Last Friday morning I awoke pre-dawn, a now all-too familiar pain grabbing my attention through slumber: an aching stabbing feeling in my gut, like someone was taking my insides and twisting them to the point of rupture.
This is what poison feels like in the gut, as it makes its way through the intestines and out of the body.
In this case, mercury. Though I’ve been feeling better and better since February when it all began, mercury poisoning is invisible and insidious, its toxic effects not always as obvious as what woke me up Friday morning. The most pervasive symptom is fatigue and lack of motivation, which I had experienced increasingly since last summer (in addition to gaining 15lbs and a host of other symptoms).
Stefan remarked the day before we returned to Boulder last week that I looked more like myself than he’d seen in a long time; the light and aliveness was returning to my eyes. I felt it too. So strange how we slide into illness almost imperceptibly, and get so used to feeling less and less well; then once we’re in our particular version of hell we practically forget what being healthy and free even feels like!
We had just spent an entire week camping and hiking in two of my favorite places in America: Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. I remember hiking out of the Canyon on that last day and realizing I hadn’t thought about the mercury poisoning in almost a week; what a relief!
In March we put all our stuff in storage and after a month of house sitting began camping. I needed to return to Boulder twice in May to see clients before we could leave indefinitely.
We arrived back in Boulder May 14th in good spirits.
The first four days I noticed nothing. I wasn’t looking for anything to notice. I was here to work on my local clients – for perhaps the last time – and ensure a smooth transition to my Kinetix Practitioner Jason McQueen.
I met Jason Thursday evening to go over all 18 clients I am handing over. Without even thinking about it, I chose to sit outside. It was a typically moody spring afternoon, threatening rain clouds looming, everything turning green from the rain, the air warm and cool at the same time.
How I love springtime in Boulder!
We sat outside for 3 hours talking. The client histories were making me feel nostalgic, proud of the work we did together and profoundly grateful; for this place, for my clients, for my life here the last severn years. I’m also very grateful I have Jason to hand them off to! They will be well taken care of.
Friday was my last day of clients here, so when I woke up nauseous and writhing in pain (as I had numerous times in March and had to “call in sick”) I was worried I wouldn’t make it through the day.
Had it been sitting outside the night before that was making me sick?
Is the airborne mercury still pervasive here?
How many people here have alarming levels like those of us who tested high?
Is the source fracking…or something else?
Will we ever know more than we do right now?
For the first time in weeks my monkey mind tried to solve this mercury mystery again.
For those of you curious about our investigation into the source of mercury here (and what led us to conclude it is airborne, affecting many more people than just us even if they don’t know it, and cemented our decision to leave the area for good), here’s how the data looked after 17 people got their blood mercury tested:
Blood levels in micrograms per liter:
None of the high level people eat much tuna, and only one person (the 4ug/L) has an amalgam filling.
None of these people have occupational exposure.
Several of the low number people recently traveled and got back right before getting tested. One of the lowest lives in the mountains outside of town (furthest away from the fracking). The lowest number person has been intentionally detoxing heavy metals for a long time and she attributes her low number to that effort.
Several of us higher number people also traveled out of Boulder, but were back for a longer period before our blood was drawn than those with low numbers. The highest number person hasn’t left Boulder in 6 months and spends a lot of time outside.
The average of all 17 people is 7.8ug/L.
This means, if these 17 people are a small statistical “pool” of the Boulder area, the average person here has a slightly higher than 50/50 chance of having high mercury levels, while the average blood mercury level here is in the 97th percentile for all Americans.
According to the CDC and EPA, the average level of blood mercury for Americans should be about .86ug/L. This number is supposed to account for all Americans (based on several studies done with thousands of people tested across the US), regardless of the presence or absence of risk factors.
I suspect that unless a lot of people get tested here (hundreds) we won’t know definitively what is/was going on here, because no one in a position of power is researching this in depth or trying to correlate air quality and particulates in the environment to human impact and health issues. Even the “experts” who are researching from either an air quality, environmental or other standpoint usually aren’t looking at the whole picture (sources, exposure routes, human impact, health effects related to blood levels, environmental impact, how long it takes to affect people etc).
