Permission to Heal

Permission to Heal Episode #71 - A Conversation with Cheryl Ilov - The Art of Healing Through Movement

May 25, 2022 Marci Brockmann Season 2 Episode 71
Permission to Heal
Permission to Heal Episode #71 - A Conversation with Cheryl Ilov - The Art of Healing Through Movement
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Cheryl Ilov - The art of healing through movement
She is an author, speaker, physical therapist, martial artist, dancer, and former chronic pain patient.  She believes that everyone can enjoy vibrant health and vitality.  She is also a second-degree black belt in an ancient Japanese martial art called Ninpo Tai Jutsu. There is an incredible amount of strength and power in each and every one of us, just waiting to be unleashed. 

Her award-winning and best-selling book, Forever Fit and Flexible: Feeling Fabulous at Fifty and Beyond" in 2016.  In March 2022, she published "The Reluctant Ninja: How a Middle-Aged Princess Became a Warrior Queen." 

1). As a physical therapist who recognizes the limitations of the traditional physical therapy model. She helps her audiences realize that there are many options available to them outside of the realm of traditional medicine and explore alternative health and healing. 

2). Cheryl shares valuable tips and information that she learned in her 17 years as a martial artist to help people stand their ground, find their voice, choose their battles, establish clear boundaries, and keep themselves safe and healthy in mind, body, and spirit. 

3). What we believe is what we become. It is based on the principle of neuroplasticity. Cheryl explains how it works, and how to use it to create positive change in every aspect of our lives.

Connect with Cheryl
Website, FemNinja Project, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn

Connect with Marci

·       Website, Patreon, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Facebook Group.

·       Permission to Heal on YouTube.

·       Permission to Land  (memoir) - Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook 

-     

Twisted Teachers
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PTH 71 Cheryl Ilov intro 
 

[00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to permission to heal. I am Marci Brockman, and I am thrilled that you are here today. I have a phenomenal conversation with a really motivational, delightful, empowered woman named Cheryl Ilov. Cheryl is an author. Speaker, she's a physical therapist. She's a respiratory therapist. She's a martial artist. She's a ballet dancer. She's a pole dancer and she's a former chronic pain patient. She has an amazing story. So if you feel that you're stuck or that you can't do something, or someone's telling you that you can't, she is going to help you realize that you can. That's what we're all about here at Permission to Heal. We give ourselves permission to begin to do the things that we want to do.  

[00:00:51] With over 20 years of experience, as a physical therapist in private practice, Cheryl has helped thousands of clients recover from pain and injuries by integrating the science of physical therapy with the art of movement. She believes that everyone can enjoy vibrant health and vitality at every stage of life. She is a second-degree back. Black belt in the ancient Japanese martial art called nympho Tai Jyutsu from her own experiences beginning when she was 47. And she became her teacher's first female, black belt, 10 years later, she discovered that there was an incredible amount of strength and power in each and every one of us just waiting to be unleashed. 

[00:01:39] She published her first award-winning best-selling book called forever fit and flexible feeling. Fabulous. At 50 and beyond, she published that in 2016 and most recently, just a couple of months ago in March of 2022, she published the reluctant ninja. How a middle aged princess became a warrior queen. 

[00:01:59] And she's currently working on her third book, which shares the secrets of the ninja and life lesson. She learned through training. She lives in Colorado in Denver. And when she isn't writing, dancing, hiking, or beating up some bad guys, she loves nothing more than relaxing at home with her handsome husband and three Italian greyhounds. 

[00:02:18] Sheryl's great. She has her own podcast called the Fem Ninja P roject and I am going to be a guest on her podcast and just recently in April, I created the Permission to Heal Bookshop on bookshop.org. So you can pick up Cheryl's books Forever Fit and Flexible, and the Reluctant Ninja as well as my memoir and guided journal Permission to Land. 

[00:02:47] On the Permission to Heal Podcast Bookshop on bookshop.work, the links are in the show notes. Just an easy way for you to get ahold of the books and the expertise that are talked about in each of the episodes and do so while supporting local and independent bookshops. It's a win-win. So please join us for the episode. 

[00:03:12] Thanks so much.
 

[00:00:00] Welcome Cheryl. So nice to chat with you today. Well, I thank you, Marcy. Thank you so much for having me on the show. It really is an honor. I really wanted to talk to you about the changes that you made in your life in well, multiple times over, but. You know, you talk a lot about beginning martial arts at 47 and, and having that be sort of the catalyst to start a whole lot of other change in your life, just when some other people would think you'd be slowing down your accelerating into another act, so to speak. 

[00:00:35] Absolutely. And I just, I love that, you know, I'm 50, how old am I? 53. I'll be 54. And, um, I I'm still revving up absolutely. And happy birthday in advance. And just so you know, 54 is a glorious age and my fifties was probably the best decade of my life. I mean, it was so good because I got to be honest. My thirties were really not good at all mine either. 

[00:01:04] And yeah, well, they were kind of like a nightmare. Yeah. I'm sorry. That's okay. And my forties were even worse. Oh, no, I'm so sorry. Thank you. So I felt like I was crawling to the big Five-O cause there was something deep inside of me that kept saying if you can make it to fit. Everything's going to be okay. 

[00:01:25] Right. And I don't know why I told myself that or why I believed it, but, oh my gosh. When I did turn 50, it was just fantastic. And as I said, my fifties were fantastic. They were so good that when I turned 60, I just ran towards 60 with arms wide open go and bring it on baby. Wow. I'm finishing a marathon. 

[00:01:49] No. Yeah. Making a milestone, but that marathon is still going on. Oh, yes. True. It wasn't such a good metaphor. I was just thinking of you like running, getting to the finish line and bursting through the big ribbon kind of thing, but because it doesn't quite work anyway. Mama, a mom marker. We'll call it that. 

[00:02:06] Yeah. Alright. That makes sense. That makes sense. So what, what changed for you? I mean, you, can you give us like encapsulate what the, the, the, the trauma was from your thirties and forties that you felt that you had to, you wanted to leave or you wanted to be free? Yeah. Well in my thirties and, you know, I have to be honest, I've always had like some confidence issues, um, and you know, self-image issues, you know, never being good enough and, you know, never, you know, just especially I started ballet when I was 19 or 20. 

[00:02:44] So there you are with all those mirrors and everything. And I come from a family, um, who cherishes their vanity and, and so, you know, we're very critical of ourselves. And then all of a sudden there I am ballet class in a leotard and tights and, oh my God, I was so old, you know, in my twenties. And I really felt like that. 

[00:03:02] I felt like I was so old because here I was doing this art form where there were a lot of much younger people in class, young dancers, even though they're, you know, other adults. So that just kind of started using. Reinforcing the little insecurity and the feelings of insecurity, but, you know, I manage it wasn't that bad or that big of a deal until in my thirties. 

[00:03:25] Um, what in, it was my mid thirties, what started out as like discomfort and tightness in my low back. Okay. Quickly spiraled out of control into a full blown chronic pain syndrome. Oh, so within a few short months, I went from being a healthy, active, vibrant young woman to being a chronic pain patient. Oh no. 

[00:03:53] And you know, when I, when it first started accident or Nope, Nope. Nothing, nothing. Mysterious event, random mysterious event. Of course now, so many years later, I know what happened, but I didn't know. I was a respiratory therapist at the time. I wasn't a PT. And so I did the right thing. I fought going to the Western medical doctors, you know, I had my medical team. 

[00:04:19] Um, but as time went on, instead of getting better, I was getting progressively worse. Even though I was taking, uh, all the medications, they gave me pain pills, muscle relaxers. Anti-inflammatories had just been, you know, hit the scene in a big way. I went to my PT appointments. I did all the, and I can say this now because I'm a physical therapist, uh, the stupid exercises and stretches that they gave me. 

