Sunday, July 12, 2015

Backpacking?!

I don't know what happened. I really, really don't. I have started to like camping. I used to hate it, but would agree to it as a necessary evil. If you like to be on a trail early in the morning, sometimes you have to camp. Although, I have to admit that I prefer to camp away from a campground. You have to be aware of where you are so that you are not on private property or property where that is not allowed, but it's nicer than all of the noise, in my opinion.

I am quickly coming to see the best kind of camping as being backpacking. It hurts in a way, because those packs can get heavy. I'm not an ultralight packer, and I'm not likely to become one soon, but the weight is work going up a hill in high elevation.

The thing about backpacking, though, is that it allows a person to experience nature in a whole different way than we typically do. So much of our lives are spend running from one thing to the next with constant electronic distraction. Even on a trail, I often feel the pressure a bit. You have to drive to the trail, try to get to your destination before the storms come, then drive home, often in heavy traffic. Backpacking is different. Even just an overnighter. Once you are on the trail, that's where you are. If the rain comes, you don't race back to your car because you're usually too far in. In fact, you don't see a car for at least 24 hours and you certainly don't have to fight traffic. It's enough work to do that even the foot traffic is typically lighter.

This last trip was interesting. We weren't able to make our destination because the storms rolled in. You can't go sit in your tent in a storm, because it isn't safe. You pull out the rain gear and stand outside in the rain. But not close enough for easy conversation, because if lightning strikes, you don't want it to take out the whole group. (It wasn't that close, but we'll take any safety measure we can get!) Then we had a short break, then another storm. Then we didn't have quite enough time to hike anywhere, so we sat in a high meadow surrounded by waterfalls.

I had a love/hate relationship with standing in the rain. I wanted to go to some mountain lakes. Or I was tired, and would have been happy to take a nap. Really, just about anything sounded like a good idea. Instead there was nothing to do and nowhere for me to go. I just had to be there in that moment. There was no escaping the discomfort, only going through it (and it wasn't that uncomfortable; it's amazing what good gear will do for you). I stood in the rain and watched the way the water made the leaves dance. I had to start to learn to be okay with being still and not turning to the next distraction.

What was really nice, though, is that by the evening, when my friend had gone to bed early, I sat in a high mountain meadow. It was a little daunting to have over an hour before sunset and absolutely nothing to do. I'm not used to that at all. In the quiet, surrounded by the sound of waterfalls and birds and amazing mountain air, I started thinking about the way that we were moving away from the sun. Though everything seemed perfectly still, we were barreling away from the sun. I don't know why I think what I do out there, but it was something that I was very aware of in the stillness of that moment.

I can also tell you that I was able to chat with God in a way that I haven't been able to for a long time. I think I have too many distractions, and I'm not quite sure what I'm going to have to be doing about that, but in that moment, I didn't worry about fixing anything. I just took that moment to breathe in and breathe out, to reach out to God and let Him reach back to me through the stillness.

I can tell you that every storm in the last couple of weeks has made me extremely grateful to be indoors, but as crazy as it sounds, being outside having to deal with the realities that we often run from (like rain is wet) was pretty amazing as well.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Reading

I have always been a reader. Okay, not always. There was that first few years of my life, but my parents swear I taught myself to read when I was 4 (I don't remember it, and they've been known to exaggerate.) Since then, I've read.

I'm not going to claim that I've always put my reading time to good use. There are many things that are not exactly helpful in expanding one's horizons. I'm pretty sure those Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys years didn't help tons, but I enjoyed them at the time!  I have read a few more classics than most non-English majors, and a LOT of light fiction. People told me that once I got to college and grad school, I wouldn't want to read for fun anymore because I'd be doing too much studying. People were wrong.

I will say this, though. I had a couple of years since I moved out west that I have read less than most of my previous life. This is a combination of a lot more time active, and the fact that for a while, I was feeling that I had absolutely no more space to dedicate toward books. Not only that, but I didn't want to keep moving all these books.

One thing that I didn't dedicate tons of reading time to was professional related things. Some, of course, but not anything on a consistent basis. Over a year ago, I read a graphic that someone posted on fb about reading and how someone who consistently read something like 15-30 min a day in their area of expertise could become a leading expert in their field within 7 years. It was an interesting thought. Not that I'm trying to become a leading expert in my field, but I do want to be good at what I do. I did start reading a little more, but maybe not a ton.  It's amazing how that stuck with me, though.

