My Walk on El Camino de Santiago: Ask for Help

Uncategorized May 08, 2019

Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don't know something, and to learn something new. - Barack Obama

Walking along the Camino was sometimes glorious, sometimes, challenging, and sometimes it was absolutely terrifying for me.

Though they say that you can’t get lost on this road, I don’t know--I definitely felt lost. My group was way ahead of me, people were passing me, and I couldn’t catch up. I didn’t have any water. The trees grew together over the road like a thick canopy that didn’t let in much light. I seriously feared that something might jump out at me while I was walking alone under the huge shroud of leaves and branches.

We stopped every six miles on the road to rendezvous as a group. I figured I had only gone about two miles since our last stop, so I decided...

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My Walk on El Camino de Santiago: Challenge Yourself

Uncategorized May 01, 2019

"The cave you fear to enter is where your power lies." ~~Joseph Campbell

As I was walking along the Camino, I was often alone. My mentor Jennifer got way ahead of me at times, and while I could still see her, I felt like I was alone. It was a very uncomfortable feeling, being so far from my familiar and in a foreign country on a road that seemed to go on forever.

I was slightly comforted by reminding myself that many people had made this journey. After all, a few days earlier I didn’t think I could go on beyond day one, and I had pushed through and kept going. I had found the strength to move out of my limited thinking and keep going.

That made me wonder, where else in my life I  had been staying too comfortable.

When a lobster outgrows its shell, it must withdraw from it and grow another. When it leaves its shell in the process of growth and change, it becomes very vulnerable. Each time this happens, it is discomfort that compels it to grow a new shell. Without this...

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My Walk on El Camino de Santiago: Let it Out

Uncategorized Apr 25, 2019

Several days into my journey on the Camino, I woke up crying at 4:00 AM. This wasn’t just a tear elegantly sliding down my cheek, this was an outpour. My tears didn’t have a clear emotion tied to them, yet I sobbed uncontrollably; my voice wailing and my body shuddering. I covered my face with a pillow, wondering what is this???

In Paulo Coelho’s book, The Pilgrimage, about his experiences on the Camino, he describes a similar weeping incident as a “spiritual cleansing.” (Of course, I didn’t read this book until I had returned home. If only I had known what I was in for! See Lesson #1, “Know What You Are Signing Up For.”)

But, when my last tear was shed and my breathing normalized, I felt amazing. I felt as if I had unloaded a ton of bricks from my very soul. Something about the walk and the exhaustion and the beauty of the road had knocked things loose inside of me and I had become free of them. I felt my mind and body lighten.

We can...

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My Walk on El Camino de Santiago: Have a Mentor

Uncategorized Apr 17, 2019

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
- Isaac Newton

On my walk on El Camino I made a lot of rookie mistakes. I didn’t train ahead of time, I didn’t have some of the equipment that would have made it smoother for me, and I didn’t understand what the trek would actually entail.

What I did have was a mentor.

I met Jennifer while on the Camino and she was my angel on that walk. When I got discouraged, she bolstered me. When I started complaining about the pain in my feet (and legs, and back, and…), she told me I would make it. Jennifer walked backward on the road, facing me so she could keep going and give me the boost I needed at the same time. She was incredible. I had the good fortune that Jennifer showed interest in my success and helped me to make the very best of our walk.

I have been lucky to have had other mentors in my life as well. Because of their experience and vantage point, I have been...

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My Walk on El Camino de Santiago: One Step at a Time

Uncategorized Mar 12, 2019

If you read our last newsletter, you know that I recently made the walk at El Camino de Santiago, which begins at Saint Jean Pied de Port, France, and travels 500 miles through four of Spain’s 15 regions, ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. It wasn’t the leisurely walk that I had been lead to believe it would be and I contemplated bailing on the whole thing and going home midway through. It’s a huge undertaking when you look at the entire length of the walk and the amount of time it takes to complete it. It’s overwhelming.

So why did I keep going? How did I keep going?

I began to look at the journey as a series of steps rather than the entire pilgrimage. One step equals quite a lot. If I focused on taking one step and then the next, I would be able to move ahead. If I became caught up in the enormity of the entire walk, I’d get disheartened and want to quit.

We can get so bogged down with all of the things we have to...

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My Walk on El Camino de Santiago: Know What You are Signing Up For

Uncategorized Feb 21, 2019

I first heard of the El Camino walk on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Paulo Coelho, best-selling author of The Alchemist, was her guest and he spoke of how it was on this road that he was inspired to begin writing at the age of 38. Previously, he had been a successful businessman, but after walking the El Camino, he came home to his wife and said, “You will probably divorce me now,” and he went on to tell her that he planned to give up his work in the business world and pursue his childhood dream of becoming a writer. It was a big risk, and one that could mean he would go broke, but he knew he had to do it.

 

For over a thousand years, countless pilgrims have made the iconic journey to the final resting place of St. James the Greater on the Camino de Santiago. The route for El Camino de Santiago begins at Saint Jean Pied de Port, France, and travels 500 miles through four of Spain's 15 regions, ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia....

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Powerful Strategies to Reduce Worry and Manage Stress for Attorneys

Uncategorized Jan 28, 2019

As a trial and appellate attorney for over a decade, I have experienced my share of stress. I have also learned to become an expert worrier.

As attorneys, one of the most important skills that we must develop is predicting all of the potential outcomes in our cases. Most of the time (if not all of the time) we must predict scenarios that entail negative outcomes. We must inform our clients of the potential risks, harms, and pitfalls of taking certain courses of action. In doing this for our clients, we must be highly attuned to thinking of as many worst-case-scenarios as possible.

When we do this, we end up in what I call “negativelandia,” a place where we are unable to turn off our important negative-scenario spotting skill. Remaining in negativelandia for too long will magnify our worries and cause stress. As a profession, we are incredibly sleep-deprived and sleep-deprivation is closely correlated with stress. We abuse alcohol at rates that are 3-5 times higher than...

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Poverty Can Be Closer Than You Think

Uncategorized Jan 08, 2019

Work injuries and illnesses contribute to the pressing issue of income inequality: they force working families out of the middle class and into poverty, and keep the families of lower-wage workers from entering the middle class.1For working families already struggling to meet basic necessities and set aside some savings, a work injury to a primary wage earner can be especially devastating.1 There are also less tangible effects that are important but impossible to monetize.1 Workplace injuries can diminish self-esteem and self-confidence, increase stress between spouses, children and other family members, and strain relations with friends, colleagues and supervisors. These indirect costs can translate into tangible economic costs, including lower wages.1,[i]

In reality, the costs of workplace injury and illness are borne primarily by injured workers, their families, and taxpayer-supported safety-net programs. State legislatures and courts have made it increasingly difficult...

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Functional Capacity Exams (FCE) – What You Should Know

Uncategorized Dec 21, 2018

What is an FCE?

An FCE’s is a series of tests to measure your physical capacities to do work after an injury. It is usually conducted after you have had an opportunity to recover and have been released from treatment and will evaluate your strength, stamina and other abilities required for work. The FCE evaluator should be certified to conduct the exam.

Why is an FCE valuable?

An FCE can provide valuable information about tolerances for work that can help avoid further injury, document entitlement to permanent disability benefits, and reduce litigation.

What can I expect at an FCE examination?

The FCE evaluator will usually have you fill out a questionnaire, and have you participate in a number of physical tasks to measure your tolerances. The testing can range from hours to days to mimic an actual work schedule. Your response to these activities will be observed and recorded the FCE evaluator.

Often, the claims administrator will conduct surveillance before and after an FCE...

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Giving Back, Ways to Improve the World Now

Uncategorized Dec 20, 2018

As a Family

  1. Pack gift bags for homeless people. Fill bags with practical and fun items. Some ideas include granola bars, water bottles, toothpaste and warm gloves or socks. Keep the bags in your car, and hand them out to homeless people you encounter on your daily commutes.
  2. Take lunches to people who work over the holidays. Police stations, fire stations, hospitals, and even retail stores are full of busy workers on holidays. Make some delicious sack lunches to take to the workers in your area who don’t get a break over the holidays.
  3. Tackle a bigger cause. Older kids are especially sensitive to the world’s injustices. Talk with your kids about problems – whether local or worldwide – that they’re passionate about. Then, do some research about the issue to find practical ways to help. Assist your kids in sponsoring a bigger fundraising event to help tackle this issue.

As an Individual

  1. Offer to help family. Many adult children presume their parents will...
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