“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.

A Calorie on Stress

I’ve been doing a lot of research on stress.  I understand my purpose in helping heal through targeting stress, and more deeply; our addiction to it.  I believe that somewhere along the way, a stressor in life caused a coping mechanism to arise out of survival, and this coping mechanism somehow became a crutch.  Maybe the stressor changed, and the dependency on the coping mechanism stuck.  Then, life became this unsafe place where the level of dependency on the coping mechanism necessitated a certain amount of life stress.  And so, the cyclical addiction to the process of coping, and living life in a fight-or-flight state.

And now my story; I’m watching my body as I get stronger.  The fascinating thing to me is that as I let go of stress, my body is getting stronger from my really low weight, and I believe that my digestion is better absorbing food. When under stress, the body under fight-or-flight doesn’t allocate energy to digestion- instead preparing the body for battle.  This being said, there’s merit to the idea of malabsorption regarding nutrients.

Point blank: I’m not eating much differently from what I feel, yet I’m gaining strength, weight, whatever.

It’s an amazing thing to experience…ok it’s also scary.  But I’m trusting my body, and I’m enjoying the capability to do more things like swim in a pool that isn’t 91 degrees (I still get very cold, but I can actually do it without getting hypothermia…).

The other thing I’m learning about is how the body works under stress and how physiologically we actually lessen the blood flow and so, nutrients and oxygen carried to areas of our bodies.  The main culprits are tension-migraine headache, stomach, eczema, heartburn, hiatus hernia, spastic colon, ulcer, colitis, IBS, hay fever asthma, and there’s been incredible research about the causes of these being mainly emotionally-based.  This talk was profound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjG-8GE2Wf4https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjG-8GE2Wf4

Tension myositis syndrome (TMS), also known as tension myoneural syndrome or mindbody syndrome is a name given by John E. Sarno to a condition he describes as characterized by psychogenic musculoskeletal and nerve symptoms, most notably back pain.[1][2][3] Sarno, a Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University School of Medicine and Attending Physician at The Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University Medical Center, has described TMS in four books,[4][5][6][7] and has stated that the condition may be involved in other pain disorders as well.[2] The treatment protocol for TMS includes education, writing about emotional issues, resumption of a normal lifestyle and, for some patients, support meetings and/or psychotherapy.[1][8] In 2007, David Schechter (a medical doctor and former student and research assistant of Sarno’s) published a peer-reviewed study of TMS treatment showing a 54% success rate for chronic back pain. In terms of statistical significance and success rate, the study outperformed similar studies of other psychological interventions for chronic back pain.[1]

Another resource on this if you’d like to read more is here: http://www.mindbodymedicine.com

I’m also reading a book called Mind over Medicine, by Dr. Lissa Rankin.  The concept of the book is how the mind’s subjective perception of events is what leads us to our current state of health.  Basically, as humans, we have different realms of our beings that we need to nourish and nurture, and these are the predicates of our mind states.  These factors, listed below, are the single most important aspects that shape how we view the world, the lens through which our lives are painted.  A warm and positive lens, brought on by things like;

  • a healthy sex life
  • a meaningful relationship with a partner
  • a good relationship with a health care practitioner, and so being, social support
  • community involvement and feeling of belonging
  • being of purpose in our careers

These factors are critical for our beings to feel at peace.  A peaceful human environment will let our bodies function in a relaxed state, where we can know how to heal ourselves, allow rest and repair of our tissues, and decrease overall inflammation.  We thrive here.

It’s fascinating to me to learn about how physiologically we tend to manifest body and mind factors.  Check this out; the metaphysical manifestation of disease.

I find this so interesting, and the initial talk I posted about the concept Dr. John Sarno talks about how different body areas are shut down from emotional stressors.  So, I believe that based on the stress, and the link above from the Spiritual Causes of Disease, there’s a correlation with the stress source and the area of the body in which it manifests.  For example, I’ve had some ankle pains, and ankles are said to be:

Ankle: Inflexibility and  guilt. Ankles represent the ability to receive pleasure.

And so it is.

