Syn – Everything comes together


I feel this compulsion to write today, even though I don’t have a clearly defined outcome/topic.  I have this idea floating around in my brain pan, and hopefully writing will help distill it into some sense.

Yesterday I attended a workshop, “The Tao of Voice.”  It was at a local studio that I have been trying to get myself to go to since October (even bought the 30 day pass and never went!). I finally made it.  The room was full of 12 women and one teacher, all with super diverse backgrounds but one thing in common – we all wanted to find our voice, find the ability to express ourselves clearly and confidently.  As we did introductions at the beginning of class and then as we provided our impressions at the end of class, a few words/concepts really struck me.  One woman talked about the synchronicities that brought her to the class. Another student mentioned the synergy she felt with this group of random strangers who connected over this mutual desire to tap into something bigger.  I commented how, as we all spoke/sung tones together, I could no longer track my voice as a disparate vibration, my voice just melded with the rest the group.

So I got home and looked up what the root “syn” means.  It means “together.”  I have been experiencing loads of synchronicities and syngergies in my life lately. I don’t know if these occurrences are actually happening more often, or if I am slowly tuning myself in such a way that I actually notice them more.  I’m still not 100% sure what they mean, I just know that they are meaningful! And they prove to me that “together” is where we need to be.  We are social beings.  Our energy, vibration, facial expressions, heartbeats – all these things modulate and entrain others.  We have an almost magical ability to either elevate those around us or drag them down.  Something as tiny as a micro-expression on our face gets registered by the person looking at us and can cause chemical and physical changes in the observer’s body.

Here are a few examples of recent synchroncities:

1. In Anatomy & Physiology (AP) class, we just started learning about the brain and the 12 cranial nerves.  The morning before we started this topic in class I was taking my usual walk and decided to listen to a new podcast, The Body Awake.  The podcast was an interview with Stanley Rosenberg who wrote “Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve.”  After listening to the podcast, I immediately bought the book.  I read it in about a week.  All the stuff I was learning in AP formed a foundation of understanding for the book!  And everything I was reading in the book provided a enlightening perspective on the issues experienced by a few patients in student clinic.  Clue:  Many “heads of the hydra” can be addressed by treating dysfunctions of the vagus nerve and the other 4 nerves that govern social engagement.

2.  I am in the process of reading “The Body Keeps the Score.”  The author writes a lot about how to help people with PTSD/trauma.  “Accessing the Vagus Nerve” also covers how to help people with PTSD.  At a family get-together last week, my cousin was discussing struggles her boyfriend has due to PTSD.  I was able to share some thoughts with her, based on what I was reading.

3.  I follow fisioterapia.hospitalar on Instagram.  Without fail, this user posts the most interesting videos/pics that relate EXACTLY to what we are covering in school.

4.  One of the foundational principles of neurosomatic therapy is that you must address a lower limb length inequality (LLLI) in order for the body to find balance and for any treatments to hold.  I struggle with this concept.  I just don’t WANT it to be true because I want to be barefoot and fancy free – not tied down by a lift in my shoe (my right leg is 8MM shorter than my left).  Well, we discovered that my research patient has a 7MM LLLI.  She put a lift in her shoe and almost immediately noticed huge improvements in mobility, range of motion, and pain levels.  The universe provided me with the case study I needed to see to believe.

5. Yesterday I listened to a Matt Kahn talk where he was talking to empaths about how to process emotions/feelings that crop up.  He provided the mantra, “What I am feeling, I am healing for the world.”  He recommended that instead of resisting uncomfortable feelings, to allow that energy to pass through you, so it could return to Source.  I interpreted it as another way of saying, “What you resist, persists.”  Well, in class yesterday one of the women mentioned how overwhelmed she was by the news and the feeling that she needed to watch it so she could DO something about it.  One of the callers to Matt’s show expressed almost the exact same sentiment, and Matt provided help on how to deal with that.  So I told this woman about Matt’s talk.  Hopefully it will help her find some peace.

So all this is to say, wow – we are all really connected – energetically, physically, emotionally, neurologically.  This idea gives me lots of hope. Changing the world is 100% overwhelming, but changing your own perspective and vibration is 100% doable, and doing so creates a domino effect which will spread to everyone you come into contact with, starting a chain reaction of positivity and hope.  By pursuing joy, you make your life better and improve the lives of everyone you come into contact with. 🙂

 

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The Agony of Learning


Well, about 5 weeks ago I started Student Clinic, which means for 4 hours every week I have the opportunity to practice what I have been learning for the past 8 months.  This has been a very…overwhelming, humbling, joyful, agonizing, educational, fun, scary, awesome, horrible experience.  I have found that I am MUCH more comfortable reading about providing therapy than I am actually DOING therapy.  Where the rubber meets the road is WAY outside of my comfort zone.

