Hlo Heaven

Today’s post will be brief, as I’ve been procrastinating (watching Great British Baking Show, cooking food, looking at Facebook, you know ūüôā ), and I still have lots of studying to do, and Tim and I are supposed to play Jaipur too!

ANYWAY, ¬†I wanted to let you know about an exciting development. ¬†We are bringing The Roll Model¬ģ Method Teacher Trainings to the Center for Neurosomatic Studies! I cannot convey how excited I am about this. ¬†The whole reason I found out about neurosomatic therapy is because a Yoga Tune Up¬ģ teacher took her son to an NST therapist and was blown away by the treatment. She commented on it ¬†on the YTU Teachers Facebook page. I was in the middle of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life (I wanted to help people in the health/wellness arena, but did not want to go back to school for 6 more years and spend $100,000 on tuition). Her post sparked my interest, and upon Googling, I found ¬†my school. ¬†And here we are, about 2 years later, and I am on the cusp of graduating from CNS!

Anyway, back to my original point, in school we are taught how invaluable it is to give patients “homework.” It’s vital to help remodel their bodies, and it also helps them realize they have an internal locus of control. Their therapist/doctor is not responsible for their health, the patient himself/herself is! ¬†The self-massage that is taught in Yoga Tune Up¬ģ is a perfect compliment to the work we do in NST. ¬†This has become abundantly clear to me as I’ve progressed through the program, so much so, that I thought, “We HAVE to bring a YTU training to this school!”

I talked to my teacher, mentor, and school-owner, Randy, and he readily agreed. ¬†And my dream is coming to fruition! ¬†In March, we will offer both of The Roll Model¬ģ Method Trainings at CNS! ¬†One of my teachers from my Yoga Tune Up ¬ģ Level 1 training is going to teach the class. ¬†She ¬†made a huge impact on me during the Level 1. I remember telling her, “I’m just a part-time yoga teacher. I just do this on the side…” ¬†And she called me out on minimizing myself and my skills, and it solidly hit home! ¬†The fact that this super-talented, intelligent, gifted woman thought I had something real to offer to people gave me a whole new perspective on what was possible! ¬†And she is the person who will be teaching this class. ¬†ūüôā

Here are the links to the classes:

The Roll Model¬ģ Method – The Science of Rolling

The Roll Model¬ģ Method – Ball Sequencing & Innovation

If you are at all interested in learning some easy-to-use self-massage techniques for yourself or your clients/patients, I cannot recommend this training highly enough. I would so love to see you there!

Hope you are having a great Sunday!

 

 



 

 

The Fabulous, Fantastic, Fearless Foot

I now know ALL the muscles in the body. ¬†Ha! I wish. ¬†I mean, I think I’ve probably learned about all the muscles in the body, but I don’t remember them all. ¬†Yet. ¬†We just finished up learning about the lower body, all the way down to the feet. ¬†I had no idea that feet are so complicated!! ¬†As we learned in class, the complex nature of the feet makes them capable of amazing feets/feats (get it!!), but it also makes them prone to a variety of issues. ¬†How many people do you know that have bunions or plantar fasciitis or heel spurs or hammer toes? ¬†A lot of these issues are caused by misuse/abuse of the feet. ¬†I’m going to try to provide a very high level overview of the feet and then show you what you can do to bring relief and increased awareness to the feet. ¬†And before I forget to mention it, if you have any of these issues, neurosomatic therapy can help!! ¬†I graduate in February, so come see me!!

