Blog | Allan Besselink Allan Besselink | Official Site Of The Smart Life Project, Smart Physio, Rhubarb Diaries, And Mobius Intermedia Sat, 20 Dec 2014 06:18:17 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Your Own Worst Enemy Yes, YOU!There are a myriad of common excuses that we can all find for not living the dream we so desire.

It is someone else's fault. I am unlucky.There is too much stress. I have too many exams coming up. I am not good enough.  

But you know what? I hate to say it, but they are all just - excuses. More often than not, the real problem is simple.

Your own worst enemy is you. The best part, though, is that you are your own best friend and ally as well.

It becomes pretty easy at times to look outside of ourselves for the answers and the reasons, the rationalization for why things are they way they are. We always seem to find ways to mold any degree of convoluted logic to confirm just about reasoning we can conjure up.

While doing so, we fall prey to the scourges of cognitive bias and logical fallacy. Daily. And frequently it is all done in the name of our own self perception.

Conversely, how often do we look inside ourselves for our share of the problem, our responsibility in the dilemma, first and foremost? And even when we do, how often do we not only accept ownership of it but then choose to do something about it?

We all like to attribute our successes to something WE did. But the failures - oh no, not my doing, no way.

Until they are.

We are limited by our self perception and perceived self efficacy, especially when the chips are down and our comfort zone is being pushed.

We become self fulfilling prophecies built upon our self talk.

If we tell ourselves that we won't play well, or that we won't perform well, or we won't do well on the next exam or job interview, then we should expect exactly what we tell ourselves. We won't.

Your own worst enemy is you.

How can we expect to excel when we are telling ourselves all the negatives? How can we achieve greatness when we are overwhelmed by thoughts of failure? How can we perform when we choose to not challenge our comfort zones, and do so with diligence and vigilance even in the darkest moments? Worse yet, how can we attain these things when we won't choose to own the fact that it happens?

And even then, failure doesn't exist anyways. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "there is no failure, only opportunity". I couldn't agree more.

Your own worst enemy is you. Fortunately, we have the power within us to transform ourselves. It requires a choice -  to re-program our self talk, to believe in our capacity, to accept ownership of it, and to take a step-wise path towards growth and transformation.

Ah but yes, that can be the hardest choice of all.

Your own best ally is you. And don't ever forget it.

Photo credits: steelight

Related Articles By Allan Besselink
]]> (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Wed, 10 Dec 2014 05:23:27 +0000
If MDT Doesn’t Work? ThinkingIt is a question that I hear regularly when talking to clinicians and students: what do you do if MDT doesn't work?

The question usually causes me to shake my head and take a deep breath before venturing forth into a response. I wish I could say that it is only posed by those with little to no training in the method; however, I've heard this from more than a few MDT-credentialed clinicians over the years.

Let's start with the foundation for a response: MDT is not a treatment. It is a way of thinking.

Examine the question from the context of the person asking it. It will help us understand why the question ever arises in the first place.

If you view the world of physical therapy (or musculoskeletal care as a whole) as just an assortment of treatment interventions - many being applied arbitrarily on an irrelevant patho-anatomical model - then it is easy to understand how MDT might not work. If you view MDT as "just another treatment intervention", and that treatment intervention isn't successful, then of course, you would ask "what do you do if MDT doesn't work?".

In that context, the question makes perfect sense. But it also professes a misunderstanding of what MDT really is in the first place.

MDT is a non-palpation-based system of assessment and treatment. The key word, the oft-forgotten word in fact, is "assessment". It is not a series of exercises applied arbitrarily to a patho-anatomical diagnosis. There is consistent clinical reasoning underlying its classification algorithm, with mutually exclusive categories and operational definitions. The clinically relevant treatment intervention generated is a logical byproduct of the system of assessment.

MDT is a way of thinking.

I always like to say that MDT always works - which always inspires the ire of many a clinician. I am reminded that there isn't a treatment that works for everyone. Well, you are right - there isn't a TREATMENT that works for everyone. The clinical reasoning and assessment process that are inherent to the approach does work for all patients. It provides a framework for the assessment of all musculoskeletal problems, be they spinal or extremity.

Sadly, if you don't fully comprehend the value of the MDT assessment process and what it provides for the patient and clinician, then you will always be looking for "something else" that is bigger or better to help "fix" the patient. There is a perception that surely there must be some "next great thing", some technique, some new "tool in the toolbox", that will lead you to the promised land. I could give you a list of 100 options. But simply maintaining a consistent line of clinical reasoning within the MDT framework will almost always provide sound answers, and they are oftentimes far more simple than perhaps many want to believe.