[00:04:41] I did them religiously, but they didn't help. And I went to the massage therapist. I did everything. And instead of getting better, I was getting progressively worse and it wasn't until, and so that's the self-image you could imagine what that did to me, you know, um, when then of course I was gaining weight. 

[00:04:57] I couldn't move, I was miserable all the time. I had to cut back on the hours that I was working because as a respiratory therapist, you have to be able to be pretty nimble and run around the hospital and move big equipment. So, I mean, it was just a nightmare and I was living this horrible, horrible hell of a chronic pain patient. 

[00:05:15] And it wasn't until one of my doctors said to me that I would never be able to do my laundry and my grocery shopping all in the same day, because the arthritis in my spine was so severe. I would end up being bedridden. And I mean, well, yeah, and I looked at her like, you know, I, I was confused because this did not compute, you know, it made sense to me. 

[00:05:37] And I looked at her and I says, you don't understand, I'm planning on going back to ballet class. And she laughed in my face. Wow and said, you don't understand you're a chronic pain patient. You will always be a chronic pain patient. You will never have the life you had before. You will never have the life that you wanted and forget about PT school because she knew that was one of my goals. 

[00:06:00] Even before this had all started, that I was trying to get into physical therapy school, taking all these pre-recs and stuff. She said, even if you could do the work, but you can't because you're too injured, severely injured. You're just way too old for PT school. Thank you. In your twenties. No at that point, I was in my mid thirties. 

[00:06:20] I was 36. Oh, that's ridiculous. I'm starting a new master's program a month after I turned 54 to become a mental health counselor. So yes, I am so proud of you and I am so excited for you. And I am so glad that you know, to be talking to you right now, because that is part of my message is we are never, ever too old to start new things. 

[00:06:44] Thanks. Exactly. And I thought when I told my husband and then my family, that this is what I wanted to do. Uh, I thought they were gonna just like scoff at me, but everyone was just like, yeah, go ahead. You could do this. You don't think it's going to. And they're like, oh, why would that be too old? Keep going. 

[00:07:00] I have another seven years before I can tire from teaching. So this will, I'll be licensed just a few years before I can retire. And then just move into a new career. That is so perfect. You know, when I said I was going to PT school, even my own mother said I was too old. Well, I thought so, but anyway. And the ladder stop you or the doctor? 

[00:07:24] No, but when, you know, when that woman did tell me that, um, then she told me that I needed to start applying for disability because I was going to need it. Oh, I know. So, I mean, I was devastated as you could imagine. So I went home and I hit rock bottom and that took a few days. And a few days later I had like this mental head smacking moment, this epiphany that was like, wait a minute, this is up to you to figure out, yeah, you don't have to settle for that. 

[00:07:57] Exactly. They're making it worse, you know, it's, it's your, it's your job to figure it out. So I fired my entire team much to their chagrin because I really needed them according. And I just taught myself how to move again. Like the way we didn't, where kids, you know, it's like, okay. Um, if I move this way, just slowed it down. 

[00:08:18] If I move like this, that makes my pain worse. If I move like this, it makes it a little bit better. So I just did that every single day stopped doing the, um, exercises and stretches that the therapists gave me. Cause like I said, it wasn't working. I discontinued all the medication. I just stopped cold Turkey fired my medical team. 

[00:08:35] Like I'm on my own here. Um, and the only thing I added was acupuncture. So between the acupuncture, acupuncture, I love acupuncture. Oh my God. It's so I wish you need a good therapist. There are a bunch of people who don't know what they're doing. So you have to find somebody who really has the training and knows what to do exactly that can make or break the whole experience. 

[00:08:59] But yeah, I've used it ever since, you know, off and on. I haven't had any for a few years now and I kinda miss it, but I really don't need it. Um, but anyway, you know, it only took a matter of about eight months in about, I mean, okay. It was a tedious process. I had my ups and my downs, but in eight months I was pain free and I took myself back to ballet class. 

[00:09:24] I, of course didn't do a full class. And I just told the teacher, I'm going to stand here in the corner. You just ignore me, let me do my thing. And you know, I'm going to leave as soon as I know it's time. And so I did that tolerance and. There you go. And so it was just a short, it was about two months after I was completely pain-free. 

[00:09:44] I got the letter from CU health sciences center. I was accepted into their physical therapy program. So I graduated. Thank you. You're going to love this part. I graduated with honors, which shocked me, but with honors, it was just three months shy of my 40th birthday. Muscled. Tough. Wonderful. So I guess I wasn't too old. 

[00:10:09] No, not at all. And nobody is ever too old to. Explore new things, try a new adventure, start a new business, you know, go back to school and don't ever, and your own permission to begin. I say that every single episode. And I love that because once that really resonated with me and I was thinking about it today, cause I knew we were going to be talking. 

[00:10:34] And that is really huge because a lot of times that's all it takes is to give ourselves permission. And a lot of times we hold ourselves back for whatever reason. So, um, once you start going through, I think of us sort of keep that locus of control external to ourselves that somehow we feel like we need other people's approval or we need other people's permission. 

[00:10:55] We need another peoples go ahead or something to do anything, you know, regardless of whatever it is. And as soon as you take that control back, the sky's the limit. Really? It really is. Yeah. Because nobody should have that control over you anyway. So, no, I always tell people too, that you are your own expert. 

[00:11:19] I mean, we need the experts, but we need the experts sometimes to maybe, you know, clear us, you know, like, okay. You know, I was having chest pain. I think I know what it is. It's these movements we're doing in martial arts. These Hoshi points, but it's my heart. Maybe ought to get it checked out. So as soon as he cleared me, yeah. 

[00:11:38] It's like, okay, I know what it is. Went to my acupuncturist told him what it was. He goes, oh, well, yeah, that makes perfect sense. So we did one session and boom, the palpitations stopped. That's awesome. that's awesome. So you, after the ballet, then seven years later, you picked up a Jew Thai jujitsu. Nim Poe Thai, Thai jujitsu. 

[00:12:03] What, what categorizes nympho you jujitsu? I've never heard of this before. It's an obscure martial art. It's an ancient Japanese art based on the art of the ninja and the samurai. And I of course fell into nympho the way I have kind of fallen into pretty much everything in my life, but I mean, it's kind of a powerful story. 

[00:12:22] So, you know, after I had, um, finished physical therapy school and I was working as a physical therapist and, you know, spoiler alert, I hated it. No, yes. After all of that, After all. Thank you. It like a Hoover with all the attachments. That's so funny. Hated it. I was in for two and a half years. Um, you know, the job market was terrible when I graduated. 

[00:12:54] They were just horrible working conditions. Uh, you know, the money was much less than what it was just a few years earlier. I mean, it was terrible. I actually ended up being recruited by a local community college to teach respiratory therapy. And I'm on the phone with this woman. I'm going, you don't understand. 

[00:13:11] It's been six years since I've functioned as a respiratory therapist, she goes, ah, we're not going to put you in the intensive care unit. We're just going to put you on the floor with the, you know, the first year students, blah, blah, blah. So I accepted it and I mean, I had fun cause I love teaching anything. 

[00:13:25] Um, but it was wonderful working with students again and being in the hospital setting and they were paying me a lot more than what I was getting paid as a respite, as a physical therapist, I'm going okay, there's something desperately wrong with this situation. I was still teaching. I was teaching, um, RT. 

[00:13:41] I was still doing some PT and I'm sitting one day in this gut, wrenching Lee boring staff meeting. Oh God. I wanted to stick a fork through my eye just to make sure that I still had them. It was so bad. And then it was another one of those mental head smacking moments. I got another and it was like, Hey, wait a minute. 

