evolution

FIVE LAYERS OF NOTHING

I have found an entire five layers of nothing.

What on Earth does that mean????

I AM OVER IT!!!!!!

I am over talking about this boot and I am REALLY OVER wearing it!  I am being restricted in my life but I also realize that the patience I have had and the grace I have afforded myself through this process has been the reason I am making any progress at all.

Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Five Layers of Nothing - Dr Erica Peabody

I have always been an athlete and directly involved in the fitness industry through my late teens and all the way through my 20s.  These are the years when habits form and I have formed a strong habit of working out on a regular basis.

Prior to June of this year, I would have some sort of movement or exercise as part of my day,  every single day.  Intensity varied of course, some days it would be as simple as a 20-30 minute walk while others I would attend a 60 minute step class or a 75 minute hot vinyasa yoga class.

I live an active lifestyle, yes that is so true…but now I have realized something else.

In March 2017 is when I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.  I trained hard leading up to that and of course the 8 days of climbing was the most grueling physical activity I have done in my life up to this point.

When I returned home I continued with my “normal” workouts but also jumped in on a 6 week yoga challenge at Bent Yoga.  The challenge was to do 32 classes in 42 days and started at the end of April through beginning of June.  As I did that and earned my free t-shirt, I was noticing an increase in pain over those weeks and so I decided that I would scale way back on my workouts.

Scaling back meant taking a month break from the hot vinyasa classes at the yoga studio, no step class and no running.  This felt like I was “doing nothing” as compared to what I had been doing for decades.

By the end of June, my hopes were to be able to start to train to run the Crim 10 mile road race that I have run every year for the past 12 years.  By the end of June, there was no way to start running as it was getting difficult to even walk which resulted in me putting an end to my regular walks.  Having to take that out of my regular days it really felt like I was “doing nothing”.

I was still going to the gym and mindfully walking around and lifting weights, core work and my boyfriend and I were still riding bikes (since that was not weight-bearing).  Although x-ray and MRI showed nothing was wrong, all of that got to be too much and I had to cut out bikes and all yoga and that really, really felt like I was “doing nothing”.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - The Second Strap - Dr Erica Peabody

Then it got to the point that weights had to go, gym time had to end completely because I was too tempted to do too much if I went to the gym.  If I did go to the gym, I would simply alternate going from the cold plunge to the hot tub and back to the cold plunge.  This was really the end, this time I was really “doing nothing”.

Just when I thought I was “doing nothing”, I would still be racing around my office all day long but then get home and want to spend my off-time shopping and getting other things done.  Then Mike put his foot down, raised his hand at me and said “Babe, just sit there.  Let me get your shoes for you.  What do you need upstairs?  Where is it and let me climb the stairs for you.  When you have time off of work, just chill and relax.”

This was the very end of “doing nothing”.  This was truly nothing.

Just when I thought I was “doing nothing” back in June, layers and layers of “doing nothing” showed up after it.  As I have chatted about this, I will sit back and laugh at how twisted and skewed my brain is surrounding physical activity.  I have laughed at just how ridiculous the standards I have kept for myself have been.

When I tell people this they ask me “How do you survive and keep your sanity while you are ‘doing nothing’?

Three words:  Meditation, gratitude lists and journaling.

When my major release of stress usually happens through physical activity, I had to find a good combination of some things I could commit to in order to keep my sanity.  All three of the above have been part of my wellness routine regularly over the past years however daily commitment to all three has been key.

So maybe that was part of the Universe’s plan during this “boot camp” of sorts.  I have found a lot of time to cultivate inner peace through this process and I actually feel really good.  Of course I am also itching to start walking and get back in the yoga studio regularly, however having these things in my regular day to day, allows me to be patient with this healing process.

Working all the way down through the five layers of nothing has been like peeling through the layers of an onion and although it has been difficult to sit still, I have learned so much.  More than anything I have found a real appreciation of the difference between the time to do lots of things and the time to truly do nothing.  …and Universe, if you are listening, may I pretty please with sugar on top get back to at least my regular daily walks now if I promise to keep them around 15-20 minutes??

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THE SECOND STRAP

He always reaches for the second strap.

It doesn’t matter how many hundreds of times I have put this walking boot on, he reaches for that second strap to help out.