There is SO much to process in a 60-minute neurosomatic therapy session:  you need to be PRESENT with the patient, you need to connect with them, make them feel safe, make them feel like they are in good hands (when you really doubt that you have good hands at this stage), you need to converse with them while taking 84 measurements (some of which take a degree of palpation skill I do not yet possess), you need to register what they are saying while also figuring out, if my finger in her right earhole (aka external auditory meatus) is higher than my finger in her left earhole, does that mean her left side is higher or her right side??, and then remember that for at least 10 seconds while you mark it on the posturology chart.

Then, you survive taking all the measurements, and then the really hard part comes – analyzing what is going on in that beautiful, complicated, multidimensional, fluid/solid mass of bones, soft tissue, emotions, and thoughts.  So you look at the chart, form a semblance of a plan and get started.  Then the clinic supervisor comes over and challenges your assessment, based on his years of experience in comparison to your 6 months of experience.  So you adjust, all the while trying to maintain an air of confidence in front of your patient patient (yes, that’s intentional).

And then you look down at the body on the table and realize you forgot all the techniques you’ve been learning.  Then the real panic sets in.  You question your ability to function as a coherent human being, much less a competent neurosomatic therapist.  Your brain hurts from this strain of trying to juggle so many requirements. Your thumbs hurt because you are too focused on everything else to focus on good body mechanics. Plus your thumbs are double jointed which adds an even more interesting challenge to performing deep tissue/trigger point work.

BUT, while that whole process continues to happen with each successive Student Clinic, each time it gets slightly less awkward and slightly more fun.  Especially when the patient gets up and says,”Wow – my sinuses are so much clearer!”  “My neck feels so much better!  I have so much more range of motion!”  “My head feels lighter.”  “The pain in my chest I’ve had for 8 years is GONE!”  And you’re like, “Holy shit.  This DOES work!  I CAN help people.  I am not a failure!”  And that part is super awesome.

So, the gist of this whole long rant is that learning a new skill (manual therapy) that is worlds apart from the skills you currently posses (business analysis/project management) is PAINFUL!!  Especially if you are a perfectionist with helpful undercurrent of anxiety.  Oh man.  It is SO hard.  But no growth comes from living in your comfort zone.  And living in the comfort zone  leads to atrophy and dissatisfaction.  I would rather, when it’s all said and done, push my boundaries and experience all the emotions and trials that come along with that, than continue doing what I already know how to do and staying in that safe (but ultimately very dangerous) comfort zone.

I feel as if I should have gotten some intense psychotherapy before taking this leap.  All of the changes in my life, location, career, friends, etc. has brought to the surface so many limiting beliefs that I have unconsciously held for my 41 years of life.  These beliefs (I’m not good enough, mistakes and failure are bad, etc.) are intensifying this experience so much.  Or, is this experience bringing these beliefs into the light of awareness, so I can process them and let them go?  So I guess things are working out as the wise universe intended.  So I just need to ride that flow and trust the (painful and awesome) process.

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On Change, Awakening, Being Part of God, and Learning How to Study Again


Hmm. I may have bitten off more than I chew here – at least more than I can chew on in one post.  But, we’ll see how this goes. 🙂

So.  It’s March 2018 already.  I am deep in the thick of my Huge Life-Changing Decision – 7 months in, in point of fact.  How does it feel?  Well, all-in-all very normal.  Once I was able to stop using my GoogleMaps app to find my way around, my mind and body accepted this new situation as the new normal.  Habits developed, I settled down and in, and 7 months flew by INSANELY fast.

My first term is over.  I learned: how to do a posturology chart; how to massage a human-being who was not related to me (:P); all the muscles of the neck and shoulder and where they attach, how they are innervated, what function they do, why they hurt, and how to assist with alleviating the hurt; how to study, learn, and retain loads of information; how to write a medical research paper; the very basics of lymph drainage, Thai massage, reflexology, etc.  It was a total fire-house situation, which no doubt contributed to the perception that the time just absolutely FLEW by.

But, not only was this past 7 months filled with academic learning, it was also filled with a lot of spiritual growth.  I think these two journeys are really rail-road tracks traveling alongside each other. I needed each one of these rails into order to make it here to 03/17/18.