Ok. ¬†First of all. ¬†Let’s look at the boney structure of the foot. ¬†You have the big heel bone (aka calcaneus), on top of which sits the talus, which fits into an arch (aka mortise) made by your shin bone (aka tibia) and fibula (the bone that’s on the outside of your lower leg). ¬†This forms the joint of the ankle. ¬†Next you have an assortment of oddly shaped bones that fit together like puzzle pieces – the navicular, cuboid, and cuneiforms. ¬†Next you have the long skinny bones of your foot, the metatarsals, which connect to your toes, which are made up of phalanges. ¬†Here is a picture to give you an overview:

These bones are held together by tons of ligaments (very strong connective tissue), and connecting with these bones are all the muscles of your lower leg and foot.  These ligaments and muscles maintain the two arches of your foot. Yes! There are two arches down there!  There is the longitudinal arch, which forms your instep.  And then there is the transverse arch, which goes horizontally across your foot.  These two arches work together to absorb force from the ground and transmit it up the body.

Man, I’m just getting started. ¬†I really wanted to discuss the the muscles IN the foot too. ¬†Did you know there are TWELVE of them (depending on how you count them) and FOUR separate layers of muscles? ¬†Just bonkers. But we’ll have to discuss the bonkeriness in another post because this one is already getting too long.

Let’s get to the really fun stuff. What can you do if you have foot pain? ¬†One easy thing to do is to get a small, soft ball (I recommend a Yoga Tune Up¬ģ ball, due to its squishy, pliable nature) and step on it. ¬†Yep. ¬†Just stepping on the ball will increase your awareness of your feet and start to dissolve tension between all those tiny joints. ¬†Here is a video that will guide you through an eye-opening foot roll.

https://vimeo.com/211185607

You can also increase awareness of your feet (and help bring energy down from that monkey mind into your feet, which is very grounding) by meditating on your feet.  Here is a 10 minute meditation that will guide you through that.

Hopefully you have a better understanding of your amazing feet now!  I hope you find some time to give your feet some love today.  Let me know what you think of the video and or meditation.

Have a great Sunday!

 

 

The Electricity of Touch

I’ve long been fascinated with science fiction. ¬†I grew up watching Dr. Who, Star Wars, Star ¬†Trek, Misfits of Science. ¬†I loved Madelaine L’Engle’s books, as well as The Girl With Silver Eyes, Dune, anything by Ursula K Le Guin, Lord of the Rings. ¬†I was so hopeful that there was magic in the world, that we are not just flesh, bone, and blood. ¬†I wanted powers.

And as I get older and find some moments of quiet and observation, I realize that I DO have powers. ¬†The world really does not operate in a linear, A+B = C function. ¬†It’s wiley and impressionable and moldable and multifaceted. ¬†With every interaction, there are innumerable forces at play, most of which cannot be seen, felt, or heard. ¬†Or maybe they can be, but we’ve lost the art of reliably, consciously doing so.

And what is truly fascinating, is that now there are studies that prove that that as humans, we are energetically entangled with each other. ¬†You can read one of the studies¬†here. ¬†The gist of it is, there is an exchange of electromagnetic energy when people touch (especially with the right hand) or are close together (within 18 inches). ¬†If a person consciously adopts a “sincere caring attitude,” it could positively affect the heart rhythm of people within their proximity!!

Here is a quote from the study that I find really intriguing, “…when individuals focus their attention in the area of the heart and consciously generate a positive emotion, the heart rate variability patterns become more orderly and coherent,” and “…individuals who intentionally increase their cardiac coherence by maintaining a focused state of sincere love or appreciation can induce changes in the structure of water and the conformational state of DNA.” ¬†The study goes on to imply that a therapeutic technique could become more effective by the practitioner adopting a “sincere caring attitude.”

This gives me so much hope! ¬†I have learned so much in the past 14 months, but I know I still know NOTHING! ¬†But at least, now I know, if I really care about my patients, my touch will be beneficial to them – even if I’m not treating the exact muscle that needs to be treated. ¬†My touch, generated from a place of compassion and positive intent, can be a “magic” power that helps my patients feel better!

