The Challenge

The Challenge

Don’t get lost in your pain, know that one day your pain will become your cure. - Rumi

This month, I have been diving deep into a lifelong goal of mine: to become a certified yoga teacher! I have been practicing yoga since I was 10 years old, and it has always been a dream of mine to embody the practice in a way that I can share its deep history and powerful conditioning with clients and patients.

For a long time, this was to be a dream I carried, but couldn’t conceive. From childhood, I carried the symptoms of my fight with spinal meningitis. Most days I had a feeling as if the left and right halves of my body could not coordinate. My left side kept lagging behind and the exhaustion I felt trying to force graceful movement became overwhelming. I knew there was no way I could complete a yoga teacher training, let alone demonstrate postures when I couldn’t depend on how my body would act. So I put this dream on the shelf and moved on.

While I was still in the first year of my chiropractic training, I developed a new symptom called motor apraxia, a condition where you find yourself unable to complete a motion, despite having the muscle strength to do so. The communication pathway from brain to body simply doesn’t fire. In my case, I couldn’t control my left arm and leg with any speed and coordination - a real problem with everyday movement and balance. 

A poignant moment came at my “White Coat” ceremony. A joyfully observed occasion when we signify our educational shift to clinical care by ceremonially receiving our white doctor’s coats from faculty and advisors. Simple as the ceremony was: walk up a set of stairs, cross the auditorium stage, get coat, walk down stairs, I was incredibly nervous. For months now, I had a tendency to weave back and forth like I had had a few too many to drink. I had been so uncertain of my steps that I had not been able to walk up and down stairs without holding tight to the handrail. While my classmates were bounding up and down the stairs and striding across the stage, I was terrified of tripping, falling, running smack into the Dean of Clinic Studies.

I lay awake at night haunted by the thought “If this was me at 28, what on Earth would my life look like at 82? How fast will I keep deteriorating?”

The good news is: You can make the story change. 

Six months later, I was finally in the care of a doctor who could help balance both sides of my brain. He taught me my weak spots and how to fix them, but I had to do the work. I had to slow down and fundamentally change the way I moved my body, undoing nearly three decades of movement patterns and clever compensations.

The very challenge that pushed me to work so hard, is what taught me I can make it through anything. The challenge is the gift. The challenge taught me that movement is freedom, relentless determination pays off, and that I must own my journey.

Now, at 33 I am no longer afraid of how my body will age. I am too busy taking back all the movement I had outsourced. I am learning to sequence and cue yoga postures, and more importantly, strengthening my legs and my core so I can walk up and down a flight of stairs holding my two-year-old instead of the handrail.

Always in service,

Dr. Carly

Love Your Progress

Love Your Progress

It is now February 1, 2019 and statistically, 80% of the well intentioned New Year’s Resolutions have failed. Without getting too creative, I bet we can all list at least three phrases that follow a failed goal:

“I fell off the bandwagon.”

“I failed.”

Or the most gut wrenching of all… “I suck.”

The problem I have with these ever shaming taglines to mistakes is that they mark what should be a moment in time, a permanent failure. There is no Trope or Hat Tip to the honorable grit of dusting yourself off and picking back up again.

“I suck. I can’t.” That’s it. Aside from the damaging effects of shame and personal condemnation, phrases like this don’t solve anything. They create no movement, and allow for no growth.

What if, instead, we take a more global look at the why of it all? Or to put it a nerdier way: Turn Bad Days into Good Data.

Resolved to attend an after work HIIT class 3x a week, but just haven’t made it happen? What’s the good data that comes from a moment of not following through? Now we have questions and solutions. And yes, this comes with personal responsibility for not taking failure as an option.

Forgetting your change of clothes? Pack your bag the night before.

Always run down by 5:00? Grab a high fat, high protein snack for a 3:00 pick me up.

Can’t make it on time? Is there another gym or another time that doesn’t conflict as much?

Don’t want to go when it’s time? Change trajectory, maybe HIIT isn’t for you, but Pilates is!

Your back hurts and you feel you can’t keep up? Your body is telling you, you need support. Call for backup (ie. your Chiropractor, Personal Trainer, PT, or massage therapist)!

When we take time to ask questions and see every missed opportunity as a way to learn, we can slowly but surely move the needle on our health. This turns large rocks into manageable pieces, and those manageable pieces are transformed into the habits and values you can embrace.

“I tried!”

“I can!”

“I did!”

Don’t settle for all or nothing in your health. Stay curious and observe what’s making your choices difficult. Love yourself enough to know you can grow beyond these difficulties if you give yourself the right tools, support, and a little grace.

Always in Service,

Dr. Carly