"At some moment, maybe this moment,
something comes along which significantly changes your life: yoga."
-- Ali MacGraw
I was 19 when I first heard these words. I can remember feeling a quiet, deep affirmation -- yes, right, of course..
Of course this is going to be a part of my life. The feeling of kinship with yoga, a familiarity and knowing, was strong -- It was like meeting an old friend that I'd, well -- never met before. But, as sometimes happens, this knowing didn't come into full expression right away. It would be a few years and a few challenges before that happened. My old friend would be around later, when I had more time, I thought. I whispered -- wait for me over there...
Yoga did change my life. It was medicine for my spine -- a spine that was not nearly as communicative at the age of 19 as it would soon become. Oh, did it learn to talk! It was the spinal curves, the inward curve of the neck and the outward curve of the upper back -- the spinal curvature that most are blessedly born with -- that in my case had taken the opposite course. Yes, this rebellious form of mine would sometimes not only talk, it would sing! There were soaring highs likened to siren frequency, the muscles with their screaming song -- think Janis or Kurt :) -- and there were bass lows, with an achy and deep quality, as if from the bone itself -- think Cohen or Cash. It was after the birth of my first child and then a neck injury, two events that did not agree with my already compromised and defiant backbone, that I first sought medicine, not from a yoga mat, but from the doctor.
Here was my first introduction to western medicine beyond the typical childhood experience and as a seeker of treatment. I was a young mother caring for a small child with periodic episodes of neck stiffness -- tightness so extreme that I was unable to turn my head from left to right. The doctor supplied heavy-duty pain medication of the sort that dilate the pupils and reduce function to bed rest only. There was a round of physical therapy and muscle relaxers were prescribed. How long before I realized this was not the path for me? A few months. For some people suffering with pain, the choice to continue pain medication or not will directly affect the rest of their lives. It was a cross-roads -- either continue numbing the pain or, to put it very simply, do the work. To start out, I realized doing the work meant taking a short but necessary stroll -- walking from the medicine cabinet to the trash bin, dropping in the bottles -- one, two, three. It wasn't an easy choice. This was a confusing time for me. (Should I mention the haze of codeine, a much lesser drug by today's tragic standards, doesn't facilitate clear thinking? To the extent that the difference between Monday and Wednesday is ... rather hard to define.) If the doctor was the steward of my health, and this was the treatment the doctor had prescribed, shouldn't I follow it? The answer to that question had been slowly coming into focus -- one dilated pupil at a time: to live life as fully as I needed and wanted to, I had to become the steward of my health.
It was a defining moment; a decision that gave shape and structure to the rest of my life. The decision not only guaranteed the avoidance of possible addiction, but it also enabled a sense of empowerment. Inherent in the act of discarding there was present a reclaiming and a call to action. I was reclaiming the inner knowing -- the internal conversation which is flattened and silenced on pain meds -- about what my body needed rather than what the prescription said I needed. And yes, I was tuning back in to Janis, Kurt, Cohen and Cash. That's some kind of quartet, let me tell you.:) The responsibility of my care, pain and healing was upon me -- it was time to seek an alternative solution. I went back to the yoga mat -- moved in to what I had decided was my new house without walls. I spent countless hours slowly unwinding the knots of my bound muscles, easing into the mobility that life requires. It was this slow movement and breath training that opened the door to meditation. I feel I might not have arrived at that door without yoga. And meditation brought with it an upward cycle of connection with mind and body, healing of wounds both internally and externally and an orientation toward health through mindful eating and herbal therapy.
This is the foundation upon which I come to health coaching. This foundation, neatly enough, represents the disparate dichotomy that is the current medical system in America, as it grows out of the old way and into the new. Today, the old way persists, as doctors spend less time than ever with patients -- 7 to 10 minute-long appointments and an average of 11 seconds before providers interrupt patients as they are relating what brought them in to be seen. Patients are given critical information but no assistance to develop a plan to implement the recommendations. This has been the reigning mode of healthcare for the last half a century or more -- disease management. Wait for a problem to surface and then react and often with no consideration for how the treatment, especially in the case of pain management, will affect the other aspects of a person's life.
But this old way is just one leg of the dichotomy. The other leg -- the new way -- are the advances that have been made toward integrative, proactive, preventative care as put forth by the Affordable Care Act. Health coaching is a vital part of this new paradigm of healthcare, serving to bridge the gap between doctor recommendations and implementation. Whether facing a new diagnosis, managing long-term health concerns, or making lifestyle changes to prevent or reverse slowly manifesting dis-ease and dis-use of the body and mind, the coaching partnership is a powerful assist in navigating acute and/or chronic health conditions.
I am driven to facilitate achievement of the highest level of both health and wellness in the clients that I work with. My life's work is to partner with you on the path to discovering your greatness. Coaching at Millennium connects you to the ways in which your health supports your personal purpose, your life's work and your highest values. Human beings are meant to flourish -- you are meant to grow your strengths and finally start the journey that will matter most. To do so, one must take the time to self-explore in a positive, encouraging atmosphere while creating a pause in the rush of life to ask the big questions -- What do you really want for your life? What is necessary to find your purpose? What is your vision of your most vibrant, healthy self? This kind of intentional conversation, which is perhaps one of the most important that a person can have in life, many times goes unspoken. In the past, when people were confused, troubled or in need of support, the only option was a clinical experience of therapy. Usually the focus was on what was wrong, not what is right and what needs to happen in a practical way to make things even more right.
I experienced challenges as a young adult in which I needed the kind of Alliance that I now offer to clients. I bring to coaching the potential for partnership and support that I feel has long been missing, and in so doing, I have seen firsthand the power of facilitating and participating in the collaborative process. To grow an authentic partnership, I bring deep empathy, an expansive curiosity that is free of judgement and years of study in healthy living and personal growth.