What do you think of this article?  Do you notice effects in your body when you are around a positive person versus a negative person?  Do you think you can affect people solely with your positive atttidue?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. <3

 

Butt Stuff

Yep. ¬†Are you like Troy Barnes? ¬†Do you love Butt Stuff? ¬†¬†Well then you’re in luck! ¬†We covered Butt Stuff this week. ¬†And by “Butt Stuff” I mean all that meat that covers your backside. ¬†Did you know that there are actually 3 different gluteal muscles that make up “the glutes”? ¬†Yes! It’s true.

The gluteus maximus is the big boy, as the name implies. ¬†It runs from the lateral edge of your sacrum all the way out to your femur (the long bone in the top of your leg). ¬†The top part of the muscle merges into the IT band on the outside of the leg, and the lower portion attaches to the back of your femur. ¬†But underneath that are two more glute muscles! ¬†The gluteus medius lies underneath the maximus, and underneath THAT lies yet another muscle – the gluteus minimus. ¬†Please see my quick sketch below to get an idea of how these muscles lie in relation to each other. ¬†And yes, I forgot the “l” in gluteus minimus and had to go back in and squeeze it in later. Thank you, Tim, for the .388mm pens. ūüôā

Underneath all of these layers are the deep rotators of the hip, but I’ll have to save those for another blog post, or this will get too massively long, and I have a test to study for! ¬†And a bike ride and brunch to do!

So, your glutes. ¬†Why are they important? ¬†Well, glute max is the largest muscle in the body and can be up to 2 to 3 inches thick! Consequently, it can have a huge impact on postural distortions. ¬†The glute group can cause pelvic extension (a “tucked” tail), pelvic projection (where the hips are thrust forward of the feet and knees), a pelvic tilt (where one side of the pelvis is higher than the other), external rotation of the femur (“duck feet”), and low back pain. ¬†These muscles can also mimic sciatic pain – sending trigger point referrals into the buttocks and down the back and side of the leg.

Issues with the glutes are quite common, considering we are supposed to use them to MOVE all day long, but we generally just use them to SIT all day long instead. As a result, many people have difficulties activating their “sleepy” glutes. ¬†This became really evident to me when I took a Yoga Tune Up¬ģ workshop where we went through the following guided practice:

  1. Lay on the floor, legs straight out (aka savasana).
  2. Try to squeeze your right butt check.  Try the left. Do you know notice any difference in power/contraction?  How far did your hips lift off the floor with each squeeze?
  3. Take a massage therapy ball (a Yoga Tune Up ball, a tennis ball, etc.) and place it under the thickest part of just the right butt cheek.
  4. Contract the right butt cheek for 20 seconds, as you release the contraction, the ball will sink deeper into the glutes.  Repeat 2-3 times, sinking deeper each time.
  5. You can rock your body slowly side to side over the ball.
  6. Without sitting up, reach under your glute and remove the ball.
  7. Let your awareness settle back into the glutes.  Does the right side feel any different than the left?  Any changes in temperature?  sensation?
  8. Contract the right butt cheek. Then the left.
  9. Do you notice any difference in power/activation/sensation in the right side?

If you were like me, you were like, “OMG. ¬†My right side has so much more power now!!!” ¬†You just woke up your butt!!

The YTU balls are great for increasing proprioception and awareness of these muscles, and with regular use, you can keep these muscles active and reduce the chronic tension that is held there.  At the Center for Neurosomatic Studies, we are trained to treat this group of muscles VERY specifically.  In addition to treating the muscle belly (which is what you contact with the balls), we get into the attachments and different layers of tissue, and we can even get into that trough on the medial aspect of the greater trochanter.  The combination of self-massage and bodywork is super helpful for this powerhouse.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.  If you try the exercise described above, let me know how it feels for you.  I personally store a lot of tension in my glutes, so when I get them treated or I roll them out, I feel super relaxed and down-regulated afterwards.  Good luck waking up your butt!

 

 

The Delightful, Dynamic, totally Dope Diaphragm

In last week’s post, I mentioned that the psoas shares attachments to the diaphragm, so I figured we might as well delve into the diaphragm next. ¬†Please note my extensive use of alliteration within this post, as alliteration is amazingly awesome.

