Feeling a little off? Do you have a headache coming on? Have you stretched, foam rolled and taken hot baths until you’re blue in the face and still feeling muscle aches and pain?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, I have one little tip for you….check your hydration levels.
My myofascial release mentor, John F Barnes, PT, LMT, NCTMB often talks about how most of us are dehydrated and don’t even know it. In the words of, Richard P Harty, PT, fascia is a “water-loving tissue.” When the fascia becomes dehydrated the tissue becomes taught and can start to solidify, placing up to 2000 Ibs of pressure per square inch on the internal structures of the body such as nerves and muscle fibers. At it’s worse, this can create debilitating pain.
Staying hydrated can help prevent fascial restrictions. Of course, you may need an extra intervention like a myofascial release session, foam rolling, yin yoga class or the like. However, if you are stuck in a bind and are either between sessions or at work and can’t get away to foam roll or go to a yoga class, then may I suggest to check your hydration levels.
Relief could be just a glass of water away.
I’m writing this post on the heels of a profound weekend of learning, giving and receiving Craniosacral Therapy. My experience deep diving into healing, and ultimately experiencing a healing crisis, inspires me to share with you a few thoughts and tidbits on healing.
Over the years, I have found that there is quite the misperception of what true healing is. Many of us impatient Westerners think that we heal with the quick fix of popping a pill. And the reality is, when we pop a pill to help relieve symptoms, all that it is doing is just masking a symptom.
Now I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with popping medication to help relieve painful symptoms. What I am saying is that it’s not always the be all, end all answer to curing what ails you.
Another issue this mindset of a “quick fix” can create is the thought that it takes only a few massages or bodywork treatments to “fix” the problem. For example, I’ve heard many times over from clients throughout the years, “I just want you to fix me” or “dig in, you can’t hurt me” or “dig out the knots.”
My friends, I’m here to tell you that when you turn to any form of bodywork, whether it’s Craniosacral Therapy, Myofascial Release, Reflexology and the like; the healing that occurs is a process and not something that the therapist can quick fix.
One reason for this is when you solely turn to a pill or an outside person to “fix” your symptomatic pain, this approach misses one main factor and that is…..YOU.
You are a component that you must take into consideration when going about any alternative or natural forms of treatment to help heal the symptom.
First of all, true healing helps to reduce the symptomatic pain by dealing with the root cause of the pain. Popping pills only masks this root cause, so the symptoms are likely to rear its painful little head again in a matter of time.
Second of all, our bodies have a wonderful mechanism that stores memories and traumas (emotional, mental and physical in nature). This mechanism is called the fascia. Now some of what I’m about to share is what I’ve learned studying with my mentor, John F Barnes over the years. The fascia is considered the tissue of consciousness. And if you take a look at the deepest layer of fascia, you will find the craniosacral system. The craniosacral system houses the brain, cerebrospinal fluid, the 22 cranial bones and the membranes inside of the cranium, the sacrum, and spinal column. When past lived traumas, stored up memories or emotional tensions are not fully experienced at the time of onset, they don’t just disappear into thin air, they actually get stored into the fascial system. If these experiences are not released from the fascial system, they manifest into painful patterns of tension or other forms of symptomatic pain.
Third of all, everybody has their own memories, experiences, emotions, tensions, and traumas, and there is no cookie cutter way to truly help someone heal their specific set of pain patterns because they are unique to only them. This is where YOU come into the picture. When you receive a treatment and your fascia starts to release, it is YOU who are experiencing what is coming up, and it’s ONLY YOU who can fully work your way through what’s surfacing.
All of this shared, when old memories, pain patterns, traumas and the like start to surface, a phenomenon called a healing crisis can occur.
Now the word crisis can freak some people out. I get it. It freaked me out! Then I heard someone say that a crisis can be thought of a sifting if you will. And instead of feeling freaked out by the possibility of a healing crisis, the thought of sifting through old stored up issues, discarding the ones that were causing pain, while keeping the ones that felt good, didn’t sound so bad after all.
