Megan Evans is the creator of The MS Stage, and brings her love of theater and dance, coupled with almost two decades of journey with MS to her very different kind of support group for women with MS.
Megan has had health challenges her whole life. She was born with Immune Deficiency Syndrome and spent years on antibiotics and antihistamines. At age 14 she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. She never let her health struggles hold her back. After college Megan moved to NYC, just before 9/11. She went through the emotional trauma of the event, and was exposed to the smoke and debris dust, as so many were.
Her first MS symptoms appeared a few months later, when she began to experience dizziness. Without any clear medical answers, as the dizziness cleared up, Megan moved forward with her career plans.
Three years later, as she was moving to LA, Megan lost feeling in the left side of her body. The doctor told her it was likely either a stroke, a tumor, or MS. At that time Megan had one lesion on her brain, which did not meet the criteria for an MS diagnosis. But the neurologist told her, "you'll end up in a wheelchair one day."
Megan was determined to find solutions and began her journey of changing her diet and looking for answers. She did "all the things." Acupuncture, Homeopathy, etc,
She was determined not to own the label of MS.
Over the next 14 years, while her symptoms were mostly controlled, there were flairs, hospital visits, steroid treatments. And through it all...Megan kept working. Even from her hospital bed.
5 years ago Megan experienced a bad episode. She lost feeling from the neck down, She had been pushing a detox too far for her body, which is very sensitive. She had been working too hard as a personal stylist, and she had many more lesions.
She finally began MEDITATING. The one thing she had resisted. She began to dig deep in her emotional work, going for therapy.
Her shift...ACCEPTANCE Acceptance in champion mode! Not victim mode! It was time to be truly empowered!
She took a year off, studying Gabby Bernstein's work, and taking her spirituality to a new level.
Theater and Dance are in Megan's bones, she majored in them in college. Through her work on herself, Megan realized it was time to incorporate them back into her life, and she could bring them to others to help them heal.
Megan created The MS Stage to help women with MS find empowerment and healing through movement and dance. She teaches mindfulness tools to get them into their bodies and hearts.
A key step in the program is to name your symptom. Befriend it. Really get to know it and how it is trying to help you.
This is her One Thing for you to do. Explore the character that is your symptom!
Julie Michelson:[00:00:00] Welcome back to The Inspired Living with Autoimmunity podcast. I'm your host, Julie Michelson, and today we're joined by Megan Evans, creator of the MS stage, and we're talking about truly addressing mind, body, and spirit to live your best life with autoimmunity. Megan brings her love of theater and dance to her group program to help her students become allies with their bodies and their symptoms to create their [00:01:00] super powers.
Megan, welcome to the podcast.
Megan Evans: Thank you so much for having me. It's really nice to be here.
Julie Michelson: I am so excited for our conversation and I am really looking forward cuz I know little bits and pieces. But I would love for you to share a bit of your journey. I know it's hard to share just a bit, but. Broad strokes maybe, or whatever part you feel like sharing with us. Because I always feel like that's where such value for the audience is just to get to know you a little bit.
Megan Evans: Thank you. Yes, I'm happy to share. Always. So I was diagnosed with MS at 24 years old. Prior to that I was born with immune deficiency syndrome. Grew up on lots of antibiotics and all the things. I was sick a lot. I was turned blue. Apparently when I was like two or three, I had gammaglobulin injections in my legs every 10 days because they realized I didn't have much of an immune system.
Then antibiotics, asthma, [00:02:00] you name it, all the things. At 14, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and then was in New York on nine 11. I had just moved there five days before nine 11, literally had just graduated college and. You know, moved up to the city. I was all excited. I actually went to college in Colorado, not far from you.
And my mom was with me, thank goodness, because yeah, we were there. She was supposed to be on a flight home that day. So I was very close to, we were in Grammarcy at the moment when that happened, and we weren't far. The, the action of what had happened that day. And I'm not saying that that was my only thing that caused my ms, but I do believe that that was part of one of the triggers.
I think the stress of that event was part of one of the triggers and obviously the environmental toxins of what had happened. A few months later, I was having some weird dizziness and doctors were like, oh, you're just having. [00:03:00] Which didn't make sense and they gave me like a migraine medication, which wasn't, didn't do anything.
I think it just eventually just went away. And so I was like, oh, I'm fine, you know? And I was 21 at that moment and go starting my career and working all the time and crazy in New York. And so three years later, cut to that, I got a job offer to move to LA was in the process of my move from New York to LA and lost feeling on the left side of my. And I had flown home to Charleston, South Carolina, where I'm from and where I actually hilariously live now. I never thought I'd move back here, but we did two years ago. And we love it. It's great. But We, I flew home to grab my car, which I still had my old car here at my mom's house. So, but I had lo I, at that point, my leg buckled and I was like, some, now I know something's really wrong.
