Extreme Makeover: The Heart Edition
We’ve all asked ourselves, “Why did I agree to do that?” Sometimes, we get to find out.
In July of 2008, Michaela Torcaso, founder and owner of TIBIA, Inc. (Transformation – Intuition – Bodywork – In Action), was gearing up for the school’s participation in the Wisconsin AIDS ride. Each year, all the students, most of the staff, and many graduates spend four days giving massages to riders and crew.
In the midst of these preparations came a call asking TIBIA to provide massage for Extreme Makeover: The Home Edition–one week before the AIDS ride! To accept would be like doing two rides back to back, on top of the usual responsibilities of running the school. Yet, Michaela felt drawn to say yes.
TIBIA offers more than just bodywork, so when Michaela brought a crew to Richland Center, she brought more than massage. Those who came with her were also trained to work intuitively with energy.
How did this look? Before the new house could be built and the new garden planted, the old ones were taken out–foundation demolished, grasses and nests bulldozed, trees ripped from the earth. The construction site was fenced off as a hard-hats-only area. Some of the TIBIA crew, working up near the food tent, became aware of a sense of trauma in the earth at the site.
Michaela obtained permission, they all put on hard hats, and down they went. They must have looked a bit mysterious to a 14-year-old boy named Davis, who asked them what they were doing. Michaela explained that they were blessing the ground, thanking God, and holding an awareness of the project’s wholeness already present although not yet manifest.
Davis understood; he and Michaela took to one another right away. He began watching the massage and energy sessions from a distance.
After a while, he asked very shyly if she could please do some of that with him. Michaela learned that Davis had had a severe heart condition all his life. As the days at the construction site unfolded, she got to know his family and felt an immediate connection. Davis is the son of David and Katie Simon. David is a co-owner of Veridian Homes, the company doing the construction.
Over the next few months, Davis received several intuitive energy sessions from Michaela. She began to have a strong sense that the heart transplant his family had often talked about could be happening soon. She invited the family to call her when a heart became available. She went on about her work, having faith that they would call if she was to assist.
One January evening, she found herself with a sense that she should not go to sleep even though it had been a very full day, so she was awake and working when the call came at 11:30. The transplant was to occur at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin early the next day.
Michaela drove to Milwaukee and, at the hospital, worked with Davis and his family–energetically, spiritually, and emotionally. When the doctors came, she was introduced as a spiritual healer and energy worker and allowed to stay in the room until the surgery. There was tremendous acceptance from all the medical staff.
Still working with Davis energetically outside the room, Michaela offered to support the family in a more intense and visible way, knowing that their own healing would contribute to Davis’, and they accepted. She stayed until after the procedure. Although the surgery went well, Davis began to have extreme, debilitating headaches.
Michaela felt guided to return. The doctors had been shifting Davis’ medications in an effort to end the headaches. Michaela was working intensely with Davis so that the heart and his body could merge energetically when she heard a message to relay: “The donor really wants you to have this heart.” As she spoke this message and Davis really got it, his system was finally able to integrate the heart on every level. The experience of trauma softened, and he became more peaceful. New meds were introduced, and the headaches disappeared.
Davis is now doing well. Both Michaela and the Simon family feel that they were drawn to work with Extreme Makeover so that they would find each other.
So the next time you instinctively agree to something and then wonder why, take heart. You never know where it might lead.
Acknowledgement is due to the many co-workers and friends whose roles in this story could not be told for reasons of space. It was truly a community effort–as was the writing of this article (special thanks to Jen Kalafut).
Leora Weitzman is an instructor at TIBIA. She offers bodywork there and through her business, Back in Harmony (608.332.9581).
