The Paper-Shredder.

Hi.  It’s been a minute.

My last blog post was written in late October 2019, just over six months ago, after more than seven years of weekly or bi-weekly posts.  The truth is, I just ran out of ideas.  My posts became harder to write, harder to come up with, harder to find the time for.  I started my website as a way for you to get to know who I am;  a landing spot of sorts, for you to find me, wherever my physical practice location may be.  But as time went on and life got busier, the joy that my writing brought me was not outweighed by its place on my to-do list.

NYC marathon finish

The 2019 NYC marathon finish line; I’m in the neon yellow shirt.

My last post, 948km to NYC, was written five days prior to my once-in-a-lifetime run at the New York City Marathon.  That run could not have gone better, and my dreams were realized; I qualified for both the Chicago marathon (as of this writing, still currently scheduled for October 2020) and the Boston marathon, set for April 2021.  And then life got busy.  My level of busy had been building for years; as I increased my work hours, as my practice grew, as my kids got older, as my responsibilities increased.  And the blog posts that used to free-flow from me, the stories that used to pop into my head and unravel their words to me many days before my deadlines, simply dried up.  I couldn’t find the time to honour my thoughts, to write out my dreams, to delve into my creativity.  I was on the road to burnout, and even though I could see it, feel it, and identify it, even as I was in the eye of the storm, I felt powerless to stop it.  So I stopped writing instead.

Then Covid happened.

And my world stopped.

You see, I’m a busy-body.  I love to be constantly in motion, I thrive on multi-tasking, I have a hard time with rest and downtime and lack of structure.  Brene Brown calls it “over-functioning,” and explains that rather than feel vulnerable, over-functioners go into action mode.  Um, my hand is up.  That’s me.

The first few weeks were tough.  There were a lot of tears, a lot of disbelief, a lot of fear about closing the clinic, financial anxiety, wondering how I would cope, how we could rebuild.  So I did what I know how to do: I kept busy.  And yet the quiet times slowly crept in.  The sleep-ins became later, the reading on the couch became more frequent, the puzzling with a podcast became more regular.  Big lessons have unfolded over the last two months, and I’ve found the time to listen.  To slow down.  To introspect.  To think.  And yes, to write.

The most recent lesson I learned happened last night.

You see, in the frenzied early-Covid-cleanout of our basement storage room, I came across a box of old clinic financial forms, dated 2008-2010.  For the past many weeks, I have been working my way through shredding these documents, a little bit each night, as my husband reads Harry Potter bedtime stories to the kids.  Last night I came to the end of the box, and in a nudge from the Universe, the final month I pulled from the bin was labelled “January 2009.”

Let me explain: in January 2009, I was nine months pregnant with my first child.  My brand-new clinic was eleven months old.  My stress level was high, my bank account was low, and I wondered how I’d ever get through the obstacles ahead of me.  Looking back, eleven years later, I remember the stress.  I remember the overwhelming emotions.   It was perhaps the most challenging year of my life.

But it brings me strange comfort to look back on this snapshot of 2009 and put it through the paper-shredder.  I got over those hurdles, I made it to the other side, when it felt like the other side was really far away.  And so I trust that, as my resiliency is being tested, my coping skills are being pushed, and my obstacles seem staggering, I will look back, and I will put 2020 in the shredder.

And you will too.

Keep your head up, and your shredder close.






You Have the Rest of your Life to Live

I have had this poster plastered to the side of my filing cabinet in my home office for a very long time:

101 Ways to Cope With Stress-1

It was given to me by a teacher in high school, in the midst of my grade 12 year, when the pressure of University-entrance GPAs was at an all-time high.  I think that teacher could see then what I couldn’t; that everything comes down to one step at a time.  I’ve never been great at seeing the forest for the trees, and my emotions overwhelm me regularly.  When I was a teen, I was still figuring out how to deal with this part of myself.  As an adult, I’ve tried to embrace the passion in my personality and harness my energy effectively.  I now call it ambition (if you talk to my husband, he may chose a different word to label  this trait of mine).

IMG_2034I’m currently in the midst of a stressful time in life; we’re moving to a different neighborhood and there’s all of the logistics and ups-and-downs that comes with that transition.  As I was doing some paperwork last night, I glanced to this poster and the phrase that stood out was “look at challenges differently.”  I see a different phrase every time I look, but “look at challenges differently” seemed perfectly timed for my current situation.  Good advice, great coincidence, perfect reassurance.

This poster has been hung on my University dorm room wall, shipped to Toronto in my move-across-the-country trunk, tacked above my desk as I prepped for my chiropractic licensing exams, and now taped to my filing cabinet and moved to three different houses.  It’s approaching 20 years old, is dog-eared and sun-faded, and it’s one of my most prized possessions.

It reminds me of where I’ve been.  It gives me clarity of where I’m at.  It gives me hope for where I’m going.

My favorite part is the last line: “you have the rest of your life to live.”

Be Kind, Always.

I have a ‘Notes’ section in my phone called ‘Blog Ideas’, and whenever an idea strikes me I try to jot it down for easy access when I’ve got time to write.  The first entry under ‘Blog Ideas’ says ‘you never know what someone is going through.’

Now isn’t that the truth?

I jotted that sentence down more than two years ago and have yet to write about it….. but now’s the time.  The event that brought this thought to mind initially was the tragic passing of my neighbor.  A father of two teenagers, he was in his early 50s when he died.  These neighbors are private people, and we had only lived in the neighborhood for a year, so we didn’t know them well enough to know that they were enduring a lengthy battle with illness.  It was his teenaged son who came to share the news of his death and it came as a shock.  He didn’t look sick, they didn’t act like he was sick, but he was sick.  Very, very sick.  So, it’s true, you never know what someone is going through.

I’ve certainly learned this through my work.  My treatment rooms are often a place where people feel comfortable enough to divulge their secrets, share their troubles, discuss their burdens.  In a place of confidentiality and comfort, their physical complaints are often exacerbated by the stressors that lie underneath the surface.  I am happy that they share with me, I’m happy to listen, I’m happy to try and help.  In fact, I wish there was more I could do.  I’m a sensitive soul, and emotion rolls through me like tidal waves crashing into the shore.  You may be surprised to hear that, as I usually present an even-keel disposition to the world.  But the real me is sensitive, emotional, and yes, dramatic.

Author Regina Brett wrote: “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”  I have many friends fighting many tough battles right now.  If you’re reading this and think I may be referring to you, you’re right.  You’re right too.  And you and you and you.

So, please: be kind, always.