Sandy's Unique Experiential Credentials
A Life-Long Search for the Holy Grail of Resilience
Sandy Davis' search for the Holy Grail of Resilience started when he was six years old. That was when his parents separated abruptly, and the world that he and his sisters had been living in unexpectedly turned upside down and inside out. Way back then, Sandy discovered how hard it is to deal with challenging adversities when you don't have lots of inner resources at your disposal. He found himself instinctively wanting to figure out how to find/create/develop those missing resources. The only problem was he didn't know how to do this, and it wasn't "in the curriculum." He found himself painfully on his own. Back then, he didn't even know about the word "resilience," much less what it meant.
From that early starting point, Sandy's pursuit of personal resilience has continued his whole life. Slowly but surely, and over many decades, he experimented with ways to put the pieces of this puzzle together. It wasn't until he was well into his 50's that he finally "cracked the code." Much to his delight, he was finally able to identify the critical puzzle pieces. Then figured out a powerful way to fit them all them together.
The result is a straightforward methodology for optimizing your self-care and maximizing your resilience. Sandy has found that his "home-brewed" methodology continues to work exceptionally well for him. Indeed, it has literally saved his life several times over. Moreover, he has already taught hundreds of others how to successfully use his approach so that they can also thrive in stressful times. Those who have become committed "practitioners" are deriving positive results every day––even as you're reading this right now.
Sandy has derived what he calls "a minimal set of seven simple daily self-care structures that gives you the greatest possible return-on-resilience." Within that set of structures are three daily self-care practices. What follows is a brief description of Sandy's own three daily practices. To give you some perspective on his longstanding experience, you'll find information on each of his practices, as well as on how long he has been doing each of them. The sum of his extensive personal experience with these daily practices is what makes him uniquely qualified to teach others how to embrace them and then derive endless benefits from them.
Daily Creative Practice
The roots of Sandy's daily creative practice go back to when he was in elementary school. Starting in the first grade, he took piano lessons for two years, and then he dabbled for a year or two first with the baritone horn, and then with the trombone.
It was not until high school, however, that Sandy discovered his real passion: playing traditional tunes and songs on the five-string banjo. Traditional music turned out to be a creative practice that "fit" Sandy so well that, once he found it, he has never stopped pursuing it. For over 50 years, he has practiced/played music for an average of an hour or so a day. Music has thus turned out to be Sandy's longest-standing daily self-care practice.
In his 30s, Sandy spent five years making his living as a musician, both as a performer and an instructor. He has played with some well-known musicians (including James Taylor––back when he was still "Jim", and Pete Seeger). Over the years, he has also appeared as a sideman on numerous recordings. He currently is a member of Flowing Tide, a Maine-based quintet that plays for both New England contra dances and other festive occasions. He is also an active staff member of the Maine Fiddle Camp.
Sandy has found music to be an extraordinary teacher. It continues to grab his attention and entrance him. It inspires him to practice deliberately, to keep on exploring and discovering, to attain new levels of proficiency, to listen continuously with a "fresh" ear, and to exercise every aspect of his creativity. The time he spends practicing each day reliably heartens his spirit and makes his life more full and meaningful.
Daily Practice of Aerobic Exercise
The roots of Sandy's daily practice of aerobic exercise go back to his having had a life-threatening case of rheumatic fever when he was 14 years old. At that time, he was told that because his heart valves had been damaged, he would never be able to exercise vigorously.
Nine years later, in the spring of 1968, Sandy started to wonder whether his doctors might have been wrong. He decided to test whether his heart might actually be strong enough for him to start exercising at least moderately. Without anyone's permission, he simply started to run every other day, just as an experiment. At first, running a mile left him completely winded and red in the face. But he persevered. Soon, he was running two miles, then three.
Once Sandy built up to running a distance of three miles (or about half an hour of aerobic exercise, or 5 kilometers), he settled into a routine of running this distance every other day. He then continued to run or row an average of 5K every other day, year 'round, for 40 years. Only when faced with injuries or medical challenges, did he suspend his aerobic exercise for short periods of time. In the course of all this continuous exercise, he worked long enough and hard enough to become what his physician calls "an aerobe."
In February 2008, Sandy was in a head-on car crash in which his right knee was permanently injured. Unable to continue running, Sandy promptly switched over to cycling. He continues to cycle year 'round, outdoors when the weather and road conditions are good, and indoors when the weather is inclement. He also rows year 'round, either in his sleek racing shell or on his indoor rowing machine.
Given this longstanding routine of vigorous physical exercise, Sandy has an exceptionally strong heart, save for a blocked nerve connection between its two chambers––a consequence, perhaps, of his having had rheumatic fever as a child. That nerve connection finally failed outright in 2006.
Fortunately, on the very day that "heart block" brought his heart to a stop, doctors successfully implanted a pacemaker in his chest just in time. This surgery corrected the conduction problem he was experiencing. Sandy bounced back quickly from his timely transformation into a bionic athlete, and in a matter of a month or two, he was back to running/rowing every other day, full speed ahead.
After sustaining his exercise routine for 37-plus years, on January 1, 2005 Sandy completed running and rowing a distance of 24,900 miles. That's a distance equivalent to running and rowing all the way around the earth at the equator. As of November 1, 2010, he completed the first 5,000 miles (plus or minus) of his second "virtual circumnavigation." At the speed is currently going, he will finish the equivalent of his second journey around the globe when he's 84 years old. He is already looking forward to that personal triumph.
Daily Centering Practice
The linchpin in Sandy's search for the optimal combination of simple daily self-care practices was his discovery in 1992 of the importance of having a daily centering practice. When he started to intentionally take time every morning to center his energy, he found he could take all of his other daily self-care structures to a "higher plane." Moreover, life in general started to flow more smoothly.
Sandy's first centering practice took the form of writing "Morning Pages" (as defined by Julia Cameron in her seminal book, The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity). After doing a 30-minute written "meditation" first thing every morning for over six years (and writing over 6,500 pages longhand), his centering practice gradually morphed into a 20-minute sitting practice comprised of a self-concocted combination of deep breathing and prayer. He has continued to do this daily centering practice ever since.
About 15 years ago, Sandy incorporated tai chi into his daily centering routine. After doing his deep breathing and prayer, he spends 10 minutes every morning doing a short Wu-style tai chi form four times, once to the east, once to the south, once to the west, and once to the north.
Since he added this to his daily centering practice, he has done that same tai chi form more than 22,000 times. He has come to know it "in his bones." At the same time, he finds that his tai chi awakens him each day in ever-new ways. Without fail, it calls him to remain as open and curious about what the form can teach him as he was when he first learned it.
Experience Using the Daily Evidence Log
Sandy invented his Self-Care Daily Evidence Log in June 2002. In its original form, it was an experimental tool that he thought might be useful in the resilience training programs he was developing. The log held the promise of opening up the door to new insights about the power of not only adhering to your daily self-care structures continuously, but also of logging your results day-by-day.
What started out as a brief "test run" of this tool never ended. For over eight years, Sandy has continued to use the monthly logs to sustain an unrelenting focus both on his daily self-care structures, and on keeping an up-to-date Daily Evidence Log.
As of November 1, 2010, Sandy completed his 100th consecutive monthly log. That amounts to 84 months in a row, or 3,226 consecutive days (including two Leap Years). He knows for a fact that over that span of time, he did not miss doing his daily centering practice of deep breathing and prayer a single time. He missed doing his tai chi three times: twice on days when he was tied down in hospital beds with restricting tubes and wires that were connected to various life support devices, and once when he simply forgot.
Sandy also knows how many miles he has run, rowed, and cycled over that span. He has evidence that he has faithfully sustained his commitment to exercise aerobically every other day for at least half an hour. Except for a few brief disruptions due to injuries or medical problems, he has not "broken stride."
And Sandy also has documentation that over the past seven years, he has consistently done his creative practice of playing music for an average of over an hour a day.
The completed Daily Evidence Logs substantiate the the steadiness with which Sandy has adhered to all of his daily self-care structures. His commitment to these structures has been unswerving. He continues to adhere to them because he continues to reap great benefits from them. Because of his ongoing investments in his own well-being, his days are filled with great health, abundant energy, meaningful work, joyful play, and deep inner peace.
It is because of this extensive experience with these resilience-generating daily self-care structures that Sandy has become widely known as "The Resilience Guy."
How You Can Profit from Sandy's Unique Experiential Credentials
In the course of teaching you how to tune up your own daily self-care structures so as to deepen your ability to prosper come what may, Sandy will draw liberally on the wealth of experiential wisdom he has acquired from so many decades of intentional personal experiments.
When you work with him, he will bring this unique wisdom to bear on your self-chosen experiments in taking great care of yourself and increasing your personal resilience. Sandy is extremely skilled at helping you find your own true path to being totally engaged with life, to enjoying it much more fully, and to experiencing deep inner peace––even in stressful times.