About Orenda Wellness

I have a deeply hidden and inarticulate desire for something beyond the daily life. I love the smell of earth, the touch of waves, the taste of berries, the sight of trees, the sound of laughter and the feeling of being fully alive.

Conditionally Fuelling

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Am I under-recovered because of over-training? 

Or am I under-fuelled?

I’m curious about where the fatigue is originating: is it from too many hard sessions and not enough rest, or is it from straight-up not eating enough?

I’m questioning this because I feel like I’m overtraining slash under-recovered this past couple of weeks.  I feel like it is related to mental stress, along with not eating enough.  And it freaks me out: my body is feeling like it’s tight after my runs, when it used to be more loose and ready to go the next training session.  My motivation is also waning.

This is sitting with, and hitting me hard: the catch-22 of not feeling strong enough to train, and then wanting to eat less, and at the same time feeling that BY eating more, I’ll be able to train better, recover better, and feel better.

But the fear comes when I condition eating upon training: I want to feel totally in control of training outcome relating to intake of fuel.

I chatted with a friend about this: sometimes after a harder session I have no appetite, and then sometimes when I’ve rested, I’m ravenous.  And this both confuses and frustrates me.  Also when food is tied to emotional attachment: I enjoy eating.  

I enjoy eating and then pair happiness with food, and then food with training.  So the three factors become clusterfucked in a web of pleasure-seeking, highs and deserving.

I become afraid of the space between the highs, and attach to the feeling of wanting to be the sole proprietor controlling when I can get those highs, and control how big of a space separates them so that I can leave the unknown factor (which is fear-evoking) out of the equation.

Perfectly planned and predictable highs.

Fear sets in when I have completely satisfied hunger with food, and don’t know when my body will again be able to “get high”.

The issue here is the association of pleasure and highs with food.  Food is tricky though, because as much as it is a fuel, it is also an enjoyment.  I think the balance of equanimity around attaching to the high is where I victimize myself to suffering.  When I put so much weight on the seeking of pleasure via food, depletion, repletion, and ultimately control of “nourishment” in all senses of the word, that I’m like an addict seeking sensation with bouts of in between numbness.

Why?

Because unlimited space freaks parts of me out.  Being sated, having balance, in a way, being in a state of calm, without knowing that a stress is nearby, without knowing which state is upcoming- be it high or low; this is scary.  In this state of seeking, I am not present, nor do parts of me want to be.

I’m watching these thoughts arise, and how they infringe on my training, on my happiness, on my freedom; on my Life.

It’s like I want to have an eye on the drug at all times, knowing where it is, being able to know when I can use it, whenever I please.

In this way, I’m standing in my own way of being able to eat, train, life intuitively, from a place of trusting my body.

I’m afraid of eating enough and then not wanting to train.  I’m afraid of training easily and eating enough to supplement it, and then having space to be and to sit in a state of health.  Because that means balance, and that means what.  Whoa.

What if by eating enough, I lose my motive to train?
What if I get “lazy”?
What if I don’t get hungry and have my peanut butter in the evening (my high)?
What if I eat the peanut butter, but don’t feel like training hard the next day?
What if I have to stop training or lower intensity, while at the same time eating enough, in order to regain my period?

Lots of feels. In the end, I know my damn wise-ass soul knows.  I trust it.  I really do, and want to break these mind-habits that have formed.  There are runs when I feel so liberated, and so in flow that I’m living from a place of harmony with myself.  More and more these moments, both with and without running, are liberating me.  Disordered pairing of eating and pleasure and depletion and exercise are maladaptive coping mechanisms that I experience.  And the windows of freedom in-between are like air from the freshest Alpine mountains, ever.

Willpower is Bullshit

You know when you overdo something, and then swear off of it for like, 30 daysorLife…and then fall off the oath and “succumb to weakness”?  Well, fuck, maybe it’s not a weakness.  Maybe it’s just inevitability in your humanity.

Example: eat 3 TBSP of flaxseeds because I was still hungry but feeling afraid of “overdoing” legit food like my snack of nuts that I nightly have, so I eat tablespoon after tablespoon of flaxseeds.  Knowing very well that this will not be pretty tomorrow….especially since my gut has been off since antibiotics.

