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 :)
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 to expect. Also graduated as a Doctor of Chiropractic!
2011: Started my first, second, and third clinics in Cleveland, OH and Dover, NH. Developed what would become NeuroFascial Integration™, a unique fusion of chiropractic, neurology, fascial, and energetic therapies that saved me from brain surgery...began seeing patients from around the country who came for help with this technique. Began teaching this work to other chiropractors this year as well.
2012: When most symptoms resolved with my new technique, but some persisted, I discovered and then overcame a diagnosis of chronic Lyme (during which process I became briefly pregnant, and then that spirit took with it nearly all remaining health challenges I’d been facing). Started writing a book about this crazy process of reviving faith in my body’s ability to heal itself. Celebrated my sister Anjaneya surviving a death-defying accident at 36 weeks pregnant, and bringing my first nephew into this world in the most overwhelmingly brave and powerful process one could possibly imagine.
2013: Grew my clinic into a larger multidisciplinary practice (with my amazing dad’s support + partnership). Continued to heal and grow stronger - so much stronger that I finally felt ready to move and live where I *want* to live, independently (I’d been living with my father after grad school and finally felt well enough to live alone ❤️). Served as VP of the New Hampshire State Chiropractic Society (multiplying membership, supporting legislative efforts, and teaching my first formal seminar about Cerebellar Tonsillar Ectopia - the extremely common but often missed brain herniation I experienced myself).
2014: Moved to Portland, OR (leaving my patients in my dad’s excellent care, but a difficult departure nonetheless) and started my 4th clinical practice! Also completed my post doc degree in prenatal + pediatric care through the ICPA (after my favorite exam to date - I learned so much through that writing process!) Discovered the tremendous healing catalytic power of writing a bunch of songs on the piano...rather, allowing the words + music to fall out of me / come through me 🎼
2015: Started running again for the first time in years (because my previous brain injury was 95% resolved!). Felt the strongest I ever have as an adult 🙌🏼 Began lyrical jazz dance with Tracey Durbin and discovered what would become the saving grace of my next several years. Published my first article in Pathways to Family Wellness Magazine (“On Connection”). Bought my first home. Fell crazy in love, and almost moved across the world - and experienced immense heartbreak when it ended. Presented at the Australian Spinal Research Foundation Western Australia annual conference. Was rear-ended while stopped by a woman texting and driving at 50 mph...which herniated my brain out further than before and completely upended my life.
2016: Traveled to speak and train chiropractors in my new technique throughout Australia + New Zealand for two months. Continued my physical healing process, but experienced significant cognitive decline (terrifying, naturally). Lost count of the number of people who shared they had been suicidal before care with me as their doctor, and who had moved through it within weeks of our work together, among so many others who continued to profess gratitude for my presence, critical thinking, and care. I continued to feel overwhelmed and humbled that my own healing process of discovery could help so many others; this made me persist in providing clinical care. Traveled to Thailand with my brother and sister (and lots of other people), which was a beautiful adventure and massively challenging at the same time. Subsequently realized the depth of my sensory limitations and made the difficult decision to try and travel less.
2017: After significant cognitive decline (what felt like about 20% of my normal brainpower), I dove into understanding the relationship between head injuries and neurodegeneration from a biochemical perspective; and turned a major corner in cognition by adding nutritional changes. Began teaching Resilience Training™ workshops for my clients (including my Fascial Flow Method™ exercises and at-home bodywork, plus nutrition and other strategies to restore and nourish adaptability to stress). Traveled to Montana to care for a very sick housebound 35 year old woman, and helped her find life again. Taught for the CE Dept of Life Chiropractic College West about the Neuroscience of Chronic Stress + Resilience. Grieved the loss of my dance teacher (she moved away)...this class had become like church to me, a safe space to unravel and come together again stronger + lighter. Began salsa dancing! Bought my biggest painting to date, a masterpiece by former dancer Jonas Gerard (still my favorite inspiration). Gained family in Portland when my godsister moved here (bringing back our family presence in pdx - a throwback to the early 90s). Welcomed my new niece earthside ❤️ Launched Biotensegrity Global with my brother Jasper, selling our handcrafted tensegrity spine models all over the world.
