On April 16th, 2013 I found myself looking down a desolate street, filled with devastation that could only be seen by the remnants of debris floating across the pavement. It was a heart wrenching moment to only begin to realize the events that occured only a day prior that shook me to my core. As I stood amongst the flowers, reporters, mourners and security detail I recall finding a moment of peace in the music of a man sitting on the stairs of a building overlooking the scene. When I turned to walk I felt a tap on my shoulder. Once, twice and then a man's voice inquiring as to my willingness to answer a few questions. In those few moments a thought came across my mind..."It is not my story to tell." And so I walked away.
I had trained for a short period of time and stumbled into qualifying for the Boston Marathon in 2010. Through a series of events that could only be described as divine timing or divine intervention I found myself at the starting line in Boston in 2013. It was a cool, yet beautiful day for a race. The fans were nothing short of spectacular and encouraging. I held my pace for the first 18 miles than found my body beginning to fade into the fatigue and cramping that set in. As I had done many times before I promised my body that upon crossing the finish line I would check in with the med tent and recover alongside others who had succumb to the perils of running.
I could see the finish line, I walked, I ran, I walked some more and at last, I crossed that coveted finish line that so many runners long to cross. In the moment it was bitter sweet. I had finished but not in the time I hoped. Nevertheless I found my way to the medical tent which was just across the finish and made my way in. I was immediately attended to and within minutes found myself resting, waiting for fluid. And then it happened. The first thunder came in a wave that shook everything and everyone. It brought curiosity to the faces of those within the tent. And then again..boom. Shaking, rattling and instantly you knew what had occured. Sheer panic set in, fear like nothing I had ever felt before and desperation to escape. I watched as the volunteers quickly stepped into disaster and rescue mode. Within moments the first of the injured were brought in and instantly my life was changed. I had never been this close to tragedy and terror, yet so close to humanity at the same time.
I didn't speak about these events, or the death and devastation I witnessed in the victims eyes. I didn't share about the panic that came as I left the tent, running for my life as they shouted the possibility of a third bomb, and to finding my family whom I had no way of getting in touch with or being in a city on lock down for 3 days as they pursued those responsible. I suffered silently and kept the PTSD hidden inside. Why you might ask? Because someone else had it worse. It was their story, not mine. I wasn't physically injured or suffered the loss of a loved one, I walked away.
So why now, why bring this up 5 years later? It has taken me this long to heal my body, mind and spirit from the tragedy and ripple effects of that day. Within 5 months I was bed-ridden with illness, from which it took over a year to uncover the cause. The PTSD from this event, the trauma that was suffered, un-resolved trauma from a life lived had all manifested itself as dis-ease within my body.
Now saying that I am a survivor of the bombings is a privilege and every aspect of my being thanks me. I have honored who I am and my journey through the dark night. What I needed was to hold space for the emotions to flow and finding the lessons within to release. ThetaHealing® was the gift that gave me this opportunity. I now advocate and walk alongside others, through this modality, as they do the same.
The only person that needs to give you permission to heal is you.
Honor your journey. Allow the healing to happen and release the trauma that is holding you back.
I started neurofeedback, or as we call it, "brain training", in the fall of 2016. Having researched the benefits that could be experienced through this modality or deep meditation, it seemed like what I needed in an effort to overcome anxiety that had built up over years of suffering from severe insomnia.
Bedtime was not only a welcome time of day, due to the exhaustion that plagued me from illness, it had also become a highly stressful time. While I longed for the sleep that had seemed to escape me I dreaded the dark and quiet of the loneliness that came in the middle of the night. As I lay awake I was aware and frustrated while the rest of the world slept. Knowing, as well, that the restoration that I prayed for each night may not come, leaving the mental state of exhaustion to wreak havoc on my stability the following day. It had become a vicious cycle that I wanted desperately to escape.