I ended up making the decision to come to this school because I felt as if the Universe was guiding me here.  Well, I think “felt” is not the exact word.  My mind observed certain events that suspiciously looked as if they could be “signs.”  I started seeing a yoga therapist/psychologist in mid 2016 because I KNEW I was not not happy; I was not living my purpose.  But I was too overwhelmed by options and fear to see a path forward. I had read books and the blogs and listened to the teachers who said, “Ask the Universe for what you want, and it will answer you.”  But I didn’t really believe it, and when I tried, it didn’t seem to work.  I received no CLEAR answers.  So I got professional help.  On my first visit, my therapist had me write down my intention. I wrote, “I will find my purpose and live it fearlessly.”

A couple of days later, I discovered the Center for Neurosomatic Studies. I devoured all the info on their site, barely taking a breath because I was so excited about what I was reading – this was precisely what I was looking for!

Anyway, a lot of synchronicities/coincidences/signs like that continued to happen over the next 4 weeks or so.  My closest friend and my therapist were both like, “Duh, Heather.  You asked for a sign. You’re being assaulted by them.  Listen!”  So eventually I listened, not because I really FELT that taking this step was my “divine purpose” though. It was more because academically, I could see that there seemed to be some sort of cause-effect relationship in place.  My insides did NOT feel like disrupting my predictable life and destabilizing my existence.  But my brain was like, “You asked for signs. Signs were given.  You’ve been down that old road, Neo.  You know where it goes, and you know that’s where you don’t want to be.”  So I chose the new road.

Early on in the semester, one of teachers recommended “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.”  The book, in a super tiny nutshell, teaches that we are all co-creators with the Universe, and if we can identify behaviors that are no longer serving us and then envision and FEEL into a future state where we ARE who we want to be, then the Universe will make it happen.  The author explains all this using quantum science – all potentials exist simultaneously, and we can influence which version of reality we want by entangling our thoughts (and their energy) to the scenario we really want.

I read the book, did the writing exercises, and did the meditations.  And weird shit starting happening.  I started to feel the way I wanted to feel.  Things that I wanted to happen started to happen.  I started to see repeating numbers all the time: 888, 111, 222, 444, 555, 777.  They popped up so often that I started reading about the meaning of these numbers.  Basically they all indicate the following:  the Universe is helping you, be present, you are fully supported, trust that you are exactly where you need to be, you are here to co-create with the Universe, trust your choices, stay positive, you are interacting in perfect synchronicity with the Universe, the world is yours; shine bright and light up the night.

So it has been a really, really interesting 7 months.  As you can see from previous posts, there have been lots of challenges and a few trips into the depths of despair and doubt.  But there is no light without the dark, right?  I am looking forward to seeing what this new term will bring – new knowledge, new people, new experiences, new opportunities, new awakenings.

As I feared, I did not get around to discussing how I learned to study again.  That will have to be another post. I need to get off my butt because it’s falling asleep.  And I know it’s time to WAKE UP!!

Hope you have a most excellent day!

 

 

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On Feeling Bad about Feeling Bad


It’s been several weeks since I have written, and what is my excuse?  Well… let’s see.  I traveled back to Iowa for Thanksgiving, and then from Iowa we drove back and forth to Wisconsin. Then the following week, I studied my arse off for my first anatomy test and passed it (I had help from the Universe because *something* guided me to guess correctly on many of the questions on which I was uncertain!), and that afternoon I flew back to Iowa for a big project at work.  Then last weekend I recuperated from the prior two weekends.  And now it’s this weekend, and I’m preparing for yet another trip back to Iowa next week.  But this should be the last trip home for awhile.  We are closing on the house on the 21st, after which point Tim and I will BOTH officially “live in Florida.”  Crazy.  It’s been four months of limbo and uncertainty.

So there has been a lot going on.  And maybe that is why I have been feeling down lately.  I feel…unsettled, unsure of myself, uncertain of my place in this world, uncertain of newfound friends, unclear as to what my status is at work and at school, uncomfortable with the discomfort of trying something new and not being really good at it immediately.  My standard methods of interacting with others are no longer providing the same tried and true results. So, I am floundering a bit as I try to regain my footing and figure out how to operate in the new paradigm of my life.

Yet with all the “Un-s” that I am, I would not say I am unhappy.  I am just going through some very uncomfortable emotions right now. And to exacerbate that discomfort, is my feeling that I shouldn’t be FEELING these emotions.  I am healthy, loved, and financially solvent.  Life could be much, much worse. I have oodles of people and things for which to be grateful.  I should not feel sad, lonely, hurt.  I should encounter unsettling circumstances with equanimity, saying “What can this experience teach me?”   I should be confidant in who and what I am and not let the behavior of other people so easily destroy my self-worth.  I KNOW BETTER!  I am stronger than this.  My brain knows this. My body is sad and feels bad though, and I can’t talk the body out of its feels.

