winter

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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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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I PLANNED ON HEALING

I am calling my newest snowboard trick “double back-flip to face plant”.  Sounds a little like something that Shaun White would do in the Olympic Men’s Half-Pipe competition, however probably without the “face plant” part of it.  Actually it is not a trick at all…and don’t worry, all along I planned on healing.

It was the second run of the day at Georgian Peaks, a private ski club in Northern Ontario.  I drove over and met a friend there and we hit the slopes for the weekend.  It has been a while since I have actually snowboarded with skiers, I usually snowboard with other snowboarders, and we definitely attack the slopes a little differently.

I have said over the years that snowboarding is meditative for me, and is one of the reasons I love it so much.  You have to be 100% present-time consciousness otherwise you will find yourself in trouble in a hurry.  This time maybe, just maybe I was a little bit distracted.  Maybe.

Fenton Chiropractor Georgian Peaks

I was cruising along to keep up with the two-planker, and I caught my back edge on some ice.  I am not exactly sure what happened from there.  I know I hit my head twice (thank goodness for helmets, do yourself a favor and do not go out there without one) so I am convinced I flipped twice.  I also know how I landed, so the face plant definitely happened.  No one was there to witness it but I am positive 5’10” red jacket and loud plaid pants flipping down the hill was quite a show.

When I gathered my thoughts and got back up on my feet, I became acutely aware that I had jarred my right ankle and knee.  I am not sure what movie this line comes from, but my mind went right to “That’s gonna leave a mark.”

When injuries occur, I go into a mode that I like to call “let me just pretend that didn’t happen”.  “Where thoughts go, energy flows and manifests in physical form.”  Over the years it has served me to distract my mind from what just happened, and it usually leads to quick healing.

I snowboarded the rest of the day and met up with some of my friend’s friends at the lodge afterwards.

I noticed that my ankle was a little bit uncomfortable when we were sitting and chatting with friends.  After a half hour went by, it became impossible to ignore.  Another half hour and the pain is nearing a 7 out of 10.  By the end of 2 hours of chit chat, I was in so much pain, I was nauseous.  Even through all that, in my mind I was still planning on healing.  

Our original plans to head out for dinner and drinks changed in a hurry as my body required that I succumb to RICE mode: Rest, Ice, Elevation, Compression.  The friend I was traveling with is a Naturopathic Doctor and we were able to add some homeopathic remedies and do some manipulation of the ankle joint to add to the RICE efforts.

After a few hours, it became apparent that I was probably not going to be able to walk the next day, much less spend any time on my snowboard.  As the evening progressed, it was increasingly difficult to ignore what was happening with my body, however I still planned on healing and the RICE efforts continued well into the night.

The real test came the following morning, when I took my first step on to the floor from the bed.

I have to admit, I was groggy, needed to use the restroom and my mind wasn’t focused on our evening spent in RICE mode when I took my first steps.

Half way to the restroom, it dawned on me that I was not only able to walk normally on that foot, it also felt 90% better.  Good thing I planned on healing all along.

The next question was “do I dare snowboard today or just spend my time resting?”

If you know me at all, you know the answer to that one is always, “Let me just give it a try and see what happens.”  And so I did.  But remember, my mindset was always that I planned on healing.

Turns out I was able to comfortably ride harder that day than I did the day before.  It felt good to be out there in my happy place strapped to my board.  I also know when one experiences joy and happiness, healing energy is turned up a notch as well.

I was happy.  I planned on healing all along and my body did exactly that.

We were both astonished at the fact that I felt as good as I did the very next day.  We both witness incredible healing on a regular basis in our different professions, however we were still amazed by how quickly this process happened for me.

When situations like this come up in my life, it just leads to the building of a stronger and stronger faith in the body’s innate recuperative powers and it’s incredible ability to heal.  We, as a society, have not given it enough credit for what it can do.

It is important to listen to the body’s warning signals and stop when it says stop.  We also need to be living a healthy lifestyle so the body has the building blocks it needs to heal, grow and repair.  But one of the most important factors is plan on healing.