[00:14:08] At that point, that was 19 98 99. At that point, Pilates was just starting to become popular in the United States. I had been, oh my God. I had been studying it myself since 1983. So it was like, when I graduated my PT program, I went through two different professional Pilates training programs. Oh. So it's like. 

[00:14:36] I am a certified Pleiades person, right? I'm now a physical therapist. I have this dance background. Okay. I am going to go out on my own. And open my own practice, which I did. So in 1999, I opened up my own physical therapy practice. Um, not a clinic. It was an office specializing in Pilates based rehabilitation and conditioning. 

[00:15:02] And then later adding something called Feldon Christ. So I did that for 18 years in 2017, I closed my office because I needed a break. And now I just kind of relaunched it online. I have a few clients I'm teaching some in-person classes and workshops and having a lot of fun. That's awesome. Yeah. You probably have helped a lot of people with a Pilates based rehabilitation. 

[00:15:28] I cannot believe. And you know, what was such a perfect fit for me because I was in their shoes. A lot of my clients, um, came to me as like a last ditch effort. Some of them were like, you know, I was told I have to live with this for the rest of my life. And there is nothing that lights a fire under me. 

[00:15:45] Then moving the Western medical community wrong. Yes. Thank you. Yeah. And you know, and, and I had such a deep level of empathy for these people who told me that and some of my clients then would come in and they'd say, well, you know, I tried working out at the health club, you know, my doctor told me I needed more exercise. 

[00:16:05] And then I ended up with all these injuries because the people at the health club didn't understand how to work with a body that was maturing, you know? Right. Yeah. But you know, you can do anything that you want to at any age, uh, you just have to be smart about it. So that's where I stepped in and filled up those gaps. 

[00:16:23] Plus I got a couple of thumb clients that were, they did their physical therapy and they just weren't happy with their level of function. They felt they could go a little bit farther, but because of. You know, but they were cut off. So politeness is a good place to step in there. Pilates. Fabulous. Amazing. 

[00:16:42] I have a L four L five issues in like once a year or so. It just flares up and I can barely move. And this year I'm circumventing that pattern completely because I'm doing Pilates two, three times a week and it's really made all the difference. You know, I had gone through years ago, like 15, 20 years ago, I had purchased a mat Pilates program that I did at home on my own, which was amazing. 

[00:17:13] But then I don't know what happened, but in the recent years I'd been trying other things like I had joined a traditional gym. I tried orange theory. I tried a bunch of other things and they were geared there. Their coaching staff was geared towards young. 20-something bodies. And, and I show up, you know, I was in my late forties and having all sorts of, you know, menopausal issues and weight gain and all sorts of crap. 

[00:17:43] And I nearly died on their treadmill and they were like, you're not in the zone yet. I'm like crying as I'm on the treadmill, in the middle of an anxiety attack, feeling like I'm going to die. And they're like, no, you've got to be kidding. Yeah. And I, I make jokes about that and I can put it in my first book. 

[00:18:05] I don't remember, but it's like, there's nothing like having 20 year old Brad or Tiffany at the health club, you know, trying to tell you to, you know, feel the burn, um, you know, no, you need more weights, more weights, more way to, you know, faster, faster, more repetitions. And that is so stupid. Um, you know, a 20 year old body maybe wants to do that too, because. 

[00:18:24] I have a lot more energy to burn, but yet when you're getting older, it's not because your body's falling apart. It's just because of all the, you know, injuries and the minor little tweaks and abuses that we've done to ourselves over the years start to accumulate. But you do not have to live with pain. I mean, that's just no fabulous and that's oh, go ahead. 

[00:18:45] No, no, no, no. Well, that's actually the impetus for writing that first book. Um, because I, what I did is I put all of, you know, like the, the techniques that I used to help heal myself when I didn't know what I was doing. Cause I wasn't a PT, but that experience on top of the physical therapy. Understanding and knowledge and experience and working with all of my clients, because I never fixed my clients. 

[00:19:15] I never said I was going to fix them or heal them. I said, but I will teach you how to heal yourself. So that's why I wrote the book to do it. That's awesome. Yeah, exactly. And that's that same conversation that we had once you give yourself permission that you're in control of your own life, your own body, your own, you know, healthcare, whatever it is, then the magic happens and the doors just go flying open and you can do amazing things. 

[00:19:39] So that's how forever fit and flexible feeling fabulous and 50 and beyond became a thing. That's awesome. I love the alliteration. Yeah, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah. I loved all the F's. That's great. So, um, I started a new thing this weekend while I was convalescing. Um, I started, uh, through bookshop.org. I started a permission to heal podcast bookshop on bookshop.org. 

[00:20:08] So as people go as listeners, go listen to our episodes and would like to have to purchase copies of the guests books. So they don't have to look around like crazy people and try to figure out where to go. Your books are already in the permission to heal bookshop on bookshop.org. So if you are listening, you can just scroll down. 

[00:20:34] Um, and there are links directly to the bookshop and you can purchase both of Cheryl's books forever fit and flexible, and the reluctant ninja, which we will talk about in a little while. Okay. Well, thank you for that. I really appreciate it. That's very nice and support local and independent bookstores as well. 

[00:20:52] Absolutely. If that's where they get, they get shipped from. Yep. And I didn't even realize that it was on bookshop yet. I checked, you know, I think I checked two days ago. Cause it takes a while for the new, you know, the new books came out a month ago. Yeah. Yup. Yeah. I added it last night. Yeah, nice. That's exciting. 

[00:21:11] Well, you know, it is exciting, but there was a whole lot of angst when it came out your book. Why? Well, it w with me, because it is a personal story and it is deeply personal and there are a lot of things that people who know me might read it and say, oh my God, I never knew that. So, you know, and there is like that, that almost, it was almost that, oh God, you know, second thoughts or not really regret, but well, the genie's out of the bottle and there's no way to get back in now. 

[00:21:46] Exactly, exactly, exactly. To almost two years ago, I published a memoir, a very telling vulnerable memoir called permission to land. And, um, I changed the names of all the people whose feelings might have been hurt, or I didn't want to tell other people's stories, but yeah, I'm, I'm basically standing in the middle of main street naked in the book. 

[00:22:08] I mean, metaphorically, you know, honestly I would not do that, but, um, yeah, there, there are very few secrets if any left. So I get that vulnerability. Yeah. Well, I didn't change a lot of the names. Some of them I kept. Um, and, and, you know, I really believe in my heart. Or did it the time the, you know, the people whose names I kept and I didn't use their last names, just the first names, but I figured that they, well then of course, you know, kind of spill the beans at the very end when I do the acknowledgement acknowledgements, and I name all these people, I've included their last names. 

[00:22:43] But anyway, I didn't think that they would be upset and, you know, it was like, but still, you know, you always get them. And the very, as soon as that book went live, the one person. And lovely lady, very long story behind it, but she actually ended up being, we became very good friends. We were training partners. 

[00:23:04] She's 30 years younger than me. Um, you know, her mom's age. And as soon as the book went out, went public, you know, when he was released, she immediately. I got a text the next day. I didn't know anybody bought the book and she said, oh my God, I read your book. And one day, yes, well, you'd have to know this woman. 

[00:23:25] And she says, please don't tell my boss. That's what I was doing at work all day. Cause I think she had got the Kindle version and she says it is so, so, so, so good. And I went, oh, that's great. Because she was kind of the one that I thought I hope she doesn't get offended. I mean, I didn't think she would, because even as I was writing it, she would say, did you put this in about me? 

[00:23:47] Or did you talk about the time you broke my foot? And it's like, yes, it's going to be in there Vanessa. So she was thrilled with it and I figured good, good. Sometimes people like to be immortalized. You know, I asked a bunch of people. Like I had an experience after my mom died. Uncharacteristic experience of going to a psychic. 

