A lot of people have been asking me why I decided to work with people with Parkinson’s. The short answer is because I knew I could help them. The longer version is ... Technically I shouldn’t be here (on Earth). I’ve almost died several times. I know it sounds dramatic—but it’s true. Sometimes we humans need these near death experiences like a kick in the pants—a reminder that we are meant to DO something here ---like being a part of something larger than your self.
So what does being a twin, a degree in psychology, teaching in the most dangerous school in NYC, and becoming an energy healer and coach have to do with each other? Seemingly nothing, but all of those experiences, plus more, have prepared me for today. Every single one of those things have helped me to trust my heart.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I was well on my way to finding my purpose when I was 26. The truth is, it wasn’t all that hard. I quickly realized the way to biohack your way to your purpose is by listening to your heart. I believe we all have something like a GPS system in our heart linked to our destiny with the most compelling—sometimes obnoxious—GPS lady, directing us to our destiny. Not listening to her will make you feel lost.
The latest example of me following my heart included me working with people with Parkinson’s. In February, I started volunteering at a boxing class for people with Parkinson’s on Saturday mornings because my heart was needing to give back.
This wasn’t some form of altruism. In fact, I don’t believe in altruism. I remember the day in college when my Evolutionary Psychology professor said, “There is no such thing as true altruism.” I remember being shocked. Ready to quit the class and tell him he was a moron. I was sad for humanity. I hated the idea that we weren’t doing something to help someone else just because we wanted to help. What I didn't realize in that moment was how PERFECT it all is. We all are in it together. We all need each other. My professor was right—I couldn’t think of a single circumstance in my life where I helped and didn’t receive something—even if it was just contentment in my heart. So every Saturday morning at the boxing gym I was getting something. I felt good. I felt hopeful. I got to see determination and healing in action. I felt blessed. Sure, I helped them too—but that’s how we were ALL benefiting.
After several weeks of volunteering I decided I could give more. It was like a fire was lit in my belly. I grew hungry for living out my purpose, so I designed a study where I would offer 9 weeks of energy work to people with Parkinson’s in exchange for them filling out questionnaires each week rating their symptoms. Periodically in those 9 weeks, I checked in with my heart and I KNEW I was on the right path.
Every one of the participants benefited from the energy work to some degree. Two (out of 7) of the participants’ symptoms decreased approximately 80%! There were significant improvements in sleep, gait, balance, and fatigue, as well as improvements in pain from past and present injuries and a decrease in anxiety. (Click here to see the results of the study.)
So here I get to sit with the results. Here I sit reflecting upon the beautiful things I witnessed—people showing up—being present, open, and vulnerable. People improving beyond their wildest dreams. I’m the lucky one. Sometimes I ask myself, “How did I get here?” and the GPS lady says, “Because you followed your heart.”
I can’t wait till she tells me the next destination.