help

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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#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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THE VALUE OF A DOLLAR

I learned the value of a dollar from a very young age.  I come from a hard working family and not a whole lot was just given to us once we had earning potential.

That earning potential started around age 12 with babysitting and by age 14 I was working in our family orchard store.  Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Value of a Dollar - Dr Erica Peabody

During high school I worked locally at the grocery store and nights were spent babysitting.  In fact, just last week I ran into one of the kids I babysat one summer that helped me earn money enough to pay for half of my 1977 Buick LaSabre ( <<–OH YEAH!!!)  , my first car.

I think it goes without saying that the money we earn through our own blood, sweat and tears makes us appreciate what we buy with it even more.  The work we do adds massive value to the earnings.

This post is not about earning money…I want to talk about the VALUE OF A DOLLAR…but even more than that, I want to talk about the VALUE OF A LOCAL DOLLAR.

I was leaving my office, Cafe of LIFE Chiropractic, last night and I was struck by one of the coolest concepts that I have to take a moment and share the details.

I see many local business owners and one was leaving my office at the very end of the night, he was my last patient.  This particular guy owns a painting company and does a lot of work for a local restaurant.  I also frequent that restaurant as well as have hired this guy to do some work around my building.

So as he was leaving my office last night, I stopped dead in my tracks with this thought…

I am leaving my office and heading to a restaurant for dinner.  I sit down and eat great food and pay for it as well as the service there at that establishment.  That restaurant needs painting done and so that restaurant takes some of those same dollars and pays this painter to come into their space and do his work for a fair money exchange.  Now because this particular painter is so busy and has been for years, he has some regular work to be done on his spine to keep him in tip top shape so that he can keep doing what he is doing for a long time.  He comes to my office regularly for chiropractic care and spends some of those dollars he earned painting that restaurant.  Then I take some of those dollars he spends on his chiropractic care and I pay my staff for helping me run my office.  My staff all live locally (actually born and raised in this area) and go to have incredible food and spend some of their wage at that same restaurant.  I am a big fan of that restaurant and so I go back and spend those dollars there as well…and the cycle continues.Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Value of a Dollar - Dr Erica Peabody

Now I use plastic for most transactions in my life, it is just easier to track that way.  But let’s say I use single dollar bills to do all of this, and let’s say that the restaurant and that painter do as well.  In all actuality, one single dollar could literally travel that loop for years and years to come.  Of course some of those dollars need to go elsewhere to keep lights on and supplies stocked and such, but WOW!!!  WHAT A CONCEPT!!!

The power and value of a dollar means something to all of us.  But I want to challenge you to take a closer look into this concept and just how POWERFUL your LOCAL DOLLARS spent really are.  Maybe these people are your neighbors.  Maybe they are the owners of your favorite restaurant or hair salon or bike shop or other service location.

This isn’t a rant about where and with whom you spend your money.  Not at all.  I just wanted to shine the light on how money is energy and the dollar bill isn’t created or destroyed, it is like energy and just changes hands and gets a LOT OF THINGS done!!!  When that energy is invested back into the local businesses, it becomes true power for this community.

Fenton is very “small business friendly” and even more so as the years go by.  I currently live right downtown and as I walk by the stores and business, I realize my friends own and run those places, real friends and really good people.  Fenton is a really cool place to be and in saying all of that, I want to say THANK YOU!!!!  to the community for having me and my office as part of it all.  As you are going through your days to come, think about the value in a dollar and just how much value we can all contribute to this energy circle right here in this beautiful town.

 

 

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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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Type 2

This morning I was reminded about Type 2 fun.

Have you heard of Type 1 and Type 2 kind of fun?

So here is the deal.  Type 1 fun is something you do that is super fun to be doing.  It is fun, brings a lot of joy, usually a lot of laughter and lots of good feelings.  An example would be going to a carnival where there are lots of peopleChiropractor Fenton Michigan - Type 2 - Dr Erica Peabody Headstand having lots of fun, smiles around every corner, giggles and laughter and rides and treats and good feelings.  It is very clear that you are having fun as well as anyone with you is also clearly having fun.

Type 2 kind of fun is something totally and completely different than that, yet still considered fun.  Type 2 fun is work, usually really hard work.  It is grinding away at a goal or mission for the sake of the accomplishment.  During the activity, there is usually a lot less of what people would consider actual fun.  It can be treacherous, hard, miserable, painful, all kinds of unpleasant experiences can happen during Type 2 kind of fun.  Exercise is often Type 2 fun.

The yoga classes that I attend are Type 2 kind of fun. Often it is not fun during the process.  It is treacherous, hard, moments of absolute misery, pain and very very unpleasant.  One of my instructors thinks you should “do something every single day that makes you nauseated because it’s so hard” and that “every yoga class should be a near death experience,” and he doesn’t back down However, big rewards happen because of attending class that drives us to come back for more and more and more.

