Metaphorically, I have been climbing two mountains for the past 20 years: health and spirituality. Each had a specific event that forced me to change forever. And though those events did not feel good at the time, they were purposeful and necessary for my personal growth. Today, these two  journeys have converged into a single life journey. 

My health journey started in 2005 when I was traveling in Boston for work and ate dinner at a seafood restaurant. I experienced food poisoning, and the following six years were a struggle to feel normal again. I lost weight and was malnourished, despite my healthy eating habits. As I explored new ways to eat, like juicing and the raw food diet, I eventually started to understand that food is medicine. What you eat is directly linked to how you feel. I became focused on my health and even traveled to New York to become certified as an integrative nutrition health coach in 2009. Not until I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2011 did I have the information I needed to truly start to heal. And my food is medicine theory was confirmed.

During my time as a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I was introduced to various forms of holistic healing and dietary theories. I learned about holistic practices like Ayurveda, yoga, meditation, herbal medicine, plant-based diets, and acupuncture. I was also introduced to simple habits with big benefits like properly chewing your food, breathing correctly, and considering primary food. When I learned about the institute’s concept of primary food—things that nourish you but are not food, such as relationships, physical activity, career, and spirituality—the door swung wide open for how my spiritual path would support and connect to my overall health and wellness.

Unbeknownst to me, this foundation of holistic health would soon become the ground on which I stood as I faced the beginning of my next life-changing event.

Ten years after my food poisoning, in 2015, I went through a divorce after 15 years of marriage. I was a working mom with young kids, struggling emotionally to keep it together. This period in my life was when Unity became a thread that not only helped me keep it together but also allowed me to thrive. Unity was introduced to me as a church by my mother-in-law. At the time, I was unaware that Unity was a global spiritual movement. My Unity church was an open-minded community filled with positive, fun-loving people. Lucky for me, I had the Unity community and principles around me when I went through my divorce.  

Ultimately, I discovered that everything I needed was already inside me—the Divine within. It was simply waiting for me to accept it.

Discovering the Divine Within

The subsequent six years were filled with intentional activities as I sought to find myself, learn forgiveness and compassion, and pave a new way forward. I went on many solo road trips to the mountains, traveled to Guatemala to work with a shaman, and met with other spiritual advisors. I did yoga and energy work, attended a divorce care group, and continued to travel, visiting friends around the country. I developed a consistent meditation practice. I studied books like the Ernest Holmes classics This Thing Called You and The Science of Mind as well as Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender (Veritas Publishing, 2012) by David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. I also learned about the wisdom of Joseph Campbell and the hero’s journey.

Ultimately, I discovered that everything I needed was already inside me—the Divine within. It was simply waiting for me to accept it. The more I looked inside and practiced Unity principles, the more peace I uncovered.

With every journey, whether health, career, spiritual, financial, relational, or something else, I recognize it is not linear. Progress doesn’t always feel like forward movement, there isn’t an end point, and growth is rarely comfortable. Getting to know myself has been an intentional project. I am grateful I had the right tools at the right time to support myself. I am not surprised that my spiritual and health paths were entangled. For me, they are intertwined, each stronger for the other.

This article appeared in Unity Magazine®.

About the Author

Alicia Poole is the senior communications manager for Unity World Headquarters. She is the mother of two boys and is an integrative health coach specializing in balance for mind, body, and soul. Visit

Alicia Poole


No Results