Rise and Thrive
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About Hannah

 

MY STORY


Hi, I'm Hannah. Why Awaken The Dance and Rise and Thrive Coaching? Because they are born of what I need to love my life.

I have danced my entire life. There are times when illness, injury, low self-esteem, body shame and trauma have taken me off the dance floor. There have been months, even years at a time where I couldn’t bring myself out of my own pain to move and be moved. But I’ve always come back. Because the dance floor is where I have learned to let my body’s wisdom and expression do the work. This — combined with Shambhala Buddhism and Hakomi Therapy — has made me who I am today, someone who suffers from chronic illness and injuries and LOVES her freaking life.

Awaken The Dance comes from my love for movement, awareness practices, community, body wisdom and exploration. I needed a space where I could dance, and teach, no matter how sick I was, or how much my body hurt.  A space where the sheer enormity of my joy, love and irreverent wildness could come play.  A space where my weight fluctuations weren’t confronted by staring at myself in a mirror and comparing myself to other women as I danced.  I needed a space where all of me felt not only welcome, but appreciated, felt and heard. That, my friends, is Awaken The Dance.

This has grown to include Rise and Thrive Coaching because not only have I been sick with a chronic illness, I still suffer from lyme. But the kicker is: I LOVE MY LIFE! 

When I got diagnosed I watched my world crumble. As I treated lyme I got sicker and sicker. I spent most of the year face down on my living room floor.

My dance classes dwindled in numbers, I vacillated between despair, depression, anxiety and anger. But mostly I felt lost. I couldn’t find myself. I couldn’t feel myself. Where had this woman called "me" gone? I had often been called the most vibrant, cheerful woman anyone had ever met, and now I was a ghost of myself. It was shocking to say the least.

So what changed?

I picked myself up off the floor and decided that I am not my illness, that lyme disease is a part of my challenges and obstacles in this life. But it is not ME. I am not my disease.

I started dancing again. Tiny, small, on my floor, soothing dancing. Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends or dance mentors. Eventually I returned to dance classes and just danced the way I could, slow and steady. This simple act of feeling my body in motion, of feeling the nuances of pleasure and pain, was what I needed (and need) to celebrate and enjoy my body, as it is.  

I began Hakomi Therapy, and explored my unconscious beliefs that kept me from loving myself or receiving love from those around me. Doors opened to find the healing in myself and through my community ways I never imagined! And my body opened to the herbs, medicines and other treatments I was receiving, because now I knew I was worth healing!

And I reached out to my community and said "help!" My husband was a saint, and I still needed help with my son, with my home, with meals, and mostly with my heart. I needed to know my community was still there, loving me, even though I felt pretty useless, unable to reciprocate or show up for them. And simply being loved, cared for and held, as I was, was the medicine I needed to surrender, to soften, to stop fighting and start healing.

And this magical combination gave me back my life!
Am I cured? No. 
Am I free of symptoms? No.

I do have an amazing life, full of community, movement, joy, laughter, tears and pleasure.
I often describe myself as the luckiest lyme patient alive, and this is why: because I have found the tools to have my life again! 

I offer you Awaken The Dance and Rise and Thrive Coaching because I know they work. Because dozens and dozens of people have been transformed through dancing and coaching with me. So welcome to the family. All of you is welcome here.

Here's an article I published in recently in More Than Lyme: Click HERE

I have studied multiple forms of dance including African, modern, contemporary, contact improvisation, 5 Rhythms, jazz, authentic movement and improvisation. I hold a degree from Naropa University and am certified through the Peacemaker Institute and I'm a graduate of the Hakomi Psychotherapy Institue. I have been a student of Shambhala Buddhism for over a decade.  I have taught movement to developmentally disabled adults. I am a choreographer, I lead teacher trainings, facilitate therapeutic women's groups, and workshops using movement and art. I teach embodied meditation, and Rites of Passage at the Boulder Shambhala Center and Shambhala Mountain Center. I am a third generation health-food and nutrition geek and the daughter of an MCS/Chronic Fatigue/Lyme Disease expert, which means I know way more about diagnosis and treatment than I should....  I'm a mama to a break-dancing boy and an adorable bearded dragon and I'm married to an incredible composer. That's my story. What's yours?