Fear and An Angry Sea: Going Deep

Fear and An Angry Sea: Going Deep Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic

07 Feb Fear and An Angry Sea: Going Deep

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Have you ever regained consciousness in the morning, as the light gently enters your room and your eyelids slowly lift, and asked yourself:

Why bother do anything today?

It’s a loaded question.

Unpackaged, the Puh-Pieces (excuse my stutter) of that question look like:

  • Perspective: When you zoom out from the day-to-day using the entirety of your life’s lens, you question your existence and purpose.
  • Pain: If you weren’t hurting on some heart-felt level, there’d likely be no motivation to bother looking at changing the way you’ve always done things.
  • Preciousness: Like the beautiful flower that just opened up to show it’s vivid, vibrant colors, you own the feeling that this moment and this life are gentle and exquisite. Tread too heavily, and it’ll get squashed.
  • People: The partner laying next to you, the babies in the other room, the work colleagues you see on a daily basis, or the people you serve daily. On your deathbed, none of the shit we accumulate goes with us. People will say things about us. What will those words be?

So, why do anything?

What’s worth doing?

Why should I sit up, stand up, and put my feet on the ground?

“The Sea Was Angry That Day My Friends”

Exploring fear and death is not fair without a little humor.

George Costanza in “The Marine Biologist” episode experienced an angry sea too (1:40).

My angry sea doesn’t come in the form of a story to tell.

My angry sea is a battle I’ve been having for half a year to understand what the f*** is going on.

The vision usually comes when I’m at home, in between tasks.

About to sit down and eat lunch, my mind’s eye sees out from a boat with a tragically turbulent ocean. I’m rocking to-and-fro and blacks and purples surround me as lightning strikes in the background.

It was only for a moment. It leads to me consciously asking myself “What the f*** was that?”

Ten to twenty times over the past year, I’ve been on this ship, thinking to myself, “I’m about to die.”

If I said that I knew exactly what this vision meant, I’d be lying to you.

Here’s what I’ve learned, exploring it, so far.

Exploring the Depths of the Ocean

Deep to all of our reasons for doing or not doing, to all of our dreams that go unheard, to all of our motivations that are in opposition to the allergy of aging, is:


We love to do the things we do.

Whether that is:

  • playing with our kids.
  • holding our grandchildren.
  • gardening in the vibrant sun.
  • leaving a sweat angel on the ground after a CrossFit workout.
  • getting a run on as a form of daily meditation.
  • going to yoga class to feel more calm.
  • playing music to experience the flow.

Doing what we love makes us feel alive. It’s an expression of who we are at a heart-level.

Now, ask yourself, when you’re unable to do that thing you love to do, how do you feel?

Go deeper than your inability to do it in the present moment, on this day.

Imagine that an almighty judge came and said:

You love tetherball [or whatever it is for you], right? No more for you. Until you die, you cannot play any more tetherball.

Be with that feeling.

What happened?

My heart went into the corner of the room, curled up into the fetal position with its arms around its legs, and sobbed. That pulsing organ in the center of my chest died a little bit.

Over the duration of your lifetime, not doing the thing you love to do (and your soul says you are meant to do) manifests as fear over all of our one biggest rite of passage.


Riding the turbulent waves of that deep, dark ocean occurs to me now as a sign to take this life very seriously. And to never go without listening to my heart’s whispers, in the same way that we would with a two year-old child who is crying and just wants to be fully seen and listened to.

What the F*** Does this Have to Do With Being In Pain?

I’m cursing a lot today. Sorry.

The words feel like they want to be emphasized.

Remember that at Barefoot Rehab, we treat people who have annoying, frustrating pains that have been present more than two months, even though they’ve seen 3-5 other doctors or therapists.

But, I’m a jungle boy.

My partner, Katie and I, talk about moving to Hawaii and Costa Rica quite often. I believe that we will live in one of those places some day.

When I ask myself in the mornings, “Why bother doing anything today?”, the answer that comes loudest to me is:

People are suffering in pain.

Get up and go sit down in the hole with them.

Hold their hands.

Let them cry.

Cry with them.

And do whatever you can to wipe their tears away.

That’s why I got up today …

Who I Woke Up For Today …

If you agree with any of the following points, I can’t help you:

  • You’ve been hurting for a few days or weeks.
  • You want to see a normal chiropractor (if you don’t know who to see, let me know and I’ll give you the contact information for some amazing chiropractors).
  • You want to see a normal physical therapist (ask me for the name of a wonderful physical therapist).
  • You want to be out of pain to get back to your yoga, CrossFit, cycling, or lifting, and I emphasize, at the cost of your 80 year-old self’s health and fitness.
  • You believe that your health insurance entitles you to the highest quality musculoskeletal care (ask me for in-network doctors who I trust to deliver some value to you).
  • You live in a bubble and want to address your pain without making lifestyle changes.
  • You want to be out of pain but you don’t want to address the cause of your pain (sometimes patients are surprised when I recommend surgery).
  • You’re not willing to invest money for your body, the thing that literally houses your spirit, life, and existence today on this planet.

These are all points I’ve wrested with over the years.

Awareness over the preciousness of life is currently the #1 reason I drive to Boston and pay $400 per treatment for the health of my physical body.

This body is too precious to skimp on.

Your body is too.

Unfortunately for many, that awareness may not hit us until we start having nightmares of drowning in the sea. When that awareness hits you, you may question “Why get up?” too.

The only thing left to do, after fear has whipped us around on that ocean, is to fall.

To surrender and drop through the eye of a needle.

I’ll leave you with this. I recorded this video myself of my friend Boas.

It seems fitting here.

If you feel the fear that life is showing you, come see us at Barefoot Rehab. We get what you’re going through. We’re walking the path too. You don’t have to do it alone.

Much love.

I’m super curious. Do you have any recollection of similar dreams or feelings of fear? What have those signs or thoughts taught you? Please share. Your conversation will help me process my own fears.

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Dr. Chris Stepien, DC, Full-Body ID Certified, ART Certified, CSCS, and CrossFit Level 1 Certified, fixes your annoying and frustrating pains, even when it's been over 6 months and you've seen 3-5 other doctors or therapists without lasting relief Barefoot Rehab in Denville, NJ. 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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