What Do We Really Want to Make of Our Lives?

That’s a question I’ve been sitting with a lot since the beginning of my health crisis.  I typically send you all information about upcoming events, but today, I want to talk about my recent health crisis over the last year and how one of my upcoming wellness retreat supported me in overcoming it.  


More than ever, this year I have struggled to keep my footing, managing a really challenging health problem in my gut. While I had been with Kaiser for over 10 years, my doctors seemed to downplay my gut issues over that same period. They were treating my symptoms but missing the big picture that was so obvious to me and others close to me.

Beginning last August, my health continued to degrade and reached a critical moment where I could no longer ignore the issue.  It took 6 months to convince Kaiser to run tests and during the holidays last year, Kaiser finally offered to do more extensive testing. After the testing, my GI doctor believed that I had Crohn’s disease.

I was afraid of the implications of lifelong health complications, but something felt wrong to me. Even under attack, my gut was telling me to trust on a whole new level.  While I was, indeed, truly sick, my symptoms and tests were not a perfect match to the diagnosis Kaiser offered. I didn’t trust what I was being told, even though I felt pressured by my doctors to begin immediate yet lifelong immunosuppressive therapies. The hardest thing for me was to trust my instincts to overcome this challenge. I trusted my ailing gut instead of silencing it with outside answers.

I found different doctors, outside of Kaiser, whose expertise and testing led me in a very different direction. I gathered my community around me for guidance--mentors, friends, and healers. No one but my former doctors at Kaiser believed that I had Crohn's. I’m so grateful for that period of waiting and questioning. What surfaced was that I had pathogens in my system, likely from traveling and surfing. I had no idea that when I founded the New Moon Festival last year that the incredible team of healers, shamans, and teacherswe gathered was going be instrumental in my own healing, both physically, mentally and spiritually.   

I believe that reality is only limited by one’s own imagination, and life often becomes a distraction rather than a path to healing. I believe in our power to create when we align our mind and soul and energy.

I have learned that in times of crisis, I must pare down my ambitions and focus on what matters most--health, loved ones, and recovery. I am grateful to be coming out the other side of this journey so that I can surf big waves, work on my new ai software company, and travel the world with zeal, passion, and inspiration from my journey. I appreciate all that I have endured more deeply.  

We all need healing, physical, mental, and spiritual, so we can live life to our fullest capacities, even helping others along the way.  That’s why I am so excited to invite all my friends to New Moon Festival & Retreat in Yosemite, October 18th-21st, so that we can share in this amazing community and learn to connect, grow and inspire as a collective community.

Over the next four weeks, I will be releasing details about our retreat in Yosemite and how our community is coming together to help each other rise up. I will also be sharing a spotlight on some of the upcoming community events in SF and how to connect with us!

I truly hope that you join us in the transformative New Moon experience and join our tribe so it can serve you as much as it has served me.

With love and gratitude,

Ari Kalfayan

arsen kalfayan