I should start by saying, in this post I will be discussing the RESPIRATORY diaphragm, as there are a few different diaphragms in the body.  The respiratory diaphragm, as the name implies, is related to respiration (aka breathing). It is your primary breathing muscle. Or at  least it should be.  For a variety of reasons we can end up constantly using accessory muscles like the neck and shoulder muscles for breathing. This can lead to chronic neck/shoulder tension, head-forward posture, and an amped up nervous system.  But I digress.  Man, this topic is hard to write about without octopusing off into a tangent!!

The diaphragm is a large, domed-shaped muscle that sits inside your ribcage Рthink of a parachute tucked up under your ribcage.  This muscle separates your heart/lungs from the rest of viscera (liver, stomach, intestines, etc.).  It forms a seal around your ribcage that enables the pressure changes that inflate and deflate the lungs with each breath.  At rest (meaning the muscle is not contracted), the diaphragm is in parachute mode Рdomed up inside the chest.  When you inhale, it actually flattens and moves DOWN, pulling air into the lungs, and pushing down on the viscera below.  If you want to understand this concept better, you can watch this video (and learn how to make a working lung/diaphragm model yourself!).

We take about 23,000 breaths a day.  With each breath, the diaphragm (which shares connections to the pericardium which contains the heart), massages the heart above it and the organs below it, keeping everything nice and mobile and moving stuff like blood and lymph through the body.  So you can see why I say the diaphragm is delightful, dynamic, and dope!  Such a helpful muscle!

But like any muscle, it can become dysfunctional due to misuse, disuse, overuse, and abuse (to borrow some language from Jill Miller). When this happens, your posture can be affected, breathing issues can arise (asthma, COPD), and your sympathetic nervous system (flight/flight/freeze) can become ramped up, causing anxiety and panic attacks.

But there is good news!! ¬†Even though this muscle seems inaccessible, all tucked up under the bony cage of our ribs, it can actually be treated with manual therapy. ¬†At the Center for Neurosomatic therapy, we learn how to work with the patient’s breath to get our thumbs up under the rib cage and treat this muscle. ¬†And, yes, that is as uncomfortable as it sounds. ¬†BUT, it is SUPER effective. ¬†Each time I’ve done this treatment, the patient notices IMMEDIATE improvements in his/her breath.

If you don’t have access to a neurosomatic therapist’s thumbs, you can do some self care on your own diaphragm. ¬†As with anything, Awareness is Step #1:

Take a moment, close your eyes, and see if you can tell where you feel your breath happening in your body……………………………………..

Done?  Ok.  Where did you feel it?  Did you feel it up in your neck?  Your shoulders?  Did you feel your ribs expand?  Did you feel your belly move at all?

If you feel all your breath up in your shoulders and neck, try focusing on pulling that breath down lower in the body. ¬†You can use the Yoga Tune Up¬ģ Coregeous ball to help. ¬†Check out the video here from one my Instagram Idols – the Movement Maestro.

I hope this helped you understand the darling, dependable, damn-brilliancy of the respiratory diaphragm.  Give it some love today Рwe think we have it rough if we have to work 50 hours a week. It works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Have a fabulous Sunday, and let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

Hlo Out!

 

 

On being overwhelmed by free-time

Yep. ¬†I’m on a break from school. ¬†So that means I have no homework to do today. ¬†I have a day off. ¬†No work. ¬†No homework. ¬†Just a day to do what I want. ¬†Oh my God, that is so much pressure!!!

I have this big, long list of things I would do, if I ever had free time. ¬†For example – paint, draw, write, learn to play the ukulele, go to a group exercise class, re-read ALL the things I have already read because I would understand them so much better now, finish one (or many) of the on-line classes I purchased, watch one of the youtube videos open in one of my 10 browser tabs, book a Disney trip for our anniversary, etc. ¬†But, when I get a free day like this, I get a bit overwhelmed by all the options, and it’s also difficult to figure out what I “FEEL” like doing.