In retrospect, I know that my mindset of “I planned on healing” took my healing energy up a level.  I am not at all recommending that you test the limits of your body, but when you do happen to get injured…do yourself a favor and plan on healing.  I guarantee you will be astonished at how quickly your body follows those orders.

 

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MOVING MEDITATION

In the snowy months, I spend a lot of time on my snowboard.  People often ask me why I like snowboarding so much and I respond to them, “It’s a moving mediation.”  “Meditation?!?!?!  Snowboarding seems like anything but meditative…seems so stressful!” they say.

If you have ever been on a snowboard, you will realize within just a few minutes that you need to be paying 100% of your attention to what you are doing…otherwise you will get in trouble quickly.  It is a continuous process of looking about 10-15 feet ahead, choosing your line and executing.  And for as long as you want to snowboard in a day, or over a number of days, it is the same thing…look ahead, choose a line and execute.fenton chiropractor Singletrack

In that particular sequence of actions, there is absolutely no room for thoughts like “what’s for dinner?”, “I wonder what so-and-so thinks about me?”, “I can’t believe so-and-so said/did that at work yesterday.”, “When will those kids ever learn?”, “I wonder if the washing machine repair man is at the house yet or not.”  It is one of the most “present-time” awareness activities that I experience in life, besides my work as a chiropractor when I am adjusting people, and taking a yoga class.  It is truly a moving meditation.

I recently found the same thing happening on a mountain bike…and I AM THRILLED!!!!  For years I have been a “Roadie‘ they call it in the cycling world…I ride a road bike, long distances on paved roads. For years, I have had friends try to convince me to get a mountain bike and check out that scene.  For years, I would say things like “Trees are unforgiving.” or “Do you realize how important my body parts are to my work?” due to my (incorrect) assumption that every mountain biker hits trees on a regular basis.

Then recently I realized how many miles of dirt roads surround my home and how much biking I was missing out on because of only owning a road bike.  So I succumbed to peer pressure and bought a mountain bike from Cyclefit (by the way, those guys are super helpful when you are ready to purchase your next set of wheels) to ride on dirt roads.

Then I succumbed to peer pressure again and hit the actual mountain bike trails, or “single track” in biking world lingo, for the first time last week.

Just a few minutes into the ride, I found myself doing that look 10-15 feet ahead, choose a line and execute thing that I do on my snowboard and living in 100% present-time consciousness.  Little did I know, an hour and a half blew by like 10 minutes.  I was climbing hills, dodging trees, flying through mud puddles, over bridges, over roots, cruising through sand pits.  IT WAS A BLAST!!!  …and when the ride was over, I couldn’t wait to go out and do it again.

With the madness of life and the crazy speed that the days/weeks/months/years fly by, my brain craves 100% present consciousness time more and more everyday…so naturally at this point that craving goes to mountain biking, which if one needs to have a “craving”, mountain biking is a good thing to choose.  It is also adding one more thing to my list of activities to enjoy doing during this lifetime.

I  may end up staying on that same trail for the rest of the summer.  I do not plan on branching out much and risking anything and both times I have been there, although I know some of the elements and the technical areas of the trail, it seems like a whole new experience to me every time.  Being in present-time moving meditation mode, allows life to always seem new and that is super exciting in and of itself.  Happy pedaling!!!

 

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ITS THE SIMPLE THINGS

It’s the simple things…It has been an absolutely beautiful day! I got to wake up in the beautiful state of Vermont this morning. I had the most delicious breakfast that the sweetest man made for me. We packed up the car and drove 40 minutes up to the beautiful little town of Stowe, Vermont. There is a beautiful chiropractic practice filled with people here that he has to tend to…I continue on up to the mountain, gear up and am out on the slopes by 8:30.