As a trained Bulletproof® coach I have spent quite a bit of time understanding and researching the power of our thoughts and the thought patterns that run us on a daily basis. It is said that the neurons that fire together wire together. In my case the pattern of insomnia leading to my lack of stability and performance, led to thoughts around what if. What if I didn't sleep, what would occur, how will tomorrow look? After running through these questions night after night the process became a habit. A habit that was now on auto-pilot running through my subconscious mind. Now that the neurons had wired together I consciously couldn't talk myself out of the cycle. As my sleep healed and the severity of insomnia decreased, the anxiety seemed to increase unsolicited. The vicious cycle.
You might be asking, what is neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a mirror for the brain. Think of this. You look in the mirror and immediately start adjusting your posture, you stand taller, adjust your hair and smile. Right? This is exactly what is occurring in the brain. We have an amazing ability to self correct and the brain, given the right information, will do the same.
This description from NeurOptimal® is spot on.
"The brain has an inherent ability to self-correct when given the right information and NeurOptimal® is designed to provide the brain with the information it needs to make its own adjustments. Inconsistency, or abrupt changes in electrical activity in the brain, undermines optimal functioning of the brain. NeurOptimal® detects these abrupt changes and informs the brain of these sudden shifts through interruptions in the sound you are listening to. These almost imperceptible pauses invite your central nervous system to pull away from this less-than-ideal path it was on. This happens over and over until the natural self-correction becomes your new normal and your brain functions more efficiently, effectively and comfortably. When this happens, you sleep better, are less stressed, can focus more easily and feel the joy of an easier life, despite the challenges you may face from the outside."
What did I experience?
The first thing I noticed was that I simply loved the deep relaxation that came during a session. After 30 minutes in a deep meditative state I was refreshed, relaxed and the fog seemed to lift from my brain. It was, and still is, an amazing time that I look forward to.
Within a few weeks I noticed other changes. Confidence, calm and a loosening of the tirade of thoughts that ran through my mind consistently. I was able to create space, sit in quiet and focus a little more easily.
And the anxiety? It went away in such a fashion that it was almost unnoticed! The thought pattern disintegrated in such a way that I wasn't readily aware. I wasn't anxious about the anxiety! I simply went to bed one night and realized that I was ready for sleep and that I knew the next day would take care of itself. What a gift!
Having experienced the amazing benefits from this modality and experiencing first hand what this can do in others (you will see more on my son's experience soon), I knew I had to bring this to my clients and offer it as a training in Iowa.
If you are interested in learning more, experiencing "brain training" or renting a unit to share the sessions with your family, I would love to connect.
With love and gratitude,
I believe that words are powerful and every conversation divinely timed and inspired. So often we move through our days without significance and weight placed on the words we speak or those given to us through the souls we come into contact with. I have begun to pay attention, marinate in the moments and find the threads between comments made by complete strangers and my dearest friends.
I recently reconnected with two lovely friends that I met last year. I met Tammy at a meditation retreat in New Mexico in the fall of 2016. We shared 5 days together at a beautiful five star resort, talked over meals and spent hours in the common space and practice of breathing and living in presence. When we talked over coffee last week she casually mentioned that I had been on her mind every day since that time and for a reason that, she was sure, I would not remember. Each day we gathered in a beautiful open yoga space to begin our class. As is customary we would enter the room, remove our shoes and find a comfortable space to breathe. One particular morning, Tammy recalls, as I removed my shoes and walked across the room a woman stopped me. She remarked "You know, you have two different colored socks on. They don't match.". Without too much thought placed on my response I looked at her, stoic, and said "That is simply something I don't choose to waste my energy on. Matching socks. I don't worry about finding the matching sock." After that day, Tammy's children no longer wore matching socks and she recounts often not to sweat the little things. Powerful. Beautiful. Unquestionably impactful in a way that I would could not have known. Something meant for her.
The second encounter was not so glamorous but was more of, shall we say stumble. Ok, flat out wish I could take the words back that my head spit out, instead of my heart.