And even if it is airborne there are many factors that can account for discrepancies in levels, from wind patterns and windfall, where people live, where they exercise outdoors, how much time they spend outside, genetics, overall health and ability to detox rapidly or not.
The mind wants answers, but we don’t always get them. We have to make our decisions with the information we do have, and all of this is enough to make Stefan and I sure we don’t want to have or raise children here.
One chapter of life closes: Friday was my last day of clients – perhaps forever – in Boulder, Colorado.
Even though I felt nauseous, my gut hurt and I didn’t feel like working, like always flow state took over almost instantly when my first client arrived and I left myself behind in a sense…to become an open possibility for my clients, to listen fully to their needs not with my ears but my entire being, in order to know intuitively how best to serve them, to let something other than my conscious brain guide my feet and our sessions. I’ve always worked this way without trying to…it just happens; when it does, I don’t really feel my own pain or think my own thoughts; flow state is peculiar that way.
Immediately after my last client though, I collapsed in exhaustion…and got my period, four days early.
Ahhhh, it makes sense now.
Three months ago when Stefan and I first fled our rental home (suspecting it to be a possible source of the mercury poisoning), we were staying with friends when I got my period 8 days early. I spent an entire sleepless night rotating between vomiting, sitting on the toilet and curled in a ball on their couch feeling like my insides were a war zone.
That period lasted 7 days, something that has never happened to me before.
Until last year I was as regular as a clock, but my period came 8 days early half a dozen times in 2017 and early 2018. I was also experiencing what I thought was “food poisoning” far too frequently. Then those two symptoms combined themselves. Lucky me. No, really 😉
The female body is amazing, capable of being highly tuned in to unhealthy energies, be it toxic substances, people, foods…part biology, part Mystery this makes sense to me as a woman wanting to conceive and have children. A hospitable environment is of utmost importance for growing new life.
After experiencing acute pesticide poisoning when I was 26, this inner feeling of being poisoned is familiar. It is this feeling that made me know in February, with 100% certainty, I was being poisoned slowly and is what led me to get a heavy metal blood test. If we listen to our bodies, they tell us what is wrong!
Saturday morning I woke up to a swollen inflamed throat and my entire body ached, like I had the flu. I had no cough or other flu-like symptoms though.
I believe (and have experienced first hand just how miraculously) the female body uses our cycles to detox. I am in awe and thankful for the profound wisdom of my own body to constantly do her best to keep me healthy.
When I am healthy I have NO cramps, bloating or painful periods.
If there is poison or heavy toxicity in my body, before I bleed I get that twisting stabbing feeling in my gut as the poison is drawn into the blood for expulsion. Then, once I start bleeding, I get achy all over like I have the flu, as my wise inner system pulls whatever is unhealthy from my tissues to move it out through the expelled blood and intestines during this time of cleansing.
In the transition from tissues (fat, lymph, interstitial fluid) to blood or intestines (to be pooped out), we can feel sick…like we do when we are initially poisoned. This is true of many forms of detox, like fasts or cleanses or using certain supplements to pull toxicity out of us.
I never try to silence or stop what my body is doing at times like this with pills, because it’ll just prolong the process or stop it altogether, pushing it down and back into my system to make me sick in some other way down the road. I want to let my body do what she does best, be a faithful witness and love us through it, because she is doing it FOR me and we are a team.
Though my list of to-do’s was a mile long, I let myself collapse on the couch all day Saturday to be with the pain and love my body through the process.
The full body pain was intense.
I started to feel chilled and ended up with blankets piled on top of me as my insides heated up to make me uninhabitable to pathogens during this vulnerable time.
Lying there shaking, I started to feel the vulnerability of it all.
I had a couch and a heated house to do this in. It was raining outside, making this even more noticeable. In just a few days I’ll have nothing more than a tent and sleeping bag and a camp stove to make tea on….indefinitely.
What if this happens again?
Where will I be?
How will I find creature comforts out there?
Feeling small and weak brought an onslaught of tears and for the first time since our decision to leave Boulder and camp indefinitely while trying to make a new living I felt insurmountable fear and doubt.
We have five months to pull this off before our money runs out, and neither of us have family money to fall back on.
And…I know what to do.
I’ve been here before.
I have to feel it all. I have to let the fear pull me down, let the doubt terrify me, let these shadowy emotions and imaginations show me the worst case scenario; because I also know what happens after that.