Another article from a wicked trail runner, Dakota Jones, talks about how he solves some unresolved injuries from healing spiritually;

I decided that my body was rebelling against me spending all my time and energy on self-aggrandizement. And this was a decision, because I never had some kind of epiphany about it. There was no moment of enlightenment. I simply decided I didn’t want to be unhappy any more and I needed to change something. To that end I have lately taken steps to become more involved with my community, to create projects for kids, and to repeatedly berate iRunFar readers about environmental stewardship. This doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice being a competitive runner. In fact, quite the opposite: I find that I can have a unique impact as a runner that isn’t available to everyone. The more I have reached out in these ways, the more I’ve realized how much I don’t know. I spend a lot of time trying to learn things lately.

http://www.irunfar.com/2018/01/recovery-2.html

The concept isn’t new.  But it’s fascinating. I’m self experimenting with exploring other aspects of my life and seeing how my body responds. The aspects listed here, from that book I mentioned:

Take The Whole Health Quiz

  1. Do you feel well supported with loving community and intimate relationships with friends and family who allow you to express your authentic self?
  2. Do you feel in touch with your life’s purpose?
  3. Are you able to stay in alignment with your integrity in your professional life?
  4. Do you feel financially secure?
  5. Are you in a nurturing relationship with a romantic partner who allows you to express your authentic self?
  6. Do you feel satisfied sexually, either with or without a partner?
  7. Are you able to set healthy boundaries with the people who stress you out?
  8. Are you comfortable saying no?
  9. Do you feel spiritually connected to a Higher Power that you trust has your best interests at heart?
  10. Do you have a healthy way to address negative emotions, such as anger, resentment, grief, anxiety, and depressed mood?
  11. Are you an optimist?
  12. Do you practice gratitude?
  13. Do you engage in generous activities that serve others?
  14. Is your life enriched with scientifically-proven relaxation response activators, such as meditation, prayer, laughter, hugs, playing with animals, orgasms, yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, massage, EFT (tapping), and alternative healing methodologies, such as acupuncture and energy medicine?
  15. Do you live in an environment that is conducive to relaxation responses?
  16. Do you feel well equipped and appropriately supported to manage the details of day-to-day life?
  17. Do you express yourself creatively in ways you enjoy?
  18. Do you let yourself nap if you need to?
  19. Are you mindful of the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and activities that trigger avoidable stress responses in your body?
  20. Are you committed to doing whatever it takes to reduce stress responses and activate relaxation responses in your body?

And I look forward to being my own success story.

Namasthe xo

Rib Fractures Suck

It’s been 12 days since I’ve done any physical activity apart from (slowly) walking, and I just started doing some squattings.

This is HARD.  I’ve taken training breaks before from injury, but never been THIS incapacitated.  In the past, I’ve been able to do some strength work, but this is HARD.

Yesterday, I met with a strong group of my close friends as a goodbye before I leave on Thursday to live my life out in British Columbia.  It was absolutely incredible.

The sweetest part of viewing the blessings of the family you choose, aka, your friends, is that with whom we surround ourselves, are a direct reflection of us.

So maybs I’m self-horn-tooting, but like, that means we’re all just really damn cool people!

I took a second while we were all sitting together cozy like in a cafe, to look and observe at the scene:Steve-Carell-Smile-Crying.gif

And thought how grateful I was to have all these phenomenal human beings in my life.  I don’t usually do gatherings like this, I don’t often celebrate my birthday with friends.  But I really wanted to have a goodbye to the close people who are always with me wherever I go.

It was incredible.  Thank you all.

We talked the beauty of nature, and they were so supportive and loving of how they felt I belonged in the woods #wherenoonehearsmyfartsbutthetrees

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I cannot wait to be in nature.  I forgot how much I’ve missed and needed it.  It’s been so long since I’ve been humbled by rugged trail and peace.  Toronto is loud and busy.

My rib is healing slow.  In this time, my mental strength is being tested, as well as my intuition.  I’m learning to hear my body, and live presently so that I can honour my needs.  As I’ve not trained in so long, it is a tricky time often to hear the restrictive voice of my mind with my old coping, and tell it to STFU.  Honestly, fuck the weight, fuck the struggle.  I don’t have energy enough to care for restriction and a half ass-life.

Nature, being out there, really puts the present moment in focus.  It takes away the mindgames we play, and puts real life right here and now.  There’s no time or space for restriction.  The body is totally our conduit for the experience, and is must be honoured or else, no experience.  Simple as that!

I’m eating and fuck it, I am getting healthy, in rest, and my body has done this for a reason.  The body always communicates with us.  Right now, it’s telling me to chill.  I’ve actually started watching Netflix for the first time (thank you Corinne).