And that happened over the course of like three days gradually. And then I started having vertigo and I went to the doctor and my first doctor, my [00:04:00] GP said, you've either had a stroke, you have a brain tumor, or you have ms. And. I was like, well, I guess I'll choose door number three, if I have to. If I have to have a, if I get a choice of the three, that would, that would seem like the better option, I guess.
Y, right? I mean, I was like, well, the other two could be super, you know, fatal or you know, like, so I was obviously in shock and he sent me to a neurologist. So I get to the neurologist, I have the M R I, I only have one lesion on my brain, which is. Weird. So he couldn't officially diagnose me with ms. But then he sort of, but so then he lost my spinal tap results
Julie Michelson: Oh, yay.
Megan Evans: so they put me through the spinal tap and then lost the results and that my spinal tap ended put me into the hospital because I was in so much pain. Afterwards, they ended up having to do two blood patches to get fluid back into where they had taken the fluid out. [00:05:00] So they did two blood patches. I was in the hospital for five days and like massive pain.
And yeah, it really makes you stop. And then I went back to the neurologist and I, meanwhile, I'm 24 years old at this point in my life. And I went back to the neurologist and he said, well, it's as if you've had a stroke. You'll likely end up in a wheelchair one day. That was his, that was literally his answer.
And I'll never forget exactly that. I mean, that's exactly what he said. And I looked at my mom and I said, no, I won. And I said, we're leaving, and we walked out and I said, I'm never coming back here again. And I didn't. And My mom was a champion. She was also into alternative medicine, and I had even at 14 years old, gone to a cranial sacral therapist for my fibromyalgia.
And so I had sort of already been, and I went to college in Colorado and I had already been into alternative medicine there. And so I was never [00:06:00] an either or. I was more into alternative and, but when I was diagnosed with ms, I was like, they literally were like giving me options of drugs that weren't gonna cure anything that were just gonna, you know, basically not make me worse. And with only one lesion on my brain. And so at that point, I was like fully convinced that I can cure this. I got this. I'm, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna own the label. I'm gonna keep living my life. I'm gonna go on this alternative medicine path. And I did that for 14 years. And that's all I did for 14 years.
I changed my diet immediately. I went gluten free and back then. Which has been now n almost 19 years. It'll be 19 years in February. So back then, gluten-free people were like, what? But luckily, I'd moved. I, so I did. A month later, I moved to LA and went on with my new job and got my life going. Now, not everything was perfect, so I'm not gonna paint a rosy picture here.
I had episodes over the years. I had exacerbations here and there like every maybe few years, [00:07:00] seven years, whatever. I had exacerbations. I did have hospital visits. I did have to get on IV steroids to calm the inflammation down. So I did have those moments, but I did acupuncture, I did cha diet change. I did.
All, literally all the things, , homeopathy you name it, all the supplements, all the things. Eventually I went, I was gluten free. I went dairy free, then I went grain I was pretty sugar free along the way. I immediately, not that I was a big alcohol drinker, but I. Drinking or I would like, act like I was drinking and have like a club soda with a little bit of cranberry and lime and make it look like I was having a cocktail.
Because at 24 you wanna be able to at least like go out and meet guys or whatever,
Julie Michelson: Right.
Megan Evans: . So, and not have them think like she's weird or I don't know.
Julie Michelson: uptight. Yeah.
Megan Evans: Yeah. That she is, yeah. She's uptight. That's a story for another day. I have a funny story about that. So yeah, so basically, long story short, 14 [00:08:00] years into my diagnosis, I had a real, five years ago I had a really bad episode.
I lost feeling from the neck down and. Really what had happened was I had tried to push myself detoxing because I always thought, oh, I can do this. I got this. I'm gonna cure this. I'm gonna do all the things. And I
Julie Michelson: gonna clean it up.
Megan Evans: and I have a very hard time detoxing. I'm one of those people, I'm sure you have patients who are incredibly sensitive.
Julie Michelson: this is why we have autoimmunity. I, I'm convinced
Megan Evans: Yeah, yeah. I'm incredibly sensitive and so is my mom, but it's like you give your, somebody will say, oh yeah, you take a tablespoon of that. I'm like, oh, I'll start with like a pinch.
Julie Michelson: Right?
Megan Evans: Like literally I can't, I can't do it. My body, and I'm five two and I'm tiny. You know, I'm little and I can't do that. So, and I'm incredibly sensitive.
I was born with immune deficiency, like it's just been that way my whole life. So they give me a dosage and [00:09:00] I probably take one eighth of it to start because I have to go really slow with my body. I just can't do it. So Yeah, so I five years ago was trying to push myself was under a ton of stress.