Or for me, it’s eating raw veg and vinegars like salads because they are “safe foods” and satisfy my feeling of needing to be a little ungrounded.  These foods are not what make me feel good in the colder weather.  My soul knows this well, but it’s easy to fool myself into thinking this is healthy because, like, it’s a fucking salad, bro.  But I am suffering with my gut so hard, and I know that the cup of coffee won’t be good on my tummy, but the other parts of me loudly speak their needs for sensation.  How good and like, superhuman do you feel after drinking a cup of coffee? It’s like I can do anything.  It totally masks any fatigue I may have felt, and poor sleep, it just makes me not feel the things that I believe will stand in my way of doing the things. Do you know what I mean though?

What else:

  • drinking too much coffee
  • eating too much __________________________
  • buying too much______________
  • doing too much_________
  • sleeping too much?
  • literally, anything in excess.

And then, the swearing off happens:

I WILL ABSTAIN FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And that feels SO PRODUCTIVE, right?!  Like, a bandaid, it gives peace of mind…until we break the fast, we eat the thing, we drink the thing, we buy the things.  And come in shame and guilt.

But the thing is, this “caving” is not a weakness.  It is not a lack of strength.  I ate too much flax again, and now feel terrible because it’s just that right time for gastric emptying from yesterday to be making its bowel-journey so that I’ve pooped like 6 times already and now feel so “unfinished”….you know?!  That feeling SUCKS.

So, I am learning to say that this wasn’t a lack of willpower.  This wasn’t weakness.  Because I was scared, right?  I acted out of a space of fear, of really trying to not wake up hungry in the middle of the night, so I ate what I felt safe eating.  I used my resources, and from a space of needing nourishment, I evaluated my means, and chose the safest one.  That’s actually pretty beautiful.  I actually was trying to sleep better.  Maybe I didn’t make the best decision for all parts of myself, gut-specifically, but I wanted to be rested.

Awwww!

THAT is a good reaction to this.  Actually, add:

Awww, sweetheart.

And isn’t that something you’d tell a little kid?  Because we actually chose the best thing to do, given our state of health.  Maybe the chocolate was a vice from emotional suppression all week.  Maybe the wine was because we are so fucking tired, used up so many resources, that the feelings are too much to handle and we uncork the whole damn bottle to dissipate the emotions.  The soul wanted to feel.  The soul was telling, yelling at us to be heard.

If I don’t examine where my feeling of being unsafe was coming from, I will continue to use my best and most readily available “safe” vices, at the detriment of other parts of myself.

I feel unsafe when I have disconnected from myself, and I fear of being “out of control”, so I latch on to safety with clawed fingers.  To the point of choke-holding my own neck.  But, that feeling of safety was satisfied.

Humans are incredible at adapting.  We use our ITB and knees when our asses are weak and don’t muscularly fire properly so that we can move, run, walk, ride.

We find venues to expel excess feels when we really need to meet that work deadline, so we eat the whole cake.

We have weak abs, and so our backs hyper-engage so we can remain upright.

We feel out of control in our lives, so we clean our houses like mad because it makes us feel the illusion of order.

Over-compensation.  It’s a thing.  And it works in the short term, but longer term, our bodies can’t handle it too long.  When we are in the over-compensation cycle for a prolonged time, we are sustaining self-disconnect and the soul doesn’t like this.  It can be silenced temporarily, but not long-term.

So, the “willpower” to not do the things, is not the answer, and it is not a weakness when we “run out of willpower”.  It is inevitability.

So the question is, where did we over-compensate?  Where did we satisfy a need with some other soothing thing that helped us feel safe, heard, in-control, or just FEEL?

That’s the ticket.

I didn’t feel nourished in my life, in feeling of purpose yesterday.  I instead wanted the safety and control over satiety, so I could wake up and be able to hop on my bike fasted, because when I’m bloated with flaxseeds, I don’t feel hunger as much.  And what does that bike ride give me?  A feeling of satisfaction guaranteed: I know that I’ll feel subdued, more peaceful, high.  I know that this will be my stimulus-addiction satisfied.  Until my next high.