I miss feeling physically strong, truly.  I feel at loss.  I won’t jeopardize my healing before I leave on Thursday (Nov 30th) to my new life out west.  The mountains are waiting for me, and I’ll climb em soon enough.  But right now, I chill, heal, rest.

Can a “fake brownie” replace a real one?

I don’t know, what do you “feel”?

I’m at a place where I don’t crave sweets anymore.  I lived in a sugar addicted state for a couple of years, and it was tormenting.  I’d binge, and wait for the next high while sitting in utter shame and guilt leading to self-loathing.  The cortisol and insulin spike from the sugar made me feel alive.  It’s wicked that I don’t have these urges anymore….but in blocking out the cravings, I also blocked out my intuitive needs.

I’ve been chronically injured for years, I can track back to 2014 when I first mucked up my rib after riding the IM Whistler bike course, and not recovering enough – overtraining led me to the ER for a rib tweak.

I’ve honestly been injured since then, unable to race, train consistently, and have since endured multiple rib fractures, a stress fracture, evidently bone fragility, and a prevalent case of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.

So, it’s not to say that I don’t eat good food- I do, and I eat a lot.  I’m currently sitting with a rib fracture, that’s healing, not as fast as I’d like, but it’s better everyday.  I am toying with the idea of tossing out “rules” and foodisms from “the guides” and then what my body asks for.

Like, I know what I eat is healthy, but I feel like the routinized safety lying in the foods I choose to eat, although nutrients dense (like nuts, eggs, fish, meat, leafy greens, lentils, beans, (not a lot), berries, coconut, kefir, squash), aren’t intuitively what my body wants.

Like, I actually feel that my routine meals are so habitual that they leave no room for what my body wants.  I numbed that voice for so long.  I’ve been sitting more with my feels (ummm partially bc I’m forced to…walking is still slow and my body can’t move a lot yet) and letting them come and go (like clouds, right Thich Nhat Hanh?).

Thich Nhat Hanh.jpg

I remember when I was in the sugar addicted cycle and I’d attempt to suffice a craving for cake with some mish-mash of things: a “mug cake”, or a “protein brownie”.  It didn’t work…

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I honestly feel though that nothing would work in that state.  I feel that I had to endure the binge, feel that yuck of a bloated tummy after eating heaps of cake.  I think it stemmed from an inner need to realize the causes of the pain.

The only way out is through.

I think this is why those of us who’ve experienced binge-eating aren’t able to “just follow a mealplan” to rid ourselves of the condition.  It doesn’t work that way.  The way is to go through it, in awareness, and dig deep: look at the why, compassionately, gently.  I think that as we learn to be kind to ourselves, unconditionally, then the resistance is gone and we’re free to do things guiltlessly.  When that “forbidden” barrier is out, then we don’t crave what is maybe not the best for us as much.

Resistance is futile.

#amiright?

Take away the resistance and we can be.  Non-judgementally.  In forgiveness and gentle kindness towards ourselves.

So as I learn this, my body won’t be in a state of resistance anymore, the struggle will end.  No more pain. After all, our bodies and our hearts both want the same thing.

Walking the Walk

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This is Emelie Forsberg, love her, epic trail runner (currently dating my future husband, Kilian Jornet….just keeping him safenstuff for when I’m ready ;)).  I love her for many reasons, among which this quote:“Eat what you want. But learn a little about nutrition that will make you eat sustainably and healthy!”
In the end, she says it’s about feeding your soul. “Don’t read ‘weight-loss’ or ‘get these abs’ or ‘how you get this skinny’ articles,” she says.
“Love your hips, breasts, butt and belly,” she concludes. “The fat keeps you warm. And healthy.”

Read more at http://running.competitor.com/2015/11/news/emelie-forsberg-a-world-class-athlete-with-a-balanced-approach-about-food-weight-and-her-body_139891#2VyMxXW56vrtA63e.99  

Our bodies are wise.  When we don’t listen to them, the speak loud.

Realization: I had a gnarly cold, and didn’t take a day off working out, through horking (againandagainandagain #thisiswhyimsingle) on my rides and snot rocketing #likeapro on my runs through a migraine and coughing and straight up feeling like shit.  

