Having more than my share of chicken genes has been a challenge for most of my life. My knee jerk reaction has been to deny any interest in doing anything that would have remotely caused injury or stress. This limiting worldview made me feel, alternately set apart, cowardly and confused. What the heck was I afraid of?
Thankfully, I grew up with a best friend named, Kay Driscoll. Kay would not take no for an answer and dragged me everywhere she went. I began to study her and others, whom I admired and tried to fashion myself after them in bits and pieces. Where she was gregarious and could talk to anyone, I was shy, and quiet, until I began to find my voice. Courage was something that I observed in Grandma and Mom and I was determined to channel that somehow.
As I began to adopt traits that I admired in other people, I became open to thoughts and customs different from my own and those of my family. Yoga became an entrée to tame my anxious mind as well as challenge my muscles. It interrupted the noise in my head that often led to negative thoughts and introduced me to meditation. I read, Timeless Healing, by Dr. Herbert Benson, who is a cardiologist and the founder of the Mind/Body Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He established the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard and became the founding president in 1988. He believed in a person’s ability to heal themselves through meditation and consequently, so did I.
Dr. Benson was one of a handful of researchers in the connection of mind and body medicine at that time. He proved that by relaxing the body through meditation, the responses from the body included lowered blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and metabolic rate. In medical school he was taught that in five years time a good deal of what he had learned would be obsolete and as a result, he was intent on identifying a source of healing that would be timeless.
Stepping on this alternative road was an easy progression, given the foundation I had from Grandma. The more peace I found, the more addictive it became to explore alternate healing modalities and down the road I went.