When I knew I'd be moving away from Philadelphia, one of the hardest things to face was the fact that I'd developed a pretty great team for my health and now I'd be leaving it (btw, if you live around Philly and you need people, hit me up - I'll tell who to see).
I'd spent years seeking out and finding people who could help me on my journey toward experiencing life as I longed to: feeling safe and healthy in my body.
The last five years in Philly had a LOT of rough spots.
I had a traumatic cesarean birth.
I delved into childhood sexual abuse.
I faced immense grief, including my mother's death.
I went through two miscarriages.
I developed chronic digestive struggles.
I had pelvic imbalances.
Plus, all the things that came before and were never addressed.
I needed help.
So I worked with regular MDs, integrative/functional doctors, movement teachers, naturopaths, acupuncturists, energy healers, midwives, physical therapists, somatic psychotherapists and body workers.
And not just that, but I read books and blogs and listened to podcasts and consulted colleagues.
In hindsight, all of this exploration right before I got pregnant with my son in 2010.
I discovered the work of John Sarno, who posits that a lot of physical pain we experience is psychosomatic. Emotional and psychic struggles lead to physical adaptations that present as pain and dysfunction.
While Sarno's prescription for addressing this is not something I make use of, his general theories blew me away. I'd had a lot of inexplicable chronic pain and dysfunction and what I learned through his work paved the way for just about everything that was to come.
And you know how I found Sarno? Meditation. I was meditating on my health one day and asking for guidance and felt the strong insight to google. It was what I now call "intuitive googling." :)
So then I had my son and the birth was rough and I wanted to understand it and again I just followed my nose, allowing my explorations to be guided by my feelings, to be guided by my inner sense.
And that work led me to Katy Bowman. Who taught me all about movement. (And certified me to teach you about movement.)
But I still had so much work to do in my own body.
So I kept following my nose. I kept asking around. I kept expanding my boundaries and beliefs. I kept trying new things because it felt right and made some sense even if I couldn't reason it out.
Which led me to my heart, to meditation, to breath work, to combining movement with heart-centered practices, to all those practitioners I mentioned, to study with new teachers. It's what led me into writing and dancing and an amazing ability to navigate my life on different terms. It's what's enabled me to feel trust in my body, to know what is needed and to respond to those needs. It's what led me home to myself.
Which brings me to today.
We've moved across the country and so I've left my team of people that have been helping me with my health.
But I'm still not entirely clear about what's going on with my fertility. And the digestive stuff is definitely not settled. And besides, if you've been following along, you know the transition has been a wee bit stressful for me.
So I need a new team.
I asked around and found a functional medicine doctor who is also an applied kinesiology chiropractor. Now I don't know much about AK chiropractors, but that's never stopped me before. Truthfully, I usually know very little beforehand about the work I seek out...I learn it through practice and by reading/talking later.
All that to say, AK chiros test your neurological function. At my appointment with her, she had me move through a series of movements to determine what parts of me were "on" and which were not. Turns out I have low vagal tone (unsurprising to me and likely causing/contributing to the digestive problems) and that my left bicep is "off."
She also tested my core and hip flexors and pelvis for function, and it was all on.
But here's the MOST AMAZING THING (well, to me, anyway!):
She told me that women who have had c-sections don't have this kind of function.
Something is always not working, especially their hip flexors or parts of their core. She was really, really surprised (and seemed a little baffled) that my body was presenting differently.
It didn't hit me until later how absolutely extraordinary this is.
I'm not a fitness rock star. Half of you reading this can probably do more interesting/challenging things with your body than me, be it pilates roll downs (or is it ups?) or longer planks, or more pull ups or run marathons.
I'm not some spiritual/emotional/belief rock star. I am neurotic and fearful and disbelieving a full 30% of the time. I tend toward anxiety and melancholy. I have asked my husband a thousand times if he thinks I will ever be really done with this "fixing." In other words, I am incredibly inconstant.
I also didn't follow some detailed prescription. No one said, "Hey, women like you don't have function here and you need to do x, y, and z in order to fix yourself." No one said that because, truthfully, it doesn't exist. Or it exists for some things in some ways, but not for all things in all ways. Health is, in so many ways, an n=1 paradigm. I had to cobble my own thing together
As I was meditating this morning (but not for the last 36 mornings - see I'm inconstant!), I realized the power of this.