I was a personal wardrobe stylist for over 10 years and had my own business and traveled a lot between New York and la and we moved to Nashville in 2015 and. We were in Nashville for five years and I just would travel and work in people's closets and be on my knees and be on ladders and be in dust in their closets, like hauling stuff for them and doing all of it.
And I just, I loved what I did, but I was like, when that episode happened, My doctor, at that time, I didn't even have a neurologist, . I hadn't gotten an M r I in seven years. I mean, in all honesty, because I was like, I'm doing great. Like why? Why would I do that? Why am I gonna put bat other things in my body when I'm like, fine, I'm doing well.
And so I, the neurologist said to me, Megan, it's. [00:10:00] You've done 14 years, you're great, but like you need to get on something because I had a lot more lesions at that point. And okay, so to wrap this up, basically what happened was I started meditating finally.
Julie Michelson: Hi.
Megan Evans: of all the things that I had done for all the years, I resisted meditation.
And not only did I resist meditation, but I also resisted my diagnosis. You know, like I also pushed against it. I resi, I didn't wanna own the label. I didn't wanna say I have ms, I would only tell people I was diagnosed with ms. I would say, and they, you know, they'd look at me like, really? Look, you look so healthy.
And I'd be like, well, I was diagnosed like 10 years ago, or seven years, whatever it was. But I
Julie Michelson: fine now.
Megan Evans: Yeah, but I wouldn't say I have it. Right. It did ha cause me a few limitations maybe here and there, but then as I got older, it got, I'd have a little bit more limitation, whatever. But now [00:11:00] I've, like, this year my, you know, my leg has more issues now, but still, I've had doctors recently, Dr.
Walz being one of them, actually, Dr. Terry Walz said to me directly, Megan, if you hadn't done all the things that you've done,
Julie Michelson: Oh,
Megan Evans: You'd be, you probably would be in a wheelchair by now cuz she said most people I see who are 19, because I'm almost 19 years in. So let's say 20. Cuz really I think I've had it longer than that.
So let's say I'm 20 years in, she was like, most people I see that far in are already in walkers or wheelchairs. And she said, because of all the things you've done, you've, you kept it at ba like you've done really, you're, you're doing really well. You're, and she said to me, she looked at me and she goes, you're still walking Megan you know, even with a little bit of a leg drag or a little bit of foot drop or whatever, but it's not every minute and it's not all day, and it's not, you know, you're still walking.
And I was like, you're right. You're right. And so I am grateful for my path and. To [00:12:00] get back to that, when I finally meditated and got deep and did therapy and got into the emotional work of it, finally, because I had resisted that too I came, ooh, I just got chills. I came to acceptance. And acceptance is a huge part of people's journeys.
I find it to be massively important. And I am not suggesting that you own the label. You can still be, be empowered, but say that you have something in an empowered way, right? You don't have to like, you can still say it above what actually exists, so you're not still owning the label, you're not deepening it into your cells.
Stating the fact, right? It's information like our symptoms give us information and you're like going on a research journey as you're discovering what's really going on in your body and you're getting to know your body better. [00:13:00] So that is now today. Where I am, you know, I, I'm at the point where I say, yes, I have ms.
I'm, I've embraced the MS community more in the sense that, well, obviously, because my, I, I , I transitioned my business in a major way. I went from empowering women in their wardrobes to empowering women with the MS stage, which is the program I created.
Julie Michelson: Which is amazing and I, I can't wait for listeners to learn more about that. It is all about empowerment and I wanna circle back to. Just sort of highlight, when you say acceptance,
Megan Evans: Hmm.
Julie Michelson: you're not saying acceptance of like what that neurologist told you, first time
Megan Evans: No, I'm, I'm not saying acceptance in a victim mode, I'm saying acceptance in a champion mode. So I'm really glad you pointed that out and [00:14:00] clarified that because it's important. It's a very big difference. Accepting it in a victim mode is gonna end you in a, is gonna put you in a wheelchair or put you on the hospital bed or whatever.
Like it's not, but that is absolutely not what I'm saying. It's not what my program's about, it's not what I
Julie Michelson: and I knew that. I just wanted to highlight,
Megan Evans: I'm glad.
Julie Michelson: because sometimes we do think if we haven't done the work and we haven't gone through it, that that. Resistance you had for so long at the time you thought was empowering.
Megan Evans: Yes,
Julie Michelson: Right. And so that's why I wanted to kind of highlight that of like, hey, actually , the real power does come when, like you said, your body's giving you information you accept, you know?