[00:24:09] And it was a very singularly momentous experience for me in the middle of the, the height of the beginnings of my grief after my mother died. And I wanted to write about it, but I, I didn't want. To write about it. If the, if she was going to feel bad about it or whatever. And she's like, well, as long as she's not going to say anything bad, right. 

[00:24:31] Head, you know? Yeah. That's, that's interesting to change her name, you know? Yeah. Well, and I'm now I'm that point too, because I'm writing currently writing about my family history and I thought it was going to be a book, but it looks like it's probably going to have to be a series of three. I'm not really sure. 

[00:24:49] I know. I do know a lot about our history and my mother bless her heart she's um, she, she was an amazing woman. She really was. And when she got an idea in her head, she was like a dog with a bone. She wouldn't let it go. So she got together with her brother, my uncle when he was still alive. And, you know, he used to love telling stories. 

[00:25:07] So they were writing all of these stories down. And then my mother just badgered my dad for his stories because he was raised in Eastern Europe. Wow. He came over on the he and his, his mom, my grandmother came over on the last boat out of Kalay. Think about that, uh, December 29th, 1939. Wow. I even have a copy in time, Justin freaking time. 

[00:25:35] And, you know, just some of the stories of, you know, even just being on the boat, because he grew up on a farm. He never really like being on this ship and all these people and all these strangers and so close in, and there were 1100 people on board and only 10 of them were Christian. The rest were all Jewish and, you know, that was just, it was very intense, you know, and to be able to enter the United States fine. 

[00:26:04] Yes. They all made it in. What's even more interesting is that one of the families and it was near his village. I don't think they were on board, the same ship, but there was a family who had a little, like a little grocery store in their village. And my dad, you know, he used to walk there all the time, get candy, all kinds of stuff. 

[00:26:26] That same family ended up being our neighbors across the street. Wow. That's weird. It was so weird. Yeah. But we didn't really think about it as being weird. But now as an adult, it's like, oh my gosh, that's just crazy. And even one, and this is another long story. I won't go into it. But, uh, that same neighbor, their car ended up going through our living room window one March, um, evening. 

[00:26:53] Nobody was hurt. Nobody was in the car. No one was in the living room, turned out to. Wow. Well, that's a nice mess. I hope he wants a new window. Yeah, we got to pull new wall. I would imagine. Yikes. Okay. So you wrote forever, forever fit and flexible as your personal story about how you found your, the way to manage your own pain? 

[00:27:21] Actually, no, it was more how I recovered and healed from my own pain. And then it's more of a, how to book for other people to explore how they can find their own path to have. Fitness vitality and activity explanation. Yeah. Without, I mean, you can be incredibly fit and flexible at every stage of life without having to go to a gym three times a week. 

[00:27:47] Yes. So there's tips in the book, there's movement patterns, and I don't call them exercises. They're movement explorations that people can do on their own at home. And it's about making the most of every move that you do every single day. Like even when you're doing your daily activities, you know, um, of unloading the groceries or loading the dishwasher or washing the countertop, all of those movements can be implemented in a way that you're getting some strength out of them. 

[00:28:16] Some stretch out of them a little bit of every day. So you're not just going to the gym three times a week and killing yourself and wondering why you're hurting and not getting in better shape. This is just bits and pieces during the day. So it's more organically part of the, the movement that you're just doing as you're moving through your life. 

[00:28:35] Exactly. Which I think is how nature intended it. I agree. I don't think that the creator was thinking let's give him a treadmill. Yeah, no, I don't. I don't think so. I think when we were an agrarian society, we had no need for that because we were always moving. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. But ever since that, I started doing, started doing Pilates regularly. 

[00:28:57] I've noticed muscle systems that I didn't really know, notice that I had was interesting that you said washing your counter because I can feel when I'm doing that, that I'm moving like my entire, I don't know the anatomy, but you know, the entire shoulder system and the macula and everything. And even when I'm driving in my car and my hands are on the steering wheel and I'm turning, I'm noticing my lateral. 

[00:29:26] Um, core side, you know, abdominal muscles holding me up in a way that they didn't before. And that I just, I find that exhilarating and well, and it's empowering because you're, you're connecting with your body and it's such a deep, organic visceral level, and that gives you even more control over your body. 

[00:29:47] And that's one of the quotes from Joseph Pilates is he used to say with Pilates, you are in control of your body. Not at its mercy. And then to be, to be controlled and call it that. So, yeah. Yeah. Well, I did at the very beginning and it was like, what a word yeah. Pilates is better. Um, but yeah, so that level of awareness is just wonderful. 

[00:30:08] So Bravo good for you. Thanks, Basel tough. And I think it's, it's huge stubbly huge, because I, I think for most of my life, I've spent most of my time inside my head feeling disconnected from my body. Almost feeling that like my brain is using my body as a car, you know, it's just, uh, a method of locomotion if nothing else. 

[00:30:30] And I now feel not always but much more regularly in my body and integrated, and that's a very. Deeper less anxious feeling for sure. And you know, the thing about Pilates, you know, and, and it would drive me crazy when it started to get popular because, you know, everybody had their own interpretation and the way they were explaining it, and this is a new exercise method and this, and it's like, oh, not really. 

[00:30:58] It is about, you know, body awareness and body control. And it's about sculpting and stretching, but it's so practical. It's so functional. And that's what Pilates offers that is so different from any other exercises. Yeah. You know, because it is everything that you do on the reformer or, you know, on the ball, on the floor, on the mat in class can be applied to every single thing that you do during the day. 

[00:31:26] And that's, that's where the magic happens. Just like you're discovering, you know, the, the shoulder, the range of motion in your shoulder girdle, and, you know, that's so good for your ribs as well and your back, it just, you know, to move that way. It's truly marvelous. Heavenly. So tell me about the ninja. 

[00:31:44] Tell me about the reluctant ninja. Tell me about the, the, um, martial arts. I want to, I want to know more. I'm curious. Okay. Yes. Well, I am the last person in the world. Anybody would ever expect to take martial arts? Uh, it was never on my radar. It was never in my DNA, but interestingly enough, my father did have a black belt in karate. 

[00:32:06] He started studying probably in his. I think they muck it must've been around 40, late thirties or 40. Um, right about the time my mother had her fifth daughter. So, you know, when you raise a household of girls, um, number one, it gave them another reason to get out of the house. And number two gave him some tools just in case. 

[00:32:24] And of course he always wanted us to come and come to the gym and workout and learn some kind pay. And we're like, are you crazy? Martial arts, karate. Ooh. Um, so fast forward, um, to starting at the tender young age of 47, um, actually it all began three years earlier when I met a new acupuncture. Okay. So this guy was really good. 

[00:32:51] He was highly recommended by one of my clients and said, oh, you'll just love him. You know, I love him, blah, blah, blah. And I thought, well, I know how picky she is. So she wouldn't send me to just anybody. So I went to the sky for my first appointment and he seemed nice. He's a few years older than me. And he seemed really, really nice or whatever. 

[00:33:08] And he had his clinic right next to a martial arts school. It was his dojo. And I didn't think anything of it, but I'm on the table. And he's very first time I met him. He's sticking needles in my legs. And he got a very far away look on his face and he said, you know, with your legs and my coaching, I could teach you how to kill with these things. 

[00:33:33] Wow. That's a line. 

[00:33:39] And I mean, did he, can you kill with your legs? What can now actually I just, I think kill with. And that's Cheryl. Now I'm going to cough. Sorry about that. 

