This is my Story
Everyone has a story to tell and decisions that they had to make to get them where they are today. In graduate school I learned this story is called a narrative. We use narratives as a way to better understand the person themselves, their perspectives, and thought processes.
This is my narrative. I think it is important that I introduce myself to you so you know my story and why I practice healing work, craniosacral therapy, and holistic nutrition based in Ayurveda.
Of course my journey starts with my birth and my birth process, just like everyone else. I was the youngest of four children who were all C-section deliveries so I too was a C-section baby and not breastfed for very long. My mom suffered post partum depression in a time when no one even knew what post partum depression was or talked about it. Little did I know this was the beginning of my passion for helping mothers during their own pregnancy journey and birth process of their children, breastfeeding, and postpartum care for both mom and baby.
I was lucky beyond belief to grow up with a father who worked hard to support his family so we could live comfortably. He showed us so much love and would do anything for his children. I remember Sunday dinners of pasta and homemade breadsticks and cheers on the sidelines of almost all of my soccer games. My mom teaching me the importance of women working outside the home, the importance of becoming an independent woman myself, to always question, and to respect the Earth (who else recycled in the 80’s?). When my parents divorced when I was 12, I used the love of my father and the independence of my mother to settle into the awkward years of teens.
Fast forward to my early 20’s where I married at a young age to my high school boyfriend. I was seeking the structure and support that was lacking post my parents divorce. His family was stable, loving, and encouraged us to marry so we could live together without breaking any religious “rules”. Our love was deep but I was immature. Rather than two individuals supporting each other as separate beings helping each other grow, I became fully immersed in his needs and lost myself in trying to make him happy.
Every story has two sides and out of respect I will not expand more here. To me, the only way to find my self again, re-connect with the independent woman my mom taught me to be, and grow spiritually to the woman I wanted to become, I could not longer be married to him. This led me to a heart-breaking divorce where I lost two amazing dogs, moved, changed jobs, re-started school, and an overall personality change in a very short time.
I was confused and yet the happiest I had been in a long time. Shortly after my divorce in 2007 I was accepted to a graduate program in Occupational Therapy at the University of Utah. This three year program was one of the hardest things I have done in my life. It pushed me to think differently and stressed me out more then I ever had been. Thank God for the girlfriends I made who helped me though with hours of study and endless support.
I learned anatomy, the mechanics of the body, the science of the brain and the power of meditation. The only way to get through difficult exams, deadlines and projects, maintain a new relationship, and work was by sitting in silence and noticing my breath for a few minutes every day. I observed that by noticing my breath I was creating a better awareness of my energetic body and my observation skills were improving. I survived school and in 2010 I graduated, married my boyfriend, and started working as an Occupational Therapist in acute and inpatient neruorehabilitation.
Post school, as a gift from my husband to help me let go of the stress of graduate school and help with a long standing injury, I had a craniosacral session from a DO. If anyone has attended graduate school they can attest how long it takes to decompress! I was working three jobs because I did not know how to sit still, and needless to say I had stopped meditating. I was blown away in my first craniosacral therapy session.
He worked on my diaphragm even though I was there for an ankle injury. He kept asking me if I was ok and telling me my diaphragm was “holding a lot of anger”. After I left I was a mess for two weeks. I would cry for no reason at the drop of a hat, my back hurt, and I started to question my job in the hospital setting. Session two was very different and he said worked on my skull bones but I felt nothing at the time. I left feeling more relaxed then I ever had. Within a few weeks my ankle injury had gone away and overall I felt very happy and excited to be alive. It was then I knew I had to learn craniosacral therapy.
I devoured courses, read books, and started working on people giving them craniosacral therapy sessions. I was taking so many courses I decided to start a business so I could at least write off some of the travel I was doing. I took a job as an Occupational Therapist in a pediatric hospital and started working with babies and children. My manager was very supportive of craniosacral therapy and I made the decision to take the craniosacral therapy classes focusing on pregnancy, newborns, infants, and children.
All this time I was receiving consistent bodywork, started meditation again, practiced yoga, and kalari (a martial art from India). The bodywork, study in craniosacral therapy, and meditation allowed me to process emotions of my past and start question my beliefs and habit patterns.
