Category Archives: bliss

Gettin’ Sweaty & Breathin’ Heavy (4)

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It is the last week of ‘training’ before the first 10K commitment is to be achieved. So far I’ve managed to keep up an every other day pace with my training – even kept it up during a trip down to my nephew’s wedding. That weekend I hit my 9K goal!  And since? Allergies have been, pardon my language, pissing. me. off. Haven’t done a long run since returning home. But have done a 5K and a 20 min straight up, no walking allowed, run as well.

Every step forward is a step in the right direction, yes?

Honestly, now I am a bit freaked out.   But this one is all for mom – the Freedom Run for Diabetes.  And in the end it isn’t  about how fast I can be, it is about doing this to honour my mom and her beautiful spirit.

 It is about taking another step forward.

Now….on with the blog!

Another goal in the process has been to cultivate compassion for others – right now, specifically for a person who I feel has betrayed me.   (Sorry, no details folks…)  [You may feel that you’ve been betrayed, maybe the following story might help you find your balance.]compassion-definition

For this goal  the help of a counsellor was enlisted (she also helped with the grieving process…) as well as my best friend & her hubby (txs for the fire pit!).

Asking for help = taking a step forward.

Over the past 2 months I’ve come the conclusion (supported by collected male opinions) that an apology or discussion with this particular person is probably never going to happen.  Wait.  Strike that.  Will never happen.   So it is up to me to find a way to let it go, for good  and for-ever.

S#!*.  Time to get the ‘big girl pants’ on!  Take another step forward.

Discussing my frustrations, we came to the conclusion that something symbolic needed to be done.  And that needed to be an action I probably would never do on my own, or do on a regular basis.

A fire was lit.   Yep.   Burn baby burn.  Holla!

Long story, shortened.

Bonfire.

Photos of life event together.

Weirded out by how each photo (which we of course related to the person in the photo) burned differently – kinda wild and creepy at the same time.

Yummy S’Mores.

Hatchet.

Video of life event together.

Yummy S’Mores.

More Bonfire.

More photos of life event.

You get the idea.  Most satisfying part?  Hatchet time.   Mwuahahaha!

All of this? =  One more step forward.

In the end, even though this has been a tough week for training it has been a summer of realization and moving forward.  One important lesson I’ve learned is that its ok to have compassion for someone who has betrayed you.  Compassion allows the negative emotions to be released, which then brings more balance (& positivity) to your own life.

Verbalizing this = the release of the emotions = one more GIANT step forward.  Fostering the process and allowing ourselves to go through our own individual process, in running and in life.

Just one more way that running seems to be a metaphor for life.

May have to add this to my playlist!

Gettin’ Sweaty & Breathin’ Heavy 2013 (3)

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UnknownOne of the reasons for starting this running habit, as listed in the first GSBH2013 post, was to change my commitment karma.    Without going into the gory details, lately there has been much analyzing of past relationships — which at some point always leans towards finger being pointed away from myself, aaaaaand then right back towards myself again.    At some point it seemed like this process of finger-pointing was a reason to feel like a bad person, a selfish person – but now am beginning to consider that perhaps this is human nature.  It’s hard to look at yourself and own your actions!

It seems trite to say that ‘running is a metaphor for life’, but it works for this runner.   The first 10K race is coming up (yipes…) and what I am certain of is that if I get my butt out the door for a run every other day the 10K will be doable.   Will it still be a physical challenge?  Yes.  But  the tools to be able to push through and do my personal best will be there at the ready.    Doing the exact same run every time will result in more of a physical and mental challenge on race day.   Striving for a longer distance every week will, with any luck, better prepare me mentally — and  my 45yr old body will have a better chance at stepping up to the challenge (keeping my fingers crossed that my body does not implode on race day….LOL).

In other words, the amount of commitment and energy put into training will be reflected likewise in the end result – both mentally and physically.   Apply that to relationships – the amount of commitment and energy put into relationships (of all kinds) will be reflected likewise in the other persons commitment and willingness to step up.

It must also be said that as we age we realize that our bodies are not always able to step up to our level of commitment.   Teaching dance and learning about sport has taught me that sometimes our physical ability doesn’t always match our level of commitment.  When that happens we need to take a step back and evaluate, is there another way to accomplish this goal with this body?   Or do I need to let it go and move  new direction?

Sometimes you can put energy and commitment into a relationship – and no matter what you do it isn’t reflected back likewise.   Those are the moments when you need to take a step back and reevaluate – not just your actions and/or the other persons actions, but consider if it is realistic to pursue this particular relationship.  Letting go is the hardest part – but sometimes its necessary for one’s own well-being and survival in this crazy world.