A healing crisis, while not necessarily an enjoyable experience, can be a necessary one to fully and truly heal certain ailments. If and when you experience one yourself, please know that it is your body’s way of releasing what it no longer needs to hold onto so that you can fully heal and let go of any trauma that may ail you.
What are some things you can expect during a healing crisis? This can vary from person to person, however, the following is a list that shares some possibilities of what can occur:
* Emotional releases such as crying, laughing, the need to scream and the like
* Feeling nauseous, elimination of body fluids, vomiting
* Feeling an old injury resurface like you’re injured all over again, but in reality, you’re not. The pattern just resurfaces so it can move through and out of your system.
What are some things you can do, or not do, during a healing crisis? Once again, this can vary from person to person, yet the following are a few suggestions for you to try out:
* Take time for yourself to be with yourself and rest.
* Spend time in nature.
* Talk with a trusted friend, and if extra intervention is needed, turn to a trusted counselor or therapist.
* Drink plenty of fluids (if you can keep food/liquids down).
* Involve yourself in something creative to express any emotional build up such as journaling, painting, dancing and the like.
* Allow yourself to feel what is coming up for you, and instead of quickly turning towards analyzing it, allow yourself to feel what’s coming up to the surface. When you allow yourself to feel your way through challenging emotions/memories, rather than running away from them, one can find that the experience tends to dissolve on its own. After feeling it, if you feel the need to analyze it, then turn to a trusted confidant or therapist to work through it cognitively.
When you allow yourself to take care of yourself during a healing crisis, you may find that the symptoms that once ailed you, tend to dissipate on their own and you will come to find that with your active participation in your own healing that you end up healing yourself. You have that power within you to do this. My work and the work of my colleagues practicing various forms of natural healing therapies, are here to help facilitate this process, but it is ultimately YOU who is doing the healing.
And remember, if you find yourself in this not so pleasant phase of healing, know and trust that you will come out the other side if you allow yourself to.
On that note, I leave you today with this lovely piece that was posted on the Unify Facebook page, that reflects this topic and can serve as inspiration. Enjoy…
_”Nobody ever talks about this part…
You know, the part where you are no longer a caterpillar and not yet a butterfly. You don’t know who you are and you don’t know where you are going. All you know is that every fiber of your being is calling for transformation. For disruption. For a revolution of the spirit. So surrender. Breakdown.
This is not the death of you. This is the dying of who you once were. This is your rebirth, darling.
And these are called growing pains.”_ ~Unify
I have a confession to make.
During my 3rd year of working as a massage therapist, I almost threw in the towel and called it quits.
You see, during this early stage of my career, I was unknowingly giving too much of my time and energy away to clients, while simultaneously trying to be there for my loved ones.
I was saying yes to everything and everyone…except me.
This constant stream of ‘yes’s’ to the outside world, leaving no time or regard for me to nurture my inner world, left me feeling consistently depleted and exhausted to the point I couldn’t see even straight. As each day came and went, I found myself becoming the energetic equivalent of a sloth. It took what felt like hours to accomplish even the smallest of tasks, and when the day was said and done, all I found myself having the ability to do was come home and crash on the couch to watch television.
Needless to say, I didn’t feel like myself, nor was this who I wanted to be.
Then one day I experienced a turning point.
This turning point was when Reiki was introduced to me by a dear friend who felt this form of energy healing could help my situation. Learning Reiki, especially Reiki Level 1 that focuses on healing thyself, taught me how to replenish my energy, enhance my wellbeing and set healthy energetic boundaries so I could continue doing the work I loved, as well as, enjoy my time with loved ones.
It was through learning the art of Reiki where I started to become more attuned to how I was feeling in any given moment, as well as, where I was expending my energy and to whom.
In short, where was I using my energy wisely and where was I not?
Reiki also taught me how to put the oxygen mask on myself FIRST before placing it on anyone else. Let’s face it, if you can’t breathe, there is _no way_ you can help anyone breathe. Another way of putting this is, if you can’t help yourself, there is _no way_ you can adequately help anyone else.
