The last month in Colorado has been incredible, and incredibly healing for me. The mountains, the crisp air, the river, the trees, and the sky – oh the sky! – a sky that surrounds you and dwarfs you and makes you think differently about the world – the universe – and our place within it. It’s grand. It’s awesome. It’s inspiring.

Being witness to the beauty of the Fraser Valley every day has been the best medicine I could take after the massive pain flare-up I experienced as we closed out 2014..

The worst of it was in October, I was in a fog of pain for a couple weeks where even the littlest tasks seemed impossible, I was in shock that I could be in that much pain again, I was feeling a bit hopeless, thinking that I’d never be out of pain again, that I had reversed the years of hard work I had put in to figuring out how to successfully manage the pain and live happily and actively and meaningfully.

But that was just the pain talking. As November rode in, I was managing day to day, though the pain was largely all I could think about. When December rolled around, I was feeling better, feeling like I was going to get through the flare and get back on track; I felt like I hadn’t sabotaged all that hard work after all.

That was HUGE

The guilt and blame I had laid on myself were pretty suffocating, and counter-productive.

I also had Colorado to look forward to. When we came to Colorado last year, I had a major break-through in my pain management. I realized I wasn’t breakable. That I wasn’t frail or weak or damaged. That I could be active, I could engage with the world, without fear and worry and constant attention to my pain.

fraser river

So, of course, I had high hopes for Colorado helping me to breakthrough the pain onceagain. Now, I knew this probably wasn’t a good thing in the sense that I was putting a whole lot of eggs into the Colorado basket, so I also did some soul-searching to figure out what path forward I was going to take, whether I be in Colorado or California.

Then I read a book

A real book, not a book on a screen, a printed book, with pages, a binding, and everything, and I was inspired.

See, there were so many things I felt I was supposed to do, or that I should do, or that would be right for me to do. I wanted to help people, but I thought I had to have all the answers first. I went back to grad school to learn about biomechanics and kinesiology, thinking that was the way to fix pain. I got certified in nutrition coaching, delved deeply into pain science research, sought advice and guidance from top leaders in the fields of human movement and pain management, started my Egoscue certification coursework…and while there were some answers, what I reallygot were more questions.

Rather than finding The Solution, I found out that pain, that humans, that happiness, that health…that life is complicated and that no aspect of it can boiled down to do this, not that and you will succeed.

Then I felt a bit lost. My goal had been to help people, but now I didn’t quite know how. 

Then I read a great story

A book that changed my life, in no uncertain terms. And I realized that I did know how, that I just had to change my way of thinking.

I am one to tell you that I love school, but I don’t think it’s school so much that I love, I think it’s the learning that I love. The exploring, discovering, synthesizing of new information. And I love reading. I love a good story. It could be classic literature, a popular novel, or a book on pain, if it’s a good story, I’ll learn from it. If it’s a crappy story, if it’s just a laying out of the facts, if it’s droll or poorly written or condescending, if it’s a directive as to what I should do, I won’t.

See, I used to think I had to have all the answers and then just lay them out for everyone so they would say ‘AHA, now I will be the healthiest and happiest and pain free-est person in the world!’ and go forth and be such.

That’s not how the world works. No one has all the answers. And no one wants to be told what to do.

How we learn best is through narrative, through relating to people, through metaphors, through honesty and humor, through images, through introspection…through stories.

If what we read doesn’t have meaning for us in our real, complicated, messy lives, it’s a waste of time to read.If it doesn’t entertain us or resonate with us or interest us, we’re not going to learn much from it, not in any actionable way, anyway. It’s not going to change our way of thinking or positively impact our lives.clouds (2)

So all those things I was supposed to do, I wasn’t so good at them. I’m good at being outside. I’m good at reading. I’m good at communicating. So I’m hoping I’m better at this working in words (and images), thing, this writing thing, this storytelling thing.

I’m hoping that I will still be able to help people, not by explicitly telling them what they should do or what the science says, but instead I hope to help them by telling an interesting story, a story that may have those elements but that allows you, the reader, to take from it what is meaningful to you, not what was intended by me.

Does that make sense?

I guess we’ll see, won’t we?

Thanks for reading my post, folks! I’d love to hear from you, shoot me an email, hit me up on social media, or leave a comment below! And if you like what you read, share with your friends!

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2 Responses to "I want to tell you a story"

  1. I’ll always listen to your story.

    I learned so much from your style of writing during our brief time in graduate school together. If only we had aligned more on being in school at the same time!

    Your style of narrative coupled with evidence and structured around experience coupled with science/research really informed my writing. It also gave me some space to figure out how to write so it is not BORING… barfing back a study without any personal juice in the writing.
    I
    I’m currently writing a discussion post that is a bit of a “barf up” information and as I taught for 5 hours today I was thinking about how to mold it a bit more into a personal narrative. I think I’ve got it! As I remember from your fabulous posts, one does not have to simply cite the study but the relevant parts of the study and what it meant to them. This one is on the use of self-regulation in learning environments… whether to use prescriptive coaching/teaching or not.

    Anyway, I am basically wasting time right now rather than writing the post I really need to write, so bye bye for now, sweet Cup of Jo!

    Love.

    • Laurie, you are amazing. Thank you for the kind words and for your love and support, I amchuffed.

      I, too, wish we were in school together for a longer while, I miss your thoughtful posts and unique insights. I still look forward to following your path through the program, though!

      I miss you!

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