There isn’t a whole lot of natural snow but Stowe Mountain Resort does an amazing job with their man-made snow…and it allows me a chance to strap on my snowboard!!! It is obvious they take a lot of pride in their mountain and the snow conditions they prepare for us to ride on. There are just a couple lifts open and maybe 4-6 runs with snow enough to get on them. The morning is brisk but the sun in shining and the view from the top is absolutely breathtaking. It is in these moments that I am surrounded by so much beauty that I have an overwhelming feeling of being so grateful for my life!

I cruise for a while, getting the most out of each run. I wish I could explain the feeling on a snowboard, for those of you who have never been. It is a controlled slipping and sliding. There is some of it that you can take charge of, however so much is about finding the best line down the run and committing. It isn’t an adrenaline thing for me…for some, I am sure it is. For me, it is about being so present to the conditions, so conscious of the next move that there isn’t time to think about one other thing. It is meditative, freeing and makes me feel so ALIVE!!!
I meet up with a couple new friends and do a few runs with them to finish the morning.

It is lunchtime and in just a short 15 minute drive is that sweetest man that made me breakfast this morning…he will be needing to find lunch as well, so I join him.  In this small town of Stowe, there is some really incredible hippie restaurants that are simple and easy.  It is quite a common thing to find good quality, healthy food in this area.  I LOVE THAT!!!  We have great conversation and a huge laugh about a “mullet email” and then he has to head back to serve his people for the afternoon.

I find my way up to a spa.  I need to use their facilities in order to clean up and get ready for the rest of the day. It was going to be a $50 entry fee into the spa however they allowed me to use their shower and lounge area for $20.  What a treat!  I flew late last night after a long, good day of work, got up early this morning, snowboarded hard for a few hours and by this point I am beat and just need some quiet time.  It was the most beautiful place and such an awesome way to spend the afternoon.  They didn’t skip a beat when it comes to details around that place and I appreciated every bit of it.

My next move was to head back to town and do a little bit of shopping and here I sit in a quaint coffee shop, able to have an extra moment to blog.  So far this has been the perfect day!

I am writing out all these details so that you can experience the simplicity of what made my day so wonderful.  It truly is the simple things that make this life worth living.  It is a smiling face, a breakfast made with love, kisses, hugs, a car ride through the mountains, time on the slopes, beautiful scenery, great food, big laughs, a warm shower in a beautiful place, a quaint little coffee shop, and time to share it all.  Life is beautiful, however things are so much sweeter when shared.

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WINTER’S END

I love the warm weather we are having and it makes me giggle when I see people out in flip flops. It is really amazing how having to wear socks and boots everyday can make one feel really confined and flip flops are so liberating after a couple months of winter. Having been born and raised here in Michigan, I know better than to think that these warm temps are spring. This is not spring just yet and is merely a teaser. I really do love winter. You all know my love for snowboarding and I have found it one of the greatest ways to enjoy the white fluffy stuff. This past weekend I spent snowboarding up at Crystal Mountain, snowshoeing at Sleeping Bear Dunes and playing in Traverse City (what a great area of this beautiful state). This coming weekend I am meeting some girlfriends out in Lake Tahoe…and then my winter comes screeching to an end the beginning of March. What does that mean? The first week of March marks a beginning of a wonderful journey into yoga teacher training at Ethos Yoga Studio in Holly http://www.ethosyoga.net/. It is a serious commitment that I will discuss in a later post, but the class meets every Friday night for 3 months. Being that I work Mon-Thur, during the winter months I spend those long weekends traveling north or out west chasing great snow. Once this class starts, the commitment to it will not allow me to sneak out of town under the radar. I do plan one quick trip to Boyne with my family in March, but other than that, I will be putting my snowboard up for the year and rolling out my yoga mat and living on it for 3 months. I am looking forward to it. Taking yoga teacher training will only add to what I do as a chiropractor. I do not even know if my plan is to really teach classes at all…this process will add to my knowledge of the body, movement, breath, postures, leadership, peace, compassion, nutrition, relaxation, meditation and so much more. I will be updating you through the process as I am going. Til then…RIDE ON!!!

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