Happy New Year! Welcome 2018!


 

A full moon beams down on this clear and cold winter’s night.  Fog is beginning to roll in and the moon will soon be a silvery shadow if we see it all.

It is New Years Eve and I am staying at home this year.  This will be a quiet night.  A time to reflect on the year that was.

I’ve got cheese and wine as well as beer.  I’ve got a blanket wrapped about me.  I’ve taken in a movie and am watching the televised celebrations in downtown Vancouver.  I like that they have it on T.V. now.

As the countdown began I raised my glass up and shouted Happy New Year!  I made phone calls and texted as many people as possible then watched the fireworks display before going to bed.

Welcome 2018!

2017 had begun with a sense of desperation and an overwhelming exhaustion carried over from years prior.  I began the year by withdrawing from so many activities and organizations I’d been involved with.

Still I recognized that depression had once again settled in.  I was isolating myself.  All the insecurities and yearnings once again tossing me to the curb with all my perceived inadequacies washing over me.

I found it difficult to post any of my writings last year as well.  A notebook is always with me ready to record anything that I need to purge onto the page, however, those ramblings were often sad and coming from a dark place inside me.

I thought of Gloria Vanderbilt talking about how the rainbow comes and goes.  I’d read that particular book in 2016 and there are a few passages that resonated with me and still do.

Mid-year I began to emerge from this bout of depression.  I am focused on the new job I began nine months ago.

I’ve started a new book.  I am hoping to have the first draft completed by Spring 2018.

I need to become more disciplined and dedicated to my writing. I’ve got so many stories  I want to tell. Time to get to it.

I am focused on my health as well.  The vehicle accident back in 2015 mucked me up big time.  Now I need to just try and find a level of fitness that I can maintain.  I need to continue to work on my emotional well-being as well.

Time to get to it.

I hope that 2018 is a stellar year for everyone!

Happy New Year!

Peace.

 

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Ruminations


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I’ve been absent, I know.  The past few weeks have been restless ones.  Sleep has been sporadic.  Dreams have been wild and challenging.  Decisions are demanding resolutions.

I need a plan.

As I drove into work this morning I gazed at the ribbon of white and red that moved opposite each other.  I was following the red tail lights as they wound down and around the hill.  The white head lights moved toward me.  A beautiful day is dawning.  A cloudless blue sky can be deceiving though, as it is about -7 degrees at the moment.  No breeze at this point but should one come up it will feel marginally cooler than it does now.

I went for my Tuesday run with my group last night.  We did hills.  These days everything hurts as I introduce the physical self back into my previous fitness regiment.  I am dealing with a muscle that has knotted up at the base of my calf so running has become slow and methodical.  Still, I did okay last night.

I’ll be seeing Rachel, who is a Fascia Stretch Therapist on Thursday, so perhaps she’ll be able to give me a bit of guidance on this.

Despite the pain that I am currently experiencing, I couldn’t be happier to be back at it.  The pain will pass.  It always does.  Take a deep breath, smile and move on.

I’m questioning myself these days as well.  How do you help someone who can’t help themselves?  What can I do?  What will I do?  What should I do?

Then there is guilt.  Have I done enough?  Am I being selfish?

If you’ve ever dealt with a loved one who suffers from mental illness and alcoholism, then you know the difficult choices that at times must be made.

With the threat of homelessness looming, I am trying to find an agency that will assist.  During the Christmas holidays I felt that a breakthrough had occurred.  She was willing to go into detox.  Yet when they called her to come in, the excuses began and she was bumped to bottom of the wait list.

There is this bed bug issue that has gone on for months and why that wasn’t a catalyst for her to want to get out of the place she is at is beyond me.  Now all the residence of this slum hotel have been evicted.  Given just 7 days to find someplace else to call home.  The other thing is her cat.  She doesn’t want to give it up.  This cat can be quite aggressive and bites.

It bit me clean through to the bone on my wrist just before I started chemotherapy last year which resulted in Cellulitis and two rounds of hour long antibiotics delivered intravenously to fight the infection.

I would happily assist in finding the cat a good home though.

I’ve watched my sister slide ever so slowly down into an abyss.  I understand the why of it.  I was raised in the same house and know of the abuses that were meted out.

At the end of the day though, we have choices.  We make them everyday and they direct what happens in our life.  I’ve likely made more bad than good choices.  The difference between my sister and myself though is that I wanted desperately to move on with my life and leave the past where it belongs.

She is still very much mired in it.

And as I look ahead at the year I want for myself and begin to prepare the tools to assist in my vision, I also wonder how to help someone who seems incapable of helping themselves.

My heart aches and is so heavy for my family.  None of us deserved the hand we were dealt but sometimes when you’re all out of aces you just have to bluff your way through this life.  Funny thing is that it actually works.

