Super exciting news: Jeremy and I are getting married... in less than two weeks.
He proposed back in November, on the second anniversary of our first date, which neither of us even realized at the time. Super romantic. He played Al Green's, Let's Stay Together, and got down on one knee. Yep, smooth.
Admittedly, neither of us anticipated getting married again. After twenty-two years of a really tough #marriage, I was pretty darn happy single. I was fully embracing being a spinster, growing my plant collection, teaching yoga, hiking and meditating, gathering as many new experiences as I could squeeze into my life. I was really focused on my own growth and getting healthy, figuring out what I wanted and needed, trying to live my most authentic life. He was doing much the same, but maybe in a more self-destructive way. He had significant trauma too, but was a bit more fresh into the muck of it all when we met.
We started helping each other heal our traumas. He helped me see that working with people to help them heal in their lives really is part of my journey; it is part of who I am. Midwifery was really traumatizing for me, although this is also a season of my life in which I feel some of the most honor. Closing my practice felt like a profound loss of identity. I really didn't know my purpose at this point in my life, and kind of froze up. Eventually, with lots of healing work, it grew quite clear to me that I very much enjoy connecting with people and helping them heal; I am a Healer in one way or another. This I knew for certain. What that looked like in my life though, and if that was going to be my career again, I wasn't yet certain.
After a really difficult #midwifery career I was a bit shy to come back into what can be a pretty hostile profession. Part of me felt I had failed and the other part of me feared being that successful again, losing myself in the chaos of it all after having worked so hard to find my balance. Jeremy helped me find my footing though, and we created #Eden Family Practice together. It is absolutely everything I desired and even he has found a new passion within himself.
Our practice has grown purely by word of mouth and we have really cultivated a clientele-base who are like-minded and bring us such joy. This is every bit of who I am from the complex functional medicine consults navigating genetic variants and a plethora of laboratory biomarkers to teaching #yoga, pranayama, gathering herbal remedies, and hiking with our clients. I love writing educational programs and just connecting with people, earning trust and providing that safe space for individuals to be authentic. The Women's Healing Circle and Book Club... well, I can't imagine doing anything else at this point of my life. This is me living out my life very authentically.
Adapting Our Business Model for Personal Growth
Here's what I've learned though, in the last two years of clinical practice with Eden Family Practice. My real gift is in the one-on-one connection. I am not a big business gal. When I grew big in my midwifery practice, that's when things got more difficult and my connection was lost. Hiring other staff took me away from my clients and pushed me more into an administrative role. This time I knew I wanted something smaller, and Jeremy was eager to become that administrative leader.
Primary care though, is how conventional medicine gets their hook in ya. These visits don't make anyone any money and they certainly don't pay any overhead, but what they do is get people in the door so capital gains can be obtained from the over-priced labs, pharmaceuticals, and diagnostic tests. In most functional medicine practices, clients are encouraged to purchase hundreds of dollars of supplements and enjoy their newest and latest intervention, which soon proves to be just another fad. We've played with some of these ideas, but I just couldn't wrap my heart around them.
What I am trying to do, connecting, spending hours with each client, providing them space to really be seen and heard, well, it doesn't really make for a profitable business model, at least brick-and-mortar. My interest in healing is so genuine that I fail to see each person as a potential sale. When I am serving, I am not simultaneously thinking about what I am getting. In fact, I am more often thinking about how they can be saving.
We don't mark up any functional tests and our labs are literally pennies on the dollar because price gouging is part of why our healthcare system is so broken. I am not interested in three-or-five year business plans. I want to take one day at a time and be open for wherever my journey leads. My interests are vast, and I want to share all of that with you with the most unbiased of views rather than trying to persuade you to invest in some new money-making-scheme so we can make ends meet. I've been at the table when practices are gambling with walking on the edge of their practice scope, or even safety and ethics, desperately needing to implement a new intervention so they can keep their practice afloat and I don't want any part of this. My place in this arena is healing; I am not a sale's lady, and I am not a snake-charmer. I don't want to do better or do more; I want to be better. This is true to who I am and I think true to being a Healer. I want to make Dr. Quinn proud.
Improving our Practice Model
I failed to mention previously in this post, although most of you are already aware, last summer, prior to Jeremy's proposal, he was asked to relocate to Lexington, Kentucky to help grow an automotive plant. It was hard to deny the captivating hills and the fresh start, both personally and professionally. This move has been pushed back time and time again as they created a plan for replacing him and his needing to prepare his current plant for this departure, but alas, the time has come. In fact, Jeremy is there now.
At first we thought we would live apart, remain together in a relationship, and visit one another on weekends. We'd see where things would go, but as we opened ourselves to marriage, those ideals changed. We then planned to relocate and travel to Indiana a few times a week to continue caring for clients in the clinic and teaching yoga. It's only a three-and-a-half-hour drive. We both have children and grandchildren who will remain in Indiana, so that seemed easy enough. Then I thought more on the time I'd spend away from home, away from my family, away from my six-year old daughter. I thought about how many hours this would mean in the car and in hotels. It seemed ironic that I would be investing into a business that needed to continue to grow to be financially independent but in doing so would ultimately mean more and more time away from home. Then I remembered my original intention, remaining balanced and living authentically through my practice; none of this new vision was true to that.
When we reached the two year mark on our lease this past month, I asked Jeremy, "Is this really what we want?" His response for two days was absolutely yes. He saw no other path but to keep working our butts off and thinking of new out-of-the box ideals that met my high ethical standards but still made good business sense. All of these meant leaning on other people, who may or may not hold our same mindset and extend care with the same dedication. The Carmel location though had become our respite, our sanctuary, and there was no part of us that wanted to walk away from that. We love our clients, and they are part of our inner circle now, some for more than a decade. We also had a number of plants in the clinic that would need consistent care. But again I asked, "Does this honor us? Does it honor our model of care?"
In the midst of a really deep heart-to-heart that manifested itself through tears, doubts, and a lot of fear, we ultimately did discover a more honorable path for all of us; one that I am completely confident will excite you too. These past two years have taught us that most of you aren't eager to travel to Carmel for visits anyway. You do! And we appreciate you! Some of you travel several hours! However, the pandemic caused many of us to lean into our more introverted ways, and are really appreciating the convenience of meeting via Zoom. The model of care we offer, largely consults and education, really can be done well via Zoom. The clinical environment is really only necessary for annual wellness visits or the occasional chronic or sick visits. Even yoga wasn't well attended in person, nor has it been at other yoga studios in the area. So, while the extrovert in me is a smidge disappointed in this new reality, and my camera shy persona is really anxious about creating a larger online presence, we've recognized the changing tides and see that becoming a more virtual practice will support our model of care. Minimizing overhead means I can get back to what I do best, focusing on connecting and less about business strategy. This does not mean we won't be available to you in person though.
Just as I did within my midwifery practice, my care as a family nurse practitioner can extend into the community. This also speaks to the true medicine woman within me and honors my midwifery heritage, having trained in Hyden, Kentucky with Mary Breckinridge as our midwifery model. The midwives here rode horseback through the gorgeous Appalachian Mountains giving care to the entire community within the community. Eden will continue to include my Indiana families, but at some point into the future, will also include some parts of Kentucky. We will continue to support organic, word-of-mouth growth and let the path lay itself. Our roots are deep here.
As much as I do love home visits and will continue to make these available as I can, more often our visits will be within a much smaller rented space that is shared with a community of healers. Currently we are anticipating utilizing space a few times a month at Playful Soul on 86th street, not far from our Carmel location. They also offer room for which we can meet for our Women's Healing Groups, our Book Club and for various yoga classes, although I do hope to get outside in nature much more into the future. Potentially we will locate a similar place closer to Lafayette as well, as we do have a nice population of clients in the more northern area.
My availability will remain exclusive to the practice as you have become accustomed, but our focus will grow more towards enhancing our online programs, virtual yoga, and live discussions than it has been on expanding our business model so we can cover overhead. I think this is most true to what you have come to expect from us, and continues to serve you well.
As of today, our Carmel Clinic has closed. We have been providing home visits the past few weeks and teaching yoga online, which has gone well - the home visits more so than the yoga, but we have fun upgrades there. If you haven't discovered our host of classes and programs, this is a great way to support our practice so we can better serve you into the future. If you have any questions, ask! We will start updating the practice website and send out notifications to communicate these new offerings.