“That was awful.  I hate this place.  I’ll be back tomorrow.” -a common thought in a yogi’s mind after finishing a class.

If you have been following this blog or my journey in life, I would give you one wild guess as to the most intense Type 2 kind of fun I have had recently, or actually ever.

The trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro was Type 2 kind of fun.  Training was Type 2 fun.  Moments of connecting with the rest of the group and going through our days were quite pleasant but the overall trip was so freakin’ intense!

I remember the first day, we all stopped and were taking a little snack and “bathroom” break about 4 hours in and I was standing with a group of about 5 women.  One asked “how are you?”  The response of the first one she asked was “I’m doing well.  I’m making it.”  It was asked again and a real similar response to the first.

Then that “how are you?” question got directed at me.

Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - Type 2 - Dr Erica PeabodyMy answer, “I am absolutely miserable.  My right shoulder feels like there is a knife stabbing into it and it is progressively getting worse.  My feet are the most painful I can ever remember them being and I am hot and sweaty and sticky.  NONE OF THIS IS OKAY AND I AM NOT GOING TO PRETEND IT IS!”…and then I started crying.

Of course this was only 4 hours into the first day so I wasn’t going to sob in front of these women I just met but I was an absolute wreck inside.

I had no idea that I would come to a moment similar to that on each one of the next 7 days.  This was not fun.  In fact there were moments during the trip that I thought to myself “if I am off of work right now, I would much prefer to be doing a fraction of the amount of work I am currently doing.  I work so hard all year I could use these next few days and just chill out, why am I even here????”

Commitment to this trip for myself and all of you following the journey kept me in high enough spirits to get through these daily meltdowns.

The good thing about Type 2 fun is it has HUGE PAY-OFFS and I mean HUGE!!!  …the real trick is that the fun shows up between 2-4 weeks after the fact BUT then that lasts for a lifetime.  Type 1 fun is fun in the moment, but aside from a few incredible memories made within a lifetime, Type 1 fun, although super duper fun, is short-lived.

WHOA Travel, the adventure company that I traveled with for the Kilimanjaro trip, just sumitted their next group on the Solstice last week.  I watched their progress through facebook and Instagram and had a chance to relive it a little bit.  In fact, I felt nervous for them as though I was trekking that whole path again.

Many have asked me if I have a desire to go back and do it again.  Remember what I just said, Type 2 fun shows up a few weeks later…and lasts a LIFETIME!!!  If the stars align and something like that trek shows up in my life again, I am the type that will figure out a way to say “yes” if I can.  However more than anything else, I am hoping stars are aligning for me in other big ways in my life at this point as I pursue both Type 1 and Type 2 fun.

 

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60 EXTRA HANDS

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.

I am not used to being around women for extended periods of time.  Of course I have a lot of incredible women in my life, I have personal time with them in doses.  The thought of spending and entire 8 days together with 30 other Chiropractor Fenton Michigan - 60 Extra Hands - Dr Erica Peabodywomen was an intimidating factor of my trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.  However, in retrospect, those 30 women changed my life forever for the good.

I would say probably around a third of the women on this trip had children at home.  Women, in general, are naturally helpful and the “mom” energy of the crowd ran strong and deep.  If ANYONE, and i mean ANYONE, needed ANYTHING, someone was stepping up to help out, assist others and offer additional supplies.  And when I use the word “someone” I am actually talking about 3-5 “someones” because the generosity of this particular group of women was palpable.

We were in this trek together.  And when I look out at the broader picture of life, we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.  

I am not one to ask for assistance, I have been able to accomplish a lot in my life on my own.  When I am exposed to 8 solid days of really intense activity with such an incredible group of women willing to literally give you the shirt off their backs, it changed me.  The consistency of having those 60 extra hands willing to share, give and serve me in the time of need with anything they have to spare…I am forever grateful.  I learned from them it is okay to ask for help as I stand shoulder to shoulder with such willing souls to offer help.  Of course the culmination of this I wrote about already (click here–>>) “Don’t Die With Your Daypack On”.  Such a POWERFUL lesson!!!

I returned to my normal life back in Fenton with a different perspective about asking for assistance.

I know that my willingness to accept help from others has also taken me to a different place as well.  I have some amazing friends, a couple specifically I am referring to, that stand shoulder to shoulder with me as I progress through my days.  When I ask for help or need assistance with something, their consistent support has continued to help me evolve to a new version of myself.

“If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  -African Proverb

The picture I have added to the post is not a picture I took, however it is a really good representation of how I view this helpful world now.  To have 60 extra hands ready to assist in making this life and world a little bit easier for me, what a gift.  I love you Kili Dadas!!  Thank you for everything!!!

 

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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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