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Episode 10 - LESSONS FROM DISEASE: Holistic health practitioner & author,

Jesse Golden


Images courtesy of Jesse Golden

Is what’s happening to you, happening FOR you? Disease can be a teacher for us. Learn the power of reframing your personal story; What many would think of as an absolute nightmare, Jesse describes it as a humbling experience.

Jesse was a hard working single mother when she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and was bed ridden for a year and moved like a 90 year old person. She couldn’t use her body the way she wanted to and the lessons of this autoimmune disorder she found in forced stillness.  She even calls RA her superpower!  

Jill and Jesse also talk about the importance of managing stress, the power of nature, grounding mats and how Jesse started her organic skincare line "Golden Secrets".


(1:31) Instagram filters and women

(2:22) Jesse finds out she has Rheumatoid Arthritis

(3:45) How was Jesse before she was diagnosed with RA?

(4:26) What were the early days of RA like?

(7:37) What lessons have you learned from RA?

(8:44) What was the turning point with your perspective on living with RA?

(10:41) How did you learn to be more kind to yourself with the disease

(12:42) The Golden Secret skincare line

(15:20) Chemicals in beauty products

(17:23) Grounding and balancing earth to body

(19:59) Jesse shares how she met her husband, and what’s she’s learned about finding love

(22:38) Relinquishing control to a significant other

(24:05) How do you pick yourself up when you’re having a bad day


Follow Jill on Instagram: @_modelsdoeat

Follow the show on Twitter and send us questions: @_lifedonebetter

Hosted by: Jill de Jong

Produced by: Mike Thomas

Theme Music by: Chris Porter

Sound Engineer: Michael Kennedy

Medical Disclaimer

Content here and in this podcast is for informational purposes only. It does not substitute any medical advice, and does not replace any medical judgment by your health provider. Always seek a licensed physician or professional provider for health related questions and issues.

Narrator 00:00

From Curtco Media.


Jill de Jong 00:06

Welcome to Life Done Better. This is the place to find strength and inspiration to take action and make powerful decisions to create a meaningful life. My guest today is Jesse Golden mother model, yoga teacher, holistic health practitioner and founder of the Golden Secrets and organic skincare line. After putting the debilitating disease, rheumatoid arthritis into remission through natural methods, Jesse established herself as the face of hope in the health and fitness industry, she continues to thrive, despite her diagnosis. Jesse believes that every challenge we encounter is an opportunity for us to create more light into our lives, for ourselves and for the world. Jesse, welcome to the show.


Jesse Golden 00:52

Thank you so much for having me.


Jill de Jong 00:54

I have been wanting to spend real time with you, it's not easy to see one another. So I'm so glad that we get to connect here. And now I really want to like get to know you better. And I listened to your audio book yesterday, where you explain a bit about your background, because it's always interesting to understand where someone started where someone is coming from, like what has impacted the choices that you made throughout your life. Because when I look at you now I see a golden girl. I mean, your last name is golden, your company is you know all about the golden secrets. But even your Instagram filter, I now see that there's a Golden Secret Instagram filter that makes your skin look bronze and your eyes pop even more. Is this real, like what is happening?


Jesse Golden 01:41

You know, that's funny that you bring up the filter thing, because I think that there's no harm in a woman that might be a busy person and wearing many hats and wants to say something on Instagram, but maybe doesn't have time to necessarily get ready, throw a little filter on so you feel good about yourself and pick your word. But at the same time, like I'm all about showing who I really am so that people don't have these crazy expectations.


Jill de Jong 02:08

That shines through in every message because you share so openly and authentically. And that's the really reason why you know, I have continuously followed you. I'm like, okay, let's see what Jesse's doing. You're very abundantly giving your knowledge away and sharing in your experience.


Jesse Golden 02:21

Thank you. When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 29, I was still in the modeling industry. And I was really grateful a lot of up and coming yoga companies gave me a platform to tell my story because it was inspiring. And I started getting a lot of emails of people wanting to know how I was able to thrive despite my diagnosis, because nobody was talking about rheumatoid arthritis, especially at my age, I was not the normal face of rheumatoid arthritis. And it would literally keep me up at night that I couldn't help these people. So it inspired me to start a blog where I literally just started sharing my Golden Secrets. That's kind of where I came up with the name, my last name was Golden. And like, okay, I'm just gonna start with the basics with diet and some yoga techniques and breathing technique. And then eventually, it kind of went into all the different facets of my life with motherhood and spirituality and beauty and skincare. And here I am today, and you know, I love being able to connect through Instagram, it's just, it's the coolest thing to be able to share things that work for me with hundreds of 1000s of people with the touch of my finger.


