How I stay sane amidst the chaos

Uncategorized Apr 11, 2021

 

A friend recently asked me:

How do you stay sane with all of the chaos happening in our world today? What keeps your hope alive that it’s worth pressing on despite so much darkness?

I do absolutely recognize that we are in a time of great difficulty. But the thing is this: we in our western culture struggle deeply with the concept of destructive forces.

In both indigenous and Buddhist traditions (which heavily influenced my upbringing), this energy is simply considered part of the life cycle. Trees lose their dying leaves in the autumn. From the outside, transformation always looks like complete and utter destruction. A seed sprouting looks like an explosion. The caterpillar inside a chrysalis liquefies before reconstructing as a butterfly.

It is this resistance to death and destruction that amplifies suffering. The greater destructive forces I experience, the more lightly I learn to feel the things. To clarify: it’s not that I go numb or bury my head in the...

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Last week, I lost my beloved. He had been in the hospital with a covid diagnosis, but it’s not what you think.

Uncategorized Jan 31, 2021
I’ve been breathless and wordless for days. Early Wednesday morning, the man with whom I was preparing to start a family took his final breath in this body. His fight is over. I have been devastated with the tsunami of grief, shock, anger, and more grief.
 
Early this morning, after another sleepless night, these words poured out of me. It’s never enough, but this is what’s on my heart to share in this moment.
 
_______
 
We met dancing. Alfredo would always ask me to dance, one song after another. Unabashed in his pursuit. Unstoppable in his adoration.
 
One night, he dipped me at the same time as another couple, and I crashed heads with the other follow. It wasn’t that hard - she was fine. But I collapsed, and was driven home. Alfredo had no idea that I have an old brain injury making me susceptible to concussion (I was okay after resting!)
 
The next day, he found out where I worked, and brought a huge bouquet of the loveliest...
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Ready for Change

Uncategorized Jan 19, 2021

During my first consultation with someone, I ask, “On a scale of 1-10, how much does sh*t need to change? Where 0 is it doesn’t matter at all, and 10 is sh*t needs to change YESTERDAY.”

Because in order for me to help someone in their healing process, you have to really be ready for change. You need to NEED change.

Change is hard. ALL change is hard - even in the right direction. This is why people keep smoking or drinking (or eating sugar), and even why some people stay in abusive relationships. Because change is UNKNOWN. And current pain is at least familiar. Of course, life is complicated ... but these are some major driving factors to resistance to change.

There is a quote I saw once that says,

Pain pushes you until vision pulls you.

By the time people have asked for my help as a doctor, they are often in incredible pain. They have suffered for an extended period of time. They have likely tried the western medicine approach (which mostly tries to silence...

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How I’m tending to the chaos...

Uncategorized Jan 13, 2021

As a young child, my parents taught me that my external environment is a reflection of my internal environment. As I look around the chaos of our current world, and I increasingly feel the spiral out of control, I remember that the only true solution is to redouble my commitment to tend to my insides.

It seems easier to point fingers outside - at politicians, at money-hungry businessmen with dubious interests, at medical doctors committed to toxic dogma, and at neighbors who we judge to be doing wrong. In fact, it would appear that this is what most of the world is busy doing. But while we’re fighting each other and arguing about who is to blame ... I think about what I can actually control. What I can actually DO. And the only thing I can truly control is my response to this chaos.

The most incredible thing has unfolded for me in the last few weeks ... the more absurd everything becomes, the less attached to the drama I feel. It feels a bit like a theatrical event....

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Today my identity changed.

Uncategorized Dec 23, 2020

This morning I woke up on an island off the coast of southern Brazil (Florianópolis) and set out to hike to what I’d been told is the most beautiful beach on this island.

The thing is: I’m not a hiker. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life with extreme muscle weakness, headaches, dizziness, nausea ... my daily life is confined by my physical limitations. Don’t get me wrong - I’m stronger now than I think I’ve ever been. The last few months, I’ve finally felt stable standing and dancing on one leg (thanks to my wonderful Lyrical Jazz dance teacher Tracey Durbin teaching via zoom twice a week!). And thanks to practicing relevé (tippy toes!), I was nimble on my forefeet to navigate the slippery roots and steps

Three hours later, we arrived at the peak of this crazy overlook above the beach.

