I’ve Done My Job

Thirty plus years and here I am, arriving at the realization that I have done my job as a therapist, a teacher, a person who cares. Recently, clients have been sharing unsolicited comments that have touched me deeply.

Several clients, who recently sustained physical trauma, have come to me within days of injury seeking therapy. For all these years, I have spoken of trauma. How we can help ourselves immensely by addressing the trauma as quickly as possible. Physical trauma does not stand alone, all trauma is included here. I even urged my mother to go to a male therapist in Chicago to release a fall she had recently sustained. After the first session, she did what she always does, downplay it. “It was fine. I’m fine.” When I persisted and spoke of how so many people come for therapy and then walk away before they have fully released the injury, she caved and agreed to a follow-up visit. My words, “Why would you want to carry this with you when you don’t have to lug it around? He, the therapist, now knows your body and he can help you to finish this release.” “OK, make the appointment,” my mother replied. (Inside my head; YES, Yes, YES!!!)

This YES feeling has continued with my clientele. One gentleman who has often arrived at my door with numerous issues said, “You know, I went places and felt things that I haven’t felt before with this session. That was wild to experience a treatment without a major problem.” YES! I followed up his statement with a personal testament. “When I have done therapy sessions without a complaint taking precedence I have gone further than I ever have before. I have reached places in my body, my soul that was sleeping. It is really amazing.” With a look of awe, he shook his head and replied, “Yeah….”

Another client who is working out of town contacted me with trepidation. He didn’t want to offend me but he conjured up the nerve, the courage to step out of his comfort zone and ask, “Can you recommend a therapist in_________ area?” A smile crossed my lips.YES! I told him in no uncertain terms how HAPPY he made me that he was taking care of himself. It’s not about me and my work, it’s about people getting what they need. That has always been my goal. To teach people to ask for what they need, to show people the power of therapy, to be there when called upon to the best of my ability. YES!

I share these stories, not for the praise of what I do or what I have done for people. Therapy has changed my life time and time again. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it SAVED my life; it helped me reclaim my life on several occasions, and it has kept me relatively sane for all these years.

When people ask who does what you do, the answer is simple, “No one.” But, there are countless therapists who do therapy their way and it is valuable. In this high-speed world, to be touched in a loving, non-sexual way is a gift most of us need.

I’ll end with words from my mother. “I’m just not as comfortable with him as I am with you.” Therein is a gift as well. My 87-year-old mother stepped out of her comfort zone to help herself. That speaks volumes to the power of therapy. All these years, thousands of bodies, copious stories and I now recognize, I’ve Done My Job. Be well… Nancy T

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Ballooning

Thirty-three years ago I went to my first Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM. At that time, there was no grandeur. There was simply balloonist who gathered together to FLY. Alone, I walked out to the open field in the dark. Crews were busy getting their gear ready for the sunrise launch. I, along with other spectators, sought a warm beverage. With a hot tea in hand, I watched the crews work diligently to prepare the hot air balloons for launch.

Living in New Mexico throughout my therapy training, I watched hot air balloons floating on air most mornings and evenings. A  snapshot in my head is the multicolored balloons set against the Sandia Peaks. It always looked like grace in the sky.

One day my brother Ronny and I were standing in his kitchen talking when the room went dark. Ronny and I looked at each other and then we looked up at the skylight overhead. It was then we heard the “chuuchuuu” of a hot air balloon as the gas was lit. The balloon lifted and light returned to the room. The balloon touched down on the land above Ronny’s house. Moments later, the chase crew arrived to retrieve the party.

I have attended countless balloon glows where they tether the balloons to the ground after sunset and set the flames firing to light up the brilliantly colored fabric. I have stood in a gondola and posed for a photo as if I were in flight. On March 29, 2018, I took my first flight in a hot air balloon.

Sedona, AZ was the backdrop. Quite honestly, you can’t find a better venue than the red rocks of Sedona. My sister Jan and her husband Dale accompanied Beth and I. This was my 50th B-day present, 5 years late due to extreme winds that kept us grounded in 2013. A white van picked us up around 6AM. A bunch of young, strong men, the chase crew, joined us at a parking lot and we were off to the launch site.

Watching the operation, start to finish was amazing. The young men sprung into action as they wheeled carts stuffed with colorful material away from the gondola. I never saw a basket like the one laying on the ground on its side. It was rectangular, divided into four quadrants with a large space filled with gas containers in the middle. Once the balloons were unfolded, the fans were fired up to fill them. Slowly, the colors started to appear as the balloons began to take shape. Then came the FIRE ~ “chuuchuuu” “chuuchuuu” “chuuchuuu”. . . .