In the last 8 months or so, things have been slower at work than I would like. It's been a concern. When I tried to figure out what to do, I asked myself what I could do with my time to be getting the most benefit from it as I possibly could. I also prayed about what to do with the time. The answer became studying, and it's been a ride. Now I have lots of new info and ideas, and I keep trying to figure out how to do a better job of presenting them. I've even started reading a book about sales to help give me some idea. I also have a book waiting about reading body language. I want to better be able to figure out when people are with me and when I need to change my tactics. Part of the art of PT is getting people to buy in to what you are teaching them. Whenever I can get that buy in, I get excellent results, because people are excited to do whatever I have given them at home. If they're making those changes, there is generally progress happening.

What I love about this whole reading thing is the way the world of ideas keeps expanding. Things that seem unrelated sometimes start to connect in ways that have the potential to be really exciting. I suppose some of that has been related to less blogging, but such is life. I currently have some seeds of ideas related to where I might possibly want to go with my work. I don't know if they are remotely possible, but I'm going to keep reading, keep expanding and testing. I love the growth that comes from all of that, even if the end goals shift a little due to all those horizons expanding and new possibilities opening up. I certainly hope we can shift to things being busier than what they were, but I can't even tell you how excited I am that this year has happened the way that it has and has started to make sense of the last 9 years of PT practice in a whole new way. The next decade could be freaking amazing!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Love Wins

Well, I'm probably fired as a blogger if I don't share a tiny bit of my opinion about the recent SCOTUS decision.

I'm not surprised. Not one little bit. I'm not surprised that we've made this decision. I'm not surprised that there are already polygamous couples applying for marriage licenses. I'm not surprised that everyone is polarized and everyone feels on both sides feels attacked. (You know why we all feel that way? Because people on either side ARE attacking people on the other side.) 

I would just like to say, whatever "side" you think you're on, we are all in this together, and we are not going to heal as a society by bashing each other with the same tired arguments.  The rallying cry right now is "Love Wins!" (sorry, but I object to hashtags on principle). Whatever "side" you are on, that's not wrong. Every time that we take a moment to actually listen to a person whose views are different than ours, every time we give them the respect of thinking that they have something worth saying that is worth our listening to, every time that we assume for a moment that they are not choosing to believe what they believe in order to be contrary and hateful, but because they really do care about other people, love wins. You don't have to agree with them to appreciate their sincerity and to hear what they are thinking.

Every time that we value any person that is in front of us and see them as someone who matters- even if they are on the other "side", love wins. Every time that we look out for another person and try to be there for them in their time of need, to hear the cry of their heart, love wins. You think these things don't have anything to do with the current conversation? They have EVERYTHING to do with it. In my opinion, for love to win, there has to be a lot less talking, a LOT less bashing, a lot less defensiveness and a lot more actual love happening, even if it costs us. If we can actually learn to love each other (not in a special feelings for a special person way, but in a everyone matters way), then conversations can happen and healing can happen, even if total agreement doesn't happen for quite some time.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

You Are More

I think I annoyed a friend of mine the other day. Maybe "annoyed" is a strong term, but she had to take me to task a little bit.

Let me back up.

I have issues. (Ha! As if you read this blog and didn't know that!) My issues are many, but the food and allergies and crap can really get in the way of some of my typical activities. Let's take this weekend. My allergies are not as insane as they were a week ago, but they are still dictating things to some degree. It's been a gorgeous weekend outside, and I have spent most of my weekend inside. I did have one thing planned with some friends that was an outdoor activity, and I was a little leery of being outside, of being able to breathe, of keeping on top of my issues. I was nervous about having to leave early, etc., so I was working on a few contingency plans to leave early without ruining my friends' fun. I apologized for being difficult and being a "wet blanket". To which my friend replied, "You are not a wet blanket, you are our friend."

This friend is more than willing to put up with my issues. In fact, she helps me keep an eye on them. We did cut things a little short because towards the end, my allergies were starting to make a little noise, but she was more than happy to do that. I seriously think she has the patience of a saint. She has my back. Because I'm single and we live in a society where true community is very hard to come by, it is really something beyond price to have someone in your life that has your back no matter what.

Today I was listening to a song that included the lyrics "you are more than the problems you create". This particular song was a Christian song and talking about sin and such, but it reminded me how often we want to approach God in the way that I sometimes treat my friend. Like I'm a little too much work to be that much fun. But she doesn't really care how much work I am, any more than God does. Because they value us for who we are, and it's not about our issues.

Thus it is that once again my atheist friend has been the face of Christ in my life.

