On Openings: Of Blogs, Hearts and Arms

November 30, 2015

cubephoto: Metatron’s Cube. artist: Martin Mancha/Zuvuya Circuit

I begin with clear intentions. Sharing, being of service, connecting on a deeper level. Showing up.

My story, what I do, just may be of help. Conversations that serendipitously come up again and again with different people in my world may be something that strikes a chord with you.
Perhaps you’ll find a bit of yourself in here. Something you can hold on to.

When I was in massage school, we were taught not to share our own stuff with clients. “Leave it at the door,” they said. “It’s not in your scope of practice,” they said.

After doing this work for 15 years, I can tell you those are limiting standards, which have created limiting beliefs.

I’ve used the phrase “not in my scope of practice” on many occasions, cringing, knowing I had the knowledge, experience and resources to help clients on deeper and broader levels. To inspire and empower them treat their body holistically, as a whole, from all angles and perspectives. So in the last few years I’ve chosen to reframe that sentiment. My scope of knowledge, practice and ways I can be of service is vast and I choose to share, even if it’s personal.

I believe in and respect the importance of boundaries, but I also deeply believe in connection and empathy and helping people not feel alone in what they’re experiencing. In sharing all knowledge I possess, if it can shine a light. This choice has shifted my relationships with my clients in beautiful ways.

This blog will be a lot about self. Not always Myself, but selflove, deep listening to self, and how that affects every thing and every one else.

Selfcare is a huge part of my day, most every day. When it’s not, things tend to fall apart in cracks and then chunks. A huge lesson for me over and over, because (why is it so) easy to forget is:

how liberating discipline can be.

Consistency with how I fuel my body, how I need to move my body, receiving bodywork, doing active recovery, resting and simply listening and paying attention to this one precious body I have, comes back to me in serious amounts of freedom – from pain, exhaustion and all the shit that goes with it. Freedom to do and experience more. Freedom to show up for my self and everyone else.

So why do I slack sometimes? Why do I not always carve out time or do for myself what I know will help? Well that’s the eternal question. My answer:

I’m a beautifully flawed human.

Sometimes I make other things priority or I’m just too tired or I just don’t want to or I forget. But then I pay. And so does everyone else. And then I remember again.

A friend of mine who lives with pain posted on Facebook to like her post if you live with chronic pain and that she was vulnerably putting herself out there to say “me too” even if it’s taboo. But then was surprised by the lack of likes she got. Perhaps everyone else felt it was taboo too.

So maybe this can be a space to talk about it.
Maybe this can be a container for broken taboos.
Pain sucks and we’re in this together.

Ok, so me first. I’m cool with that.

A brief timeline: After having a baby 6 1/2 years ago, the exhaustion, discomfort and mild depression wouldn’t shake. Thought it was postpartum. Thought it was hormones. Thought I was going crazy.

Did some research, experimented with diet, herbs, supplements, bodywork, psychotherapy, journaling, cultivating gratitude. It all helped a little.

Except the psychotherapy which consisted of one session where the therapist told me I didn’t know how good I had it, how lucky I was and that I should be more thankful.

But I digress.

After a few years (I told you I was beautifully flawed) I put together a list of tests to take based on my findings. Got some blood work done.

Oh..uh, Chronic Epstein Barr Virus, you say?
Um, what.

Yeah, so it’s sort of like a potent cocktail of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue (read: pain, exhaustion, brain fog). That diagnosis was 3 years ago (I think. I’m a little foggy). Doc said I might be married to it.

So I do a lot for it. And I have way more good days than bad now. But I work for it. It’s a puzzle. I do what I can to figure it out. It confounds me. It affects everything. Everyone.

But so does the selfcare. It affects everything. Everyone.
(See where I’m going with this?)

In conclusion, there is no conclusion.
It’s ever-going, ebbing, flowing. And I am always learning. And it informs my work with clients, which is a nice twist and a great gift, if not a slightly sucky one. That I know so much about bodywork and selfcare and taking a holistic approach to wellbeing comes in quite handy.

