I struggled to not feel like a failure.

After years of tip-toeing around fear, I had just spent months dreaming big, working hard on my side gig and going through one the hardest seasons of my day job. My strength and courage stemmed from the faith that I was on the path I was meant to pursue.


Then I crashed.


I was an exhausted, emotional mess. My jaw slipped after a disagreement with steak and peanut brittle; all I could eat was smoothies and soup.  My shoulders and neck were rock-hard from too much computer use.  My hip didn’t feel right.

So I booked an appointment with my osteopath.

As soon as Kristen started working on me, she said, “Your body isn’t very happy with you. Have you been stressed?”

That was an understatement!


She pressed her hand lightly over my abdomen.

“You know fear is associated with the kidney, right?” she commented.

I already knew that when my hip goes out, so does my kidney. Or vice versa. But I hadn’t known about a fear connection.

However, I did know scientists and health professionals are recognizing patterns that link certain emotions to disease in the body. If any emotions – like anxiety, anger or unforgiveness – are held in the body long-term without being felt, permitted and released, then these emotions can wreak havoc.


I choked up.

Was I captive to a life of fear? I had felt so courageous.

“Well, that’s disappointing,” I told her. “This fall I’ve been working mega hours to pursue a dream. I thought I’d made progress being brave.

We chatted about pursuing dreams and crazy cool stuff about how the brain and body work together.

She explained that manual osteopathy works not just with the lymphatic system, but also with the brain. The technique releases soft tissues and fluids that help the body heal emotional memories. It helps the brain learn new ways of thinking, and helps you become the better person you want to be.

By the end of the hour, her chatting and listening ear made me feel understood for why I had worked so hard, instead of judged for not taking care of my body sooner.


I found also out:

  • My adrenal glands were “sunken” — I guess short-changing sleep and running on mostly cortisone and adrenaline only takes you so far.
  • My neck was tighter than I had realized, and my jaw had taken the brunt of that.


Kristen finished with pressure points at the back of my head and recommended that I add some relaxation practices back in my life. Then she said,

“Your kidney was the least of your concerns. Each body has its default place where stress goes. A month ago, maybe your body sent the stress to your hip and kidney because that’s what it normally does. But as you began to remap your brain, your body had to start finding another area to put its stress.

In other words, my stress had re-routed to my neck and adrenals.


Tears of hope welled in my eyes.


The kidney and fear correlation had bothered me through most of the session. Looking back, it was an over-reaction from being at the end of my rope. But if sensations in certain parts of the body were signals of what might be happening emotionally, I had felt betrayed. I had truly felt the freedom of being released from fear instead of captive to it.

It meant a lot that she acknowledged my body might be changing how it processed what I was feeling. Somehow, it renewed my hope to continue believing in dreams and who I wanted to become, instead of living in my fear and weaknesses.


That’s when I remembered:

Courage is acting on faith despite fear. 


Wondering if you’re living by fear or courage?

I created a worksheet to help you reflect on this further. Download it here.


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