Glad To Meet You. I'm Chandler Stevens.
I help environmentally-conscious entrepreneurs get out of pain and restore body/mind connection so they can tackle our world's biggest problems.
I believe that our only hope for facing these problems--climate change, natural resource depletion, food scarcity, social inequity--is to tap into the creative potential of our species.
And the best way to do so is restore deep connection between body, mind, and environment.
When people don't quite get that, I joke:
"It's hard to give a shit about the polar bears when your back hurts."
How can we face the world's biggest problems when we're wracked with chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and disconnect?
It starts with you.
This page shares a bit of my story and why I do the work that I do.
It started with barefoot running.
When a friend invited me to go running for the first time in high school, I thought to myself:
"Cavemen didn't have shoes. Why should I?"
I learned the hard way: cavemen weren't running on asphalt.
I fell in love with running, but the painful recovery of those first couple of weeks highlighted a crucial point for me:
We aren't living in the human animal's natural context, and our bodies pay the price.
This evolutionary dilemma got the wheels turning for me.
I wanted to figure out what made us tick.
And I wanted to better understand what kind of consequences we were really dealing with.
In undergraduate I studied environmental science and epidemiology, and I dove into the systems-view of life. I wanted a bird's eye view of how the pieces fit together.
Outside of academics I spent all of my spare time moving.
Yoga, jiu jitsu, weightlifting. I couldn't get enough.
But it caught up with me.
I ended up in the hospital. Twice.
I had to quit practicing.
A traumatic groin injury kept me from walking.
I spent months trying to recover, exploring everything under the sun.
It didn't work.
Chronic tension and pain stuck with me for years.
I kept myself together well enough to get a research position at the Environmental Protection Agency.
It was a dream job. I'd wanted it since I was a kid.
But I was miserable.
All I could think about was how broken I felt.
Then I discovered the world of somatic education.
It was an entirely different type of movement practice.
Within a couple of sessions my pain disappeared. Tension that I'd been carrying for years melted away over the span of a few weeks.
It was unlike anything I'd ever experienced.
I noticed that as my body felt better and better, something was shifting internally as well.
I felt more grounded and confident.
I felt like myself for the first time in years.
And I had more clarity in what I wanted than ever before.
I quit my job at the Environmental Protection Agency.
I had gone in rosy-eyed, hoping that I would change the world.
But the red tape and bureaucracy took a toll.
One day my boss made a joke that a fracking water spill was somebody else's problem:
"We'll just shut off our intake valves, and someone else will deal with it."
I was furious. I couldn't stomach it.
Movement practice had made a profound impact on my life, and I knew I could do more good with it on my own than I could wasting away in a government lab.
I took a leap and opened up a studio.
I had no customers, no business sense, no plan.
It wasn't easy.
But over the years I made it work.
I built an international coaching practice.
I couldn't help but share my love of movement.
After all: you experience everything in your life through your body. It’s how you connect to yourself, the people in your life, and the world around you. Without it you're missing a major part of the human experience.
Why waste that?
I ended up writing for some of the leaders in the world of fitness and movement.
I shared a new way of practicing, blending the evolutionary lens of human movement with the principles I learned from somatic education.
I ended up working with clients across the world through this approach I came to call Ecosomatics.
I created The Soma School, a teacher training program for people who wanted to break down the barriers on their work. Within a year I had more applicants than I could handle.
Things were looking up.
Out of nowhere it came to a halt.
I was flying back from a workshop in Seattle.
Our connection was in Denver, and as we came over the mountains we hit a storm.
The pilot tried to bring us down three separate times, and three times he had to swing us back up.
All the while the storm tossed us around.
Half the plane was sobbing. The other half was puking.
And all I could think was:
"What a fucking waste if I die here."
Well, you know how it goes.
I made it out alive.
I got back to Louisville and curled up in a ball on the lawn. I had never been more grateful for solid ground.
I started thinking, questioning everything I had been spending my time on.
Eventually I realized that I wasn't doing the work that I truly wanted to be doing.
But then what?
Was I going to throw away everything I'd built?
Give up on something I had given so much of myself to?
I was at a loss.
And frankly, still a bit in shock after the flight.
I spun my wheels for weeks. I couldn't figure out what came next.
What do you do when you don't know what to do?
I spent a lot of time getting back to the basics.
I walked in the woods. I read old books. I sat in stillness.
My priorities shifted.
I wanted more meaning. I wanted more connection.
And I wanted to wake up knowing that the work I did made a positive impact on the world around me.
Maybe you do too...
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