Prologue: I wrote this blog in October 2014 as an exciting new chapter of my professional life was unfolding. The curiosity and passion for my life’s work has only increased since then and I look forward to many more decades of learning, sharing, and helping my patients.
It begins… or it continues. All hinges on perspective.
As of this week, I have been in practice as a chiropractor in Los Gatos for a decade. It has been a privilege to have the opportunity to help so many people “get healthy and feel better.” I have witnessed the miraculous healing powers of the body, been humbled by cases I could not solve, and awoken many a night with insight into how I might help a patient… impatient for the patients next visit so I could continue my life’s work.
This morning I left my house at 4:30AM on a trip to Paris to study with one of the world’s leading experts on posture, Noelle Perez-Christiaens. She has devoted her life to helping western society not crumble into somatic chaos. I say western society, because in many parts of the developing world people utilize their body daily for physical labor. And in these cultures excellent posture is common, effortless, and the human body resilient.
In our modernized world we have every convenience. We utilize our brain much more than our physical body. Many of us sleep in comfortable beds, sit for our meals, drive to and from work, labor at our desks, and collapse on the couch in the evening. And almost everyone has chronically tight muscles, discomfort with prolonged sitting and standing postures, and bouts of neck, low back, and/or hip pain.
I believe that it is a human being’s birth right to live in a body that feels amazing. When I look at my boys running around, squatting effortlessly, bounding with energy, I see physical ease. No restricted movement. Muscles supple and relaxed. A physical body transporting their ever-learning brain and their soul.
Some would say that is a luxury of youth. Then I see a picture of a sixty-year-old woman carrying water in a bucket on her head from the river to her home. Her spine is straight, she has a look of resilience in her step, and her face has peace and joy as she easily converses with her friends during her daily trek.
What would life be like in a body that was perfectly balanced? What would it feel like to sit for three hours, unaware of any sensations from our body, able to fully immerse in our mental and spiritual faculties? I had a few hours of this experience a month ago enjoying the production of Wicked. I’ll blog about my experience, but it was mental and emotional euphoria because I was able to completely focus on the musical. Unlike anything I had previously experienced, because my body was utterly silent. No sense of discomfort or tension or strain. Silence.
I think that might be what my boys are experiencing throughout their days and nights. Maybe it is the reason children learn so rapidly. The reason they are full of bliss and wonder. The reason they “sleep like a baby.” Maybe a large part of it has to do with silence from their 650 skeletal muscles. As we age does the constant, nagging static signal from our imbalanced physical body compete with our vibrant experience of the world around us and our true mental capacity?
I’m in search of that still point of physical being. And I want to learn how to help those around me on their journey towards body awareness and balanced posture. My journey has me traveling to the other side of the world currently. I’m excited to share what I learn.
I want to finish this post with gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for in my first ten years of practice:
- Thank you to God for giving me a passion and purpose to help others. I value every day on earth, even the challenging ones. I love being in service to my patients. And I humbly appreciate the wonder which is the human body.
- To my wife, Aryn: you inspire me, push me, comfort me, and I have so much fun with you. I am the man I am because of you. And I become a better man, day-by-day, because of your influence. Thank you for being such a wonderful mother to our children and for encouraging me to take this journey to France to continue my education.
- Jean Couch and Jenn Sherer from the Balance Center / Spinefullness in Palo Alto, CA. A patient seven years ago told me that Jean had ended his chronic back pain with a seventy-five minute “sitting class.” That got my attention and I signed up for the class that day. Thank you for being my teachers.
- To my patients: I love being your chiropractor. I have a dear mentor who once told me that “God will send you patients that you will fail on so that you will learn.” I show up every day at practice with the intention of fixing everything that ails each patient. I don’t always succeed, but when I can’t figure something out, that patient doesn’t ever leave my mind. When reading a journal article, sitting at a medical conference, or consulting with a colleague I am thinking of that patient and if “now” is the moment I am going to learn the secret to help them. Hopefully, my travels in Paris will include some of those moments.
In Positive Motion,
Brant Pedersen, DC, CCSP