Jill de Jong 03:33

You use it for the good and you really do shine so much light through, you know, difficult times. Because when people first look at you, they may not understand that you still are dealing with rheumatoid arthritis. And let's just go back a little bit to understand what those days looked like for you before it went into remission. Like what was your body feeling like? Like, what was your state of mind?


Jesse Golden 03:55

It was the most humbling experience I've ever had. And I think just just having the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is humbling, you know, in itself even now, but I came from a ballerina background, so I was always able bodied and movement was a way that I actually communicated. So for my body to completely shut down


Jill de Jong 04:18

And shut down in what ways were you in a ton of pain? Were you having headaches? Were you nauseous? Like how can we picture that sensation of rheumatoid arthritis in our body?


Jesse Golden 04:26

I hate the name because a lot of people confuse it with osteoarthritis, which is just like regular arthritis from wear and tear, but it's an autoimmune disease, and it's systemic. So it affects your entire body, including the synovial joints. So that's the connection between regular arthritis but it also can inflame your heart, your lungs, your eyes, it came on really sudden for me, you know, growing up as a ballerina, I was very strong willed. I was used to being in pain. And when I got diagnosed, I was a single mother. I was still breastfeeding I was completely independent taking care of myself and my son and working very hard, extremely hard. And that's when it kind of came on really strong, but I let the symptoms go, you know, I started with swollen knuckles, fatigue, slight fever, my lymph nodes would swell up and then the next day I would be fine. something was up. I couldn't figure out what it was though I had no idea what rheumatoid arthritis was to be honest with you. And I went from doctor to doctor a Western, Eastern, you know, homeopathic, my regular doctor. And I finally got diagnosed when I was chasing my son in a park and I thought I tore my Achilles tendon. I went to the ER, and the ER doctor saw my knuckles which were visually swollen, and her mother had RA, and she said, you know what, I'm going to send you to a rheumatologist and I'm like, what? And I went to a rheumatologist and they test for something called the RA factor. I was positive, it hit really quick that just to give you an idea of to answer your question, I didn't walk for almost a year of my life.


Jill de Jong 06:04

Wow, you could not walk you had to like stay seated or laying down?


Jesse Golden 06:08

I was laying down most of the time. I could sit up. But the movements if you could imagine was like a stereotypical, a 90 year old person, like very slow. A lot of rheumatoid arthritis patients describe it as feeling like a tin man, like your joints just are not lubricated. They don't allow you to move. So around like three o'clock, I could kind of get up and maybe do a shuffle. But my knees weren't bending. So I would just have to like slide my feet. But it was everything, it was getting my hand to my mouth to brush my teeth, it was opening my jaw.


Jill de Jong 06:44

And that must have been a really scary time.


Jesse Golden 06:46

It was so scary, you know. And looking back on it, I have a couple memories, I feel like I actually blocked a lot of it out. It seems like another lifetime. I'm very strong willed. And for me not to be able to do what I want to do. That's where all the lessons came in. And I kind of walked into my yoga certification with my ego coming from a ballet background, having been practicing yoga since I was 18. I just wanted to get my certification. And literally the day I walked in, I think I got diagnosed the following day, and my body shut down overnight. And my teachers allowed me to continue the four month teacher training, but I had to sit all the asana practices out because I physically couldn't do anything. So I had to learn all the stuff that I probably wouldn't have learned had I been able to rely on my body. And I think that was the biggest lesson overall, you know, a lot of us nowadays, we're just used to being so productive, and movement and doing is being successful. And for me, the lesson was in the stillness, and I was forced to be in that stillness, which was really uncomfortable. But it allowed me the space to start looking at some patterns that were not good for me and looking at my life. And how did I get here? Well, you know, what, what is this disease trying to teach me?


Jill de Jong 08:10

And you had a young boy to take care of? He was like three or four around that time?


Jesse Golden 08:15

Yeah, it was the most humbling experience for me, my anthem, so to speak, was I'm a strong, independent single mother and I don't need any help. And all of a sudden, I was bedridden. And I had to put my tail between my legs and ask everybody for help. And as ridiculous as that sounds, that was a really challenging part for me. And it was also a crucial part of my healing and still is, is being able to ask for help. So you know, I had to get my family on board, friends.


Jill de Jong 08:44

And what made the difference for you, what clicked? What started to heal you, because I remember the audiobook, you've been telling about the very extreme and more aggressive forms of treatment that were making you even more sick. What gave you a turning point or hope that this would possibly go into remission?


