Bang Head Here

Grasping: the act of holding on to something, anything, under the belief that it’s the answer to all problems. 

What do I grasp for when I feel dis-ease?

  • Can’t run? At least I can ride.
  • Can’t find peace in Toronto? At least there’s other space in the world.
  • Rain? Indoor trainer.
  • Out of coffee? Go to cafe.
  • No wifi? I’ll use my data.
  • No eggs? I’ll buy some.
  • Didn’t get the job? Another one will come. 

Alternatives are great. There’s merit to adaptability, faith and trust.  My purpose in this post is about how this is all a form of filling a gap, filling a “supposed” gap. Filling space. But what happens if that space is left empty?

I’m filling space right now. My laptop’s broken, and I’m jonesin for my fingers to type in the search engine for the comfort of knowing I’m working towards finding a job on Vancouver island. So I’m writing about this feeling. I’m writing this on my phone as an alternative. 

Behind the filling of space to use my phone is the filling of space to find a job. I didn’t get the job I applied for in Tofino at The Homestead. The job was at a retreat centre where I would be a yoga instructor and holistic wellness practitioner. I allowed myself to feel like this job completed me. I felt pretty down after finding out that the retreat was shutting (had to laugh bc phone autocorrected that to shitting…) down for winter and there was no job for me. I was to be the hostess and caretaker of the place during the winter season as they’re an Airbnb. What really shook me, was the I got the call (e-mail….and I called back) after sharing my social media platform info which is not discrete about my journey in fighting Eating Disorder. 

And so, I felt like it might be that this was the reason for the decline of my position. I felt like💩.  Is mental health battling a reason for being unhirable? I asked if there was anything in my application that I should be aware of for future applications that may have been deferents for hiring. She said no.

You know what I did then? I went in my IG and took “ED Warrior” off my description. I only put it back on yesterday. 

What I realized: RIGHT NOW, I have everything I need to be the practitioner of my soul’s calling. Not when I get “the job”. Not if I eat _______. Not if I get 7.8K IG followers. But now. Any place I expend this energy in, is only a platform. But right now, this is me and I have all I need. So, damn straight I’m an ED warrior.

I can easily fill space, find alternatives with another job, a bike ride, a steak…but to sit with the space unfilled, damn. 

Can I bang my head now? I think I think too much.

I’ve saved a wicked (long….read it in #pigeonpose, very worth the read) article to share which expresses this concept. I highly recommend you read it: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/connect-with-yourself-in-a-world-designed-to-distract-you/

No grasping, trusting. No biking today, no “certainty”, no saviour in any alternative, only the beat of my own heart and breath right now. 

And everything is alright forever and forever and forever.

You are what you love not what loves you


Everything is more complicated than you think.

You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose.

But maybe you won’t know for twenty years. And you’ll never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there is: it’s what you create.

Even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are here for a fraction of a fraction of a second.

Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes or it seems to but doesn’t really. And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope for something good to come along.

Something to make you feel connected, to make you feel whole, to make you feel loved.

Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York: The Shooting Script

The Body on Stress

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I truly believe that the person eating a Big Mac is better off than the one stressing over whether their dinner is made with “free-range-organic-non-GMO” meat.

Stress is the response in the body when our resources are strained from an event that requires adaptation to our current state.

I’ve been addicted to a certain level of stress brought on by the hormone cortisol.  I think that our society in the Western world is addicted to a high level of cortisol.  It my belief that is is why we crave more and more sensation, more and more distraction, more and more numbing. We find these outlets through both addiction to highly engaging substances, or ones that cause us to dissociate:

  • drugs
  • coffee
  • alcohol
  • food (sugar)
  • exercise
  • endorphin rush from stunts
  • self-harm (general term)
  • the third arm: the phone

I’m bringing awareness to my addiction to cortisol, and I’m using mindfulness-based techniques to tune back to my inner nature, one of peace, calm, ease.  

