Four Lessons 2016 Taught Me

Well, here we are Human Garage family: it’s 2017. I’m reflecting on what 2016 brought us as a young and growing company where mind and body repair and alignment are concerned. I’m reflecting on the many of you I met in 2016, as colleagues and clients of the Human Garage.

This time last year I was a client, like many of you, searching for a better answer, a different way, and freedom from pain. I carried with me the belief there had to be a better way and indeed, I found it. I transitioned from client to staff in January one year ago and in this process, I’ve learned a few things. Some emerge out of my own journey of healing and feeling better, while others emerge out of watching many of you along your path to feeling better.

With January upon us, it’s time to pull back, reflect, and learn from the lessons of 2016. I hope to share these lessons with each of you, wherever you may be in this process of healing. What has 2016 taught me?

1. Patience is everything.

While returning from a long flight from New York City recently, there was a young boy, maybe three years old at most, in the seat in front of me. When we arrived at our gate at LAX, the impatience of many New Yorkers and Angelenos antsy to get off the plane was palpable. We rubbed elbows, huffed and puffed while grabbing our bags out of the overhead compartments without knocking each other out, invaded one another’s personal space, and many started to push past one another in an effort to get off the plane (airplanes and airports have always been my Achilles heel for testing patience).

The young boy in front of me was growing weary with an unknown delay a few rows in front of us. He started to pout and complain quite loudly, something most of us were doing in our heads.

His mom turned to him: “Sweetie, remember what I taught you about patience?”

The young boy, with a giant smile across his face, exclaimed proudly: “I didn’t bring patience with me today, Mommy. I left it at home.” He began to giggle, proud of his wit.

My row erupted in laughter and the impatience of our section of the plane softened. By the time our laughter subsided, we were ready to get off the plane. The young boy was on to something.

When I started coming to the Garage as a client, I wanted immediate relief. In many ways, I was highly impatient. In some aspects, I found relief with my first unwinding session. My hip that nagged me for over a decade felt instantly better. My migraines, however, took time. Patterns in our body that took 30+ years to create will not be completely resolved overnight, yet we live in a society driven by instant gratification. We want answers and solutions at lightning speed. We want off the plane at the blink of an eye and we make ourselves miserable (and those around us), when we leave our patience at home and demand our way off the plane, immediately.

Re-balancing my body on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level has taught me to wait, to trust, and to reassess my impatience when it comes. At least the young boy in my story acknowledges when he’s left his patience at home for the day.

2. When we ignore any one aspect of our health, we ignore our whole well-being.

Allow me to explain: if I don’t take care of myself emotionally, eventually my physical body will feel it. Or perhaps I take phenomenal care of my body physically, but have never tuned into my emotional self. I could be the most spiritual person you know, but neglect my physical health. Each aspect of our health works together to create the totality of our well-being.

I’ve met great psychologists in my life who take terrible care of their physical bodies. I’ve met incredible athletes, too. One once told me “I don’t have feelings.” I resisted my urge to tell her: “You’ve just lost touch with them.”

To prioritize any aspect of our well-being over another is to ignore and neglect an important part of our whole self. The parts we ignore will eventually want to get our attention. We are the “Human” Garage, after all. We care about all, not just one part, of our humanity.

3. Rest is the best medicine.

I’ve written about this before and I will write about it again: let your body rest.

We get a lot of women at the Garage who’ve had issues with fertility, irregularities in their periods, or hormonally related issues. They’ve tried everything. More recently, I experienced irregularities in my own menstrual cycle during a high-stress period of my life. Working full time, finishing graduate school, and the stresses of living in large and sprawling Los Angeles seemed to bring them on.

I took a couple of weeks off for the holidays (I’m aware this is a privilege). I slept in, I rested, I ate well, and I spent time with loved ones. I stopped panicking about my health and instead decided to give my body rest. I unplugged. I reminded myself of #1, practicing patience. And, guess what? My body naturally reset itself, all on its own.

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t serious medical conditions that just a little bit of R&R can fix. But, I am saying rest would make many things a whole lot better. Sleep and rest are often our best medicine.

4. Our thoughts matter.

Buddha once said: “We are what we think.” And whether or not you agree with Buddha, I think he was onto something with this one. If no one else hears what we think, it can’t possibly matter, right?

Think again: our thoughts matter.

What we think (or don’t) about ourselves has the power to manifest in the physical body and in our lives. Our work is about mind/body repair not just “body repair” at Human Garage. The stories we tell ourselves about pain, healing, and our lives ultimately impact our bodies, on cellular and physical levels.

Have you ever watched the end of a marathon or another endurance race? I think it’s safe to say even the best of athletes are exhausted at the end of 26.2 miles. But somehow there’s that runner that finds it deep within herself to push through those last moments and win. If there’s any “proof” that our mental stories matter, to me it’s on the face of the runner that guts it out across the finish line, even when her body tells her she’s got nothing left. Somewhere deep within her she tells herself she still can, even when her body says she can’t.

Our thoughts matter.

To close, I’ll leave you with this. The New Year can be overwhelming if we bog ourselves down in trying to change and reset too many aspects of our lives. I’m weary anyways of setting New Year’s Resolutions (there’s more on that here). I encourage you today to take just one of these elements and pay attention to it this week.

Simply notice.

Notice your thoughts and the stories you tell yourself about you, in this world. Notice if and how you rest. Do you feel rested? Can you carve out even 30 more minutes of time to rest in your day? Notice which aspects of your health you prioritize and which you neglect. Notice which parts of you you find less important. Notice how you respond to waiting when impatience creeps in.

Notice which part of my list you liked the least. Which part rubbed you the wrong way? Perhaps that’s the starting point for you in this new year of 2017.

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