So what do I usually end up doing? ¬†Looking at Facebook, shopping on Amazon, going out for lunch, having a drink, watching TV. ¬†Well, at least that is pretty much what I did Saturday and Sunday. ¬†But today. ¬†Today will be different. ¬†Today I meditated. I went for a walk and listened to Katy Bowman. ¬†I am making a slow-roasted garlic pork roast. ¬†And I’m writing a blog post. ¬†It’s a whole new Hlo today. ¬†It’s a breezy day – I can feel a hint of autumn in the air, even down here in Florida. ¬†I think it’s blowing in a good change.

I really do feel a change occurring lately, despite my weekend of semi-non-productiveness.  I have been meditating every day since mid-June.  While I often feel as if I am not really FOCUSED on my primordial sound mantra while I am meditating, as my teacher promised, I think that the daily practice works magic, even if I get lost in thought while doing the practice.

My teacher told me that “every meditation is perfect,” which has really helped me be OK with the rampaging monkey mind that I experience every day while trying to focus on my mantra. ¬†I will realize that I am miles away from my mantra and pull myself back to it, but instead of getting super annoyed and frustrated, I tell myself, “This is perfect” and feel gratitude that I recognized that my mind took off and that I could bring it back to what I WANT to focus on.

Between the meditation and reading “Everything is here to help you” by Matthew Kahn, my perspective on life outside of meditation has changed as well. ¬†While I still feel annoyance, anger, frustration when things don’t go the way that is convenient and comfortable to me, these entrees of emotions are experienced with a ¬†complementary side of observation. ¬†I can watch the emotion bubble up and pair it with the thought, “Everything is perfect. ¬†Everything happens the way it’s supposed to happen. ¬†This is all happening because it’s supposed to happen. What is this teaching me?” ¬†Sometimes I ignore the voice (and get annoyed with it!! ha!!!) and let myself revel in the energy of the emotion, and sometimes I can detach a bit and watch and choose.

This is the path I am traveling down right now. ¬†It’s a practice and a process. ¬†Hopefully as I keep putting energy into approaching life this way, I will get better at it and will have more clarity, confidence, and focus and will be less distracted by the easy path of numbing and procrastinating.

 

Jamaica Trip – Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of the Jamaica series!  With this post I continue the review of my observations/lessons learned from the trip.

  • I definitely experienced many highs and lows over the course of the week. After some treatments I was in the depths of despair, feeling 100% inadequate and overwhelmed.¬† And then the next patient would respond really well to the treatment and to me, and I was back on cloud 9.¬† It was a complete yo-yo of emotions, both exhausting and exhilarating.¬† On the bus back to the hotel each night, I would reflect on the day, on how hard it was, on how I didn‚Äôt feel as if I knew what I was doing, on how uncomfortable I was, being in a position of uncertainty and doubt. Net, even with all the discomfort, I was so much happier after a day working on and with my fellow humans than working in an office on a computer all day.
  • I need to study more! We learn so much so fast in this program.¬† I need to find a way to remember what we have been taught because in the thick of things, my brain really struggled to retrieve all those trigger points, muscle attachments, and protocols.¬† I could feel the solution to the puzzle just outside of my consciousness, but I could not quite grasp it.
  • If/when I do this again, I need to learn Patwa! While most of the patients spoke English, with the accent and with being slightly hard of hearing, I had SUCH a difficult time understanding exactly what was being said.¬† Thank goodness for gestures!!
  • I need alone time!! Seven days surrounded by 30+ people was a bit overwhelming.¬† I meditated almost every morning for 30 minutes, sitting within ear shot of the ocean.¬† I think that contributed so much to my sanity.
  • My preconceived notions about who we would be treating were completely misinformed. My first patient had been a stockbroker in NYC for several years!¬† Many of patients had lived in England for years and retired back home to Treasure Beach. One of my patients had actually been to Iowa State University to learn about agriculture!¬† These brilliant, sophisticated, kind people had moved back to their roots and were busy improving their community.¬† Very inspirational.
  • Hugs and blessings are a very fulfilling form of payment, especially when your food and housing needs are met.
  • I want to learn more OMM (osteopathic manipulative treatment) from the doctor of osteopathy students. From the glimpse I received, it really piqued my interest.¬† It seems as if they use longer holds (moving patients into areas of the ‚Äúbarrier‚ÄĚ) to effect changes in the tissues.¬† I want to learn more about this, as I have a few patients who are very pain-sensitive, and I think this might be a gentler approach for them.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the 4th and last installment. ūüôā