Friday, June 19, 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday



1) I can't breathe. Okay, literally speaking I can breathe, just not as freely and easily as I would like. Wow, the allergies with all the rain this year are beyond out of control. My nose was running constantly for a while, and now with the help of a nasal spray, it's not. Only I still can't breathe and while the pressure isn't bad, it's not great. It's not just that, though, the coughing from the post nasal drip has been exhausting (hence my willingness to take the spray in the first place). No joke, my massage therapist today mentioned just how bad my diaphragm, ribs, and abs were.  All coughing.  Did you know that you can get a fever from all of the inflammation from allergies? Because you can. Yeah, it's been a LONG week.

2) Whew! Sorry to jump right in there with all sorts of complaints, but I just had to get that off my chest (haha). I would say that allergies make me whiny, but that's not technically true. They make me tired and sniffly and sick and nonfunctional, but what I do with that is up to me. Anyway, the rain has knocked down some of the pollen, I am on more meds than I have taken in years, and I have turned a corner. I may not be perfect, but I am at least mostly functional. I seem to be able to eat and sleep again, which makes me much, much happier. This week seemed a month long, but it is over and I'm even going to brave the outdoors again on Saturday. Probably.

3) I get to go to the gym tomorrow! Who knew that would ever be a thing that would make me excited? It's not the gym, it's the workout, and more than that, it's the people. I miss them!

4) Wow, what a boring Quick Takes! I don't write for a while and then I jump in with all the boring boringness. Ah, well, it has to happen sometimes. I would love to get back on a schedule of writing 1-2 times a week, but in order to do that, I have to start somewhere. I am really hoping that this is a lead in to much better things, but for now it's something, so I'm just going to embrace that.

5) I have a question. I know that a lot of us enjoy taking out the cameras; what are your favorite photo link ups? I feel like I need something to get me out of a bit of a rut. (Oh! A pretty mountain, let me take a picture of it!) Not that I want to give up what I'm doing, but I'm trying to figure out how to be a little more versatile.

6) Let's see, yep. That's about all I have. Sorry, when you've spent half your week staring into space because it was too strenuous to so much as watch television or surf the web, I really don't have that much new stuff to add.

7) Here's a photo that was taken while I was standing in the pollen that was taking me out (but it took me a couple of days to realize just how bad it was going to be!)


Have a great weekend and head over to Kelly's for more Quick Takes!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

You Shall Know the Truth

... and the truth shall make you odd.

That Flannery O'Connor was a smart one, wasn't she? I am thinking of and perhaps regretting a bit a certain line in this post. I was starting to get rid of chairs, and I flippantly asked, "What's next?" I don't know if I even want to tell you where I am right now in this, because it is odd. I'm holding tight to another quote.

"We have to be willing to do today what others won't, so that we will be able to do tomorrow what others can't." Thank you, Jerry Rice.

I still use chairs, in case you were wondering, but I do sit on the floor more than I used to. I am trying to stretch more to offset some of my bad habits, while I also work on eliminating the bad habits that I can. It takes time. Since I've started down this particular line of inquiry, I have started to see better use of my postural muscles in the low back. Less tightness in the hamstrings. Less pain in my hip and Achilles. I have arches?!?!?! I have also seen some great results in the parts that I am using with my patients (biggest surprise being increased balance).

All of this to say, so far these experiments have been leading to some very interesting results, so the experimentation has continued. The latest? Last night was the second night that I slept on the floor. Yep. You read that right. I'm not directly on the floor, I have about a 3" foam pad, but trust me when I tell you it's no mattress!

Cons to this new venture: it feels weird. No one I know sleeps on the floor, so I feel like quite the oddball. Also, it's certainly less comfortable than a mattress.

Pros: It causes me to get up and down from the floor more (hey, I don't have kids that I'm picking up after like some of you!) I can't just fall into bed, I have to use actual muscle control (trust me, the way we often let gravity take us in for a soft landing on chairs and beds is a big problem over time). So far, both mornings I have woken up  feeling less stiff in the hip flexors. I think it's because since I can't sink into the floor like I do the mattress, the muscles actually have to let go rather than letting the mattress hold them in a shortened position. (My tight hip flexors are a definite problem area for me.)

I have slept well, and the only thing that's been a little achy in the morning is my mid back and ribs. I don't have a problem with this, as these are areas that should be mobile but that are overly stiff in my case (and in the case of a lot of people). Breathing when against a firm surface (the floor) pushes back against the stiffness in those joints and makes them move a little. Breathing against a mattress allows the mattress to give and the joints to stay stiff. It's essentially doing gentle joint mobilization all night long. I anticipate that this soreness won't last long, but I'll let you know.

