I write to you on this Monday, January 18, 2016, a day in observance of Martin Luther King. Brandon home, spending his day in service to us his family, giving tirelessly, allowing time for me to write, and manifest the message and sequence for my 2 evening yoga classes! A little over two years ago I had the opportunity to lead a movement, to provide service to a community for an entire year. I learned how to express my passion of giving to others, in others, and, how to inspire individuals to share their service in moments of kindness. The year was gratifying, it taught me how to gleam with diversity, to truly be authentic. My words are now a little gentler, my actions hold kindness, my thoughts pass less judgement, and my awareness is to actively be in the moment. I experienced my dreams, turn into reality.
I single handedly owned and operated a wellness center beginning with an offering of small intimate classes focusing on arthritis exercise and diabetes prevention. Before Archer was born “my baby” was the Walking School Bus program, “rise to shine,” the program was upheld strictly by loyal volunteers, and another dream was to see the program continue. It happened the community supported the mission of providing safety, supervision, and mentorship, to the youth while walking to school! Meanwhile, Three Bridges Yoga studio was closing their doors for new adventures, and it seemed as the community choose me to uphold the offering. So what did I do, lived another dream becoming reality. While 19-21 weeks pregnant with Archer I traveled to CA to earn my 200-hour yoga teaching credentials from the White Lotus Foundation. My intuition lead me there as I didn’t for see an opportunity after the baby was born for at least 2 years, that would be about around the time of now. Hey you pessimistic thinkers, no this trip wasn’t the root cause of Archer’s conditions, it’s genetic. The studio also continues to thrive as Vibrant Lives, building capacity within the community. Providing a service of yoga has given me the strength to follow my newest passion: to light the fire inside of Archer, to help him feel with his heart, to question, to accept, to thrive within the present moment. Today, I am still a dreamer and I'm teaching my son how dreams do come true!
I have a dream of the day my boy will move with attention, and will walk, will talk, will read, will write, and will have independence. After 2 long years, my faith was beginning to weaken and my dreams starting to fade after all of the doctor’s visits, countless hours of therapy, piles of paperwork, relentless advocacy, listening to my son’s future be analyzed, and hearing the words that boiled down to my son’s deviation from normal. Doing my best to uphold this diversity, I strived to concoct a lifestyle for Archer giving him access to therapy, regulating medication, find supplements to counter-act the side effects, researching diet plans to provide him with the proper nutrition. But, this all wasn’t working or was my patience being shortened? As I have shared before, Archer has the cognition, the know-how, the awareness, he is a learner and very receptive to his experiences. Why was this not all working? Because, what he didn’t have was the road map on how to connect all this movement going on in his brain. Traditional therapist were doing their best, providing their expertise, and helping him make progress. He remained an unsolved mystery, until we spent the week in San Rafael, CA at the Anat Baniel Center of Movement. His bewildered brain arrived and began to learn, to map, and to experience neuronal connections. I’d like to see the brain waves during his lessons, because oh man, it’s only going to get better from here. I now hold the confidence of my family being able to grow even larger with love. I guess what we have done right is teach him the power of his heart. Now that we have chosen to switch gears, and give ABM a GO, watch out this little charismatic soul is soon to have his brain pathways re-educated, so he can excel at exploring his world through movement.
Let us meet the 3 practitioners that ignited
Archer’s learning switch! Day one, we met with Sylvia, where she began working with Archer’s pelvis. I knew he held his body very rigidly along his pelvis, spine, and chest, before coming I was beginning to wondering if I needed to start searching for a CP diagnosis. This was the red ribbon, sent to me as a message to stop searching and to start learning. Back to the first lesson, I set him down on the table in a sitting position (as I was so proud he recently started gaining insights into independent upright positioning, but was it really if he didn’t know how to get there?) and was quiet, as was she. We gave him time to “aware,” feel his action in the new space. I’m a talker, and long winded, as you can gather, I wanted so badly to ask questions. This is the first distraction I can create in his new learning environment, so I let her break the ice. I gave my best with giving short abstract feedback, as she created small talk gathering information about Archer. To provide comfort to Archer we played with a variety of 3-4
toys during the lessons, and before we knew it the lesson was over. During the lesson, I slowly began to notice a change in his vision, it was very subtle but he was beginning to make confident focus on the objects near and far. Archer worked with Sylvia 4 times during the week, having a variety of experiences on his back, belly, and was exploring side sitting. They played a game of pushing up the length of the table a good 3-4 pushes to begin, by the end of the week 2 good pushes would clear the length of the table, creating stride! As he found movement in his pelvis, the spine began finding it’s natural curves and his chest softened, his fingers started spreading more as weight was shifted into the hands, and on the afternoon of day 3 Archer and Sylvia exchanged quite the verbal conversation.