Jesse Golden 09:05

It just didn't make sense to me. If I was going to live with a chronic disease for the rest of my life that pharmaceuticals were the only answer. I thought I'm not going to be on medicine for the rest of my life. I believe that there's a place for Western medicine like in severe incidents, of course, and even in my healing process, I've had to rely on them. I just don't think it's the be all especially for chronic disease because it becomes this vicious cycle. You know, I had relied on my body I came from a dancer background. So my way of communicating in being in the world up until I was 29 years old, was through movement. I transmuted feelings that way I expressed myself that way so for my body to shut down and for me not to be able to move was the most humbling experience, but it also allowed me to do this inner work that I feel like I was avoiding and I feel like even now that remains to be one of the most crucial modalities that has helped me thrive. Like obviously diet is the number one thing that I tell people, but I've always been a really clean eater because things do show up on my body really quickly. More than anything, just having like a spiritual practice and being able to manage stress is a huge factor for where I'm at right now.


Jill de Jong 10:27

Not only do you find a blessing in RA, which I find just remarkable, you know, and you say, I've always communicated through dance through ballet through, you know, always use my body in ways to express myself, how did you manage and understand that you needed to be more kind to yourself more loving and work on your traumas? And did you have any guidance? Did you have any spiritual awakenings? Did you have a wise person next to you that asked good questions?


Jesse Golden 10:56

Yeah, I feel like all of us are predisposed to certain diseases. And then based on your lifestyle choices, they can either come about or not come about. And for me, right when I got diagnosed, I was in an extreme stress fight or flight mode a lot. I was a single mother, I was working full time, I was financially responsible for my son and I. There was a lot of stress going on. So for women, that's why I think it's so important before you get diagnosed with anything to have tools to help and cope with stress and that you don't have to be a superwoman and do everything.


Jill de Jong 11:36

I say to myself that you can do it all doesn't mean you have to do it all, all the time. Let's take a quick break, and we'll be right back.


[Ad Break] 11:49


Jill de Jong 12:40

And we're back. So tell me a little bit about the Golden Secrets line and why you created it and what makes this so different than all the other organic skincare lines that are out there.


Jesse Golden 12:51

So I had a blog called The Golden Secrets. It began just sharing information regarding how I was able to thrive with rheumatoid arthritis because at the time there was no Instagram, nobody was on YouTube, nobody was talking about autoimmune disease. So I really felt like I had to share this message and help as many people as I could. And then that started to go into other areas of my life with diet and yoga and motherhood and spirituality and eventually beauty. And people were always asking me what I was using on my skin and what essential oil I was wearing this essential oil since high school that I had made for myself. It was just the scent that everybody was like, that's the Jesse scent. I was kind of known to have this scent, and a friend of mine who I really admire. He's an amazing businessman. He said Honey, why don't you bottle that stuff and put it on your website. And I literally thought it was the dumbest idea. I was like, why is anybody gonna want to buy this and and then I kind of got protective and I was like I don't want anyone to have this. This is my sacred sacred essential oil, you know, like and this was you know, 10 years ago or something so not many people were really talking about essential oils. And then I kind of realized every time that I put it on throughout the day, it was a moment for me to check in with myself. Not only was I receiving the benefits of the of the oils that were in there in the plant botanicals, but it was just a moment to tune in with myself and check in and it became this daily ritual for me so I say it it was an accidental business. I put it on my website on my birthday and I sold out in like a day. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't I hardly knew how to ship products and print labels. 


Jill de Jong 14:37

I love hearing that.


Jesse Golden 14:38

I was you know it was struggle city. So for years I've been making my own skincare and obsessed with aromatherapy and, and natural products since high school. So I just started sharing all of them and the difference between my stuff and a lot of other products is all my formulas are based on ancient formulas that have surpassed time going back to Egyptians and Cleopatra and the immortal flower. And it was really important for me to use the opportunity when you're putting on the product to check in with yourself to make it go beyond the skin.


Jill de Jong 15:20

So yeah, your skin is absolutely gorgeous.


Jesse Golden 15:23

I believe in nature, in all aspects of my life. And I believe that, you know, even with rheumatoid arthritis, nature cures when a cure is possible. And it just always made sense to me to go towards nature first, since I was a kid. I think a lot of the skincare industry finally it's starting to switch and be more mindful about what we're putting onto our skin. Because now at this point, we all know that our skin is our largest organ. But that really didn't hit home for me until I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. And I actually hired a macrobiotic counselor. And that's really when I became aware that it really affects you.