[00:34:03] Sorry. That's gross. Uh, respiratory therapist. Hello? Oh yeah. Alright, thanks. Yeah. Got a lot of leeway there. So anyhow, I'm lying there on the table and I'm absolutely horrified because I'm thinking, oh my God, who thinks like this? Let alone says it out loud. Right. Did you think he was trying to pick you up? 

[00:34:23] No. No, I didn't. I don't know why he didn't think he was trying to pick me up, but I've a couple of guys. I been on their shows and they're like pickup line. And I'm like, I don't think so. He just seemed really sincere and very impressed with my legs. And I, you know, I just said I wanted to grab my person run, but I really wasn't in a position where I could literally pin to the table. 

[00:34:44] So I was a captive audience. So I said, well, thanks anyway, but no it's never going to happen. And every single time I went for a treatment, he would go on and on about his martial art, the art of the ninja. And he would never shut up and he would just keep on going on and on about all these topics he says, and women are so good at this aren't you would be so good at it. 

[00:35:04] And I'd love for you to take classes with that. Love for you to train with men and women that is never going to happen. Not in this lifetime ever. And I just wanted the man to shut up, leave the room, let the needles do their work. Let me relax. And well, I just kept saying. And part of my story is when I was starting to see mark just a few months before I saw him for the first time I had a very traumatic experience in a doctor's office. 

[00:35:35] Okay. I mean the kind of trauma where PTSD. Oh yes. I walked into his office as a healthy, vibrant 44 year old woman. And I walked out as a statistic. Oh shit. What exactly. So predators are everywhere and you know, we think, oh, don't go down that dark alley. Cause it's dangerous. You know, don't go walking naked down main street because that's not only stupid. 

[00:36:08] It's dangerous. Um, you don't think don't go into that doctor's office cause it's dangerous. No, that's one of the places you think. No that's well, and it should be. And the funny thing that happened, Marcy, and this is really bizarre because of course I wasn't a ninja at the time, obviously, otherwise they'd still be trying to put them back together. 

[00:36:28] But anyway, as soon as I, I went to the door, cause it's a doctor I'd never seen before. And I've got this really creepy feeling before you even went in. Before I even went in, I was standing there outside the door and I mean, I had my hand on the door and it was like this isn't right. Something's that intuition. 

[00:36:47] And you went in anyway, right? Because it's like do that all the time. You know, don't be stupid. You're just nervous. It's in somebody you don't know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And yeah, so basically. I wouldn't cancel the doctor's appointment very last minute. For that reason I had, I, I was having trouble getting my, my kids were younger. 

[00:37:07] I was having trouble getting them out of the car, out of the house, into the car. We finally got into the car and there was a tree down on the road, out of, out of our neighborhoods. So we went a different way. And then there was a PA, uh, an, uh, um, a power outage and the, the traffic light was out. And my son just said, mommy, I don't think the universe wants us to go to the doctor today. 

[00:37:28] And I said, you know what? You're right. We're going home. And I went home and I called the office and I explained the three things that happened. And the receptionist was just like, yeah, I wouldn't come either. Stay home. Wow. I'm not even going to charge you for canceling it. That really surprises me. I mean, that's pretty much, she was going to say I was fricking crazy. 

[00:37:47] Well, yeah. I mean, that's typically what that's typically what they do say is you're crazy, you know, get your ass in here, but yeah. But yeah, no, it seemed like they were the roadblock every time I tried to keep going, there was some other thing keeping me from leaving town, so okay. I'll stay home. Yeah. 

[00:38:03] Yeah. Well, you know, I wished I had listened to that inner voice and that inner, you know, my intuition, but I didn't. And so afterwards, you know, I figured, okay. I mean, number one, I was just like, so shocked and horrified. And I thought, if this happened to me again, a medical professional, who what's he doing? 

[00:38:24] Right. Yeah. And I mean, I'm, I knew it was nothing personal, but you know, it's, that's just his M O so I knew I wasn't the first person or the first woman and I wasn't going to be the last, but I wanted to at least make it more difficult for him. So the first thing I wanted to do was reported, you know, and so it's on his record and to get help for me. 

[00:38:45] So of course, what's the first thing you do. Go to the people you're closest to and say, Hey, I've got this problem. Well, I started with my very best and dearest friend in all the world that we had been, you know, bosom buddies for, you know, years, at least 20 years, by that time and told her what happened. 

[00:39:01] And instead of getting the sympathy and the, you know, hand-holding and the let's do this, um, I got a slap basically across the face. It was like the patent's lapping. And she said, oh, Cheryl, that can't happen. That doesn't happen. And you're just, yup. Yeah, exactly. You're making it up, you know? Um, you're just complaining, you know, I mean, it was bizarre her reaction. 

[00:39:25] Now I know that it was something on her end, but back then, I didn't, I mean, you know, I'm still in shock and horror and into her and she just didn't, wasn't capable of it. Right. Exactly. So I thought, okay, well, if he had got shut down by my best friend, so the next thing is, okay, go talk to my husband. And I tried to tell my husband and he put his hands over his ears. 

[00:39:46] He goes, this is girl stuff. You talked to Kathleen. So nobody I had nobody to turn to. So I just did what? Oh, thank you. It turned out okay though. Um, and that's the book. Yeah. Thank you. Appreciate that. So, yeah, it was a really rough time. And I think that, that even when the book went out and as I was writing it, when I went through the hard time, it was just like, you go through that emotion. 

[00:40:09] As you know, since you wrote your own memoir, you go through that rollercoaster ride all over again. But anyway, back to. So I stuck that dirty little secret down really deep pasted, a big fake smile on my face and went around. Like everything was just fine, you know, because that's what you do when everybody's is either calling you a liar or, you know, crazy person. 

[00:40:31] Yes. So it finally just came spewing out about a year later, a little bit like a year and a half later. And I figured the only person I could really talk to, who I intuitively knew would believe me was my acupuncturist was mark. Huh. So I went and, you know, it says, and I hadn't seen him for a while because I mean, I was in such a, a pin, a despair. 

[00:40:55] I didn't, you know, even see the point in getting acupuncture because what was the point? And so I went back to him after being gone for probably about nine or 10 months and told him what happened. And he just said, I knew something was wrong, but I didn't know what. And so he says, okay, this is what we're going to do. 

[00:41:11] We're going to do. You know, points for the trauma, relieve the symptoms. These are the herbs, blah, blah, blah. So it gets me on the table and he's talking to me and for this for once he wasn't talking about the art of the ninja and he's putting the needles in and he says, and you know the thought and he says, you're one of my favorite people and that's no secret. 

[00:41:29] And he says, the thought that somebody did this to you. It makes me want to go and find him and hurt him and hurt him so badly that he can't get up. And I thought, well, everybody likes mark. I've had a couple of people read the book, man. I just love mark. And I'm like read the whole thing. He's not always the hero, but so anyway, Then his campaign to get me on the mat, went into high gear and I kept saying no. 

[00:41:55] And he said, Cheryl, there is such an incredible healing power in the martial arts. And I know this can help you heal. It will help you get your power back and, you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Kept saying no, no, took him another two years until I finally said, okay, I will try it just to prove to you how much I'm going to hate it. 

[00:42:13] And you loved it and then I'm going to quit. You figured it out. I didn't hate it. Well, yeah. You know, spoiler alert. She know how I hated being a ninja. Yeah. That's why she was reluctant ninja. Yes. That's why I was so reluctant. And you know, the funny thing is, so 10 years later I became Mark's first female black belt. 

[00:42:38] Wow. And you know, with your legs and I can kill with my legs for real now. And you know, the funny thing is people would say to me, No. Oh, mark knew he saw something in you. He knew you were going to be his first female black belt. And there's only been one other since may my friend, Vanessa, who is in the book, but, and I, the, he knew he saw this warrior. 

