Simple, But Not Easy

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  I just started reading a new book, ‘Wherever you go, There you are’ by Jon Kabat-Zinn and one of the first chapters was entitled ‘Simple, but not Easy’… as I read that I had the realization that that pretty much sums up healthcare & healthy living. With so many fads, promises of quick fixes, cures and disconnection from personal responsibility, no wonder so many people that want to attempt to live a healthier life get confused and overwhelmed. If you take a step back and realize that we are animals living in a (somewhat) civilized world, it makes it easier to think about what conditions we might need to create in our own lives to get and stay healthy. What do other animals need in order to thrive?

  1. Good food – real stuff, not from a package or convenience store
  2. Great nutrition – filling in the gaps that are left from the conventional food supply
  3. Lots of activity – what happens to your dog if you never take it for a walk?
  4. Controlled stress – stress motivates, but too much stress burns up the body. Life is happening with or without your resistance, so go with it
  5. Harmonious relationships – surround yourself with people that make you feel good, and distance yourself from those who bring you down
  6. Present moment consciousness – choose to be an active participant in your life at all times. Living in the past or future is a surefire way to be on autopilot until death.
  7. Clear nerve supply – do you want your body to be running on dial-up or high speed?
  8. Give and receive love – try it, it feels good!
  9. Don’t hold grudges – take a moment to think of who suffers when you hold on to resentment (hint: it isn’t the other person)
  10. Try, and try again – in pursuit of your goals, don’t let setbacks determine your destiny. Ever seen a dog give up on a treat that has slid under the couch? Unstoppable
  11. Social Interaction – with all the social media platforms available to us, don’t forget to engage in your actual life and the people around you. Social isolation leads to depression and premature death.
  12. Don’t take life so seriously – in all the planning, doing, seeking, getting and climbing of life, remember to enjoy the ride.
  13. Deep breaths – each and every one of your cells needs oxygen. Work hard enough, more days than not, to have you break a sweat and breath deep.
  14. If something needs a showy sales pitch, you probably don’t need it. Let this stand for food, diets, programs and products.
  15. Celebrate your victories – change is simple, not easy, so let that feeling of goodness sink in when you make these changes on a consistent basis, or reach one of your goals. You are amazing!

  Now for the ‘not easy’ part – most of these things are YOUR responsibility. No one else can make these decisions for you. You need to assess your lifestyle and start to put into place the changes that will support your inborn potential for health, wealth and happiness. Remember that there are people around you that can offer the support, but showing up is on you. Lacking motivation? Consider seeing a wellness chiropractor like me or another health professional that can put an individualized program in place for you, AND supply the pep talks to keep you moving forward. A big part of my day is reminding my beautiful practice members that they are stronger than they think they are, have the capacity for health and healing when all they see are symptoms and disease, and deserve to be truly well.

Have a great week! And remember, it’s your future, arrive healthy.

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Thoughts on Mindfulness

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   I often speak about how important it is to monitor your thoughts. As we know what we think about, we bring about. Thoughts are energy, and they act like a vacuum to bring like-minded things into your life. Thoughts are like seeds; would you like to plant beautiful flowers or weeds?  If you want a shift in the outcome or trajectory of your life, you need to literally change your mind.  So where does Mindfulness fall into this conversation? Thinking about our thoughts and where our attention lays is mindfulness in action. 

   Yesterday I had an encounter (of the unwanted variety) with mindfulness, or lack thereof. I was so excited to have my favorite Ashtanga teacher Elise, back from India and leading a month of self-led practice, and yesterday was Day 1. I was in the middle of a very energetic practice, quite the feat considering it was barely 7AM, and I let my mind drift. In that split second of my mind not being focused on my breath and my body, I experienced quite intense pain, and I’m dealing with the backlash of that momentary loss of mindfulness. At first I thought “$#!%, this is only the first day!” but as I lay there thinking about what had happened, I realized it was a lesson. When you let your mind stray, it will take you down a path that you wouldn’t consciously choose – path of least resistance, right? Once you realize you’ve lost your focus and are going down an unwanted path you can choose to correct course, but you might still have to deal with some unwanted effects of your foray into unconscious living – case and point – the nagging pain in my back!

   Now obviously this is just a situation that awakened me to a lesson, and the loss of mindfulness was only a second, and the pain is only physical and will pass.  In order for the body to heal quicker I have to remove any interference to the healing process – physical, mental and chemical – I’m so happy I have a chiropractor that knows my spine so well! The real crisis is that so many people are living their lives without any mindfulness. If you are not consciously choosing where to place your focus, and what thoughts you allow (or more importantly, being aware of the thoughts you should override), you end up living a life that does not express your full perfection.