So, feeling sad sucks, but feeling bad about feeling sad sucks even more.

As usual, the Bliss & Grit girls are one step ahead of me.  I listened to their most recent episode today on my walk – Episode 61:  Should we Focus on Positivity?  Basically, the gist is, it’s OK to NOT always be the peppy, happy, positive person.  I can be sad, observe that I am sad, allow myself to be sad, and do so with self-directed tenderness.  I just have to ride the ebb until I get back into the flow.

 

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Time warps


I am doing a 21 day meditation with Oprah and Deepak.  I ran across the link on Facebook and figured I could use the encouragement and structure of a challenge.  This challenge is all about reframing your relationship with time.  I have an issue with time.  As in, I don’t have enough of it.  I spend a lot of it thinking and worrying and talking about how I don’t have enough of it it. Then I procrastinate by doing things I don’t REALLY love because I know that I don’t have enough time to do what I need to do, so why not put off even longer my engagement with this task for which I don’t have enough time??

Consequently, I end up facing a task (e.g. homework) by first making some coffee.  Then I will check Facebook. Then I will remember that I need to text my brother.  Then I will throw a load of laundry in.  And maybe do the dishes.  And then eat some chocolate.  And then.  Maybe then.  I will sit down and study.  And LO!  It’s not so bad.  It’s actually interesting.  I am actually learning.

So, obviously, I really need Oprah and Deepak to help me with this unhealthy relationship with time.  Each morning they email me a link to a meditation.  Each day you are given a centering thought along with a  Sanksrit mantra that you repeat for the duration of the meditation.  Today’s centering thought is; The only real time is here and now. The mantra is: Om Hreem – Pure transparent awareness is my essential nature.

Doing these meditations has increased my awareness of my skewed view of time.  I more easily observe the aforementioned pattern and break out of it occasionally. For example, on Thursday night, I finally got out my 2″ stack of handwritten flashcards and started reviewing them and separating them into Things I know, Things I Don’t Know, and Things I Kinda Know.  Ninety minutes flew by!  I had assimilated some new information. Yet, the evening was still rather young!  I had time for a walk.  Time for a chat with Tim.  I felt as if I had entered some sort of time warp.  Somehow much more time had appeared in an evening!!

That was Thursday.  I haven’t experienced that bliss again since then, but at least I know it’s possible now. 🙂  I think the real key is just to FOCUS.  Let everything go except that ONE thing you are doing right now.  That one moment expands into a deep ocean where time does not exist, or at least it’s slowed waaaaay down.  You can swim around in the flow and then come back up for air, at which point the clock ticks to the next minute.  It’s happened once, so I know it’s possible!

That’s been my focus for the week.  I will continue to work on my Focusing skills, because in November I have 4 tests and 1 quiz, so I need some depth and breadth of nonlinear time! I keep telling myself that I am part of Oneness, and in Oneness are oodles of brilliant juicy brains who already know all the stuff I am learning.  If I can chill the #$@ out, and invite in spaciousness and tenderness and connection, I will do just fine.  Part of me believes that, at least. 🙂

Speaking of time warps, last weekend I went home for the first time in 6 weeks.  I literally had to look at my calendar before I typed that because it seems as if it was ages ago already!!  Could it have just been LAST WEEKEND?  While it was awesome to see my friends and family again, it was odd to be home.  Home is not really home now. It’s a pretty empty house where I felt like a guest – pulling PJs out of a backpack instead of a dresser, pulling my face lotion out of my travel pack instead of the medicine cabinet.  I really wonder where HOME will be for us. Once Tim moves down here, will this apartment feel like HOME?  Or will we just feel like temporary residents until we decide where to go after school?

I am traveling home week after next for Thanksgiving and then the weekend after that for a conversion project at work.  I’m going to get really good at studying on airplanes.  On my flight home last weekend, I brought my Trail Guide flashcards to review.  The guy next to me observed that I was studying and then proceeded to talk to me for the 2 hour flight about his biology degree, his job, his family, etc.  I murmured polite responses and then would return to studying.  He continued to look over my shoulder and comment on how he still remembered a lot of the bones/muscles, etc.  So I finally just surrendered to the flow and talked to him for the rest of the plane ride.  I think ear buds are required next trip. 🙂

Hope you have a fabulous time-rich Sunday!

