Three years, three months and three days later, I find myself in Michigan, returning on a one-way fare from Ashland, wrapping up a two-week farewell tour full of bittersweet moments symbolizing our last time through as locals. Encouraged by the brave and aching heart of a friend, I share these thoughts, originally written in sharing of experience with an osteopathic kindred, both brought to me along my journey through Oregon…ever grateful.
Reflecting on how life has unfolded, yes self, not unraveled, unfolded, I look back to a course in February and see that unrest was mounting even then.
Approaching The Power of Presence experience as a potential osteopathic revival with hope for a possible mentor relationship and leaving with such a contrary feeling was a defining moment, though I would not learn the true meaning until much later, a lesson that actively continues.
Though I received neither direct encouragement nor the supportive relationship of an osteopathic elder, I gained much in the way of resolve of my personal and professional values and the priceless realization that it was not those from the generation prior but my contemporaries that held the true comradery and insight I so deeply desired.
I believe as strongly as ever in all that osteopathy holds to truly foster and favor the health of all things. A few simple tenets held in their purest intention can truly change the world. My place in this process continues to evolve and I see now that all that has transpired since my birthday month was part of a – painful, confusing and most challenging – growth phase to prepare me to be the person I, my family, my community and the world need.
To have reached a point in my life where I was living in a seeming utopia – with dreamy school, beautiful topography, conscientious consumers, interesting food, pedestrian friendly commutes and enrichment of all types where my children were thriving – and to feel unsettled felt like a failing of the worst kind…my spirit was sighing save me, but I did not listen.
To have a practice abundant with patients alongside the development of a gym-based community, named after my favorite movie and successfully serving as testing ground for wellness principles I had envisioned for years yet still feel unfulfilled seemed an ungracious state, undeserving of the successes…my mind was calling caution, but I did not heed.
To have time with children for coaching, playing music, traveling, learning and to reach peak pinnacle of fitness but feel inadequate made me wonder what fundamentally was wrong with me that I could not accept, with gratitude, a most fortunate place in life and focus on solutions rather than problems, as I had long mantra-ed at work and with family…my body was whispering warning, but I could not hear for the deafening volume of my own expectations.
And so it was, en route to my first ever attempt at the Cranial Academy’s Annual Conference, ironically, or perhaps aptly, named Discovering the Heart of Osteopathy, that a final effort to gain my full attention with a shriek of ear-piercing feedback ruptured the sound barrier and a critical core muscle, effectively stopping me in my physical tracks and opening floodgates of query:
Who was I without movement? How was I without coaching? Where was the athlete? Why would so many years of training leave me vulnerable to such a menial task? What good could possibly come from six weeks of zero activity and the elimination of exercise that had been such a critical source of my (questionable) sanity?
Clearly a one-sided inquisition; I realized spirit, mind and body had not been given fair playing time and, from this place of disintegration, patience and wondering were my only guideposts on the journey back to the whole.
Though I seek not to know, as that is a fixed state of being and I intend to remain ever in fluidity, powerfully potent but appropriately acquiescent, I hope to continue my understanding, seeing now even greater depth to the meaning of the sentiment that inspired me and beautiful art some 18 months ago.
In an effort to see the health, I was forcing myself through a place of healing without yielding to the process. I did not need to be the best version of me, the ideal, the perfectly perceived. I needed to be the me I was in that moment, to sit, uncomfortably if necessary, with myself, where I was, for as long as it took to take a full breath and accept that I was enough – without external identifiers or relationships or expectations or excellence or even mediocrity. That I had to be okay with me in my most basic state of being to have any hope of truly being with and for others as I so deeply desired.
The lesson did not come easily and when I tried to fight through, I was slammed right back down. False optimism was answered by unbreathable air leading to early escape and extended stay in my homeland. Time in the Wild West held life lessons beyond any I imagined and included an unanticipated return ticket to my state of origin. The picture was blurry, the path muddied with turns and an undercurrent of fear for what I had asked of my family, but I can see, speak and hear to the whole for the first time and trust that this is change for good.
With gratitude in spirit, peace in mind, reverence in body, I acknowledge that I indeed received all that I desired and more that February weekend – a mentor within, support beside and wisdom beyond. Centered, grounded and present…finally now I can I truly move for, with and through myself, patients, friends, family and community from a place of evolving wholeness and true acceptance of health.
May we listen to the whispers, be true to ourselves, see through to the deepest feelings, allow ourselves to heal and trust that when the purpose is true, the path will be revealed.