Now you don’t have a be a massage therapist, or anyone working in the helping professions for that matter, to relate to feeling tired, wiped or burnt out. It doesn’t even need to be this extreme. Anyone can feel a little off on any given day. It doesn’t have to be negative either. Anyone can experience feeling great one day and a little off the next, or anywhere in between.
What I’m trying to say is that ALL of us have the capacity to use our energy wisely or not.
So I now I ask you to consider, do you put your oxygen mask on first or do you attempt to put it on another before yourself?
If you answered yes to the latter portion of that question, then I ask you to consider the following questions:
– What would your life be like and feel like if you put your oxygen mask on first?
– Would you feel more energetic? If so, would you then have more time and energy to do the things you love to do?
– Would you feel more excited to be there for others, rather than be there out of a sense of obligation?
Think about it for a moment.
What would it be like to live a more energetically responsible life? Is it not the responsible thing to place the oxygen mask on yourself first before placing it on another? That’s what the airlines say to do in the event the plane loses oxygen. So why would this be any different with energy?
Think about it.
There’s a famous quote that sums this all up beautifully, and this quote happens to be by someone I can’t name because for the life of me I cannot find the original author’s name! At any rate, the quote states this: “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.”
So while you’re letting the words in this blog sink in, I ask you to consider some of the wonderful side effects of learning how to become more energetically responsible in your own life. The following are just to name a few:
-Stress and anxiety reduction
-A sense of deep relaxation
-Increased sense of well-being
-Eased muscle tension
-Improved quality of sleep
-Enhanced ability for the body to heal itself
-Balanced emotional, mental, physical and spiritual aspects of oneself
-Support during times of acute injury
-….and much, much more.
After pondering the words above and you come to the conclusion that you’d like to learn how to put the oxygen mask on yourself, so you can feel better and be more equipped to place the oxygen mask on another, then I invite you to join me in two weeks to learn Reiki for yourself in Reiki Level 1.
Check out my practice’s Workshops & Circles Page to learn more!
I’m going to be transparent with you for a moment.
My 3rd year working as a massage therapist was one of the most intense and exhausting years working as a bodywork professional.
I started my massage career working at one of the most prominent massage therapy studios in Chicago. The majority of clientele at this spa requested deep tissue massage, and many of them claimed that I couldn’t hurt them enough. Day in and day out, I would work with clients’ most pressing physical ailments, only to find myself developing my own aches and pains in order to make sure each session was “deep enough.” After each session, I felt drained; just absolutely drained physically, mentally and emotionally. Not to mention that I started having frequent thoughts of, “now I know why experts say that most massage therapists have a work life span of 3 -5 years.” In a nutshell, I was planning my own exit strategy from the profession.
Then one day I woke up to an unexpected blessing. This blessing was the inability to place weight onto my left hand because my left arm appeared to be dangling from my shoulder socket.
“A blessing!?” you ask.
Yes, a blessing.
You see, with my arm seemingly hanging out of my shoulder socket, I couldn’t physically put weight onto that hand without experiencing excruciating pain run up and down my arm. This pain led me to follow the only choice I had which was to take a break from work so my body could heal.
It was my time away from work that was the blessing, in disguise. The following will share why:
During my time off I found myself visiting with orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and massage therapists to help ease the pain; to no avail. The orthopedic surgeons stated that the X-rays and MRI tests were inconclusive and that my shoulder wasn’t actually dislocated; the physical therapy exercises I was given only made the pain feel worse, and the massage therapy treatments weren’t able to directly treat the symptoms due to too much inflammation.
So what was this 20 something year old to do!?
I sat back and rested, prayed my heart out for an answer and started a career change search.
This course of action and non-action kept up for a couple of weeks until one of my nearest and dearest friends recommended a Reiki session.
“Reiki!? What’s Reiki going to do!?” I thought to myself.
“Reiki,” my friend said, “Reiki at worst will just relax you, and at best could possibly heal you. Just give it a try. What do you have to lose?”
“What did I have to lose? Nothing,” I thought, so I gave it a go.
First session synopsis: the worst case scenario occurred, I walked away feeling relaxed, as if the weight from the injury was magically lifted off of my shoulders. I enjoyed this feeling so much I decided to give a second session a go.