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On Getting Comfortable with Uncertainty


The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty that you can comfortably live with. – Tony Robbins

Week 5 is done, Man!  In case you don’t know, that’s a riff off of a quote from Adventures in Babysitting, a movie I haven’t seen in probably 15 years, but that quote has always stuck with me – Dishes are done, Man!!

Anyway, I’ll reel myself back in to the point.  Friday marked my 5th week of classes at CNS.  We celebrated with a quiz in anatomy.  Fortunately the teacher dropped some heavy hints the week prior, so we were all pretty prepared.  After hours of study, I got a 93% on the 10 question quiz.  I missed one.  Ninety-three percent is a solid grade.  I am mostly happy with it.  I am a little unhappy with it too, though. I wanted 100%.  I wish I could get to the root of this drive for perfection, so I could unwind it and be satisfied with what IS.

I think it has something to do with always being a people-pleaser and identifying myself as the “good girl” who gets good grades.  It’s a huge part of my self-identification, and my way of trying to control what I was able to control as a child.  I could reduce conflict in the world around me by getting good grades.  And it got me positive attention.  I don’t NEED to get good grades for those reasons anymore though.  But that coding is still strong within me.

But, overall, I am satisfied and a little less anxious about my success in this program.  As a wise friend told me, if I HAD gotten 100%, it may have set false expectations and made lower grades in the future tougher to deal with.  I set a reasonable bar with my 93%. 🙂

Enough about my layers!  Let’s get on to the purpose of this post – being OK with uncertainty.

This topic came up in class on Friday, when the teacher was discussing some new research that indicates that massage therapy does NOT increase blood flow.  This was the one thing that almost everyone agreed was a positive result of massage therapy.  Welp… now it looks as if that is in question too.  Anecdotally, it seems to be true.  From direct observation, it seems to be true – just look at how red the skin gets after being massaged.  If that’s not an increase in blood flow, what is it??

It was a timely discussion, however, as today one of the YTU teachers I follow and greatly admire posted  this article about the Myth of Symmetry in Yoga.  The title of the article pretty much says it all.  The author references several studies that indicate that symmetry in the body (symmetry of muscles, posture, and leg lengths) is irrelevant to sensation of pain.

So…the school I am going to is FOUNDED on the concept of symmetry.  With each treatment, we do an 84-point analysis on the posture to identify imbalances. The chief imbalance that can drive many of the others is a lower limb length inequality (LLLI – aka one leg is shorter than the other).  We are taught that the limb length issue must be corrected first (via lifts in the shoes).  If that is not fixed, any bodywork provides only temporary relief.

So this article is in direct contradiction to what we are taught.  BUT!  BUT! I did not read the studies the author referenced. I clicked through to a few of the summaries, though.  In my quick pass-through, it appeared as if the studies were not done over an extensive period of time.  Perhaps an LLLI does not cause much pain until later in life or until an unusual stress is placed on an imbalanced body?

One thing that I have noted in all my reading about diet and exercise over the past 5 years, is that “Science” is constantly shifting.  Eggs are good!  Eggs are bad.  Coconut oil is the bomb!! Coconut oil will give you heart attacks! Stretching is good for you!  Stretching will compromise your joints and make you unstable!  Yoga will save your life!  Yoga will bust your shoulders all to hell.

So, again, we waffle back to center.  The truth lies somewhere in between.  Balance (which is oh so close to symmetry…) is the key.  If we really do exist in a quantum field, where everything exists in multiple states until it doesn’t, each person’s Truth varies.  We all have different perceptions, experiences, and DNA that alter how we experience the world.

So, thus, I start my journey into being comfortable in the unknown, trusting that I am in the right place at the right time, gaining knowledge that will help me understand my body, your body, and the world around me better.  With this knowledge, I will eventually be able to help people who share a similiar quantum experience.  If we both look really quickly to the right and see the same thing, then someday I may be able to help you if you are in pain.

Hope you are having a great weekend – getting outside, spending time with loved ones, spending some time in the peace and quiet.  If you’ve had any experience with dealing with  challenges to your foundational beliefs, I would love to hear how you tipped-toed through to the other side.

Take care!

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Week 3 – On Contemplating Change Vs. Implementing Change


Today was the first week of normal classes at CNS.  Monday we had Basic Massage. Tuesday was Advanced Technique. Wednesday was Business. Thursday was more Advanced Technique.  Friday was Anatomy and Pyshiology. I’m concerned about my success in A&P because I cannot yet spell physiology correctly.  Wait! I think I just figured it out!!