2018: Continued to develop and formalize NeuroFascial Integration™ and Fascial Flow Method™, sister techniques of clinical care and on-the-go strategies focused on unwinding the places where we hold unresolved trauma, restoring resilience, and living your best unf*ckwithable life! Began writing textbooks for both techniques. Was able to learn 1 minute of choreography for the first time since my accident 🧠💪🏼 Fell in love with bachata dance. Certified the first cohort of interdisciplinary providers in NeuroFascial Integration™ (where it was referred to as a “unified field theory for all of healthcare”). Presented at the ICPA Freedom for Family Wellness Summit and brainstormed with exec director and longtime friend Jeanne Ohm how to share more about the neuroscience of chronic stress + resilience with our chiropractic community. Fell in love with Maui, got my first ukulele, and learned to play. Leveled up my plant-lady status (surpassing 70 houseplants!🌱🌿😍) Presented at the Women Chiropractors Congress (first ever lineup of all female chiro speakers!) Traveled to Berlin for the Fascia Research Congress, plus Mexico, Spain, and Italy (omg the food!). Hosted my entire family for Christmas at my home in Portland🌲✨and we launched my youngest brother Tao to begin his chiropractic studies.
2019: Started Chrysalis Studio PDX, a therapeutic movement studio and clinic in the Pearl district of Portland. Discovered a love for zouk dance, as if this is how my body naturally always wanted to move. Quit salsa dance after my 4th (?) concussion from this (apparently) contact sport. Ran the first (and second) Fascial Flow Method™ Facilitator Training so others can carry on my work teaching Resilience Training™ in their communities. Celebrated 35 revolutions around the sun. Presented research from my practice at the International Conference on Movement + Cognition in Tel Aviv, and was subsequently invited to present at Weizmann, the 3rd leading science institution in the world. Was published in THREE scientific journals: Canadian Pain Society (NFI clinical care dramatically reducing/eliminating headaches via work in the Dural Fascial Kinetic Chain - a functional structure which I am officially the first to describe), Movement: Brain, Body, Cognition (FFM Resilience Training™ improved standard quality of life measures AND ribcage movement for breathing by 80%), and in collaboration with the Brain Research Dept at Weizmann Institute of Science regarding fascia + proprioceptor anatomy. Discovered a fast-growing painful tumor in my hip, and soon after another in my breast. Made the immensely difficult decision to take a hiatus from clinical practice, and to close the beautiful studio I opened this year in order to focus all my energy on healing from the inside out. Continue to feel overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support and gratitude for my presence in my communities near and far.
WOW that was a much bigger undertaking than I imagined when I began writing. In my family, we have a tradition of reflecting on the last year’s accomplishments and setting goals for the upcoming year. In looking at this last decade, and writing it all down (I’m sure I’m forgetting a ton)...my first instinct is to begin planning the next 10.
But instead, I am taking a conscious pause from planning, deciding, or even thinking about the future. There is a quote that I love by Maya Angelou: “Every person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.” Perhaps I have not taken enough of those days...so it will be a bit longer than a day for me. For now, I’m going full turtle-status ;) Wishing you all a happy new year, and I highly encourage you to reflect on this last decade. It’s a wild ride.
Satya Sardonicus, DC, CACCP
Champion of Human Potential
Founder | Chrysalis Studio PDX
PS, are you in Portland this weekend? Join me for what will be the final Fascial Flow Method™ class I teach at Chrysalis Studio PDX on Jan 5, 2020 @ 11am
Fascial Flow Method™ is a unique fusion of yoga, dance, and neuroscience specifically designed to turn down the fight-or-flight alarm in the brain with easy exercises you can take and use throughout your day to:
Achieve all-important centering
Be measurably less reactive
Immediately activate self-healing
Recharge your spirit - naturally!
This class will be on a donation basis, with all proceeds going to support my healing journey from cancer (no one turned away for lack of funds). Donations may be made via cash at the door or via venmo @resilience-artist ♡
To attend, click HERE to RSVP <<