The second session was remarkably different, I found the Reiki Master working with my left shoulder for several minutes longer than she did during my first session. All I could say at that time was that my left shoulder was enveloped in a seal of caring and nurturing energy, and once again, I walked away feeling more relaxed than when I came in for the treatment.
One other notable difference from my first session to my second was that the Reiki Master said something to me that she didn’t mention before; she said that the Reiki energy would be with me for the next 24 – 48 hours. “Curious,” I thought to myself, and without a second thought I went about my day.
That night I found myself living what she had mentioned as I woke up in the middle of the night with a gentle calm. It felt as though I was in between the states of sleep and awake, with the state of relaxation from my session still coursing through me. My mind was awake, yet my body felt heavy and unable to move. I lay there for a moment remaining curious of the state I was in only to find my left shoulder starting to gently move. I saw it moving, I felt it moving, yet it didn’t feel like ‘I’ was moving it. This movement kept up for a few minutes then it stopped. Feeling dumbfounded by what just happened, I lay there at a loss for words and found myself quietly falling back into a deep sleep too tired to analyze what just happened.
As dawn broke, and the rays from the morning sun lit up my bedroom, I woke up in as calm a state as the night before. I got up out of bed and started to mosey around my apartment involving myself in activities like brushing my teeth, washing my face, getting breakfast ready. The moment I scooped my morning oatmeal out of the saucepan and onto my plate I noticed something. My left shoulder didn’t hurt anymore….like at all. Elated and slightly skeptical of the sudden disappearance of pain, I rushed to the bathroom mirror to find that it didn’t appear to be hanging out of the socket anymore. My curiosity further led me to explore if I could put weight onto my left hand….lo and behold I could, and without pain!
In a state of slight confusion mixed with awe, I contacted I the Reiki Master to find out what happened. All she said was, “your body knows how to heal itself and the Reiki energy opened the pathway for it to remember that knowing and do it’s thing from there.”
Call it grace. Call it a happy accident. Call it coincidence. Call it what you want.
The one thing I knew for sure that day was that my body was able to release the state of fight and flight during my Reiki sessions and establish a state of rest and digest. The state of rest and digest (aka the parasympathetic nervous system response) is the state where the body can properly digest food and heal from the inside out. I believe that my initial response to the shoulder injury sent me into an internal stressful state, provoking the fight and flight response. I found that it was via the Reiki sessions where my body had the opportunity to re-connect with the state of rest and digest so it could heal.
I simply call this healing.
This healing has stayed with me over the years, and I haven’t had an injury in my left shoulder since then. I was able to go back to work shortly after that healing night and this miraculous healing intrigued me to the point where and I found myself studying Reiki Levels 1 & 2 in 2010 (which helped me create better boundaries between myself and my clients, as well as, the world around me). This newfound ability to develop stronger boundaries helped prevent burnout I was originally rushing towards and elongated my career in the world of bodywork and healing. And in 2011 I received my Reiki Master level training. Since 2011, I’ve witnessed several clients heal physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually receiving Reiki.
Witnessing so many peoples’ healing, I felt called to start teaching Reiki to others. I come from a family of teachers, and I myself have 20 years of dance education under my belt, that I felt it important to practice Reiki for several years before actually teaching it. All this to say, I waited 7 years to work with Reiki energy before actually learning how to teach it, and in 2017 my heart felt that it was time to start teaching this wonderful modality. And now I’m happy to offer it to you!
So what can Reiki actually do for you? Why Reiki?
The following are a list of benefits from giving and receiving Reiki:
-Stress and anxiety reduction
-Promotes a sense of deep relaxation
-Increases ones’ sense of well-being
-Ease muscles tension
-Helps improve the quality of sleep
-Enhances the body’s ability to heal itself
-Refreshes the spirit
-Balances the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual aspects of oneself
-Reiki energy can be supportive during times of acute injury
-….and much, much more.
If you’re curious to experience Reiki for yourself, you have some options. You can either schedule a one on one session and receive Reiki, or you can sign up for Reiki Level 1 and learn how to work with this energy yourself.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!
