Trials and tribulations

Hi Friends,

I have been wondering how best to use my expertise and skills to be of service during the COVID-19 situation, and brainstorming ways to put my experience to good use in a new job.

Offering yoga online has been very fulfilling, and it has allowed me to contribute to keeping a small business running that had to close acupuncture operations for 2.5 months. I love getting to know my students better and the Sunday (Re)treats have been my favorite.

It has also occurred to me that clinical trials are running for treatments and for vaccines to help save lives and stop the spread of this infection. I have 12+ years of experience as a clinical researcher, and I am good at explaining technical concepts to non-scientists in a way that makes sense. Mission taking shape…

Web MD coronavirus picture
Photo credit – WebMD (COVID-19: What You Should Know)

I have noticed that Universities have difficulty explaining clinical trials to potential participants in ways they understand. Many of their resources are text-heavy and use a lot of technical terms. It is a chronic problem for the informed consent process as well, which is required before volunteering to participate in a trial.

In service to helping people understand which trials might be the best fit, I am considering a series on de-mystifying the clinical trial process. It may be a matter of curating the best content that is available and sharing it. I am strongly committed to advocating for participants who may be confused and want clarification of their questions.

The ACRP (Association of Clinical Research Professionals) explains that with the pandemic looming large at hospitals, many trial sites are not recruiting participants and face the danger of not completing their enrollments. This could have devastating effects on the development of other life-saving therapies outside of this virus.

My questions are these:

  • Have you ever thought about volunteering for a clinical trial?
  • What are your reservations about participating in a trial?

For now, since the biggest question people seem to have for the news media on vaccines and trials is: why will this take so long? I am posting an info-graphic from St. Luke’s which nicely summarizes the process. I’ll be back later this week or next to follow further in bite-sized stories if there is interest in this topic.

phases of a clinical trial
Credit to St. Luke’s Cancer Clinical Trials Center for this graphic

Stay well and safe. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. Be kind.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Saturday Share – 10 Eye-Opening Writing Rituals from Great Writers — Victoria Ray

The author should die once he has finished writing. So as not to trouble the path of the text. Umberto Eco The truth is (social distancing or not), I am still a very disorganised author. How could I publish so many books? 🤨 I don’t know. That’s why I’m diving in into some rituals of the greatest,…

via 10 Eye-Opening Writing Rituals from Great Writers — Victoria Ray

For those of you who would like to establish a writing routine during quarantine, my friend and writer Victoria Ray has pulled together a few ideas for you.

Cheers & happy weekend,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Renewal in times of uncertainty

Content here first appeared on Linked in on April 14, 2020. It has been edited for WordPress and re-formatted.

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Are you feeling like your head is busy and your body is unsettled?

Maybe you are trying to work from home, and it now seems like all you do is work…

Or maybe you are managing children’s “school at home” schedules and you are also expected to get work done.

boss Gallup article
Photo credit link (Gallup)

With the uncertainty and virus concerns, many of us exist in a new reality. Even if we might worked at home before now and then, now we are possibly sharing space with more people.

We don’t necessarily have the “commute bumper” of our day to delineate starting and stopping anymore. For some of us, maybe the dining room is now our makeshift office. Pets or children may interrupt us many times a day, not understanding that it’s a Tuesday, not a weekend!

It does not help that the news can be grim, and that we worry about the state of our health, our loved ones, and of just how the world will “recover” from such a disruption. While we may be able to focus on certain aspects of our work during the day, we cannot totally keep from wondering… what is next?

During this period of collective upheaval and change it is important to schedule self-care into our day. I’m writing this while snow swirls outside in Minnesota as we speak. So while a walk would be lovely and I highly encourage that as a routine for before or after your workday, or after lunch, it does not always appeal.

Yogi tea IG photo

Other things you can do include taking a break and making a cup of tea, and allowing yourself to step away from your desk. Grab a journal and write out your thoughts, or draft a  screenplay scene with yourself as the protagonist.

If you’re like me, you will add yoga or other movement as part of your day. There are online NIA classes you might take. Perhaps some quiet meditation or listening to some soothing music will help you calm and center.  Or engaging your creativity by getting out the paints or even some play-doh (remember kindergarten?) will give your mind a rest.

Whatever you decide to do, realize that these self-care activities are not optional. They are not frivolous, because they provide a respite from our left hemispheric thinking, which can be unrelenting. While thinking and problem-solving are wonderful aspects of our human capacity, over-emphasis can lead to anxiety, a focus on doing rather than being, and sometimes even insomnia.

I wish you well. I hope you experiment with and discover the activities that nourish your whole self, and nurture calm, clarity and resilience. I would love to hear about your favorite ways to relax in the comments below!

Take much care,

Cristy

P.S. If you have not already found online yoga options and want to join a live community of people via Zoom to practice restorative or slow flow yoga online, please join my email list (cristy@meximinnesotana.com) to get a free class offer. Or you can sign up for a sliding fee yoga class here. No prior experience necessary. Thank you for your interest!  

Healing Within Tree
Click here to explore Yoga with Cristy

 

A launch and a sigh of relief

Any time we do anything for the first time, we must be vulnerable and risk trying something, possibly doing it badly. Then we can continue to practice and improve. This is how it works with any new skill. And when you teach, you have an audience. It helps when your audience is forgiving, because you are bound to make mistakes.

While I have taught before via slides and conference calls, it has typically been to deliver conceptual (non-embodied) learning, not with a practice component. Yesterday I launched my first online yoga class, Thursday Slow Flow. Despite some issues with the sound quality (which will be fixed when I receive my headset) it felt like a success to me.

sacred space at the studio
Healing Within Acupuncture & Wellness Studio – practice space

As of 9 a.m. that morning, I had only one student signed up for the class. But four hours later (~90 minutes before class), there were 7 students ready to attend. I realized the majority of my students did what I do. They wait until the day of class, and then register that day for a class that is the right fit. In this “new era” this makes so much sense to me.

We must be present to what our body is calling for that day, and in the moment. We do not know if a child may have a schedule change at school, or an emergency will require our attention, or a work project may be dropped into our laps. And that’s okay. We must be flexible, to stay loose and to shift and move as new information comes in.

I breathed a sigh of relief and joy as my class came to a close. My verbal cues had helped people focus on their bodies and their internal experience, rather than staring at a screen. Several students indicated they felt more relaxed and grounded afterward. To me, if I can help anyone achieve that, it feels like success.

What new thing are you willing to try in service to others who need and want what you offer? If you believe your gifts can benefit someone, isn’t it worth the discomfort and vulnerability to show up?

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Going all SinĂ©ad over here?

Taking a departure from my Wellness Wednesday tradition for a mundane topic. It is actually related to wellness. But it’s about hair.

I am pretty sure I’m not the only person to be getting a little bushy up here, without my lovely Nicole Schreifels, the only person I trust with my hair. She always does a wonderful job and I walk away feeling cared for and sassy.

It is clear from the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases that this “Stay At Home” situation is not going to end (safely) any time soon. The number of cases in the U.S. continues to climb rapidly. While I think Minnesota may fare better than some states, we must still use caution to protect vulnerable people.

Sinead discogs
Photo source link 

A dear yoga sister of mine told me Tuesday that she probably has the virus. She was advised by her tele-medicine practitioner that she could not get tested unless she went to ICU. With a severe and painful cough, fever, chills, and a loss of smell and taste, she was told to stay home and to self-quarantine for 7 days without the option of testing.

To me, this indicates a few things:

1) The actual numbers of infected people are MUCH higher than the confirmed cases reported (which include mostly hospitalized patients).

2) This is going to get worse before it gets better. How much worse? Nobody knows.

3) Despite many warnings from public health officials in recent decades that this type of event was probable, leaders ignored the warnings. They did not take time to understand the science to protect people. We need to listen to the experts, not the politicians.

4) Because infection rates increase in logarithmic progressions rather than linear ones, it is hard for us all to comprehend the nature of the spread. So, in a free society such as ours, we have difficulty complying with the kinds of orders that can slow the spread.

What does this have to do with hair? Well, wouldn’t it give a virus a lot less surface area to attach and inadvertently get into eyes or nose if I shave it all off? I mean, it’s short now already. As I washed my hands for the 20th+ time today, and brushed the hair out of my eyes, I considered a shampoo bottle and thought: wouldn’t be easier just to unburden myself further?

I don’t have the delicate features and symmetrical head shape of Sinead O’Connor, so I doubt I can pull it off personally. But in the interest of public health, why not at least ask the question?

Stay safe and well, friends.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Unexpected blessings

I received some news at work yesterday which was surprising at first. It took me a few minutes to process it, and I am still deciding how to approach this news.

My emotions went from disbelief to amazement to sadness. Then I felt quiet recognition that this was not actually unexpected. My intuition had been nudging me here but I had been reluctant to fully see and acknowledge what I was seeing.

So my current emotion is relief. There is some uncertainty in the process of moving forward after big news. And there can be a delightful freedom in it, a chance for something new to burst forth.

Unexpected blessings

I thank my yoga training for allowing me to sit in the “heat” of any situation in my life and recognize it is here to teach me something. My resilience and resourcefulness come from within, and I am so grateful that I know this.

Over the weekend I received news about a yoga teaching opportunity which was energizing and exciting. After my “desk chair yoga” class in February I have been wondering what is next along that front, and some new options are emerging. I felt like I had been pushing, pushing, pushing on some projects that had felt stuck. And now I feel a sense of ease at understanding that planting seeds was more important, that growth and harvesting are a later part of this particular project.

Grateful for all the the wisdom I continue to receive.

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cristy@meximinnesotana.com