Actions truly do speak louder than words – and letting go is an action that speaks volumes about one’s commitment to self-worth.

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Quotes from John Stanton’s Facebook page (founder of The Running Room):

“Commitment… being loyal to your goal and accountable to yourself.”

“To define who you are and what you mean to yourself …go for a run.”

Am running to a huge playlist that surprises me at every step and interval.  LOVE when this song kicks in.

…dusty summer days…

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Yes, It’s True!   A new post!  What the?   If there is anyone out there that hasn’t given up on my ever posting on this blog again – I hope you enjoy today’s inspired post.  And thanks for sticking with me.

The temperatures are climbing’ today – fortunately the humidity is low so my little apartment with no A/C is bearable.  Though the cats might disagree.    I find inspiration in the strangest places sometimes – today I was making lunch and found myself enjoying some wonderful childhood memories…

As I picked apart a cold, roast chicken – trying to get every last tidbit of goodness before tossing the bird – the heat of the day came upon my little kitchen.  The sound of the fan in the window working diligently to keep the thickening air moving through my apartment, over my skin, and (hopefully) ruffling the fur of my cats.   Street noises wafting through the window, creating a soundtrack to the process of making a yummy sandwich.

I don’t know what it was – the heat, the sound, the garden fresh produce, or the frugality of how I picked apart that chicken…I began to remember the hot summer days of my childhood back in the upper midwest of the US.   Though I hesitate to admit it, this was a time before A/C was common in homes or cars.   The days when you had to hibernate in the coolness of the basement and could turn the sprinkler on in your front yard and every kid in the neighbourhood would suddenly come by for a visit and run through the sprinkler – and when lemonade stands were a common happening (and every adult in on the block was obliged to stop by – and did so happily).

Our mom grew up in a huge family and on a  prosperous seed farm in North Dakota. Though the family business had gone through many changes by the time I came around, the farmstead was still working — our aunt ‘Mousie’ and her family kept it alive as a dairy farm.  The main house was a big white house with a big front porch – now that I think about it for a family of 12 + all the workers on the farm — the kitchen was tiny!

In the summer there always seemed to be family get together at the farm.  I remember helping mom make her mother’s potato salad recipe in a massive quantity, with radishes from our garden sliced and placed on the top ‘just so’.  Dad would pack a cooler and then pile six of us into the car, making our way out to the farm down the interstate and onto the dusty, hilly county roads.  I don’t know exactly how many people would attend, but it always seemed like a huge number of people to my little eyes.  If memory serves correctly we’d set up lunch in a buffet style in the house – the usual fare –  hot dogs & burgers on the grill, corn on the cob, potato salad (of course), buns, baked beans, coleslaw, some sort of jello salad with mini marshmallows that slurped out of a Tupperware jello hold, and there would be a cooler of pop and a separate cooler of beer (for the adults).  Watermelon and vanilla ice cream (made with actual cream) were the standard dessert.   Mom’s family was a whopping 12 siblings!  All the girls learned how to cook, pluck and butcher a chicken (from the hen-house to the stove), shuck the corn, can the produce, keep a house, and the boys learned how to work the land. [oh, the irony..]

I remember all the adults getting together to play softball in the yard.  The yard was huge and green,  huge trees bordered the yard (over by the old chicken coop) and the far end by the dirt road.  To this day you could probably fit a full baseball diamond in the yard (minus the outfield).   It as hot hot hot and dusty.   Can’t remember who played on what teams, but I remember cheering them on and admiring the fact that they could hit and catch a ball (I still can’t do that to this day).   There was a lot of eating, catching up on life, and sharing memories of the farm and farm-life.   Though we were  exhausted by the end of the afternoon and fully ready to head home, we never really wanted to leave.  There was so much to explore and so many stories to hear.

Or maybe my memory is skewed by time.   Being the youngest in my family I probably didn’t have the patience to sit and hear ANOTHER story, but you couldn’t drag the adults away from those conversations! So, I was ‘forced’ to endure… : )

Things have changed now – aunt Mousie and her husband passed away many years ago, and the three remaining sisters all live in the city (though all in close proximity).  The farm is still standing – aunt Mousie’s youngest son and his wife maintain the farmstead, though farming itself has changed so much over the past ten years.  The land is now farmed by neighbouring farmers.

Am so thankful that I had the chance to listen to those stories and get to know some of the characters (relatives).   I remembering feeling that I never wanted for anything – though in reality I think that we had only what we needed.   It’s an important lesson I think.   There wasn’t any excess, people worked hard, and the presence of family was consistent.  To this day the three remaining sisters see each other weekly and whenever the kids and grandkids are home they make an event of it.