Never give up.

And I guess that’s my fear for my sister. I think she may have given up long ago and one can only hope for that spark that will turn it around and make her see that life really is worth living.

Namaste

.yingyang

 

 

 

Success…tell me what it means to you?


At my writers’ meeting on Friday night we discussed the trials and tribulations of parlaying thought into effective storytelling.  One thing is certain, all of us have a unique approach on how we accomplish the feat of writing.

I have made it a point to write everyday.  It doesn’t have to be the project that I am currently working on.  If I can at least post a blog, then I’ll have met my self-imposed obligation to the craft.

A conversation cropped up about what success looked like.  I thought about this long after the meeting.  I thought about it as I let sleep claim me later that evening.

A few years ago in some weird little twist I acknowledged that I actually had a fear of success.  I don’t know that this is an entirely accurate description but I feel I can provide more clarity given this ideology.  My meaning is this.

Throughout my life I would begin a course of action designed to improve my well-being.

For example I would get a job and work really hard hoping to move up the ladder and be rewarded for my efforts.

I went into each job with so much hope and attacked the position with undeniable passion.  Unfortunately, I had a deep need to be praised for the work I was doing.  This translated into a behavioural  display of being something of the proverbial doormat.  This conditioning had occurred in my youth.

It had been hardwired into me and in some convoluted manner, I was playing this scene out repeatedly.

As a young girl I sought the attention, approval and love of my father.  The times when praise was rained down on me felt like an aphrodisiac of sorts.  These occurrences were extremely rare.  More often than not verbal assaults and criticisms were directed my way.

As a teen, emotions began to surface and erupt.  The outbursts would ultimately result in physical abuse.

I entered the work place at a young age.  Each job began with me as a dynamo the first little while.  Then somewhere along the way the desire to be acknowledged and accepted would become more demanding.  When it wasn’t offered up then somehow I would begin to sabotage my efforts.  The result was always the same.

A dramatic ending of me either walking out or going off the deep end resulting in the loss of my job.  And of course, it was never my fault.  I was the perfect little victim.  Eventually this behavior of mine began to wear on me.  I would feel so defeated at times and simply could not understand why these things always happened.

The thought then occurred that perhaps I had a hand in my own demise.  Horror of all horrors, if this did not turn out to be the case.

Looking back over the years I saw the pattern that had been established, not just with my conduct in the workplace, but in relationships in general as well.  I knew this had to change if I was ever to be successful in life.

I’ve worked hard to change how I respond in many situations.  I’ve also found that when I acknowledge my participation/or lack there of in certain exchanges and accept the responsibility that I played, I ultimately learn and grow stronger.

As we spoke last night, it came to me.  Success for me is completion.

Of taking whatever it is I am working on to a conclusion.

This was instilled in me in a big way when I ran my first Sun Run, which for those of you who don’t know, is a 10 KM race in Vancouver that attracts approximately 50,000 participants every year.

Crossing the finish line in 2010 was pivotal to where I am today.

With that success, a hunger was born and the challenge was laid out before me. I’ve stumbled along this path ever since.

Oh, I recognize old behavior patterns that still come up creating issues but I now deal with them and move on.

Each success opens a new set of challenges and offers the opportunity to learn, grow and evolve.  Each success results in the foundation of my person becoming that much stronger.

What is the measure of success?

For some it is financial independence.  For others having a family, home and good job.  For many finding love in their life.

Now when I look in the mirror I try not to see the woman I think this world expects but rather quite simply, the woman who I am.  And with each project, with each challenge I accept and the completion of said task, I see my true self emerging.

Enjoy your day! Peace.

In Training (Day 97)….Freedom & Acceptance


Laying in bed this morning I experienced a bit of anxiety regarding my run.  I came very close to not going.  The head was really messing with me.

“The legs aren’t ready.”  That was the little seed of doubt that nibbled at my conscience.  That age-old warlord, Fear, whispered so succinctly that I wouldn’t be ready.

But I threw off the covers and thought ‘I have to get out there and just do it’.  And I did.

I had a great run.  It’s not just the legs that are back, but all of me is back into this.  A few revelations struck me during the course.  The conversation I explored with self was quite revealing.  I thought about the last month and some of the health issues that have just come out of left field.  Words were being thrown at me such as ‘cancer’ and ‘surgery’.  Initially I cried and felt my mortality in a manner that I don’t really care for.  Having some unknown threat possibly residing in my physical body was unnerving.  I pushed it down and continued on putting on a brave face.

‘Can’t let them see how scared I really am.

And I kept pushing the body.  Demanding that it perform and when if faltered, I pushed it harder as the tendrils of panic began to push to the surface. ‘What if there really is something wrong with me?’