Jamaica Trip – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the Jamaica Trip series. ūüôā

On our way back from the Falls, we stopped at the Sports Clinic that would be our base of operations for Monday ‚Äď Thursday.¬† A few members of our group had been working ALL day to organize the rooms, equipment, and pharmaceuticals that would be used by the osteopathic doctors and students.¬†They were set up on the first floor of the facility.¬† Our neurosomatic therapy group (4 students and two teachers) would be set up on the second floor of the building, which was an open-air area overlooking the sports fields and a big hill.¬† The view was awesome, and more importantly, the area was super breezy and open.

Monday started our first day at the clinic.¬† We didn‚Äôt know what to expect ‚Äď would the Jamaicans be interested in neurosomatic therapy?¬† Would we be sitting on our tables, staring off into the hills for 8 hours?¬† The answer was a resounding NOPE!¬† Starting with the very first day, we were BUSY, seeing patient after patient after patient, breaking briefly for lunch and water and bathroom breaks.¬† Word had gotten out that muscle and joint pain treatment specialists were in the house, and we were booked solid, with patients waiting all day long to be treated.

I wish I had taken better notes over the course of the clinic days. I fully intended to, but with my day starting at 5:30AM and ending around 10:30PM, I just couldn’t find the time to write!  But here are some general impressions, memories and observations about the experience.

  • A patient, calm teacher with a good sense of humor is invaluable.
    • I have not yet learned how to treat the lower body. However, each day of treatment presented a consistent theme of pain focused on the lower body.¬† On Day 1, everyone presented with knee pain. Day 2 was sciatica, and Day 3 was lower back.¬† Day 4 was a blur.¬† When in doubt, all I had to do was catch Randy‚Äôs eye, and he was there in a flash to give me guidance and insight on what to do.¬† I worked on so many glutes, TFLs, psoas, and upper traps!
    • In some instances, Randy palpated with his hand on top of mine, helping me understand where to go, what I should look for, and what I was feeling.This was SO HELPFUL!!¬† It put my sensations into a context that immensely increased my awareness and understanding.
  • Growth/challenges.
    • As I mentioned at the outset, I really struggle with self-confidence.This has especially been an issue for me as I‚Äôve started massage school.¬† For the past 20+ years I have worked in business and banking, so the majority of my time is spent in my head and not in my body.¬† I only used my fingers to type on a computer. ¬†While I can learn things cerebrally quite well, embodying the knowledge into a felt sense is extremely challenging. I often find myself just going through the motions (e.g. Step 1, compress.¬† Step 2, compress with opposition. Step 3, glide). ¬†¬†I have bouts where I seriously doubt my ability to be a successful therapist.
      • Working on over 25 people over the course of 4 days helped me see that, while I still have SO MUCH more to learn, I already have the ability to help people feel waaaaay better over the span of just 45 minutes.¬† By Day 4, I had found my flow. I was comfortable with the patients, could chat and treat, and I was having FUN.¬† I was finally RELAXED.¬† I no longer had to hold my breath while I was treating. J.¬† The bonds with the patients were becoming more synergistic ‚Äď I was able to solicit better feedback from them, and by working together and communicating constantly, I was able to sink into the tissue and effect change.

