As 2015 comes to an end (as I do with every year), I reflect on the 12 months I’ve spent learning, growing, being challenged, failing, rising up, changing my mind or my direction, and loving with great passion the journey and destiny I’ve conjured up.
Each year has great learning and monumental moments, milestones of achievement, and experiences worth reflection. Yet this year seemed to have a few that for sure are ideally, once in a lifetime experiences I will recall for the rest of my life.
In blog entries and often times in workshops or trainings I speak about personal experiences, the feeling of deep loss, heartbreak, and life challenges… in that I mean failures and disappointments that would rattle the best of the best. Being in the field of healing, self-care, and chronic pain remedies I’ve heard the stories of feeling like you are at the bottom of a pit. I’ve witnessed the pain and devastation of someone being diagnosed with an incurable disease.
What is the blessing is also being witness to miracles of self-cure, restoration, and hope.
I have seen people at the end of their rope find a morsel of belief and in that very moment, when hope suddenly emerges the emotional tie to their issue shifts, allowing change to occur. Owning the stories of personal struggle rather than shoving the feelings under the rug, being able to have a space to speak the truth of emotions without feeling like someone is going dismiss the deep feeling with “Oh, don’t feel so bad. Things will get better”, and standing in the face of shame and adversity is what truly shows strength and power. As Brene Brown says, “it shows badassery”. Well I dwell amongst the most badass folk and I am certainly better because of it.
This year I witnessed a great friend fight throat cancer and live to tell the tale. This healthy, strong, brilliant man stood in the face of adversity and fought his way through chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery with a mindset of “I’m going to kick this thing in the ass and conquer it.” Although the fear was present, I admired his ability to speak about the fear, and the emotional worries of what would happen if he didn’t survive. As a therapist and a friend, I simply witnessed the fear, never saying “don’t be afraid” rather say, “I hear the fear. Tell me more. Give it space to exist and find as many reasons why you should be afraid. Then, find even more reasons and ways to kick that cancers ass and beat it right out of your body.” He went on to run yet another marathon and I am sure he will conquer many more.
This year I watched colleagues transform, grow, and entirely step out of their comfort zones. I was brought to tears dozens of times reading testimonials from MELT Instructors who had helped someone eliminate chronic pain to blogs and Facebook posts sharing inspiring stories of triumph over struggles that had plagued them or someone they knew for decades.
This year I worked to develop better friendships with people I love and respect. With a busy schedule and lifestyle full of travel, it is difficult to find time to spend with others. Although I think of them all the time, it goes a long way to reach out with a phone call to say hello and find time to enjoy dinners, walks in the park, or an afternoon lunch in the midst of business insanity. I’ve also witnessed one of my dearest and long time friends decide he can’t be friends with me anymore with a “You just aren’t a good friend and I don’t have time to waste on you anymore.” Sometimes the choices of others make no sense, the loss is painful and cuts to the bone, but honoring someone’s personal choice to step off the unified path and make up a new one is all one can do. The universe will have its way of allowing new doors to open despite some being closed by someone else’s choosing.
For me, this year also gave me many milestones both as a practitioner and as a woman. As a practitioner, this year I went head on with developing my very first research study to measure the changes MELT makes in the fascial system. The astounding results make me so excited I’m ready to embark on another study in 2016. I founded the MELT University and embarked on a year-long collaboration with my team to develop a master’s program in Hands-Off Bodywork. I donated my time and knowledge to the Wounded Warriors Project and gifted dozens of MELT products to active duty and injured military men and women who protect our country. It was an honor to have the opportunity to share MELT with that community and I am excited to continue the relationship in 2016.
On a personal level, this year I stepped into marriage. I did not fall in love, I cautiously, mindfully, and caringly chose to love an amazing, talented, handsome, funny, disarming, and genuine man who is now my husband. I never thought I would get married in the first place yet now that I am, I feel more a part of so many things I can’t begin to describe the feeling. The idea that you can become a better person because of a union you create really is true.
So to conclude this blog, I’d like to honor and acknowledge the family and friends, colleagues, mentors, and teachers that have allowed me to grow and develop deeper roots in my journey and direction. For those in the MELT universe, most specifically, Debbie, Darren, Jaci, Sara, Andy, Li, Allison, Hallee, our customer service team, the newly graduated Super 6 Master Instructors, Gloria, Kerrie, Amanda, Nancy, Meegan, and Edya, our amazing PR team at Krupp Kommunications and Heidi Krupp, and our publishing crew at Harper One I thank you all for your continued support, innovation, and willingness to allow me to develop MELT on many new levels. To my dearest family and friends who came to witness my marriage with Chris, and my new Whelan family I say with deep love how thankful I am to have you all in our lives. To my colleagues who have transformed before my eyes—Petra, Kira, Jill, Christopher G, Jackie, Lisa, Marisa, Mark… this list would be endless…and my mentors and teachers Gil, Thomas, Robert, Helene, JC, and all of the fascial researchers who have paved a path for so many of us I thank you for the inspiration, teaching, and encouragement to develop research and forge ahead with my pursuits of sharing self-care with others.
For those of you who read my blog, those who have shared their stories and time with me over the past year, and to the people on Facebook who constantly send me information I’d not otherwise find I thank you as well for sharing your knowledge and life through the wild Internet world.
Here’s wishing all of you the very best in 2016. I am looking forward to collaborating and sharing time with each an every one of you next year!