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11 Days of Breaking Open Chris’s Head

11 Days of Breaking Open Chris’s Head Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic

03 Dec 11 Days of Breaking Open Chris’s Head

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~Mary Oliver

Me: How are you?

You: I’m great.

Me: The weather is beautiful today isn’t it?

You: My favorite season is the fall when the temperature is just right.

Me: That’s cool.  I like the summer.

Silence ensues.  We continue with our lives.

And I think to myself, dammit Chris.  Ask him or her “What is really going on?  How are you, really? What do you dream about?”

My heart crumbles as the silence continues.

Is This Your Problem Too?

I’ve been video journaling about my emotional life for the past eleven days in an eighty day project called “Breaking Open Chris’s Head” on the Barefoot Rehab Youtube page.  I speak for 3-5 minutes per day and share these daily reflections on the Barefoot Rehab Facebook page.

My purpose is to no longer ignore my emotions that cause me to operate as a less-than-whole human being in life.  Emphasis on being.

The greater vision for the project was born out of wonderment.

Is anyone really in touch with their emotional selves?

So far, my anecdotal experience answers “No, there is no space for people to share who we truly are and connect with others.  People feel, but we aren’t mindful of what we are feeling. Thus, we are a victim to our subconscious emotions.”

The only evidence I’ll share with you at this time is the research of Brene Brown and her now famous TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability as well as my friend Kyle Wood’s podcast Heart Men.   Most importantly, I’ll point your certainly short-term memory at the all-too-common conversational exchange above about the weather.  I experience this superficial teasing of our souls at least once a day.

And it’s my fault.

Because I’m stuck in my head.

Breaking Open to Break Out

To be truly happy, we humans need to be able to express the full spectrum of emotions.  From the negative to the positive.

Happiness is not experiencing only pleasurable emotions on a daily basis.

My goal is to feel and to no longer bury my emotions under fear, busyness, and ego.  The underlying belief is that when our emotions are fully expressed in the present moment, we can be present in our daily lives as empty space that can deal with anything and connect with others.  We can break out of the prison in our heads to be the creators of our lives and experience the oneness of being social animals.

The manifestors of our dreams.

When our loved ones die, we will cry and go through all the stages of grief.  Then, we will return to the baseline empty space of presence and the opportunity of happiness.

We won’t suppress our emotions to the point where we are dealing with our past hurts and fears decades later, suffering years down the road because we never fully expressed the pain of losing a loved one.

After eleven days of this project, I’ve felt joy, happiness, sadness, anxiety, jealousy, anger, depletion, excitement, sympathy, and empathy.

And I’m starting to feel liberated.

How Do I Break Open Your Heads?

These daily videos scare the bejeesus.  I care what you think about my long, unwashed hair, my teeth, and that nobody cares what I have to say.

If it were just for me, I wouldn’t have made it to Day 11.

What has driven me is the possibility that ONE PERSON could be helped by them.

One person, by the sharing of my fears, vulnerabilities, pains, and B.S., might be encouraged enough to let their emotions out and be freed.

Like elephants walking tight ropes.


This is your turn.  

I don’t care about the weather.  I don’t care about the traffic or our daily little troubles of life.

What drives you?  What motivates you?  What are your dreams?  What makes you feel alive?

Do you wake up every day and roll over the see the man or woman you always fantasized about marrying?  Do you put your kids to bed and watch them as they count unicorns jumping over the fence?  Do you drink your coffee at the breakfast table, hardly able to contain the excitement you have over going to work that day?

Do you feel like you wouldn’t trade a day in your shoes with anyone in the world?

I would trade some days.  But after you and I break out by clearing the emotional shit out of our way, that’s when we are freed to create the life that we imagine for ourselves.

Ball and chain no more.

This project is my break out attempt.

Breaking out feels fun.

Break out with me?

speechbubblesIf you have broken out of your head, what or who has helped you?  If you haven’t broken out, what would breaking out mean to you? Please share in the comments below.

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Dr. Chris Stepien, DC, Full-Body ID Certified, ART Certified, CSCS, and CrossFit Level 1 Certified, is a Sports Therapy & Chronic Pain Resolution Specialist with Barefoot Rehab in Parsippany, NJ.  When you're in pain that hasn't gone away and you've been to at least 3 other doctors, Dr. Chris wants to help you. And when you're sad, depressed, or not enjoying life, Dr. Chris wants to hug you. He invites you to reach out, no matter what your concern is. Barefoot Rehab is here to serve you.
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  • Lauren kaplan
    Posted at 15:45h, 03 December Reply

    I love that you are willing to be publicly vulnerable. As someone who experienced family loss due to suicide, I know how important it is for people to know they’re not alone.

    You ask what motivates me? My children, first and foremost. They remind me of how pure and beautiful people are before life beats them down. My second motivation is to raise them as good citizens and to lead through example. I believe almost everyone has something to give and share and that volunteerism could transform our world if everyone gave just a little. Finally, I believe kindness matters and I try to share joy and kindness.

    Thank you for being you!
    Much love,

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 20:02h, 04 December Reply

      LAUREN!!! Thank you for your kind words. I also experienced family loss due to suicide. This person reached out to me for months before he took his own life. I saw, afterwards, that they were cries for help. I had been ignoring him, putting the busyness of my life ahead of his needs. Never again, do I want to let that happen.

      I love your motivation. I don’t have kids yet, but knowing I will have kids one day motivates me to be who I am now.

      Thank you for being in my life Lauren. You’re an inspiration. We’re not done together, yet.

      Love, Chris

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