This is a question I get a lot. How did a woman who spent 25 years in banking, doing a series of analyst and management roles (cash management analyst, treasury analyst, business analyst, Dev Team manager, project manager), end up as a neurosomatic therapist/yoga teacher/meditation teacher?
Well. Pull up a chair, get comfy, and let me tell you a tale.
It all started on 11/19/2011. Well, technically it started a couple of weeks before that. I read an article on Lifehacker about “The Primal Diet.” It immediately caught my interest for a couple of reasons:
- I had just come off spending the weekend with my brothers (who lived in NYC at the time), and when they would visit, our intake of booze and fried food would skyrocket. As a result, I was feeling very bloaty and gross (to put it scientifically :P). I was pushing 150, which was not a weight that accommodated my clothes comfortably. I was scouting the internet looking for something to help me.
- I loved what I read in that article. The primal “diet” was really more of a lifestyle versus a diet. The article advocated eating whole foods (meat and veggies), avoiding processed food (including gluten, sugar, flour, dyes, rancid seed oils, etc.), getting outside as much as possible, prioritizing sleep quality, incorporating “primal movements” (push-ups, planks, pull-ups, squats, etc.), spending time with loved ones, PLAYING, etc. It all made so much intuitive sense to me.
So I bought The 21-Day Total Body Transformation on 11/19/11. I read it, followed the instructions to purge the spaghetti, Pepperidge Farm frozen garlic bread (which I used to eat because I assumed that bread was “healthy”), and the beer from my kitchen and stocked up on meat, veggies, nuts, healthy fats (olive oil and avocado oil), dark chocolate, etc..
In January of 2012, I started the 21-day challenge. Within a week, my nose was no longer shooting fountains of mucus in the middle of the night. My anxiety levels had calmed WAY down (at the time the anxiety was so bad that I felt as if I would pass out at stop lights, in line at the grocery store, and in any warm area with bad air flow), I was losing weight, and my energy stayed steady all day.
I ended up following the 21-day plan for a few months, and by the 2nd or 3rd month, my health had totally changed. I had lost about 18 lbs. I went from a size 12 to a size 4. I participated in a sprint triathlon. I started running regularly in my barefoot running shoes. I felt so energized.
My mind was BLOWN by how big of an effect food and movement had on my physical and mental health. And I wanted EVERYONE to realize how much capacity we have to influence our health. I started researching classes, degrees, certifications, etc. to see what would help qualify me to be able to help people feel better in their bodies.
Eventually I settled on doing a 200-hour yoga teacher training. It was a 6-month program, I enjoyed yoga, and the price was accessible. While in that program, I was introduced to biomechanist and author Katy Bowman, via a collaboration project she did with Mark Sisson (the author of the Primal Blueprint). From following her, I found out about Yoga Tune Up® and the power of self-massage to change our state (both physically and mentally). I took the YTU Certification class and was introduced to OH MY GOD SO MUCH NEW INFORMATION!! That was the hardest cert I have ever done, but it sparked an interest in whole-being health, anatomy, and the nervous system.
I wanted to dive deeper, but I was loathe to go back to school. I actually LOVE school, but I finished my bachelors and masters while working full-time, and I was TIRED of spending every evening in class and/or doing homework. I felt really driven to DO something in the wellness sphere, but I was overwhelmed by options and indecision.
I enlisted professional help. I started working with Dr. Betsy Rippentrop out of Iowa City. She is a psychologist with a heavy yoga background, and I really resonated with her style of therapy. Via sessions that included talk therapy, embodiment work, and analysis of one super-detailed, vivid dream, my path forward started to become more clear. In one session I very clearly stated my goal of finding the next best step for me.
That weekend, on the YTU Teachers Facebook page, someone mentioned how she had taken her autistic son to a neurosomatic therapist, and she was blown away by the treatment. I instantly googled “neurosomatic therapy,” and found the Center for Neurosomatic Studies in Clearwater, Florida. I devoured the website, excitement building in me as I read about how students learn anatomy and physiology, movement, visceral massage, cranial mobilizations, etc.
The next day I called the school to get more information. The son of the founder of neurosomatic therapy answered the school’s phone. He was in his late 30s/early 40s and was making a career switch to become a therapist. We talked for 90 minutes.
I loved almost everything I heard about the school. But. Oh man. It was in Florida. The program was held during the day (when I would be at work). My Dad had just had some severe health issues. So many reasons to just stay put.
But, ugh. Gross. That didn’t feel good either.
So I agonized about the decisions for MONTHS. I want to do it, but…. It’s so hard, and so inconvenient, and what if, and the money, and, blah blah blah.
Finally I got tired of listening to myself waffle. The internal discord with how I was spending my days was outweighing my fear of change. I decided to go for it. I told my boss that I was quitting to move to Florida to go to school. But, I offered, if the bank was willing to keep me on part-time and let me work remotely, I would be down for that. To my shock, they said Yes! And with that “yes,” many of my fears about money and stability proved out to be unfounded.
We moved to Florida (3 days before Clearwater/Tampa got hit by Hurricane Irma). FUN TIMES! I went to school for 18 months, worked for the St. John-Clark Pain Treatment Clinic for a year, and then moved back to Iowa in April 2020, in the beginnings of the COVID pandemic. FUN TIMES AGAIN!
I opened my practice in June of 2020, and it has been steadily growing ever since. My interest in diet and movement has subtly shifted to a fascination with whole person flourishing, as I see in myself what a powerful influence my thoughts, energy, and spiritual practices have over my physical body. I love learning about the layers that make up a human (the physical body, energetic body, mental body, wisdom body, and bliss body (from the Yogic Kosha model)) and what we can do to promote health in each of those layers.
That’s my Origin Story in a nutshell. Well, actually in a tortoise shell because that is a pretty long story. And technically it’s just my THERAPIST origin story. The full origin story is a story for another time.
And with that, thanks for reading and for being part of this adventure of figuring out what makes a good life and how I can help contribute to helping others make a good life!!!
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