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My Soul’s Journey

I think I was born on fire.  As a small child, I remember feeling that longing to fulfill my destiny.  My childhood fantasies included converting my dad’s office building into a homeless shelter. Even while young, I was gifted with intuition and was very empathic. I became quite skilled at manifesting. I thought everyone experienced the world similarly. 

As I got older, I realized that everyone wasn’t having the same experience.  There were times when my gifts seemed a burden.  Some wanted to exploit my ability to “read” a situation.  Other times, I wasn’t comfortable with what to do with information that I “received.” 

Once I started medical school, being able to “feel” the physical and psychological symptoms of those around me as if they were my own became too much.  I largely shut my intuition off and shifted into the left-brain world of those around me.

The first several years of my medical practice I’d think, “if only I could feel what this patient is feeling, I would know what to do.” For example, is the complaint of an occasional heart palpitation just one of those things that happens sometimes, or for this patient, was it indicative of a serious problem?  For years it did not occur to me to turn my empathic sensing and intuition back on.  At some point, though, I started to receive more intuitive help.  On several occasions I would be seeing a patient, know that something was actually wrong, but have no idea what it was.  All of a sudden, a diagnosis, condition or syndrome name would pop into my head, not out of recall (I’d truly never heard of it), but just out of the blue.  I’d Google it in the room, sometimes having to guess at spelling, and that’s what the patient had.  I was in awe.  The more grateful and in awe I was, the more often it happened.

A number of years ago, I got myself to a very unhappy place, not depressed, but in that place of discomfort where I felt like I couldn’t win.  My mind, body and spirit were not in alignment.  In fact they disagreed about most things and there was nothing that I could do that would satisfy them all.  That was truly my Dark Night of the Soul. As a result, I started having a lot of physical symptoms.  I had arms that woke me up all night long from numbness and tingling, which made me really tired during the day.  I was already tired being a doctor with five kids.  Later I had a partial tear of a hip flexor, IT band problems, and ultimately developed thoracic outlet syndrome, a terribly painful condition resulting in severe electrical-type pain in my left arm.  The pain got so bad that I wasn’t able to move my left arm and I was taken off of work for a few weeks.  I saw several doctors, underwent numerous tests and procedures, and tried every available treatment short of surgery.  My left brain fought so hard; it tried to power through.  After all, I’d always worked while sick (wearing a mask so as not to get others sick) to avoid inconveniencing those scheduled to see me.  I was completely unaccustomed to caring for myself.  I was unable to connect with my body and its needs at all. Something had to change. I was unable to power through this time.  I started seeing a massage therapist to help with my acute symptoms.  At one of my early visits he said, “You know, in eastern medicine, the rounding forward of your shoulder means you’re trying to protect your heart.”  From there my interest in eastern and energetic medicine took off!  I read Eastern Body, Western Mind and found myself in several chapters.  I came to realize how it was second nature for me to disconnect from myself and suppress all “negative” emotions.  That was the beginning of the best journey ever. 

So much has contributed to my growth and this journey, including Colorpuncture, learning to source feminine power, trauma-based therapy to remove the old blocks and create new neural pathways, Reiki, cranio-sacral therapy, Shamanism, Tantra, yoga, astrology, Human Design, and the Gene Keys to name a few.

Along the way, I took a layperson class in Colorpuncture and started using it on myself and my kids.  The blessings were immense.  Not only could we clear physical symptoms quickly (headaches, colds, nausea, ankle pain, etc), but it allowed me to support my process and shift more quickly than I could have without it.  Friends and neighbors would stop by for treatments.  I decided to take the certification class to expand my available treatments.  I also started using a Biomat (which heals with heat, negative ions and far infrared rays), essential oils and crystals to promote healing. 

While my physical symptoms have all resolved and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, the most important shift has been my connection to Self.  As I’ve learned to listen, to check in, to attune to myself, I’ve received more and more gifts. I now know how to integrate my left and right brain as well as my masculine and feminine principles.  I now look back on how I used to be and laugh.  It was like I was pedaling a bike with one leg all of those years.  I now do a lot, but feel like I’m relaxing much of the time.  The more I step forward on my destiny path, the more self-care is required….not simple body self-care, but also that which nurtures my soul.  The next step on my destiny path is now clear: to help you.  To help you clear the blocks that are keeping you from being your truest self.  To help free you of physical or psychological symptoms that keep you trapped in a place of surviving rather than thriving.  To help you connect with yourself and access your own internal wisdom.  To help you remember what Glinda the Good Witch, says in the The Wizard of Oz, “You had the power all along, my dear.”