Most of you know I have been in a walking boot since early August.  This has been an overuse injury do to my climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro back in March.  Actually it didn’t happen on the mountain, it was when I got home and never took the proper time to rest that the injury happened.  And beyond that I have been dealing with plantar fasciitis off and on for the past 4 years in my left foot.  It was simply the perfect storm of events.  Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - The Second Strap - Dr Erica Peabody

The trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro was life changing and amazing however since Kilimanjaro it has been the best seven months of my life and all due to meeting one heck of an incredible man.

He has been such a light in my life and I will be sharing our incredible life adventures as we go but I wanted to introduce you all to Mike.

He is the most kind, gentle, generous, hilarious and loving man I have ever been around and I feel lucky to even be able to hang out with someone like him on a regular basis and even luckier to be loved and supported by him.

The other day as I was leaving to head back into work after my lunch, he was there grabbing the boot and helping me.  Of course I am the only one that knows exactly when I am putting it on and taking it off but as soon as I grab and velcro or un-velcro the first strap, he always grabs the second strap.  I got choked up “Even after all this time, how do you just keep doing that and helping me?”

Last week must have marked 500 (not exaggerating) times or so that I have taken this boot off and put it back on.  If he is with me, he jumps up from any place and is instantly up in my business and helping me get this thing back on and he is always fast enough to grab the second strap.  There are 5 total and by the time he has his hands on the second strap he is fixing the rest of them up for me to go out and take on the world.  Every.  Single.  Time.

We have worked and camped and traveled and danced and played since I have had this boot on.  He is always always always making sure it is handled.

There is an air pump on the boot that pumps air around the liner and softens the hard rough corners of the boot.  He knows it takes 8 pumps to pump it up to a comfortable level and that when I stand up it needs 2 more pumps of air for it to be solid.  He counts out loud as he does it.  It comforts me.

I have never ever known a man so willing to help me in my life.  He is there for the fun times but also there, right by my side for the mundane-ness of life…like taking this boot off and putting it back on.  The extent of his help is endless, I am just using this simple task as illustration.  Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - The Second Strap - Dr Erica Peabody

I would be a liar if I said this has all been easy for me but honestly, to accept help in my life isn’t easy to begin with and it has taken this long to really be alright with leaning on him.  His continual willingness to grab that second strap has been eye-opening, as well as mind-boggling.  For the 40 years of my life so far, I have never had so much help, love and support.

Does it sound strange to say that I believe the Universe sent me such a crazy injury that needed so much tending to and sent him at the same time just so I could truly have a shift in my being and allow him to infiltrate my life?  Does it sound crazy that this boot has been like a “boot camp” of sorts to break me down, break all the guards down and teach me to allow someone, him, in?

A friend said to me the other day “I sympathize with your foot thing as I dealt with something similar for 6 months.  It took me getting to a place in my mind that if this is how it was going to be for the rest of my life, if this pain is permanent and I have to deal with this limitation for life, I accept that as my reality…and then I started healing.”

That hit me like a ton of bricks mostly because I have learned to accept it into my life with the condition that it is just for the time being assuming it will heal and feel better.  But taking the idea up a level to the concept that if I have to live in this boot for the rest of my life and be alright with that has really allowed a huge emotional release for me and I can feel the healing happen…on many levels.

…because if I get to have his help with this (which I am finally healing so I will be back to normal in the next few weeks so I won’t need help with it for a lifetime BUT there are ALWAYS other obstacles) life for the rest of my life, I open my arms and heart fully and accept it.

After all of these months and never wavering ever even once, I know he will always be by my side ready to grab that second strap and help me move forward.  I am forever grateful for his love.

 

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FOUNDATION

If you are following me on this journey, you know that I am currently building a house. In fact, this week they are finishing with the foundation.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Foundation - Dr Erica Peabody This house project is about 1 year delayed but it is a tricky lot and there has been a lot of time spent on putting in the foundation. The house is set back into a hill and so the foundation has to be done in pieces and locked together.
The house project has been going on for quite a while and the one right next door finished just about a month ago. Of course because that one is ahead of us, it puts a bit of pressure from outsiders that are wondering why they aren’t finished at the same time. What they don’t realize is that the neighbors had their house plans in the works even before I had dreamed of purchasing my lot. Their efforts began much before mine did, but sitting side by side, onlookers forgot about that part.
I am fascinated by demolition as well as construction and I am the homeowner that sits on the sidelines, literally on the sidelines, and watches as much of the process as possible in person. I have a very talented builder working on my house and have been sitting right by his side since the very first line was drawn.
I feel very lucky to be part of the process but also even luckier to be privy to the very beginnings and all pieces along the way.
Currently it is difficult to not spend every extra minute out there watching what they are doing on a day to day basis.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Foundation - Dr Erica Peabody It started with excavation and then on to footings. Footings started with just boards for forms and then the cement was poured. At this point it felt like something was actually happening.
The next was forms for the foundation. Watching the crew work so hard and putting together this steel puzzle that would eventually be the foundation of my home, absolutely fascinating. I have an incredible team hired to do the foundation and to watch as they all worked together to make this thing happen was really interesting.
Then the pump truck pulls in and they start filling the forms with cement. I sat there and watched from the neighbor’s stairs as this puzzle soon became my basement.
It has been a beautifully sunshiny fall here in Michigan and that day was no exception. It was in the low 60s and the sun was shining on my face as I sat and watched them do this process.
I have been in awe of this entire building process but to actually watch something like this come together, I called my builder and said “It must be so gratifying to watch lines on paper become something!”
Not everyone will get a chance to put a mark on the Earth.
Not everyone who does get a chance to build will be able to watch the process every step of the way.
In that moment, I realized how strongly I was fighting back tears of

Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Foundation - Dr Erica Peabody

gratitude. I had to have the events of my life to line up exactly the way they did in order to be able to have this chance. During this long and drawn out process, I had no idea if it was going to actually happen and, truthfully some of the process has been very very difficult and some of it actually quite painful.
The nay-sayers will always be there. The ones that want to give opinions on what to do and how to do it will always be waiting in the wings to chime in. I have heard “Do this.” “Don’t do that.” “Have you considered this?” “If I were you, I wouldn’t do that.”
Yup, you know what? We got this covered. There is a reason, well many many reason, why I am chosen the particular builder I am working with. In the midst of all of this I am confident he has it handled as he has shown me over and over and over.
In a moment, those tears of gratitude busted through the surface and I was balling.
Of course I am sure this looked so bizarre to the crew of guys that a woman would sit on the sidelines and ball her eyes out. It was a combination of tears along with laughter as it must have been a pretty bizarre energy coming through from me (I caught some of this in my instagram story:  follow me @drericapeabody)
So I am in this. I have been in this but I am truly in this in a way that I can feel it from head to toe. I have created this beautiful home in my mind for years now. It is amazing to see the beginnings of its foundation, a foundation that has so much strength it is palpable.
This also rolls over to the fact that I am currently building a strong foundation for my life in other ways. Using the visual of the powerful foundation that is built for my home as a vision for my future, I have confidence it will be able to withstand the many tests that come with time.

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#YOGAEVERYDAMNDAY

As a compliment to my calling as a chiropractor, I am yogi and have been for decades now.  If you are in the yoga community, you know that there are online yoga challenges happening all the time, all over the world.  I finally decided to join one called “#yogaeverydamnday”.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - #YOGAEVERYDAMNDAY - Dr Erica Peabody

The point of this challenge is have yoga as part of “every damn day” no matter what.  It doesn’t mean to strike a pose and take a picture (although to some people it does).  Yoga is a way to mindfulness…or is it mindfulness is a way to yoga?  To me, they are one and the same.  To me, it also means to move the body in some mindful way to bring our awareness and existence back to the present moment.

Every day I would find a bit of time, some days was a little and some days was a lot, to do some form of yoga and then share a bit about that day.  (It is all on Instagram @drericapeabody)
Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - #YOGAEVERYDAMNDAY - Dr Erica Peabody

I have been a yogi for over 20 years.  In a past life, I taught yoga for years inside of a gym setting (have I told you that in said “past life” I was a group fitness instructor?).  I also took Yoga Teacher Training with Ethos Yoga about 4 years ago.  I didn’t take the teacher training curriculum in order to teach yoga in my current life, it was more about bringing even further awareness into my own personal practice, I don’t have the ability to commit to more in my regular week at the current moment.  Who knows, maybe someday.  Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - #YOGAEVERYDAMNDAY - Dr Erica Peabody

You also probably know about the walking boot I am currently wearing that I discussed in one of the “Sitting on the Sidelines” blog posts.  My physical yoga practice has taken a back seat to my healing and I haven’t been able to attend many classes since June.  Following my summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in March I was fine while taking a yoga class, but after class my foot would start screaming and I decided was not doing it any favors to continue so I took a break.  Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - #YOGAEVERYDAMNDAY - Dr Erica Peabody

September rolled around and one of the people I follow on Instagram, Rachel Brathen aka “Yoga Girl”, decided to do her “Yoga Every Damn Day” challenge for 30 days.  I needed a little shift for myself and decided I would join.

After decades of yoga, I like to attend very specific hot, intense and sweaty classes with specific instructors.  I am reminded of the irony of having rigid guidelines of classes and instructors as I practice more and more yoga…seems it should be the other way around.  Honestly, if I am going to be in class, I want to spend my time exactly how I want to practice and I have my favorite instructors all over the region, just depends on the day and time for which one I would attend.

Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - #YOGAEVERYDAMNDAY - Dr Erica Peabody

I also love yoga for the community aspect of it.  Doing yoga with other people has a very different feel than practicing solo, or at least in my mind.

I am currently limited in my range of motion as well as the ability to get into different postures.  But inside of the the 30 day challenge framework I just mentioned, I learned so much.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - #YOGAEVERYDAMNDAY - Dr Erica Peabody

During the month I did make it to a couple classes, having to modify almost every posture…I learned new modifications.

Some days I felt like I am all the way back to square one with my practice, a beautiful reminder of all the progress i have made.

The only way in and out of the postures is through breath and where in my life can I take some deep breathes?

As the 30 days progressed, I relished going back to the basics and cherished the strength I have built in my core.

My movements were slow and very deliberate.  Where else in my life can I be slower and more deliberate?

I had to change many of the transitions in and out of postures.  Are there other paths in my life I can or should alter?Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - #YOGAEVERYDAMNDAY - Dr Erica Peabody

As I look around in life, I see so many ways yoga has opened my eyes and offered me different perspective on life outside of the yoga studio.  That is the whole point of yoga and is one of the most powerful parts of having a regular practice.

Of course there is also the part about being flexible so as life comes at me, I can bend instead of breaking.

Thank you #yogaeverydammnday challenge, i have learned more in the past 30 days about myself and my life and how to alter and modify things and be ok with doing less than I am used to.  In the end, I am so very very grateful that my body even allows me to move around like this at all…and I am (fingers crossed) can announce that I am on my way (although slow) back to a BOOT FREE LIFE!!!!

 

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SERVING OTHERS

The concept of “serving others” lives at the core of my being.

I remember 2 years into private practice at Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic I called my mom and said “So I wake up, eat, go to work, come home and eat lunch, go back to work, exercise, home for dinner and then to bed to get up and do it all over again.  Is this all there is?”Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Serving Others - Dr Erica Peabody

I had jobs along the way however being a chiropractor was my first true career and I opened my own practice right out of school.  I busted my behind (and still do) to get this thing up and running and 2 years into it I made a realization that this is what I would be spending my years doing and it blew my mind to think that was all there is.

When I say that, I am not ignorant to the fact that many are married with children and running families and doing the same thing, however, our lives are truly filled quite full with time spent at work.

My very next thought was…”THANK GOD I am in a profession serving others.”

Service is my highest heart calling and my life has revolved around that for over 12 years in private practice and a few years beyond that during my internship at school.

It was dinnertime our second day on Mt. Kilimanjaro, we sat down and one of the first comments I heard was “Man, I really wish there was a chiropractor here.”

When I am out and about in my personal life, I do not always offer up front that I am a chiropractor and since it hadn’t some up in conversation yet, not many in that particular crowd knew I was.  …well until that very moment anyway.

Day 2 of the trek I still felt yucky, sore, tired and out of it.  That is not a place to “serve others” from since my own tank was on empty but it was now sitting in the back of my mind.

I could probably adjust this entire group.

It would do every single person some good in making the trek a success.

It only takes my hands.

YouTube Preview Image

This thought sat in the back of my mind the following day as we made our way to the next campsite.  As we hiked along that next day, or porters would pass us on the trail.  As they cruised by us, they all carried about 30 pounds of stuff on top of their heads and I know one carried 30 pounds of my own stuff.  This is their job and many had been doing it for years.

From a chiropractor’s eyes, it is so clear to see just how much stress has been placed on their spines and it dawned on me that I should spend any extra energy I have serving them.  The 31 women on this trek live good lives and have access to all the care they need at home.  This is not to discount their need in that moment but many of our team of porters and guides had never heard of chiropractic and had no concept of what a chiropractic adjustment could do…much less how beneficial it would be to their spines, nervous systems, health and well-being and multiply that by the fact they carry so much weight on their heads on a regular basis.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Serving Others - Dr Erica Peabody

Our day 3 hike was long and tough.  I stopped part way down the trail and adjusted Kelly (my patient/friend that invited me on this trip in the first place) and that led to a couple staff members lining up to get checked. That led to me offering my services to all staff and  I opened up a make-shift office outside of the dinner tent, which pretty much just consisted of a chair that the staff could sit in so I could check and adjust their spines.

Many stood back and watched, but some jumped right in with full trust.  By serving them, my own energy lifted.  This is a usual thing that happens, even at my office here in town.  By helping others, I am helped.  By helping others to heal, I am healed.  By helping others to increase the energy inside their bodies, my energy increases.  It is the COOLEST thing about this work I do.  Serving others helps me.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Serving Others - Dr Erica Peabody

It also fills my heart and nothing is more satisfying than what happened the very next day.  I was stopped and standing on the side of the trail.  One of the guides, that was really reluctant to sit down in my chair the evening before but decided he would in the end, walked up to me and sort of whispered “That ‘thing’ you did to me yesterday, I have been so calm ever since.  Do you think you could do that again before you leave?”

Then the following day he stops me as says “That ‘thing’…do you think you could teach me how to do that so I could help my team?”

“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.”  -Marianne Williamson

There is serious power in those adjustments, every chiropractic adjustment is powerful and I often wish you all could feel what I feel in my hands.  Being able to release healing energy inside of the body to allow people to be stronger, healthier and adapt to the internal and external stresses in their lives better, I would argue it is one of the greatest things in life.

Serving others truly is one of the greatest things in life.

I am blessed and lucky to be spending my days waking up, eating, going to work at the Cafe, coming home and eating lunch, going back to work, exercising, then home for dinner and then to bed to get up and do it all over again the next day serving others.

 

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DO LESS

“DO LESS” is the mantra I say over and over to myself lately.

I don’t know about your life, but every single last second will fill up in my life if I let it.  I find myself running here and there and being pulled in all kinds of different directions.

Dr Erica Peabody - DO LESS - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan

In Moshi, Tanzania relaxing

Also when all the minutes of life are filled up, the days and weeks and months fly by!  In fact, it is hard to believe we are working on the second half of June already when it feels like January was yesterday!

Since my training and trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, I have had a lot to accomplish.  I always have a lot going on during my weeks of serving the community at my office Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic.  But on top of that, I had so many weekends where I needed to travel for work conventions and the other weekends filled with other plans, fun plans, but plans nonetheless.  It turned out I was only home 3 weekends out of 3 full months.

Once June rolled around and I was working to plan my month ahead, I decided this was going to be the month to do less.  Do less traveling.  Do less roaming around this area.  Make less plans.  Do less with my downtime.  And now that we are over half way through this month, I am glad I made that an actual goal.

I have spent a few full days sitting at the lake.  I have spent many evenings just relaxing and reading and writing at home.  I have opted for longer walks and bike rides from my home rather than making it up to the gym.  I have ran less since my foot is still healing from my climb in March (subject of the next blog).  I have eaten more meals at home and stayed in to just sit and listen to music.  I have successfully done less.

I was considering getting on a plane this coming weekend because I have some new really important people born into the world in the last week but have decided against it.  I have had invites to head up north that I have turned down.  I did take advantage of one day road trip last week that really filled my soul so I haven’t been totally and completely grounded to Fenton, but in that day we did less than what would have been my norm in the past.

Dr Erica Peabody - DO LESS - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan Traverse City

Enjoying the beauty in Traverse City

Since summer break from school is in full force, I have asked many of my patients at the Cafe “What are your summer plans?  Any trips coming up?”   Many of them have said “Nope, we are mostly just going to be home.”  When they respond like that, I almost have a small sigh of relief for them as the school year is so busy that it truly is a time to do less.  Especially since the fall sports season pretty much cuts the last month of summer right out, that is just a few weeks away.

My Tuesday mornings used to be spent going up to the gym and taking a step aerobics class and now I am sitting and writing instead.  When I say DO LESS, I do not mean with your body or with mine and will follow up this writing slot with a bike ride to get my daily movement.  But following that I will sit meditation, if even for just 5 minutes.

Do less.  This doesn’t mean do less with your family or do less with your body, it means do less with your time and be more present.  Be closer to home, closer to the ones you love and closer to yourself.

I am a doer.  I go and go and go and go and go…non-stop…for years.  It has been so eye-opening to have a true goal to do less.  For many reasons I reevaluated what are the most important things to me and saved my extra time to spend doing those things with specific people and cut the rest out.

After writing and sharing all of that, I want to encourage you to look around your life and find an area or maybe a couple areas that you can do less.  I find when I am doing less, I am being more…more centered, more grounded, more peaceful, more rested…less of a human doing and more of a human being, and that makes me really happy.

 

 

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PRELUDE TO 60 EXTRA HANDS

I am recently reminded in my life about the importance of asking for help and started a blog, “60 EXTRA HANDS”, over a month ago.  Now this one is appropriately called “PRELUDE TO 60 EXTRA HANDS” …stay tuned!!

If you have followed my last year of my life, you will be aware of I am currently living in a tiny home waiting for my new Chiropractor Fenton Michigan Dr Erica Peabody - Prelude to 60 Extra Handshome to be built.  In this tiny home, I have decided against having any cable TV (no TV in general is how I have lived for years), but because of that coupled with the fact that the internet/cable companies need you to be available on a weekday between 8am-1pm in order to get set up (“ain’t nobody got time for that”), I have never gotten internet here either.

Then a friend of mine presented to me the fact that he lives without wifi, as well as no TV, and I honestly thought to myself “That is even better than just no TV, no wifi either!”  I have lived in this tiny home since January and haven’t had much access to computer use.  When I am at the office it is just too busy, THANK YOU TO MY INCREDIBLE TEAM!!!, that I don’t get a chance to write there either.  So blogging has gone to the wayside.

AND THEN someone said to me “what about making your phone a mobile hotspot?”  And that is EXACTLY what I did today and I am so excited it worked!!!  I can sit on my couch in my quiet tiny home and start to share my words with you AGAIN and I AM ABSOLUTELY THRILLED IT IS WORKING!!!

So this is a called “PRELUDE TO 60 EXTRA HANDS” and I can tell you this, you won’t want to miss the next blog posts as I have a chance to get back to writing on a regular basis.  It is quiet here and peaceful and it is the PERFECT SPACE for blogging.  YAY!!!!  

 

“Most of you know that I grew up with 3 brothers.  If I could possibly explain to you my childhood in 3 simple words, I would call it “three against one”.  Always…and I was on the losing side of that scenario…”   stay tuned!!!  🙂

 

 

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STUNNED

Absolutely stunned.

I cannot believe what just happened.

I am pretty sure most of you know that the high altitude training I did leading up to my trek up MT KILIMANJARO was done at a gym that is set up in the packing plant of the orchard where I was born and raised.

My brother set this gym up last fall and I remember my first time training out there and how cool it was that I was working out in a room we used to store apples in when I was growing up.  It was our family’s livelihood.

I also remember training day after training day how grateful I was to have that access to that gym and the concept of being able to train at 8,000-12,000 ft above sea level right here in Fenton, Michigan.

Dr Erica Peabody - Stunned - High Altitude Training Chiropractor Fenton Michigan

high altitude training in Fenton, Michgan

Kelly, my mountain sister and training/trek/tent partner, and I would meet out there a few times per week.  We would text each other during the day and share our nerves and how we were feeling and then we would get together regularly and talk each other down from the anxiety during our workouts.  This happened over and over and over, week after week.

We also met each other out there 2-3 nights per week to spend the night at high altitude (which is really where the magic in high altitude training comes from, endurance at the altitude which is what is happening while spending hours sleeping there).

The training days were pretty brutal yet gratifying, but the slumber parties were more like mild torture…for me anyway.  I would sleep for about 5-6 hours and then I would wake up and not be able to get back to sleep.  When you sleep at altitude it is as though the body is working out all night long, and for me it was very difficult to rest.  Couple that with the fact that my comfortable bed in my precious tiny home is roughly 3 miles away and here I am sleeping on a cot in my sleeping bag.

I remember one morning after a difficult night at the gym, I called Kelly in tears that “I am going to fail the sleeping portion of the trek, I just know it!”  (funny thing is I DID FAIL that part if you had a chance to watch my short documentary video log<<—click link to watch.  Ugh life is such a self-fulfilling prophecy, isn’t it?)

Hours and hours and day after day I spent there prepping my body to handle the 19,341 feet summit that is MT KILIMANJARO and because I don’t have a current need to suffer excessively, I sort of boycotted trips back to that gym since I got home a month ago.

Today is a beautiful sunshiny day in Michigan and my brothers and I spend a lot of time out at the orchard when the days are like this.  I was there all afternoon.  I was more focused on the sun, getting a heavy dose of vitamin D, playing with my nieces and nephews, Jeeping and hanging out today that I didn’t go inside.

At the end of the afternoon, I gathered my things and sat down in my vehicle to drive away and then my subconscious chimed in and said “just go and walk in the gym.”

And so I did.

Do you remember the smell of your grandmother’s house when you were little?  I remember the soap smell she had and anytime in my entire life, when I smell that, I warp right back to being a child and all the memories of being in her home (which I always had a great time there with my cousins).

Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - stunned - high altitude sleep training chiropractor Fenton Michigan

high altitude sleep training

The gym has a smell.  It is a distinct “PEABODY HIGH ALTITUDE” gym smell.  It is sort of a rubbery, apple storage, air compressor air kind of smell.  Ok, maybe it really doesn’t have proper descriptor words to tell you about it.

Anyway I walked in, the gym is at 8,917 feet today and I instantly choked up and then burst into tears.  In fact, I cannot stop crying as I write this.

It isn’t a sad cry, it is a “HOLY CRAP!!!  Because of this place, all the training, all the conversations and all the hard work and shitty sleeps, I MADE IT TO THE TOP OF MT KILIMANJARO!!!”

All the planning and plotting and scheming that Kelly, my brother and I did in and around training for the trip GOT ME TO THE TOP!!!  

But then the other layer kicked in…because I was born and raised right here and am part of this incredible family, I MADE IT TO THE TOP.  Because my family had a vision a few generations ago for this orchard life and this land and building that they built, I MADE IT TO THE TOP.  Because my brother is such a crazy out-of-the-box thinker I MADE IT TO THE TOP.  And because I am a Peabody, I MADE IT TO THE TOP.  

Every single day on the mountain I had my brother’s gear on, something of his that I would be proud just to have and I would gather strength knowing that he was rooting for me.  That would then extend my thoughts to the family, the orchard and my many blessings of having Peabody blood and the perseverance that runs far and deep through those bloodlines.

So I sit and think, “could I have made it to the top if I didn’t have that gym to train and sleep and learn the deep meaning of embracing the suffering?”  Yeah, I may have been able to, probably would have found success regardless, however I will never know for sure.

What I am certain of, I am stunned and shocked that a gym could choke me up like it did…and I am blessed to be a Peabody because as a family, we always MAKE IT TO THE TOP!!!

 

 

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A SUNDAY SHARE

I was driving back from Chicago this past Sunday and deep in thought about life and living.  Here is a Sunday share…

I hope this message finds you happy and healthy and enjoying your week…and your LIFE!!  I was realizing as I was sitting in the car for all those hours that we really do have a lot of power in the intention we set for our own lives.  I hope you are making the most of it all!!!  As the title of this blog says…we only get one chance.

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DON’T DIE WITH YOUR DAYPACK ON

“DON’T DIE WITH YOUR DAYPACK ON!”  they said.

These words stuck in my head from our briefing after dinner on summit night.

Every evening after dinner, they would come into the mess tent, do our medical examinations and share with us how they thought we were all doing and what will happen the next day, or later that night in this case.

Dr Erica Peabody - Don't Die With Your Daypack - Chiropractor Cafe of LIFE Fenton

Me (Dr Erica Peabody) Ready for Summit Night

We had 12 guides with our group for our normal day to day and about 50 support staff.  The porters were the ones that carried all of our gear, food water and tents and such.  Everyday they would pass us on the trail and get to camp ahead of us and have everything set up for us for when we finished our days.

The intensity of summit night required the assistance of our normal 12 guides along with 18 additional porters in order to have one to one support for the final hike to the very top.  Having this one to one support for the final summit is the reason this particular company has such high summit success rates.

I woke up nauseated and although I ate a tiny bit of food, I really couldn’t manage to stomach much at 15,000 ft and almost no sleep.  So the climb begins at 1am.  We line up in our hiking line and start to make our way up the trail.  It was the most beautiful night with bright stars in the big African sky.

As we begin to hike, the phrase “DON’T DIE WITH YOUR DAYPACK ON” came back in my mind.  What exactly where they talking about?  I feel absolutely fine.   Were they really serious when they said that?  I am surprised they made such a point to make sure that was clear and that if we needed to hand over the load on our backs to a porter, we could easily do that.  “I won’t need to do that, I feel super strong.”

An hour goes by and I had already overheated once and had to strip my outer expedition-weight goose down jacket off.  The guide warned me to keep it close because I would want it back sooner rather than later.  As I thought about it all, it is close to zero degrees and I should not be overheating at this point.  Then I got the chills.  Then I got goosebumps from head to toe.  Then I got hot again and then the chills.  What on Earth was my body doing???  It felt as though my body was confused and couldn’t regulate my temperatures.

I felt my stomach start to gurgle (which will be an entirely separate blog post) and just after the first hour I realized I was not going to be able to do this summit with the current situation I had going on.  I tried and tried and tried to remain calm and keep pressing on.  I tried so hard to the point I got blurred vision and lost all my strength.  Unfortunately for me my camelbak water hose froze and I no longer had easy access to hydration.

Dr Erica Peabody - Don't Die With Your Daypack - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan

Me (Dr Erica Peabody) Finishing Kilimanjaro Trek

I fell to the ground.  I needed a break and I needed help…and THIS is exactly what they meant when they said “DON’T DIE WITH YOUR DAYPACK ON!”  I understand now.  Sometimes that extra 10-15 pounds, although comfortable and distributed evenly on my back, was just going to be too much, and for me, it was.

Now let’s back up a minute and discuss this concept.  I am not one to ask for help from others.  Of course in my office, I cannot do that alone and have hired help.  But life in general is manageable and when I focus my mind and efforts on something, I almost always can be able to come out on top.  I rarely ask for help, I guess maybe I was raised that way.

There was absolutely no way I could have gone on from that point which is common in those circumstances, hence them having one to one support for that part of the trek.

The greatest thing happened when I fell down.  I was in tears and yelled “I NEED HELP!!!!”  The next thing I heard was “Erica we got you covered.  As I lay on the ground, those from the group that hiked past me put out their hands for a high-five and I heard things like “Erica you are my hero.”  

I realized in that moment that I wasn’t a hero because I was so strong and powerful, I was a hero in that person’s eyes because I recognized that I needed help and asked for it.

Sometimes our admitting defeat is where we really grow into the person we are supposed to be.  Admitting defeat and receiving the help we need is a sign of vulnerability and inside vulnerability is where true power lies.

Turns out that not only did I need my assigned porter to carry my pack, the final 50 steps to the summit, I needed him more than ever.  When it got to the very end of the climb, I would take 2 steps and lean over so my chest would lay on the top of my trekking poles and take a few breathes.  Then another 2 steps and lean over my poles.  You guys, there is a reason NOTHING LIVES THAT HIGH!!!  It was so void of oxygen I didn’t know how I was going to do it.  My porter took my left arm and put it up over his shoulders.  He then took my trekking pole and he took the final 50 steps as the left side of my body (picture the 3 legged race during field day in elementary school).

Even as I write this right now, I get goosebumps from head to toe as I re-live the intensity of that scenario (again, sorry Mom).

“DON’T DIE WITH YOUR DAYPACK ON!!”  I get it now and I am so glad that my subconscious took good note of that when it was said that night.

 

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