It’s been a super interesting week.  I really love the Tech and A&P class. They are taught by the founders of the school and their passion really shines through in their teaching. You KNOW that they believe that this form of therapy changes lives. Not only does it change the life of the patient, but it has a domino effect and changes the lives of the people the patients interact with.  This is a Difference Maker.  It is so fulfilling to be surrounded by that kind of conviction and knowledge.

During the Tech class, we learn the  neurosomatic techniques. This week we learned how to address the muscles in the front of the neck – infrahyoids, suprahyoids, the deep anterior cervical muscles (the muscles that connect to the vertebrae), the scalenes (the muscles that move your neck from side to side) and the sternocleidomastoid – the muscle that flexes, tilts, and rotates the neck.

These are super impactful (is that a word??) muscles to treat.  Treating these can help immensely with ear, jaw, throat, and shoulder pain, thoracic outlet syndrome, and migraines.  However, they are a….sensitive area to treat.  There are lots of trigger points in these muscles, and one of the treatments involves moving the trachea out of the way.  So…  It’s really important work with lots of benefits, but it’s also work that requires a lot of trust and practice.  People just aren’t used to therapists fiddling around with the front of their necks!

My first A&P class was Friday.  The teacher is…just amazing. You can tell he really loves the material and believes 100% in it its importance.  He is lively, animated, funny, and super knowledgeable- which is a must, if you are sitting through 4 hours of anatomy lecture.  It was totally overwhelming.  Completely. He also told us that over 1/2 of the first term students fail their first anatomy test. I have never failed a test.  I don’t know how I would deal with that!! I hope I don’t have to find out.

I took copious notes and also recorded the session.  Today I used the pomodoro technique to tackle studying.  With this technique, you focus 100% for 25 minutes and then take a 3-5 minute break (which I used to roll out my upper back, shoulders and pecs with the Yoga Tune Up balls).  I found that knowing that I only had to work for 25 minutes relieved some of the anxiety I was feeling about tackling this huge subject!  At first I really struggled with how to approach studying.  But once I started looking at my notes, looking at the pictures in my Thieme book, and tying the two together (and reminding myself to BE PATIENT), I felt so much better.  The terminology started to make sense.  The names of things in the body actually do have some logic to them, and that started to present itself as I worked.

I did about 4 pomodoro sessions and then took a long break.  I, uh, watched Miss Congeniality.  It’s a really excellent movie, actually.

But now I’m going to go back and do some more homework – I have some reading to tackle. I like to read before I go to bed because I feel as if the information just kind of floats around in the ol’ brain pan and settles in better that way.

Tomorrow I am meeting a couple of classmates to practice my neck-spearing technique (aka treating the superficial anterior cervical muscles).  Then I’ll do some more studying, meal prep for the week (steel cut oats, quinoa, and BBQ pork in the Instant Pot). Hopefully I will figure out a way to have some FUN tomorrow.  Figuring out fun stuff is actually quite challenging!!

Oh! I guess I should circle back to the whole theme of this post – change!!  I was talking to a dear friend of mine who has been with me step-by-step as I contemplated coming to this school.  She is intimately familiar with all the doubt, fear, and indecision I was experiencing.  My therapist said I was in Decision Purgatory, and that is the perfect description.

Well, Angela and I were talking about my current state, and I told her that living in Florida and going to school just feels, well, normal now!  She reminded me of how petrified I was of making this change. It made me realize that CONTEMPLATION of change is the really scary thing.  Actually EXPERIENCING  the change is NBD (no big deal).  You just deal with it, like you deal with everything.  The Ego is a funny thing. I’ve been pretty entertained lately by watching its machinations.  Between lots of reading of Kiran Trace and listening to Matthew Kahn’s podcast, I’ve realized that it’s all about awareness without judgement. I can FEEL whatever I want to feel, and that is 100% OK.  I just need to observe how I feel and let that be OK.  I’m doing a lot of “Huh.  That’s interesting.”

Hope you are having a fabulous Saturday.

Take care,

Hlo

 

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On adaptation – a wobbling toward equanimity


Two weeks down!  In some ways I still feel as if I cannot believe I am here.  In some ways it feels as if I have always been here.  The thing that strikes me the most about being here is the lack of hills.  There no hills.  It’s flat.  All you can see is sky and palm trees.  It makes me feel a little exposed.  I miss hills.