And I, I love that you mentioned because it, it's something I, I work with so many people on in the beginning. Often people go in the other direction when they're [00:15:00] first diagnosed and they just own that label and identify. And it's like, okay, no, no, no, you are not ms. You are a person with, you know, MS. Or this diagnosis, this symptom.
And we're gonna talk about symptoms. So just love that. That's a part of it too, is like, acknowledging doesn't mean I'm stuck in this thing.
Megan Evans: Right, because then you're gonna be stuck in a rabbit hole, right? You're just like stuck in a vicious cycle, whereas being in an empowered place, You can witness it, right? You can say, oh, yeah, I have ms. I'm witnessing what's happening in my body. I can see it from up here at a higher level, and like I'm, I'm, I teach so clearly that I want people to get out of their heads and into their hearts and into their bodies because their bodies, right.
Hold their intuition, hold their, hold their gut, hold their heart, hold the information. But the [00:16:00] head is just like, overthinking.
Julie Michelson: We're so busy up there.
Megan Evans: busy, it's so busy. And so when they slow down and just get into their feet and get into their heart and feel themselves, feel their body's ground, it's like when that's when the real information starts to come out.
Julie Michelson: It's so true. I am full dis, you know, I'm, I'm a heart-centered coach, . All my coach training was heart-centered coaching. And it is interesting. We have to relearn that. As adults, we have to learn how to drop our energy into our body and feel, especially after years of symptoms and fear and emotion and all the things, you know, I, I can very well relate to locking, you know, kind of putting up a barrier when you have chronic pain.
Megan Evans: Yeah,
Julie Michelson: You know, you, you don't want to be in, you know, feeling that all the time and it ends up again, working against us. Just, you know, kind of like [00:17:00] resisting works against us.
Megan Evans: Well, and it's just a constant reminder too. But we can also go on a on a like, and I've been known to do this too, where I'm constantly chasing, well, I'm not currently in my past. Yeah, old Megan, before my acceptance five years ago, I was just constantly searching for the, my cure, right?
I was constantly, what's the next thing I can do? Give me that. Give me this. Who, what doctor do I need to go to? What do I, you know, and I'm, I'm still like, I'm still on a journey. Trust me. I'm
Julie Michelson: course we all are.
Megan Evans: healthy and I'm not, you know, whatever. I'm not like Buddha, you know,
Julie Michelson: It's, but it is, even if you felt perfect, like I feel I'm so blessed. I feel perfectly healthy right now. It and I noticed I added right now, and I didn't even do that consciously. It is a journey. I have to be so much more intentional
Megan Evans: Oh yeah,
Julie Michelson:[00:18:00] than the average bear to stay feeling per perfectly healthy or somewhat healthy or you know so it's always a journey no matter where you are
Megan Evans: And you have to have the willpower. And it's hard. I mean, trust me, I, I am a person with a lot of willpower, and that's how I've always been. That's just who I am. And I think if I hadn't been, there's no way I would've been able to do all the things I've done for 19 years. But oh, the willow, I mean, every day, right?
You make a cho a food.
Julie Michelson: It's all choices. Yep.
Megan Evans: it's all choices. It's like you take your supplements, you make a food choice that could be bad for you or could be wonderful for you, or I mean, it's literally, well, kind of every minute of every day.
Julie Michelson: Right, right.
Megan Evans: always a reminder, right? Like I might have a, you know, symptom here or there, and then it's, it's so clear.
But, cause I know my body, so. I know what affects different things in my body and I am instantly because I'm so sensitive and I know my body, I'm like, I shouldn't have eaten [00:19:00] that.
Julie Michelson: Oops.
Megan Evans: know immediately. And it could be something that normal people would be like a hummus really? And I'd be like, can't do the chickpeas.
Julie Michelson: can't either.
Megan Evans: you know, I'm just using
Julie Michelson: we could probably share a meal.
Megan Evans: we can share a meal any day,
Julie Michelson: You know, our plates might look different, but I totally wouldn't question what you could eat, what you couldn't eat.
Megan Evans: Yeah.
Julie Michelson: joke with people, you know, cause again, people just wanna be told, you know, how do I fix it? Tell me what to do. And that's, you know, tell me, just tell me what to eat. What do you eat?
And I'm like, oh, I hope you can eat more things than I can.
Megan Evans: I know, me too. I'm
Julie Michelson: I look forward to being able to eat more someday, somehow. So explain, let, let's dig in a little bit cuz I'm so excited to, to learn a, along with listeners about Ms. Stage this big career shift cuz we all, almost all of us landed in our new careers because of our health [00:20:00] journey.
So, but what you're, what you've created is really unique. So, so share with us.