   Developing mindfulness is a skill that takes practice in order to make it a habit. Like any learned habit we have to climb through the “Four Stages of Competence” as described by Abraham Maslow – nothing of substance happens overnight (unless we are talking about making babies). The first stage is to be “Unconsciously Incompetent, aka you don’t know what you don’t know. Hopefully this blog has made you think and you can recognize that you are living without mindfulness; this awareness shifts you to “Conscious Incompetence”. This stage involves taking a good look at your inner self and being honest with where you are. Some people don’t like what they see, and decide to run away from the opportunity to change because “that’s just the way I am”, which is really code for “I’m scared and I don’t think I can do it”. At this juncture it takes faith and a great support system to put the wheels in motion toward “Conscious Competence”, and it takes work! A nice exercise to try here is to write down what you think about over the course of a day. If this seems overwhelming, start with a 2-hour block of time. It will open your eyes to you inner dialogue and you will get an idea if you are being a beacon to attract the wanted or unwanted things into your life. If you don’t like what you see, simply choose a new thought. Put those negative affirmations on the shelf, and decide only to speak to yourself in increasing increments of positivity! After some time you will shift to “Unconscious Competence”… this is when you become a master manifester, and people see you as a ‘glass half-full kind of person’. You weren’t born a pessimist, you were trained into one. Like many of the lessons or rules for living that you learned as a child, sometimes it is better to forget!

   I invite you to monitor your supreme thoughts today and decide if there is a link between where you are in your life and the quality of the thoughts zipping through your brain all day. The magnitude of the results might surprise you. When you feel tempted to shy away from change that is when it is great to work with someone who will encourage you and keep you on the right path. This is something that I work with every day; dealing with patients in a health crisis, or during the Lifestyle programs we run in the community. Once your thoughts are on track, the rest falls into place… but until you clear the subluxation that sits above your spine, no amount of work will yield the results you desire!

Have a great week everyone!

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The Funny Thing About Symptoms

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   Although I run a wellness based practice – meaning people (andpefully families) come into the office to get well and ultimately STAY well over the course of their lives, many people first enter my office because of a symptom. Most of us are designed as pleasure-seekers and pain-avoiders. We do things that make us feel good. When the body sends out a smoke signal that there is distress somewhere in the body – we call it a symptom. Symptoms can range from anxiety and depression to numbness and tingling. Did you know that in about in over 30% of heart attack cases, dropping dead is the first symptom (average of 30% of heart attacks are fatal before medical intervention can begin)? They are like the cool kid at the party – the last one to show up and the first one to leave to the next hot-spot.

   Symptoms are merely a ‘side effect’ of a greater cause. The problem is that many people stop seeking care for their underlying conditions once the symptom is gone. We, as a society, have the mentality that ‘if it doesn’t hurt anymore it must be better’. False. Symptoms are like the tip of an iceberg coming out of the water, but what you don’t realize is that huge mass under the water is the very thing that allows the iceberg to ‘express’ itself above the water.  Like that iceberg, only 15-20% of our nervous system has the ability feel pain/symptoms, and these parts are usually activated after substantial stress has been accumulated by the body. Your body has a fierce ability to adapt and respond to its environment, it’s the beauty of our perfect design – not worrying about every little thing. When you reach the tipping point though, a symptom appears to literally put the brakes on the stressor. Now you are faced with a choice; take a pill to mask the symptom so you can keep stressing the body (without feeling it), or do something about it. When you see the options side by side, it makes you think twice about reaching for that bottle of Advil, right?

   When people make the choice to take action, this is when many enter my office: “doc, I was just bending over to pick up my laundry basket and my back went out”. After some questioning, people understand that it wasn’t that isolated incident, but an accumulation of stresses that lead to a lessened ability of the body to heal and adapt. If I have done my job properly educating each patient, they would stick around through acute care (so they feel better), corrective care (to address the CAUSE of the symptom) and then enjoy the benefits of wellness care (being awesome, forever). When you correct the cause of sickness and disease, so that you have a properly functioning nervous system, you no longer have the need for smoke signals/symptoms. Your body runs like a finely tuned machine and resistance to the stresses that cause symptoms increase with time! In other words you are free to express HEALTH not SYMPTOMS.

   Take a moment and think what ‘symptoms’ keep popping up in your mind and body. What are you doing about them – searching for a solution to the underlying problem or covering it up? I suggest finding a chiropractor in your area to address one of the biggest barriers to health and vitality – living with a nervous system that is working at a fraction of its potential. It’s like using a Zack Morris phone in the iPhone era. #whodoesthat? Go with your pleasure-seeking nature and see just how high chiropractic care can take you! … and that’s a natural high, in case you were wondering 🙂

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Starting New

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This weeks post comes from one of my mentors, Dr. Larry Markson. Spring is a time of renewal, so there seemed like no better topic to cover. Enjoy!