Three weeks ago, I sold my home in Portland, Oregon, put my belongings in storage, and set out for a journey around South and Central...

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Reflections on pushing, rest, and my current fav life hack

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020
 

Reflections on pushing, rest, and my current fav life hack

I've been immersed in editing videos from the last time I taught my signature Resilience Training™ workshop, and this gem really resonates with my current life situation. So I'm sharing it with you in case these words might be for you, too (I'm lookin' at you, my high achieving friends)

 
The longer you push, the more rest you need. And if you don't make the time, your body will take the time! It's remarkable how much easier life becomes when you let the swing go the other way sometimes.

 

 
 

* You'll hear me begin this clip with "Core Principle #4" - it's an excerpt from a discussion about the foundational principles of Fascial Flow Method™: the body-based brain-hacking exercises + strategies I designed to quickly and easily downshift from chaos / survival mode to calm / healing mode. Stay tuned for an online course I'm creating to share more of this work with you at home ;)

...
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How 'not treating cancer' is helping me heal

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

How 'not treating cancer' is helping me heal

For the last month, I have been on hiatus from my work in clinical practice helping others heal. Beyond that, I've taken a conscious pause from planning, deciding, or even thinking about the future. In reflecting on the cancer cells growing in my body, I recognized that I have lived my entire life (as far as memory can go) in a state of achieving. I've done this by pushing with sheer fortitude of will, and let me tell you: I am POWERFUL! But this constant achievement (of which I am super proud don't get me wrong) has come at the expense of constantly engaging my body's survival mode to keep going. Something had to give, and my body certainly called me out.

So in all of my best thinking and research and consulting with the smartest people I know and meditating and praying...the one thing that I was CERTAIN of is that I needed to stop.

 

Stop having commitments. Stop trying to accomplish things. Stop future-pacing...

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Reflecting on a decade, and taking a new direction to heal

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

Reflecting on a decade, and taking a new direction to heal

Happy (almost) New Year (Decade)! As we approach the end of 2019, and I have just finished my last clinical day for the time being, I am reflecting on this last decade. I’ve just seen a post about the benefits of reflective thinking followed by another friend sharing his top highlights of this last 10 years...and now I’m feeling inspired to do the same :)

Cultivating this healing space has been a major outpouring of love, and an honor to create. A friend recently pointed out that its present dissolution is a poignant metaphor as a true chrysalis dissolves to make way for the next stage in evolution.
 

2010: After 10 years of chronic pain and mysterious progressive neurological symptoms, found out my brain was herniated into my neck (likely a result of many head traumas). Declined surgery, and began the process of innovating a noninvasive solution for greater healing than I was ever told...

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How pushing myself to "be okay" in social situations perpetuates past trauma, and how to heal

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

How pushing myself to "be okay" in social situations perpetuates past trauma, and how to heal

Trigger Warning: sexual abuse

Lately a lot of people have been asking me, 'How are you feeling?' and I often give a cursory answer because, really, it's too much to dive into most of the time. But the other day when at dinner with one of my best friends, I fell to pieces. As I recounted a stressful recent visit with family, I found myself in the middle of a powerful AHA moment.

Flying is a major struggle, even with all this sensory protective gear. But I love to travel!

This moment parallels with conversations I've had multiples times today with clients as well...the theme revolves around feeling that we push so hard to do all the things and pick up all the pieces and just BE OKAY in social and business situations that we end up feeling that others don't understand the amount of duress we're experiencing (and treat us as if we are simply being picky or like a 'princess' when...

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My cancer solution: part II

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

My cancer solution: part II

This is a continuation of a previous post. Click here to read Part I, which was about reducing stressors. Today we dive into my favorite topic: increasing adaptability to stress (because nobody can live in a magical stress-free bubble, amiright?)

Resilience is not about a resistance to stress, but rather the ability to roll with it - to have a response and then return to center unharmed. It's all about shifting from REACTIVE mode to RESPONSIVE mode. This is where we find true adaptability to life's unavoidable stressors. In the previous analogy of treading water with a backpack full of rocks (stressors), adaptability and resilience are about how strong your legs can swim to keep you afloat.

When we have more rocks in that backpack than our legs can keep afloat, the body succumbs to illness (like cancer).

 

So how can we increase adaptability to stress? I can think of 3 primary ways:

  • Downshift fight-or-flight aka survival mode in the...

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