Megan Evans: Thank you. Thank you so much. So I, through that pivot five years ago, , where literally I had to stop everything. I stopped styling. I was like, I can't do this. It's too physical for me. I'm exhausted all the time. My adrenals were shot like. . Even with taking all the supplements and doing all the things, I still couldn't.
I was like, I'm exhausted. I'm pushing it. And my family literally looked at me and they were like, you have to stop. I mean, I would, I was working for the hospital bed shopping for clients. I mean, that's how devoted I was to my clients. And my mom was like, you have to like put the computer away. What are you doing?
Julie Michelson: but that was
Megan Evans: a year.
Julie Michelson: I think, cuz I
Megan Evans: Oh yeah. That was still lingering.
Julie Michelson: Like it's not, you know, I can do this. I got it. I can handle it.
Megan Evans: totally. Yes. All of that. So really I took a year off and in that year I dug in. I'm a Gabby [00:21:00] Bernstein follower. I love Gabby. And I. Gabby and I kind of, we didn't know each other then, although I went to some of her talks way back in the day right when she was start, cuz I lived in New York at the time when she was starting out.
So I went to some of her talks, but we weren't friends. But I just have known her for, in that way, for many, many years. But I dug deeper into her work, did her master classes, got trained in her meditations, and really just started really digging in and taking my spirituality to even the next level.
I've always been a super spiritual person, but I took it like where I didn't even know I could , you know? And through all of that, what was really calling me was, so I grew up as an actress. When I was younger, little when I was little, I started acting when I was, I don't know, little. And then I did commercials when I national commercial with Nickelodeon when I was eight.
And you know, so I had this theater dance background. I was a drama dance. Was my major theater [00:22:00] dance, were my majors at college and. Wanted to be a director choreographer when I got out of college. So that was really in my bones, right? That was my true, like deep love. That is the thing that has you know, that always used to light me up when I was little.
And I think what happened through all of this was that I wanted to get back to my roots and that was calling me, like really calling me and this program. I have, I worked really hard, but it felt like it, it wasn't hard work, like you don't enjoy it.
Julie Michelson: Labor of love.
Megan Evans: that felt like it was coming from another place, like it was coming from another dimension.
And I was the channel that it was working through me. And. That is the MS stage. And so what it is is a six week program for women on Zoom for women with ms. I believe eventually I will open it up to women with autoimmune. I don't think it just needs to be for ms, but because it's what I know best, it's [00:23:00] where I wanted to start.
And it is a program. We do meditations with music, which I've written and I guide, we do, and it's empowering music. It's not just Typical woowoo, instrumental spiritual music. It's music you can potentially hear on the radio. You know, it's, it's lyrical music that has meaning behind it. Because I'm really passionate, I feel it's very important that music drives it deeper into yourselves.
I think the music is really important aspect of the meditations that I do because I. Students through visualizations that are really empowering. I'm all about empowerment. I'm not about negativity at all. The program is not negative. I want these women, they're literally women around the world. And that's what's so cool is that these women would never have met.
I mean, I have a woman. from Canada in the same group as a woman from Prague and like, and Australia. I have a [00:24:00] woman in, right now, I have a group of women all in England, which is so interesting, but all different parts of England. So I'm like, they never would've met if one's in Ireland. I'm like, they never would've met if it hadn't been for the MS stage.
And they all have MS and they're all coming at it different, different angles, but they can share in this experience and take. Take what their knowledge and what they've learned to the next level in their own bodies and in their own experience. And so we do movement and dance and It. Now some women can't move their bo like can't get out of a wheelchair and dance with their eyes closed, and I totally understand that.
So some women do it lying down, visualizing their bodies dancing or sitting in a chair. Just moving their arms, you know, whatever they can move is fine. I just want it to dig into their bodies. I want their bodies to feel the experience of movement in a flowing, natural way that their body [00:25:00] wants to move them.
So we do that. We do a character exercise. So that they , it's very mi it's all about mindfulness. So it's really mindfulness tools that get them into the present moment of their body to get them out of their heads and into their hearts and to guide their journey in a new way. And what happens.
Huh, you can't make up what happens. Like I can't write the script of what's gonna happen for them. Every single experience is different for all the women in my classes. They have amazing shifts and. You never know what it's gonna be. like I sometimes I'm like, what? Really? Wow, that's happened. I mean, students will say there's symptoms better.
They didn't even know. You know, I, I mean, it's just like, it's incredible and I can't, I'm not gonna promise that, but I can say there's hope for that. There's hope for creating that just because of the work that we do at the MS stage. The number one thing, the one [00:26:00] of the first things we do is to name our symptoms.
