Finding Wellness Within

October 8, 2013

By Patti Brown, MS, LMFT

It was our last mind-body skills group meeting, alas. We added a little movement to our repertoire of acquired tools, with some Osho Kundalini for shaking followed by dancing to the glorious Bob Marley, singing his Three Little Birds. As I was preparing to fade the music, the woman who had tears streaming down her face as she danced caught my attention. We’ll call her “Margaret” for privacy reasons. I watched as Margaret sat back down, wiping tears from her rose colored cheeks. She grabbed the heart stone, our “talking stick,” and spoke with pure joy, “I use to belly dance to stay in shape, but ever since my cancer diagnosis I disconnected from everything below my neck. Ovarian cancer does that to you. It robs you from feeling your abdominal area, or worse yet, it instills fear that you can harm yourself by moving. Today after shaking and dancing I feel that I’ve come home, back to my body. I feel whole for the first time in years.”

Another woman who had a recurrence of breast cancer spoke about her claustrophobia, and one day when she had forgotten to take her Xanax before an MRI. Instead of panicking, she focused on her breathing and revisited the guided imagery that she had learned in group. She glowed as she shared her renewed confidence and her success of getting through the MRI with minimal stress.

These stories and others like them are what I have been privy to hear when I teach mind-body skills groups. I run a Wellness Center for folks who have cancer, survivors, their families, and parents of small children who have cancer. I get to do incredible, honoring work. I owe it all to the inspiration of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine. Four years ago, I embarked on a journey to finally heed the tugs at my heart and belief system I’d been feeling for a long time. After the first training, I was hooked. The vision of my Wellness Center came to me in a guided imagery while in my first group. Six months later I attended the Advanced training, then completed Certification in Mind-Body Medicine. Today, as the founder and executive director of Wellness Within, I am proud to offer many more healing modalities that align with the philosophies of mind-body medicine. Today, my life is richer and fuller as a mind-body medicine practitioner.