“There are no words to describe the gratitude I have for the people involved in CAPW. At the time of my brother’s death they were there to offer the love, support, and healing my family and I needed. A time that could have easily been a dark place, they shined the light for us to find the peace. They helped me to face what so many wouldn’t and couldn’t alone. Through bodywork, intuitive energy healing, and essential oils, I learned the importance of staying grounded, being real, surrendering, and living in gratitude. Barriers that I had slowly shed and I could feel the healing begin. Although it has been a bumpy road, the times with my brother are now remembered with joy! Thankfully, I can go to a space where I feel his unending love and
enjoyment of life. The life skills CAPW taught me during this time has also helped me heal in other areas of my life. I am forever thankful to the individuals who took me under their wings and guided me in this process and continue to. Much Love!” ~ Chantry Ketterhagen
Chantry Ketterhagen’s brother, Ben, died in a motorcycle accident on May 3, 2009.
On December 3, 2009, my family suffered a tragic loss. My sister and niece were murdered as part of a quadruple homicide suicide. In the days, weeks and months following that event, CAPW played a critical role in helping to give peace and love to not only myself and my children, but my entire family. Michaela and her team were available to us for massage, bodywork and intuitive guidance, which gave us such comfort in a time when there was little to be had. Not to mention the countless hugs and shoulders offered for our tears to be shed on. Their outpouring of love was exactly what we needed. It made us feel enveloped and safe. It gave us answers when all we had were questions. The love and support we received from CAPW during that time was a gift that has continued to give and I am so thankful for it. ~ Nicole Weigel Adams
Nature’s Pathways – South Central Wisconsin Education
Creating a Peaceful World: Creating peace from the inside out
Written by Jackie Peters
With all the negative things occurring around the world today, sometimes it’s hard to envision peace. “It can seem like it’s an incredibly lofty goal,” acknowledges Michaela Torcaso. “But our commitment is to helping individuals on that journey. As individuals gain the knowledge of how to stop running from suffering — while still in the midst of suffering — they become that much closer to that peace that we all strive for.”
Helping people to live a peaceful life, and by extension create a peaceful world, is something Torcaso and her associates do each day through the nonprofit Creating A Peaceful World (CAPW), an affiliate of TIBIA (Transformation ~ Intuition ~ Bodywork ~ In Action) Inc., 6225 University Ave., Madison.
CAPW cultivates the experience of peace from the inside out by nurturing the ability to remain centered in times of stress. As participants learn to accept and love all aspects of themselves, they grow in their capacity to respond to challenges creatively and compassionately. Through the quality of their response, their experience of peace ripples outward.
To develop this ability where it’s most needed, CAPW offers some of TIBIA’s sessions, workshops and training as a public service to individuals, communities, groups or associations that may be experiencing conflict, discord, disaster or trauma. The sessions offered include massage/bodywork, energy healing and intuitive spoken sessions in which people experience being listened to beyond words and supported in a way that respects their own freedom and inner wisdom. Training, workshops and other offerings instill universal spiritual practices of centering and self-awareness. Participants shed old barriers to sharing their gifts and begin to experience new levels of freedom and joy while making a difference in the lives of those around them.
Rae Duncan found his way to CAPW in June 2010 from Scotland, where he had worked as a caregiver and spiritual guide. For some time he had been traveling on his own spiritual journey, to find peace and understand himself better. Duncan yearned for something that would provide the structure to achieve his goals. The IntuAction program at TIBIA, which prepares graduates to bring healing and peace to individuals and groups through professional sessions, was a good fit.
As an intern through CAPW, Duncan is now completing the IntuAction program and learning how to manage a business by serving as TIBIA’s office manager. “My life gets better and better every moment of every day,” he says. “I know that to me it’s my choice to be this person, to show up, but without the IntuAction program and the education I received at TIBIA, I wouldn’t be where I am today, which is a place of better understanding who I am,” Duncan adds. “And understanding, it’s always a choice. You can be full of fear, or happy and peaceful. It’s up to you.”
Those who have known Duncan since 2010 see a new confidence in his bearing, a lightness and, at the same time, a profound sense of peace and wonder. When he began the program, he struggled with anxiety and constant questioning. And now? With a twinkle, he says, “I now know, that I don’t know.” “Allowing myself to not need to understand” has been key, he continues. This reflects a central aspect of the IntuAction program, which fosters the discovery that one serves most effectively and easefully when opening the mind to guidance that might not consciously make sense. It is when participants let go of the need to understand or control a session that magic can happen.