[00:43:01] He saw this, he saw that. And I, I just laughed so hard. I snored because it's like, if you could have seen what a train wreck I was back then, no, he just liked me. And he felt so sorry for me. And he wanted to help me. And, but he had how haven't become a black belt. What you still learned with how powerful you are and how to prevent anybody from taking advantage of you in any way. 

[00:43:27] Yeah, cause you can hold your own and like make them swallow their own tongue. If you wanted to, you know, you know, it doesn't matter what color your belt is. You can exactly hook them with theirs. Well, you know, and I always tell people it's really funny because I never wanted a black belt. I didn't even want a yellow belt. 

[00:43:48] I didn't even want the stupid white belt, but it came with the uniform. So I had to take it. It's like I was never going to test. I was never going to, I was in it for maybe a month, maybe two at the most learn a few self-defense and defense techniques and techniques and, you know, call it good call day, get on with my life. 

[00:44:07] Boom. But, uh, I fell in love with the art. I fell in love with the training and I really fell in love with a sense of empowerment that I got from training, but it took a long time. It wasn't just us. Yes. Yes. But it was, it was just a gradual then even, you know, there were times when I was in the dojo, even as a white belt in a yellow belt, when things would happen and I would just kind of roll my eyes and go, I'm going to write a book someday. 

[00:44:36] Never thinking that I really would, this is before forever fit and flexible. I mean, I never thought I really would write. And, you know, mark would always say, it's a great story, especially as I was up in the ranks and you know, he's just, it's a great story. So it's a story about empowerment and, you know, just want to get it out there to the universe. 

[00:44:57] You know, let everybody know that there are predators everywhere. There are ways that you can protect yourself without spending 18 years in a smelly dojo with a bunch of sweaty men, the way I did. Um, and it's a story of empowerment and, you know, out of all tragedy, Can come triumph. Yeah. It might not be an easy road, but you can always get to the other side. 

[00:45:24] So, so how would you advise somebody who thinks they might be interested in either jujitsu or or some other martial art, you know, and another mid-life female with a curiosity. Oh, and I hope I love that little aged lady with the sense of curiosity. Uh, I would recommend, um, do your research. I was lucky. I just happened to fall into the right situation, the right art, the right dojo with the right people, the right sensei, the right community, uh, do your homework. 

[00:45:59] So I would recommend looking into what they call the softer arts. So not so much co you know, kind of stay or TaeKwonDo. I would look into more like Akido. Um, maybe some judo jujitsu I'd stay away from Brazilian jujitsu, unless you really like to be rolling around in wrestling with strangers on the ground in bare feet, which they sometimes use to pin you with. 

[00:46:27] And that just wouldn't work for me. No, no, no feet. Uh, no, don't touch the face anyway. So just look into some of those softer arts, even Tai Chi and Tai Chi, there's different ways of doing Tai-Chi. You can do it as a meditative practice, or you can actually do it as an, I don't want to say as a combative art, I don't mean it combative, but as an art form, which you can use and learn techniques to protect yourself. 

[00:46:54] So you can look into that. But what I would do is really research all the martial arts studios in your area, create a list. I have friends who love spreadsheets. I don't, I like documents, create a list and then start calling them after you've researched them on online. Start calling them, talk to the owner, talk to the teacher. 

[00:47:15] And then when you narrow it down to maybe three or four schools that might work for you, then go and visit and watch it. So definitely watch a class. Sometimes they might have a complimentary class to sort of you, so you can try it out most of time they do, but I would watch one first even, but that's me. 

[00:47:33] I was always super cautious. Um, but yeah, and try it and talk to the students and see, you know, what they like about it, how long they've been there. And you can tell even just as you know, intuitively what was your intuition, walking into a school or a room, you know, the, you know, the vibe, you know, the feeling, if it's positive and uplifting, if everybody's looking miserable and unhappy, and it's probably not the right fit for you, but look for a school that has, um, you know, mine didn't have, well, mark said that they had, he had plenty of women, but he really didn't. 

[00:48:06] Um, and if that's gonna make you uncomfortable to be with just a bunch of. Then see if maybe they have women only classes, so, you know, just research your options. And then the one thing that I really want to emphasize is even if it makes you incredibly uncomfortable, and even if people tell you that you can't do it, if you feel in your gut, it's right for you do it. 

[00:48:32] I mean, it could change your life forever. There's actually a woman in our school now who started, I think at the age of 69. Wow. That's all I know. I know. That's great. Pretty sure she won't get to black belt, but that's okay. She's almost 70. That's awful. She's 71 by now. Oh yeah. That's very cool. That's very cool to start something at that day. 

[00:49:00] You know, well, can I share one, uh, another one of my little deep dark secrets, but please do secret. It's a secret, so don't tell anybody, but, um, so that's true. Uh, so at the age of 58, I just, so the, you might want to put this on your list to do list maybe two. So at the age of 58, I decided it was time to start engaging in more age appropriate activities. 

[00:49:27] So I started pole dancing. 

[00:49:32] That's awesome. It's crazy. I know. And I think it was two and a half years ago. Um, my coach, one of my teachers who I go do private work with sometimes, cause poll is pretty scary. It's one of the hardest things. It's harder than martial arts. It's really hard, but, um, it's so much fun. Chief. You have to have to hold on. 

[00:49:53] I would imagine it. Yes. Oh, it's incredible. And then to get your butt in the air and flip backwards and go upside down and absolutely terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. So that's why you hired this coach. She's really, really good. Well, she talked me into competing and I just laughed in her face and I said, that's never going to happen. 

[00:50:13] And eight months later I found my story, but you know, in front of, on stage in front of 250 people competing on pole. Oh yeah. You are brave Cheryl? No, I think that I might have a little bit of a crazy gene in there either way, either way. Yeah. Wow. That's cool. And so how'd you do when the competition? Not, not that the, the, not that, that matters to me so much, but how did you feel you stood up next to the other people who competed? 

[00:50:49] That's probably the better question. Well, I won, so he did. Yeah. So they do, they, um, they, they, they have even different categories or different divisions, according to, you know, your level, your skill level, there's level 1, 2, 3 video in age. So you have, um, like from 19 to 30 year olds, 30 to 40 to 50 and over 50 are the masters only because of. 

[00:51:15] Older over 50. Yeah. So, um, there aren't that many women over 40 who went to compete. So they had to combine the over 50 with the 40 to 50 and it still were only three of us. Wow. Okay. So, so out of three, I came in first. Let's do something. Yeah. So I'm a gold medalist. I'm gold metal pole dancer. There's a resume line for you. 

[00:51:40] Yeah. All the respiratory therapists and PTs out there have that. Probably not many. No, no, no, no, no, no. That's so cool. So 

[00:51:54] I don't know what my question is. My question is how do you. Maintain the positive mental vitality or mental focus or whatever, whatever that secret sauce is to keep you doing all these things. Oh, that is a great question because sometimes life isn't always positive. And of course, you know, with the two years of COVID, that was really, really hard. 

[00:52:24] So, um, I had had to have a lot of heart to heart talks with myself and, you know, convinced myself this too will pass. And I think that because of all the work that I've done, you know, with my professional and personal life and recreational life, I understand kinda how to calm myself down. Now I understand when things are starting to brew and come to the surface. 

[00:52:49] So it's just like, you know what, not today, we're not going to do this. Let's just sit down, grab one of the dogs. Snuggle with them, you know, play with them, you know, look at the positive things, you know, instead of focusing on, oh, my house is so dirty, I really need to clean it. It's like I cleaned the kitchen or how the kitchen is a mess. 

[00:53:12] Hey, you cooked and made a mess. You know, so trying to turn that narrative around and just turn the script and just flip it to the opposite side. And, you know, once you do that enough times that flip comes a lot quicker and it's a lot easier to do because all of us get down in the dumps. Yeah. And you know, some days aren't so good. 