So I developed a practice. Of naming your symptoms so that you can become friends with it. You can learn what it's wearing, what he look, he or she. Sometimes they're women, sometimes they're men, sometimes they're objects, but usually it's a male or female. And that's always interesting too. If it's on, if it's male or female but client, students will talk about what they visualize them looking like, what they're wearing.
Oh, he has a hat on and he's wearing this and he, he's 18 years old and he's, I mean, they have very specific visualizations of what these, these characters look like that are their symptoms, so that when they have a flare. Or when their leg or their bladder, their incontinence, whatever it is, is bothering them.
They can talk to them. They can have a relationship that's more fun, that doesn't have to [00:27:00] be so doom and gloom all the time. It can be like, because my left leg, her name is Roxy, and my foot has, I have foot drops sometimes. Her name is Grace. But those, I talked to them and Roxy, when that name came to me on a meditation.
I was like, I don't, I've never said, I mean, names just come to people in the meditations. I lead them and they're like, I never, I don't even know a Harry. I don't even know a Roxy.
Julie Michelson: does not have to make sense.
Megan Evans: no, it doesn't have to make sense. And then it made sense to me because of the, I don't know if you've ever seen the musical Chicago. Well, Roxy, Renee Zeiger in the movie played Roxy and it ma, all of a sudden I was like, oh, that's why, that's why her name came to me. Because she was like a total badass. And, yeah. and she works with her cane. She dances with her cane. I dance with my cane, so I use my cane, which I don't use every day.[00:28:00]
This today, I, I went to the eye appointment and didn't need my cane for my long walk, you know? But some days I do, if it's hot or hot or if I'm tired or whatever. Sometimes, sometimes I need it. And I, that was the other thing. I bought my cane out of empowerment. I was excited. I took myself to c v. And I was like, I'm gonna get a cane today.
And I didn't get sad, I didn't get needy. I just was like, you know what? This is my decision. Like I'm excited about this because I know it's gonna help me and it, I used it as a tool that I know will help my day-to-day experience. So then I'm like, well, cool. I named my can. I bought a pink one that I love, that I dance with.
You know, it's like you can make, some people might be like, well, great for you, but like, you know, , my, my experience is not that. And I'm like, well, but you can still make it more joyous.
Julie Michelson: And those are the choice. When you, we said earlier, [00:29:00] every moment is a choice, is an opportunity to make a choice. And mindset is a choice. It, it sometimes takes nurturing and training and, and work. But it is a choice and and so I love that because yet you could totally look at it like, I need, you know, I can't believe I'm thinking about getting a cane.
I need a cane. Or you could be like, Hey, I want that walk to be easier and this cane is gonna help me get there. This is awesome. This cane is my friend. And how empowered am I that I can still take that walk?
Megan Evans: Totally, and I can, and she's pink and pink's one of my favorite colors, so I'm like, oh my gosh, I found one that's pink. You know, like,
Julie Michelson: one's mine.
Megan Evans: Yeah. So every time I see her I'm like, she's cool. You know, like, it just, it, it like brings a little bit of like, yeah, she's st I'm a, I mean, I was a stylist for over 10 years.
Julie Michelson: be styling. Yes.
Megan Evans: So, [00:30:00] I mean, I think it's just, it's total mindset and that's what I teach. That is what this program is all about, is just a mindset shift. You know, people resisted at first they're like, what? I don't, what is this? What is she doing? But, but then they dive in and they really lean in and, and one woman I've had recently and she, I really was like, oh, she's gonna be a tough one.
Cuz I thought she would Not be negative, just it would be hard she'd be a hard nut to crack, right? To like get her to the end of the whole journey. Now, she cannot wait for level two. Like she's like, this is a she's, her symptoms have been better. She all of a sudden got invited to do, like, she went rock climbing on a rock wall.
Like she was like, I never thought I could do it again. I mean, just things have shifted and it's like the universe suddenly when you open up your mindset, the universe start suddenly starts presenting things to you, right. So all these women, it's like [00:31:00] suddenly they're being presented things. I had one woman email me today, this morning actually.
She said, I walked 11,000 steps. I told myself I was gonna walk steps. She had to go, she was on vacation with her family or something like that. And she said, I, I knew I was, I told myself I was gonna walk steps and I walked 11,000 steps. I was like, what? That's incredible.
Julie Michelson: amazing.
Megan Evans: Yeah.
Julie Michelson: is. It's.
Megan Evans: happen.
Julie Michelson: And this is why you do what you do, and I do what I do and because it, it's to, it is such an honor to get to accompany these journeys. It, it really is. And you know, it, it's inspiring, right? It's, that's, that's why we're here, is to empower people and inspire people and so you.