I denied the idea but it was still there.  Then I began to recover.  A few good runs in and I was beginning to feel confident again.  Last Sunday, yet another collapse due to medication I needed to take for an examination at the doctor’s.  What was frightening in that experience was when the pain radiated down my legs and my feet began to go numb.  Then the quiet panic I had been pushing down turned into a dull roar.

This week I have not done any exercise other than walk.  I wanted to ensure that the medication was cleared out of my system before I embarked on my fitness regime once more.  So this morning was the first good workout since last Sunday’s event.  And I was strong.  I did a solid 6 KM run and it felt fantastic.

The body is rested and moreover the emotional self has settled as well.  I am feeling healthy and well.

I need to listen to my body and not push it out of fear.

You see, I found a freedom in running.  This transformation of mine has been remarkable and it is still ongoing.  So this is something I want to be able to do for a very long time to come.  And what I realized this morning is that the races don’t really matter.  Just getting up on Friday’s and going for my run and participating  with my running group is enough.  I do these things because I love to run and how it makes me feel.  The distance doesn’t matter.  It never has and it never will.

And I knew this morning that the 1/2 marathon will just be a run like any other.  That I have been stressing about not being ready for it and having missed some ‘key’ training runs.  This compounded with some of the other health concerns that were raised recently have caused a bit of chaos internally.

This morning I realized I just want to move.  Just let me run.  I don’t have to be fast and I don’t have to run far.  Just let me hold onto this and let it remain with me to the end of my days.

What I have discovered and been given from running once more I never want to lose again.

So it is safe to say I am back.  Heart and soul I am back.

In Training (Day 80)….Alive!


I went for my stress test this morning.  This was the check up on the heart to ensure that the stent had held and everything was in good working order.  I felt a certain degree of anxiety going into this.  I guess just a few too many surprises regarding my health as of late.  With my typical resolve I went to the hospital and checked in.

A half hour later I sat with my cardiologist and he was more than pleased with the results.  They couldn’t even stress my heart out to the max!  Yay!  Cholesterol is great!  Yay!

I needed to hear this.  It seemed to just infuse me with a renewed energy.  “I’m going to be okay.” I told myself has I left the hospital.  The heart is good.

Driving to work I gazed at the beautiful spring sky.  The trees are ready to explode with colour.  There is that sense of renewal, rebirth and I certainly felt a part of that today.

The training for the 1/2 marathon has taken me in so many directions as of late.  What it has reaffirmed is my dogged determination and my appreciation for the body that houses me.  I struggle at times with the emotional components.  Trying to put this woman together in a way that is honest and true.  But I’m getting there.

I went for my run with my group tonight.  I am still slow but the strength is returning.  I will just keep at it.  We ran down to Kits beach and I was blessed with the fresh breeze off the ocean.  Our pace leader for the evening Barb came back to run with me and I told her not too worry…I would just keep at this pace and it was okay for her to go ahead.  (They have a policy about not leaving members on their own)  I have been with this group for three years.   I know what I need to do to regain my strength.  Barb ran ahead with the core pace group she was leading.  I wasn’t too far behind.

When we got to the water fountain where we were going to stretch and begin our drills I ran up on them and smiled.

“Traci is running too fast.  You can blame her.” they all chortled.

Traci grinned at me, “Yeah, go ahead blame me for everything tonight.”

I laughed and said, “Nah, I was taking the scenic route.  Do you know how many good looking guys are down here?” I informed them.

Barb’s eyes widened, “There are?”  she exclaimed.

Now I really laughed.  “Yup, and if you had run a little slower you might have seen a few of them.”

I like the gentle jokes we share.  I love the encouragement they provide.  Traci, by the way, is having issues with her thyroid.  She is an amazing woman.  So many members of this group are such an inspiration to me.  They really are.

I did the drills and it felt good.  I am on the mend.  I felt so alive tonight.  The anticipation and speculation leading up the exam this morning had affected more than I thought.

I am going to head back into the gym tomorrow morning.  I will get a light workout in.  Tomorrow evening I will picking up a gift for my daughter’s 30th birthday this Saturday.

Man!  It has gone by so fast and let me tell you, I lucked out with this girl.  She has been a blessing from her first breath drawn.  That she has now grown to be one of my best friends is humbling.  So I will be haunting a few stores downtown tomorrow after work.

Enjoy your evening everyone and thank you for stopping by.

Back In Training (Day 64)….The Halfway Point


I am about halfway through this quest to come into my optimum health on all levels.  How am I doing?

In many ways I feel like I have already run a marathon backwards and at other times I feel like a hamster in a wheel.  I am running furiously but getting no where.  The things that have cropped up emotionally I have accepted, and have begun to work through.  I currently have a variety of emotional blockages to clear.  The visual that I had for this process is far different from reality that I am living.