I’m too confused and haven’t “figured” this all out yet, but I trust this much.

I’m stopping here.

Namaste.

Put your Hand on your FUCKING heart (, Love)

Whoa whoa whoa. Waking up, snoozing or not.  Crack of dawn or mid-day.  The expression of awakeness doesn’t matter.  When I wake up, usually, to my early-ass alarm, or whether you sleep way in after a Netflix binge, or food binge, or other form of numbing binge, are you with yourself?

Generally, I have a racing heart (sry #HeartRateVariability) and am in a stimulated place (and I’m not talking #morningwood shit…).  I am what Ayurveda calls “rajasic“.  Unsettled.  Rawr.

“Charged”

High adrenaline in the body is a way to prepare for mobilization, movement. So, I’m primed to metabolize those hormones through exercise.  I hop on my bike and 99% of the time, red-line my threshold.  One word goes through my mind when I think of the resultant state from this: subdued.

I met the base-jumpers who hop off the Squamish Chief.  (They’re cool cats)

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#CoolCats

We chatted about my fascination with the topic I am studying of stress addictionThis was after I had scrambled leggies for second breakfast aka I 18:48’d it up the fist peak.  On a busy Sunday….(I now don’t bring a watch anymore when scrambling because I am not trusting myself with how far I can go with my athletic pursuits…I actually scared myself).

They are very much adrenaline junkies So, they could relate to the itch they got to get high.  

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The word I explained and that also got some nods was that of driving home after their jump(s) and my scramble is subdued.  It’s like this crazy calm, not dissimilar from that of someone who just smoked a J, or drank some wine, or shotted some meth….and that’ s cool, right?  #coolcat…the yang it needed in life, maybe not drug-related.  The issue I feel, is when the dependency roots for that feeling.  The addiction cycle providing respite, definition by Bae Gabor Mate is (paraphrased):

The moment after satisfying a craving, whereby the addict for a fleeting second no longer is hungry for the drug.

So, what the individual craves more than anything, is that space in-between where there is no ravenous appetite to be sedated.  There is a fleeting moment of peace.

So, isn’t what we all crave, simply that space?

I truly don’t think there’s anything wrong with base-jumping, running, wine, weed, ok maybe meth isn’t so great….but to be able to trust the self enough not to depend on it is where freedom lies.  Being rendered choiceless in one’s dependency for the satisfaction of a craving, the very dependency upon the craving, is where the disparity lies.

To scratch the itch of craving is beautiful.  But desperation, that’s the fear.  The inability to imagine not satisfying the craving, or having the craving be so big and so consuming that it blinds oneself of the view of other of life’s limbs is dangerous.

That is the way we cope.

The expression of the drug is not important.  Where did we lose our inner ability to feel satisfied sans-drugs?  Gabor says it lies in trauma, attachment styles, and overall not gaining the resources within ourselves from a young age that gave us the self-efficacy to self-soothe.  So we are addicts, seeking that high.

To remedy this, is to I believe learn to re-trust the self.  Cultivate safety in daily life.  Practice in small windows, the feeling of presence and connection.

To wake up, regardless of what time it is, and put hand on heart.  Feel the heart beat.  That is always there (unless #death…).  That grounds us.  That’s presence, in the flesh (pun intended #afterallthistimealways).

Ok.

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“I Couldn’t help it”

Have you ever said this to yourself, after maybe eating too much, picking at your skin, biting your nails, sleeping with your ex, sleeping in, compulsively waking up at 5am again to jump on your bike (I know this isn’t just me), drinking that extra glass of wine, smoking that doobie?

Maybe it’s not your fault. Maybe it’s not my fucking fault.

I think that through running away and distracting our(my)selves, we lose our connection with our own needs.  We run around, work late, “forget to eat”, get neck spasms from being glued to the screen.  We lose ourselves.

Then, when our body comes back to yell at us, we’re fucking famished, we’re thawing from numbness and itchy.  Itchy and unconscious.

Itchy and unconscious.

Itchy and unconscious. I’ll say it again.  When we feel depleted, unknowing as to why or what we need, we cope.  We need to fill again that void, a seemingly sourceless void that is hungry.  Hungry for nourishment.

