My name is Sue Westwind: a writer, mother, Earth-loving woman who seeks to learn and share ways we can solve the “mental health crisis” through alternatives to medication that heal mind, body, and spirit. Growing up with the spectre of my “family curse,” known as “the Wohler Madness,” as a teen I began a quest to understand what mental illness truly is.

I studied, received, and facilitated various forms of therapy; embraced the insights of anti-psychiatry, found a spirituality based on our Mother Earth…but still felt threatened by my family curse, the “Wohler Madness,” named after my father’s maternal line. I was not whole, and did not know how to heal myself.

Finally, the adoption of a baby girl later diagnosed with autism propelled me onto the nutrient path. I learned that so-called mental illness is part of our environmental crisis–our minds assaulted by synthetic chemicals, toxic metals, stealthy infections and bad foods that not only take their toll on the body, but profoundly affect behavior, thoughts, and feelings. As my daughter and I took nutrients, detoxed, and made significant diet changes, we both shed long held afflictions.

But vitamins, supplements and food changes, while astounding in their effects, fostered a greater openness toward spirituality and creativity. With a practice in mindfulness, I deepened my ties with the Earth as a source of strength and hope. I learned that doing yoga and other forms of self-care bring the body into league with the mind and the possibility exists, once fully embodied, for a person to act with greater compassion toward self, others and the planet. I hit on the name, “the nutrient path,” because it seems to me that body, mind, and spirit must be partners on this journey and that there exists much out there for the nourishment of each.

Hardly a finished product, (neither my daughter nor I), my mood these days can be summed up with sharing a practice I try to do daily. I make a list of all I’m grateful for, in the moment or for the long haul. Either written, spoken out loud while driving in the car, or just thought silently with heartfelt attention, this practice engages mind (thinking outside the box) body (endorphins result when you review the feel-goods) and spirit (the wonder of all the Good we tend to overlook can be a pathway to the divine). It’s a small thing but for me essential to staying steady and optimistic on the nutrient path.

For the Earth, Sue Westwind