So much of my days have fallen pattern in the go-go-go lifestyle, with the supposed belief that in order to deserve, I must have endured.  That the level of stress is a badge of honour.  This is a false belief that my subconscious has taken to believe as truth.  This is a false badge of our society.

This is why concepts like Blue Mind and Shinrin Yoku which are predicated on the foundation that nature is a healer.  Shinrin Yoku, or roughly translated, “forest bathing”, is actually a treatment prescribed by doctors as a means to lower stress and anxiety.  The invisible illness of mental unrest is of integral vitality to these cultures, whereas in our society it is often swept under the rug to make way for illnesses that are recognized and can be visibly seen.

After all, the people who I admire the most are the calm ones who in spite of struggle, are able to be peace.  

I don’t think I’ll ever forget one spin session in uni when I was an avid member of the Triathlon Team, when my beautiful pro triathlete friend Angela Quick (yes that’s her real last name, and it rings true to her ferocity as an athlete) had a big brick workout this particular training day.  We were together as a group doing a 2-3hr ride, and a run.  I had a 2 hour ride, 30 min run.  She had something like a 3 hour ride, 1-hour run (prepping for some longassrace).  I had been really anal about getting enough sleep and rarely had fun in the final year of uni.  This chick, who comes out first among the top athletes in the whole world at national events, hopped on her bike at the start of the ride expressing quickly, “I am so tired and hungover from dancing all night at Cowboys yesterday.”

I was like:

say what.gif

She proceeded to engage in #beastmode and finish the workout so strong.

Ange continues to be the support I call on when I’m whining about my anxious mind when I am sick/injured and can’t train.  This is where my mind is craving that set-point of habitual stress I have come to be addicted to.  I’m weaning off it.

Angela honours her needs:

If she is sick, she rests.
Injured? Rest.
Pool closed? You guessed it: rest. (not like I was in uni, instead, finishing a ride, whereas she went back to bed — swim is at darkoclock in the AM).

She’s an inspiration.

So stress:

Are you addicted?

Do you find yourself busying yourself, rushing so fast when you have nowhere to go, no plans.  And even if you have plans, WHAT is so important, that even 5-10 mins late is worth the cortisol in your body?

I truly believe that the person eating a Big Mac is better off than the one stressing over whether their dinner is made with “free-range-organic-non-GMO” meat.

Let’s bring awareness to the stress level at which we function most often.  Let’s look at that dial, and dial it down a bit.

What if life were easy?

#riddlemethat

Listen to yourself about what to eat

Source: Dr. Libby, Instagram


Paleo? 

Vegan?

Keto?

LCHF?

HCLF?

Gluten-free?

Slow-carb?

THIS is what I want to spread as a Holistic Nutritionist: less WHAT to eat, more quieting and tuning out in. Stop listening to outsiders about what to eat: when you were a kid, you knew what to eat to feel good. You had an inner impulse that was loud and clear and unhindered by confusion, stress, coping. 

Lets go there again. Ya!

This vid is well worth the watch👌🏻

How I Overcame my Eating Disorder: Forest Greenwell

Forest is a dear friend of mine who I met when I first moved home to Toronto from New Zealand.   She was behind the counter at a cafe I walked into, in a state of low, really ungrounded and upset.  She immediately took me to the back kitchen, leaving the front counter, and sat me down for an hour without blinking an eye, wordlessly signalling to the staff to cover for her.

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She is one hell of a woman, and has founded the wellness initiative Her Habitat, a safe space for anyone to share their struggles that accompany our belonging to this collective human condition called Life.  She connects people and helps the world feel supported; her purpose is brilliantly described in the powerful statement;

You are not alone.

Bless her soul.

She is a warrior of a myriad of Life’s journeys, and battles on while dancing, singing, and doing really cool shit.