All the volunteers who bring CAPW’s offerings to the world have had some form of this training, whether through the IntuAction Institute, TIBIA Massage School, or one of Torcaso’s earlier training programs. Torcaso has trained hundreds of people since 1997 on whom she can call to volunteer at events and provide services. Examples of these services abound. On the 11th of every month, CAPW honors a different group with free therapeutic massage all day. Groups chosen to be honored so far include veterans and all armed forces, school teachers, emergency responders, nurses, clergy and more. Every year, CAPW provides sessions to the cyclists and crew of the Wisconsin AIDS ride. The organization also maintained a presence at the Capitol throughout the major protests this year, supporting peaceful energy for all individuals and interactions during a time of special intensity. It has frequently provided support for individuals facing life-threatening illness or the loss of loved ones.
“We can support a situation defusing by holding the space of peace, and consciously maximizing the space of peace so it extends to others,” Torcaso says. “I know from experience that it’s possible and powerful. It’s a muscle we can develop and utilize in the world.” And in the process, we get more peace inside ourselves. CAPW truly creates peace from the inside out.
CREATING A PEACEFUL WORLD, INC, Madison, WI, www.capw.org
On May 14, 2013 my son was critically injured in a work-place accident. A utility pole fell from a crane and hit him the head. He had clots on both sides of his brain which required surgery on both hemispheres and removal of part of his right temporal lobe. A large part of the bone on the right side was removed to allow his brain to swell. His neck was broken and he had multiple facial fractures and a dislocated shoulder. He was on life support in a medically induced coma and later on we would discover his left side was paralyzed.
He suffered what is known as traumatic brain injury. It was unspoken, but the medical staff did not expect him to live. One of the first people I called was Karen Wegert. I’ve known Karen for years and I know she has special gifts that I, as an engineer with an analytical mind, didn’t understand but knew she could use to help save my son. Without thinking twice, Karen came to the hospital and although my son was still in surgery, she started using her gifts to help my son.
Karen introduced me to Michaela Torcaso from Creating a Peaceful World, and both soon became regular visitors working their magic. With absolute conviction, I chose to believe these two wonderful women could help us. I saw a visible improvement right away. When they worked with my son, I could see his vital signs stabilize. His blood pressure dropped, his temperature (always high) would drop which is very important during a brain injury. His intracranial pressure would drop.
His respiration was more even. I could see him relax despite being in a coma and hooked up to an incredible amount of medical equipment. The nurses would often watch this and tell them to continue doing what they were doing.
Using their unique gifts, they were both able to communicate with him and tell me his needs and concerns and what I could do to help him. They were able to tell him what he could do to help himself recover. The hospital staff fully supported their work and the nurses regularly commented on how well he responded to Karen and Michaela. At that point, the medical staff told me they had done all they could medically do and it was up to a higher power. Karen and Michaela helped provide that higher power.
Through touch and the use of crystals, his paralysis lessened. Even though he could not open his eyes or speak, he could move his thumb when asked questions. He made it clear he wanted the crystals in his hands and he wanted Karen and Michaela by his side. He “asked” for them regularly and they always came. As he became more awake, they focused on those areas we knew were bothering him the most. In no time, he was able to move his left side and each day he made more progress.
Due to the severity of the brain injury, a doctor told me it would be good if he was walking with help in one year and great if he was walking on his own in two years. He would probably never drive and they didn’t know how disabled he would be due to the removal brain tissue. This was the first prognosis I was ever given and it was almost 4 weeks after the accident.
On July 5, 2013 my son walked out of the hospital on his-own. Mid-September he returned to work part-time. At the end of September he was cleared to drive and returned to work full-time. He recovered from the paralysis and with the exception of a few scars on his head, you can’t tell anything happened. I am absolutely convinced Karen and Michaela helped my son live. They were there when I needed them and they were wonderful with Matt. Family and friends still marvel at his recovery and constantly refer to it as a miracle. It was a miracle that Karen and Michaela helped create. ~ Judy Murphy, Madison, WI