Day one, an afternoon lesson with Michelle. We were on a lower table in a big open room, the training room with red shaded carpet, Archer observing the lines of the room and the clear distinction between the walls and ground. Michelle asked me if I noticed any changes, I shared my observation of his visual functions, and the two of them got going. She introduced these little “jumps” to Archer that engaged his pelvis and created a beautiful rhythmic flow in his spine. He loved them and physically kept asking for more, i.e. him trying to experience the movement on his own, but he wasn’t quite ready, yet his attempts showed us his imagination of the movement was there! Over the week Michelle provided insights into how not to have strict goals and try not to be the “therapist mom,” by re-creating what I was seeing her do. I just was given the golden ticket to put more energy into being a nurturing mom and no longer worry about strict movement routines, that I failed to get in consistently, ah one less hat
Day two wrapped up at the center and Archer and I were off the trek across the golden gate bridge. He loved the vibrations from the bridge, the swooshing of velocity as the cars drove by, and the simplicity of being outside. I’m sure this boy smells and has a heightened since of smell, so let’s say he navigated his way through all the smells on the bridge and embraced the smell of the bay. We sang “Down by the bay” the entire last hour of our commute on that Sunday, so now this memory will be with him for a lifetime. Along with our adventure on day three, to a unpopulated beach, yet another first experience for him, the ocean and sand, of course I let him eat a few handfuls!
On day three Archer was due for some testosterone, he missed his daddy and was seeking some loving play. Archer had two lessons with Chris and loved every moment of them. He even let out a few giggles and gave him kisses near the end of the lesson, an act that is sacred to only those that he really cares for. Isn’t the simple bond that males have no matter the age so unique? When Archer visits his grandmas and isn’t having the best time, it always ends up being the grandpas that providing the calming space. Chris is very slow with his interactions, he provides clear, meaningful narration of the movements to Archer, a different approach on enthusiasm. He upheld the knowledge Archer already had of his body, and re-educated these connections with Archer. They played and giggled on his back, finding his toes, crossing his mid-line of his body and making opposite hand-foot connections. Archer rolled to his sides, and then he started stopping on his belly and pushing up, lengthening his spine with a slight curve. I asked Chris on day 3, about the rigidness of his spine, he explained while there is no magic fix, better yet slow down observe the entrance and exit into an action and see if a little guidance can be provided, be that physical to begin with to create a functional movement out of the action. On the morning of day 5,
Chris asked about changes and we had a breakthrough I couldn’t wait to share! Movement down under! Archer has suffered from mild-severe constipation his whole life. I had my trust in the belief that once Archer learned that his pelvis could move, the last piece of his functional puzzle. Sure enough, every day since we have been blessed with regularity, without the daily prune intake or other digestive aide!
By day four I knew we would be returning, and I hoped for it to be soon. The ABM practitioners, significantly skilled with their own unique approach within the method, all brought out different pathways in Archer’s brain. They truly care about the individuals they are working with, having morning conferences about the students, and take time to discuss the changes they are experiencing as they are working with these unique individuals. We felt endless amounts of love and support during our week long intensive. Our pennies have been pinched and added up to just enough so we may return in February! I was so excited that after washing the clothes from our trip I just re-packed them in our suitcases, ready to GO. Our bags are packed and with the continuation of week-long intensives at the center, Archer will be leaving on a jet plane, not knowing if he needs to return to old patterns, or form new ones, but he will be back again! I can literally see him rejoicing in the function of his brain, it appears that a fog has been lifted, burnt off with the rising sun, and he is dreaming in the California sun, and before his eyes, movement becoming a reality!