Anu Abraham PT, DPT
From the time I was young I was relatively aware that I had a natural compassion for people (and animals), sensitivity to their emotions and energy, and a high desire to connect. I didn’t have the language at the time or know how to express it. It just was. When I was ready to go to college, I felt a strong pull to work with the body to channel this inherent desire and these attributes. I thought my path was medicine and that I would become a doctor. Divine intervention occurred, along with the simultaneous realizations that I was not meant to be a doctor, and that there was indeed "something bigger.” A week before I started pre-med, I changed directions, applied to a Physical Therapy school with open enrollment, and began my path. I never forgot that instant when the realization hit and how quickly and smoothly my life changed. I just knew that I was utterly grateful. After graduating and receiving my Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy, I began practicing in traditional orthopedic PT settings, just like other PT’s.
After 2 years, I started to crave a different setting and population. I was one of the few students in school who had the opportunity to do my internship in a vestibular setting (RUSK Institute) which treats the symptoms of dizziness, vertigo and imbalance. I remembered from years ago how challenging, yet rewarding it was. There are very few places that offer this in NY, and very few PT’s that have training in this area. Low and behold after realizing this, divine intervention occurred yet again. A position opened up at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary where I worked for 8 years.
While I was there, one thing I noticed and couldn’t let go of was that stress and anxiety were always related and connected to their symptoms. I understood it. I would be anxious too if my world was spinning around anytime my head or body would move and I wasn’t able to balance myself. Especially in a place like New York City.
I always heard that the reason for people’s symptoms and pain were due to "stress and/or anxiety" but never really knew what that meant, or what to do about it. I did know that the only way to treat these conditions effectively was by addressing the stress and anxiety as well. So, I started to look deeper into my own Yoga practice that I was dipping in and out of, breathing techniques, and Tai Chi, to be able to offer people a way to calm and center themselves, creating more of an internal balance. Whatever I learned, I shared. I saw that the exercises worked more effectively and clients were becoming more rooted, more steady, and less stressed and anxious.
I simultaneously started to become more in tune with myself and reflect deeper. I started to feel pains in my own body, and traditional routes only created momentary relief. I knew that stress was somehow connected to the pain, tension, and mis-alignment in my body, but I myself did not know how to break the cycle of pain that kept repeating itself (just like the cycle of anxiety). I didn’t know where to go after exhausting the options that I knew. And divine showed up in the funniest most unexpected way. While commuting to work with my cousin just like any other day, she told about an intuitive bodyworker (Prabuddha Russell). I didn’t hesitate and got an appointment right away. In one session, we had a conversation about life, emotions, thoughts I was holding, and the pain of losing significant family members, which apparently my body was still holding. And at the end, with the lightest most gentle touch, my pain resolved. I was amazed at this and wondered if it was just me that was like this.
I continued to connect deeper within myself, and saw that as an effect, I became even more in tune with others. In “simply” conversing with clients out of curiosity, I discovered that it was not just me. Intuitive questions and insights would come through and the conversations it led to were creating a profound effect. They would walk out the door feeling brighter and better. All without “doing” anything or even having them do any exercises. My awareness, curiosity, confusion and excitement only heightened from there.
I then delved into the healing arts and energy world where the theme was always the same, regardless of the type of class or seminar it was. “Thought is creative.” I applied this to myself while learning techniques and tools, and saw how it affected my health, my relationships, wellbeing, and my world. And all I wanted to do was share that. Especially after hearing people say over and over... “my doctor told me that the reason I feel this way is because of stress.” While I was so happy that this would be acknowledged, it never sat well with me fully because it would feel dismissive and final in a way. No options seemed to be presented on how to deal with it, except diet and exercise…if even those were offered. I knew I wanted to handle that conversation differently, but all I kept thinking was, "How am I going to explain the world of healing arts to a hospital based outpatient practice, where the mentality is completely different?” While I had my own resistance to sharing the insight I learned, I still did. I just phrased it differently and translated into a way that people of all walks of life could understand. I explained that the reasons for their anxiety and stress were personal to them. There were other contributions to their pain, injuries, conflicts and health that were not able to be healed through diet and exercise alone. And mainly, that the answers and healing were within them, not outside.
I started free lancing and seeing clients on the side, while working full-time at the hospital until it became too much. It seemed like I was living in two opposing worlds, where there was truth and validity in both. It was confusing and exhausting. I wanted to be in a place where there was integration of these two worlds. I understood that the subconscious mind had a direct influence on the health of the body, that the two were completely connected, and knew that type of work was my true calling. I was to share this with people and make a difference in the way they were treated and cared for: mind, body, heart, and soul.
Almost immediately after realizing that, I did a search on google (which I like to call “The Auricle”), and the first thing I saw was Shift. Something resonated. I met with the owner and creator, Patrick Walsh, shortly after, and we connected immediately. We were like -minded in our perspectives on health and healing and aligned. We shared a passion for inner healing, integration, and a higher purpose. I accrued a teammate! With his unwavering support, I was able to be myself and connect with others in a way that was true to me. I felt seen, supported, loved and embraced, and had the opportunity and privilege to work with many people that were open to this work, including the fellow staff members, whom I’m happy to call my friends. I was able to provide meaningful insight that was received graciously by the staff, clients, and other practitioners. I watched it evolve from a traditional orthopedic setting to an integrative, collaborative, and healing environment… where a community and safe space was created for like-minded individuals. I am so grateful that my 4 years there were a part of my journey.
I want to acknowledge everyone who played a role in my journey all along, with the deepest gratitude and appreciation. The universe always placed the right people in front of me, in the right places, and at the right time. I’ve had many examples of that. These were just a few. I see that I was divinely guided, loved, supported and protected in my process all along, and am still humbled and completely amazed by this. In accepting that and knowing that this will always exist as long as I am connected, my life is completely different. This entire process led me to discover a passion and purpose of mine and what inspires me as a person. It is growth. I love my own journey, growth, and life. And I love watching people connect, grow, discover their true nature (which inevitably leads to their purpose), and love their life. It is beautiful to see people transform, become lighter, free-er, happier, and more at peace. To be a guide or play a role in your journey would be an honor and a privilege.