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The Mission

Sustainability

Modern life and American culture values “doing” through distraction and bulldog determination. Goals are achieved through burying or stuffing emotions and putting one’s nose to the grindstone. Believe me, I know! Most, if not all, physicians have done just that to get through medical school. Unfortunately, it’s not sustainable.

The problem is this. Everyone has experienced trauma, maybe not the big “T” trauma people think of like war, being robbed at gunpoint, abuse, or a near-death experience, but trauma nonetheless. Trauma is defined as anything that surpasses an individual’s ability to cope. This can include the loss, injury or illness of a loved one, being shamed in front of the class at school, criticism from a relative, humiliating or scary experiences or feeling isolated or alone. Most adults have gotten very good at using determination and ambition to “push through” or find ways to distract themselves from difficult emotions by taking on a new project, finding a new hobby, or engaging in numbing out behaviors like overeating or drinking too much, thanks to the logical brain skill set.

Unfortunately, these kind of approaches only work for so long as emotions are stored in the emotional brain and are not accessible through logic. Unprocessed emotions are also stored in the body creating and reinforcing neural pathways. When faced with a situation our logical brain can choose how to respond or, if we still have unprocessed emotions, our emotional brain can involuntarily react. Reactions tend to be more extreme, out of our control, and often we later feel badly or embarrassed by our behavior.

Struggling to control our reactions or feeling shame or guilt about them further suppresses the underlying emotions. Unfortunately, over time this leads to alterations in energy flow and after more time, leads to physical and/or psychological dis-ease.

Western or traditional medicine offers many beneficial treatments for people on the disease end of the spectrum. But many people don’t yet have a diagnosable disease. They feel unwell, suffering for example from fatigue, but their lab tests are normal. For years I’ve seen these people, desperate for their thyroid to be off so they can find a treatment to make them feel better. Many common symptoms have their root in unprocessed trauma or conflict and the resultant energetic disturbance. Fatigue, insomnia, headaches, migraines, feeling floaty, heartburn, bloating, constipation, decreased libido, depression, anxiety, and attentional issues are a few.

The good news is that there is hope. Resolving symptoms requires an orientation change, sort of like choosing to get up on the other side of the bed. It requires doing things differently. One needs to learn to stop distracting and pushing and instead “attune” to the sensations and needs of the physical body, soul and spirit. Over time one learns to connect more deeply to Self. My intuitive gifts help clients get to the root causes of their symptoms. With that awareness things start to shift. Through Colorpuncture or other energetic modalities, energetic blockages can be released and new regulating information provided helping to clear the disturbance at the cellular level.

Imagine a life in which your mind, body and soul are in alignment, in which you are thriving rather than surviving, radiant with well-being, and knowing that you are living your destiny. That is sustainable……Sustainably You.

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Rest. Relax. Recharge.

Sitting here gazing at the mountains of Montana and the beautiful blue sky, I know that I am truly blessed.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to rest, relax and recharge.

I write a lot about connecting to Self, which is something that can be sought everywhere regardless of environment or circumstance.  That is our ultimate goal.  Getting away and changing environment, though, creates a special container for that connection and expansion.

On day 9 of our road trip, the kids and I have experienced many amazing things.  We’ve seen the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons.  We’ve played in a hot spring, gone for a mountain trail ride, climbed a huge ladder on a “strenuous” hiking trail, gone to a rodeo, seen boiling mud pits, geysers, boiling pools of water, and so many animals, including a buffalo walking down the road just feet from our van.  Incredible doesn’t begin to describe it.  Grateful!

We’ve had a few challenges, including sunburns in the Badlands (can’t take gingers outside!), warped brake rotors from the heat, and someone taking my shoes from the hot spring leaving me to drive home barefoot!  Each challenge resulted in more gratitude, though, as some of the kids embraced the mountain style with western hats and long sleeve shirts to protect them from the sun, the auto shop rearranged their schedule to do my brakes before the holiday weekend, and my shoes were turned in to the lost and found (I was kind of hoping for an excuse to buy new shoes!)

We’ve had time to laugh, play and connect with ourselves and each other.  We’ve sung at the top of our lungs.  We’ve chased rainbows.  We’ve stayed up late and slept in.  Other days we’ve gotten up early and stayed out late.  We’ve had tea on the porch and watched the sunrise.