In the following video, take a moment to learn what my “temporary” definition of energy is and two simple techniques that will enhance your ability to feel energy outside of you, as well as, within you.
I’m going to paint a picture for you….
It’s below zero outside and you’re walking to work from the El with shoulders up to your ears and hands tucked tightly into your pockets, trying to avoid the freezing cold temperatures from taking you over. You FINALLY get to work after feeling like you were outside for HOURS (when in reality it was really only ten minutes! ;), the next thing you know you hop onto your computer with coffee (with little or no water) by your side, and you go to town with your online work; all the while your shoulders hike up back up to your ears while your head darts forward staring at what’s in front of you.*
*Repeat this WHOLE scenario in reverse on your commute home and social media time on your phone from your couch.
Next step, wash up, try to find a comfortable position in bed (sans supportive pillows) and what happens next….
…..you wake up in the morning with a massive kink in your neck that leaves you paralyzed, unable to look anywhere but forward!
It’s at this time when you rush to your computer or phone to see if I, your trusted massage therapist, has any last minute openings because you’re in terrible pain only to find that my next opening isn’t for another couple of weeks.
What to do!?
First of all, don’t let this happen to you.
Second of all, little tidbit, it’s not a good idea to shrug your shoulders and stuff your hands in your pockets while walking outside in subzero temperatures. Your body warms up much faster when you’re not wearing shoulder earrings and your arms are free to swing back and forth.
Why would you do this?
Because it’s a workshop where YOU get to learn how to take care of YOU!
Not that I don’t want to work with you when you’re in pain. I LOVE working with you! The reality is, sometimes I can’t right away because I’m working with another.
So what’s the next best thing!?
Learn how to take care of yourself so you can prevent the above scenario from taking over your life and/or treat yourself in the event it does.
Check out the details below and I hope to see you there on Thursday!
This month, I’m going to get personal with you.
During the last 13 years, working as a bodyworker and a massage therapist; many people have asked me, “What do you do to stay so healthy?” I also may receive comments like, “You are the most Zen person I know.” or in a question form, “Are you calm ALL the time?”
The truth of the matter is, yes, I do things to keep myself as healthy as humanly possible, and, no, I am not calm ALL the time!
One of the reasons why I professionally got into the world of bodywork and healing was to actually learn how to heal myself from chronic injuries during my previous career as a dancer. Providing manual therapy and teaching others how to take care of themselves, was the other, obvious reason, I went into this field.
This all said, one of the things I’ve learned along the way is that receiving bodywork is not a vehicle to become more peaceful and Zen-like, ALL the time; but rather an opportunity to break the fight & flight response in order to feel into one’s body and help one become more alive in the process!
To me, living fully and being alive in this world is not only about feeling good, it’s about living fully. Living fully covers a whole array of emotions and experiences, not just the peaceful ones.
Think of my practice’s logo. It depicts the human body/being, alive and moving freely with all of the colors of the chakra system represented in the watercolor painting behind and within the body’s image. This represents life and, in my experience, life is not just about arriving to a fully healed destination; but rather it’s a series of ebb and flow events and occurrences, and how we deal with these situations that arise in our world, helps us determine our destinies. When we are healthy, it becomes easier to move through the experiences life brings into our world.
3 1/2 years ago, when I turned 35, something happened in my life, and my body, that I wasn’t expecting. Within a month’s time, my energy levels dwindled to the point where it was a consistent challenge getting out of bed in the morning. I would hit my snooze alarm for up to an hour each day and even then, I had to give myself a talking to, just to get out of bed. Once I got out of bed, I didn’t have the energy to exercise or do much of anything except get ready for work, go to work, come home and sleep. As a result of this lethargy and lack of exercise, I gained 20 pounds and was at the heaviest weight I had ever been.
Being someone who has had healthy eating habits throughout the majority of my life, I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I wasn’t able read my body’s signals and I knew I needed help, so I saw my doctor for some bloodworm and soon found out that I was developing, hypothyroidism.
Surprised at this revelation, I was at the same time relieved because I knew I could do something about this. I worked closely with my doctor to bring my thyroid functioning back into balance. After a few months, my energy levels started to increase. I was able to get out of bed with more ease and less snooze and exercise was a daily habit again.