With the basket upright, we were welcomed aboard. Jan, Dale, Beth and I, gracefully and not so gracefully, climbed into our section of the gondola. Simple instructions were given: Stability is not based on your weight, feel free to move around, the balloon will turn for everyone to catch every view, enjoy the ride… “chuuchuuu” “chuuchuuu” “chuuchuuu” … AND we rose from the ground… just like that.

The crew was working feverishly on the ground to launch the other two balloons in our party. By then, we were seeing the sun softly touching the red rocks of Sedona one ray at a time. It was magical. When Mark, the pilot, hit the gas fieriness from the flame warmed our necks. With no engine, only the sound of our party and the flames hung in the air.

Ballooning left me feeling as though I was floating in mid-air. It was as if I were on a rotating pedestal 1,000 feet above Sedona where nature called to me. I answered the call by taking in the scenes through my eyes and letting the awe seep into each and every cell. Magnificence!!! Mark maneuvered the balloon just as he promised. A tug on a rope and the view changed, nothing dramatic, just a slow-mo panorama of a stunning piece of Earth with the sun lighting up different sections as it rose higher in the sky.

As a fox was spotted, my attention was drawn to the ground. I caught a glimpse its fluffy tail as it scurried behind a green bush, its head turned to the monstrous balloon overhead. Mark said, “This is how I like to go hiking. You can see everything and you don’t stress too much physically.” Floating high above it all, everything changes.

The other two balloons caught up with us though they were on another thermal in the distance. Capturing them on film with the red rocks behind them was magazine worthy. Beth caught the shadows of the balloons as she was fascinated with what was happening on the ground. To see the paths, the greenery, the wildlife, by air, that drew Beth’s attention.

Jan and Dale were beaming. We were a little nervous with Dale as he claimed “fear of heights.” Mark’s talk made him realize that he is not afraid of “heights,” he’s afraid of EDGES. Even Mark, a hot air balloon pilot with 28 years under his belt claimed “fear of edges.”

Love filled my heart. The silence, the stillness, the grace of being above it all and taking in the divine… WOW! Hugs all around. Gratitude, so much gratitude for my life that I even texted Lor, my mother, when we were on the ground; “Thank you for my life.”

Mark went through the landing procedures as our flight was coming to a close. “There are straps on each side for you hold on, please stay in the balloon once we touch down, we’ll let you know when it is time to exit.” Everyone found their straps and then we all laughed as we neared the ground and Mark instructed the chase crew to pull us over to a flat parking area. “Wait, what?” Three young men did as instructed and pulled the balloon filled with 17 people and supplies across the street and into the designated area. Mark said, “This is good.” The next thing, we touched down. Mark laughed, “I guess you didn’t need those straps after-all.” It was so gentle, that we barely noticed the difference between hovering and landing. Mark said to the crew, “Now, somebody needs to go pick up that cow-pie because it’s in line with where the balloon will come down.” Shovel in hand and the cow-pie disappeared. The crew already worked hard but that was just the beginning of the end. A little fun comes with the job. One guy had a rope that was attached to the balloon. With the rope in hand, he ran away from the balloon and he is airborne, flying in a circle in front of us with a BIG smile on his face. Mark invites a teenager in our group to give it a try. Grinning ear to ear, he gets out of the balloon and he is off to be lifted. The teen needs more practice but the experience made his day. A piece of history is etched in his gray matter.

Mark asks us to exit the gondola. As the balloon deflates, the chase crew feverishly works to get all the air out, roll, fold, and stuff the balloon back into the cart. The teen, now an unofficial crew member lends a hand. The gondola is next to be loaded. Three guys in front to lift, three in back to tilt it. Mark drives the van with the trailer back and the front of the gondola is in. The van powers back and the crew lifts the back of the basket into the trailer. As we load into the van it feels like Game Over but Mark drives over to other balloons and his crew jumps in to help. It was quite the operation.

The magic didn’t end there. Everyone met up at a picnic area for the traditional champagne toast. “The winds have welcomed you with softness. The sun has blessed you with its warm hands. You have flown so high and so well, that God has joined you in your laughter and gently set you back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.” For that and so much more, I AM SO GRATEFUL!!! Be well… Nancy T

LIFE

Life has a funny way of taking you places you never dreamed of. In my case, that has included being suspended in mid-air absorbing the sights of Sedona in a hot air balloon to finally getting new kitchen countertops installed. From the most pleasurable experience to the most nonsensical stress. All that and more has kept me from writing my blog. I have no regrets, as my life has been rich and full. If you follow or followed my blog, you may have noticed the lack of posts over the last six months. I apologize for dropping out.