Starting something new allows us to choose to reset knowing that with each choice we learn, grow, and move forward.

There are times in our lives that lend themselves to starting something new. The beginning of a new year, finishing school, leaving a job, or changing homes—these all are times that turn our minds to fresh starts. Their advantage is that they bring with them the energy of that event, creating a tide of change around them that we can ride to our next shoreline. 

But we can choose to start anew anytime. In any moment we can decide that a bad day or a relationship that’s gotten off on the wrong foot can be started again. It is a mental shift that allows us to clean the slate and approach anything with fresh eyes, and we can make that choice at any time. 

Starting new is most powerful when we focus our attention to what we are choosing to create. Giving all of our attention to the unwanted aspects of our lives allows what we resist to persist. 

We need to remember to leave enough room in the process of new beginnings to be kind to ourselves, because it takes time to become accustomed to anything new, no matter how much we like it. There is no need to get down on ourselves if we don’t reach our new goals instantly. Instead, we acknowledge the forward motion and choose to reset and start again, knowing that with each choice we learn, grow, and move forward. 

Making the choice to start anew has its own energy—it’s a promise made to you. The forward momentum creates a sort of vacuum behind it, pulling toward you all you need to help you continue moving in your chosen direction. 

Once the journey has begun, it may take unexpected turns, but it never really ends. Like cycles in nature, there are periods of obvious growth and periods of dormancy that signal a time of waiting for the right moment to burst forth. Each time we choose to start anew we dedicate ourselves to becoming the best we are able to be. 

 

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Spreading the Message and Love of Chiropractic in St Vincent & the Grenadines

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Bright smiles after getting adjusted!

We have just returned from another successful trip to the incredible Grenadine Islands. The experienced team arrived early on the island to assist with two extra days of mission work – since for most, this is their only opportunity during the year to be adjusted. Can you imagine only getting adjusted ONCE a year? For us at ChiroMission, this is the WHY behind what we do. We have a vision for the islands we serve that is larger than what they currently hold for themselves. We see large wellness clinics (not sick-care facilities) that teach all of the necessary tricks/tips/tools for living a healthy life from the inside out. We see kids being properly educated on what health is, and how to maintain it thought their lifetime, so that their limited access to Western medicine is a moot point.

With smaller island populations it is possible within our lifetimes to make a measurable change in the health status of individual countries. The islands we serve through our trips are becoming the epicenter of change that will ripple out and effect a region, which can then reverberate through the world. Consider that St Vincent & the Grenadines has a population of 110, 000 people and each team member can adjust hundreds on a trip, if we took a team of 20 each year, we could adjust the country in under a decade! We can’t do it alone. We need people like you – new faces, experienced missionaries, those in ‘semi-retirement’ to come on board to make each and every one of these trips a new pivotal moment!

Chiropractic has no prejudices, on this trip we adjusted people from all walks of life; high ranking army officials to inmates in a prison, local communities activists to children walking home from school, and St Vincent’s finest athletes to a touring Jamaican Dance Hall superstar! We are able to reconnect people with their highest good using only our hands and a table – a remarkably powerful thing! The people of St Vincent are completely open to the concepts and ideas of chiropractic, and from that openness, miracles happen. One man could barely walk in to get adjusted, and after Dr. Deb Morrone adjusted him, he danced out of the auditorium! People recounted after being chronic headache sufferers they have been much better since getting adjusted ‘regularly’ by our team over the last 4 years. These stories remind us of a great point frequently raised by Dr. Gilles Lamarche, “It isn’t about the chiropracTOR it’s about chiropracTIC.”

During a radio interview promoting our week of service the DJ was trying to understand who would be ‘eligible’ for our services.  It was only after we explained the philosophy that we are working to increase the goodness in someone, not decrease anything faulty, that she could grasp that as long as you had a spine and a pulse we wanted to see you. Chiropractic is for EVERYONE!

If you are feeling stuck in the HOW of life, please consider joining us on a future trip to get back in tune with the WHY. We are all here for a reason, but in the daily grind many of us lose sight of that reason. ChiroMission’s central theme of give and receive reminds us that we can’t give without some getting in return. ChiroMission trips are open to anyone who feels compelled to give – chiropractors, students, teachers, great huggers, anyone! As fellow ChiroMissionary and board-member-at-large Dr. Jamie Khoury says, ChiroMission allows you to be “Selfishly selfless.”

Until next time… Bless Up!

