I’ve often heard a profound claim from people who’ve had a terminal diagnosis, a disabling illness or a shattering incident. They unanimously claim that their life splits into life before and life after the event; I can personally confirm that’s the case. For me, the split happened in late 2005 in a quiet neurologist’s office with the diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease (ALS). ALS is a terminal, degenerative disease that kills the nerves responsible for voluntary movement. I must admit it’s an annoying and inconvenient disease to experience. Becoming entombed in my body isn’t the future I had planned out at 34.
Life after that day has been what I consider a Socratic affair.
What is a Socratic Life?
Like Socrates, becoming Socratic means questioning what we believe and why in order to find a better way to live. Living a Socratic Life means having the courage to see things for what they are, taking responsibility for what we can change, and accepting that which is beyond our control.
For me, living a Socratic Life means to become an active participant in my own story.
Theory into Practice
From diagnosis onwards began an incessant journey in the loss of everything I held dear, including my body’s ability to move. However, with persistence, support, the desire to create, and luck, I’ve been able to stay alive beyond the 3 – 5-year prognosis.
With a background in bodywork and holistic therapies, my experience with Herbalism increased and my desire to delve deeper intensified. So, I decided to complete my professional certification in Western Herbal Medicine. The training taught me how to use herbs correctly and inspired me to follow the vitalism/constitutional tradition. I use this form of herbalism to help myself, family, friends and in consultation with Herbosophy’s clients on their health concerns.
Five years after the medical death sentence, I founded an online herbal apothecary called Herbosophy. The service became a natural consequence and extension of what I was doing for myself: using dried herbs for teas and encapsulation to enhance my health.
Simultaneously, I was studying Law at the University of New England, but after some useful units and finding out I’d never be able to register as a lawyer, I changed my major to Philosophy. I’d had an unshakeable desire to complete the Philosophy degree I had abandoned in 2005 when diagnosed. For decades, Philosophy has been a salve to my soul. The practicality of ancient Greek philosophy (Stoicism in particular), and existentialism (for the sheer humility it provides) has kept me rational and grounded through the terror of progressive terminal paralysis. After a few years and not feeling inspired by UNE’s Philosophy program, I decided to continue the BA in Philosophy through Macquarie University online.
But, I yearned for more.
Writing is a physical skill I can still perform on my own through mouse-driven software. I thought “Hey if this is something I’m able to do, why not learn to do it well?” Soon after, I enrolled in an online Professional Writing and Publishing degree through Curtin University and graduated in 2019. In the meantime (before I compose the #1 World’s Bestseller), I’ll write articles on ALS, practical philosophy and herbalism as a way to refine my craft and connect with you.
It is my purpose that the Socratic Life offers you some useful knowledge, practical skills or inspiration to keep going further despite your perceived or tangible suffering. If it has done so in any way, you’ve equally made my life that more meaningful. Connect with me by leaving a comment under your favourite post, share it with others, and subscribe to receive updates.
Yours in health,
Herbalist. Philosopher. Writer. Espresso Addict