Jill de Jong 16:02

You know, we go through a lot of products in a day, if you really count from the morning until the evening, if you if the majority of it is has toxic chemicals in it. And you know, they don't advertise that obviously, they only say, well, this, you know, it's gonna be great for you. And this is why you need to use it and it smells good. But we do need to read labels nowadays, because it can accumulate to many, many years of using chemicals, in our skincare products, but also household products, cleaning sprays, yes, the soaps that we laundry detergent, it all adds up. And we want to be as natural as possible, also not to harm the environment more than we already do.


Jesse Golden 16:39

I love being an example and kind of debunking what we've been told in the skincare industry that we need 9000 products to be beautiful, or that we need to put chemical retinoids on our face are that we need to slather chemical sunscreen on our body every day. Like all of those things, I'm really passionate about saying you know what I'm 41. And I've never worn sunscreen. And I've never used retinol. And I'm in the sun all the time. And I don't look like I'm 60 years old, which I was told when I was 20. If I did all of those things, I was going to look horrible.


Jill de Jong 17:14

And your skin would dry up like a prune or a raisin. And here you are glowing and healthy. Yeah, I love that you are unconventional and really are doing the research. And then one of the reasons why I contacted you the other day was about the Earthing Movie. And in talking about that we are not much in touch with nature anymore, because from the moment we get up and we put our feet on the carpet or on the floor, we then put our socks on or shoes. And so they talk about we need to ground to the electromagnetic field, and energy that the Earth brings to calm our nervous system. But I consciously started to like take my flip flops off and start like putting my feet in the grass and water the plants with my feet in the grass. And it just felt really good. And obviously I'm on the beach a lot more. And I feel very relaxed and happy here. And I said, you know what, there is something to this, there's another step you can take because not everyone has access to the beach or you know may not have a yard. So there is a grounding mat that I heard about. And I knew you are using a grounding mat. Can you explain what it is? And does it really make a difference?


Jesse Golden 18:26

I actually talked about this in my book, which I love sharing, talking about just being barefoot and connecting to the earth like I live right by the beach. And as soon as I'm having a stressful day, I'm like, you know, I need to just go to the beach and there's negative ions in the sand that like instantly it just absorbs everything that I was stressed out about. It's crazy. So I talk about it in my book. If you look at people that are consistently barefoot, yogi's, the stereotypical hippie surfers, they are happy to answer your question. I have all the modalities in my house to try and live my life the best that I can. So we have grounding mats on our bed and I also have a grounding mat at my standing desk. I'm doing so many things all the time between drinking hydrogen water and you know all my saunas and so I can't actually tell if it's specifically working but I do feel better knowing that I am grounded. We actually just got one for his mom who has Parkinson's. She was dealing with severe edema in both of her legs and the swelling went down in 24 hours. I was amazed that the swelling went down like right away.


Jill de Jong 19:42

That’s huge I keep hearing great things about it's definitely worth looking into and I would certainly recommend the Earthing Movie. Let's talk about your husband did you already get married? Tell me a little bit about this because he is a wonderful man like he makes you look so cute and small and then you're not tiny, you're 5’10”. You're a strong woman and he is so like tall and handsome. And I would love to hear how you met, and how this love was, you know coming about in your life because it does look like you really found each other and you're soulmates.


Jesse Golden 20:16

I love sharing this story, because we didn't meet till I was 39, which I feel like is older. So I like to give women hope that you can find your guy. I certainly found my guy, like he is beyond anything that I could have imagined. I always said that, like, I felt really confident in all areas of my life, except my love life, I was always choosing the wrong partner, really challenging relationships. And right before I met Devin, I did a lot of self-healing and a lot of work on myself a lot of self-love. And I wrote my list, which I had done in previous years. But this one was different. Because I was really clear, and I didn't leave anything out, I thought, You know what, I'm not gonna leave a single thing out, I deserve to have an incredible human in my life. And, and then I lived my life at the highest vibration, because I knew that whoever was going to come into my life was going to match my vibration. And I think that that's the most important thing that a lot of people do is they live in a state of lack. I don't have a lover, I don't, I wish I had a partner. And it's such a negative thing. And they don't live their life because they're waiting for their partner. And they're actually going to get somebody that's lacking everything. So you need to live your life at the highest vibration as if you're already whole. And you already have you know your partner. And he just came in, I mean, I say it was love at first sight, he just swooped in, and, and I knew right away, and he blows my mind on a daily basis. He's what I would call like, a divine masculine, healed person, like he's so wise and compassionate. He's the most incredible father figure to my son. I always tell people, he is not only the most incredible now husband, but he's one of the most incredible humans I've ever met.


