This is your Brain on Vacation

Rush hour, rain & road detours. Welcome to downtown Vancouver. Sounds like a nice way to spend a vacation, doesn’t it?

As I looked down the street at all those shiny red brake-light reflections, I started to reflect a little myself…

I imagined the street as a spinal cord and the cars as nerve impulses trying to get to where they had to be. I saw the road blocks as a spinal cord injury, and the detour as neuro-plasticity doing it’s best to reroute traffic and get things moving again.

It’s hard to truly understand the impact a spinal cord injury would have on someone’s life. Brad is one of our regular clients and blog authors, and writes from that very perspective. Brad is a bright, intelligent and witty guy who shows tremendous strength and determination. I have no doubt that one day he’ll be in the forefront of the robotics and cybernetics industries.

In contrast to modern science and technology, my metaphorically inspired traditional medicine brain started relating all those idling cars to ‘blood obstruction’, the lack of movement to ‘stagnant Qi‘, and the accumulating cloud of car exhaust to ‘toxic heat’. The rain was complicating the situation by slowing traffic even more, an internal condition otherwise known to Chinese medicine practitioners as ‘dampness’.

Krystin, our Chinese medicine practitioner, is a good example of a therapist who embraces the complimentary yet opposing natures of both modern and traditional medicines. She wrote a good article on it awhile ago. Krystin has a calm way of taking everything in and clearly implementing the best course of action. This makes her very unique. We often say (behind her back of course) that ‘finding her was like finding gold’.

At this point, traffic was crawling along at an excruciating pace of 1 inch/hr, enough to shake even the solidest of zen demeanors. Traveling, even for fun, can be exhausting. Aaron, another clinic director, travels a lot. He regularly attends worldwide conferences & other special events. One of his responsibilities is researching what’s out there and keeping us on the leading edge of things. His headstrong and optimistic campaign to change healthcare for the better is an inspiration to us all.

So I took Aaron’s optimistic example and happily sucked up the rain & traffic (car seat warmers and satellite radio helped a bit). Hey, just because you’re physically stuck in traffic, you don’t have to mentally be stuck in it as well. That reminds me of an entry I wrote awhile ago… you can’t always change the situation you’re in, but you can always change your perception of it.

Eventually the rain eased up and the sun made a special appearance. Dry and warm, a cup of tea in hand, I stared at the mountains. I can’t help but wonder how everything back at the clinic is going. I know, people keep telling me that the point of a vacation is to get away, relax, and stop thinking for awhile. Not me, my mind is alive with a million thoughts. Ok, maybe not a million, but brain trivia says at least 70,000.

On the top of that list at the moment is heading over to a cozy little cafe to sip down a yummy cappuccino. Maybe while I’m there I’ll take Matt’s advice and think up my new personal mission statement for when I’m back. Matt writes about everything from robotic gait assisted technology to vertigo to having babies. He’s an exceptional physiotherapist and is a good grounding influence at the clinic. Must be the ‘daddy vibe’.

The purpose of this blog (there is a purpose, I swear) is to point out the importance of reflecting. Reflecting on the important people and events in your life. It’s important to remember the good, the bad, and everything in between. Acknowledgement to where you’ve been will help guide you to where you need to be.

Hmm… and now that I think about it, where I need to be right now is out having a well deserved holiday drink!

On that note, this post will likely show up a little late.

Don’t bug me. I’m on BC time.
– Jesse

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