Megan Evans: like when I created this, I knew I had something, but it's not until you start to really see. What happens with other people actually doing the work that I'm like, whoa, I really knew I had something, [00:32:00] but I didn't really know what I ha. I mean, it's like, it's amazing. So that's been such an honor to be able to witness that.
It's very cool. It's very cool.
Julie Michelson: It's incredible. It, it's, so you talk about. You know, working through the meditations and visualizations and naming your symptoms and getting to know them and befriending them. You talk about, I've heard you talk about, make your symptoms into your superpower,
Megan Evans: Hmm.
Julie Michelson: so you kind of led us there, but, but let's dig in a little bit to.
Megan Evans: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So your symptom wants to help you. That because it's a warning sign, right? So your symptoms warning you when it appears. So what we dig into in the MS stage is what is he or she there to tell you, to show you how are they helping you and what superpower do they want to instill in you?[00:33:00]
So I'll give you an example. So Roxy, my left leg Her superpower that she instilled in me is to slow down, so Right, because we all, I mean, we all need to, right? Our minds are racing. Or our bo right? My body was racing all the time.
Julie Michelson: Your life was racing.
Megan Evans: My life was racing. I had a tendency to be constantly stressed, to be constantly worried, walking around, crazy, walking up.
I mean, I lived in New York City for years. I'd. So many blocks. I'd race to the train, I'd walk. I, we lived in a fifth floor walkup. I'd be hauling stuff up and downstairs. I mean, constantly, you're just co never calm down. And so Roxy has taught me to slow the hell down. And in some ways some people would be like, oh, that's so frustrating.
I'm so sorry. And I'm like, actually I'm super present.
Julie Michelson: Yeah.
Megan Evans: I mean, she's kind of a gift because I'm like, well, she is a gift. She's not kind of a gift because I'm. [00:34:00] Slower in a good way. I'm more present with the people I'm with. I'm more present in my everyday life. I'm not stressed out when I sit at a computer or whatever.
I mean, it's just, I'm not, and so people, so with their superpower, they're discovering like, okay, what is this symptom really here to show me on a deeper level? and what superpower are they instilling on me? So we work through that too. And we go deep with that because it's important and because that is the mindset shift, truly.
That is what will get you to the point of being like, oh, right, I'm grateful for this symptom, you know? Yeah. So does that
Julie Michelson: It's a huge shift. It does. It's amazing. It is. It's, I can feel the, the power. You know, I, I, I just think it's amazing and I love the, I mean, we know mo movement and music and all, we know how powerful all of that is too, as like a [00:35:00] conduit or like you said, you know, get it into your body and your cells better.
Megan Evans: Yeah.
And what I will add to that, one thing I created is called, one of the exercises I created is called Switch. And in the movement when women warm up, when we do warmup exercise we move emotions through the body. So I'll call out different emotions. So we might move joy and then we might move hate or anger and we might move frustration and then we might move ease.
And so it's a really, Cool way to, I'm not a somatic therapist, but I have done somatic therapy work. And, but it's a, this is a cool way to just move the body and realize what's coming up, like frustration's really coming up for me today, but ease felt really good. So then it's maybe like, okay, well maybe you need to focus on ease in your life this week.
You know? So then what comes up next week? And then the next week it's different. What they, what came up for them? Like, [00:36:00] love felt really good, but I'm angry. I didn't even know I was angry. And then we go into, well, what are you angry at? What's, what's making you angry right now? So it's a really it's a true mind, body, spirit level of work at the MS stage.
We really. Go into all of it. But it's fun and it's women connecting with other women, which is cool, who all have ms. But I do believe, I mean, autoimmune, people with autoimmune can, who are your listeners, they can all do this practice because everybody, they all have symptoms and we all have things. And whatever the illness is, the diagnosis is yeah, it's important.
Julie Michelson: I think it's, it's amazing. And, and my favorite part of all of it is, is the fun piece. Like you're. Teaching people to incorporate fun back in because so often by the time they find you, you know, it's been a little while since they had a good visit with fun. So and we [00:37:00] know that joy is healing, laughter is healing.
All, you know, all of those things. And, and I love the mind, body, spirit. I was laughing in my head. I'm like, oh, holistic. I get it. , you know, whole human, all of it.
Megan Evans: right? No, it is. It's the whole thing. It's the whole picture, the mind, body, spirit. It really is. And this, the program really does hit all of it. Which is cool because each of the exercises leads to the next one. We start with different ones and then that leads to another one. And that leads to, and I keep them busy because I don't want them getting in their heads.
So a lot of students will say, well, you know, Well, I haven't had time to even, you know, but I'm like, no, but when it's all over after two hours, I want you to journal, I want you to take a minute. And I give them a little bit of homework, whether it's, you know, take name five things a day you're gra grateful for, write it down, you know, the, whatever it is.