  • Love
  • Connection
  • Some mother fucking nutrients
  • Support
  • Creative expression
  • Outlet for release
  • TO FEEL

(Wo)man, doesn’t it feel somewhat comforting and safe to be numb?

Parts of me feel like it’s a warm blanket.
♬ I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety ’til I sank it ♬

Hey Amelia Boone if you ever read this #jahbless firstly, secondly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUgwM1Ky228

These lyrics are so damn good and bang:

We go to the doctor, we go to the mountains
We look to the children, we drink from the fountain
Yeah, we go to the Bible, we go through the work out
We read up on revival, we stand up for the lookout
There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine

So, back to when it hits us, the body no longer will be silenced.  So, we eat too much, we cope with whatever drug we choose: a cig, a J, a beer or 5, a run or 5, etcetcetc.  And for me, when I get to this state, the yuck scary space of overwhelm with feelings, they rush in unsilenceable, like when you cut yourself shaving and the bleeding just doesn’t stop.  Fuck, you are on a ride of pain and it doesn’t end till it does.  You gotta ride it out, one giant wave of overwhelm.

The jump from numb to being overflowing is huge, and it’s terrifying.

This is when the excess asks for dissipation through whatever accessible means we can grab.  ANYTHING.

Ok, so now what?  Left bloated, drunk, high, bloody, now what?

Enter guilt and shame.  The worst.  These two are also scary emotions.  So, the innate thing to do for us to feel safe again is to disconnect further, to numb because these are scary and unpleasant feels.

I don’t know about you, but when I skin pick, or eat brussels sprouts (and aioli) till I’m 16 weeks preggers, I am definitely not interested to sit with myself, gently, compassionately.  Ho wanna run, (wo)man!

img_8244And this has been my cycle for a hell of a long time.  And it’s exhausting.  And the thing is, behind the pain and noise, is my soul’s voice, quietly and ever-presently there telling me to come back to myself.

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The cycle breaks eventually.
That’s it that’s all.
“To sit with the shit”, as say the yogis and #Bae Pema Chodron, that’s eventually what we learn, when numbing no longer works.  When our bodies say “No”.

And, sweetheart, also: it’s not your fault.

Namaste.

“I’m an MD/RHN/RN, here’s what I eat in a day”

I call this bullshit.

In a world already so disconnected from ourselves, these tempting motives to “solve our own routine conundrum” serve as confusing AF.  It’s like stevia: sweet, but the body is like “well shit, can I eat more now because that was calorie-free?” (you know? How many times have you tried to “trick” your body into thinking it’s satiated, and then the #headinfridge nighttime syndrome hits? And, sweetheart, when you say “I couldn’t help it”, that is OK.  It’s not lack of willpower.  It’s physiology, and it’s OK.)

Confusion.  Tempting at first, but also like the Finnish education system: it works for them, but you can’t take Des Linden’s stride, put her in a pool, and expect a Phelps #nahmean?

This is why I think “diets” in their very essence are dangerous to fall into.  Rules, rules rules rules, stress me out, and also calm parts of me.  It is so nice to think of a specific way of doing things that leads to health and is relatively simple to emulate.  But that’s the easy way out.  The way that calms the overwhelmed and fearful parts of us that are at a loss of what to do, and then just doesn’t serve the soul part that is all like “but listen to me, I know what’s best for Me!”

Like, side-note.  Is it just me, or is Intermittent Fasting the way of like 90% of Tinder dates right now?

Intermittent Fasting: can certainly serve some people, at some times.  But I’m fearful of the idea that it enables addiction.

I feel like I am straight up addicted to sensation from controlling all aspects of nourishment from food.  I’m using Food control and restriction and “allowing” bits of treats as a way to fuel my nourishment needs that I’m lacking in other aspects of my life.

Similarly, like Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, I am keeping myself stuck in the lower pyramid

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This blah blah blah goes back to me not feeling “safe” in the world so I’m keeping myself “safe” #traumashit through physiological preoccupation.

Blah blah blah.

