I love writing this blog simply for the things it’s doing to my brain. I guess when you have a blank canvas in front of you, you naturally just start inviting possibilities.
I wake up most mornings and lay in bed and wonder what I’m going to write about today. Sometimes it’s the event of the moment that’s going on but sometimes a memory or thought just pops in and I know “hey, that’s it!”.
Then I have my little ritual–grab my coffee and vitamin water, turn on channel 977 on my Dish Sirius, light a candle, open my laptop and dive in.
Rarely is there a plan and I do very little editing so it’s always an opening of a treasure box each and every time, then I hunt for photos. I highly recommend this exercise as it stimulates your brain in that right brained creative way that is so opening and therapeutic.
This morning I opened my eyes and was pondering my dream. My dream about seeking places to hold the Watsu event and I was going to all of these fancy hotels but hiking treacherous trails to get to them. It was awesome.
I’m still on the very tail end of detoxing an emotional event that occurred last Friday so there are little aha moments peeking in here and there about the lessons that presented themselves and courses of action to take from that small earthquake. I got to thinking this morning about how sometimes something will occur, a trauma or a loss that has really shaken up your life in order to unearth or heal something else.
It’s like the thing you are really needing to deal with is is so huge or so daunting that tackling it head on just will shut you down even more. So life comes in with a curve ball, maybe something kind of similar or something with a different trajectory, holding the key in it’s hand to hit the right lock then dissolve back in to the ether as it’s done it’s job.
That is exactly what I believe I just went through. An example might be a person dates a totally unsuitable partner but gets attached anyway (cough, been there done that) then gets their heart broken by someone they really weren’t that interested in the first place. But the breaking of their heart, by this person who wasn’t ever going to be that significant in the grand scheme of their lifeline, opened them to heal the one thing, dissolved that one barrier, that was keeping true love from really finding them.
Am I making sense here?
I was reaching back in to my own history to see where this has shown up before and landed on the answer to the question I’m asked probably at least once a month for the last twenty five years. “How did you get in to this work?”. Meaning how did I ever end up becoming a Myofascial Release Therapist which is a highly specialized field and I was an RN with a busy nursing career before that. Totally legit question.
So I will answer it here because it absolutely speaks to this dynamic I’m talking about. And I also want to say, that remembering this story reinforces this deep knowing to let to go to what is happening on that greater good type level and stay out of the trenches of what perhaps this appeared to be in the moment. I’m reminding myself “You’ve been here before. You know this”. That’s another subject I want to write about one day too. Just bookmarking it.
So this is how the dominoes fell for me to land in a highly successful rewarding career in my own business as a Myofascial Release therapist for the last twenty four years.
I had been practicing Psych nursing in a busy hospital for about four years when our unit went in to full blown chaos. A bunch of Drs decided to open their own Psych hospital nearby and started recruiting all of us to move over there. I don’t know why, at age 26 I think, I decided to stay. I really don’t remember why. I had learned and grown on that unit after they recruited me as a student nurse there. I had a natural affinity for Psych (duh, my dad ran a Psych unit my whole upbringing). I had worked up the ranks to Assistant Head Nurse working on the 3-11 shift. In hindsight it was an amazing time, knowing far too much now about how things are run (shudder). We had primary care, meaning all RN staff. We would have a patient load of 3-4 each shift under our care exclusively. We had time built in to spend 1 on 1 time with each one. I mean like an hour each! That’s unheard of now. It was an awesome place to learn, including about myself.
However, once most of our staff left in a mass exodus really overnight, the hospital didn’t anticipate this nor handle it well. Plus my Head Nurse had left so at this point I was the only RN in management of the entire unit, from the evening shift! I remember one day grabbing the schedule, walking up to the CEO of the hospital, demanding a meeting and showing him the schedule and that as of the following week we would have half our staff and no one hiring anyone! It got that crazy.
