I used to think that the source of my pain came from external circumstances. I was so sure that the pain in my body was simply because of the physical work I was doing. I was living off the grid with no running water or power and running a sled dog team. I was hand shoveling snow from a very large area, carrying 5 gallon buckets of water, and picking up solid 60-85 pound Alaskan Huskies into and out of the truck, into the gangline (the specific leash that keeps them all together in a line hooked to the sled), and then either skiing or sledding with 3-8 insanely amped dogs for 30-100 miles. There’s no doubt it was a thrill and a blast in so many ways! But the part that took longer to realize was that the pain I was experiencing in my body was directly related to my state of mind and emotions.
My husband (at the time), was working a seasonal job that left me at the homestead alone to take care of 8 dogs, a huge garden, chickens, and 20 acres. Oh and did I mention I was alone? When I say alone, I mean I literally wouldn’t see anyone for weeks at a time until I made the 45 minute drive to town. I have always felt very comfortable being alone in nature, but for some reason at that time, it was not where I wanted to be.
My pain started in my ribs, which I thought for sure was just because of an old injury. Then, it spread into my arms, shoulders, back, and neck. It just kept spreading and growing until sadly, I was in so much pain all the time that I felt I had no zest for life left in me. I actually wanted to just die. My brother had ended his own life, and I actually felt a deep understanding for the first time ever, why and how he could do that. What kept me going was a deep knowing inside of me that I was going to find a way to heal and I was going to help others do the same. And sure enough, here I am, doing just that.
I knew I needed to do something different so I started digging deeper. So far I had tried massage, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, and physical therapy. They all seemed to help a little bit initially but the very next day or even the same day, the pain would come back. One day I stumbled upon a book at our local thrift store, that changed everything. It’s called Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup. What I learned is that I was only addressing the symptoms, not the source of my pain. It was my first personal experience with feeling the intimate connection between my body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
In 2010, after taking yoga classes almost everyday for 10 years, and in an effort to do something different and stir things up a bit, I went to a teacher training at Yandara Yoga Institute in Todos Santos, Baja. When I went to study there, I had already been in pain every day for 2 years. What I learned about meditation, and tuning into myself deeply is what really opened my eyes to the possibility that my pain was coming from my unhappiness. When I returned home after completing the 21 day intensive training, I took my studies deeper and discovered many more influential books in my healing process. Just to name a few: Healing Back Pain by Dr. John S. Sarno, Shakti Woman by Vicki Noble, and Bringers of The Dawn by Barbara Marciniak. After one year of continuous learning about this concept, I realized that things had to change. My partner at the time was unwilling to change anything about our situation in order to help me, so I had to take matters into my own hands. Leaving behind all the love, sweat, and tears that we poured into that place together was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I packed what I could fit into my little car, and I drove away.
My decision was instantly confirmed as the pain in my body rapidly diminished. I felt like a new person! I felt like I could do anything, and I did.
My path led me to San Diego, CA to visit my sister and Dad. I didn’t intend to stay but I was just putting one foot in front of the other and following what my heart desired, which was to be close to my family and to continue learning. I enrolled at The School of Healing Arts where I studied many different massage modalities, Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Communication (NVC model), Shamanic Counseling, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Women’s Wellness, and so much more. I studied energy healing at Prana Hands Healing Arts Center, became a Doula, studied Tantra Yoga, attended Primitive Skills Gatherings, Women’s Herbal Symposiums, Self-Heal School of Herbs, studied Tribal Style Belly Dancing, and traveled to Africa to study West African Dancing and Drumming. I continue to travel, learn, grow, and heal every single day.
Thankfully, now when I feel pain or discomfort in my body, I am not filled with worry like I used to be. I have a deep connection and trust in my body to guide me. When I am faced with a decision, I let the sensations in my body guide me. It’s so much easier and also more reliable than going back and forth in my mind about pros and cons and trying so hard to figure out what to do.
If you want to relieve pain in your body and feel relaxed and guided by it, here’s a good place to start:
#1 Be willing to accept that the pain in your body might be directly related to the state of your thoughts, emotions and spirit.
#2 Start taking care of and loving yourself in a way that affirms the belief that you are extremely valuable, unique and needed in this world.
The next steps I took were learning what foods and herbs could help nourish my body. And most importantly I danced! I have many self care tips to share with you that don’t cost any money and you can start right now!
Dance is one of the most ancient and effective forms of healing there is. I recommend it to everyone, especially if you have pain in your body, think you can’t dance, or think you’ve never been a ‘good’ dancer. In Africa, dancing is a way of life. There is no judgment or shyness around it. Everyone takes a turn expressing themselves through dance. I want to bring this part of their culture into ours.
If you want to learn more from me, please join me for one of my classes or workshops, treat yourself to a massage, or just reach out to share your story with me! I love connecting with people and it truly nourishes me to hear what people are really going through. I’m tired of a culture that is afraid to feel and express discomfort. I welcome people to get more honest with yourselves and others. This is where real change begins. I no longer deny my uncomfortable feelings and I feel better than ever. Please join me!
CALL or TEXT MARIA AT 509-846-9749
Or email maria@mariaSHH.com
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