Duality. Multiplicity. Are they inescapable? Our society wants us in rigid boxes: “What kind of practitioner are you?” “What’s your niche?” “Are you a thinker or a feeler?” “Is this evidence based or woo-woo?”
Duality does elicit a struggle within me at times; it can leave me feeling confused and torn between sides. I may even accuse myself of being indecisive, and may feel irritated at my shapeshifting mind.
Let me share with you my story of duality:
First, I went to spa school: a paradox of anatomy and physiology, aromatherapy, the chakras and reflexology. Then I studied Thai massage and experienced my first vipassana meditation retreat. For a short while, I felt attuned to the energetics of the world. Then, I spontaneously wound up in the registered massage therapy program. I went in for a meeting about a spa continuing education course, and suddenly I had signed up for the RMT program! It was 100% my idea and action, and it felt right.
I spent the next two and a half years deep in science, and learning the value of evidence based healthcare. I came out of that program with skills, but looking back, I had lost so many pieces of my true nature that would take me years to recover. I was rigid, living in my head, and really burnt out.
Over the next five years I built a thriving massage therapy practice within a successful integrative clinic. After the first year or two I realized this: I didn’t have a niche or specialty. I wasn’t very good at analytical assessment or treatment plans. For years I felt less than, because I wasn’t very clinical. I got really good grades in college, but I felt like I had lost so much of those memorized facts.
Meanwhile, I was receiving feedback that my hands were intuitive, that my patients appreciated my energy and light, even. This simultaneously delighted me and made me feel ashamed. In a profession that can be divided between evidence-based and intuitive, I felt embarrassed that I wasn’t a more scientific practitioner.
Three years into that career, after working my butt off and barely taking holidays (all the while recovering from immense heartbreak, obsessively training for triathlons and moving twice)... I finally took a real trip. I went to Peru with a very dear friend of mine. I volunteered at a meditation retreat, we explored, and shared a life-altering plant medicine ceremony.
At long last, my being was in tune with the world, and the entire universe again. I had come home to myself, I was whole.
When I returned home, I was grateful for the life I came home to, but I also felt restless in my work. I was fascinated by food, and was especially into eating crickets (entomophagy). I explained to my wise chiropractor one day “I’m feeling stagnant. I want to get involved in the cricket industry in some way, but I feel like an imposter - I know so little about nutrition!” She continued to tell me of a nutrition course she knew of, and when I went home to look it up, the website read “CSNN Victoria Campus opening Fall 2017”! I went to their open house and I was hooked. This was my path.
I tried living in that version of duality for a while, maintaining my massage practice in a clinical setting, while trying to build my dream nutrition practice on the side. That wasn’t sustainable either, which brings me to now: I’m taking a break from massage therapy, while fully committing to building my holistic nutrition business! (Spoiler alert: my practice is not built around eating crickets)
Now, my life consists of a thriving duality, or multiplicity, even. And that's okay. It's perfectly okay to be a different version of yourself from one day to the next, if you have a strong foundation of values and a heart to guide you. Especially if you are a fiery aries with rising gemini in your birth chart like me.
Arriving full circle, I have come back to the questions - “What is my niche? What kind of practitioner am I? What am I here to do?”
Let me answer this with beautiful duality and multiplicity:
I am here.
I am here to bring my hard-earned knowledge of physiology and the inner workings of the body systems.
I am here to offer my intuitive wisdom and loving nature.
I am here to offer my non-judgemental listening ears, my heart-centred communication and coaching support.
I am here offering my unique flavour of medicine.
I love the science, it fascinates me. I frequently consult scholarly articles.
I love my intuitive nature, I feel connected. I frequently consult divination cards.
I love building my business from the ground up and highlighting the multitudes that are me: knowledge, spirituality, environmentalism, inspiration, bliss, explosive power and tender emotions.
It’s all fire and water, baby.