After about a year of trying to keep my head above water in that madness (ha right?), a friend called me up about a new facility that was opening. Now this place was freakin amazing. We were all case managers, patients lived in this beautiful apt complex in their own spaces and went to work some of them, some stayed during the day. We had biofeedback, art therapy, I created a relaxation group, we were on the greenbelt in Scottsdale, the patients were higher functioning than in the hospital. It was so innovative and creative and new. I absolutely loved it. I had my own office, worked with cool people, was respected.
Then Cindy was killed.
That’s where I was working when that happened.
I tried keeping myself together, coming to work, trying to turn it off. I was 29 years old and my whole family was back in IL and I was here alone fielding the police, media, the whole nine yards and trying to work with Psych patients. I would sometimes sit in group listening to tales of woe of perceived childhood scars and on the inside be thinking “you actually think that’s a problem?”. It was not good.
I knew I had to leave and take a break. Cindy had had me on a very small life insurance policy so I had a few thousand dollars coming my way which was big money at the time so I decided to quit my job and take the summer off to recover or just focus on myself.
I had no real plan to support myself yet but I knew clearly I had to leave. I was too destroyed to keep up that role and I’m pretty sure my coworkers knew it too.
I’ll never forget my last day there.
I had been leading some workshops on the side with a friend and that morning she showed up at my door with a one hundred dollar bill. She’d gotten paid for our class and I had completely forgotten about it. So she stopped by to drop it off. How perfect I thought, the day I’m walking off the edge of a cliff here, I’m handed a one hundred dollar bill.
I got in my car to drive to my job for the last time and something happened I’ll never forget. I was driving North on Dobson, past Main Street and I saw a man on the right side of the road holding a sign that said “Family of Four needs Assist”. Something about that sign began to sparkle and speak to me as I drove, shaking all over, about a block past, then pulled my car over and started bawling. I knew what I had to do.
I turned the car around, pulled in to the parking lot and over to him. I pulled out my one hundred dollar bill and handed it to him and this is where the miracle happened. This man held out his hand and accepted that bill and nodded his head quietly as if he was imparting a blessing on to me. I think he even said “bless you” and I replied “thank you”. It was as if the roles were reversed and I was RECEIVING something from him vs. giving. I don’t know how else to explain it–our entire dynamic was exactly the opposite of what you would have expected.
I quietly drove to work and knew, then and there, I would be ok financially and not to worry.
A few weeks later, the same friend who had recruited me for that job, had left herself and was working at a Head Injury rehab facility. She was preparing to take an extended European vacation that summer and called me up to see if I would be interested in filling in for her while she was gone. I was kind of ready to get back to work by then and she made that job sound so amazing so I said “of course”.
I went straight in to another job that I loved. We were case managing head injured patients who were living on our grounds and out of the hospital and transitioning back to their lives. We helped them do everything from shop and prepare meals, daily activities, learn life skills. As a nurse I often accompanied them to Dr. appts. to be a liasion and help explain to them and the Dr. what was going on. I have to say I absolutely loved that job.
I commuted about half an hour to Central Phoenix to NeuroCare and when my friend came back from vacation, they hired me on. It was the best of everything, now working along side my friend again too.
Oh and the best of everything sometimes gets better. They had to move locations and guess where they moved? Literally around the corner from my then house. I could walk to work. The commute was gone. How crazy is that?
After about a year of working there, my boss came to me and said “hey there is this Physical Therapist coming through town offering a workshop in this thing called Myofascial Release and we want someone to go check it out. We looked at the roster and since you have that massage thing going (by then I had a small massage business on the side–having taken a 3 week course that summer I took off– really just trading for haircuts in a salon) we thought you’d be the perfect one. We will pay your way to go if you would be willing to go check it out for our program”. I had never heard of it before but I said “sure, I’ll go!” of course.