Plus, simply feeling good is a bit beige for me.
Working toward the vibrancy of thriving abundance is more my bag.

So what do I do? Well the food thing is kinda big. I said goodbye to some things I love simply because they don’t love me back. Added in a whole lotta superfoods and herbs and minerals. I’ve had to find what works and doesn’t work for me, by experimentation.

Sleep is huge, HUGE and staying asleep is not one of my strengths. So I work on it.

Regular bodywork, daily MELTing, moving my body in ways I love, which brings me joy and keeps me coming back. Essential Oils, Epsom Salt Baths, Homeopathy, Nature, Music, Art, plugging in to a certain feeling, identity, superpower. Letting go. And myriad other stuff.

Jerry Seinfeld nailed it: “If your body was a car, you’d never buy it. Too much maintenance.”

So what do I do when I have setbacks?
I try.

Sometimes it’s a bunch of crazy-making and sometimes there’s clarity.
There’s a lot of: What can I learn from it? How am I responding to it? What can I do to be who I want to be and live the life I want to live while living with this? When I’m having a setback am I still being responsible for the energy I’m bringing to the people and the world around me?

I don’t always have good answers. I don’t always make good choices. I try.

Everyone has a different definition of pain and everyone has a different way of living with it. We all have a different constitution.

But the light I want to shine is this: Care for you. Love on you. This is your one magical life.
And if you fill your well you will have vast amounts to give. Self-care pays it forward.

Check out my instagram feed. It’s called Random Acts of Wellness. It’s about recognizing things as self-care that you haven’t before. And seeing all the small things you can do here and there to love on yourself. Cultivating awareness. And stuff like that.

Moving forward I can assure you this will not be an Epstein Barr blog.
But if you can grok this from my professional and personal perspective, if you’re inspired to create shifts,
if I can help, then it’s no longer taboo.

So maybe we can get a conversation going. I invite you to share your story or your selfcare or your questions in the comments. Or email me privately. I’m right here.

Let’s rock this thing.
karen

PS – To be clear, psychotherapy can be amazingly beneficial with the right therapist. I was just referred to the wrong one.

PSS – By sheer coincidence (hello Universe!) just after finishing this post, a friend posted this incredible article on Mysterious Illnesses, with EBV being the most mysterious and essentially causing the others. This information is astounding and never before put out there. I have since gotten the book and have been devouring it. I highly recommend it for anyone with one of the illnesses listed or have been misdiagnosed. Or if you are a wellness or healthcare practitioner.

13 Responses to “On Openings: Of Blogs, Hearts and Arms”

  1. Karen, this is beautiful. Congratulations on breaking through the imaginary boundaries of communication and sharing!!! I’ve never seen harm when people are being open and authentically sharing as you have here– with such a pure heart and intent to serve. Thanks for your courageous generosity, you continue to be the voice that ignites the possibility of well being for us all.

  2. So amazing! What a great idea to have a forum for this taboo subject that so many of us live with. It’s beautifully written and expressed. I look forward to learning from you Karen and having an exchange of strategies, ideas and discoveries. I relate to so much of what you said: It does ebb and flow, and it takes daily intention. It’s nice to not feel alone. Thank you for being vulnerable!

    • admin said

      Thank you so much Julie! I’m so glad you felt a connection to my story. And yes – an exchange of strategies, ideas and discoveries. I love that. We can all learn from each other.

  3. Jenn C said

    Wise words, Big K. Take care of yourself—and here’s to your actions and writing encouraging others to do the same! xoxo

  4. Claudia said

    Karen, you are such beautiful inspiration. Reading this sparked the following thought: I have heard time and again about how when you show braveness, when you shine your light bright, you actually give others around you permission to do the same. This is what you are doing, and I’m infinitely thankful for that. Keep rocking!!! Xoxo

  5. Mia said

    Karen – it takes a lot of bravery to make yourself so vulnerable. Thanks for putting this out there and, hopefully, leading others to follow that example. Big hugs. xoxo

  6. […] I’ve posted before I’ve been living with chronic illness (EBV) for about 7 years, maybe more. Over the years I did a […]

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