As if the gifts aren’t obvious, there are more.  Changing my environment and routine, exploring the natural beauty around me, experiencing a different way of life (the nearest town is 30 miles) and taking time for myself has deepened my connection to Self, giving me access to wisdom, clarity and gratitude for all that I have and all that shall be.  My heart is filled with gratitude and so I say thank you.

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The Gifts of Uncertainty and Surrender

For most of my life I was a control freak. Mind you, I’m not talking about controlling other people.  Rather, I liked making logical, rational decisions that resulted in predictable outcomes.  In a sense, I “micro-managed” every aspect of my life.

Years ago I started hearing about the concept of surrender.  To be honest, at the time I hated that word.  I saw surrender as giving up, weakness, lack of perseverance, or raising the white flag.  I didn’t want any part of it!  Yet the concept kept showing up in one form or another, catching my attention, making me examine it further.

I now understand that surrender is not for the weak of heart.  It is a position of strength, embracing uncertainty with confidence and faith that you are fully supported.  Surrender requires letting go of the need to predict, to control, and to micro-manage all aspects of life.  It involves doing your part, staying in the present moment, and trusting that the next step will be revealed.  Surrender requires letting go of expectations and attachment to outcome.

Surrender and uncertainty go hand in hand.  It’s impossible to surrender to an outcome you can control.  Uncertainty rears its head in so many ways: from a loved one who is ill, to job layoffs, to college applications, to relationships.  We can prepare and do our part, but in the end, some things are out of our control.  Many people in moments of uncertainty seek to control more, actually micro-micro-managing all details of their life to give the illusion of control and to avoid feeling the fear of lack of control.  Instead, I say be strong, embrace the uncertainty and experience true surrender.  Let go.  Sit with your loved one, go to work not knowing if today will be your last day, apply to a “reach” school, step out of your comfort zone in getting to know someone.  Truly “be” in those moments.  Examine the fear.  Surrender.

Uncertainty is a beautiful gift as it allows us to truly live in the moment and experience the priceless gift of surrender if we let it.  Surrender involves tremendous courage.  It’s like leaping off of a cliff without a safety net, but in the process learning that you can fly.

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The Power of Should

Imagine there was a word, an image, an object or a person that just sucked the power and life right out of you.  You’d stay away I hope!  What if I told you there is and that it’s so subtle you’re likely not even aware?  We give away our power to the word “should”.

I talk a lot about power.  It’s worth noting that I’m always referring to authentic power, that is, connecting with our truest, most authentic self and standing in that truth.  External power, or the type of power that is exerted over another is antiquated and obsolete.  Much of the world just doesn’t know it yet.  😉

I also like to speak about mind and body.  Our minds are beautiful, amazing things that can think and rationalize and logically examine a situation from all angles.  They are so powerful, they can often see multiple sides to the same issue and therefore “confuse” us with contradictory thought processes.  Our body, on the other hand, connects to that deeper wisdom, our gut feelings, and knows what’s right for us, even though what’s “right” may be different for each person.

Back to that dreadful word, ”should”.  Let’s take a look at how this plays out in our lives.  I should go to this function (though I’d rather spend the night with my family).  I should return this phone call (though I don’t wish to talk to him).  I should volunteer for this project or it won’t get done (though I have no interest).  I should spend time with this person (though it drains me) because I don’t want her to feel bad.  I should apply for a promotion (though I don’t want it).  I should pick up extra hours at work (though I need more time for myself).  I should stay quiet to avoid conflict (though I’m feeling angry or hurt).  I should help my friend move (though I really need a day off).

In each case the “should” is generated by the mind in its rational wisdom.  The underlying feelings are held by the body.  How often do we ignore or completely dismiss them and do what we “should”?  Each time we do that, we tell our Self that we’re not important (or at least not as important as the thing we “should” do).  Each time we disconnect a little more from our authentic Self.  We give away our authentic power.

People mistakenly think that choosing your Self is being selfish.  I disagree.  I believe that connecting to Self and then consciously choosing your feelings or actions brings your truest, most connected Self into connection with others and is the biggest gift we have to give.  It’s like the oxygen mask on the airplane speech.  Put yours on first so you can better help others.  Acknowledge your own wants, needs, and desires hidden behind each “should”.  Better yet, see the “should” as a red flag that you’re abandoning yourself and look deeper.  You’re worth it.

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Creating a Work of Art…..The Process of Self-Discovery

As the story goes, when Michelangelo was asked about the enormity of creating a statue like David, he replied, “It’s easy.  You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”  While the quote is unlikely his, I love the sentiment.

