Welcome to the Canaries’ website, a platform for our collective findings: literature, articles, spiritual practices, dietary information, self-told case histories and more. We are thrilled to open this resource to the public, and can’t wait for you to join in our conversation!
How it All Began
In the spring of 2013, through a few twists of fate, I met Carolyn and soon after, I met Bonnie. What brought us together initially, was our desire to talk about our autoimmune conditions, something none of us had much of an opportunity to do before with peers. The conversations I had with each of them one-on-one were incredibly profound, therapeutic, informative, and revelatory. It wasn’t long before all three of us made a date to meet together, and then another, and another…
The discussions that followed were so inspiring and validating that we started spreading the word. Immediately, people started coming out of the woodwork saying, “Me too! I also have an autoimmune/chronic condition!” Over the next few months, our group grew exponentially: a testament to how isolated many people feel in their experience of autoimmunity, how invisible these illnesses are, and what truly epidemic numbers of us are affected.
What began as a three-person conversation over tea, evolved into a monthly reading, writing, thinking, support group and collective brainstorming session. We called ourselves Canaries, a reference to “canary in a coal mine” because while not everyone is as physically responsive as we are to imbalances in the modern world (environment, diet, stressers etc), these issues do affect us all. Our bodies are simply sending out a warning signal that says: something must change.
We’ve found that every time we meet, through talking about our experiences freely and narratively, we are able to put together many pieces of our individual puzzles that were missing. Even when our diagnoses and/or experiences are different, sharing with each other has opened up an incredible space for knowledge and very real healing that was not available through any hospital or specialist alone.
We agree that the models of diagnosis, symptom identification and naming can be, at times, tremendously helpful, but for so many of us, it is these very systems that, by excluding various parts of our not yet classified or “anecdotal” experience, have prevented us from getting well.
Change is in order, and we believe that peer-based and patient-based conversations and networking will build the foundation of a more holistic healing process for chronic illnesses and, some day, a paradigm shift in the language and techniques of modern medicine.
But, first order of business: be together!