Jill de Jong 22:11

Oh, I love hearing that. And so when a man comes in, and can help and can carry you and love you, there must be this big sigh This relief this surrendering. And I hope that you can surrender because obviously, it's not natural for you to be in that state. But it's, it's also where stress lowers tremendously when you are in a wonderful loving relationship where you feel whole and I found your perfect match.


Jesse Golden 22:38

Prior to doing the self-healing and the self-love work that I did, I kind of had this like anthem of being a strong independent, I don't need nobody type of attitude. I wasn't open to even receiving love. And I kept getting either very feminine men or just men that were so wounded and taking it out on me. So I had to really change and open and make room for someone to come in and be open to receive the love that they were going to give me. And I think a lot of women do that because they are so strong. And we've had to wear so many hats that we're not used to wearing. Now, it's crazy because I had to be so grounded and rooted my whole life. And now he's I always say he feels energetically like a big evergreen tree. He's just so rooted into the earth, that it allows me to just kind of float around and be in my natural state that I've been wanting to be in this like Fairyland, you know, for the last 16 years that I really couldn't, because I was I was so weighed down by so many responsibilities. But now he kind of holds the space for me and I can just be in my natural state. It's it's incredible.


Jill de Jong 23:53

Of course, you know, you don't always have great days, but overall, you really are vibrant and thriving in this life. And also when you are having bad days, like how do you pick yourself up?


Jesse Golden 24:04

I kind of have this toolkit that I reach to like when I'm dealing with anything and nature is definitely one of my first resources, just going for a beach walk or getting out in the sun and shifting my energy and then one of the other things is looking past my own eyelashes. I think a lot of times when we're not having a great day or something is going on in our personal life, we can easily become the victim and sulk in it, which just makes the issue worse. So I go through it. I allow myself to feel what I'm feeling and then I process it and then reaching out and looking past my own eyelashes and helping somebody else is literally one of the best ways to instantly feel better. positive affirmation has always been one of the things that I do on a daily basis just kind of checking where I'm at, like if I have like, negative thoughts. I talked about this in my book, but this is like the easiest thing that you can do on a daily basis where if your inner dialogue is negative, or you feel like yourself, you're worrying or, or even if you say something out loud, that's negative, you need to acknowledge it and then replace it with three positives or three things that you're grateful for in this moment. And I do this with my family all the time, like if any of us say anything that we don't actually want to come true, because the universe always says yes, and like oh, let's rephrase that, like, what do we really want, and then finding gratitude for the things that I have in my life is one of the greatest tools that we have, like, and it's the little things it's, the sun is shining, you know, it's, I feel good, I'm breathing, just like the basic things. But it's one of the keys to actually getting more of what you want.


Jill de Jong 25:49

We do have that responsibility ourselves that we need to give ourself more and more permission to take care of ourselves. And think of it as a selflish act, or an act of self-love. And so we're more patient, we're more loving. And so we can give more, because we do already give so much. But giving back to ourselves really is super important.


Jesse Golden 26:10

Yes, I think so I feel like the darkness reveals the light. And I know everybody feels this conscious shift happening within themselves, within the planet, there's a huge shift happening. And I really feel like it is the rebuilding of this new life. And I think the most empowering thing that we can do is just start with yourself and your home, like build that peace on earth, within your own self, and within your home. And eventually, that will start extending out towards your town and your state and your country and the world. But it really starts at home. We can't expect anything to shift until you know we really practice that ourselves.


Jill de Jong 26:55

So well said, Jesse, I love talking to you and I could talk to you for another hour. But we're gonna wrap up the show, we are going to ask you how do we stay in touch with Jesse Golden?


Jesse Golden 27:07

I’m probably the most social on Instagram, @JesseGolden is my handle. And then my website is


Jill de Jong 27:19

So easy to remember. I love it. Well, it was a real joy to talk to you and I'm so glad you shared all that you share constantly on your social media and you know, we're able to repeat a couple of things that you know I think is important for everyone that doesn't know yet to hear. And you know, you're such a trooper you have like the best attitude and you call RA your superpower. Something that you know some people may label as a nightmare you call it is a humbling experience. And it's wonderful to rephrase and retell our stories because that's the power that we have. You lead by example. So I thank you again for sharing all these nuggets of wisdom. And I'm looking forward to meeting you and when I'm back in California.


Jesse Golden 28:06

You too. Thank you so much for having me.


Jill de Jong 28:09

This episode was produced and edited by AJ Moseley. Sound mastering by Michael Kennedy. Recorded for Curtco Media. We’re so thankful for your listens and shares. Until next time, my friends. I’m Jill de Jong.


Narrator 28:28

From Curtco Media. Media for your mind.

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