Updated: Oct 25, 2019
I’ve been thinking a lot about my spine lately, my literal and figurative one. My lower back has always curved slightly to the left due to scoliosis, but this past Sunday at the Healthfest in Farmington, Connecticut, a chiropractor revealed that the vertebrae at the top of my neck is severely out of place.
I know how this shift happened. I fell twice this year—passed out from stress and even lost my vision for nearly a minute. My mental and physical world reached a pinnacle of pressure and collapsed like a landslide down the side of a mountain. I woke up at the bottom dusty and confused, far from where I had been, but not far from where I was going. I am a believer in breakthroughs, not breakdowns. I am a believer in following a life of passion over a life prescribed. I am a believer in the occasional curve off course and mistake in pursuit of ambitious dreams and spectacular views.
Don‘t get me wrong. I don’t take falls, stress, or injuries lightly, but I do know that every trip I’ve endured is a necessary step in my life’s path. Much like my curvy backbone, the passionate life I have always preferred is not a straight and certain one. I could choose a safer, paved route. I could choose to push my dreams aside, trade honest words for acceptable ones, and follow the status quo, but I don’t want to blend in. I don’t want to give up my lofty goals for safe aims. I don’t want to follow the crowd. I want to blaze my own unique path in this world. I want to make a difference and achieve my dreams, but I know as I ascend my life’s rocky ridge, I have to be prepared for the occasional push-back and chance of vertigo.
Each time I fall, I learn. I get stronger, smarter, and braver as I dust myself off and continue. I trek on, knowing that the ups, downs, twists, and curves are teaching me important lessons and happen for a reason. They launch me in unexpected directions toward people and situations I may not have bumped into had I been following a set straight path. For example, my extreme experience with stress led me to take a solo trip to Brooksville, Maine this past week, which led me to meet Bob Jones and his wife Doris--two vegans, holistic healers, and all around down-to-earth people. They introduced me to their friends, invited me over for dinner, and opened my eyes up to new forms of meditation, books on healing, and their peaceful way of life. The unpredictable route may not be the most cautious one, but it is the most rewarding. It connects me with other brave, passion-path followers, linking us up like winding trails along the top of a mountain.
I don’t always know where I’m going or how one vertebrae will connect to the next, but I do know that as long as I’m staying true to myself and doing what I love, I’m headed in the right direction. Like a chiropractor, I am learning to recognize the shifts and align myself back up with my purpose each time I fall. I am learning to strengthen and follow my spine.