On this level, it’s simply a way to keep myself outside of myself.  Which is why it’s so tempting to look more outside of Me at what other people are doing, what helps them, the scared parts of myself think “Let’s do that!”  While inspiration is great, what if by listening in, checking in, the answers come to me.  What if by creating pathways of outer-dependency, I disconnect myself from the umbilical cord that’s like the cup-string telephone to the soul, (remember?)

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Image result for cup string phone

Now back to the really somehow fascinating phenomenon that is looking at what people are eating on social media.  Enter hashtags:

#WIAW
#Paleo
#Keto
#IF
#cleaneats
#cheatday
#ifitfitsmymacros

ETCETCETC.

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#amiright?  What about “Fear of Finished Meal Syndrome”?  Do the RHN’s, RN’s, RD’s, MD’s get this, too?  (Do hooman’s breathe?)

Maybe we think that the hidden mind’s of these people are pristine such that they have not the pains we have?  Maybe they poop better?  Like,

“hey, she’s got toned-ass arms, her diet must be soooo perfect!! I will get arms and poops clean as hers if I eat exactly what she eats!”

Bullshit.

But also,  compassionate bullshit.  I hear this, I also feel this.  But I know my soul is calling out this human ego temptation because #slowcarb #fatfree #LCHF #vegan etcetcetc seems easy, but doesn’t work.  It only worked for me to get me more aware of the need to connect with myself more deeply.  So in this way, and in celebrating the idea that “the only way out is through”, I’m grateful.

I’ve been on a ride through Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia (no blaming here, but the “cheat day” from Tim Ferriss’s (sexiest bald man I know) #4HourBody fuckkked me up hard), Vegetarianism, Paleo, Anxiety, and has truly winded my path around like a rollercoaster.  Right now, my gut is speaking to me.  The powerful, resilient body perseveres through all the confusion, which is so damn beautiful.  Throughout all the ignoring, all the pain, all the anxiety, the body is here.  Not without scars, inside and outside, but it’s here.  It’s always here.  That’s what we’re born with.  We’re actually born with exactly all we need to thrive on this earth.

Similar to plants in nature, they use whatever is available near them at the time, in order to survive.  Each plant uses its own individual programming to absorb from the Earth what it possibly can to life the longest and most robust life.  Maybe a plant is healthier in different soils, but the internal ability for it to hear its needs are just that: internal.  So, an onion will need different things than it’s tomato neighbour.  Likewise, one onion might need different things than the onion beside it, that is closer to the cuke which changes its constituency.

So fuck, please, be wary of outside noise.  Just because an MD eats avo-toast erryday, doesn’t mean it’ll give you better poops.  I mean, it may; that shit’s great.  But listen in.  Get inspired, and then take the language outside and translate it into your own Mother Tongue for your individually resplendent body.  And also, listen to the whispers coming from your SOUL!

Fuck, it’s beautiful (thank you).

Love,
Mel

My Gut is Still Fucked

I took antibiotics for an infected ingrown toenail at the end of September for 2 weeks.  High dose.  It was my first time taking antibiotics in probably about 15 years, I really try as best I can not to take anything if I don’t need it.

I actually can’t believe that even now, I’m still struggling with the shits.  This is absolutely annoying and I am living in the scientifically more identified news explaining the gut-brain connection.the-truth-about-runners-trots-2-30877-1429191488-9_dblbig.jpg

I feel like shit: literally and figuratively.  I can see my anxiety worsen, I can see the OCD-tendencies that go along with high anxiety follow: skin picking, anger, sadness.

My run stitch isn’t really there, but I’m pretty much having to pop-a-squat on each run.  It’s been on-going since the end of September, despite taking high dose of probiotics.

I’m also along with the anxiety, therefore eating foods that my highly anxious self is craving: the very foods that Ayurveda explains worsens the anxious state (rajasic, vata-heightening foods).

Enter:

  • brussels
  • cauli
  • vegonvegonveg
  • coffee
  • flax

It’s such a mixed up coping cycle: the more I feel disconnected from my body, the more I crave disconnection.

It’s so crazy how much the effects of feeling bloated can have on my psyche.  It’s like when I wake up and have tried to not eat too much the night before, and should be feeling hungry (like, I woke up middle of the night hungry), but instead am literally so full of shit that the hunger cues are off.  I am curious about the evolutionary implications of this.  I wonder, from a viewpoint of the survival, the primal needs, why hunger cues would leave when bloat comes on.  Maybe it’s the body saying that eating at this time wouldn’t be wise because digestion is preoccupied with so much “shit”.  That would make sense.