Tim and I have been talking every day and Skyping most days. How did people live apart before Skype??  It makes such a huge difference to be able to SEE your loved ones!  I would feel so alone here if it were not for technology.  My little brother sends a picture and a message almost every day, I talk to/text Tim all throughout the day, I call my parents and my older brother on the weekends.  I am finishing up Lord of The Rings (reading it for the Nth time), and I am at the part where everyone is parting ways at the end of the book.  Back in Middle Earth, unless you had a Palantir (aka an iPhone), you had to travel for WEEKS to see your friends and loved ones once you were sundered.

School this week was good.  We learned some very basics of massage – draping, massage strokes, etc.  We had our first test on Friday. I think I did well on the written portion and the massage portion, but on the postural charting portion, I got a bit confused on a piece of it.  There are 4 measurements that you take on the first side of the sheet and then transfer over to the back side of the sheet. For some reason that confuses me a bit.  I kind of rushed that portion and didn’t feel good about my answers.  I was having a severe battle with my perfectionism, struggling to ask the teacher if I could have my test back to verify I did it right.  I kept reminding myself that I am part of the Infinite One and not getting 100% on a test is A-OK.  🙂 But every time I think of it, I get that little burst of constriction just to the left of my sternum.  This body had some encoding that really, really, really drives me to   get the A+.

I have been reading Kiran Trace’s book, Tools for Sanity.  In it she talks a lot about how awareness is the key to realizing who and what we really are.  She uses an analogy of when you walk into a dark room and flip on the light and flip it off again, you can never unsee what you saw.  You now know where the furniture is situated, you see the toy truck on the floor, you know what is there.  Even with the lights off again, you are AWARE.  Once you strobe that awareness on to a behavior, it immediately changes things.

So I am settling my awareness on this drive for perfection and seeing what I can find out about it.

In the meantime, I didn’t ask for the test back.  I left school, worked from home, and then spent the weekend gently exploring.  I ventured out to Dunedin and went to a yoga class. Come to find out it was the last yoga class ever to be held in that studio. They were shutting down the following day.  I feel like there is significance in that, but I haven’t parsed out what it is yet.

Today I ran through my typical Sunday routine – grocery shopping, cleaning, making food for the week.  I took a long walk and reached a new spot I have not seen. I saw trees from Dagobah and encountered lots of friendly folk.  I was listening to Matt Kahn’s talk about Everything is Here to Help You.  He said that if you view every person in your life as being there to help you learn *something,* that you will transform your world.  I sent that vibe out to every one I encountered and got lots of smiles in return. I’m curious to see how this susses out.

I got home from my walk and decided that I better go to the beach.  I have been here 2 weeks and have not made it there yet – partially because I have been busy and partially because I am nervous/reluctant to go to the beach by myself.  But tomorrow starts regular classes at CNS, so I figured I should take advantage of having no homework and GO!

I drove to Bellaire Beach, just south of Clearwater Beach.  The skies to the East looked ominous, but I persevered.  I walked out on the beach, appreciating the roar of the ocean and the foaminess of the waves.  I looked to the Southeast and noted dark clouds tumbling in. I just sat and watched the storm roll in.  I laid back and turned my head, at eye level with the beach, the ocean, the sky huge and dark and roiling above me.  It was absolutely beautiful.

And that was my weekend.  Tim has been steadfastly working on the house, hopefully bringing to a swift conclusion our separation from each other.  We should get the house on the market soon, sell it post haste, and get Timmy Tee down here to Clearwater ASAP.

Hope you had a lovely weekend, and thanks for reading!

 

Posted in Health & Fitness, massage therapy, meditation, yoga nidra, somatic meditation, body-based meditation, meditation for beginners | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

One week down…


I survived my first week away from home, in a new city, taking a new class, developing a new routine, experiencing new people, learning new things, seeing new sunsets, admiring new trees, driving new roads, walking new paths, building new senses.

It has been a busy week!  I attend school from 8-12, then work from 1-6, then eat, talk to Tim, take a walk, work on homework, sleep, repeat.  I know that I need more rest and restoration in my life, but one of the good things about being so busy is that it doesn’t give me a lot of time to wallow.  But actually maybe that’s not a good thing.  It’s essentially a numbing agent.  But, since I don’t really have a choice at this point, I will frame it as a positive thing. 🙂

School has been awesome.  There are 7 other students starting the program with me. It’s a varied set of people – 4 from Florida and 4 from other parts of the US, 3 really young people and then 5 people scattered around my age.  The one commonality is that they are all really engrossed in learning about the body and a wholistic approach to health.  Every day we break for a snack around 10AM.  It’s a big sea of kale salad, hard boiled eggs, chopped veggies, and game meats.