As people, we bury and burden ourselves with so many things that are not ours.  We take on and own things that don’t belong to us.  No, I’m not talking about stealing.  In fact, we’re actually giving something very valuable away.  We give away our connection to self when we take on the imprints and beliefs of our family, friends, culture, or world.

So what exactly do I mean?  We are all imprinted with numerous beliefs, beliefs really about everything we know to be “true”.  These come in a myriad of flavors and forms.  Big boys don’t cry.  You need to have children so that you’re not lonely when you get old.  Girls aren’t good at math and science.  Women who are strong and powerful won’t attract a man.  It’s important to save 10% of your paycheck.  Debt is bad.  Pasta makes you fat.  Air conditioning is for wimps.  You should drink 8 glasses of water per day.  You throw like a girl.  You have to stay married for the kids.  You should always take overtime.  You have to take your medicine.  Sometimes you just have to do things you don’t want to.

Wait, what?  I hear what you’re saying.  Some of those things are “true”.  I will agree that for some they are, but these are not hard and fast “truths”.  For example, it may be a great idea to avoid debt.  On the other hand, using debt wisely to leverage a business development can be extremely profitable.   Sometimes it is true that you have to do things you don’t want to….like when I’ve removed a tick from one of my children as I’m terrified of ticks!  But do we really have to attend an uncomfortable family event, stay on a date that’s going badly, pick up extra hours at work, or volunteer on a committee?

Look back at the examples of some family or cultural beliefs.  Notice that they are all “you” rather than “I” statements.  They come from outside of us.  How many of these beliefs are even in our awareness?  How many do we truly believe at a deep level?  How many do we just blindly accept as truth, not even seeing how they limit us?  As I see it, every imprint or belief that is not truly held by the deepest part of our Self, is stone that needs to be chipped away.  Chipping away the beliefs that are not truly mine, brings me closer to myself.  What an amazing process of self-discovery!

This week’s challenge:  identify as many beliefs as you can.  It’s easier than you think.  There are hundreds every day.  Then spend a little time examining them, paying attention to what they feel like in your body.  Are they really “true” for you?  If not, chip, chip away.

Happy sculpting!

Melissa

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Being Present, Grounding, and Mindfulness

It is said that anxiety is living in the future, while depression is living in the past.  Think about that for a minute.  It’s totally true!

For years I’ve seen people suffering with symptoms of anxiety…..insomnia, heart racing, shortness of breath or difficulty taking a full breath, nausea or butterflies in the stomach, lightheadedness, ear ringing, etc.  The commonality is that the things people worry about are all in the future and may never happen.  People worry about the futures or safety of their adult children, about whether they’d keep their job, about future financial stability, about whether there will be gas at the gas station on the way home.  Statistics report that only about 15% of the things we worry about actually happen.  Think of all the time and energy spent worrying about things that never happen!  Possibly even worse, if one of those things does happen, time and energy are spent on the worry and then AGAIN dealing with the actual issue.  Yikes!  Who has time for that?

I’ve also seen people suffering with symptoms of depression…..sadness, tearfulness, hopelessness, inability to enjoy themselves, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, excess guilt, etc.  These people tend to live in the past, stuck in a traumatic memory or loss, or beating themselves up for choices they’ve made.  The sad events of our past cannot be changed.  The view from 30,000 feet or birds-eye-view makes it clear that our choices were not mistakes, but rather life lessons.  I’ve learned many life lessons that have gotten me to the place I am now.  I am grateful for them!

Think also for a moment about the fact that we attract or draw to us what we think or worry about.  The Law of Attraction is powerful!  Also known as “self-fulfilling prophecy” in the psychology world, numerous studies have been done demonstrating it is true.  If we believe we will do poorly on a test, we will perform worse than if we believe we’ll ace it.  Fact.

So what is the answer?  It is to live in the present moment.  Let go of the past while cherishing its lessons and look to the future without expectation.  For some people this can be really hard to do.

Part of living in the present is being fully present in our body as opposed to being entirely in our head.  The brain definitely has a mind of its own.  Think about a time you awoke during the night to use the bathroom and the brain took off thinking about something making it difficult to go back to sleep.  Ugh.  Grounding practices bring us more fully into our body.  Breath work, yoga, mudras, essential oils, and crystals can all be supportive in grounding.