Tune in tomorrow for Part 3!

Jamaica Trip – Part 1

Well, I‚Äôm back from Jamaica.¬† It seems very surreal that I was there. I still can‚Äôt quite believe it.¬† To be honest, before I left a big part of me was kind of hoping that something¬†would come up that would prevent me from going ‚Äď I would get a debilitating case of diarrhea, my boss would forbid me to go because I am SO vital to the ongoing operations of the bank, my passport would get revoked by the US Government ‚Äď SOMETHING.¬† I knew this trip was going to force me out of my comfort zone, make me grow as a therapist and as a human being, and put me in situations where I did not automatically know the A+ answer.¬† It‚Äôs SO much more comfortable to avoid growth, you know!¬†Fortunately, the Universe did not comply with this latent desire.¬† My karma in this life is to become more self-confident, and the Universe was happy to oblige to make sure this happened.

The trip started off with an easy plane ride from Orlando to Montego Bay.¬† And then I hit the first snag.¬† My school, The Center for Neurosomatic Studies, was donating 3 massage tables to The Treasure Beach Women‚Äôs Group for use during this and successive clinics.¬† Shipping the tables proved to be prohibitively expensive, so 3 of us therapists brought tables along with us.¬† I dragged my 30 lb., unwieldy table through the airport to the ‚ÄúNothing to Declare‚ÄĚ Customs lane.¬† I assumed that since the school was DONATING the table, it did not need to be declared.¬†The Customs clerk quickly disabused me of this notion and sent me over the much longer ‚ÄúDeclare‚ÄĚ line, full of people with 10-foot high stacks of luggage.

When it was finally my turn, I explained the situation to the clerk.  After lots of questions about the table, where I was going, what I was doing, who I was doing it with and for, the clerk seemed very confused about what to do and consulted with several other clerks in the areas. Eventually it was decided that I would have to pay some fee in order to bring the table to the clinic. Argh.  They assessed the fee, plus several different taxes, and then sent me back into the airport to get some Jamaican dollars so that I could pay the fee. I paid the fee, showed the proof to the clerk, hoisted the table onto my shoulder and escaped into the heat, where the rest of the group was waiting for me so we could start the 3 hours mountainous trek to Treasure Beach.

If you are at all faint of heart, or if you do not enjoy bumps, sudden, unexpected increases and decreases in speed, barreling around blind corners, sharing very narrow roads with cows and speedy on-coming traffic, I highly suggest doping yourself with Dramamine or some other sedative for bus trips into the heart of Jamaica.¬†That being said, it was actually a really fun ride, especially since we stopped for some amazingly delicious Jamaican food on the way.¬† Jamaican food is the best food.¬† ‚ÄėNuff said.¬†We arrived at our hotel late Saturday night, found the treasured remote controls for the in-room AC units, and crashed into bed.

On Sunday, after a stop for snacks at a supermarket (which was made up of 95% carb snacks and Coco Mania rum), we headed out to YS Falls, a gorgeous natural waterfall that offers zip-lining and rope swings into mint blue-green water.  It was stunningly beautiful.  Like most of the jungle and coastline I saw in Jamaica, it was so beautiful that it looked almost unreal.  Such a beautiful country!

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2!

On Change, Awakening, Being Part of God, and Learning How to Study Again

Hmm. I may have bitten off more than I chew here – at least more than I can chew on in one post. ¬†But, we’ll see how this goes. ūüôā

So. ¬†It’s March 2018 already. ¬†I am deep in the thick of my Huge Life-Changing Decision – 7 months in, in point of fact. ¬†How does it feel? ¬†Well, all-in-all very normal. ¬†Once I was able to stop using my GoogleMaps app to find my way around, my mind and body accepted this new situation as the new normal. ¬†Habits developed, I settled down and in, and 7 months flew by INSANELY fast.

