I am a pain advocate... I know that may sound backwards for someone who gets people out of pain, but hang with me for a moment ;).
We’ve become extremely pain averse in the modern world and I believe it’s costing us our health and freedom.
I believe the fastest path to physical, psychological and emotional freedom (which are ALL connected) happens when we get curious about our pain instead of reactive to it.
I believe pain is a message from our body, psyche or spirit asking us to wake up and address something we’ve been unconscious about. That message could be as simple as “your calf fascia has a knot in it from all that running, it’s pulling on your patella (knee cap) and causing you that knee pain” or as complex as “when you were a child you didn’t feel safe to feel anything, so you pushed those emotions down and stopped feeling much except that increasing anxiety asking you to wake up and live!”
In other words, when we stop fixating on getting out of pain and instead turn towards it with curiosity, pain can reveal how we’re moving through life and where we are out of integrity with ourselves (physically, mentally, emotionally etc).
Then we have a choice: accept the pain of where we are, or choose the pain that comes with growing.
Pain is a request for consciousness.
If we try to shut it up or avoid the pain (which most of us do, I mean – think about how many people immediately ice or brace an injury, go to doctors and psychiatrists asking for pain pills and surgery, or turn to food, TV or brain-altering drugs to escape reality), we miss the message, we don’t expand our consciousness and in the long game of life we may experience temporary relief, but we pay the price with less freedom and less confidence as we age.
I believe pain isn’t the problem; it’s actually the “cure.” And there’s always a gift in it! This was true for me, and I bet it’s true for you too.
This path isn’t for the feint of heart, though; it’s for people who are obsessed with freedom and committed to living their best possible lives. To get out of pain we have to be willing to go into it. Our courage to do so is rewarded with ever-expanding freedom and joy. I’d like to share my story with you because I took the long road here by avoiding my pain for many years. I let pain and fear shrink my world until joy and freedom had no place in it. Maybe I did so you don’t have to.
In many ways my early childhood was magical. But after moving a lot I got shy, stopped making friends easily and by age 13 a perfect storm had formed to make me the ideal target of a sexual predator.
He was our next door neighbor, 17 years older than me and knew what he was doing when he befriended my parents first, then got me away from them often enough to “turn me:” first against my family, then against myself.
He was an alcoholic and drug addict, abusive in every way and the textbook definition of a psychopath. He pulled me into his nightmare for nearly 3 years.
Though I found the courage to break free at 16, I was filled with shame, self-loathing, grief, anger and darkness. No one knew what I’d been through.
Then, just months later, my best friend Rachelle was killed in a car accident.
I didn’t cry at her funeral. I didn’t cry for the next 7 years. I dropped out of high school and never went to college. Instead, I traveled, dated, worked all kinds of odd jobs and pretended I was “fine.”
I wasn’t fine. I felt haunted, like demons were nipping at my heels and heart and I would never be rid of them.
I had no idea how to heal.
I found solace in wild places, trail running and especially hiking. Nature reminded me that there was tremendous beauty in the world. I felt safest out there.
My one “bad” knee got too painful to trail run and I was afraid it would prevent me from hiking, so I stopped running in 2002. Then, in 2004, the pain I thought I was avoiding by not running took me to the ground with knife-stabbing pain just below the ropes section of the Half Dome hike in Yosemite. I was 7 miles and 4,000ft above the valley floor, with no choice but to hike down.
By the time I got to my car I had two bad knees and I was paralyzed with fear.
I felt pushed inside myself: stuck inside a haunted psyche and a body I didn’t trust at all. I wondered if I would ever know what it feels like to be happy, or at peace. I didn’t hike again for 6 years. I traded my beloved trails for fluorescent lights and elliptical machines.
A series of unexpected events put me on the path to freedom.
First, I met someone that woke me up and helped me feel all the pain I had pushed down for so long. This wasn’t a healthy relationship, and…I am so grateful for him.
I was no longer going to pretend I was fine. I had to turn towards my pain and face the truth: I was utterly traumatized.
I knew if I didn’t feel my feelings and look at myself and my life with brutal honesty, I would live the rest of my days physically, emotionally and psychologically crippled.
By getting curious about my pain and truly seeing myself for the first time, I started healing. I felt everything I needed to during that time in order to never attract a relationship like that again, thanked him for being exactly what I needed and moved on. I wasn’t happy or at peace yet, but I had hope.
Fascinated by all things health related, I was drawn to everything from nutrition and eating psychology to personal training and bodywork. I studied nutrition and became a Health Coach in 2007 but that didn’t feel like the right career.
In 2008 I signed up for massage school.
Within those first few weeks something happened that changed my life forever: I was introduced to a bizarre method of working with fascia (called Rossiter) that involved ‘stepping on’ people.
I knew in that moment I would hike and run again. I can’t tell you how I knew that…what I can tell you is it wasn’t hope anymore; it was certainty. In fact, I was so certain that a few months later during my first workshop I told Richard Rossiter “You’re going to fix me at lunch and I’m going to run again for the first time in 6 years.” He laughed, and humored me.
He gave it his best shot. He tried something like four techniques and after each one I would lace up my shoes and head outside only to feel the same knife-like pain I always did. I wanted to keep trying, but Richard wasn’t shy about his dislike of running as a sport, and in his opinion if my knees hurt when I wasn’t running then I shouldn’t run.
