ultimate power over the reality you create, and that just like you created one reality, you can also create another more to your liking.
When people ask me how I was able to heal myself, I usually tell part of my story but not all. I tell the parts of how I did all the tangible things… changed my diet, tested to see what toxins I had in my body, learned that I had some genetic variants and addressed those, and so forth. I believed that people were not ready to hear that ONE BIG thing. So instead I crafted my story to include the things I thought would resonate with others. Yes, of course, what I have shared all along is true, but it hasn’t been the WHOLE story.
That ONE BIG thing that was the unstoppable catalyst that turned my life around was realizing that the biggest root cause of my chronic illnesses and harsh reality was my perceptions, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions… all things I had total control over, but just didn’t realize for many years.
I remember that day I stood frozen in fear. I had suffered massive memory loss, so all I could feel was the fear ripping through my body like violent and angry 20-foot crashing waves. As I stood there without the ability to even think, all I could do was feel the sensations of fear coursing through my body. It was at that moment that I somehow realized the fear was not me, it was a broken program running through my body. A program I had created from years of unresolved trauma, unprocessed emotions, and belief systems that truly were not serving my best interest.
It was that pivotal moment of standing in my own stillness and having the courage to essentially let my old self and my old belief systems die, that I found the answers that led me down the path to finding my solutions, my health, and my new reality that I have today.
Looking back, I believe that my loss of cognitive function and what I can best describe as a massive short circuit in my hard drive was what saved me because all I could do was feel my body in that moment and sense what was going on around me. I wasn’t able to create any story or recall any memory that I could tie back to that emotion of fear. It’s like I had stepped out of a false story, a programmed matrix, a nightmare that my mind had created, and I was standing in stillness looking around me as if I had transported myself right out of a terrible dream.
As I stood there unable to move my body from being frozen with fear, that was when I suddenly realized I was the one who created my experiences, and I was the one who drove my mental and physical health into the ground. Now, I’m not saying it was my fault, and I certainly didn’t do it on purpose. I am simply saying that I realized that I had been the one in control of my outcomes all along and that my beliefs, thoughts, unprocessed emotions, and unresolved trauma all came together in a perfect storm that rewired my neurology with a new program that created that hellish reality for me. It was truly all there to teach me so that I could learn and get the wisdom from my experiences.
Waking up that day was that ONE BIG thing that saved my life, helped me find the answers to fix my health, and brought me to where I am today, helping thousands of others around the world to do the same.
I can’t tell you how many times a week I hear from friends, healers, and even clients about how they are learning to become aware of their thoughts and how they are learning to become an observer of their emotions. Ten years ago that would have sounded super strange to hear anyone say that, yet today it’s happening almost every day.
Have you ever thought about how the universe (God) conspires FOR you? How many times in your life have you looked back in time on an event and said to yourself, I wish I would have listened to my gut instead of my mind? If this sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. I believe we are in a crucial moment in human history where we are waking up, becoming conscious and awakening our true selves.
People are waking up to a new awareness that they are not defined by their thoughts or their emotions. Every day people are realizing that their emotions are simply just messages to their bodies and minds… messages that are trying to tell us something that needs to be addressed or a clue to help us make a better decision. And I am seeing people become aware that their mind is not all-knowing, but just a tool that is limited only to what they have programmed into their lives from their parents, peers, school, church, programming (TV), etc.
You see, our programming (along with some genetic influence) shapes our beliefs, our perception of ourselves and the world around us, and influences our thoughts, actions, and emotions. The alchemy of programming, beliefs, thoughts, actions, and emotions updates our nervous system wiring and can also create our reality. Our body literally rewires itself to adapt to the environment we create. And depending on our programming, we either get the result of a great reality or a terrible one.
I created my 5-Part Series Mastering Trauma Masterclass so that others can be exposed to these concepts and see the science behind how it all works and how the placebo effect is not a placebo at all. It’s where the true power of healing comes from.
For years now, I have understood the great influence of our beliefs, thoughts, actions, and emotions (and even the language we use) on our health and how these things can not only make people sick, but keep them there, unable to heal. This understanding is why we incorporate and teach the mind, body, and spirit connection, and all the facets of the human condition that need to be addressed in order to heal.
We even have a book club for our clients and our recent book this past month was Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza. In his book, he teaches about these concepts by explaining the principles of quantum physics to reveal how our beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and actions lead to our results and our reality.
We are truly seeing a time in our human evolution where science is finally catching up to ancient practices and spirituality, and it’s creating a paradigm shift that is allowing us to finally witness our God-given gifts and power to not only heal ourselves individually but as a planet.
If you’ve been looking for answers and solutions, they are available and waiting for you to discover them. I hope that sharing my story today inspired you to perhaps try a different approach in your search for answers and solutions. Once you find them, you too will share what you’ve learned with others. If my story has inspired you or if you have a similar story, please reach out and let’s share what you have to say on my TribeTalk Podcast. Your healing is everyone’s healing, so let’s inspire and heal together.