Here is her story:

My Eating Disorder Journey:

For a significant part of my life, foods purpose wasn’t to nourish me. I used it to mask, unplug, hide from my feelings. I fluctuated constantly between states of starvations and near illness from binging. I hated my body because I was always tired and never felt good, I hated my mind because I felt weak for giving in to either side of such an intense spectrum, and consequently I hated my friends who had healthy relationships with food. I hated my clothes that never consistently fit me properly, I hated the emotions I was hiding from instead of dealing, and more than anything I hated anything that challenged my way to cope.

I am not proud to say that I actively chose to stop eating. I willingly chose Anorexia over health. I did this with the knowledge that it would get the attention of those around me, and that this would be an easier task than asking for help or doing the very hard work of implementing what I had learned in my years of therapy. I often found myself bingeing and soon my middle ground became Orthorexia instead of Anorexia. I was obsessive about eating healthy. It completely consumed me. And I was still bingeing – now I was just extending my stomach with fruits, veggies, and whatever else I had deemed healthy enough to be able to enter my body.

My breaking point mentally was in Wal-Mart. I was staying with my grandparents for a summer in British Columbia after I had finished high school, and they watched me suffer through hours of running, strict meal plans and timing, and forcing myself into yoga positions that didn’t heal me because I didn’t understand. I was grocery shopping and my grandmother asked me if I wanted any cookies.

Do you know what it’s like to be 18 and having a tantrum in Wal-Mart because your Grandmother asked if you wanted cookies?

I’ve never felt so ashamed in my entire life.

Not just of the reaction, or that situation, but also at my cart full of unsatisfying foods that were not healthy for my mind, not healthy for my soul, and ultimately not even balanced or nutritious enough to give me proper nourishment. I was withering away, moody, disrespecting those that loved me, and fighting against a body and a mind that were desperately needing to heal.

I spent hours meditating in the woods trying to find answers to this longing I had. This void I needed to fill, while simultaneously being terrified of what would happen if I was full. If I did feel joy. If I allowed myself to be human.

The answer was simple, and because of this, so much harder to face:

I was looking for attention.

That’s all it came down to for me. Even though I tried to make myself and my habits invisible I felt offended and unimportant that no one had intervened. I was upset that no one could see that I wasn’t healthy, I was hurting myself. But then I realized I could see it. I could see what I was putting myself through and it was only my job and responsibility to deal with that.

It still took me years to get out of the habit of purging and bingeing. I still fall back on it sometimes. It’s an easy way to remind myself of the “power” I have. It’s also a slap in the face when I feel like shit and realize that there is no one to blame but myself. Not my stress, not my work load, not my roommate or partner or friends. The way that I choose to deal with things, and also the things I choose not to face are not exempt from my hand just because I don’t feel up to dealing with it.

I think the biggest and most important part of my recovery was being accountable.

Yes, all of the tools I learned to avoid bingeing and purging are invaluable to me, and my own intuition and understanding of my body’s signals and messages are paramount. But just how I can take pride in what I am doing right and how far I’ve come, this also comes with the acknowledgement that sometimes I don’t do right by me. Sometimes I do give in to that cyclical pattern. But now I understand what it is, am learning more and more why. I’m finding that the more I’m aware of my triggers and emotions that sway me, the more inclined I am to be conscientious of my eating choices without being paranoid or obsessive about them either.

I can eat a slice of cake without worry about eating the whole cake, or about needing to starve myself before indulgence.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to her on any of her links for connection:

https://www.facebook.com/herhabitatblog/
https://www.instagram.com/herhabitatblog/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkrAlmDZwwsv_iyGr-4Vdxg/
https://twitter.com/herhabitat/

You.
Are.
Not.
Alone.

Jah bless xo

 

How to Eat Well to Feel Good

Video: It’s not so much what we eat, but how we eat it that matters most.

Focus attention on the feelings that we desire, and let go of the seeking of the items that come along with it – and they’ll come. When we seek things, often we don’t feel so hot, and those feelings and non-serving thoughts keep us where we are. Seek the feelings, relentlessly.

Meal plans don’t work. Finding your own intuition works.