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Burnout Taught Me that ‘No’ is a Complete Sentence

Living in alignment with my values brought me better health…mind, body and soul.

The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create It
The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create It

It is January, 2001 and I have arrived to my first bodywork and energy healing appointment with a Shaman and Energy Healer in Ridgefield, Ct.  A few days before, I had called several local yoga studios and massage spas inquiring if anyone could recommend someone who did this type of work and I was referred to this well-known healer. I was desperate to find someone who could help me to alleviate the constant pain in my neck, back and shoulders, the ongoing battle I was having with IBS symptoms, and the overwhelming stress I had been dealing with at that time in my life. I was the CEO of a multi-million-dollar Staffing Firm, mother to three children who had busy academic and sports schedules to manage, a large home to run, a marriage struggling to stay afloat, and an enormous amount of financial responsibilities. At that time, my inner sage voice kept nudging me to seek out an alternative way to handle my physical and emotional stress. All the muscle relaxants and stomach medicines didn’t seem to help…there had to be a better way.  As I sat in the waiting room of this energy healer’s office, I was so nervous that I found it hard to breath. Questions kept rolling over in my mind…What will be uncovered in this session and how will I be strong enough to deal with what reveals itself? Can I get healed without rocking the boat too much? Will I be able to hold in my emotions during our time together?

As it turned out, I was broken open during my session that day in ways I didn’t know were possible and I was from that day on, forever changed. I continued to receive bodywork and energy balancing sessions weekly from this therapist who often spent time talking with me after our sessions asking me questions about my life and the choices I had been making.  I remember knowing on some deep inner level that this energy healing work felt somehow familiar to me and the more I worked on letting go of what was not serving me, the more I wanted to learn ways to live a healthy and balanced life. As I continued to heal over the next six months, I become increasingly aware of the knowledge that stress gets lodged in our physical, emotional and energetic bodies. This can eventually lead to and cause disease (dis-ease), depression and a whole host of physical ailments. Over time, as my physical pain subsided, I began to connect the multitude of dots in my life of how my physical and emotional pain and IBS symptoms were directly related to the negative burn-out I had been choosing to live with. I had been trying to hold everything and everyone together and it had been slowly killing me. My new awareness was empowering and I again felt this inner voice telling me that this energy work I had been receiving was somehow supposed to be my work? Could the answer be that I was not living in alignment with what I valued around life and work? That I wanted to have more freedom of my time, less financial responsibilities, more quality time with my children, family and friends? That I wanted to pursue interesting hobbies of my own?

About six months after meeting this wonderful energy healer, I found myself reading everything I could get my hands on about Energy Medicine, bodywork, healthy living ideals, finding balance, self-improvement and how to live a more authentic and stress-free life. I began researching and visiting different Massage Schools ‘for fun’ wishing that I could somehow attend one and change careers. But how?

On September 12, 2001, like all Americans, I woke up realizing that the horrific events of 9/11, the day before, was not a nightmare. As I struggled to make sense of the life changing events of this tragedy, my inner sage voice almost yelled at me, ‘Take another step Lynda, live the life of your dreams!’ That day, I picked up the phone and called the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy and before hanging up, I was enrolled in a full-time Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork program that would, no coincidence, be starting the following week! I began the 2 year journey of attending classes two nights a week and all-day Saturday’s, while running my company during the day until I found myself proudly standing with my graduating class in August 2003. Just before graduation, in June, 2003, I sold my large home in Ridgefield, Ct. and purchased a lovely more affordable townhome for myself and my children. In August 2003, my husband and I divorced and agreed to remain friends and co-parent our children. By September 2003, I had closed my Staffing Firm and helped my employees find great new jobs with our corporate clients. On October 15th, 2003, I opened a beautiful wellness center in downtown Ridgefield, Ct. called A Center for Healing Touch. While I attended massage school, I had met seven other healthcare practitioners who wanted to join me in building a Wellness Center. We would each have our own treatments rooms and private practices as well as refer patients to one another when needed. I named my business Natural Bodyworks Massage and I have built a successful massage practice while working 25 hours a week. The days of working 50 to 60 hours a week were in my rear view mirror and my health had never been better. I found time to practice yoga and meditation, became a vegetarian, began to take lessons in Ballroom and Swing dancing, and for the last 18 years I have enjoyed so much freedom with my time to explore a variety of hobbies. I have been able to help many clients begin to recognize that the pain they have held in their bodies and the emotional stress they experience due to their hectic, fast paced lives, are important signals and guideposts to acknowledge. My journey to dramatically change my life and career brought with it many challenges, but the rewards of choosing to intentionally live in harmony with my values is frankly invaluable.

I have learned that putting myself first allows me to bring the best version of myself to any given situation be it my work, parenting, or relationships. From the platform of balance, self-love and harmony, I was able to model for my children what healthy choices and boundaries looks like. Because I had been there, I had experienced true burnout, I am able to help and guide my massage clients in their desire for a more balanced body, mind and soul.

As I find my massage practice closed and myself in quarantine due to the COVID-19 crisis, I have the tools to stay grounded, calm and as grateful as possible for my blessings. I have once again decided to pivot my career path and I am building a full-time practice as a Life and Career Coach. In this way, I can combine my corporate career coaching background with my health and wellness experience to help guide clients to live a more purposeful, mindful and healthy life. The power of taking that first small step can move mountains and create amazing change if one is willing to dare greatly and live in alignment with what they truly and wholeheartedly value.

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