We met for coffee. A beautiful two hours spent in vulnerability and authenticity. The yummy stuff. The, I could sit here all day, type of conversation where you know you just found another soul sister. And then it happened. I staked a claim, made a command and went straight from my heart into my head in business and woosh, fell flat on my face. The follow up conversations have halted, my heart hurt. And while trying to work through the situation I found myself telling myself stories about what happened. (yes, we all have a knack for amazing self talk and story telling.) I tried to justify the encounter and did nothing but spin for 3 days. Then I got quiet. I talked with my coach and support who guided me through my thoughts and stories until I saw the truth, with a capital T. I had let my head overshadow my heart and while the staking was out of a place of love, it sure sounded like something authoritative and a hell of a lot like "let me fix you". Ugh, not at all what I had wanted and certainly not where my justifications took me this week. Yet, another beautiful lesson.
Here is what I learned....
There is beauty in conversations; and extraordinary lessons that come in these packages. When reflected upon, every encounter is a blessing, and every mis-step can become a step forward. There is power in the practice of reflection and even more so when we remain in a place of presence, every moment. Reflection comes from the heart, justification from the head. Get lost in the place of your heart, allow for space and breathe...breathe.
In gratitude and love,
“How can I ask my mind and body for perfection when I am not giving it perfect to start with?” I pondered this question tonight and as I worked through what this meant to me I found myself plagued by the idea of perfection itself.
I have traveled along the journey of healing and regaining my health, though I can’t pinpoint exactly when I lost the magical being I think I was before. I have always strived for perfection. Consistency, is what I have professed searching for, while all along knowing I am probably looking for a perfect I believe I have seen in others but don’t know if I will ever find. A mystical character that has been built up in my mind by everything I have been taught or seen as a woman in the society in which I was raised. Now I know we like to blame commercials, the media and marketing for this grave error in our thinking but I believe it is much greater than that. As a collective we have stopped allowing for authenticity in society and only put out the best view of ourselves on a daily basis. When was the last time you saw someone really struggling? It could be from any number of issues that plague us all as human beings. Has it been a while since you have walked along side someone suffering, when it wasn’t from a grave disease that could not be hidden? How often do you see someone who truly pulled back the preverbal covers on their life to give you a glimpse at the ugly underneath? When there is a struggle that isn’t glamorous and can be hidden, that is what we do. The estrangement with a spouse, the lack of fulfillment in our jobs, the sense of failure as a parent, the joy we once had but is now lost, the underlying illness or fatigue that we hope will just go away. Am I the only one who has gone through any and all of these things?
I have walked this talk. I hid an illness for a long period of time, though it wasn’t as hidden as I would have liked to think. I didn’t want to show weakness, that I wasn’t in control or, heaven forbid, needed help. And to what end? I walked alone and didn’t have the support that perhaps would have made the road easier or at least, a little less lonely. More than that, I didn’t allow those around me to learn from my experience, my anguish, hurt and frustration. I hid all that could have been beautiful because I didn’t think it looked beautiful on me. It showed a lack of the perfect version of me that I thought I put out in the world.
And then my eyes opened a little wider. The world isn't as perfect as we make it out to be. That boss who you think has it all, also fights battles that you don’t know about. The guy who makes a living working on his body and health to be a symbol of what is possible with the right self-care, nutrition and spiritual work, he gets sick too. We all have down days, moments of despair, fears that hold us back in life and families that are anything but perfect. And the moment that we offer ourselves the ability to just live, live with passion, with the authenticity and vulnerability that lets down the armor of perfection and doing “fine” in life we not only take an amount of pressure off of ourselves that can't be measured, we also share in the real nature of what being a human being today really means.
Thank you for joining me. What a journey it has been, getting to this point. Even as I type this it was a struggle to allow vulnerability in and bring this first post to you. Today I am embracing the imperfect “bad ass rebel” that is ready to be unleashed after years of refinement. So, here I am!
Advocate for living your best life and finding inspiration in stories and personal journeys.