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Living Outside-In in an Inside-Out World

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   When I sit down with a new patient, I try to figure out what their paradigm is on health: do they see health as something that exists within us and just needs to express itself (outside-in view) or do they see it as something that exists ‘out there’ and they need to do something or take something to have health in their life (outside-in view). The practice members that stick around in my office are the ones that either have an outside-in view on health, or they don’t really know what they think of the topic, but are open minded to exploring something else. Many times, this open mindedness I speak of comes as a result of being failed by the current system, which is OVERWHELMINGLY outside-in.

Does your paradigm really matter?

   Yes. When you come from the perspective that health is something that exists within you, and is just waiting to be expressed, you treat your body totally differently. You move from a Mechanistic approach (what can I take to fix the malfunctioning part: colds, cancers, aches, pains?) to a Vitalistic approach (what can I do to express more health?)  Approaching your life and health from a Vitalistic worldview creates lasting changes in habits and lifestyle. You start to realize that what you do to your body and with your body has an impact to your ability to express health.

   Chiropractors talk about health flowing ADIO – above down, inside out. The power that made the body heals the body – it can happen no other way. We work to restore the normal function of the nerves, which then control and coordinate every function in your body. Wouldn’t you want to have your nerves sending 100% of the signals to your cells/tissues/organs 100% of the time?

   What if you had proper nerve flow but a crappy diet? Didn’t exercise? Sure, you would have all the nerve supply, but without the other essential building blocks – nutrients, oxygen, blood flow, etc – the body still would not flourish to its greatest capacity. What happens when you have both the building blocks of health and the nerve supply to coordinate all the efforts of each body system working together? That is Vitalism at work. That is living the chiropractic lifestyle.

   On the flip side, what if you provided your body with the building blocks of health, but your innate ability to adapt, respond, coordinate all of these things was interfered with (like kinking a garden hose)? That is what happens when you leave chiropractic out – you can never express your greatest health potential.

What category do you want to fit into? How much health do you want to express?

If you want to live your best life from the inside-out, find a chiropractor today.

Perspective matters. Health Matters. Come learn more at Gray Matter.

Have a great week everyone!

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The Selfish Perks of Forgiveness

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“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

– Louis B. Smedes

We all have that one person that really irks us; mother, father, ex-boyfriend, co-worker, estranged best friend, or better yet – yourself. Can we agree on that? Good.

Do you realize that by harboring resentment the ONLY person you are hurting is yourself? It’s the only way it can be; you can’t feel someone else’s pain. When you feel empathy for someone, you are feeling the PROJECTION of their pain in your body, but you are still feeling that pain in you.

If I asked you to stub your toe when you got out of bed every morning, would you do it? And no, you aren’t going to get a prize for complying. Of course you wouldn’t! I ask you what is the difference between inflicting physical pain on yourself everyday for no reason, and inflicting psychological/emotional pain by surfing in the sea of resentment day in and day out? To your brain there isn’t much of a difference; pain is pain.

One of my mentors has told me, “Once people suffer enough they will make the choice to change.” Wise words. Beyond the end of suffering, there are some other reasons that it is in YOUR best interest to forgive those that have caused you pain:

Living life with resentment is like driving while only looking in the rear-view mirror: When you carry the heavy load of the past by bringing up old feelings and emotions, you miss out on the beauty of the present moment. Feeling unfulfilled in your life as it is? Feeling depressed? These are both signs that there is some work you need to do on releasing the past. The most profound thinkers of our time remind us that the present moment is all there is in life, so why waste it by replaying the same scenes from the past?

It opens you up possibilities for the future: Aside from wasting the present moment, living with regrets and hostility from the past puts a damper on the future. If you are not living life to the fullest, why would life reward you with the best and brightest? When you change your thoughts, change your mind; life unfolds differently right in front of your eyes.

You literally feel lighter: When you make the CHOICE to forgive, without exception, and without conditions – a huge weight lifts from your shoulders. You actually feel lighter, able to breathe fuller, and sleep a little better. Tired of being tired? Stop wasting time and energy stewing, and use that energy to fuel creative projects and healing within you.

It builds self-confidence: Letting go of the stories of your past, and breaking the cycle of someone else controlling your emotions is essential. This new freedom puts you back in the driver’s seat of your life. No other action can make you feel more confident than knowing you are in control of the course of your life. Self-confidence is sexy. Give it a try!

I hope this strikes a cord in everyone, as the vast majority of us have someone we can work on forgiving. The act of forgiveness is simple, it’s the road that gets us there that can be difficult. So how do you forgive? Well… that’s a post for another day.

 

(Someday soon, don’t worry)

 

Have a great week!

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