Goals are a big concept. BIG. Bigger than one post big. Hence the Part 1.
Part 1 will be about my goals. Why did I take this training? Why did I work so hard through baby naps and late nights for two YEARS with two young children when I could have sat back and lived up that oh-so-relaxing-stay-at-home-mom life. (HA!). I tried to not require others to sacrifice for what I’m trying to build here, but it was inevitable. A big shout out to my husband, kiddos, family, and friends for putting up with my persistence and insistence that this is important. So important.
So, my goals.
My goals here are not financial. I mean, it would be nice to make a living at this. That’s the dream, right? Making a living doing something you’re passionate about?! And maybe someday I will. But for now, it’s not the goal. I’m hoping to not LOSE money, and I have two years of work/courses and related expenses to cover so I can’t do this for free…but if I could. Yah, I would. It’s that important.
So, what’s my goal then?
My first goal is to never stop learning. That’s not a new one. Life-long learner… that was me before it became in vogue. I think most teachers probably are. I know so much more about the human body, movement, evolution, anthropology, shoes, and myself than I did two years ago when I started this crazy journey.The human body is unreal. So complex in its simplicity and so simple in its complexity. I will never know enough.
My second goal has more to do with you than me. I didn’t start this journey because I had free time on my hands and I needed something to do. I started it out of desperation. “Pain-free pregnancy” the flyer said. “I’ll try anything,” I thought, 6 weeks pregnant, in agony. Sacrum issues in pregnancy (or in general!) are NO.JOKE. I signed up for the 6 week course and knew it was going to change my life before the end of the first class. I know that sounds dramatic, and it is. But I left that class nearly pain-free (which was great), but more important than that, I left empowered. The power to change my pain, to be in control of having or not having it, was mine. I had no idea. I had maxed out my coverage at chiro, massage, and physio during my first pregnancy and this second looked ready to follow the same path. I didn’t know there was another way.
That was enough for me to buy in, and I haven’t looked back. Alignment and movement work before and during pregnancy needs to be the status quo, not the exception. I would like to help do something about that. Goal #2.
More than that. I need to tell you the story of how my volleyball career ended. I played high performance, very competitive volleyball for years. When I graduated from school I played in a competitive league. I joined a team that played monthly-ish tournaments in Toronto and drove the four hours each way once a month to crash on couches and play in these one-day tournaments. It was so fun.
Near the end of the day of my last tournament, I chased a ball outside the court. I stopped short of the wall and my foot slid sideways in my shoe. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the end of my ‘career’. I tore a ligament between two metatarsals (the long bones that join to the toes). It was agony. I saw physios, chiro, reflexologists, my GP, two sports med doctors, and a surgeon. Another surgeon declined a referral to see me. I had x-rays and an MRI that confirmed the tear. My foot was taped for months, I had special orthodics made with a metatarsal pad to take the pressure off, and ended my school year teaching on crutches. I went to the Grand Canyon that March break and I couldn’t hike. Humbling doesn’t touch it. I was on anti-inflammatories, and the pain was finally relieved by an injection of cortisone when nothing and no one else could help.
After the cortisone shot, I could walk with less pain. It was bearable. I was immobilized most of the pregnancy that happened the following year due to the sacrum issues so my foot got a good rest. If I walked too far, or took a funny step, or looked at it the wrong way, I’d get a sharp shooting pain–but at least it wasn’t constant. I accepted my new reality.
Funny thing though. One of the biggest a-ha moments I had at that first Pain-free pregnancy class was that the pelvis should be vertical over the leg… and mine wasn’t. That was one of the big alignment take aways that helped resolve my sacrum pain and you know what? INSTANTLY, my foot pain went away. With my pelvis forward of vertical, the front of my feet (toes and metatarsals) were carrying a far greater load than they should. I was hammering on that weak spot every.step.I.took. and not one of the health professionals I saw for that pain noticed.
It was eye-opening. Earth-shattering.
I cost the health care system so.much.money. Drs, and Drs, and xrays and an MRI! All I needed to do was shift my weight back. I was body-literate, an athlete, took anatomy in university, and had no idea. All the well-meaning health professionals working from their vast toolboxes, had no idea. I just needed to shift my weight back. I don’t blame the health professionals. I saw a lot of good ones. It’s just that none of them had the right tool to help me.
What if there was awareness that current alignment can be a predictor of future injury (bunions, knee pain, hip pain, hernias, carpal tunnel, back pain, neck pain, and so many more… ), and that with awareness and information, if you wanted to, you could fix the alignment issue before you were ever in pain or required medical intervention?
Consider: Seventy-five percent of Canadians will experience foot health problems of varying degrees of severity at one time or another in their lives. About 19 percent of the Canadian population has an average of 1.4 foot problems each year.1 That means that almost SEVEN MILLION people in Canada experience foot pain every year. (For perspective, in 2018, this is the number of every single person in the Greater Toronto Area and City of Ottawa combined). I was one of those seven million people and alignment work resolved my pain. I fully acknowledge that alignment work is not the magic solution to every pain-causing foot condition. But…… what if alignment work helped even 10% of those seven million? What if 700,000 people could stop being in pain by making small adjustments in their movement habits and lifestyle? Shout it from the rooftops. Goal #3.
I don’t have all the answers. There are a lot of people out there who are a lot more educated and experienced than I am (and I am working to develop a network of like-minded medical professionals that I can refer to as necessary). What I have is a rare perspective and experience that movement awareness and alignment work can change lives. Please help me spread this message as widely as possible.