I will also never forget sitting in that conference room in Scottsdale and my teacher John Barnes walking on stage and beginning to speak of this philosophy and feeling as if the clouds had parted and God had handed me my mission for life, right there, through this man. And I wasn’t looking for a new life path OR a teacher! But I was looking for healing. I’d been struggling with that anxiety disorder for years at that point, usually quietly and in secret, and I just knew this would help me (and it did!). I felt like everything he was saying was synthesizing everything I was learning about healing ever since I’d become a nurse. I knew this language. This was the Leader of my Tribe I felt. A tribe I wasn’t even seeking. I’ll never ever forget that feeling. I still feel it to this day.
I completed that course, then he was headed the next day to Sedona to teach two more courses after that and no way could I go to the first one but the second one I could! One odd side note, we were between our two murder trials right at that moment–talk about timing–and I was to be interviewed for this stupid show Hard Copy for two days during that second class, which was the reason I couldn’t go. That’s a whole other post maybe I will make one day.
I asked my boss if I could go to the third and she agreed to pay half for that one and I actually commuted back and forth to Sedona as I couldn’t afford a hotel room!
I returned home and that program set me up in my own tranquil treatment room and I began to practice. There was not one other MFR practitioner in the entire Phoenix area (believe me I was desperate to connect with someone else) so I set about just doing it. I felt I’d been instilled with so much confidence by my teacher and I had a natural affinity for it and my program wanted it so I set about practicing. And I saw miracle after miracle with those head injured patients. I learned from them and I had to get confident about my skills and I did.
A year later, I was on vacation with my family and I knew our program was going through major changes–it was being sold to a big company. I found out, while on my vacation, that I was losing my job. They’d laid off my boss and many of us “extra” positions and since they’d already filled my nursing position, I really didn’t have a place there anymore.
Talk about news to find out on a vacation! Ugh. I remember feeling scared and flattened–at the time. I had never lost a job in my life. My work life is my strong suit! I always excel in that arena. I was shocked whether I should have been or not. It was momentarily devastating.
I came home, packed up my office and then something miraculous happened. I got contacted by not one, but two independent providers–Allstate Insurance and AZ Work Comp asking me to keep treating their patients. Those patients had reported the one thing that had helped them the most was the MFR treatments with me and they were losing them so these providers made ME, little old ME scrambling to find a place to put my table, an independent provider. So there I began, treating those two patients out of my spare bedroom just around the corner.
It was such humble beginnings.
Well now, twenty four years later, one thing led to another. I just kept moving forward, kept taking courses, became an instructor with my teacher, opened a medium sized center where I practiced for over 18 years and just moved in to my purpose–my destiny.
But I had to get cracked open to do this. I would have never thought of myself as an entrepreneur. I’d always had a paycheck. But I lost that job and it was a moment of truth. Do I go back to nursing or stick with this thing that I love?
Oh and along the way, I healed. I completely worked through that anxiety disorder with this work. I healed and got a life path and career all through the same man–my teacher John Barnes. His might be the last face I see on my death bed in my mind’s eye. He’s been that important to me.
So my point is this. Sometimes the trauma we are experiencing is not what it’s about at all. It’s about creating a crack, an opening for our destiny to find us. An abandonment or loss is simply creating space in a dramatic way to see things differently and explore other possibilities or in the case of this last weekend, remind me of the roots of why I got in to something in the first place.
Sometimes that unseen hand will simply lift us up and place us on another chess board. Getting too attached to the small picture or the one we’re on just creates more pain sometimes. That tearing is not an easy feeling to feel.
I find that when I remind myself of times when I was catapulted by Grace in the past is some sort of roadmap to the now which as I write this has lifted me to the biggest smile on my face at this very moment.
I invite you to revisit something in your past that felt like an unrecoverable trauma only to realize it was a springboard to something or someone unimaginably greater.
And, please, if you’re so inclined, do share.
I wrote this little post on Facebook in the middle of the chaos this last weekend and I think it was one of the many liferafts thrown my way. 44 people “liked” it. I hope it’s helpful for you too:
There is always a larger picture going on. Always. There is always something operating on your behalf even in the most feverish chaos- something or someone is steering you right where you’re headed next. Higher ground.