My first term is over.  I learned: how to do a posturology chart; how to massage a human-being who was not related to me (:P); all the muscles of the neck and shoulder and where they attach, how they are innervated, what function they do, why they hurt, and how to assist with alleviating the hurt; how to study, learn, and retain loads of information; how to write a medical research paper; the very basics of lymph drainage, Thai massage, reflexology, etc.  It was a total fire-house situation, which no doubt contributed to the perception that the time just absolutely FLEW by.

But, not only was this past 7 months filled with academic learning, it was also filled with a lot of spiritual growth.  I think these two journeys are really rail-road tracks traveling alongside each other. I needed each one of these rails into order to make it here to 03/17/18.

I ended up making the decision to come to this school because I felt as if the Universe was guiding me here. ¬†Well, I think “felt” is not the exact word. ¬†My mind observed certain events that suspiciously looked as if they could be “signs.” ¬†I started seeing a yoga therapist/psychologist in mid 2016 because I KNEW I was not not happy; I was not living my purpose. ¬†But I was too overwhelmed by options and fear to see a path forward. I had read books and the blogs and listened to the teachers who said, “Ask the Universe for what you want, and it will answer you.” ¬†But I didn’t really believe it, and when I tried, it didn’t seem to work. ¬†I received no CLEAR answers. ¬†So I got professional help. ¬†On my first visit, my therapist had me write down my intention. I wrote, “I will find my purpose and live it fearlessly.”

A couple of days later, I discovered the Center for Neurosomatic Studies. I devoured all the info on their site, barely taking a breath because I was so excited about what I was reading – this was precisely what I was looking for!

Anyway, a lot of synchronicities/coincidences/signs like that continued to happen over the next 4 weeks or so. ¬†My closest friend and my therapist were both like, “Duh, Heather. ¬†You asked for a sign. You’re being assaulted by them. ¬†Listen!” ¬†So eventually I listened, not because I really FELT that taking this step was my “divine purpose” though. It was more because academically, I could see that there seemed to be some sort of cause-effect relationship in place. ¬†My insides did NOT feel like disrupting my predictable life and destabilizing my existence. ¬†But my brain was like, “You asked for signs. Signs were given. ¬†You’ve been down that old road, Neo. ¬†You know where it goes, and you know that’s where you don’t want to be.” ¬†So I chose the new road.

Early on in the semester, one of teachers recommended “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.” ¬†The book, in a super tiny nutshell, teaches that we are all co-creators with the Universe, and if we can identify behaviors that are no longer serving us and then envision and FEEL into a future state where we ARE who we want to be, then the Universe will make it happen. ¬†The author explains all this using quantum science – all potentials exist simultaneously, and we can influence which version of reality we want by entangling our thoughts (and their energy) to the scenario we really want.

I read the book, did the writing exercises, and did the meditations.  And weird shit starting happening.  I started to feel the way I wanted to feel.  Things that I wanted to happen started to happen.  I started to see repeating numbers all the time: 888, 111, 222, 444, 555, 777.  They popped up so often that I started reading about the meaning of these numbers.  Basically they all indicate the following:  the Universe is helping you, be present, you are fully supported, trust that you are exactly where you need to be, you are here to co-create with the Universe, trust your choices, stay positive, you are interacting in perfect synchronicity with the Universe, the world is yours; shine bright and light up the night.

So it has been a really, really interesting 7 months.  As you can see from previous posts, there have been lots of challenges and a few trips into the depths of despair and doubt.  But there is no light without the dark, right?  I am looking forward to seeing what this new term will bring Рnew knowledge, new people, new experiences, new opportunities, new awakenings.

As I feared, I did not get around to discussing how I learned to study again. ¬†That will have to be another post. I need to get off my butt because it’s falling asleep. ¬†And I know it’s time to WAKE UP!!

Hope you have a most excellent day!