Weeks 1 and 2 are an Intensive, which means we have the same class every day.  For two weeks we are focused on learning the posturology chart, where you measure 84 bony landmarks on the body and then chart them in a specific way.  I am so glad I had some training in locating these landmarks in my Yoga Tune Up trainings.  That background is helping immensely.

Yesterday we got into a new landmark that I have never palpated before – the atlas (the first vertebrae of the spine – the one that holds up your noggin).  We have to palpate (aka stick your fingers into the back (posterior) of someone’s neck) to find the transverse process of the atlas (these protuberances of the atlas stick out laterally (to the side) from the spine).  If you find that bump behind your earlobe (mastoid process) and slide your fingers down (inferiorly) toward your jaw (mandible) and poke around a bit, you might find some harder spots.  Those would be the transverse processes of the atlas.

They are really hard to find, especially on muscle-y guys!  The SCM (sternocleidomastoid), is that ropey band of muscle that connects from your mastoid process to your clavicle (around the notch at the base of your throat).  This muscle can get in the way and doesn’t seem to like being pushed out of the way.  So I need MORE PRACTICE!!!  If anyone is traveling to Clearwater and enjoys being a guinea pig, email me!!

The last thing we did was measure for projection of the atlas. Projection is when the atlas is shifted forward (anteriorly) relative to the vertebrae below it.  To do this, you have to MOVE THE TRACHEA out of the way and then stick your finger into the back of the subject’s throat and feel around for any ledges.  I tried it on a few people but didn’t feel any ledges.  So either no one has a projection, or I’m in the wrong spot.  Again, I just need more practice.

Well, I better get to work.  Thanks for letting me practice my new vocabulary on you, and as always, thanks for reading!!

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On Following Your Dreams (aka making uncommon decisions)


It’s been a long time since I’ve written.  Mostly that is because I think I utterly exhausted my brains and will in making the decision to move to Florida, cut back to part-time, and go to school for massage therapy.  All of that just plump wore me out.

But now the decision is made.  And I’m here. In Florida. I tried to be here last week, but Hurricane Irma had different plans for me.  Tim and I drove down here on the 4th, unpacked our stuff into our apartment and then promptly packed an overnight bag and drove right back to Iowa.  It was Tuesday. The storm was forecasted to hit Sunday. Yet all the stores were already out of water.  It scared the shit out of us, to be honest.  We are used to dealing with tornadoes, but huge storms in a state with like 3 roads that you can use to exit the state sounded like a nightmare.

So we chose the lesser nightmare and drove the 19 hours back to Iowa.

It was weird going back home again, especially after I already said goodbye to all my friends, family, and coworkers, only to return about 4 days later.  HEY!  Guess what! I’m baaaaack!

People were actually pretty understanding.  They often echoed a thought that was ricocheting around in my head a TON – “Um, maybe this is a sign?”

And, see, this is where I get utterly confused about this whole dharma/life purpose thing.  I thought I was watching signs and signals and felt as if this path was chosen for me.  But then, a category 5 hurricane started hurtling toward me.  Talk about mixed messages.

But, I guess, that just because you are following your dharma, does not mean you will not have tribulations.  In the Bible God was always sending his people on missions and quests that were horribly inconvenient and resulted in tons of annoyances and discomforts.  Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do because you gotta do it and because you know that by doing so, the world will become just a little bit better, and that makes all the difference.

So I decided, after a lot of internal tortuous dialogue, to not cancel all of my plans and aspirations.  I came back.  I’m here.  Now.

I haven’t had much time to reflect/absorb/adjust yet.  Granted, it’s only Day 1.  I was madly unpacking, buying groceries, getting an oil change, cleaning, cooking food, etc.  Maybe perhaps I was a little bit numbing with busyness.  But that’s OK.

To close, here are the things that are good about this decision so far:

  1.  The people I have encountered here so far are super friendly and helpful.  Had THE most helpful guy at the Take 5 Oil Change place today.
  2. We found a super cute breakfast joint on the super cutely named road, Sunset Point, and my breakfast was only 6.50.
  3. The St. Petes/Clearwater airport is only 15 minutes from our apartment.  From there you can, for a mere $60-$80, fly directly back to Moline, IL, which is 15 minutes from our house.
  4. I am becoming more resourceful.  No ladle?  Use a cup!  No lids for my pot?  Use tin foil!  No bed?  Sleeping bags and blankets on the floor!
  5. I saw a snake on the sidewalk in front of my apartment, and I only jumped 2 feet and did not scream.

So, that’s it for Day 1.  Hope you are having tons of interesting adventures, and thanks for reading!

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