My body knew, just like the philosophy of karma, and that we don’t ever fool our bodies: now, that stress has manifested in a breaking point, and any breaking point would come – in that of blowing my nose so hard I’ve tweaked my rib.  No core, no training, walking and breathing.

That’s so important though; learning in the now, tuning in momentarily to our bodies in order to avoid the cumulative dump of allthefeels at one time sooner or later.

So I’ve read a lot about how during Hypothalamic Amenorrhea recovery, women find that their bodies feel so drained, that waking up in the morning is a struggle.  I feel like it’s a combination of things;

  • finally allowing feelings (and realizing how badly we’ve ignored them)
  • allostatic stress load dump being all: “You didn’t listen for SO long!”
  • The body taking charge and having enough, and choosing Life over death (literally)

There’s merit in the idea of restorative, replenishing, re-re-re, you know?  I used to eye-roll at those yoga classes that were so damn slow, and how I couldn’t imagine sitting through one.  But honestly, one of my favourite quotes is:

Don’t wait for a storm to rebuild your roof.

This applies to the idea of mindful tuning in so that were not stuck in a pile of shit.  Tuning in even when we don’t feel such a need.  We are a generation of sensationalists: we crave intense feeling in order to justify stimulus.  

We crave: more, bigger, better, stronger, spicier, louder.

I think we’ve (I have anyways) desensitized ourselves so much, numbed ourselves, distracted ourselves so much that it takes a huge BANGBANG stimulus to engage in registration of feelings;

  • newer faster phone
  • louder ring-tone
  • louder alarm clock
  • sriracha on sriracha on franks on tabasco
  • 12/10
  • aerobic zone, like, 8…
  • HTFU Rule #5 Velominati to the power of “n”

And when is it enough?  When can we go back to unconditional sufficiency?
Answer: RN. (not registered nurse….RIGHT MEOW NOW RAWR!)

mindful eating love.pngSo, right now, I’m sitting on my bed, reading about what I’ll be making a workshop on when I go out to BC (or now)…post walk with a tea.  I’m injured, and I’m resting, and for this moment, I’m OK.  I know my mind will come back and kick me, but I’ll bitethatdamnVegan….and then eat Rabbit for dins (lol what?! I have ground rabbit in my fridge that I defrosted from Angela Wood, fam friend Chef guru woman…kinda excited to try…although they’re so cute…but like…*****gottaneat!).

Image result for bird shits on car eat eggs
Stay with me, stay with yourself, even for 5 seconds, that’s a damn good start.

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:

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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

Prioritizing Feelings

There are many things in my life that I am (wanting to) chang(ing).

  • Better health
  • Stronger body
  • Self-love
  • Environment
  • Man
  • Career

And I’ve been focusing on these.  I am realizing that by focusing on what I want, I’m living in a state of being insufficient as I am.

Truth is, I’m, we’re, already complete, right now.  When I look at the list of what I want and where I want to go, I’m living in this state, this feeling of lack.  I’m living in a state of non-presence (either pining for what I had, or looking forward into the future for what I want).  This is taking away the power of my now.

I am learning to prioritize how I want to feel.  Instead of taking on the feelings of; lack, insufficient, sick, weak, lonely, hurt, useless, I look to feel what Danielle Laporte calls “core desired feelings”.

When I have my heart set on feelings that I want to embody, I’ll unblock myself from the “lack, insufficient, sick, weak, lonely, hurt, useless” that is serving to keep me exactly where I am at: a state of tired, sleepy, weak, lost.

So, my core desired feels:

  • Strong
  • Purposeful
  • Helpful
  • Calm
  • Beautiful
  • Compassionate
  • Creative
  • Intuitive
  • Funny
  • Light

I much prefer this list.

I feel that these emotions will flow into the goals I wrote above, but the feelings before that have no tie to this.  It’s like the quote that stripped me of my coping through Bulimia;

You can’t hate yourself into a version of you that you can love.

Honestly, this is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy stuff.  I feel that the way to bring this shift into the body is by using body-awareness sensation cues.  I am going to practice the cultivation of these feelings in meditation.  I want to see where in my body I feel peace.  I know anger pretty well – it’s in my solar plexus and throat.  I wonder if peace is in my lower belly, all cozy like a kitten sitting on my lap.  I wonder if funny is like a shoulder massage.  etcetcetc.  Feel me?

And so it is.

Hey, what’s your list?  Please share, it’s (you’re) worth it:

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