Honor the Hero Within

don prayer hands My recent contemplations since meeting Patti Brown, Director of Wellness Within, have centered on how the body can be a resource when a person has been diagnosed with cancer.  I bow to all persons touched by cancer as I too grappled with the emergent crisis upon hearing the diagnosis of cancer of a family member.  You didn’t pick it, yet you are forced to deal with it.  You are catapulted into change, like it or not, and there you are engaging with life more fervently than ever.  Such unknowns beg big questions: How do I deal with mortality, illness, and all such issues of loss?  In bearing this trauma, how does mind, body, spirit express these innermost fears when finding out about a life-threatening challenge?  How does one manage this journey without being overwhelmed?  How can the body be a place of refuge when there may be disfigurement and assault on body image?

Ancient cultures honored critical stages and phases of life through dance as a form of healing and as such gave meaning to various life events.  Healing took place in symbolic action and expression within communities.  As a Dance/Movement Therapist, I have witnessed the power of movement i.e., expression, spiritual connection and support wherein when people “feel” better, they “get” better.

Feelings take place in the body. When we move, we invite what is inside to be known, to be “felt,” experienced and transformed.  Our bodies are our map.  When we pay attention to sensation and bodily felt experiences we link parts unknown to the whole; parts previously dis-integrated are “repaired.”   Feeling connected as a whole enables choice and dethroning naturally occurring default patterns.   Moreover, painful emotions and thoughts, and traumatic experience result in inhibited action and expression.  Neurobiology theory suggests that trauma resides in the part of the brain that does not have language.  The mover puts into action for which there are no words. Modes of non-verbal expression such as movement, drawing, words, and music are effective outlets for integrating experiences and making meaning of events overwhelming to the conscious mind.

The stress of navigating through the medical process can result in depression, isolation, fear, distrust, anxiety and anger.  Movement can facilitate building new confidence and help one to accept and re-connect with her/his body.  Healing through dance is a deeply personal process that facilitates a range from truthful self reflection to mundane life. Movement simply stated is a tool for self regulation.  It enlivens the mind, body spirit; creates and enhances meaning, increase range of motion, strength, resilience, vitality, supports effective rest and relaxation; helps one to manage stress, cope with medical procedures and solidify healthy lifestyle changes.  Consider dance and movement when you are called to change to increase wellness.  May such fortitude help to guide your path for this chapter of health challenge and give meaning and strength to your life story. Won’t you join the dance… lean in, honor the hero within!

Gail Frizzell will be leading an introductory Dance/Movement Therapy Class for Wellness Within clients, on December 5, 2015 at Wellness Within. Pre-registration required.


About Gail Frizzell:

Gail Frizzell's mission is helping people connect with their bodies and facilitate harmony of mind, body, and spirit. She holds a Master's degree in Dance from UCLA and a Master’s in Social Work from CSUS. As a facilitator of Dance Movement Therapy, her career spans working in mental health settings for more than 20 years, ranging from Atascadero and Napa State Hospitals to private psychiatric facilities. Ms. Frizzell also worked in the legal arena as a Family Mediator at Napa Superior Court. Never veering from her roots as a dancer, she found dance to be a beautiful metaphor for how to bring flow into the room and create harmony to settle custody and visitation matters in high conflict cases.

Her interest in beauty, health, and spirituality led her on a path to teach Modern Dance and Yoga. Ms. Frizzell was co-founder, dancer, and choreographer of KinetiCoast Dance Theater of San Luis Obispo. She teaches as adjunct faculty at Solano, Napa, Contra Costa, and Diablo Valley colleges for Dance, Pilates, and Yoga. Ms. Frizzell has studied with many renown Yoga teachers of Hatha Yoga, including studies of Yoga for special physical conditions. She has taught Dance/Movement Therapy in Europe and led wellness trainings for staff development in hospital settings. She is a Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist, Laban Body Movement Analyst, and Registered Yoga Teacher. Ms. Frizzell is trained in Mind/Body Medicine to facilitate groups to promote self care, transform trauma, and promote life-long health.

Currently, Ms. Frizzell works at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Martinez as a Social Worker utilizing her expertise in PTSD and assisting in medical needs with veterans, ranging from WW II to Iraq and Afghanistan era wars. She holds a license of clinical social worker and has a private practice in Benicia.

Ms. Frizzell has dance in her bones, which continues to be the light to lead her mission to provide healing and hope. Her website is: www.moveforwellness.net

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