Mindfulness practices also help pull us into the present moment.  We are so used to multi-tasking.  We are doing our banking, placing online orders, checking our kids’ grades, and responding to emails all while we stand in line.  It’s not that that’s bad.  It can be a great efficiency hack to carve out small periods of otherwise unproductive time, leaving time for the things that really matter.  The problem is, the multi-tasking mindset is hard to turn off.  Everywhere you see people checking their phones in restaurants, the theatre, and at sporting events.  It’s hard, if not impossible, to enjoy those things fully while being distracted by an annoying work email, an electronic bill that’s higher than you expected, or the fact that your child is behind on his homework.  Unplugging is only part of the solution.  For many, we no longer know what to do once unplugged.  Mindfulness practices help.  I spoke at an integrative medicine conference a few years ago and was given the opportunity to attend the rest of the conference.  I attended a mindfulness talk that utilized an interesting exercise.  We were each given an Altoid and the task was to fully experience it with all 5 senses.  First I looked at it closely, noticing a few tiny chips and scratches on the surface.  I noticed how it felt in my fingers….hard, but not too hard, kind of dusty.  Then I smelled it.  Finally, I put it in my mouth and tasted it.  And for hearing?  I bit into it, hearing the crunch.  The whole process took less than a minute, but it was a really different experience than rather blindly popping it into my mouth.

My challenge for you today is this.  Fully BE in the present.  Notice and appreciate the warmth of the sun on your face, the smell of the lilacs, the cool breeze on your skin.  Truly connect as you interact with your family and closest friends, placing full attention on your conversation or time together without distractions or multi-tasking.  Savor your food.  Feel the comfort of your bed as you drift off to sleep.  For today, let’s stop and smell the flowers.

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On Health and Wellness and Me!

Who Am I?

No, this isn’t going to be an existential discussion, but rather an introduction.  Hello.  I’m Melissa.  If you’ve seen my website, you know I’m a doctor with a love of eastern and energetic medicine.  Those are things you’ll find on my resume, but let me tell you more about me, specifically my health and wellness journey.

As I did my visioning process for this year, my intention was to create more joy and aliveness in all aspects of my life.  I wrapped in intentions for this work (which is my spiritual path), my family, my personal health and wellness, and my day-to-day life.  Great manifesting cheat by the way…..the “feeling” for all is the same.

As a forty-something year-old doctor, entrepreneur, and single mother of 5, life is busy for sure, let me tell you.  It also brings me so much joy.  I’ve never felt more alive!

In my personal area of health and wellness, I’m quite proud of the fact that I’ve “released” 50 lbs in the past 6 months!  I don’t think of it as losing…..I don’t want those pounds back!  Rather, I’ve released the weight that no longer serves me.  There has been so much I’ve loved about the process…..including shopping for new clothes and some rewards along the way.  Ok, let’s talk rewards for a minute.  Those have been so fun!  A few of my favorites have been jumping with my kids at the indoor trampoline park, going down the slides with them at the water park, and my float session.  Ahhhh.  Fabulous!  My favorite part, though, has been cleaning out my closet!  No, I’m not kidding.  Liberating!!

On the spiritual side, I continue to find new and beautiful ways to connect with myself.  Discovering myself through different practices has been mind-blowing.  I also absolutely LOVE Bikram and my float sessions.  It’s fun to explore new and unique ways to “recharge”.  I’ve always loved the energy at Veterans Park at the lakefront in Milwaukee.  I’ve been there 3 times in the past 2 weeks and have even seen some great kite-flying.  LOVE <3

My kids are incredible!  Yes, there are 5 of them, ranging in age from 8-17.  They are bright, shining stars.  While I hope that I role-model for them a life well-lived and aligned with one’s path, I’m so grateful for them.  “It takes a village” and they truly are my village.  From help with meal prep to cheering me on during a tough workout to helping their technology-challenged mother with business tasks to providing creative input to listening as I excitedly talk about something on-and-on-and-on to being a mirror when I need one “Mom, you’re dysregulated.  Breathe.” (from my 10 yo.), they are with me every step of the way.  I’m truly blessed.

Well, that’s a little about me.  I look forward to learning something about you.

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Self Care

Self-care comes in different forms. Most people think of self care as doing something pleasing for the physical body. This type of care is very important and can typically be done without anyone else and without significant cost. That means everyone can do it, right now, today, everyday! No excuses!!

Even more important is the care for the emotional and spiritual body, for the soul. This is more subtle, less actionable, more being. Caring for your inner self involves checking in regularly to bring awareness to what you’re feeling and what you’re needing, then acting on that awareness.

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