It felt good to be living in a body that felt more familiar to me. The one hurdle I couldn’t seem to get over was the fact that I was still carrying the extra 20 pounds I gained, and healthy eating and all, I couldn’t seem to lose those pounds.
I brought this concern up to one of my chiropractors and he suggested doing a cleanse.
Now, I don’t know about you, but anytime I had participated in a cleanse in the past I usually did so feeling quite deprived during the process only to binge on food once the cleanse was completed. Yes, there is a healing crisis that can occur during a cleanse where you feel worse before you get better as the old, toxic build up that is in our systems start to flush through. This is to be expected. I just could never get through the deprivation hump that lead me to gorge on food after all was said and done.
Reluctantly, I decided to follow, the suggestion out of result of having much respect for his professional experience and work he had previously done with me. One week later I found myself starting a cleanse called; Clean, Burn & Shape.
To my surprise, after a couple of days of feeling funky as things were moving through and out of my system; I found myself actually enjoying the 10 day cleanse as a result of actually feeling nourished and energized throughout. The amount of food that I was able to eat, along with the supplements and shakes seemed to compliment my body’s needs rather than deprive them.
Needless to say, I felt great and lost 7 pounds during those 10 days. Another surprise that followed is that my body was actually craving healthy foods and smaller portions after the cleanse was over. Flash forward 6 months post cleanse, the 20 pounds I gained, once my thyroid started malfunctioning, was now gone due to the healthier and more energized habits I worked so hard to accomplish.
I share this experience with you in response to the numerous questions I receive, like the one I shared earlier in this story. I am also sharing this with you to invite you to join me in on this cleanse at the start of the spring season that’s just around the corner. Contact me directly and/or check out the shop page to learn more!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease.
It’s 2:45 in the afternoon and it starts. Suffocating pain in the back of your neck that does not want to let go.
It makes its way up the back of your spine, and yanks at the muscles at the base of your skull.
You have a deadline to make at 4pm, so you keep typing, ignoring the unpleasant sensations that are starting to distract you from your work. You think to yourself, “What choice do I have? I have to get this done!”
As you keep chugging along and typing away, it seems the tension also keeps chugging along as it begins to tighten like a vice lock around the top of your neck. Crushing pressure moves its way up towards your temples and starts to set in behind your eyes, and it becomes painful to look at the computer monitor.
You attempt to rub your neck and temples hoping it will all go away. It does, but only temporarily and only to come back in even greater fury as your head begins to throb. This throbbing makes it harder to concentrate and you find yourself feeling that the day cannot end soon enough.
Does this paint a familiar picture?
Have you been in this position before only to find yourself feeling frustrated and disempowered because, even with your efforts (no matter how great or small), the pain just won’t go away?
What do you think if I told you that you don’t need to live and work this way?
What if there were tools to help you take care of yourself that can either prevent a scenario like this from occurring or help alleviate the tension, if it already started to tighten up?
There is a way to take care of yourself and there are tools that can help!
These tools are what I share with you in, The Art of Letting Go / A Myofascial Release Self Care Workshop Series.
In this workshop, you will learn how to release fascial restrictions that, in the words of my myofascial release mentor, John F. Barnes, can place up to 2000 lbs of pressure per square inch.
Did you see that correctly!?
Restrictions in the fascial tissue can create up to 2000 lbs of pressure per square inch! That’s roughly 2-3 full grown horses placing pressure on 1 square inch of your body’s tissue!
The beautiful thing is, there ARE ways to release this crushing pressure. Yes, one of those ways is to receive a myofascial release session and another way is to learn how to self treat these restrictions in order to help maintain the work you received in session, prevent restrictions from occurring, and empower yourself to self treat restrictions as they arise.
The workshop I created is a series that will cover releasing tension patterns in specific areas of the body with the use of foam rollers, therapeutic balls, stretching and therapeutic movement.
I know many of you have foam rollers and don’t know what to do with them! This workshop will teach you the tools how to use them the way they were meant to be used.
