It was the summer after I turned 11 that I fell. It was a 12-foot drop into an enclosed space, the debris which followed me down caused me to panic as I landed upside down and struggled to breathe. I was very hurt; my pelvis had hit a board on my way down.
I was alone; no one was coming for me.
I lay in a crumpled heap in that dark hole and assessed my situation. My initial scan showed no way out; one surface was metal with wood framing, the other two were slippery straw. I found the light and crawled painfully towards it. Claustrophobia set in, a new experience for me, as I squeezed my injured body through a narrow tunnel. In only a single moment, that fall changed the course of my life. I did not know as I struggled to climb out that I was emerging into a journey of chronic pain that would last almost 15 years, or that the trajectory of my life was altered in ways I could not yet see.
Both the pain and the winding path to healing would come to change so much of me and how I see the world. In the aftermath of my accident, the doctors I worked with followed the typical western medical procedures, which included treating parts of my body rather than an integrative approach to treating the whole, and covering over the symptoms rather than getting to the root of the problem. Most impactfully, they tried to reassure me with soft lies, brushing aside my lived experience of what it felt like to inhabit my own body. My body hurt, all day, every day. The adult medical professionals kept insisting that my experience of my body and my chronic pain was false, and this dynamic created and solidified a fracturing of my trust in my own body and knowing.
As a teenager, I had a painful and stressful home life and struggled with chronic pain, as well as its natural companions: anxiety and depression. I wore a full body brace and my physical differences alienated me from my peers, who teased and bullied me. I tried repression, and, when that didn’t work, I moved into years of talk therapy. Talk therapy did not decrease my symptoms and missed both my eating disorder and the deep emotional hollowness.
Once I broke free and headed off to college I studied psychology, literature, biology, anatomy, physiology, movement, religion, spirituality, and art. I was ravenous for a way out of the pain and my inner compass never allowed me to turn to drugs and alcohol as many of my peers were doing.
As time passed, I tried Eastern Medicine, Physical Therapy and medical doctors continued to try to talk me into using pharmaceuticals. Then I discovered body work in its various forms. Massage therapy and practicing yoga held my pain at bay, not allowing it to increase. They opened a route to seeing the conflict, numbness and displacement inside my system. It became clear that my body pain was more than just the lingering effects of the fall. The fall itself was an initiation into my journey of developing and working with the Whole, of bringing the pieces together.
As I began to partner with different “alternative” methods of care and combining them in new ways, my suffering first eased and then lifted. I had grown up on 200 acres of land and earth wisdom had always spoken deeply to me in a way I understood with the entirety of my system. Now, nature became my “church” and I returned to the healing of ancient earth wisdom and the cycles of the earth. It was at this time that I embodied the knowledge that while all our parts matter, the wellness of the whole is what sets us free.
The years of study, exploration and personal healing have not always been simple. The journey has not been a straight or easy route, and my fears and doubts crawl out to haunt me, just as they do for everyone. By seeing them, embracing that they are a part of me and have been working to keep me safe, I can move forward with them as allies rather than allowing them to hold me back from taking chances and putting myself out into the world fully. I have also been freed from chronic pain by working to integrate my Five Bodies, by seeing the wholeness of my own system. My explorations and life on the Shamanic path have shed light on the power and depth of conscious choice-making and how our choices initiate us into our own power.
It quickly became clear that I was not unique in needing more than my physical body addressed for healing to take place. Healing takes place when we can grow past our own confinement.
I built a bodywork business centered around helping people learn to trust the messages of their own amazing, wise physical bodies. Massage therapy, movement, Craniosacral therapy, shamanism, astrology, Somatoemotional release, energy work, the Akashic Records, and storytelling are a natural fit to integrate full system healing. These things freed me from my own pain, and I knew I could use them to help others.
I developed a way of working with people somatically through the full integration of what I view as The Five Bodies; Spirit, Energy, Emotion, Mental and Physical. The Emotional Body is our feeling self - the sad, mad, glad, scared self, housed in the heart space. The Mental Body is our head space and often the “safest” space - the seat of the cold logic self. The Energy Body is a quantum self, an understanding of the electrical self that animates the Physical Body (or what I often call the “meat suit”). The Spiritual Body is that connection both to the deep inner wisdom and the force outside of us that is huge, all-knowing and has our back. It is the integration of the Five Bodies that creates such intense change for my clients.
Years after I started my business as a massage therapist, I was introduced to the story of the Goddess Hygiea and her principle that healing needs to be approached by looking at ALL the parts as a Whole system of well-being. By this time, I had been speaking about and teaching my clients about integration of the Five bodies for years. It was beautifully affirming and helped me see the purpose of my own journey which had opened me to this deep, inherent wisdom. That I have been so supported by the Universe in bringing and sharing wisdom with my clients has been a gift beyond words; witnessing the freedom and expansion they find humbles me.
My bio used to look like a list of my “doing”; I could easily rattle off all of my doing. And then the world stopped, and everything changed “differently”, while I have observed that many people wanted it to change “the same”. So, I would like to offer a bio on my “beingness”.
My beingness allows me to spend a lot of time in my still, infinite interior. My beingness is my ability to go on walks without anything in my ears and just be with the walk. I have learned how to hold my center loosely, not in a death grip. I have found my value.
I am a single mom of an adventurous, gregarious, artistic tween-aged son. I have a fabulous Russian-speaking therapy dog that joins me at the office and a one-eyed pirate cat.
Somatoemotional release therapy
Myofascial release therapy
Certified Sundoor Firewalk Instructor