How I Heal: Aran Goyoaga

of cannelle et vanille

We can speak to healers all day long but the fact is everyone has the ability to heal themselves—we simply need the tools. In this ongoing series we’ll be interviewing individuals who have found their path to healing through various practices and practitioners. Each one unique in their journey and insights, all a reminder that while there is no “right” way to heal, there is a way forward.

For our first profile we spoke with Aran Goyoaga. Aran is a cookbook author, food stylist and photographer. You may remember her from season 3 of Healers podcast, recognize her latest book, Cannelle et Vanille – Nourishing, Gluten-Free Recipes for Every Meal and Mood or her beautiful Instagram feed where she highlights her nourishing and delicious gluten-free recipes. Today she opens up about healing her mind and body through thoughtful eating and methodical, yet simple, daily routines.

How did your healing journey begin? 

It began after my son was born, about 14 years ago. I developed autoimmune issues during pregnancy that left me debilitated. I had suffered from anxiety, depression and disordered eating during my teenage and young adult years and I think my body couldn’t keep up with that level of emotional distress – it broke down. Realizing the connection between the constant negative chatter in my brain and the effects on my body was a revelation. I remember how everything changed when I read Deepak Chopra’s Synchrodestiny. I almost had an outer experience when I began to understand the concepts of perception and manifestation. This led to a journey of seeing my thoughts for what they were, just thoughts, how thoughts then affected my emotions and how I was reacting to the world around, and finally, the connection to my physical body. I hadn’t treated my body well for many years and seeing how food changed how I felt was very powerful, too. 

Realizing the connection between the negative chatter in my brain and the effects on my body was a revelation.

How do you nurture yourself and tend to your emotions when you’re stressed?

When I am out of balance, my emotional response is anger, which I very much internalize. In general, I don’t have a tendency to wear emotions on my sleeve and I have always had a hard time communicating them. What has been really effective for me is to be able to identify the emotions when they appear. It’s easy for me to conceptualize them and separate myself from them now. I see them for what they are and let them flow through me. Usually, it means three things: I need sleep, I need alone time (this also includes downtime from social media) and I need good food. I require space and I recharge in a little bit of peace and nature. 

What self-healing practice is a must-do for you? 

I need sleep and I need to create. Taking my camera out into nature, spending time cooking and photographing raw environments really centers me. I wonder if this is also tied to my ego but I always find a sense of healing when I am able to produce work that I am proud of. It’s a fine line. Deadlines related to my work add a lot of stress, but the work itself is very healing, if this makes sense. I wish I could be still and just meditate to heal. Part of that is true and I need some of it, but as a consistent thread of healing in my life, my work is my tool for healing. Sometimes I wonder if there is too much self-involvement there. (editor’s note: there isn’t!)

I need sleep and I need to create. My work is my tool for healing.

How do you recover from burnout? How do you know when it’s happening?

I know I am experiencing burnout when I cannot access inspiration or let inspiration flow through me. It is usually tied to my work too because I associate so much emotion with it. When I am only able to do my work in a robotic way, it’s a sign of burnout. I feel it right away after I have had projects with big output and somehow I have a hard time letting things in. Again, in those cases I need space from that same thing I love to do. I need to stop looking at photos or cooking. Just let time pass. I have had this happen several times in my life, so now, I know it comes and goes and I trust that it will return. This is the thing about getting older, that I trust my instincts and my track record. I used to be petrified of not being inspired again. Now, I just ride the downtime.

How did your life change after you started your healing journey?

It changed tremendously. Of course it has taken time, as well as ups and downs. The physical aspect has been the clearest, of course. I stopped being so sick. But the emotional aspect has been probably even more important. The self worth, the self loathing and the internalizing of so many emotions has nearly vanished. But this is also the process of aging, I think.

What one daily ritual can you not live without?

Right now, since I haven’t been able to travel to see my family in Spain, my most important ritual is to FaceTime with my parents every morning. Seeing their faces and hearing their voices everyday gives me life. Sometimes I cry and tell them how much I want to touch their hands and hug them. 

What one thing do you do daily, weekly and monthly to maintain your healing?

I am very consistent. I don’t do anything crazy and I don’t require to be seeking new practices or new solutions all the time. I am steady. I need sleep, be able to see the ocean or a body of water, nourishment in what I eat, I need conversation with those I trust to workout through ideas and I need to be connected to my family. Day in day out.

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