As kids we were always busy busy busy during our school year, but it’s those dusty summer days that are most prevalent in my mind today.  Good times.

Shakin’ it off…

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Forgive my lack of posts in the past several, and I do mean several, months.    Life has shifted in a lot of positive ways and some difficult ways too – and as you know, change is always a challenge.

Throughout the past four years I’ve been a bit of a hermit – going to school and working full time doesn’t really allow for much time for ‘fun’.   Since graduating this past October I have been working to up the fun factor in my life.   When I hear that Prince was coming to Winnipeg I thought, oh wow!  His music is so the soundtrack to my high school years.   I remember buying the cassette tape of Purple Rain, and obsessively watching his videos on MTV.  So I purchased the least expensive tickets to the concert just to be there and hear his music.   I wouldn’t say that I was uber-ecstatic about going, but was excited to see him perform live.

The day finally arrived.  We got the concert and [unfortunately] Winnipeg had not sold out the entire arena, but the bonus was that our tickets got bumped up and we sat a level lower in the arena than originally planned (gotta like that!).  Winnipeggers seek the  quality things in life (as long as they are on sale), and are a discerning lot when it comes to our music.

From the moment Prince took the stage we knew it would be a different concert.  Almost the entire audience stood up.   Now, you have to understand, when we went to the Aerosmith concert last year – the majority of the audience remained seated.  What it came down to (for me) was his clear passion for music, and for being true to his art, his craft.  There was no selling out here – no excessive light shows and costume changes, no excessive performance factors.   It was pure music (with only 3 costume changes).

[The best part was an older couple seated to our right (probably in late 60’s) who immediately stood up and danced through the majority of the concert.  Such a huge demographic represented!]

Much of Prince’s music is not available on YouTube (he didn’t even allow the local press to photograph the concert), but a friend posted on the same concert and found a video from the concert on Facebook.    Here it is –  take a moment and shake off your day – and listen to the instruction ‘2 and 4!’.

Stand with Prince. (if this link doesn’t work you’ll have to look it up on facebook — Andy Alo/videos/Stand)

What Prince (and Art) has reminded me of is that sometimes you just gotta put on some music and shake it off!   Cause you know what?

Sometimes life is hard.

We all share that experience.

[Perhaps this is my naiveté speaking, but…]   At that concert it felt like ‘everyone’ that was there, in the moment, feelin’ the music right alongside Prince and the New Power Generation.  And for a few hours, life was a little more joyful, and little easier.

Thank you Live Nation for bringing Prince to Winnipeg.  And thank you Prince for being the true artist that you are.

Here are a couple of other posts on the concert…

Natalie Duhamel

Winnipeg Free Press

Gettin’ sweaty and breathin’ heavy… [part three]

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Continuing on from parts one and two……(click on the highlighted text to check out previous posts).

It has been awhile since the last entry – much has happened.   My yoga practice continues,  the first term of school year is coming to an end, and, yes, it is officially winter.

Lately I have been noticing an important lesson that yoga has taught me.   To my surprise not only do I still find that yoga is an excellent workout, it is changing the way I move through life (off the mat). Moving through my volunteer time at the yoga studio and my yoga practice I have become aware of my pace.  My tendency is to rush through things in a heightened state — sort of an unending panic mode.  Somehow I am moving away from that state and moving into a more grounded, steady, state of being, in life.

Hello, can you say liberating?  [say it with me now… l i b e r a t i n g]

Life is busy.  Many of us seem to revel in the busy-ness of our everyday lives.

You know the conversation, “How have you been?”, ” Oh!? Ohmigosh I’ve been so busy!  Doing this, that, this, that, thisthatthisthatthisthatthisthat…”.  We become lulled into a state of acceptance along with some form of acknowledgement.  Accepting that life is, well, just busy.  And if my life isn’t busy, than what does that say about me? What will others think?  It is as if we feel being busy means that what we are doing is important and that it makes us more important (or maybe more accepted) in this world.   Granted, we all have those times in life when we seem to have a never ending list of little, tedious tasks that we need to get done in order to be able to do the things we want to do.  What I am referring to is beyond the occasional busy day, its the busy – every – day situations.

One of my favorite moments in yoga class is Tadasana (see photo).  When we move through the various poses and into tadasana I feel an energy moving through the pose that comes from within, it feels as if  energy radiates from my centre throughout my body and out my extremities.  The active breath reflects this as I feel as if oxygen is drawn in through my fingers, toes, and head, through my limbs and into my chest.  Exhaling through each pore of my skin.  The tension in my neck melts away and my shoulders ease from the weight of the day.  It is truly a beautiful thing.