In 2013 I took a trip to India to study Kalri with my teachers. It was a 15 day trip that changed my life. There is a saying along the lines of, “you go to India and come home a different person”. Yes, this is true for me but happened so differently then I would have predicted. My trip to India was a whirlwind. I have traveled A LOT to different countries but nothing could have prepared me to the constant bombardment of input. It was amazing and overwhelming at the same time. I practiced Kalari 6 hours a day and immersed myself in the culture. I was that “happy, spiritual” person I wanted to become when I got divorced. Life was good and I had worked hard to make it that way.
I came home and within 48 hours I was really sick. I went to the Dr. and had blood tests, urine tests, chest, and organ x-rays. My spleen was enlarged and my white blood cell count was high but “nothing” else was wrong. I had a fever, nauseated, exhausted, and my body and throat ached. I went home and slept for three days in a haze I can hardly remember. I remember crawling to the bathroom. I remember my worried husband waking me up and forcing me to drink electrolyte drinks. I remember everything as a thick fog. On day 4 I had enough energy to move to the couch during the day and my husband drove me to acupuncture. The exact timeline after that is a bit skewed because I was so sick my memory is not clear. I remember going to different Western Physicians and they had no answers: “nothing was wrong and I should feel fine.”
I remember feeling exhausted, confused, depressed and I pretty much lived on my couch. I started skyping with my good friend who was also an Ayurvedic practitioner. He gave me little things to do to start to recover my energy. I finally returned to work and would takes naps on my lunch break and have to take the elevator because I was too tired to climb the stairs like I used to. The memory of practicing kalari for 6 hours a day seemed so far away and so unobtainable.
After a few months of minimal recovery I worked with a holistic healer/nutritionist and started a complex herbal cleanse. I travelled to Washington to see a craniosacral therapist who specialized in the immune system. Shortly after I started to fully recover. I remember the first time I went for a walk around the block and I felt so amazed that I had made it.
During my months of recovery I began to questions everything. Why was it the Western medical work could do nothing for me? Why was it that craniosacral, Ayurveda, and herbs were able to help me? What the hell did I have? What if I had stayed sick and not recovered? What if I would have died? What is important to me now that I am healed and alive? What really matters in life?
Sickness or illness, death and difficult times, I believe, are there to help us question. We can choose to seek answers to these questions or we can choose to stay as we are. If life is hard I believe it is hard because it is asking us to wake up and look at our decisions that brought us there. Life is giving us an opportunity to look at our path. Do we want to change our path? Are we happy?
Getting sick was an opportunity for me to look at my life and a wake up call for me to slow down. Although it took over a full year to fully recover, during that time I decided my long term plan was to start a healing practice of my own that could help others that the medical world could not help.
Shortly after I recovered I quit my job at the hospital and went full time into my craniosacral therapy practice. Because of my interest and study in pediatrics I continued to work with infants and pediatrics in my private office. I took the level 1 certification exam for the Upledger Institute and continued to study craniosacral therapy, nutrition, meditation, kalari, and yoga. I had always had an interest in Ayurveda but started to study with multiple teachers via skype and in-person courses.
I have continued to grow my practice and through personal processing, bodywork, meditation and self study I have come to realize the importance of processing not only our physical traumas but our emotional traumas. It is impossible to separate the two; “it is hard to say where the body ends and the sub-conscious starts”. I have grown a passion for helping children, babies and babies in utero. It is my belief that craniosacral therapy, bodywork, and nutrition can help a growing, developing fetus become a happy, healthy baby and therefore adult. It can help mom’s body adjust to the changes of her body - physically and emotionally, it assists in mom and baby bonding, and it can help mom and baby adjust after birth. As children develop post birth craniosacral therapy continues to address their needs physically and emotionally, again, to become well adjusted adults.
I have worked hard to be where I am today and I know the journey is not done. I am so excited to do what I do for a living because it does not feel like work. I am grateful for every decision and difficult times that brought me to where I am today. I am also grateful for the obstacles life has given me as it has allowed me to headed in the direction I know I should be going. Hopefully this story has inspired you to look at your own healing journey and life narrative. Lastly, hopefully it has inspired you to seek bodywork for you and your children.