I can also tell you that about a decade ago, I decided that I was too old to sleep on the floor because it hurt. Now I will amend that to say that it hurt because I was too stiff to sleep on the floor. I am a decade older and sleeping on the floor doesn't hurt now. I have not been able to lie on my stomach on the bed for a long time; if I did, I would wake up with a stiff neck. I fell asleep on my stomach for about 20 minutes the other day and woke up feeling great! Those things are not all a result of sleeping on the floor, but they are a part of it.

It's been an interesting thought process in all of this as well. Being too comfortable on the mattress; it certainly feels better initially, but at what cost overall? Pressing into the discomfort at an appropriate level allows us to make gains. Staying within what is most comfortable gradually moves us into greater restrictions over time. This is true in movement and in life.

Okay, this is not the most well put together post, but tell it to me straight. On a scale of "one" to "off my rocker" how bad is this? Is there any hope for me? (I'm joking. Mostly.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

No Motivation

I am in a funk. Oh, baby. And everyone around me is in the same one. We've barely seen the sun in several weeks, and we are a bunch of spoiled brats that lose our minds if we haven't seen the sun in 3 days. My basement has over a foot of water in it right now, so there is no heat, and no hot water. No one can come to fix it until the water is gone. You might think this is no big deal, because you live in a place where you're hot right now, but it's 40's and damp here, maybe highs in the 50's, so my house doesn't warm up much right now.

I am finding that even though I don't really have to do anything to fix the basement (my landlords are great), I am still getting nothing done. It makes no sense, because the basement is unfinished and I don't really ever go down there. But I blame the fact that I'm cold. And the funk from lack of sun and outdoors. SOMEBODY TURN OFF THE FAUCET SO I CAN GO OUTSIDE BEFORE I LOSE WHAT LITTLE IS LEFT OF MY MIND!!!

I bought a bike just before this all started, so it's mostly been hanging out unused. I can't hike, and my weight is  creeping up. Not bad, but I saw some numbers on the scale that I haven't seen in almost 2 years, and I was not happy about it. I'm actually eating less than I typically do, but I think I'm also eating too much sugar. I blame the clouds and the never ending dripping.

Have I mentioned that roads and trails are washing away? Stop the madness!

It is confirmed. I can never move to Seattle. (I am considering a visit, however, because I guess they are currently having beautiful sunny weather.)

I know, I know I shouldn't be complaining because we often have amazing weather. I have tried to hold it in, I really have, but it's reached a point to all come bubbling out; kind of like the miniature springs of water that I have in my basement.

Deep breaths.

Okay, my equilibrium will return when the sun does, but for now there are clouds, so let's play Pollyanna and talk about the silver linings.

One: I was so bored being stuck inside so much that I finally signed up for Insta.gram*. I love it more than I should. I started following a bunch of climbing and cycling feeds, and some of those pictures are just insane and make me happy to see them. I also have started following a few bloggers, but I'm not that good about knowing who's on there, so if you are, let me know. I'll follow you!

Two: There is water in my basement, but it is only ground water. It's clean and clear, which is something that I was very grateful for as I was wading around in it yesterday to clean out everything that I had stored down there. Most of it went to the trash. It was a little sad to see some if it go, but thankfully I didn't keep anything too important down there.

Three: I discovered something about myself. There was one box that I didn't know was down there. It had some photos in frames, and I was sad to see them destroyed. Most were digitally backed up, but one was a framed collage a friend had given me from an epic hike we did, one of my first really big mountains from before I moved out here. It was kind of hard putting those photos in the trash, but the way the backs were already molding, I had no choice. However, even though I can be very sentimental, I realized I wasn't as sad as I could be. I like to hold onto those things because they represent things that are important to me, but what I realized is that the things didn't matter as much as I thought. Those people and experiences are a part of me. Losing those things doesn't change that.

Four: I am guilty of taking our normal wonderful weather for granted. I think I will appreciate it so much more!

Five: Most of the stuff in my basement was just extra stuff that I didn't really need. It felt really good to get rid of that, especially the microwave.

I'm sure I could find more, but my break is over for the moment. I am excited to have 4 of the next 7 days off, and while all of them have rain forecast, at least some of them may allow a little outdoor time. Maybe? We can only hope and pray.



*Warning! I'm so late signing up for things that often by the time I get on board, things are on their way out. If In.stagram dies, it's probably my fault.