Make the trade.

We all have our happy places.  Mine is most definitely alongside Lake Ontario in downtown Burlington.  More specifically, I love a glassy lake, running shoes on my feet, and the solace and peace of an early morning.  I got that two days ago, and my runner’s high is still holding strong more than 48 hours later.

But my happy place comes at a price.  You see, to access this place, you must make a trade for sleep.

This is an internal dilemma that I wage with myself most Sunday mornings.  It’s still dark, life has been busy, I’m too tired, my legs need rest.  All of these things come to mind when my alarm beeps at 6:00am and my duvet is seemingly always at its coziest.  But more often than not, the thought of my reward pulls me from slumber.  This is my prize:


This view greets me less than 2km from my front door.  And on a warm Summer morning, the excuses fade away as soon as my feet touch my bedroom floor.  I know that the fleeting moment of choosing to get up is the hardest part of an early morning workout and the adrenaline waiting at the finish line is well worth the temporary fatigue.  I got the glassy lake I love and a deserted lakefront walkway and I was back home soon after my children woke up, ready to join in on a day of family time.

The end game of all this is that I’m planning to run in the Road2Hope half marathon in Hamilton on November 6th.  I have many friends and patients also running this race, and it’s the last local race weekend of the season, making it the perfect choice for slowly building my mileage back up.  I live my best life when I set personal goals, and my early-morning-run motivation dips miserably low if I do not have a specific race on the horizon.  So I had 14km on my training schedule and managed to sneak out without my four-year-old running buddy tagging along.  I stopped en route to take the above picture to share with my kids, as I often do.  I usually see some pretty interesting things… skunks, swans, and even a naked man on a bicycle.  True story (but no picture).

But the best part of my happy place is the effect it has on me.  The peace.  The gratitude.  The overwhelming contentment.

I hope you’ve got a happy place too.  And I hope that you go there often.  Even if you have to make a trade to make it happen.

Choose the trade.  Choose happy.

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Body mechanic

I posted on my Dr. Ashley Facebook Page last week about an experience with my kids and chiropractic:

“My seven-year-old son was complaining of a plugged ear this morning.  “Want me to adjust you?” I asked him.  He said yes (he doesn’t always), and I adjusted his neck.  My children are very used to being adjusted, and you can often find me poking around their spines, wrists, ankles, hips, etc, to make sure things are moving as they should.”

There was lots of online chatter about this, and I received a few emails from curious patients, so that’s prompted me to explain things further here (although I’ve written about children and chiropractic before).

I am a chiropractor first and foremost, and an evidence-based, clinically-guided one at that.  One of my patients calls me his “body mechanic,” and I’d say that title is pretty accurate.  Like an auto mechanic for your car, it’s my job to find the source of the problem, and to figure things out and help your body fix things up.  I’m not a symptom-chaser, I’m a problem-solver.  Not everything I do has research to back it up, but everything I do certainly has anatomy or biomechanics or clinical experience to back it up.

That’s why I poke and prod my kids.  That’s why I check their backs when they’re snuggling beside me for a movie, that’s why I check their necks when I’m cutting their hair, that’s why I check their ankles when we’re shoe shopping.  Because I believe that good movement creates healthy bodies.  I get them to move often (playgrounds! triathlons!  running races!  outside time!) and I check their movement often.

After all, movement is medicine.




***Disclaimer: Please note that I am not claiming that chiropractic helps with ear infections, but rather sharing a story about my kids and their experience having me as a mother.***

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Everyone’s got a Hip story

I always write about what’s going on in my life, and today is a big day in the world of me.  Today, my friends, is Hip day. I’ve got tickets to the Tragically Hip show in Hamilton tonight, and August 16th has been looming large on my calendar for many, many weeks.

If you’re reading this blog and live in Canada, chances are that you know the backstory here: The Tragically Hip have been a staple in Canadian music for many decades.  Their lead singer, Gord Downie, announced in May that he has terminal brain cancer and The Hip quickly released final tour dates Canada-wide.  A victory lap, a final farewell, and a chance for Hip fans to say goodbye and celebrate the Hip soundtrack running through their memories of days gone by.

Music has a way of doing that, doesn’t it?  Sometimes a few notes, a simple lyric, a quick guitar chord can transport me back to the 90s, back into my prime Tragically Hip time.  The Tragically Hip is road trips and lake swims, best friends and music festivals, Summertime and Canadiana.  You see, everyone’s got a Hip story.  This happens to be mine:

I was about 17 when I was first introduced to The Hip’s music.  I had a boyfriend who was a couple of years older, and his group of friends were slightly older still; they were cool, I was impressionable, and I pretended to know about all things Hip.  “Day for Night” became a staple in my life and “Fully Completely” played everywhere from his car to his apartment to my volleyball practices to house parties.  Fast forward a year or two, different boyfriend, this time a drummer, and my weekend nights were often spent dancing to his Tragically Hip covers at a University bar.  The albums were “Trouble at the Henhouse” and “Phantom Power” and the background noise was school and friends and Varsity track.  But despite how this paragraph might read, my Tragically Hip story is not all about boyfriends and beer, but rather a time in my life when the future stretched unknowingly before me.

The life I live today is far more fulfilling, far more complete, far more incredible than anything I could’ve dreamed; but back then, back in my Hip days, this life was not one I knew awaited me.  For me, the Tragically Hip represents an entirely different chapter, one where my roots were grown, my identity was formed, and my goals were set.  It was a happy chapter, a fun chapter, but a chapter of uncertainty, as it is for many in that early-adult demographic.  So, I’ll be at the show tonight with my husband and some great friends, and I’ll be thinking of that girl, that version of me, who didn’t know that she’d end up driving by Bobcaygeon on cottage weekends and saying goodbye to the Tragically Hip on a Tuesday night in August, with a babysitter and two sleeping kids waiting at home.

That girl is happy she ended up here.  And so is this one.



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