getting ready for the next phase!

the question used to be, what do you do?

“what do you do?” http://www.phdcomics.com

… now, the question is what am I going to do with a PhD?

“what do you want to be?” http://www.phdcomics.com

I’m feeling a little bit in limbo… so far I have handed in my PhD dissertation (June), but am still waiting to publicly present my findings and defend my document (September). So, I’m done one hurdle, but still have a big one ahead of me. Although I’m loving enjoying the summer and all Victoria has to offer, I’m anxious to finish my PhD and start the next phase of my research career.

so, what is next for me?

I have an amazing opportunity to do a post-doctoral fellowship at the Centre on Aging, University of Victoria, with Dr. Neena Chappell. I guess it’s like a 2-year research internship where I’m in charge of facilitating my own research project under the supervision of an advisor. I hope to take on a bit more responsibility and a greater leadership role among the students at the Centre… and also learn different skills to help broaden my CV (and get me a job!). Dr. Chappell is a leader in gerontological research for over 30 years. She is a Canadian Research Chair and founding director of the Centre on Aging, both in Winnipeg and Victoria. I love the integration of community involvement and world-class research that goes on at the Centre on Aging. … pretty much, she has the career I strive to have and started a research facility with mandates and values I really admire.

I’ve been lucky to be awarded scholarships from both the Alzheimer Society Canada (accepted in name only) and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (accepted) to help support my research. I will be looking at the well-being of persons who care for those with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, I want to look at how different symptom presentation impacts caregiver health and well-being; for example persons who care for someone with dementia (AD), vs. persons who care for someone with movement control disorder (PD) vs. persons who care for some with both movement disorder and dementia (dementia associated with PD). I’m also interested in the different experience of men vs. women.

so THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me so far, and I can’t wait for the next phase of my research! much love.

… and onto the next question, what to wear?

“deciding what to wear” http://www.phdcomics.com

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living your yoga with Parkinson’s disease

I had an inspiring experience June 4-9 at a Wellness Retreat for People with Parkinson’s disease and their Care Partners at the Kripalu Centre for Yoga & Health, located in the beautiful Berkshires, Massachusetts.

the Kripalu view

A couple years ago, I did my Yoga Teacher Training through a Kripalu affiliate studio in Kelowna BC (http://www.trinityyogacenter.com/), so it felt almost like a homecoming for me to be at the Kripalu Centre.

I was at Kripalu to help with a retreat for People with Parkinson’s disease and their Care Partners. We had 57 people registered for the week! We participated in lectures held by physicians, yogis, nutritionists, nurses etc. There were also some great in-depth discussion groups, a delicious cooking-demo. Finally we had lots of opportunity to be in our bodies with yoga, tai chi and dance classes! It was a jam packed week!

Here are some things that I want to share as “take home messages” from the week…

1. lean into JOY! make decisions in order to increase the amount of joy in your life.

2. be RESILIENT. resilient people know that have control over themselves in the present moment. However, everyone needs a “choir” full of people to truly be there for you (like a circle of support). Who is in that choir for you?

3.conscious COMMUNICATION. speak and be heard, mindfully; but mostly, lean into listening. have intentional conversations.

4. caregivers should think of themselves as a SMALL BUSINESS. For example, caregivers need to have a board of directors (i.e., circle of support, choir), hold regular meetings, have a mission statement, take scheduled/regular time off to allow respite, recreation, and relaxation!

5. “what do you do to procrastinate?” honour those things that keep us back, acknowledge them, then move forward.

6. move from your CORE. whether it be your physical core (spine, abdominals), or emotional core (follow your heart!). this will keep you balanced (literally, between both feet) and help you lean into joy.

at the end of the week, participants chose ONE thing to bring home with them… “when I go home, I will…“. to sustain this change and those experienced during the week, we were encouraged to:

a) be AUTHENTIC (i.e., change needs to be true to you)

b) give yourself permission to be FULLY HUMAN (i.e. ups and downs, have self-compassion)

c) take it ONE STEP AT A TIME (i.e. doing and integrating one thing opens yourself up to other positive changes)

d) start IMMEDIATELY (i.e integrate the change right away!)

e) take it ONE DAY AT A TIME (*remember; resilient people are in control of themselves in the PRESENT moment).

Lord Ganesh, the remover of obstacles.

If you are interested in being involved in the next session you can find out more information here: http://kripalu.org/healthy_living/806/… hope to see you there!

 I’m so grateful to the National Parkinson Foundation, Kripalu, and the amazing participants for being involved in this inspiring week, uniting movement-mind-breath for wellness in persons living with Parkinson’s disease.

jai bhagwan, namaste.

travels & island living

happy summer! it seems summer has officially shown it’s beautiful smile here in victoria and I’ve been enjoying every minute of it!

This past couple months has been full of travels, adventures, and settling down… I’ll give you a sneak peak of what has been keeping me busy…

mid-may we boarded an airplane and partied in vegas with a couple of rockstars…

margaritas with jimmy buffet

elton john!

then near the end of may, family called and I headed east to Cape Breton Island (check out http://wp.me/s1l8Lq-family)

made-in-cape-breton pepsi, the longest flight, and the ferry to newfoundland!

May 31st came and we packed our bags and hit the road… and headed west, all the way to Victoria.

we moved to west victoria/esquimalt… and chose to live here because:

1) the ocean

west bay marina

harbour seals!

2) fol epi/cafe fantastico

best coffee, bread and pastries in the city within walking distance… yum!

fol epi bread

cafe fantastico

and of course 3) anna-banana!

anna and her funny faces

… and it’s been great!

I hadn’t even been in Victoria for 40 hours, when I hopped on another plane and headed to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Home to the Kripalu Centre for Yoga and Health.

seattle airport with my yoga mat, enroute to massachusetts!

And, I definitely felt at home! I was involved with a weeklong Yoga for Parkinson’s retreat (June 4-9), run by the National Parkinson Foundation. I left that week bursting with inspiration… so much so that I’ll share it in another post – so keep your eye out for that!

Because my dissertation was still hanging over my head, I went back to Kelowna for a week of WORK, WORK, WORK!

And whaddya know, it got finished and handed to my committee! What that means now, is that I have a couple months to wait, then head back to Kelowna in September for my defence!

the.dissertation.document

And now it’s summer-time…

and my pace has definitely slowed down! In between getting my last 2 papers published, and my last bit of data analyzed, I’ll get to enjoy ALL the island has to offer! Including,

bike rides

seafood

tuna sandwich and seafood poutine at “RedFish BlueFish”

crabbing at sooke harbour

camping

beachfront camping in la push, washington

and the beach (and surfing!)!

Bring it on, summer! much love.