If you’re a runner, then you know: walking is not the same thing! In any case, I wanted the choice to run or not run. Choice = freedom.
I wasn’t deterred, but proving myself right was delayed by two years.
I worked for a year as a massage therapist and during that time began experimenting with this whole stepping on people thing. Every person I stepped on got out of pain immediately!
That feeling – of helping someone get their body and life back, often within minutes –was the best feeling in the whole world. I was hooked. I still am. I quit massage and started getting people out of pain.
In 2011 I moved to Colorado. I still couldn’t run or hike major hills, but that was about to change.
A good friend from California moved with me and we found a mountain house with the perfect trail for hiking and running right outside our door. It was go-time.
I trained Jess to step on me. We spent a few weeks working on each other, then went for the first trail run: a short but hilly run to the top of Mt. Sanitas.
It was so beautiful!
My spirit soared!
My knees hurt the entire time.
Something was different though.
I was different. I wasn’t afraid anymore! And…
I was certain this would work. Jess and I figured out how she could work on the one area of fascia that seemed related to my knee pain on the trail. (We looked pretty weird, but I didn’t care!)
We committed ourselves to a longer 5 mile loop run, with no way to back out and lots of stair-like rocky steps up and down hill.
This time, my knees still hurt for most of it, but I got 30 seconds of pain-free running every time after she worked on me. She had to work on me about 10 times.
Those 30 seconds felt like FREEDOM.
The next time we ran I got a few minutes of pain-free running after she worked on me, and she only needed to work on me about five or six times.
My fourth trail run in 8 years was mostly pain-free; she worked on me once or twice.
My fifth trail run in 8 years was BLISS. No pain. Nothing to work on. I felt so alive, so free, so full of awe and gratitude.
I had no idea at the time that I had just re-wired my brain and body. The terms nervous system pattern and neuroplasticity weren’t even in my vocabulary yet.
My world was expanding again.
This whole experience made me fall in love with my body. My body was trying to talk to me all these years! My body was capable of healing, and now I know: when we heal the body, the psyche heals also.
I started a private practice in Boulder, Colorado getting people out of pain and within a few months I had a full practice from word of mouth referrals. I developed a new method of fascial release that combines “stepping on” people with ideologies of neuroplasticity and nervous system re-patterning called Kinetix™.
Since 2012 I’ve helped thousands of people all over the world get out of pain and learn to trust their bodies so they can adventure through life with confidence. I have the utmost reverence for the human body. I trust mine completely.
I believe our bodies are always trying to get our attention and guide us to freedom. They do this with everything from pain signals to gut issues to anxiety and tension.
I believe our body can be our most trusted ally in life.
I believe the fascial system absorbs all of the unprocessed trauma in our nervous system, carrying it until we’re ready to see, feel and heal it. Therefore, fascia is one of the best places to look for clues about what is keeping us stuck.
I believe our body reflects our beliefs.
I believe the fastest path to physical, psychological and emotional freedom happens when we get curious about our pain instead of reactive to it.
I believe the human body and psyche are capable of healing fully from even the most unimaginable injuries and traumas.
The fascial and nervous systems (which are intimately connected) reveal how we are moving through life and tells us if we are in or out of integrity with any part of ourselves: physical body, emotional body, spirit body, psyche, etc.
I believe our birthright as physical and spiritual beings, if we’re willing to walk the path of freedom, is to be buoyant, light, resilient and capable of anything.
I successfully healed my knees for good that summer of 2011. I started trail running regularly and fell in love with climbing Colorado 14ers.
A shocking break-up in 2013 triggered the last and worst of the psychological trauma left inside of me, and after that…I felt (and still feel) totally free of it. I always thought I was an introvert, but it turns out I was just a traumatized extrovert! With my nervous system fully recovered, I was able to engage with the world and my work in a whole new way, and Mobility Mastery was born.
In the summer of 2014 I returned to Yosemite. I hiked to the top of Half Dome and cried; everything comes full circle if we let it. (That tiny dot in the pic below is me, on top of Half Dome!)
Meeting Stefan, and creating this amazing life and business partnership, has been the best bonus gift and something I wasn’t sure I would “get” this lifetime. This relationship is based on kindness, love, respect, communication, playfulness and a shared vision for living life to the fullest and bringing what we learn about pursuing freedom to you, and the rest of the world. I believe true freedom can only happen when we’re willing to get radically honest with ourselves, be willing to look at and feel some really hard stuff (pain) and then…be willing to let it go and claim a higher vision for ourselves, our bodies and our lives.
I wouldn’t be doing the work I am today if I hadn’t gone through what I did as a teenager.
If I could look him in the eyes now I would stand in all my hard-won confidence and with genuine love for my entire life say:
“What you did was not OK and I do not condone it. And, I am grateful. Without you my life may not have had any meaning. Without you, I wouldn’t have the gifts I do that help so many people get out of pain. Without you, darkness would likely scare me and I wouldn’t be able to guide others out of theirs. Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I forgive you. I honor the pain inside of you that you didn’t know how to live with. I wish you healing. I wish you peace. Thank you.”
What would you do if you felt FREE?
What adventures would you go on? What relationships would you pursue? What would your career look like, if you felt totally FREE?
How alive do you want to feel?
Your body is always trying to guide you there!
Let me show you how to decode your body’s messages, listen to your gut, get curious about your pain and turn physical, psychological and emotional adversity into your best ally for finding freedom and joy.