When I was 8 years old, I chose cancer as the subject for my class report. I did not know anyone with cancer. I did know cancer was a big deal. I wanted to write something significant. The information available to me was from the public library and encyclopedias Compton’s and Brittanica at home. I remember being fascinated that people in China got throat cancer from drinking too much hot tea! The conclusion of my paper was that anything done to extreme might cause a cell in the body to go crazy. Once a cell was crazy, it would produce more cells (lots more cells) in its own crazy likeness and those cells also produced more crazy cells. That was cancer. I look back and am amazed that I saw the simple truth about cancer at eight.
When I was 16, I was living in my mother’s childhood home of Laurel, Mississippi. Two blocks from the house was the library museum where my grandmother had worked. I would walk to the library and come home with stacks of books including some mystery novels for my grandmother. I enjoyed sitting by her bed, being near her as she talked. There were often long pauses or repetitions and then her face would light up as she relived a memory. My grandmother had cancer and slowly it was taking over her body, sending new crazy cells to far away parts as it metastasized. Eventually, she was moved to hospital and I never saw her alive again.
After high school and some college, my first career was working in bookstores from Pensacola, FL to Fairbanks, Ak to Seattle, Wa to Austin, Tx and finally a return to my father’s home town Atlanta, Ga. It was my pleasure to help people find good books to educate and inspire. If I couldn’t get a person what they wanted, I always gave them direction to find it.
Working in bookstores fed my love of books. Unfortunately, the focus on reading did not cultivate much physical activity or body awareness. I was waking up to caffeine, filling up with pasta and bread and going to bed with alcohol.
By the time I was 30, I had headaches most days. It became normal for me to take over the counter pain killers through out the day, so I no longer noticed the headaches. Then I had abdominal pains that woke me in the night as if I was being stabbed. I called for my mother! She had gone back to school and become a medical doctor while I was a teenager. It was a great comfort to me that she traveled to Austin and oversaw my care. Ta dah! My gallbladder was removed. I was told I would need to watch my fat consumption. Unfortunately this did not magically transform me into the picture of health or even health consciousness.
The big change began with a package of super nutritious supplements from my father. When my deprived body consumed these long absent ingredients, it was as if a switch had been turned on. I could hardly believe it. I never thought something I put in my mouth could make that much difference and in a positive way!! Soon after I planned a move to Atlanta hoping to spend more time with my paternal grandmother. I had a wonderful visit with her when I was in Atlanta looking for a place to live. I remember holding her arm and her hand. It felt so important to touch her. I went back to Austin to get my things and she passed away before I returned. I feel sad even now as I type this despite the fact that I have felt her loving presence around me for years and I still do.
My life was transitioning from bookstore employment to health work. I began studying herbs and nutrition. I became a serious herbal medicine student. For my finals, I wrote an essay comparing Chinese medicine’s view of the gall bladder to the Western medicine approach. The Chinese texts valued the gallbladder and the Western texts taught nearly exclusively about gallbladder diseases. It took some deep digging in Western texts to find the importance of the relationship between the gallbladder and the pancreas. Finally, I had some understanding as to why sweets were more problematic for me than fats after my gallbladder was removed!
As a certified herbalist, I switched from a book career path to a health career path. In the year 2000 I began working at an alternative health food store as the staff herbalist. This same year, at the age of 37 I gave birth to my son in a cabin in the mountains. The woman acting as midwife was surprised at how well the birth went. I explained that I had been drinking herbal tonic teas every day to support the pregnancy and birth.
In 2005, I began seeing private clients as a certified herbalist nutritional consultant. Often, I could see even more improvements in my returning clients than they noticed themselves. I felt these people needed to be touched to become more aware of their bodies. It was during this time I began praying. No matter how much I knew myself, I knew I was not God. Eventually, many prayer requests later and 3 years, I was able to enroll in massage school. The school, the instructors, the classmates and the home support I received was better than anything I could have arranged without prayer.
After massage school, I knew I wanted to work helping people care for their bodies and improve well-being. I continued my education learning techniques to alleviate chronic pain and to offer restoration to people suffering from chronic disease and disability. I found the Upledger Institute and began studying craniosacral therapy, Soon I learned the value of craniosacral therapy for my son and his symptoms of autism and sensory processing disorder. He is the biggest fan of my craniosacral work.
It was a struggle to be my own boss in Pensacola, FL. I did not have any support staff. I did not have local craniosacral mentors or even colleagues. I looked towards Atlanta where I have family, friends and support for my craniosacral practice. Miraculously, Body of Health and Life was looking for a therapist like me while I was looking for a team like them. Bonus, I love Snellville!
Calhoun has accepted the mission to deliver educated practiced focused attention with deep respect for the individual body, mind and spirit of each client. It is her belief that tending the body will enhance the spirit and the mind making for a better life for all.
- Professional Member of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals
- Professional Member of the International Alliance of Healthcare Educators
- Introduction to CranioSacral Therapy (2012), CranioSacral 1 (2013), CranioSacral 2 (2014), SomatoEmotional Release 1 (2015), SomatoEmotional Release 2 (2017) from The Upledger Institute
- Ingham Method of Reflexology, 2013 Level I, 2015 Level II
- Academy of Somatic and Healing Arts 2008 – 2009: Certified in Swedish Massage, Sports Massage and Neuromuscular Therapy.