A story about me.
I grew up surrounded by a lot of sickness and pain. This was the undercurrent that influenced my thought patterns and relationship with the world.
I was an active child, the youngest of three siblings in a small town in Ohio, who spent lots of time playing outdoors and enjoying life.
On the surface, life was good.
As I grew, I remained active, playing organized sports and enjoying plenty of time in nature. As a young adult I transitioned to formal exercise, both gym-based and nature-based, and I searched for the perfect activity mix. I explored it all. Power walking, running... working out with weights, rubberized bands and exercise balls... working out at home to all sorts of videos (“Jab, Jab-Cross! Uppercut - Kick!”)
Through it all, I came to realize that what I enjoyed most were simple, practical work-out routines that allowed me to better enjoy life.
I wanted to go kayaking without worrying about pain the next day... I wanted to jump and dance and go hiking and move a couch or table... And I wanted to snowboard! I loved snowboarding, and I still do!
Although, I’ll confess in my early twenties, I may have taken it a bit too far. I often boarded with reckless abandon, and I collected a number of really bad falls and a few concussions along the way. Snowboarding wasn’t the only place where I was reckless. While I was working out in an effort to stay fit and healthy, I was simultaneously doing my body plenty of harm.
I partied. Hard.
I consumed intoxicants in excess, and I let myself get into compromising situations. Strange combination, yet that’s how I was living my life. And by the time I made it to my mid-twenties, I was starting to have a lot of pain a lot of the time. “Everyone has pain,” I told myself. “That’s just something we live with. I should just suck it up.”
But something was telling me to look into it... Was it one too many snowboarding injuries? Was it genetic? Had I injured myself by not working out correctly? Was it related to eating too many Hot Pockets or drinking too many cans of Coors Light? No matter, it was a presence in my life, and I needed to do something about it.
Thankfully my internal compass (which worked pretty good when I was sober) led me to study and became a certified personal trainer. This was my first step in educating myself about human anatomy, movement, and well... pain relief. It was around this time that I also had my first real therapeutic massage. I’ll never forget it. The seemingly simple touch triggered such powerful emotions, and marked a turning point in my awareness. The thought that bubbled up and changed my life was that the physical body is just the tip of the iceberg. My interest and fascination in “freedom of movement” was about to cross over into the mysteries of the mind-body connection.
So I decided to press the big red reset button.
I left Ohio and landed in North Carolina, where I cosmically reconnected with a dear old friend who would soon become my husband. North Carolina was a five-year fast track to a new chapter in my life. I was indeed able to escape many of my unhealthy patterns, but it went beyond that.
Getting engaged, then married, then becoming a parent... The soul-shock and unimaginable grief of losing my dad... The experience of graduating from Blue Ridge Healing Arts Academy and becoming a licensed, practicing massage therapist... My thought space was filled with anatomy & physiology, chakras, energy healing, yoga, meditation – the whole ball of wax.
Then, when my son was two years old, there was a yearning to return home.
In returning to Ohio, I found myself slipping back into some of my old unhealthy ways, and I continued to experience pain and other health related issues too. It was important to me to find relief naturally through Chiropractic care, massage therapy, nutrition, exercise, stretching, yoga and self-care tools, and through dedication to this way of living, I eliminated the health-related symptoms I was experiencing.
This bolstered my faith in the power of self healing.
I have a vivid memory of returning from the mailbox one day with a John F. Barnes seminar flyer in my hands. I had received these mailers before and I was peripherally aware of Barnes’ Myofascial Release (MFR) approach, but on that particular day I remember poring over the information and feeling compelled to sign up for an upcoming workshop in Sedona, Arizona.
I signed up and, in the spring of 2016, I attended a Myofascial Release Seminar. Professionally and personally, I knew I had discovered something really unique. After a few MFR treatments, nearly two decades of chronic pain completely changed.
Pain that I had been carrying around in my body for years completely dissolved.
Upon returning from my very first MFR seminar, I started to notice changes occurring within me on a more subtle level. I gave up binge partying and eventually eased away from even social drinking; I traded in my partying for self-help books, meditation, nature hikes, various styles of healing workshops, and a whole helluva lot of introspection.
Once I became comfortable as an MFR practitioner, I began introducing it into my massage practice along with a variety of self-care techniques including exercise and stretching. Because I myself have experienced the benefits of these practices, I feel called and compelled to share them. All in all, this work initiated an unraveling effect in me that continues to this day.
Overall, I would say that my life has become more... gentle.
I now exercise in ways that nourish my body rather than deplete it. I exercise to stay healthy and to keep my body feeling functional for the more active pursuits I enjoy. I have developed a connection to nature that fulfills, supports, and sustains me. I honor my wild side in healthy ways and I stay grounded and connected to who I really am.