September 21, 2021
It was a simple movement. Something I’ve done many times. My patient went to fall away from me, I leaned forward, I caught her. I thought I had her, so my body relaxed. She kept falling. She’s a small, spunky little girl. My cat-like, ninja reflexes kicked in and I stopped her fall, again. Lurched forward, again.
That’s when I felt it. I couldn’t stand up. My back was preventing me from this. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t stand.
I remember learning about work-related back injuries in physical therapy school. I have treated individuals for their back injuries. I just didn’t think it’d be me. I thought this was reserved for older men, construction workers, fathers (sorry for the stereotyping)… Not me! I was training for a half marathon. I’ve been taking care of myself.
Immediately, the thoughts of “What did I do wrong?” came flooding to me. Was I too stressed? Was I not stretching enough? Was I not… enough in general? Blaming myself was easy. Moving through the shame/blame cycle and coming to the other side has been the journey, the healing, the softening I’ve needed to be gentle with myself and simply focus on healing.
The thing is, we can’t control many things in life. I got injured and it’s really that simple. I cannot go back to the past and undo any contributing factors, change the situation that caused the pain. However, I can move forward. Move through this. And heal, deeply.
Healing is not linear, my friends. This is only the beginning of the story.More
Written September 2021
Experienced August 12, 2021
Being that Justin and I both live mindful lives and feel at peace in the mountains, we had no issue feeling at home in Boulder, Colorado. Boulder is a magical land of not one, but three Whole Foods, coffee shops that sell hot buttered coffee, active people everywhere, mountain views, and healthy/organic restaurants galore. Plus, it’s a very conscious community with strong roots in Buddhism. Back in the 1970’s, Chögyam Trungpa, a Tibetan buddhism mediation master, arrived in North America for the first time. He landed in Boulder and later founded the Naropa Institute – now Naropa University – the first accredited Buddhist university in North America!
Usually, when I return home from traveling, I am in need of a vacation from a vacation. All the different foods and “go, go, go” mentality can be exhausting! NOT this time! I returned back to Boston feeling centered, rejuvenated, and fulfilled. The amount of self-care Justin and I practiced on this trip helped us to stay grounded and healthy. We frequently checked in with each other and ourselves to make sure we had the energy for our more adventurous days (like Rocky Mountain National Park!), while also keeping our mind, gut, and body feeling good. We went to Whole Foods daily (sometimes more than once a day… haha), enjoyed local mountains, practiced meditation & yoga, and found a way to keep our minds and body in balance while traveling.
The day after our epic night at Red Rocks Amphitheatre for Rüfüs du Sol, Justin and I took extra care of ourselves. This is our “DIY Spa Day” in Boulder, Colorado!More
The variety of landscapes across the United States is breathtaking and forever awe-inspiring. Having lived in Washington State, I became very acquainted and appreciative of the National Park Service. I was within a day trip of three National Parks, which afforded endless adventures and experiences. When Justin and I were planning our trip to Colorado, we created our loose itinerary around our plans to see Rufus du Sol at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on August 11th (AMAZING!!). When we decided to stay in the mountainous town of Boulder, we knew we’d have to make a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park.
From Boulder, the drive to RMNP is less than an hour, so there was no way we’d miss it. We woke up early on Friday morning, got coffee (Boulder coffee shops for the WIN), and headed to the park without a set itinerary. We learned we both enjoy the method of “going with the flow” when indulging in a new place – particularly when there’s only ONE day to experience it! We could have spent the entire day doing a long hike (SO MANY OPTIONS), but our intention was to get a true feel for the park with diverse experiences, see as much as we could, and fill our spirit of adventure.
Read on for the ULTIMATE itinerary to get a flavor of Rocky Mountain National Park, featuring: a highway to the sky, alpine lakes, lots and lots of pretty mountainous rocks, and a scenic drive!More
Written August 2021
Altitude sickness, or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is no joke. It’s especially not a joke if it progresses to High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) or a High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). AMS is common and unpleasant. HAPE and HACE are uncommon and life threatening.
Back in 2011, I thought it would be cute and fun to head to Ecuador to climb Mount Cotopaxi, which is Ecuador’s second highest peak and an active stratovolcano standing 5,897 meters (19,347 feet) above sea level. My friend, Jacquie, was studying Ecuador’s Amazon, so we though it’d be really hardcore and awesome to do a few days in the Amazon, then a night in Quito (elevation 9,350 feet) before attempting a guided summit of Cotopaxi. Mind you, neither of us had any mountaineering experience at this point. I showed up to meet our guide wearing a Jansport backpack and had never seen an ice axe in person before (though the pictures looked SO COOL). With minimal time to adjust to high altitudes, our summit attempt was not limited by our skills and experience (which could have easily been a limiting factor hah), but our unpreparedness. We spent only two days in Quito and didn’t give ourselves time to adjust to higher altitude. Spoiler alert: both Jacquie and I got altitude sickness.
I write this as a reminder to consider altitude when planning hikes/expeditions/outdoor adventures. I now have a few years of experience traveling to higher altitudes without negative affects, but am more aware of the signs to pay attention to. I certainly have NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) to thank for this knowledge I gained during my Wilderness First Responder courses (10/10 recommend; more in my posts here!).
Let’s talk about altitude sickness!More