Overall, this series is specifically designed to empower you and help you take an active role in your health and wellbeing.
As I’ve said before, I’m not here to heal you. It’s not my job to heal you. What IS my job, is to help you discover the ancient healer that resides within you! We all have him or her within us and all we need to do is access that part of ourselves in order to lead a life of energy and vitality.
I invite you to walk through this door with me and discover this healer within yourself, for yourself!
Changes. They start off small, the long lasting one’s at least.
Change can come suddenly, without warning or possibly slowly overtime and anywhere in between.
Little did I know that 2017 would be a year of change for me. Change that is starting off small.
Let me share with you….
Last year was a year of ambitious undertakings that came from a place of calling and from a place of passion.
It all started with a desire to deepen the skills I brought to each individual bodywork session; then out of a need for women to connect and heal in community, my desire lead me to use my women’s circle facilitation training to create a monthly women’s circle called, The Chakra Movement, and as the fourth quarter of 2016 came around, a desire to help others learn self care techniques based on myofascial release principles lead me to create, The Art of Letting Go/Myofascial Release Self Care Series.
These endeavors were nothing short of fulfilling and satisfying, as they were a reflection of bringing visions I had, passion and drive to life.
Let’s face it, I’ve had an ambitious drive ever since I could remember. For crying out loud, one NEEDS drive (and dedication to match) if they’re going to pursue a career as a professional dancer as I did in my late teens and twenties!
While the external activities may look different, the drive that I’ve felt inside has never changed….until now.
As many of you know, I was fortunate to live a 20 year long dream of traveling to Australia at the end of 2016. Not only did I get to live a dream, this dream was experienced on the other side of the world, in a completely different hemisphere than the country I currently call home and it also happened to be in a place where summer is in December rather than the wintertime that I’m used to.
As my chiropractor said, “You were figuratively, and somewhat literally, turned inside out and turned upside down!”
Traveling to a country where life is flipped around from the environmental factors one is used to, does have it’s effects!
The effect that traveling to Australia had on me was an opportunity to step FAR AWAY from my daily life as I knew it and allowed me an opportunity to experience another point of view regarding my day to day.
While I had an immense appreciation for my life back home in Chicago and the many wonderful things I created throughout the year, I also realized that my ambitious undertakings were taking it’s toll on me.
The toll felt like it could be costly if I continued to pursue this overly driven way of life much longer.
Before embarking on the journey overseas, I started to realize that I felt exhausted and I wasn’t actually feeling my way through life, I was just going through the motions feeling more concerned with crossing things off of my to-do list rather than involving myself in daily activities that actually fed my soul.
Why am I sharing all of this with you?
There are a couple of reasons. For one, I truly believe and have said it many times before that if you cannot help yourself, you cannot help anyone else, effectively anyway. And with this very real reminder that I was experiencing while overseas, led me to realize that I was about to embark on a journey in 2017 that very much mirrored 2016. I was planning to continue working with private clients full time, start a new women’s circle called, The Goddess Within, and continue The Art of Letting Go series once every month throughout the new year.
When I saw this schedule during my days in another country, my soul was crying out to stop the madness! All my soul really wants at this time is to go deeper. Deeper into myself, deeper into my connection with life, deeper with my connection to the work I do, deeper in my relationships and the like.
If I spread myself too thin, there’s no space or ability to go deep. Many of us live this way.
All this said, I returned home with a new sense of purpose and a list a changes I needed to make. The main change that would have a direct effect on anyone reading this is that I am postponing, The Goddess Within Circle for Women. I cannot facilitate a circle about Goddess work, if I myself don’t feel like a goddess because I’m spread too thin to actually live a feminine principle of being in life rather than pummeling through life!
I will still continue teaching, The Art of Letting Go series, as I live this work and doesn’t feel like too much of a stretch to continue sharing it with others.
And now, with that one small change, I have time open to rest, to be, to read, to write, to laugh with loved ones, to cook delicious foods, to focus on deepening my bodywork studies and the like.