But yeah, but I keep them [00:38:00] moving because I, I don't want them to get in their heads to then go, Ugh, I can't believe this is my body.
Julie Michelson: Yeah. . I love it. So, you know, this question is coming. Here it comes, . What is one step? That listeners can take today to start to improve their health.
Megan Evans: Yes. So my most important thing is to name your symptom. So I would say the first thing I would do is close your eyes. Well, you're Dr. If you're driving, don't do that. Wait till you
Julie Michelson: thank. Thank you for the disclaimer. the qualifier
Megan Evans: the car or get
Julie Michelson: when you're somewhere stationary and safe,
Megan Evans: into a safe place. Close your eyes.
You could be standing, put your feet in the ground, try to close your eyes. You can be sitting just grounding yourself. I want you to take three deep breaths in through your nose, out through your mouth. So you're gonna do that three times. And then what I want you to do is honestly, just ask your body, [00:39:00] ask your symptom, what is their name, and see what comes up for you.
And then as you find out what their name is, then you're gonna discover are they male or female? You know, you're gonna start to work through The ins and outs of who they are
Julie Michelson: Get to know them.
Megan Evans: start talking to them on a deeper level and having a relationship with them and see what comes up for you.
And I, it's really fun. It's a fun practice, so you can do that. Once you do that, it's the first name that pops in your head. Do not overthink it.
Julie Michelson: allow, allow.
Megan Evans: your body, take three deep breaths, and then boom, whatever comes into your head. That's what, that's what their name is. That's what's call, that's what they're calling out to.
Julie Michelson: I love that. Amazing. So much fun. So everybody, when you get to that quiet place,
Megan Evans: Yeah. Yeah. Wait until you park
Julie Michelson: Do the exercise and, and allow yourself to be surprised by [00:40:00] what
Megan Evans: Yeah, it could be in the bathroom, it could be in your bedroom, whatever. It doesn't matter. Just wherever you are safely, then try that and see what comes up for you and have fun with it. That's the most important thing. And then go on, like, and then if you, if you're like, what?
I didn't think of that name, like, how'd that name come up? And then start. You know, maybe you can journal about it, see what comes up, see what they wanna show you and what they're there to tell you and, and dig deeper into it and see what comes up. And if you get any comments, then let me know because I'd be curious to hear what people say.
Julie Michelson: Yes, absolutely. Which leads me beautifully to the next question, which is for those that are driving and on the go and aren't likely to be bothered to click the show notes,
Megan Evans: yeah.
Julie Michelson: where can people find you if they're like, wow, this is really different and amazing and I need to check this out. Where's the best place for people to find you?
Megan Evans: Thank you. I would say my website, which is [00:41:00] www.themsstage.com, and there's a lot of information on the program. On the method, there's the science, there's a whole page on the science with tons of articles about. Why movement's important for ms. How it affects your mindset? There's tons of incredible articles that literally shows that the science behind what we do here is legit and it explains why it works.
So people might be interested in that. So there's tons of information on my website. You can sign up for my newsletter. You can join a group. Click to join a group. You can learn more about the program. You can book a discovery call with me. There's a lot of things you can do, so I would say just go to the website.
Julie Michelson: Fantastic. I love it. Megan, thank you so much for sharing with us today. You have given us amazing gold.
Megan Evans: Thank you for having me. It's such a pleasure. It's so nice to meet you. I mean, I just was like, I can't even believe I'm gonna be on this podcast. I'm such a fan and she, [00:42:00] you're amazing and we speak the same language. You're my people.
Julie Michelson: Yes. Yes.
Megan Evans: I have, this has been such a pleasure, truly, and thank you so much.
I really appreciate having me and taking the time with me because I am excited to spread the word and share the value of the MS stage. It's a, it's a joy, so thank you.
Julie Michelson: Well, we are grateful that you were with us today and who knows when we're gonna see you again, but we will . We'll see.
Megan Evans: we'll just let the universe decide and I'm, I'm with you. Whatever, whatever, in whatever way I'm open. So
Julie Michelson: There we go. Well, for everybody listening, remember, you can get the show notes and transcripts by visiting inspiredliving.show. I hope you had a great time and enjoyed this episode as much as I did. I'll see you next week.
My Guest For This Episode
Connect with Megan Evans
After a successful career as a Personal Wardrobe Stylist and Certified Image Consultant for over a decade in NY and LA, Megan Evans connected to her true calling and created tools for herself and other women with MS to truly heal on a deeper level. The MS Stage was developed as a different kind of healing support group, one based on Megan’s love of theater and dance and her own experiences and knowledge learned over her 18-year journey with MS. Megan now resides in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Craig and their dog, Hawk.