After a week of being sick I went for my run yesterday.  I was supposed to run 12.5 km but I opted for the one hour walk/run class.  We covered about half the distance.  This was a 3 1/2 minute run and 1 1/2 minute walk cycle.  And my legs felt like I had moon boots on.  That a virus can sweep through your body and suck all the energy out of it making it seem as if you’ve never run a step in your life is amazing to me.

This will be a transition week for me.  I will likely do another walk/run session on Tuesday and then on Friday I will run 5 km.  If I can get three workouts in at the gym as well by Sunday I should be able to run with the pace group I have been training with.

I had thought this would go far smoother than what it has.  The final challenge to lose all those inhibitions.  Oddly enough that fortress of comfort I have designed for self is not that easy to shed.  The final remnants of insecurities, doubt and fear are hanging on like blood suckers determined not to be discarded.  Consequently I almost feel like I’ve been standing still this whole time even though I know I have made progress.  These days I must remind self constantly that I am strong enough to get through this.  That my vulnerability is one of my greatest strengths.  To be able to stand naked to this world and say this is who I am and I like it.  To be able to listen to my heart and if it tells me to beware, then I should listen and guard myself accordingly.  It is, I am finding, a delicate balance.

Yesterday I felt so weak.  As though I were beginning at the start once more.  What I realized as I dug deeper with the legs exhausted near the end that its okay if I start at the beginning again.  I really don’t mind it at all.  Perhaps there was a vital piece of information I missed the last time through that I will gain is this go round.

And while at the moment I feel like a blow fish with moon boots on, I will persevere.  I am adaptable and I will rise to the challenge.  Again, at the outset of this challenge I had no idea what I would like crossing the finish line.  It is even more of a mystery now.

Stay tuned…..

In Training (Day 11)….Blessed


I had a great run / workout last night.  We ran drills, which are designed to increase strength and speed.  That was followed by Lara giving us a demonstration of exercises we can incorporate at the gym.  I met with her prior to the workout to go over some of the things I need to do as I prepare for the 1/2 marathon.  I have a better idea with the diet now.  I have some cookin’ to do!

The other thing that I have been exploring is making my own boosters for the run.  Rather buy the GU (gels) or the Bonk Boosters (power bars) or Gatorade (electrolytes), I started to look and see what I could make.  I found recipes for drinks that had lemon, honey and salt in water.  That was appealing to me.  Apparently one of the women in my clinic is making her own gels which consists of molasses and a whole bunch of other good stuff.  So perhaps I will go that route.  I don’t have an issue with my stomach, but I must admit as of late, I have become much more aware of what I put in and on my person.

For example, as you may well know Gluten-Free diets are all the rage right now.  I began to look a little more closely at this only to discover that back in the 1960’s when big business began to genetically modify food, they also increased the levels of gluten as well.  Now the amount of gluten that is often in food is unfortunately at such a high rate that is clogs ups the intestines, and slows digestion and a whole host of other issues.  Hence, we now have obesity rates going through the roof and with the increase in weight comes many other health related issues.

Why did big business genetically modify food?

Profit.

It has never been about the well being of people consuming the product.  I suppose that is why I shy away from things such a beef.  We all know that these gentle herbivores have in fact been fed meat products and been shot full of steroids to make them bigger and fatter at a faster rate.  The outcome of that was mad cow disease. And I don’t even want to think about what consuming such things will do to self.  Of course they will tell you that it is safe to consume.  I don’t know.

I look at the rates of depression and mental health in general and you  know, I can’t help but wonder if much of the food that sits on the grocery store shelves isn’t partially responsible for this.  I cringe when I think of how I used to eat.  I know too, that it was the consumption of that (food?) that created the blockage in my heart (aorta artery).  I was fortunate that it was found before anything happened to me.

And it just amazes me that in one generation we somehow forgot how to eat.

Growing up we used to can and preserve food every autumn.  We baked salmon and put it in jars.  We went to the orchards and purchased apples, berries, peaches, apricots, etc.  We baked and made preserves of all of these things.  We ate beef which in all fairness tasted much better then.  I think we really subscribed to the 100 mile diet eating what was available locally.

In the summer too, we had a garden out back.  We grew rhubarb and peas and tomatoes.  There is nothing better than fresh rhubarb and strawberry pie right out of the oven. Yum!

Now I am moving back to those habits of preparing all my food myself and that includes things that I will require during a long run.

I am taking today off from working out.  I have gone three days straight and will be going four days straight starting tomorrow.  Lara said I need to work in one day off per week which makes sense.  I don’t want to overdo it and end getting injured.

I do know this.  I am blessed in so many ways and it is something that I want to share with everyone.