This small change is already having a profound impact by enhancing the relationship I have with myself. I feel more quietly comfortable in my skin as a result of owning where I am at rather than thinking I should be doing something different with/in my life. My relationships are improving as I have more quality time for them. These are just to name of couple of improvements I’m already experiencing.
If you were planning on participating in the circle, please know when the time is right, another one will be offered. I cannot give you a time frame on this because when the next one starts, it’s going to come at a time and from a place that calls me to offer one again. This calling cannot have a timeline on it because it needs to be felt.
If you, yourself are experiencing ambitious overdrive and overload, is there one thing that you can change to give yourself some space? A moment of reprieve. It could be anything from waking up a few minutes early everyday to meditate, saying the word “no” from time to time or even hand off a part of a project to someone else who can get it done.
It can be as simple of a change as you would like it to be.
A simple change can have a profound impact on your life.
At this moment I invite you to join me. Join me and take a moment to step away from your busy life.
It won’t take long, just a few moments.
Okay, now come with me and take this time to imagine what it would be like to feel good in your body.
No aches and no pains. No nagging tension lingering in the back of your neck from too much computer work. No carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders while your traps throb.
Just ease. Plain ease in your body with every movement that you make. You feel light, open and free. Nothing is weighing you down and you feel able to move around in anyway you please.
Do you believe that this is possible? Even just for a moment?
If you answered, “no,” not to worry, you’re in good company as many people in our current society rarely state that they feel good in their body on a regular basis, but today I’m here to tell you, it is possible.
I know that you’re shaking your head as you read this. Come on, you don’t believe me? Honestly, I didn’t even believe myself once upon a time and yet, through experience, life taught me what I just told you….it is possible.
You see, several years ago, I was living in consistent pain. Mind you, I had a very active first career as a dancer but I found myself consistently in more pain or experiencing more injuries compared to the countless dancers I performed with. I couldn’t understand it. I didn’t understand why was I always getting injured and they weren’t.
I would wake up in the morning, on the daily, feeling uncomfortable in my body. Sore and achy from hours of rehearsal the day prior, wasn’t an unusual occurrence, yet the constant throbbing and swelling that would live in my knees were what was concerning me. I wanted to know the secret as to why other dancers could move with less pain or free of pain and I couldn’t.
I would constantly ask myself, why was my body doing this to me?
What I found during my search was this…my body wasn’t doing anything to me. My body was just sending me signals that I was living out of balance and I needed a course correction.
What I also learned about myself during this exploration, was that I didn’t give my body time to stop to rest and heal. I would constantly place demands on it by going, going, going and by the time I got home I was so exhausted that I would just crash!
My body was crying out for help.
It was telling me that I needed to take time to consciously rest.
Consciously rest? I used to think to myself, what does that mean?
It means making a conscious effort to slow down and offer our bodies time to get out of fight and flight mode and move into rest and digest mode. This rest allows the body’s natural healing processes to take over and counteract the effects of strenuous demands.
It also meant, for me, that I needed to move my body in such a way where tension that was built up in the fascial tissue, had an opportunity to release.
This is where the foam roller, therapeutic balls and therapeutic movement came into play.
Consistently laying on the balls or roller helped my tissues melt and release. Over time, not only did I start to feel better with practicing self care in this manner, along with receiving myofascial treatments from a MFR therapist; it also allowed me to feel a sense of empowerment. I wasn’t taking the pain lying down anymore. I was doing something about it in a constructive way. I no longer walked around wondering why my body was making me hurt, but rather, I started thanking my body for helping me move in the right direction.
These myofascial release tools are here to help you, help yourself.
Here are some other tools:
- Pause and take a deep breath in through your nose, then slowly exhale out through your mouth
- Take a walk outside and get some fresh air
- Schedule a massage, myofascial release or bodywork session
- Expand your self care knowledge by participating in workshops and put those techniques to use
If you consistently take time to practice these simple suggestions, over time, you will find yourself empowered and living from a place of understanding that your body is not doing anything to you, it’s just trying to help you pay attention. And when you pay attention, miracles can happen and a decrease in pain becomes a side effect of taking care of yourself.
You can do it. I did, even when I thought it wasn’t possible. Just make the choice to do so and see for yourself!