[00:53:35] Yeah. And especially if you're physically having a bad day, if you're physically not feeling good, then it's really easy to get into the oh, woe is me stage. But if you're physically okay. And then you're emotionally not, well, you know that that's a little bit harder. I think. But one of the things that I've learned that can really turn that frown upside down is to get on a and one of those great big exercise balls. 

[00:54:00] I think every person should have a big exercise ball at home. All you have to do sit on the ball, just kind of rock a little bit, do some bouncing. All of a sudden, it just, you know, gets, you feel so much better. The juices are flowing. It's good for your blood flow, your neurology, you know, your, your lymphatic flow and your mindset. 

[00:54:22] You feel like a kid again. And it's just things, things start to looking up. Well, I think, I think that that too many of us adults get so caught up in all of our responsibilities and all the expectations that other people have on us, that society has on us, that we have on ourselves that we forget to play. 

[00:54:44] We forget to find something to laugh with. We forget. How to find little moments of joy because we get, and we get so bogged down. So, uh, I've been kind of working on that personally cause I have been to task and responsibility oriented in my life. Yeah. I think we all are, but the ability to be able to look for those tiny little moments of joy, and you said it perfectly play the I've talked to a lot of people who were in like a really bad frame of mind and they went back to things like that, you know, grown women were coloring yeah. 

[00:55:25] Or sitting in the dirt and playing in the mud. And just going back to that again, I it's that organic play, um, that the, the. No responsibility of, of, of not having to be a certain way or do a certain thing. You know, when we were little, when we'd have these milestones, you know, you stay in now, you walk and everybody's like, Bravo, Bravo. 

[00:55:49] You're wonderful. You're beautiful. You're fantastic. You're so smart. You can stand, you know, you can tie your drum choo and then all of a sudden we're in school and everything we do is wrong. Right. So we need to go back to that sense of having funds. Exactly. Exactly. I think creative art for me has always been my salvation. 

[00:56:09] I've talked about this a thousand times on the podcast already. I it's, it's something that's just foundational in me. And if I feel like I'm getting in too much of a negative rut in my head, I take out a big box of markers and stuff that I keep in the living room. So it's always accessible and, and I'll draw or, and I'll paint or whatever it is that I, and I always feel. 

[00:56:34] Whether it's an actual piece of art that I'm creating, or I have an adult coloring book that I bought at five below, you know, it doesn't matter. Did you make that beautiful print behind your head? I did. Oh, it's beautiful. Thank you. I have been admiring it. It is. It's really gorgeous. It's called neuro graphica. 

[00:56:54] It's like that very free flowing, organic, whatever you want to draw. And then every time the lines cross over the other crossover, another line, instead of leaving the line at just a plain straight angle, you post to curve it and soften them and sick in the lines. So that each one of those things begins to look more like, um, a nerve cell. 

[00:57:25] It has, it does have very, yeah, it does have a very neuron. Type of look to it, neural pathways and especially with the colors and the different colors of those neural pathways, because they're all responsible for different things and those neuropathways can shift and change and grow and do wonderful things. 

[00:57:48] Cool. Thanks. I would love to the way that you said that, you know, when you fear feel yourself, just, you know, losing control or whatever it was, I can't remember what you said and you just intuitively you go and you bring out those things that we all know what we need. We just need to do it right. Give ourselves permission to do let's do it. 

[00:58:08] Exactly. So I went to five below. I should be doing or recording for them. Um, I bought a little container that matched my living room, you know, and I put in markers and stencils in a coloring book and a sketchpad or whatever, and some small little canvases. Cause sometimes I like to make little canvas things and. 

[00:58:30] And I just leave it in my living room. I mean, this room that I record in is my art studio. This is actually a drafting table that I've converted into my little recording studio. And we're surrounded by you see the pretty wall behind me, but the monstrous rest of this room everywhere, canvases and paint and whatever. 

[00:58:48] But it's my salvation. This is where I found my sanity and found myself and found my own permission and my own impetus and my own health and figured out that I'm pretty damn great. You know, I didn't know any of this before, so, right, right. And even just walking into the room probably makes you feel good. 

[00:59:10] Yeah. This is like my inner sanctum. Yeah. Well girl cave. Exactly. You you've got some interesting, uh, paraphernalia. Yeah. I got a couple of Katana. Uh, so those are the two on the top are Katana's they're the swords, the one right below it is the wooden sword. The one below that used to be a six foot long Rocko bow, a bow staff. 

[00:59:37] And now it is two, three foot long staffs with pointy ends. And that happened one day at the dojo with my friend, Vanessa. And we were paired up and playing with the sticks and she was the attacker and she was coming for the last shot, was a kill shot to the top of the head. And she was coming so fast, so hard. 

[01:00:00] And with so much intention, I thought, oh my God, she's going to kill me. And I just responded, you know, to Perry, the, the strike as it came down. And it sounded like a gunshot went off in the dojo and everybody stopped and gasped and I'm standing there. Why do I have two sticks in my hands? And it was like, oh my God, thank goodness I did that. 

[01:00:19] Otherwise that would have been my head. And I have a couple of other toys there. Well, we know Vanessa doesn't pull her punches. She does not, she does not she's. She said about her. She, oh, she's just, she's an incredible martial artist. She started studying martial arts at the age of seven and had studied several different martial arts. 

[01:00:39] And I think she was, uh, she got up to brown belt in cut latte and then she quit for some reason and then eventually found nympho and, uh, yeah, she's, she's quite the martial artist. She's incredible to, to, and we made a great team, even though we were like, kind of like the odd couple and it was her girlfriend that got me into pulling. 

[01:00:59] Wow. Cause Dawn was doing pole dancing and, um, Vanessa would come to class and she'd hold up her phone and say, look at what Don could do. So she'd hold up the picture and I'd be looking at it. And then I'd turn the phone around and the girlfriend to flip again. And I was like, how does she dress? It was, yeah, it was just really weird. 

[01:01:16] And Vanessa kept saying, I think you should do this. I think you should try it. She says they do the exact same thing that we do, but we do it with a moving body and make the body right. And they do it with a static pole and they're the ones that move and she's gone on and on after several months of this, finally, I said, Vanessa you're are so into the physics of this and you're so into it. 

[01:01:36] And in fact, you waited. I said, let's just go together. We'll take an introductory, you know, beginning class together, the two of us. And she whoa, real about that. Um, oh, I'm not sure if it was just brute strengths, I would do it, but all that dancing, I don't think so. And I thought, okay, I'll just try it myself. 

[01:01:52] And we're doing, you know, warming up and I'm going, yeah, that's not in her DNA. I can see her not doing that. But, uh, yeah, so that was eight years ago. Wow. So what you've proven over and over again is that you become what you believe. Yes. Ma'am and that's absolute just the end, you know, in a nutshell, what you believe is what you become. 

[01:02:15] Yeah. It's true. It's absolutely true. So don't believe what other people tell you when they tell you, you can exactly just smile and walk away. Exactly. So let's finish up with the seven quick questions. You're ready for a faster round. Ooh. Okay. Okay. What six words would you use to describe yourself? 

[01:02:39] Stubborn. Good tenacious. Definitely resilient. Yes. Funny. Yup. Loving of course. And I can't think of the exact opposite of don't mess with me. Okay. You know, so boundaries, boundaries, there you go. What's your favorite way to spend a day? Oh, really depends on the day, but you know, I do so much and I am so active. 