Before asking the question, stop and think about the patient's assessment and what it tells you about the mechanical loading capacity of the patient. Merge that with the patient's experiences and their responses to loading strategies. Listen. And guide. MDT has an answer, you just might not be asking the right questions along the way.

Photo credits: wadem

Related Articles By Allan Besselink
]]> (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Thu, 04 Dec 2014 05:26:46 +0000
Giving Thanks 2014 IMG_20141127_104539_972Thanksgiving is upon us once again. Thanksgiving always provides us with a day to eat turkey, catch some lovely fall weather (fingers always crossed), and take in another University of Texas football game against some unspecified cross-state rival (Texas Fight Texas Fight Yeah Texas Fight).

None of my family live in Texas. They are all still in Canada, so they celebrated Thanksgiving Day in October, otherwise known as Columbus Day in the United States. I don't mind celebrating two Thanksivings, especially if doing so provides the potential for more turkey.

Thanksgiving Day is followed by Black Friday, a day of retail specials and sales. Ugh. The best part of Black Friday is that it reminds me of a great song by Steely Dan, but I digress.

But with all kidding aside, Thanksgiving is a day to Give Thanks.

This year, I find myself acutely aware of  the meaning behind the holiday. It has, admittedly, been one of my most challenging years on the planet. In retrospect, I definitely see the importance of giving thanks for what we have in the here and now because, frankly, it might not be here tomorrow.

The challenging days of our lives make us who we are. The man that sits here tapping away at another blog post is but a product of his life experiences. As challenging as they may have been, they make me the man that I am. Lincoln once said "there is no failure, only opportunity" and I couldn't agree with him more. I am thankful for the life experiences I have had, be they good or bad, because they have made life vivid, brilliant, and memorable.

Family and friends are the glue that hold it all together. Sometimes I don't see them as often as I would like. I miss them when I don't see them, and I laugh with them when I do.

If I didn't have laughter and the levity contained within, I would be lost. I am thankful for laughter in my world. Without it, I would be ... not laughing. Go ahead, laugh.

In the quieter moments, I am thankful for the capacity to reflect on my world. It has lead me down the avenue of creativity and the boulevard of self expression. If I had never gone there, I wouldn't have ever written my first poem or played my first notes on the guitar.

If you are fortunate, there will come a time when something you have written resonates with someone. With that said, I am thankful for the support and inspiration of each and every reader of this blog. It makes a difference in my world, and I am forever grateful and thankful for it.

So I ask you to do this today, even if  this isn't Thanksgiving in your part of the world. Pause for a moment during your day and reflect. What are you thankful for today?

When you establish this, take another moment and share it with those around you. Make it real. Smile. And truly enjoy Thanksgiving.

Photo credits: abesselink

Related Articles By Allan Besselink
]]> (Allan Besselink) Rhubarb Diaries Thu, 27 Nov 2014 20:46:25 +0000
Patient Education: Behavioral Change Or Clinician Monologue? With A Megaphone By A WallHealth care is chock full of a lot of telling. Telling the patient to do this or that. Telling the patient to not do something. There is a lot of telling going on around the health care world.

Health care has its share of intelligent people doing the telling. And I have no doubt that there are many that are telling patients a lot of good things.

But one problem exists. We mistakenly focus on adherence and compliance with all the telling and immediately assume that behavioral change goes right along with it. A faulty assumption, indeed.

Bob Pike, author of the book “Creative Training Techniques Handbookalt, has spoken extensively on the topic of adult learning. One of his "Laws Of Adult Learning" is this:

"Learning has not taken place unless behavior has changed"

When it comes to chronic conditions such as diabetes or obesity or osteoarthritis, long-term changes in behavior are critical. Go ahead and focus on the short-term stuff all you want. However, the true long-term impact in terms of health care costs and quality of life lies in lifestyle and behavioral changes. This requires an approach to care that has a strong cognitive and behavioral component, one that emphasizes independence, mentorship, and active strategies.

The same rules apply throughout musculoskeletal care as well. Frankly, there is no reason to think otherwise.

