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Have you ever been able to take a step back and see that everything in life has been made up? Numbers, measurements, language, technology, and diagnoses- what made these things real? Someone had an idea, studied a pattern and created a label for it. If you are able to wrap your head around this concept you are in for a treat with this blog.
When you are able to approach life with the understanding that everything is made up, you are able to see life in a unique way. If everything is made up, why must we accept labels that we are told are concrete? Why on earth do we let these labels define who we are, or who we will become? Labels are powerful. We sometimes believe that a label will define our future. A made-up label should not have the power to determine our health, our careers, or our success. It is time that we say, “forget the labels they do not define us”.
I can admit it; I catch myself accepting things that I do not always agree with, and I justify it with the reasoning: “… that’s just the way it is.” But why? If the label that is to define my future wasn’t even created by me, why should I just accept it? I shouldn’t.
My aunt, Alison Shannon, introduced me to this concept. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Alison, I encourage you to get connected. With a degree in Kinesiology from Guelph University, Alison has always been interested in connections between the body and mind. Post graduation, Alison found it challenging to apply the knowledge she learned in school to the therapy she was doing with clients- until she started working with one of her four sons, Jeffrey. She first realized the power of labels after Jeffrey presented with some unique learning abilities.
Had Alison accepted the label placed on Jeffrey, he would have been labeled as dyslexic with ADD. Alison knew Jeffrey had a unique way of learning. Alison’s choice to disregard this label for Jeff was in response to something his second grade teacher told her. The teacher was implied that Jeff would not go on to have a successful life because of the limitations associated with these labels. Alison refused to let Jeffrey believe that there was something wrong with him. He simply had a different way of learning.
Alison started studying Jeffrey’s learning patterns. She investigated a number of different approaches to help Jeff reach his full potential. During her research, Alison stumbled upon a movement-based program offered by a corporation called Brain Gym. Brain gym is an international, nonprofit corporation that is committed to the “principle that moving with intention leads to optimal learning”. With movement-based programming, Jeffrey excelled in his learning and went on to be successful in school and in life. Jeffrey is currently living and working in British Columbia. This past year Jeff was able to teach many clients how to Heli-ski; an activity Jeff loves to do himself and many people only dream of doing. Jeff has a contagious personality and excels at his career. Jeff now makes a living doing what he loves. I admire Jeffrey- he has a thrilling career that is constantly presenting him with new and exciting opportunities. Jeff if you’re reading this I miss ya, and let me know when I can come visit!
Seeing the success and empowerment that Brain Gym gave Jeffrey, Alison was devoted to learn more. She said that she had no idea where Brain Gym was going to take her but she followed its path anyways. Alison practices Brain gym to this day, and sees first hand the benefits it provides to many of her clients. After my last concussion healthcare experts told me that I would never play sports again. I was told I would live with a life-long learning disability and would not be able to keep up with school at the capacity that I once did. This was devastating. I was discouraged and felt this was the only outcome I would have. With Alison as my teacher, I decided to ditch those labels and create different outcomes for myself. I began using Brain Gym and the results were astonishing. A few years later, I am playing intramural sports and excelling at University with a full course load while working a part-time job- the things I was told I would never be able to do with the diagnosis I was given.
The Williams brothers
I would recommend Brain Gym to everyone. It can be used for anything. I continue to use it now to stay calm and focused during the school months. I have found that after my concussions, Brain Gym helped me see my strengths, and taught me how to use those strengths to create a learning approach that works best for me. Since using Brain Gym my grades have improved dramatically, as well as my overall mood and confidence. The biggest impact Brain Gym had for me was helping me get symptom free after my concussions. When my symptoms flare up, I am able to recognize them and make them dissipate. The success I have had with this programming has inspired me to investigate the power of movement-based therapy modalities for individuals who have sustained traumatic brain injuries as my thesis topic.
Alison inspires me. To me, she is Superwoman. There is no challenge that Alison cannot both accept and conquer. Alison’s ability to practice mind over matter is extraordinary- she can do it not only for herself, but also for others. Alison has a talent in recognizing body and mind patterns in a way I have never seen before. She is always expanding her knowledge and training. With a successful existing practice, Alison continues to set new goals for herself. With innovative ideas and an eye for a new market, Alison is currently working on a project to bring the knowledge she holds to the general public. Alison’s goal is to teach people how to help themselves. She said the coolest part of her work is how many of her clients end up forgetting they were ever ill or injured. I found this incredibly powerful. When people are labeled with a diagnosis or injury it is challenging to focus on things other than the outcomes associated with the label given.
Jeff playing lacrosse
Alison wants to teach others how to use their senses to understand the world in a different way. Alison encourages movement-based programming. She provided me with this video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVQBn33vTzw to help illustrate the importance of movement. Alison said the people in this video would have positive hormonal release as a physiological response from the joy they are experiencing with the activity. Each time these people recount, talk, and think about this positive experience, the positive hormones will continue to be released. These positive hormones have been seen to increase memory, enhance mood and a number of other health benefits.
To learn more about what Alison does, check out her company facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dundasbodymind
If you are interested in getting connected with Alison, I encourage you to comment below or send me a message on social media and I can help make that happen!
Alison was kind enough to share some great reads if you are interested in reading more about the body and mind. I have listed some of her top recommendations here: