Tag Archives: #mainefamily

Sea Change

I watched a pine tree branch swaying in the wind. It was pointing upward and looked like it was trying very hard to stretch toward the sun (spring in Maine can make one very poetic).

It was only when the wind blew the branch that it sunk down, into the shade, and then whipped up higher toward the sun; much higher than it did when it looked like it was working so hard. It blew around wildly with the gusts; bouncing, a little out of control at times—but it remained connected to the trunk, the roots, the ground.

[Insert 372 metaphors HERE] :)

Life is a lot of reaching/stretching for the light and this effort takes hard work. It IS possible to live AND serve others within this monumental work/effort WITHOUT feeling rushed or hurried or stressed or exhausted: EVEN to predominantly feel a lot of joy. It really is; even if you have 3 jobs, 3 kids, yadda, yadda. One trick to feeling that true joy is being willing to open your heart; which means being willing to feel hurt, sad, lonely…

If you can really just let an uncomfortable feeling BE; let it wash over you; NOT try and relieve or escape of “fix” it or talk through it; you may be surprised to find that the pain, the hurt, the sadness…changes. It can shift and grow into hope and love. Feelings come and go like waves and no feeling lasts forever. There’s no such thing as a “happy” person. Happy is a feeling. A loving, vibrant person who is OFTEN joyful can only be so if they TRULY feel the deep despair and sadness that is a part of this broken world.

Yoga, or really just deep focused breathing (which is essentially what yoga is), is pretty good for facilitating this process. Like REALLY good. You stay still, you pause a lot… even if you’re moving a little, you’re in one spot, and YOU’RE QUIET! You don’t walk away or start talking or distract yourself with some other chore/task/snack/etc. You breathe THROUGH the challenge; the challenging feeling, and also THROUGH the challenging physical sensations that can come with simply sitting still and quiet (or holding a pose/stretch).

I’ve known this…I’ve shared this lesson for years with patients…I even did my doctoral research project on exercise and depression! But when you REALLY practice this process; the more surprising, inspiring and energizing it becomes! I give a LOT of lip service to the mind-body connection, but it is so good to be personally reminded that breathing and simple movement can literally cue our hearts and minds to open. Emotional and physical exhaustion CAN become emotional and physical REFRESHMENT!

I recently participated in a Yogathon to support Sea Change Yoga Maine, an organization that seeks to bring yoga to marginalized individuals. When I heard of this organization I immediately felt SUCH a strong connection to their mission. Of course there are about a million+ wonderful causes/non-profits/organizations well worth supporting but it is pretty special and exciting to find one that really just speaks to your professional and personal experience. The Yogathon included four classes taught by some unbelievably inspired teachers. I was open to being a student (so important to remind yourself to do when you serve as a teacher/leader/healer/caregiver). The last class was a “full body prayer” taught by Jacqui Bonwell. While I’ve heard of (and try to practice!) praying with your actions (e.g. cleaning & cooking with love!) I was so inspired by the idea of using your whole body to pray! Have you ever tried this?

I’m making efforts to meet people/get out of my comfort zone (especially socially) and start really connecting with others. Attending the Yogathon was part of this effort and also part of my effort to market my new biz, Atlantic Family Health. But it was also about a lot of personal connections to the cause. Before the event I was inspired to write a sonnet about health, art and movement. The night before the Yogathon I thought, WHAT THE HECK! I’m printing up this sonnet to give out to people tomorrow (with contact info/blurb on the back)!

Sonnets are a good form of marketing for our modern era, right?!


Immersed in the Yogathon; sweating, crying; I felt this awful deep pain and sadness and I breathed.

And like the tide coming in, I was filled with the most hopeful hope and love.

And in between all of this, I approached the teachers and said, “I wrote a poem inspired by this event/organization” and gave it to them.

And I thought,

“This might be the weirdest form of marketing ever to occur.”

But I LOVE myself for writing sonnets and being awkward!! This is the sweet spot, that authenticity that people (including me!!!) advocate! Finding this sweet spot is not always as simple/easy as it sounds when you are getting outside of your comfort zone and trying something new, or approaching something familiar in a new way! So what do you think? An hour (or four? haha!) of deep breathing and stretching may be all you need to learn about yourself/love yourself a little more and find your sweet spot! Highly recommended!

If you are interested in learning more about Sea Change Yoga Maine, click here to check out their website.

I am fundraising for this cause through the end of this month (April), so if you’re inspired, please…


Thank you so much for reading/visiting!!


Healthcare for Generation Z

I googled if I was a millennial and as it turns out, I am (born in 1982)! Ergo, I’m going to have to get more fluent in social media. And finally stop using a paper calendar (maybe)!

In order to move healthcare forward into the 20’s, 30’s and beyond, I want to create a forward-thinking patient experience at (my new biz) Atlantic Family Health. I’ve been thinking a lot about what Generation Z (a quarter of the US population!) will be looking for in healthcare.

My guess is TONS of information; people are increasingly VERY informed health consumers. I am seeing (in Maine) many people who are well-versed in a variety of health topics. People are getting their health and wellness needs met WITHOUT a family doctor guiding them; think: yoga, reiki, coaching, nutritionists, counselors, chiropractic care…I’m drawn to collaborating with wellness-focused businesses because these services can be so beneficial to health!

Primary care should be a positive self-care service like having a facial or getting a massage! Many people spend lots of time and energy on improving their health through things like supplements, essential oils, acupuncture, massage, recreational activities… but people do not necessarily see these services as related to the guidance of their family doctor. Many doctors actually scoff at patients engaging in the wellness industry! EVEN if the patient tells them X, Y or Z seems to be greatly improving their health!!

Do you think there is a disconnect between the wellness industry and the typical/traditional primary care/family doctor?

Generation Z (and Millennials) are more skeptical of the medical establishment. If a doctor scoffs at a patient’s health beliefs/desires/behaviors (especially those outside the realm of pharmacological treatment), or can’t answer questions about non-medication based alternatives, the patient is more likely to lose respect for that doctor and proceed with their own path to health! Long waiting room times, scheduling by phone, and 9-5, M-F hours for a doctor’s offices are passé.

Using social media to promote a business is very new to me. I met with Holly Martzial, of Mindwell Marketing and am so excited about her advice to pare down my rhetoric to market my business effectively. For one thing, she’d probably tell me not to use syntax like “pare down my rhetoric” on social media. Ha! Brevity is king when it comes to social media. Bright colors and 2-5 words are a better guarantee people will look at your advertising than very long-winded explanations of health theories. I tend towards rambling/long-winded musings over short punchy copy so meeting with Martzial was a wise decision! It was an invigorating–but also calming–meeting, given Martzial is a very talented yoga instructor. She writes,

“I want to travel everywhere, live in ten different places at once, I have 100 different career paths I want to take, you get my drift… Yoga has taught me how to be present. It has taught me to be grateful for the here and the now. It has taught me to sit still. It has taught me that when things are challenging, rather than run away on to the next, stay, breathe, and learn.”

She is writing in relation to yoga, but this approach is perfect for marketing. I tend to cast a wide net: Surfing? Raising chickens? Wildlife photography? Sign me up! While it is great to have diverse interests and being open to trying new things, when it comes to growing a business the mission needs to be targeted and clear. And when marketing your business, casting a wide net—e.g. “I can help anyone improve their health!”—may actually be disadvantageous. Creating messages that are more personalized; (e.g. “I can help your teen struggling with anxiety with a non-medication based approach.”) makes it more likely that people will engage. This tactic makes perfect sense in the context of healthcare, where treatment should always be individualized!

Martzial has a clever knack for asking the questions EVERYONE will ask you about your business. She compelled me to identify my mission, beliefs and target audience in a way that is accessible to modern health consumers.

After meeting Martzial I felt so much more focused and at ease about my marketing/branding efforts. I also revamped my website to include online booking, and people can call AND text with questions/to schedule appointments (or send an email or even send messages through social media!). A business should have MULTIPLE ways for people to engage!

Martzial’s advice is so clear cut with easy to implement tips and tricks. Here is an excerpt from her Instagram:

Is your content building connections?

Is your network growing? Not just digitally, but also in real life?

If you are interested in building your business locally, think about using your platforms to make meaningful connections.

a few examples:

      • connect with a target client or like-minded business on Instagram, then send a DM and ask to meet for coffee
      • be social on social media: leave relevant comments + start two way conversations
      • plan an in-person event and use your platforms to spread the word
      • share real + relatable content, then connect individually with the people who engage

I have tried all of her tips and have been meeting so many awesome people/businesses in the Portland area. Even if you are not running a business, her guidance is also applicable for maintaining digital health; one aspect of which is using technology to enhance/make connections with people (in person).

I have this exciting opportunity to grow the ideal family health practice. I know this content is a bit off-topic for Spy Garden, but any feedback you have on these subjects is welcomed!

What changes do you anticipate in the future of healthcare?

And also, I’ll repeat the other question I posed earlier: What do you think about the relationship between the wellness industry and the typical/traditional primary care doctor?

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me!