But our world of health care is full of telling - with little to no assessment of behavioral change or patient-focused value-added benefit. It amounts to a mentality of "just do it because I am the clinician with the degree". Clinical care becomes a series of monologues, first clinician then patient. It is one soapbox moment followed by another.

There is a difference between talking at someone and having a dialogue, between saying "patient-centered" and acting in accordance with it.

Effective adult learning involves the participant being active in their learning and in charge of it. This is well-established. So why does the majority of patient education run afoul of this core principle of adult learning?

Does your patient education take on the look of a lecture series? Or are you having a true dialogue with the patient and allowing them to be an active participant in not only their care but in their life-long learning as well?

Photo credits: garryknight

Related Articles By Allan Besselink
]]> (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Wed, 19 Nov 2014 06:09:05 +0000
The Guitar Zone Revisited IMG_1476657827182I had never really planned on walking away from the guitar, not that I ever did so completely anyway. With that said, getting back on stage, guitar in hand, really wasn't on my radar for the immediate future.

That was until my friend Tad Hillin mentioned that he would be playing a gig at Strange Brew in Austin on August 31. As it was also his birthday, he was planning on having an open jam after the gig with fellow musician friends. About 6 weeks out from the gig, he suggested I bring my guitar and play.

Six weeks away. Minimal callouses on my fingers. Dexterity a little rusty. And the guitar chops faded from a time that seemed like eons ago.

Of course I would.

I'd played many a venue and open mic in the early to mid-'90s. But as we all know, our lives - and focus - evolves over time. Timing is everything. Lo and behold, almost two decades had passed with nary a guitar chord played anywhere but the confines of my own home if that. No worries though. Creativity has an organic existence of its own. There comes a time when it is time to create, and I knew in my heart of hearts that the timing would be correct again, sooner or later.

Fast forward to July. The idea of playing live sounded fine and good. That was until the moment of clarity hit: callouses on my fingers that were barely in existence, and what felt like minimal fluency in a language I had once spoken so well. It was time to practice. Back in the day I would play until my fingers were raw. Fortunately I have gained some degree of sanity in my older years. Patience would be required.

The night of August 31 arrived. It soon came time to jam. Just throw the guitar over the shoulder, plug in, throw caution to the wind, and, well, just see what happens - right?

I have spoken at conferences of 500 or more participants. I have played guitar on stage in front of a couple hundred people. None of that has ever fazed me. I rarely get anxious performing in front of a group of people. Until the night of August 31. A least for a few moments.

But as the song says, "only for a moment and the moment's gone". The initial trepidation soon eased. The notes started flowing, the rhythm started grooving, and suddenly I found myself, head down, doing something I'd not done in the better part of a couple of decades.

There is a special place that I could always go to when I played live, a happy place where I would be fully immersed in the notes and chords and rhythms. Call it "the zone" if you will. On that night in August, I had fleeting glimpses of it once again. There were moments when my mind would fly back to the early '90s, times when I would play at an open mic or sit in with my friends Third Degree. It was that happy place again, a place where my fingers would know where to go, my slide would weave notes around the chords, my solos were singing, my grooves were tight.

Ah yes, I remember it oh so well.

And then I would unceremoniously fall out of the zone when my lack of chops would emerge. To be expected, no doubt.

I was reminded of how special an experience it is to express, to improvise, to create, to share with the public. I remembered what that felt like, albeit a feeling that was a little faded with the passage of time. It was special nonetheless.

The world of live music welcomed me back with open arms. Don't worry, it won't be another 20 years before you see me on stage again. Promise.

Photo credits: L. Ciavarini via abessselink

Related Articles By Allan Besselink
]]> (Allan Besselink) Rhubarb Diaries Fri, 31 Oct 2014 18:56:32 +0000
Doubleheader At The 2014 TPTA Annual Conference The Galveston causewayThere are certainly worse places to visit in October in Texas. A trip to Galveston for the Texas Physical Therapy Association's Annual Conference would be a nice break from preparing Anatomy practical exams for PT students, right? A little rest and relaxation - with a side order of walking along the Gulf Coast with the ocean and sand between my toes - would be welcomed.

Hold on, come back to the real world Allan. We're here for a conference, right?

Oh yes. The conference.

2014 was the 6th consecutive year that I have been invited to present at our Annual Conference. This year was the first time that I had a doubleheader: one session for the professional track ("The Role Of Social Media In Physical Therapy"), and one for the student track ("Form Follows Function: A Framework For Anatomy").

Without further adieu, here are a few thoughts from the experience.

"The Role Of Social Media In Physical Therapy"

Social media is rampant in our society today. But the thought of jumping into the social media stream is daunting to many clinicians. My discussion focused on what I call "Social Media CSI" - Content, Sharing, and Interaction. I focused on the various platforms in use and how they can be utilized. We discussed the challenges faced, such as "noise", and how to use hashtags and search. We finished with some examples of the important roles that social media can play in the physical therapy world: branding, events and news, advocacy, clinical practice and research (amongst many others).

The two hour session was attended by a small yet engaged group. The slides were ready and all I needed was an Internet connection ...

... which was an epic #fail.

I had the conference center WiFi code. Connection attempt 1 - fail. Attempt 2 - fail. Attempt 4362 - fail. Tech support arrives and tells me that the problem is with my computer. Ummmm no.

But one thing I have learned as an educator - sometimes, you just have to improvise. In a classroom, you may go down various rabbit holes in order to foster good discussion, but you have to improvise to get back on your intended educational plan. In a conference setting, you may be forced to improvise with the last-minute limitations imposed by conference facilities and technical glitches.

All I could do was chuckle – and move on.

At one hour into the session, we took a short rest break - at which time we improvised. One tethered smart phone later and we were online. Bazinga.

The rest, as they say, was history.

"Form Follows Function: A Framework For Anatomy"

Clinical anatomy has become a passion for me on the educational front. I am now into my 11th year of teaching anatomy, be that functional anatomy for PTA students or cadaver lab for PT students. There is a very traditional approach to anatomy: memorize, memorize, memorize. Ugh. It didn't work well for me as a student, and, when faced with reviewing as a teacher, still doesn't. Oh, and by the way, memorization has limited effects downstream on clinical practice.

So over the past decade, I have built my own framework for teaching (and learning) anatomy that is far more functionally-oriented and clinically relevant. It starts with my experience as a student and the things I wish I had known in my own academic pursuits.

The session was attended by well over 150 PT and PTA students. Official attendance was not announced like it is at a Longhorns football game. Game time was scheduled for 90 minutes - and what a tremendous 90 minutes it was! If the level of engagement in that room reflects the future of our profession, then the future is bright!

A Few Epiphanies: Teaching and presenting can contain many epiphanies for me. One of them is the power of communication and connection. Another is the responsibility undertaken by a speaker (or educator) to be honest, sincere, and to create a good learning environment for participants.

But perhaps the best part of the weekend was crossing paths with so many emerging new professionals. After 26 years as a clinician, and almost 20 years as an educator, it was great to see so many students in attendance. I can only hope that I was able to inspire those in attendance to strive for greater things in their careers and for our profession as a whole.

Thanks to the TPTA for inviting me to present to both sections. It was a great experience yet again.

Now, back to thoughts of the beach and a return trip to Galveston ...

Photo credits: texasbubba

Related Articles By Allan Besselink
]]> (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Sun, 26 Oct 2014 04:06:51 +0000
Spin Doctors And Debunking Myths whirling people machineIt's all in the spin I suppose.

The headline was simple: "7 Myths About Physical Therapy". The press release from the American Physical Therapy Association was going to debunk some myths about physical therapy. How exciting, I thought.

Maybe this would set the record straight on any number of issues and misconceptions about our profession that exist in the public eye. Surely this would be a great opportunity for us to "Move Forward", yes?

And then, I read myth number one. It was, admittedly, hard for me to overlook.

"Myth: I need a referral to see a physical therapist".

Fact: A recent survey by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) revealed 70% of people think a referral or prescription is required for evaluation by a physical therapist. However, all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) allow patients to be evaluated by a physical therapist without a physician's prior referral. In addition, 48 states and DC allow for some form of treatment or intervention without a physician referral or prescription (Oklahoma and Michigan being the exception). Beginning November 1, 2014, patients in Oklahoma will be able to seek treatment from a physical therapist without a physician referral. On January 1, 2015, patients in Michigan will be able to do so, as well. Some states have restrictions about the treatment a physical therapist can provide without a physician referral. Check out APTA's direct access summary chart to see the restrictions in your state.

I will be the first to state that proper use of language is important. And I must also say that if I look at the actual words as printed, then no, you don't need a referral to see a physical therapist. As a matter of fact, we exist in the wild, roam freely, walk amongst you, and generally play well with others.

But seriously, seeing a physical therapist isn't the issue. It is the play on words that is critical. Spin is everything.

Let's start with the most critical consumer-related question regarding physical therapy: can you freely and of your own volition access evaluation and treatment from a physical therapist?

The answer is quite simple: no, unless you reside in one of about 18 states - a number that has remained stable for over a decade.

Are the facts presented in the release correct? Well ... yes. But it's all in the spin.

In Texas, yes, patients can be evaluated without a referral. But now the reality check: seriously, how many patients want to be evaluated by a physical therapist, then be told that they can't be treated unless they have a script? Answer: Not many. And, frankly, I don't blame them.

Yes, 48 states and DC allow for "some form of treatment or intervention". But now, again, the reality check: it is typically, if not always, limited to a certain time frame or number of visits before that permission slip (aka script) is required. Oh, just a minor detail buried between the lines.

So in the name of truth-telling and myth debunking, on behalf of the consumers in the crowd, unless you live in one of 18 states, you simply DO NOT have the right to access a physical therapist directly for your care at their professional discretion, much as you would any other health care provider.

No wonder there is so much confusion in the marketplace.

Here's a thought: stop the spin doctoring. Please. Why continue to make the scenario sound far better than it really is? The facts are there, yes, but there is also a spin to them, a fallacy that continues to be perpetuated. It downplays a patient's potential role in changing the health care landscape to increase their access to appropriate care. It certainly diminishes the level of urgency in the eyes of the consumer and the legislator.

I would suggest that consumers and legislators alike would find the issue far more compelling if they were told that only 18 states give you the right to choose. When you live in a country founded on rights and freedoms, I can't imagine that will go over very well with anyone.

Let's debunk this myth once and for all. Please. Consumers deserve the truth, not the spin.

Photo credits: joiseyshowaa

Related Articles By Allan Besselink
]]> (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Thu, 16 Oct 2014 22:03:32 +0000
Presence Of Positives Or Absence Of Negatives? Happy buildingLife. Love. The pursuit of happiness. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

It's a journey that takes us on a moment-to-moment adventure driven by countless motivating factors. Some are positive. Others are negative. We find ourselves either moving towards something good or away from something bad.

I don't think that many people would ever expend the time and effort to differentiate between the two. But how we view these motivators, at the most basic level, can directly impact our lives, our relationships, and our happiness.

Are you focusing on the presence of positives or the absence of negatives? The differences can be subtle but substantial.

We can be moving toward something good, basing our behaviors and actions on the presence of positives in our world.

Goals. Relationships. Love. Fulfillment. Self-actualization.

There is an exquisite beauty and clarity of moving forward in life with the presence of positives guiding you.

But we can also be moving away from something bad, basing our behaviors and actions on the absence of negatives in our world.

It isn't so bad. Work isn't great, but it isn't bad either. My relationship isn't great, but they are never perfect are they? 

Perhaps this is driven by fear of the unknown or simply breaching our own comfort zones if we do so. We find excuses at every turn. Hey, you can rationalize just about anything with the right excuse and spin on it. We end up focusing our efforts on a life lived with the absence of negatives. We end up with a life that is, well, good - enough.

Life is too short to just be good - enough. Life is too short to not have that "wow" factor built in. Of course, life isn't always "wow" and there are a multitude of factors at play every day. Sometimes, there is just too much inertia to battle - at least in this moment. Sometimes, the timing just isn't right. And sometimes, there are just mundane moments that tie together the "wow" moments.

When we make decisions based on the presence of positives, then the excuses just slip away. We're all in. And when we are on the journey and we are invested, truly invested, in it, then excuses become an afterthought.

Wouldn't we all be better off to discard the fear, the inertia, the self doubt and self sabotage? Wouldn't we be better living in the presence of positives, even when those positives may be hard to find? Simply expressing gratitude can be a step in the right direction towards this even on the most difficult of days.

Therein lies one of the great challenges of life. It is the choice to live a life based on the presence of positives - and not the absence of negatives.

Which choice are you making today?

Photo credits: josemanuelerre

Related Articles By Allan Besselink
]]> (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Sun, 28 Sep 2014 03:00:37 +0000
Abnormal Is The New Normal Storm over NormalThe world of musculoskeletal care is a strange animal if ever there was one. It is a world of imbalances and mal-alignments, asymmetry and inflexibility. Or so we are taught, and have been for decades.

