To be clear, this is not a post boasting that I’m “Badass and Beautiful.” It’s a post about the bold and badass act of turning towards and facing ourselves, and the beauty that’s found along the way…even when we encounter aspects of ourselves that are challenging.
This photo was taken after a weekend of ceremony where I did just that, turned towards, and not only faced myself, but faced some of my deepest, darkest held fears and long held (too long held) pain.
What occurred on the other side of this journey was FEELING “badass and beautiful” for having gone through the experience. This recent trip to Sedona to further my studies with MFR (myofascial release), like the trip where I took the above photo, was one of those journeys where I boldly had to face myself and the reality of where my body was at, the morning of the highly anticipated advanced workshop I was there to take called MFR III “Beyond Technique.”
You see, before I left for Sedona, I worked myself to the bone in order to make this journey possible. On top of that, the week before my travels, my nerves were rattled due to some recent crime that hit too close to home for my comfort level, while fortunately everyone, including myself, were safe and sound, I didn’t have much time to process just how deeply upsetting this was to me. While at work I felt in good shape. Then when I’d arrive home each night, my body kept sending constant signals that it needed rest and some serious processing time. On most days I’m good at listening to these kind of signals, and following suit, yet this time around, I consistently ignored them in order to just get through the next day until I had a month off of treating.
This mentality temporarily worked, that is, until I landed in Sedona.
Upon my arrival, I immediately jumped into the Subtle Energy workshop (which was _awesome_ and enhanced what I practice with giving and teaching Reiki), that I, quite frankly, just barely got through as my body kept crying out for pure and utter rest and relaxation. Then lo and behold, I woke up the morning of the MFR III workshop sick; sore throat (thankfully NOT Covid!), depleted immune system and ZERO energy.
At first I thought to myself, my inner world must just be stirred up, and a healing crisis occurring, but when I sat with and listened to my body, the following internal message clearly came through, “Push forward, get sick. Stay here and rest, get well.” I couldn’t get myself to IGNORE that clear as day, potent message. So despite all of my anticipation of reaching expert status, I followed my body’s lead and took myself out of class with the ability to take it in 2022.
After I made the call, I crashed into a day and a half’s worth of DEEP sleep and woke up all the better for it. Not to say I was completely healed after the sleep but I certainly felt 10x better.
As I slowly integrated into my stay, I had to face myself each morning with a punch to the gut when I kept facing the reality that I wasn’t there to do what I originally intended to do. Every fear, uncertainty and doubt crept into my mind, and I felt that I had two choices…to wallow in these tormenting thoughts and feelings, OR rise up, face my fears and actually give a damn about myself and my health and take care of myself in the best way possible, so I could fully heal my exhausted nerves. I chose the latter.
A few things that helped me move through the fear and self-doubt to a place of deep respect for my ability to be able to trust my intuition and body’s messages were some teachings I’ve learned along the way that lead me into an unexpected journey of deeply practicing what I preach!
The first teaching I worked with was something I learned years ago from my MFR mentor, John Barnes, which is “you have to feel it to heal it.”
Pulling myself out of MFR III challenged my ego to levels of self-doubt and low self-worth that I didn’t realize existed within me. Yet when I allowed myself to be in, and with, each layer of discomfort that arose, another one of John’s teachings stepped in, which is, “soften into sensation.” I allowed each uncomfortable sensation to rise to the surface, and ultimately allowed myself to soften into it. While not easy at first, this ultimately allowed the physical, mental and emotional pain to soften to the point of dissipating.
What arose on the other side of the dissipated sensation was the beauty of accepting my life just as it was in the moment, and the actual joy of recognizing that I gave my body and spirit a true gift of rest and treating myself well. It also allowed me quality time to recognize and celebrate all that I’ve already accomplished, which quite frankly, I can’t remember the last time I’ve celebrated all that I’ve done in my life and work.
The more I continued down the self-acceptance path, I began to recognize another gem of a teaching from John Barnes that I often use in sessions with clients, “If you’re working too hard, you’re working too hard,” and I realized I was living my life working too damn hard, and perhaps, just perhaps, it was time for me to recognize that and live differently so I don’t recreate this experience when I attend MFR III in 2022!
All in all, the more I implemented these simple, yet profound practices throughout my stay in Sedona, I discovered the ability to let go of any guilt, shame, or regret from this experience. Moving through and letting go of these emotions allowed for the space to feel a deep sense of inner peace, which lead me to treat myself so very well during my stay in Sedona by feeding myself nourishing foods, lots of rest and time to explore Sedona at a level I haven’t been able to during my previous visits.
While my actual travels looked quite different than originally intended, and were DEEPLY humbling, I truly believe that I experienced EXACTLY what I was supposed to, and I have a feeling I’ll be all the wiser for it in the days to come. Even though I was truly humbled by this experience, none the less, I’ve walked through it and out the other side feeling “badass and beautiful” for listening to my body and honoring it in a deep way.
The lessons learned from this journey, made me realize that before I left for Sedona, I was operating in alignment with our societies values of overvaluing productivity, and that doing the complete opposite felt like a very “radical act” (in the words of my Movement Medicine teacher David Mooney). What I’ve found along the way, while this act may be considered radical in the eyes of some, it’s deeply necessary in the eyes of others to not only value what we produce in the world, but also allow ourselves equal time to savior the fruits of our labor and replenish our energy. Otherwise, in the end, is it worth it to just keep working and not actually relish and enjoy the fruits of our labor?
Why I Share This With You…
I share all of this with you, because if you find yourself working too hard in your own life or if you bump up into places/experiences where you’re being challenged to accept yourself and/or your life where it’s at, perhaps some of my experience can provide some insight or practices you can incorporate into your own experience.
During or after our sessions together, notice where in your body you’re storing any emotional energy behind the physical discomfort.
I notice many numb themselves out during session in order not to feel what’s arising, yet if we keep numbing out to the experience there’s no way to be able to feel and move through the experience which is ultimately the path to authentic healing. Remember the words of John Barnes, “you have to feel it to heal it.”
Now this is not to say to push yourself past the limits you’re willing to go, but rather an invitation to allow yourself to go, even a little further, than you may have gone before. Further into the connection with your very own body, mind and heart.
And before I conclude, this needs to be said, it’s okay to express emotion in our sessions if it arises. So many of us fear our tears, or even our own joy and laughter for that matter.
This being said, if these words resonate with you and you’re curious to go deeper within yourself, allow for our time together to be a playground of sorts, to help you feel your way through the experience with an advanced guide alongside you.
In the meantime, I invite you to say to yourself, “Here I am, as I am.” What sensations (be they physical, mental or emotional) arise within you when you say that to yourself? If anything comes up that challenges you, I invite you to feel your way into and soften into those places and witness how those sensations begin to transform on their own.
Of course, if you find you need additional support through what comes up, I suggest contacting a trusted friend or therapist, or feel free to bring into your next session with me what you’re working through and we can go from there.
Overall lesson to share with you, be generously good to yourself! You are the only you you’ve got and it’s so true that if “you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else!” Btw-not sure who was the first to say that last quote so if you know, please let me know!