I’ve lived my life jumping off proverbial cliffs, and I always learn to fly on the way down; or, I learn that the bottom doesn’t mean instant death and the adventure of learning to fly is the most exhilarating, confidence building, beautiful, intense, scary, inspiring one in all the world.
In May of 2011 I jumped off the biggest (to date) cliff of my life: with no savings to my name I put what belongings would fit into my Subaru in South Carolina where I had been living and working part time doing massage and stepping on people. My practice never really took off there even though I helped every client who came to me, probably because my heart wasn’t in it; every day I dreamed of leaving and living somewhere more conscious, more mountainous, more beautiful…somewhere inspiring like the places I grew up (California and Oregon).
Without any idea where I would end up, I drove away and pointed that car the only place my heart was called: west, towards the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
First, I met a girlfriend in Arizona for a few weeks of adventures, and then together we traveled to Boulder…and rented a house in the mountains. She’s the one who helped me heal my knees so I could run again!
I was getting a small monthly stipend from my dad to help him write a book, barely enough to pay my bills but it got me to Colorado.
Then, in January of 2012, he stopped paying me and I had 30 days to…find a job?
With only $300 to my name and two weeks left to make enough money for rent and food in my inspiring new home of Boulder, Colorado, I jumped off another cliff: I made the decision to have faith in my ability to get people out of pain by stepping on them, and I started a private practice rather than get a job.
Three of those new first clients I saw in those starting weeks stayed with me this entire time (for six and a half years!), coming weekly or every other week; and they all had sessions with me during this, my last week here.
The gratitude I have for those early clients who trusted me before fascia work was popular, before I had years of full time experience, before Mobility Mastery was born and people started flying here or flying me there and before all the word of mouth referrals that became the only marketing necessary to make an incredible living while helping so many people…that gratitude knows no bounds.
The love and gratitude I have for the human body is equally immeasurable. These bodies are our best teachers, guides, wisdom keepers and truth tellers. I have learned more from my own body and those of my clients than any other teacher, book or course on earth.
By trusting me (and themselves) with their pain, injuries, trauma, stories, fears and hopes for the future – my clients gave me the best classroom on earth.
I did not learn what I know from books, a teacher, mentor or course…I learned from the human body, in real life settings, with real life people who needed my help. I learned by trial and error, by following my intuition and instincts, by inviting my clients into the process, because we were (are) a team, always. They trusted me. I didn’t waste a moment of that gift and I am forever in their debt.
Because of my clients (especially the challenging ones), I know how to get just about anyone out of pain now (and quickly, too).
All of it brought me here, to another bigger, scarier cliff. Yet…
This one is different.
While the risks are greater, and while I realize that I created this cliff (in part) by somewhat naively and quite instinctively giving nearly all of my private practice money from the last six years to building Mobility Mastery out of a lifelong desire to “save the world” (and this lofty venture is not yet financially viable for me/us), I can feel the world below and the people there with outstretched arms, ready to be the wind that carries us aloft.
This is not to say I think it will be easy, but I can feel it – just like I did in 2012 when I started my practice even though everyone thought I was nuts (my best friend begged me to get a job so I wouldn’t have to go back to South Carolina) because who can build a full time financially successful private practice in 2 weeks?! But I’ve always been intuitive, and while I am not psychic, I often feel the future. When it’s going to happen, I feel it and I move towards it. If it’s not, I don’t and I won’t.
I have faith in mine and Stefan’s ability to serve the world well through Mobility Mastery and teaching Kinetix, and I know we will be compensated for our efforts. I am finally ready for this mission, and it’s been a long time coming.
I knew this would happen in 2008, when I first learned to step on people. I told my parents after that first workshop “I’m going to make this work famous.” I’m pretty sure they laughed at me. As they should have. This wasn’t an ego statement though. I just felt it.
When I was little, I wanted to save the animals, the planet, whales, oceans, indigenous disappearing cultures. For the last ten years, I’ve wanted to help as many people as I can all over the world free themselves from pain, from physical density, from unconsciousness due to trauma trapping them in unhealthy patterns…because I believe when we help each other heal, when we personally feel free of those weights and shackles, we tend to love readily, forgive more easily, compassion comes naturally and the world becomes a better place for all of us to live.
