Today is a wonderful day. Today wrapped up the last few years of trials and tribulations as I went on a path to truly find myself, my passions and what I might be able to say is my purpose, or Dharma, as the yoga community calls it. As a young man, a child really, I lost a close friend to a brain aneurysm. When you’re eight and in second grade it is really hard to rationalize why and how a friend could be there and gone so fast. I remember the talks of grief and emotion the days after, yet it really didn’t sink it for some time that my friend, another just like myself, was here and then gone; “But where did she go?”, I can remember asking. “Where all the angels go, to heaven”. “OK, MOM, BUT WHERE IS THAT?! I WANT TO GO SEE HER!”
I used to sit with my friend when she’d have her reoccurring headaches, rub her back and tell her it would all be ok… but it wasn’t. She died and I was there with questions and passions at that time switched from life aspirations of being a clown to to becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon; “Because that’s the person who could have saved Jess”. A few months after her death there was a TLC show called “Trauma, Life in the ER” that did a special on her case and showed a few clips of how the doctors tried to save her. I thought from that day on I had found my passion, my Dharma was to become a top notch neurosurgeon that could save everyone else’s best friend, sister, daughter; I knew from the second grade I was meant to do something more than live for myself.
As I went through school my independent projects centered on science and the body, or the peace and awe I was left with from connecting with nature. I love the outdoors, the feeling of mountain air, the rush of climbing a tree and turning without knowing how to get down, the power of a river as you watch it etch through stone, yet seeing a salmon spend its last moments of life conquering this amazing power just to live on in future generations. The topics of life, living things, and the interconnected nature of it all truly fascinates me and lives at the forefront of my mind. The healing power that all of this holds, I feel, is what truly unifies the mind-body connection with our universal dispersion of energy, life and the metaphysical understanding of what “life” is really all about.
Continuing to pursue this goal to “save” others with western medicine, while living and studying to “heal” or unify myself with nature really took a toll on my ability to really do anything with my Dharma. Torn to “have to” because I said I would and finishing a goal from so long ago, developed at such a young age that truly shaped meand finding I really “wanted” and enjoyed the healing methods that I was finding for myself along the way. Having lost friends and family tragically, being pushed with needing to “be” and creating this person I thought I had to show the world and not knowing how to process it all, I was left in a state back in 2012 where I was taking pills to manage my attention, happiness, anger, sleep and overall it was terrible. My relationship with my being was taught to numb, avoid or manipulate to fit into this irrational mold and path I created for myself after years of “planning” what I was going to be and do for the world.
To be honest, I was broken and I broke everything around me to feel okay and show the world that everything will break or give if you make it. I wanted others to feel like I was to understand. I broke off relationships, feelings of connection to the world, the ability to let others in to help or “see” what it was I was going through. I have found in reflection that the true moments of bliss in these times, where that of connection to nature, organic movement, control of my body in physical space and time and when studying the human body. It literally took getting punched in the face seconds into the New Year of 2013 for me to realize I needed to stop what I was “trying” to do and start “living” a better life for myself and others.
Within two months I had made hard decisions to stop pursuing the chiropractic degree I was interested in, yet I knew I really only used as an escape from the physical and mental place I was in the previous summer. I then realize I only went to chiropractic school after one night in the middle of a 12 hour shift in the ER a doctor said, “ I know you’ll make a great doctor but you don’t seem like this is what you really want to do. Has anyone told you that you don’t have to be a doctor?” These words literally pushed me back and I lost my breath. I then thought and came back with “Wow, thank you.” The next day I pulled my medical school applications and was left in the middle of senior year of undergrad with a lot of questions and no place to think.
Like a tumbled stone becomes more precious, the path has polished who I am and truly refined what it is I want to “be”, for others and myself. In 2013 I sat at a table in a clients house where I was a live-in provider of care, helping to strengthen what was left and regaining life skills lost after a 55 year old man had a stroke and I thought of a name and a goal for my life. This was my first job after leaving the chiropractic program and switching to pursue a masters degree in teaching human anatomy and physiology and I was left living in a town trying to provide for myself, transition to a more natural way of living and caring for my being and still make moves to this new dream that was not well received by those hearing I had “yet again” switched up what it was I was trying to do.
I knew that I loved yoga already, as it came to me as a wonderful gift after the loss of a cousin and helped me wean off all of my western medications used for attention, mood and emotional regulation. I was then left with the understanding that the natural foods I was eating, plant based extracts I was using and the acupuncture I was receiving with chiropractic care truly saved my mind, body and soul. I wanted to now “be” this gift for others. I set a 5 year plan, as my essential oil mentor urged me to do, and on this was yoga training, professional teaching degree for the human body, and a spiritual/therapeutic training and practice to share with others to find healing, inner peace and connection to the “bigger picture”.
Today, I graduated from the second of my yoga trainings I started this spring when again life threw me unexpected changes, and I was in no place to handle them. One day I went to a yoga studio I had been researching after saying “Dude, today you go to the hospital or somewhere to truly find peace.” This is my day I was reborn. I was fully committed to myself again. I used to always say I wanted to live to see 112 because I would be able to be one of the few that ever can say they lived in the 1900s, 2000s, and 2100s, pretty cool right? Imagine the culture and life you’ll have transitioned with! I found myself talking about that number less, and finding less hope in my day to day during the years of turbulence, yet the same day I went into the yoga studio I went home and applied for a teaching job with kids for martial arts and yoga, as I already had done two kids trainings and been working yoga with a few on the autism spectrum, and a job teaching anatomy and physiology at a nursing program. I legitimately laughed out loud as I hit send and said “well, here goes”. Now today, I sit here with a full course load teaching anatomy and biology at a college, 4 kids classes a week in fitness and martial arts, two yoga centers to teach classes at and all of the credentials to confidently, safely and professionally lead this dream that all started on a bad day at a kitchen table jotted down on loose leaf paper.
I write to you today as someone who has taken the road less traveled and have lived and seen a lot of “life”, and studied some too along the way. It feels so good to have accomplished something where others laughed in my face when originally presented and to see the benefits of my hard work and dedication to myself and humanity as a whole. I now have 5 more years to plan, the possibilities are endless and I am blessed and excited to share this path with you all.
Humbly by your side, as you wish,
Rev. Jeremy Wood OMP, RMT, RYT-200, MYT-100, MS. HAPI