Presently, I am on a flight to Cali ~ that’s Cali-for-nia. This is my b-day weekend. Honestly, since my b-day falls mid-week, next weekend may be as well. I’ll be turning 55 ~ double nickels to coin a phrase. Although turning 50 was magical when 19 members of my family “SURPRISED” me in Phoenix, this b-day feels special internally. For the past 5 years, I have done my best to connect with me and more deeply with my soul. Numerous practices have paid off. I actually feel happy in my life AND with myself. I couldn’t always say that. In fact, I lived most of my life wondering, “Why I am here?” In my head, I hear myself telling my grandma Lil, “You are here for US!” What a great thing, being here just to be here! To me, that means sharing my life with others. It’s not about how I’m contributing to the world. That train of thought left me paralyzed much of my life.

Recently, a new client asked about my therapy training. When I described how I became a Natural Therapeutic Specialist, she said, “So you were just wasting time.” I laughed. “Yes, in a way, I was just wasting time;” waiting to get into a Physical Therapy program and avoiding work. However, as life goes, I was living; discovering new things, engaging in activities I never knew existed, processing my fall from a cliff, connecting with Ronny and Mel, watching hot air balloons fly around the Sandia Peaks, wondering how the body works, and thinking “what if” I can help others through touch. Just like that, life showed me a new way of being.

That’s life! Plan and let go. I’m still working on the last part. For now, the plan is to keep being kind to myself, to keep sharing what I know and what I have learned with others, to keep traveling, to keep being with people I love, to keep doing life.

My 55th b-day wish… “To keep loving my LIFE”… it’s a keeper. Be well… Nancy T

A Wish

Last year at this time, I was meandering along the Great Ocean Road in Australia. There was beauty around each turn. A former art gallery became our Christmas home which made our stay magical. Green, red, and blue parrots entertained us from the yard. The ocean filled my spirit and chilled my core letting me know I was alive and well down under. After scouring Apollo Bay for Christmas dinner, a pizza became the take away of choice. On the drive home, I found myself blowing into a breathalyzer in order to pass through the Australian police stop. All were unique Christmas experiences, noted in my memory for future recall.

This year Prescott, with its 60˙temps, filled my time. Family and friends reached out, sending good cheer. Presents, good food, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and a mellow evening created my Christmas at home for 2017. It too had it’s unique qualities.

My new year’s wish, if I’m fortunate enough to have one: “May 2018 be filled with love, peace and joy.” It seems like a simple wish on paper, but it is grand in the scheme of things. Australia had been on my wish list for most of my life. I’m hoping this year’s wish list won’t take as long to fulfill. There is magic in wishes, especially when they come true.  Enjoy the season. Be well… Nancy T

Soft Tissue

As my hands ran along the spine my client, Shirley, flinched a bit. I slowed my hands, took a breath, and ask, “Did you feel that?”

“Yes, what is it?”

“That is your tissue, it’s a bit lumpy?”

“Why?”

In my mind, I see Shirley running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Tears form in my eyes as I witness an emotional scene. Aloud I say, “Life can be busy and we tend to get caught up in it. Sometimes we hold on to things; things that are ours and things that are others. These things build in the body and make the tissue hard. Muscle tissue is meant to be soft, thus the term, SOFT TISSUE.” My hands continue to work. Eventually, I feel the tissue softens as if it heard me whisper, be soft. I ask Shirley, “Do you feel that?”

“Feel what?”

This is such a common reply that after thirty-two years in the therapy field it makes me smile. People don’t feel their bodies, they “think” them; meaning they think they are tight or loose. I continue to run my hands along Shirley’s spine. “Follow my hands. Do you feel them on your back?”

“Yes.”

“As you feel my hands touching you, can you feel how smooth it is here?”

“Yes.”

I reach the lumpy spot. “Now, do you feel this?”

“It feels hard,” Shirley squirms, “uncomfortable.”

Another smile of recognition from me. “Yes, it is hard.” As Shirley tunes into the hard tissue I take her back to the soft tissue. “What do you feel here?”

“It just feels good. I don’t feel any pain. I guess I’d say it’s soft.”

Finally, Shirley has gotten the picture. “Yes, the tissue is meant to be soft, that’s why it’s called SOFT TISSUE.”

“Oh. so it being hard is not good?”

“Do you feel the difference between the hard tissue and the soft tissue?” My digits slide over both areas on Shirley’s back.

“Yeah, the hard tissue feels painful. The soft part is comforting, like being wrapped in a cozy blanket.”

“Exactly, the hard tissue contains life deposits, the soft tissue is the natural environment. Tissue gets hard which makes things difficult. When it is soft, everything flows. Soft tissue allows the energy to flow.”