I had to put in my dues first.
Boulder was the perfect place to do that.
Now that I have a decade total (and nearly seven years full time) of practical, tangible, real-world experience behind me, I want to ensure that as many people as possible have access to this incredible tool for pain relief, personal development and healing.
We are in the process of creating an online membership site for Mobility Mastery: we’re going to teach you how to do Kinetix! And so much more: self help techniques galore, a glute activation section, how to get out of pain for head to toe issues…we’ll talk about the nervous system, healing trauma etc, and there will be live Q&A’s every month inside a private Facebook group.
I am so excited!
Everything makes sense now.
Though this year has been extraordinarily difficult (painful in so many ways), I see how life has guided us beautifully.
If you’re paying attention, perhaps you’ll notice the same thing in your own life?
The hardest, most painful parts are what guide and shape us towards the most beautiful and rewarding aspects of life…let me know in the comments if you know what I mean!
I am grateful for the mercury poisoning because:
I couldn’t commit myself to this big dream while relying on my private practice for income. My attention has been split in half for years between Mobility Mastery and my practice, and as the Chinese proverb says “The man who chases two rabbits catches neither.”
I’m not sure I would have left my private practice out of pure choice; I was far too attached to my clients, and the financial safety net it provided me and Mobility Mastery.
The mercury poisoning and subsequent events made an incision in my life that I wouldn’t have made out of my own volition; for that and all that lies ahead now, however scary, I am extremely grateful.
This is how pain shows us the way, shows us the truth, and sets us free. This is the right path, the one I was supposed to choose consciously and couldn’t, so life gave me a little (ok a big) shove onto the ledge I needed to leap from.
I am jumping off this new cliff hand in hand with my man, my partner, my best friend.
We will face our fears and grow wings together.
In a beautiful twist of irony (fate?), Mercury is the god who has wings on his feet that take him swiftly anywhere he wants to go. He is the god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence, poetry, travel, luck and communication. Ok, if I am being true to Wikipedia, it also says he is the god of tricks and thievery…I promise not to steal anything, except pain 😉 He is also a guide to the underworld, referred to as the “keeper of boundaries” because of his role as bridge between upper and lower worlds.
How odd and cool and utterly fascinating that I work with my feet, and my current mission is to teach as many people as I can around the world to do the same thing, so quite literally my feet need wings! And I’ve often referred to myself (albeit it privately) as an underworld guide, because of the intense nature of the work, the emotion and past traumas it sometimes brings up and out for people, and the way Kinetix acts like a bridge between people’s conscious and subconscious selves. Creating integrity means bridging that distance and bringing all parts of ourselves into alignment.
Our new adventures will require travel, communication, financial gain, luck and bridging boundaries both seen and unseen. So it seems Mercury is the perfect emissary, god or guide or whatever we call something like this. Maybe tricks and thievery aren’t even so bad! Mercury might have tricked me and stolen the life I had planned for myself in Boulder (I wanted to raise kids here), and because I let that life go…I’m being offered the world.
I bow to the universal intelligence that inhabits all living things, pushing and pulling us and shaping us through life’s twists, turns and cliff jumps.
Trust often finds us through doubt.
Polarity is how these two shape each other: to trust fully, we must doubt fully. For doubt to exist, its equal in trust has to as well. When I let myself go fully into doubt (rather than talk myself out of it with a pep talk or “positive thinking”) I quickly find the bottom, and the absolute worst case scenario; and when I do, another part of me is activated: the part that says “bullshit! That’s not going to happen; and even if it did, it wouldn’t be so bad.”
Trust arises in place of the doubt; and it’s a bones deep cellular kind of trust (not a heady peptalk-like one).
When we courageously let ourselves fall into pain, fall into our feelings, fall into the abyss of doubt or jump off those cliffs without any promises of safety nets or soft landings…Mystery becomes the landscape we walk, healing often happens spontaneously as if a miracle, and magic is invited to weave her delights into the tapestry of our lives.
I let myself fall into it all on Saturday…curled up in a ball on the couch with full body aches, barely able to walk or talk or ask for help, crying intermittently. Stefan took such good care of me.
And I…found my trust.
Time to jump!