The world of musculoskeletal care is is also the same realm that would benefit most from an understanding of clinical anatomy, statistics, and logic.

Diagnosticians are always seeking some relationship between a patient's signs, symptoms, and some particular patho-anatomical entity. But the problem lies in the realm of normalcy. You see, abnormal is, without question, the new normal.

Normalcy presents a number of problems to diagnosticians. Let's just start with the statistics of biomechanical alignment and symmetry. Reid noted in 1992 (yes, 1992) that “mal-alignment is a term that should be reserved for gross abnormalities, two SDs (standard deviations) outside the norm”. For those who like math, that would mean that, statistically speaking, 95% fall within the bounds of "normal". That is a whole lot of normal.

Expand on this thought a bit. Spend some time in cadaveric dissection and you quickly see a steady stream of anatomical variations. They are the norm, the rule instead of the exception, the vast majority of what we see and experience. Take the piriformis muscle as but one small example, both anatomically and statistically. Research would indicate that up to 40% of people have abnormalities, yet may or may not have symptoms associated with it.

Examine some of the research done via MRI on asymptomatic individuals and you will find some disturbing - or comforting - results. A variety of peer-reviewed studies have shown that positive, abnormal MRI (of the lumbar spine, shoulder, knee, and hip) exists regularly in asymptomatic patients. More on that in a future post.

Wow. Pain-free and functional yet "abnormal". No worries though, because it all fits from a statistical perspective. Clinical anatomy tells us that these types of numbers have been well-known for some time.

Part of the problem is in the perception of "abnormal" and "normal" - a rather significant element of the diagnostic process. Edward de Bono notes that 90% of errors in thinking are errors in perception.

But with that said, there is an inherent beauty in all of this. Perhaps the solutions to this diagnostic problem can be found in the problem itself.

Normalcy causes us to question our thinking about musculoskeletal pathology, its relevance, and its context. Abnormal is the new normal. It's now what we do with that knowledge of clinical anatomy that will provide us with the foundation for a new era in musculoskeletal medicine.

Photo credits: Ross Griff

Related Articles By Allan Besselink
]]> (Allan Besselink) Smart Physio Tue, 16 Sep 2014 03:56:16 +0000
Playlist Ponderings: Stevie Ray Vaughan At The NAC Waiting for the SunIt was a solitary musical moment that would be forever etched in my mind. What it became was a life-changing event of epic proportions.

August 16, 1984. Thirty years ago. It was an early 15th birthday present - a show at the National Arts Center in Ottawa featuring none other than Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The first notes fired out from the worn-down Fender Strat that night can still be heard echoing in the back of my mind. My jaw dropped and I sat there mesmerized. I remember the moment like it was yesterday.

Stevie Ray spoke to me in a language that I understood. Direct. Heartfelt. Raw. And it changed my life.

I'd already cut my teeth on "Texas Flood" (released 6/13/83) and "Couldn't Stand The Weather" (released 5/15/84). I found myself deeply immersed in Texas blues. It was other-worldly to a Canadian kid in small town Canada.

But then there was that fateful night at the NAC. I sat there dumbfounded, in awe of Stevie's guitar prowess and showmanship. This three piece was tremendous - Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon holding down the rhythm, and Stevie out front doing his thang. Add to that the acoustic splendor of the National Arts Center, one of the finest performance venues in the country, and you have quite the visceral experience.

I walked away from there that night realizing that I needed to find out more about Austin and the music scene that was Stevie's foundation. Something inside me was drawn to it. I felt compelled to learn more about it and to fully experience it some day.

It wasn't that long after that I taught myself how to play guitar.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

I made my first trip to Austin in the spring of 1988. I returned the following year and played at my first open mic here. The next step was to move here, setting foot in the heart of Texas on August 15, 1990.

Over the years, I had the opportunity to see Stevie Ray Vaughan 4 times before his tragic death on August 27, 1990. His passing came on my birthday, of all days, and I always spend a few minutes of that day, year in and year out, listening to "Texas Flood".

Looking back, that one night in Ottawa would be the ticket to a life lived deep in the heart of Texas. After 24 years, it is most certainly home.

Thank you, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, for putting Austin on the map for me. Life wouldn't have been the same without you - in so many ways.

Photo credits: justinjensen

Related Articles By Allan Besselink
]]> (Allan Besselink) Rhubarb Diaries Sun, 17 Aug 2014 02:47:26 +0000