This sharing of my life is the "condensed" long version of how I came to begin my Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork practice. Grab a cup of tea and get cozy...
I begin with expressing my enjoyment of participating in creative arts...sketching, jewelry making, pottery, expressive writing, poetry and storytelling, playing percussion instruments and enjoying the company of good people. I am drawn to examination and reflection on concepts of human evolution, wellness and spirituality unconditioned by theological dogma. I choose to explore innate wisdom, if you will.
I find personal satisfaction in the science of documentation and collective proof. I like concrete evidence to ground what is known and invite changes in perceptions. I have learned everything is true until the truth proves otherwise. A college professors in my scientific research class once told me, "Be careful, Shirley. You will prove what you are looking for." I learned that my truth is also my opinion, which is an expression of my perception, when informed, can be transformed into a larger truth. Rarely is the truth true forever.
Formal education includes the receiving my Associates Degree from Harper College, Palatine, IL. I began my studies in the creative arts: sculpture, painting, creative writing at Truman Community College in Chicago. After moving to the suburbs and transferring the work of my studies, my interests shifted from the arts and foreign language to astronomy and geology, settling on the study of law.
With my Associates Degree framed and hung upon my wall and a newly acquired taste for truth, justice and the making of laws, I enrolled in Roosevelt University's Paralegal Program and entered the world of Corporate Law and Business. Believing that I could save the Natural World from the heavy hand of progressive development, I turned toward Environmental Law endeavoring to save the land from overdevelopment, holding the role of Environmental Attorney. Learning quickly that the field of law was not my arena of battle, determining that unreasonable transgressions in our environment was housed in the thinking mind, I flushed myself from the study of law into the field of psychology.
The Mind. What an interesting environment...so much mystery. Anatomy, Physiology and Neurological studies provided knowledge of the operational order of the human brain...how it functions and such. I began to study psychology and human development. Seeking to honor the guiding codes of human thought, feeling and behavior, I began to explore the spiritual dimension of mind. Through formal study, I received my BA in Group and Interpersonal Communications from Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL. and began graduate studies in clinical psychology.
Departing from the work I had begun on my Masters Degree in Counseling and Psychology, I pursued the direction of spiritual health and became commissioned to the ministry of Spiritual Companionship through Loyola University's Institute of Spiritual Companionship. In a parallel quest, I turned to explore the roots of my Native American ancestry integrating spirituality and traditional practices into my development in the Catholic faith practices. In this fulcrum, using my body and world of experience as my experimental laboratory, I came to believe that the history of a person's life was housed in the senses of my body. Thus, began my examination of Complementary Alternative Modalities and and pursued education that would empower my work to integrate self-directed cognitive therapies, massage, manual therapies and bodywork into the wellness of the whole person.
I came to focus my attention on well-care modalities that restore balance to body-mind-spirit before pain manifests chronic illness and/or physical conditions require medical intervention--touch therapies. I attended Chicago School of Massage Therapy, Chicago, IL, Upledger Institute, FL, Mountain Mist Reiki, CA, among others, and maintain membership in good standing in related professional organizations. Continuing professional development and training is ongoing to my practice inspired by my commitment to provide educated manual care.
The years hold many stories of trial and triumph contributing to my desire to provide care for the balance between physiological and spiritual body as preventative maintenance. and good health. Musculoskeletal imbalance contributes to the experience of pain in the tissues of the body. Emotional experiences can be experienced as pain held in the body. Repetitive body motions, experienced over time through work and/or experiential patterns, cause specific pain patterns to manifest in the body. Body held pain has many contributing factors, some of which to be addressed through touch therapies. I have invested thousands of educational hours into training my hands to help relieve pain, relax the mind, rehabilitate the body and encourage a harmonious state of being.
Stories collected on the Spiritual Journey are many, from another dimension of my work as a Spiritual Director, perhaps, to be shared in another time...