[01:03:15] One of my favorite things to do is if I have a day off to not do anything, hang out with adults. Clean the kitchen, read a book and just relax. Listen to some music, relax, hang out in the girl cave sounds not very exciting, but who needs excitement this whole week? That I've been home sick? I, you know, obviously I wanted to feel better, but I was laying on my couch, surrounded by cats, eating what I want, watching what I want, reading what I want sleeping when I want it was the habit. 

[01:03:47] And I didn't because I was sick and I knew the best thing for me to do is rest. I didn't feel any guilt. Ooh. Guilt-free which was heaven. I do that sometimes. I pretend like, especially if the weather's bad, cause we have sunny weather all the time, almost here in Colorado, but if it's kind of like a jury day, it's like, and I don't have anything plants, like I think I'm going to pretend like I have the flu today. 

[01:04:08] I'm going to pretend that I'm sick. Nice. That's awesome. What's your favorite childhood memory? 

[01:04:20] It's going to come. It's going to sound really weird. Um, the day I almost fell off of a rollercoaster. Oh, I was the summer before I turned five, my birthday since September. So I was not quite five years old. I was a very tiny little child, especially compared to my two older sisters were very robust and healthy. 

[01:04:40] And my Slovak grandmother, Eastern European grandmother. Yeah. Accused my mother of not feeding me or running out of food because I was so tiny and skinny. That was just the way I was. I was a tiny little girl. And this was in the day that they didn't have that elf that you stood up to see if you were tall enough to get on the rollercoaster. 

[01:04:59] And we were at this church picnic. So all, you know, it's small congregation. So we knew everybody there. And it was a day at the white Swan park. And one of the rides we went on was the mad mouse rollercoaster. And they had little just, it was like individual little cars, not like a train of cars. And thank God they put me in the car with my oldest sister who was of course much bigger than me. 

[01:05:22] She's only three and a half years older, but we're four years older, but much bigger than I was. And so there we were in the car. And we were having a really good time until the very end of the ride where there's a series of bumps, each bump. Yeah. Bigger than the other. So we hit the first bump and I was so tiny and small that we hit the bump. 

[01:05:41] And I flew up in the air between I was sitting between my sister's legs. I flew up in the air between my sister and the bar, the safety bar that I was holding on to and halfway out of the little perish of the car. And I was dangling kind of by my waist screaming and she screaming. And you could see the adults underneath me screaming and running with the car and she grabbed whatever she could to pull me back in. 

[01:06:06] And it happened to be the elastic of my underpants. So she's pulling me in, by my pain. And we hit the site. Didn't mind it, lifesaving, wedgie. There you go. Hit the second bump. And I went up even higher in the air if it, with her hanging on to me. And I mean, my fingers were like almost touching the track and I could see my mother who was seven months pregnant, running underneath me with her arms outstretched as if she was going to catch me. 

[01:06:35] And I'm thinking, well, this can't be good because I've never seen my mother run. I've never seen her catch anything. Her entire life I'm in trouble here. By that time, the operator saw what was going on. So he was able to slow it down. And Laura was able to pull me back in by my underpants. So. It was a really powerful life lesson for me that, you know, there are blight, there are bumps in the road of life and sometimes your hanging on for dear life. 

[01:06:59] And sometimes you're flying by the seat of your pants. Yes. And when, you know, your mom always says, you know, make sure you wear clean underwear, make sure they're strong too. Yeah. Yeah. Yikes. And that's your favorite childhood memory? Because you know, I'm not traumatized by it even, you know, I thought it's kind of funny. 

[01:07:21] I mean, to this day, my sister still gets sick to her stomach when she thinks about it. And when we talk about it and my mom, even up until the day she died, she would turn this weird shade of green every time. Well, yeah, you are far less than five. I'm sure they full well knew the mortal danger. You were in more than you did. 

[01:07:39] Yeah, probably. Yeah. Yeah. So, yikes. Um, okay. What's your favorite meal? 

[01:07:48] Well, it would either have to be a Greek Grecian platter, or a seafood pasta. Ooh, like seafood Diablo spicy, not spicy. I like spicy. I think I know that about you. Yeah, you do. I like the idea of spicy, but my stomach does not like spicy. Um, okay. What one piece of advice would you like to give your younger self? 

[01:08:21] Don't take yourself too seriously. Amen. Absolutely. What's one thing you would most like to change about the world? I really do want world peace, but don't you think? Yeah, I think it would be a really good thing. Yeah. Everybody just, you know, um, stay in your lane, be nice to each other, you know, read some books. 

[01:08:48] Take a walk, my drum business, those things. Well, we had the one this weekend. We had the confluence of Passover, Easter and Ramadan. And, and I'm like, if that's not a symbol for let's just live together in harmony. I don't know what is yeah, exactly. Exactly. Like, is anybody else getting this message here, you know? 

[01:09:11] Or is it, yeah, I don't know. Okay. Now completely changing the whole tenor of all of this. Um, what TV shows might you be watching and or bingeing right now? 

[01:09:25] Well, um, we fell in love my husband and I, not with each other, but with Syria, of course, a long time ago, but, um, Longmont. Which is a series about this sheriff in Wyoming. Um, we are on our second go round of Downton Abbey. Ooh. I love that. Yes. It's the second go round. There's a week coming out. I know I saw that. 

[01:09:53] Um, we just finished one that I mayor of east town. Oh yeah. And that's, that's really good. I mean, it's a little dark, a little, you know, that's when we had to kind of monitor yourself that, you know, I think I'm feeling a little depressed. Let's not watch that too. No, but it's a really, really good series. 

[01:10:16] And it's about a small town in Western Pennsylvania. So it really resonated with me. It looks a lot like the area I grew up in, so I could relate to that. And, um, you know, we're really disappointed in Outlander this news last the series. I mean, we watched it, but yeah, it's just not really, it's kind of like boring at this point. 

[01:10:34] So that's just a little, I, I really like going back in time as far as, you know, like the 18 story. Cool fiction thing. Yeah. I love that too. I loved Outlander in the beginning, but I, um, I have, I, I'm going to have to do a little more emotional exploration of above up around it, but I have this fear, very palpable fear of being. 

[01:10:59] Stuck someplace I can't get out of. And so when she gets sucked back in time, several centuries and can't get back to where she's, I find that viscerally frustrating. Oh. And I have a really hard time watching. Oh. So we loved it up until I read all the books. Of course my husband didn't and you know, he would look at me and say, is this in the book? 

[01:11:31] And I'm like, and so much more detailed yet. But, so this is the new series or the last bit the newest one. And it's really, it's, it's just not doing it for us. We're just like, oh, maybe we're a spoiled, you know, with some of the other things to just rush and close it before they get to the, no, they're not, it's just, they're really dragging out parts of it. 

[01:11:54] It just seems like, okay, you made your point. Let's move on. Move on, move on. Especially because I know, you know, a lot of the details from the book and you can't put all that in a movie, but it's like, okay, you know, you've, you've done this. How many times I just going to go get a snack, right? No, don't pause it for me, dear. 

[01:12:11] It's okay. I'll be back. Yeah. Oh, well, we can't win them all. Well, Cheryl, this was wonderful. Thank you so very much for being here on permission to heal and spending all this lovely time with us. And it was so great to meet you. Oh, thank you. It was wonderful to meet you and so wonderful to talk to you. I think you're an amazing person. 

[01:12:32] I love what you're doing. I love the permission to heal concept. I love your art. I even love your cat. Oh, well, I'm going, I'll tell melody. You said so. Yes, please do. She's very sweet. Okay, excellent. And thank you so much for having me on the show. I really appreciate it. My pleasure.

(Cont.) Permission to Heal Episode #71 - A Conversation with Cheryl Ilov - The Art of Healing Through Movement
(Cont.) Permission to Heal Episode #71 - A Conversation with Cheryl Ilov - The Art of Healing Through Movement