“I like it when I feel the flow, there is no pain.”

“Your body appreciates it as well.”

Shirley’s session continues in an upcoming blog. Stay tuned to learn more about the body and how therapy assists general health as well as specific issues. Until then, be well… Nancy T

It’s Not What You Think

The mind can be a powerful instrument. It can also be a trickster. Prior to traveling to Colorado to celebrate my 35th anniversary of life AFTER the cliff, I thought I’d be reliving the incident with Michael, the man who was behind me when I fell 40ft and disappeared before his eyes. However, my mind didn’t prepare me for not feeling 100%. In order to travel, I rested to clear my head as much as possible. Still congested, I did the best I could with the energy on-hand. All weekend, I wished I felt better but I also found gratitude for the health that I take for granted most days.

Although nature has always inspired me, my other interests have changed. The Fort Collins weekend home had a yoga studio. Each day I took time to sit, meditate and do a few asanas (poses) to assist my healing, in a much more an inward journey than an outward experience. In college, my practice was partying, playing sports, and acting silly.

On October 16, 2017, I laid in bed and recalled the day I fell. As details flowed through my mind’s eye, I remembered how beautiful the day was as autumn filled the air. The leaves were turning color all over SIUC campus. I heard Little Grand Canyon was a special place to view the color change. After partying all night, I gathered friends to see what Mother Nature would provide for our senses. Slowly, we came together and headed to the great outdoors.

My mind shifted to the rescue of 1982. Being carried out of the canyon in a basket was a unique adventure. Transported by ambulance and then helicopter to the hospital, I knew my life was altered as I couldn’t feel anything from my chest down.

Last weekend in Fort Collins, I could feel the warmth of the covers touching my body, reminding me that I feel. Gratitude swept over me as I felt my body just laying calmly on the bed. I could feel my feet, my legs, my back, my arms, my head; all resting on the cozy surface. What a feeling!

As the day progressed, Beth, Michael and I headed for the hills. As a forester, Michael’s workplace is rather distinct and gorgeous. For hours we hung out at Borden Memorial Forest. I thought we’d do another video, talk about the event from our past, but I simply took the time in nature to reflect, to give thanks, to appreciate my friends and the impressive surroundings.

Later in the day there was some talk of my fall; who was there, what transpired afterwards for Michael. We reminisced, not only about October 16, 1982, but our time at SIUC. As I told Michael, we all have a story, it’s what we remember about our past. Some of it’s clear, some of it is foggy, some of it lost until a friend reminds us of an event. One thing is evident, we share a history.

It was great to be with Michael and his family. Elaine, Ben, and Nick dined with us each night furnished a wonderful home cooked meal. More memories were created and placed in the bank. The trip certainly wasn’t what I thought it would be, it was better. It showed me how deeply my fall touched lives and how it no longer consumes my life or those who shared the day with me. Be well… Nancy T

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Healing

In 1983, within four months, according to the medical model, I was healed. I could walk, I could go to the bathroom, I could get up from a chair, I could have a life. After falling 40 feet, becoming paralyzed, learning to maneuver again, and healing all that I had achieved left me angry, lost and wanting for my old self.

When people ask me how long did it take you to heal, I reply, what day is it? I’m not being facetious, I feel I am healing more and more each day. Had I followed allopathic theory, I would still be a stiff, spastic, non embodied person wandering this earth! They were correct, I could walk but that was only the start of my recovery. Healing has become a continuous for me. If I listened to my doctors, whatever nerves came back to life within the first two years would be all that my body could rejuvenate. Yet, decades later, my nerves still create sparks.

By 1985, I was ready to move on. Without entry into a Physical Therapy program I had a year to wait in order to reapply. My brother Ronny offered his place in Albuquerque as my new home. Once his wife Mel was onboard and my parents agreed to funding, I enrolled in the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics. I had no idea what I was getting into when I filed my application. Healing on many levels came wrapped in that package. My body went from jumping all over the massage table like a fish out of water, to a relatively calm existence. That helped the anger to dissipate and the frustration to lessen.

As I continued with natural therapy, my body persevered, stepping into the role of teacher. What a great teacher, to be guided within and on the outskirts of my body tissue. Any time an instructor explained something and I couldn’t wrap my head around it, my body showed me. Healing has come from each cell, reenforcing what would help in my healing.

For me, healing is a process, not an end game. Each day that I awaken and proceed in life, that is a healing day. To recognize my health, to feel my strength, to know how different it could all be. Although medically speaking I was healed 35 years ago, to me I am happy to continue the healing process, to become sound each and every day. I’m worth it. Healing is a great practice. Give it a shot! Be well… Nancy T