In the end, Tadasana does not allow one to be busy with anything else but standing aligned, breathing.  So simple, yet so important to take that moment of time to just stand, in stillness.

Winter has officially arrived, blanketing our city with a layer of sparkling, fluffy, white snow – the beauty of snow is that it dampens the sounds of the city and creates a calm, a silence.  Today, instead of giving in to the negativity that arrives with the limitations that winter can often bring, I suggest that we take our cue from nature.   Stop, listen beyond the dulled sounds of the city, and hear the blanket of snow. Breathe deeply, feel the coolness of the air washing through your body, calming and soothing the racing business of your day.

Perspective = Peaceful Productivity..?!?

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image of peace found on Google images

The beginning of this term at school is different. In the past there was a sense of panic during that first month…so many deadlines, assignments, pressure to do well (though self-inflicted), on top of a new work schedule and attempting to keep in touch with friends and family.   Maybe its the yoga, the blogging, or perhaps a renewed perspective – but this time instead of panic there is a sense of taking it all one step at a time, knowing that it will all get done as it should.

What changed?

The intention to BE has caused a change  — perhaps it gave me a new perspective.

Recently I completed an assignment for an ethics class in which we were asked to describe and back up our personal ethical philosophy.  The argument presented was regarding the development of our moral reasoning throughout life – every decade, relationship, job, conflict, etc. has an impact on the development of our reasoning.  All of this is layered on top of the values that are taught to us as children (for those into ethics it was a bit Kohlberg-esque ).

For me, my philosophy is based on a collection of priorities, and the experiences shared with others. From the values instilled in me by my parents, my innate need to follow my purpose from a young age, relationships, friendships, jobs, and even school.   Always based on authenticity, moving through consequentialist ideas, structured rules based think and, finally, being ‘in my 40s’ and finding the freedom to be true to myself, tossing aside what society deems ‘appropriate/correct’ and living in a manner that is true to my priorities and my vision for my future.  Yes, it really is all mine (it is for you too!).

As I lay in Savasana in a recent yoga class I considered what my intention was to be for that particular class.   Somewhere in my head a voice said  ‘Do What You Can’.  You see I was dealing with a recurring back injury, nothing serious but enough that I had to slow down my practice for a few classes.  ‘Do What You Can’ seemed so simple, achievable.    So, I did what I could in that class and it went fairly well, no guilt involved for not practicing with my usual vigor.

Maybe that is it.  Doing what I can in a day/week/month/life,  accepting what I can do in a day/week/month/life, and BE-ing with that.  The rush to get ‘it all’ done immediately is dissipating, yet things are still being accomplished well, and on time.  It is a relief to know that excess drama and panic really isn’t necessary.

Living authentically.  Working to live authentically, every day.

Why, oh WHY?

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girl writing in book by tree

Continuing with my   ‘back to blogging’ quest, The SITS put out the idea of posting about why we bloggers blog.   It’s a good question.

For years I have been a regular journal keeping gal.  A source of comfort to me, journaling facilitates the expression of all feelings, without judgement.   This has resulted in some fairly good problem solving as I’ve learned to get it all out of my head and onto the page, read it, be with it, and then configure a solution to whatever needs to be solved.   When life is crazy, journaling is where I find my way once again.   Love. It.  Now, there is a collection of post possibilities on my computer [otherwise known as my new boyfriend, Mac].  Some things are just not appropriate to share – and some things need to be shared.

When returning to school back in 2007 it was a short trip to learning that I truly enjoy the writing process.  After writing a mediocre assignment or two, it was there, my creative voice, beginning to emerge.  From a practical perspective, blogging is a way to write about things that I choose to write about, rather than only about things that are assigned through coursework.  This is key in not only developing writing skills, but to work on the skill of taking an idea and developing it to some kind of end.  Gets the creative juices a flowin’.

What has been discovered through all of this blogishness is that the blogosphere is full of inspiring and supportive fellow bloggers.  There is something to be said for receiving comments from total strangers who enjoy reading my posts, or for the exchange of comments between bloggers.   Its all about the feedback – looking at what posts readers respond to, and what they do not, and being able to take that feedback and process it.  Ultimately, blogging facilitates my authentic voice.   [In my ethics course they would say that my blog certainly speaks to the existentialist side of me.]

There are so many inspiring, intelligent blogs out there – a wealth of information, passion, and support in the land o’ blogging.  There are a few listed here on my blog page and for more, check out the WordPress Freshly Pressed page — always an interesting assortment of posts!