I miss you. I hope this finds you and your loved ones well.
We all have been (more or less) sheltered in place at home for now over a week. With continued concern and compassion for all of those affected, and their health care providers, I hope you’ve been staying safe and well. I would like to share a few thoughts and ideas with you.
Let me start with sharing some of what I’ve learned following conversations with my brother who is the director of emergency medicine at Stanford. He has been in many high-level meetings about this crisis, so, fortunately, I get the opportunity to ask specific questions and get insights directly from the doctors and epidemiologists who are in the middle of this. They, are, like us, uncertain of what is to come yet they are learning more daily, especially as more data comes out. Some of that data coming of Finland, the Princess Cruise line and the NBA is compelling enough to indicate a potential slowing of the spread. Let us hope that trend continues.
One of the questions that has most interested me is the potential transmission in asymptomatic people. Although there is still uncertainty, the data coming forward shows that it is unlikely to be a major concern. The analogy my brother gave me was this: If I’m sick and in proximity of you it would be like standing next to you and punching you in the face – I’ll likely connect and you will get sick . If I’m asymptomatic (not sick) It would be more like standing 150 yards away from you and throwing a baseball. I am unlikely to hit you. With that said, there is still risk. We need to be as rigorous and attentive as possible with our social distancing. So, for all of us, the best thing we can do, is what we are already doing, which is to separate and shelter in place.
He reminded me that the reason we are doing this is to spare the health care system from an overwhelming surge of sick patients. If we flatten the curve, we save lives. He also reminded me that it is still likely that over time (this is where we still have uncertainty – we don’t know how much time ) upwards of 50 percent of us will get this. The vast majority will only have mild symptoms and will recover just fine.
That is why I continue to urge you to attend to your wellbeing and support your immunity with a few reminders:
+ Several peer reviewed studies looking at the potential benefits of a meditation practice reveal that the support and strengthening of immunity is a potential powerful benefit. That does not surprise me. I know through my studies and empirically through my practice, that repeated and prolonged inability to respond well to stress is one of the most disruptive agents to our immunity and our wellbeing. The challenge has been that although we may know this intuitively, we have not known how to cultivate the skill to a build a robust and healthy response to stress. As far as I can tell, a committed and consistent practice of meditation is the only way to develop that skill. So again, I recommend the app www.wakingup.com by Sam Harris as an excellent resource to build a real and sustained practice. There really is nothing to lose and everything to gain.
+ One of the nicest consequences of this time I’ve enjoyed is getting outdoors to exercise and explore with my family. I’ve introduced my wife to some of my favorite secret trails in Palos Verdes, I’ve hit the beach with my 15-year-old daughter. We do beach strides, calisthenics and ramp runs to boost her fitness for the resumption of soccer. We have had some great conversations while she chaises me down the beach and up the ramps. (I think she might be impressed that her old man dad can still kick her ass in workouts!) I have also enjoyed this opportunity to re-explore areas of my fitness program that I’ve neglected recently. (maybe longer than recently.) My 6-year-old daughter has “helped” me with a renewed focus on strength and mobility training. With that said, one of my favorite routines for spine strength comes from Foundation Training and can be found on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4BOTvaRaDjl. This is an excellent and challenging video. Take your time with it, if you find it too tough just do a much as you can and build up to mastering the entire routine. I do, however, recommend doing it without a six-year-old.
+ I hope you are enjoying the added sleep in your life. If you have difficulty falling asleep and want to try another meditation activity: https://youtu.be/v9chHovre6Q will bring you to a video of Yoga Nidra. Try it as the last thing you do before falling asleep, in fact I seldom make it through the video before I’m out.
+ Similar to Yoga Nidra, the waking up app has meditation for children. I’ve been doing with my little one when I put her to bed. She indeed asks for it now as we settle into her bed. I cannot overstate the beauty and peace that time with her gives us. If you’ve got children give it a try.
+ I don’t think my wife could have responded better to this crisis. She has been upbeat, responsive and prepared without anxiety or worry. Each night she has put together another amazing dinner. She has brought our family together with her wonderful and healthy food. Healthy food prepared with care, enjoyed with family and having my 15-year-old set and clear the table rather than vanishing into her room to do “homework” has been nothing short of a miracle.
+ I have so greatly appreciated the time given to me to read and study clinical books and journals that have stacked up for so long. I am excited and eager to return to practice with new insights and new ideas (and rested hands) on how to better serve you all.
With that said, I am still fully aware that the worst may yet come. We do not know where this will take us, but we can only prepare ourselves as best we can. I am paying close attention to the reports from the epidemiologists and talks with my brother. I am monitoring the California Chiropractic Association which is in turn, in contact with the California Department of Public Health. As it stands now, I plan to resume practice on Monday March 30th with all the necessary precautions and screenings in place.