This is the sentiment of frustration. We have all felt it from time to time. We are promised (or led to believe) that if we do X, Y, and Z then we will reach our ultimate goal, whether it might be weight loss, sculpted abs, or the ability to play games with our children or grandchildren. Many times, the exercise prescription or template works (or it works fine for a period of time, typically when we are younger), until it doesn’t! Then we find ourselves injured, we can no longer push beyond insidious chronic pain, we aren’t seeing any results, we hate doing our program, or we just become exhausted. At one point, it was all of the above for me! Whatever the reason, when it doesn’t work out for us, the indignant and righteous “WTF?!” appears. At least, that’s how it was for me…anger, grief, numbness,…ignore, push, repeat.
In the midst of waves of unprocessed emotions and silencing my intelligent somatic guidance, over the course of many years, I continued to work as a personal trainer and physical therapist and I continued to workout. With a keen ear towards listening and a desire to know a deeper way of serving others, I spent much time trying to understand why. As a person who lives largely in my head, this seemed logical. I resolved to get down to the science, comb the latest research, and find my way back into peak performance and a perfectly chiseled body. It was time to “crack the code”, discover the “thing”, “biohack” myself back. Whilst unaware, I went down this path in an attempt to discover the “wrongness” of my efforts and the “wrongness” of the coaches and fitness gurus for suggesting that what I had been doing was bad advice. I fell for the temptation of wanting someone to “fix” my problem and to feel vindicated in “blaming” those who deceived me. Sound, at all, familiar?
I re-enacted this script many times in my life. I’ve witnessed the same from my patients, clients, family, friends, and even strangers. It is an insidious story, so common that, historically, it became somewhat of an anthem in every physical therapy clinic, fitness studio, and gym. Something is wrong with me or something is wrong with them. I, too, have validated the ‘victim story’ by sharing my personal experiences in order to sympathize and to let others know that they are not alone. We would then commune in the spirit of “this sucks, but let’s power on in spite of it”. It’s the source of the “no pain, no gain” mentality. Bite the bullet, suck it up, give it 110%,…you know all of the phrases that keep us going in spite of our problems! It might sound good, but it is very disempowering and almost never ends with us meeting our goals.
After about twenty years of believing and trusting in what the healthcare and fitness industries had on offer, I became so disenchanted and broken that I threw in the towel. I needed a reset, so I decided to take a sabbatical from work and life. I chose to disconnect from everything and everyone (with the exception of my family) and to simply connect myself with nature in the spirit of “healing naturally”. Thus I allowed myself to be blown by the wind in whatever direction the wind was blowing to just find where I might land, metaphorically speaking. I had no idea what to do, how to heal, who to trust, or if I would find freedom, grace, or ease at the end of it all. This freefall was an antidote to my many years of physical, mental, and emotional suffering from pervasive and common false narratives and a single-focused perspective.
Fast forward to my floundering discovery. In the way that an infant happens into rolling, sitting, crawling, and climbing, I was led to realize that there are three different ways to approach life. The first path is the most common approach. It is that of determined control. The second is the polar opposite, reckless abandonment (which was the antidote that I chose after hitting my breaking point). Both will bring you somewhere, but neither is a particularly powerful path. So what is the “sacred” third?! It is the path of fluid structure in an ancient, cyclical manner…it is a healthy partnership of polarities on a path of rhythm. Inspired by what nature revealed to me, it is what I call the Earth-Body Way.
The place between the poles, where so much is available. There is not a rigid criteria, but rather an infrastructure that has freedom built into it. An approach that is cyclical, as well as linear (imagine a spiral) to ensure growth which includes a phase of restoration and pause. This is a very difficult concept for many to embrace…pause is ALWAYS a part of the journey. And when we don’t respect, acknowledge, or celebrate rest and support it…then we often end up exhausted, sick, or laid up,… only to recover and repeat the same experience over again, until we are once again hurt and frustrated.
The good news is that it is not too late to heal, transform, or shift (your body and your approach)! Nature is regenerative and so are we! We can adopt a new paradigm, designing our fitness programs (and our lifestyles) in resonance with the restorative intelligence of nature.
It is simple and yet simultaneously challenging. Our habit of thinking in a polarized and linear way is subconscious. And as creatures of habit, it is our default mode of operation. It would be overly simple to suggest that we might just “change the way we think” or just “act in a different way”. Our structural alignment, physical movement bias, and internal chemistry of the body is influenced by our default patterns of thought, beliefs, as well as how we perceive our environment and the company that we keep. Health is also informed by our ancestral DNA and affected by the food we eat, the air we breath, and the quality of our water (these are HUGE topics beyond the scope of this article).
All of that to say,..we are meant to do this thing called life with others. And I’d like to be your guide! I have a unique gift of being able to see the blindspots in your health from a holistic perspective. I have a talent for helping to redesign your lifestyle, starting with your workouts. Movement, exercise and fitness are the fields that I know like the back of my hand. With thirty years of experience, a doctorate, and many certifications and continuing education, I’ve established Earth-Body Movement Medicine as my practice of this accrual of expertise. With nature as my teacher, and the source of everything, I have created my foundational model of regenerative health and wellbeing, the Earth-Body Way. So, when your workout isn’t working out, reach out. I’m happy to help.