It’s really frustrating though.  But I think from a soul-perspective that my body is choosing the one way to speak to me for me to actually listen and potentially change through my gut.

The thing is, my gut is directly relating to my stress-response and how I am breathing.  This is related to how I hold my body, my thoracic cavity, and hips, and legs, ankles, feet.  This physical manifestation of misaligned coping speaks consequently through body pains and compensations while running; which is another form of self-connect, and also self-disconnect.  There’s no black and white.  I both love running, but have a compulsive relationship with it.  I am not yet fully in harmony with my body.  FUCK.

When my gut is off, I want to eat more of the foods that I use to cope; the fillers that don’t actually nourish my body with its needs.  Furthermore, this only exacerbates my mental state which impedes me from knowing where else in life I need nourishment.  And the cycle continues.

The remedy is always reconnecting with myself.  The best poops I had were in India when I ate “sattvic” foods; foods that induce a calm state of mind.  This was also a period of time when I felt the most peaceful in my body than ever in my life.

Consciousness is both a blessing and a curse: it is just so FULL on.  It’s certainly easier to bypass The Work and disconnect.  But it’s definitely not without consequences, my gut can attest to that.

Shit, (wo)man, this is tough.

On Feeling “Behind”

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I’m tired of feeling behind.

Late for my 5am alarm.
Late for my career goals at my 28 years on this earth.
Late for not having a period.
Late for still* dealing with mental health (but like, I still have a mind, though).
Late to eat lunch, dinner, snack.
Late to sleep.
Does the cycle end?

I actually cover up the clocks around my little (big*) world: the oven, microwave is shut off, my laptop has the clock disabled from the dashboard, I’ve put a sticker from a drink bottle overtop my car’s ticker, I cover my phone with my hand when I open it to read a text, my watch for my timer setting is always on the 00:00.

Time stresses me out.
Like Bailey from Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, “not having enough time”, although I’m (hopefully? Can’t ever know for sure hey?) not dying from Cancer as she was, with a ticker countdown on her longevity, I feel the pressure.  Not just long-term, but on the daily, momentarily, minutely.
The concept of time is to me like a constant monitor, a constant gauge of judgement on how I am matching up to standards.  Who’s standards, though?  Who decides what defines “on time”?
Ho no know.
But the feeling is there.
I have to remind myself that there’s no threat to my pace, there’s no one tracking me.  There’s no measure against which I have to be standardized against that will define how “well” I am doing.  Life is not black or white.
I feel like often, the pressure of time is such that I frequently default to the coping mechanisms that accompany the stress-response; fight, flight or freeze.  These serve to only slow my progress forward.  If my general time-based fear is predicated upon the idea of being “late”, then these coping reactions only serve to keep me from moving forward, halt any momentum however slowly it forward-moves.
I guess it comes down to acceptance.  Gentle acceptance of wherever I am.  Comparison-free.  No measures upon which to measure up to.  Because although I’m not that girl, or this guy, or a CEO, or blah blah blah, I am this. That’s it.  SO, fuck.  What does this mean.  I accept and feel into wherever I am trusting that wherever it is I am doing my best.  It isn’t possible to see huge gains whatever those gains might look like, every. damn. day.
Nature well-reflects this.  It’s not like from winter, all of a sudden comes fall.  And what’s the fucking rush?  To go where?  It’s the little micro moments that deserve my undevoted attention.  In each moment is undeniable depth and potential.  Maybe not so much efficiency, but effectiveness is the stress-less way to move.  Quality over quantity.  Going into the task.  Like each breath.  Each person with which I interact.  Not how many clients I have, but how much I am able to initiate the momentum of change in each client.  Maybe those shifts move mountains.  Maybe that wholesomeness translates and overflows into other realms of life.  Maybe from that one client, I get a referral.  Maybe not. Maybe that client then waterfalls healing into someone else.  And the momentum continues.  That’s beautiful.
Ok, so in this moment, I’m right on time, I think.
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