My Walk Through BJ Palmer’s World

Dr.  Martha’s Monday Morning Motivational

Monday, May 23,  2011

“Walk a mile in a man’s shoes and you will see what it is like to be him and you may shift your perspective”, my grandmother said this to me any time I began to judge another.  It was an awesome lesson to learn at such a young age and I have used it many times throughout my life.  This is simple lesson has allowed me to view the world with eyes wide open.

This weekend I attended the Winner’s Circle Weekend put on by The Masters Circle in Sarasota, Fl.   Knowing that BJ Palmer had a house there where he spent his last days and wrote many of his books, I had a hunch what one event of the “secret” weekend might be a visit there.  Little did I know the entire weekend I would be walking in BJ Palmer’s shoes?

Friday morning we started the day at BJ’s house.  As I exited the van, a silence swept over me as I realized I was about to walk through the house where BJ walked, slept, ate, had conversations with friends, wrote books, dreamed, passed on from his mortal life, and so much more.  I was overwhelmed with emotions and still at this time I don’t think I could fully list all the emotions I felt; it may take awhile or I may never delineate them.

My journey began walking up the driveway and past his dolphin fountain, his head cast, and his signature in cement I felt a sense of overwhelm realizing I was walking through a piece of history.  I walked up the vibrant, primary stone path that lead to the door and entered into the developer of chiropractic’s home and for the two hours I was allotted I would be slipping into his shoes and see the world as he saw it.  I’ve always loved seeing friends homes, in my opinion, it allows you to see who they really as our homes are expressions of who we are as individuals.

As I walked through his house it was eclectic to say the least, some said it was wild and I even heard “weird” to me it felt just right. I can honestly say it felt like home.  I’ve been through so many museums; my dad wanted us to know our history, and in all the museums I have been through I have never been to one that was so “real”.  Dr. Sid, who has a summer residence next door, did an awesome job preserving BJ’s home and in doing so has preserved BJ’s legacy.

BJ’s house was an expression of who he was a brilliant visionary and took the idea of his father and made it a household name.  Love him or hate him he believed in Innate and knew that’s expression was imperative for full expression of life. His house was much the same, an expression of his life.  The house was filled with history; I thoroughly walked each hallway making sure to absorb every bit of information possible.

I had several pivotal moments but want to share with you the three most pivotal.  As I stood in his bedroom at the foot of the bed in which he passed flipping through pictures and paperwork in plastic coverings.  In one of the plastic coverings was the death certificate of BJ and DD right next to each other.  On the back of the same plastic covering were photos of his funeral.  Even as I write this, I am overwhelmed with emotion. One photo was an image of him in his casket, as I looked at his face laying there tears filled my eyes.  At that time his death was so real and I quietly thanked him for the strength of his vision and for fulfilling his purpose regardless of what anyone thought and regardless of the opposition. BJ is truly a pioneer and he is a man of strength, dedication, and determination. We could all learn a lot from BJ Palmer and the foundation he laid so that chiropractic has its place. We MUST preserve our heritage.

My next pivotal moment was in the same room where I stepped into his giant wooden clogs, they were huge.  The moment I slid my feet into the clogs, I attempted to wrap myself around the realization of what big shoes I have to fill.  I have always thought that but this time my thought was a bit different.  This time I didn’t ask how I was going to get them to fit or wonder when I was going to “grow into them”. This time I just accepted these were my shoes and I would make them fit.  I was handed the shoes of BJ, DD, and many others the day I received my diploma and especially with the current state of chiropractic, I have no choice but to wear them even if I have to shove toilet paper into them to make them fit or wear two pairs of socks.  I also realized I wouldn’t have been given the shoes if I wasn’t prepared to wear them and that it was my own thoughts keeping them from fitting.  Regardless, since that day I have thought twice about the shoes I was called to step into and I have been wearing them with even more pride.

The last moment was extremely personal and hit me at a soul level.  There was a picture on the wall about leadership.  To sum it up, as I don’t have know it verbatim, leadership is lonely at times, the more opposition you face and more you are thought to be controversial the more you are leading.  Isn’t that the truth? I heard many times how “weird” or “strange” BJ was all throughout the day.   Was he “weird”? I guess. Define “weird”.  Personally, I have always been told I was “weird” and I guess just like anything in life its all perception.  In regards to BJ I will say he was eclectic, he was vibrant, he loved life and it’s expression regardless of what others thought, he dreamed big, he knew he knew the truth, wasn’t going to settle for current paradigms, saw a vision bigger than life, was determined to fulfill his purpose, and saw the world in the terms of what he knew could be rather than what won’t be.  Call it “weird” if you want BUT his “weird” got us where we are today. That day in Sarasota, I really resonated with who BJ was and were he came from and realized that “weird” means leader.  That day I realized that being “weird” means your vision is vast, that your purpose is intense, and that your convictions are deeply rooted and regardless of opposition you forge ahead.  In this case I am definitely “weird” and extremely proud.

After we left his house, we headed to the Ringing Brothers Circus Museum.  BJ loved the circus and spent a great deal of time at the circus. The circus was in fact why he moved to Sarasota.  Having heard before of BJ’s love of the circus and questioning it, after seeing his house I now knew why he loved the circus.  It goes back to being “weird”.  The circus is “weird” with the fat lady, the fire breathers, sword swallowers, and vast array of unique individuals; I guarantee none of them ever thought BJ was “weird”.  And as an added piece of info, there was an adjusting table in the Ringling Brothers home!

Saturday we were blessed to have Dr. Simon Senzon share with us even more history on BJ Palmer’s life.  He truly was an amazing man, some information was a refresher and other information was new both took my love and admiration for BJ to the next level.  Having walked through his house just 24 hours prior made me feel that much closer to the developer of our profession and even more grateful.

We could all stand to learn from BJ and realize that we must continually fulfill his vision, not for him, not for us, but for our future.  We are borrowing this profession from our future just as BJ borrowed from us.  May 27, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of his death.  On May 27th, I encourage you to join me as I sit silently and get even more clear on my vision, mission, and purpose not for me but for chiropractic and as a thank you to BJ for borrowing from me and giving it back better than he found it.

Thank you DD and BJ Palmer you are true visionaries and I am eternally grateful for your strength and determination.

Love. Laugh. Adjust.
Dr. Martha Nessler, Innate Girl

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  1. #1 by Jeannette E Spaghetti on June 2, 2011 - 2:46 am

    Wow, Martha! This is one of your best posts. Thank you so much for sharing.

    When I was a teenager I realized this: EVERYONE IS A WEIRDO. No matter how normal a person feels they are, they do something that someone else will perceive as weird.

    I am regularly called weird for a lot of different reasons and I know I don’t typically follow convention, but that’s who I am and how I operate. I have no intention of conforming.

    Even the little stuff seems to spark irk within others. I’ve always gotten flack for carrying a toothbrush and toothpaste with me. You know what? I. like. fresh. breath. And I think anyone who doesn’t carry a toothbrush and toothpaste is weird. So, there. How about them apples?

    PS — My favorite sentence from this post: The moment I slid my feet into the clogs, I attempted to wrap myself around the realization of what big shoes I have to fill.

    I’m sure someone thinks I’m weird for being drawn to that sentence. Haters.

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