The Hidden Blessing in Illness
I came to the path of both bodywork and health coaching through my own experiential process of healing myself. I’m extremely grateful for all the health challenges I’ve had in my life, and have come to a place where I see them as some of the most powerful leverage points that have helped me to become more embodied, more educated, more resourced in taking responsibility for my own health, and ultimately more empowered in my life.
The physical challenges I’ve experienced have mostly been a result of my sensitivity to pharmaceutical medications I’ve received throughout my life, combined with certain lifestyle habits, eating patterns and mental/emotional/spiritual attitudes and tendencies that have exacerbated them. Health “problems” I’ve experienced that were actually hidden opportunities and blessings, many of which I’ve been able to resolve without professional help include: acidosis, acne, lymphatic congestion, migraine headaches, scoliosis, histamine intolerance or overload (ie, chronic inflammation), chronic fatigue, gut health imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, circulatory problems, polyneuropathies, food sensitivities, hormonal imbalance, gallbladder and liver spasm and congestion, adrenal and kidney fatigue and congestion . . . . the list goes on.
By far the greatest assault to my health and wellbeing came in the form of an emergency c-section operation at age 34. This event catapulted me into a 3 year experimental investigation into how to take full responsibility for my health. It resulted in resolution of the primary symptoms I was trying to resolve, and the accidental resolution of many symptoms I had long since accepted I had to live with. Through this experience, I’ve been able to think outside the box on a number of health issues and develope a unique approach to wellbeing grounded firmly in an appreciation for the importance of nutrition, personal-responsibility, deep cleansing, cellular renewal, movement, community and spiritual centering to achieve health. This is all a reflection of Folk Medicine as a movement.
While all of these aspects to wellbeing are very important, my deepest respect extends to the incredible power that plants (especially very humble culinary plants which are largely ignored or underappreciated because they can’t be patented) have to radically and drastically improve even very stubborn and seemingly intractable health issues. Optimal nutrition is absolutely the greatest leverage point we have available to us in claiming our health and choosing true “health care” through self care.
As I learn to engage and trust my body’s intelligence, and really listen to what it tells me about how I hold myself in my life, I become more aware in my body, more aligned in my center, more in tune with a lifestyle that is sane and kind to my body, and daily filled with increased fluidity, ease, and gratitude for the blessing of this life – and for the abundant plant-based solutions that Mother Nature offers to us if we can but recognize them and learn how to use them.
East-West College of the Healing Arts, Portland, Oregon
600-hour massage therapy course, including:
- 150 hours of clinical practice
- Extensive knowledge of kinesiology, anatomy, physiology and pathology
- 260 hours of training in techniques including Swedish, Neuromuscular techniques, Triggerpoint therapy, Asian modialities, and Myofascial Release.
International School of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Jupiter, FL
through Michael Shea teaching
700-hour biodynamic craniosacral therapy training, including:
- 150 hours of clinical practice
- Thorough training in embryology, zone therapy, stillpoints, primary respiration, orienting, attunement, synchronization, and ignition
Biodynamic Massage, Portland, OR
with Todd Jackson
- The first teachers I have to thank are my body and my firsthand experience.
- I thank my parents for raising me in a vast natural landscape, where I was given the opportunity to connect with the body of the earth, and live freely in my body among the elements, a part of nature.I thank my mother for giving me this life and this body, so that I could learn from her some of its most important joys. My mother Marilyn loves to dance and she has passed this love down to me. She also knows how to take life into her lungs in the form of laughter. What more important teachings could there be?My father Joseph still enjoys running up Pyramid Peak at sunrise, diving into the cold water of the upper pond even in the colder months, doing Yoga, and riding his bike to the mailbox when he’s not busy building trails along the Continental Divide. Thank you for teaching me through example the joys of physical strength, father.
- Michael Shea and Valerie Gora have been two of my most influential teachers in life.Michael’s got the training, scientific research, and intellectual acumen to be a good teacher, but it is his deep compassion, sense of humor, and quality of presence that make 2.5 years of trips to West Palm Beach Florida worthwhile.Valerie Gora is a lineage holder for Michael’s work. Her sense of humor, love of turtles, and passion for the wellbeing of mothers and infants enrich her expertise in embryology and craniosacral therapy.
- I have never met Dr. Robert Morse, ND, but he’s had an incredible influence on my thinking about the importance of the lymphatic system in healing. I plan on studying directly with him soon. He is a passionate, original thinker and true renegade who is not afraid to criticize the way in which the mainstream medical model is actually poisoning people with synthetic chemical medications.
- Elli Sorensen helped me to see this path, when she released my hip tension through craniosacral work in combination with her many other skills.
- Yangsi Rinpoche has taught me much about the power of alive presence and the intelligence of our true nature in his teachings at the Maitripa Institute. The ability to move beyond mental distraction is a key skill in effective bodywork. I am grateful for his generosity in sharing his lineage and teachings.
- I can credit Todd Jackson with the fact that my body is probably more free of pain now than it has been in about 15 years, thanks to his Monday morning Chi-Kung classes (which unfortunately, he no longer teaches). I also thank all of those people unknown to me who practiced Chi-Kung and passed down the lineage, keeping the form strong, so that I may now benefit from it. Todd also teaches Yoga and is a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist.