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ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

Dr Erica Peabody - Engagement Photos - Chiropractor Fenton MichiganFrom the beginning of our time spent together, the one thing that I told Mike is that I didn’t want normal engagement photos taken.  I didn’t want to take time out of our busy schedule to prepare our wardrobe and have an “engagement photo” session.

Some people have asked “What?  What did you want then?”

Right from the start I had asked Mike to “just be sure there is a photographer standing by close for when the engagement happens and we can have some candid photos taken on the spot.”

Of course for a woman, this makes a lot of sense.  For a man, this can be a difficult situation to maneuver.  Poor Mike got stuck in the middle of it…and though there was a photographer right there for the actual engagement, the photos are not what I was thinking, not because of the photographer though, he was great.  For many other reasons…let me explain.

You see, the proposal was a total surprise.  I did know he was going to ask me to marry him but I didn’t know when or where or how.

I remember along the way we had been talking that he was going to go in and get his haircut just prior to the engagement…but WHAT ABOUT MY HAIR!?!?!?!   My hair appointment was schedule for 4 days after the day he proposed.

I asked him to be sure that when he is going to do it that I at least know enough to wear an outfit that I would want photos taken in.  To make a super long story short, it happened at a western themed winter party.  Not ideal as western wear is not my normal. Dr Erica Peabody - Engagement Photos - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan Now mind you, Mike and I get dressed up every single week and go out on a date night.  We make a deliberate effort to change out of our ordinary work or day clothes and get a little bit fancy and go out for the evening for dinner and dancing. Dr Erica Peabody - Engagement Photos - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan

I don’t know (as I shrug my shoulders) maybe one of those nights would have been a good option???Dr Erica Peabody - Engagement Photos - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan

Our lives are filled with work, personal and family obligations and it isn’t the easiest thing to carve time out for a photo shoot and I was a little bit annoyed that it had to happen this way…that is until I got the pictures back.  Dr Erica Peabody - Engagement Photos - Dr Erica Peabody

The day was fun-filled touring all around Frankenmuth, Michigan, hugging and kissing and getting our pictures taken.  We have a second home right downtown Frankenmuth and we have many sweet little place that we scoped out for great backdrop to our hugs and kisses.

I will be quiet for now and let you scroll through some of the other engagement photos…Dr Erica Peabody - Engagement Photos - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan Dr Erica Peabody - Engagement Photos - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan Dr Erica Peabody - Engagement Photos - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan Dr Erica Peabody - Engagement Photos - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan Dr Erica Peabody - Engagement Photos - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan Dr Erica Peabody - Engagement Photos - Chiropractor Fenton MichiganChiropractor Fenton Michigan - Engagement Photos - Chiropractor Fenton Michigan

 

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THE PROPOSAL

Everyone loves love and I have shared this video with so many people, PLUS, there were about 150 people there to witness it anyway…I wanted to share the proposal.Chiropractor Fenton Michiagn - The Proposal - Dr Erica Peabody

If you are wondering what I am talking about, check a few posts prior to this one.  🙂

Let me set the scene…

I grew up on an apple orchard just south of town called Peabody Orchards.  It is no longer a functioning apple orchard and hasn’t been for quite some time.

My family still owns a good portion of it and along with the property came a rusty old crane-like piece of equipment.  My brother is an adventurer and he and a buddy of his had an idea if they erected some telephone poles, braced by the crane, wrapped them in chicken wire and put a sprinkler system at the top, they could farm ice and then climb it.  This is currently a fully functioning business called Peabody Ice Climbing, sort of like a rock climbing gym only for ice climbers.

Every winter for the past 10 years or so, Peabody Ice Climbing has been hosting people from all over the region for regular ice climbing and even some competitions.  For his loyal customers, my brother throws a huge party called Ice Fest and it is a riot every single year.  Through the years he has gotten bigger and bigger sponsors to help support his efforts and the party.

It takes a lot of people to get the party started and keep it going.  AChiropractor Fenton Michigan - The Proposal - Dr Erica Peabodys a family member, I always show up to enjoy the celebration but also help in any way I can.

Little did I know the plan was on me this year, and everyone there was in on it…

At the end of the day the ice climbing portion shuts down and it is time for dancing and a little bit of cheer.  The after party goes to the wee hours of the night and, although tiring, is super duper fun.

It kicks off with a raffle for gear donated by the sponsors.  I always help with the raffle to be sure everyone get their stuff and all the gear gets into the right hands.

This year was no different…until Mike grabbed the microphone and proceeded to tell our story.  It went like this (be sure to watch until the end).  It starts with me kneeling down near the floor figuring out the raffle items:

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So there you have it!

Everyone loves love and through this relationship I have realized that everyone relives their own little love story out along the stories I share.  Since there were so many people there to witness it anyway and it was recorded on numerous phones, I thought I would share the proposal with you all.

 

 

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I’VE BEEN MEANING TO TELL YOU

I’ve been meaning to tell you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - I've been meaning to tell you - Dr Erica Peabody

Wait!!!  It is past the middle of January, isn’t it too late to say that?  Yes, you are probably right however I do hope your New Year is off to a great start!!!

I am writing to let you know that I spent all the money I was going to use to send out holiday greeting cards.  I went to order them but when I ran the numbers of how many thousands of cards we would have to send out here at Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic as well as my personal life and how many hours it would take to personalize all of that, I decided to do something different.

Over the past 13 years, Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic has grown and served so many people in and around this area that our address list consists of thousands of people.  Back in the early days when the Cafe was in its infancy, it was pretty simple to order 500 cards and take the time to sign them all, address the envelopes and send them out.

After a few years, and our office filled up, I realized how much time that was taking from my staff and myself as well as just how much money was spent to make all that happen.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love receiving Christmas cards and and holiday greetings and love to see how your families are growing.  THANK YOU SO MUCH for including us in your Christmas card list!  In fact, we have kept all of those beautiful cards with your gorgeous families here at the office and have wallpapered the back side of a door here atChiropractor Fenton Michigan - I've Been Meaning to Tell You - Dr Erica Peabody

the Cafe.  Want to see it?   —>>>

I decided about 5 years ago, since it was a substantial amount of money to make that all happen and I also know that there are many people going without food in our area, more than we even know, I would donate all that money to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

The Food Bank can take $1 and get six meals out of it.  I don’t know what kind of food they can get their hands on but it has to be better than no food at all, especially during this time of year.

If one single dollar provides SIX MEALS to those in need, with the money we donated we provided THOUSANDS OF MEALS.  That makes us feel good about what happened to your Christmas greetings this year and for the past few years…someone is eating your Christmas card.

I realize that sending Christmas cards and greetings is an important part of the year to many people.  In fact, I am certain in the coming years I will get back to sending personal holiday cards again with a regular update as life progresses.  In the meantime, I will be supporting places that support our community and make the world a better place.  I think feeding people instead of sending cards was a great choice for us as I know our money was spread far and wide.

I trust the year is off to a great start and I’ve been meaning to tell you all that I am thinking about you, Merry Christmas and Happy 2018!!  May this be your best year yet!!!  …and something to think about for the future, maybe you will send some money to them as well knowing how much need there is and how far your dollar can go.

 

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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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THIS IS 40

It is almost 3 months into my 40th year and I find my inner voice saying “this is 40” in the back of my head at least a few times per week lately.

I spent a week in Florida over the 4th of July.  My travel was hooked to a International Chiropractic Pediatric Association seminar the weekend of July 8-9 but I went down to get a change of scenery the Tuesday prior.  I have not mastered the art of “stay-cation” where I just stay home instead of going to work.  I take 2 weeks off per year, Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - This is 40- Dr Erica Peabodyone at the holidays and one at the 4th of July however I have to leave town to not go into work.  It is not possible for me, YET anyway, to just hang out at home and take time off from work.  The guilt rules my days and getting on a plane and being away makes it peaceful for me so I am able to relax and let go of the office for a bit.

My most favorite way to start my days on vacation is to put on a swim suit and a cover-up and walk the beach for 1-2 hours.  It is a peaceful time of day and the walking helps the energy and thoughts surface organically.  In fact, the friends that I often vacation with, began to start asking me what the “song of the day” is because, inevitably, a song would surface in the morning time.  There is always a song in my mind however when it is quiet, it gets really loud.

While in Florida last week, my morning routine changed.  I still walked the beach but I had to have socks and shoes on.  My left foot is still not right from my trek to Mt. Kilimanjaro.  If you saw me in my day to day, I am fine and my foot is fine.  As soon as I start moving forward deliberately walking, it yells at me.  My walk is now a stroll and socks and shoes don’t look cool with bathing suit and swim cover so I wore workout clothes.  Which is fine.  So I am out there the first morning walking, strolling, on the beach for 45 minutes to start my day.  I look down and am in socks and shoes and avoiding the waves as they come to shore, instead of barefoot and walking in the water and my inner voice pipes up “This is 40”.

That bums me out.  I realize I just have to let my body rest and my foot will recover but it has really slowed me down.

In these moments, I know the very best thing to do is to start reviewing my current gratitude list to override that little pesky voice inside of my head.

“I have an incredibly strong and healthy body, stronger and healthier than every before.  This is 40.”Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - This is 40 - Dr Erica Peabody

“I have an amazing chiropractic practice that has been amazing all these 12.5 years it has been open but it is a new level of awesome as I have progressed as a doctor and servant to my community.  This is 40.”

“I have outstanding relationships with my brothers and their families and can bring the wisdom I have gained over the years to help guide the littles in my family and offer unconditional love in their lives.  This is 40.”

“I have learned so many great, hard, wonderful, nasty, eye-opening lessons in life and love.  This is 40.”

“I am grateful to share regular time with my amazing Mom as we have grown to be such allies in life.  This is 40.”

“I have found an incredible supportive loving relationship and I am grateful for all the lessons in love up to this point.  This is 40.”

“I have come to a point in my life that I realize 100% of what I focus on heads my way so I better keep it positive and fruitful.  This is 40.”

“I realize the days, weeks, months and years go by so quickly and have learned to squeeze the juice out of every single day.  This is 40.”

“I am more and more grateful for all the little moments during the days that make my heart warm; from serving my patients, to stopping along my morning stroll to take in the beauty of a neighbor’s yard, to the simple hugs from loved ones, to laying down in my bed earlier at night in order to get proper rest to keep my body strong and healthy. This is 40.”

“It is obvious who ‘real’ friends are, who is in my tribe, and to invest in those relationships.  This is 40.”

“I realize how fast I got to 40 and I will spend the next 40 years trying to slow life down and smile even more.  This is 40”

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Trivial things like having to wear socks and shoes while walking the beach can really take us, well me for sure, out of my game.  I know and trust the tools I have worked to develop in my life that can change that feeling of being bummed and it all begins with GRATITUDE.  This life is not perfect.  These days have their own inherent challenges.  Life lessons come at us in all shapes and sizes.

But be grateful. Search for that silver lining.  For me, even though I had to wear socks and shoes to support my feet while I walked on the beach every morning and every evening, I am grateful I CAN walk and I am grateful to have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and realize it is just a reminder of my journey…for now.  This is 40 and I LOVE being 40!!

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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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SURRENDER

Many things have crossed my mind over the past 3 months, many, many, many life lessons learned and one of the greatest has been SURRENDER.

In the 10 days that we were on Mt. Kilimanjaro and and traveling to and from Africa, I counted somewhere around a total of 24 hours of sleep.   Once I was on the mountain, I averaged around 3 hours of sleep per night.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Surrender - Mt Kilimanjaro Dr Erica Peabody

The dayss would look like this:

  • The team would come to each tent and wake us up at 6:30am.
  • We would make it to breakfast at  7 and on the trail around 8.
  • We would hike for 3-4 hours and stop for lunch.  We would hike another 3-4 hours to the next camp so our days were around 6-8 hours of total hiking time.
  • We would get settled in and they would call us for dinner around 6:30-7pm.
  • We would get our briefing for the following day, turn our water bladders for our camelbaks in and head back to our tents around 8-8:30.

At this point we were free to go to sleep and that would have been AWESOME if I would have been able to.  There is this thing called “high altitude insomnia”.  It happens because the heart is beating faster than usual, like it does for exercise, because there is less oxygen.  My my mind thought my body was still working out and it is very hard to sleep with my body in that mode.

My usual is I would finally find sleep around 11ish and sleep for about 3 hours and then be up for the rest of the night.  This happened every single night.  I would lay there frustrated because I knew every minute I wasn’t sleeping was also a minute my body wasn’t truly resting and recuperating from the intense day before and not really able to prepare for the next intense day ahead.

When the team would come by the tent at 6:30am to wake us up again, I would be so beside myself with frustration.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Surrender Hike - Dr Erica Peabody Mt Kilimanjaro

I would get my stuff packed up anyway.  I would strap my boots on and get my backpack ready, grab my water and be ready for breakfast no matter what.  In the back of my mind I would think to myself, “maybe later tonight I will be able to finally sleep”.

The thing is, I felt miserable inside in those moments.  But there are 30 other women maybe feeling just the same or having some other experience just as miserable.  It didn’t do me any good to complain to anyone.  I would get in this mode of I need to do what needs to be done right now, which was strap my boots on and prepare for the day ahead.  Even though it would have felt good to at least express my stress and frustration to the staff, that didn’t matter either because the trail heads in one direction, it isn’t an “out and back”.  We start on one trail and continue to another one for the descent.  Forward momentum is vital.

It didn’t matter how much I slept that night, or the night before, or the previous 6 nights.  It didn’t matter how sore I was, how foggy my head was, nothing mattered but forward momentum and so I knew I better get started.

Endurance, the whole “put your big girl panties on and step forward“ness of this trip was such a powerful lesson in surrender.  I had many logical reasons to resist what was happening and most people in that position would have similar self-talk going on about the whole scenario.  But pure surrender, strapping on my boots and getting after the task at hand for that day was my only option.  There was no turning around, no turning back and only one way to move.  FORWARD!

When I equate this to things in my life back home, I see how this lesson has served me so well in the past few months.  I have a different view on life.  I have spent a lot of my years paddling upstream.  I have spent so much Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Surrender Hikers - Dr Erica Peabody Mt. Kilimanjarotime and effort pushing against the current going in the other direction.  The past three months I have spent more time setting down my oars, surrendering and allowing myself to be pushed in the direction that life is trying to naturally take me anyway.

I have always had high and lofty goals for my life and I always will.  Though I have goals and the “WHAT” I want to accomplish figured out, I don’t have to be so wrapped up in trying to control the “HOW” it all happens.  I set some really powerful intentions at the beginning of April this year and life has unfolded more beautifully than I could have ever imagined.  I am in shock and awe sometimes knowing that the most powerful move I can make is keep surrendering my own plan for the bigger plan of the Universe.

Maybe surrender in your mind means “to give up”, “to give in” an “to stop progress”.  To me, it means to “let go and let God”.  It also means to set the goals you want to achieve but surrender to the process of how it all unfolds.  Our thoughts about how we want things to be or how we want them to look is usually a limited view of what is really possible.  I have been taught this lesson over and over and over.

My action of surrender in the mornings on Mt. Kilimanjaro was the moment I strapped my boots on.  From that point I would stand up from the tent, put my arms through the straps of my backpack, embrace the unknown for the day ahead (have no idea exactly what the day would hold, which direction we were going or how long it would take) and start stepping one foot in front of the other.

“Surrender isn’t about being passive, it is about being open.”  -Danielle LaPorte

For 8 solid days, this strategy worked and I realized it would work for my life when I got home as well “Have a goal and a destination ahead, surrender to the process of the steps in getting there.”  Yet another humbling life lesson and a huge THANK YOU to KILIMANJARO!!!

 

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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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A MONTH LATER

I have made a commitment to blog frequently and I am not sure how it is one month later since my last blog. I am not sure where the time goes. I am not sure what happened to that month…but to say it has been one of the most impact-ful months of my life is a massive understatement.
A month later I look back and cannot believe the trek up MT KILIMANJARO even happened. It feels like it was all just a Dr Erica Peabody - A Month Later - Chiropractor Fenton Michigandream. My life here in this precious little town of Fenton is so vastly different than the 10 days in Africa that it feels like I was swept into someone else’s existence when I went to do that. I am only brought back to my reality when I stand up in the morning and my feet are still screaming “Yup, it was us that did that!!!”
A month later I sit in my office, CAFE OF LIFE CHIROPRACTIC, and am so very grateful for this life I have created and how much of it I have shared along the way. Although sometimes I feel like technology and social media has taken us a step backwards learning how to have human to human interactions, I am so grateful to have been able to share the experience with all of you over FACEBOOK LIVE specifically and of course YOUTUBE as well (<<<—links provided to my Facebook page as well as to the YouTube clip of my video logs along the entire trip).

A month later I am still stopped all over this precious little town so that people can congratulate me on my mission accomplished.  I get stopped at the gym, grocery store and absolute strangers continue to walk up to me and introduce themselves.  I am so happy I have been able to share far and wide that people have followed the story and lived it with me.  When I get stopped people say things like “Hey!  You don’t know me but I know that you are Dr. Peabody.  I caught wind of your story and have followed your updates along your trip.  Thank you so much for sharing that because I don’t ever think i could possibly climb that mountain but I want you to know that because you did that, I have been inspired to take on ____________ challenge.”  This is the most incredible part of this trip, just knowing that it has spread and ordinary people like myself are dipping into reserves of strength they didn’t know they had.  I FREAKIN’ LOVE THAT!!!  I ABSOLUTELY LIVE FOR THAT!!!!

A month later I look back at just how serious the trip was.  I haven’t shared yet, but two women in the group ended up getting high altitude sickness.  When this happens, the porters put them on piggyback and have to run them down to lower elevation as it can be fatal.  When I say piggyback, I mean 2 hour piggyback while the porter is running 4,000ft down the mountain.  We had an awesome crew and they were able to recover well however in retrospect I can see why my mother was fearful for her stubborn, strong-willed daughter that decided to climb MT KILIMANJARO in the first place.  Sorry Mom, life was waiting for me.

A month later I cannot believe how much richer my life is because I was taught the great lesson of surrender.  Surrender to the elements.  Surrender to the body.  Surrender all thoughts and dreams and aspirations.  Surrender to the moment.  Surrender to the sensations.  Surrender surrender surrender.  In the most intense peak moments of this trip, there was nothing I could even think about aside from putting one foot in front of the other and taking one breath in and letting one breath out.  I know there were a lot of people pushing for my success but I couldn’t even think about any of it or I would instantly choke up and lose my breath.

And just a month later I can look back and say that was one of the most rich and rewarding experiences of my life and I am so very grateful to have taken the time and done the work to make it all happen.  Thank you to each and every one of you for all of your encouraging words and positive energy you sent my way.  Many have asked what is next on my list?  I am not sure as I am still processing this one a month later.

 

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