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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Gaining Weight & a Stress-Tracking App

I’ve been told that I look “stronger” and that I have gained some weight and look better.
These are great things.  My mind thinks otherwise though.  So many thoughts go through my head:

  • I now must be able to train really hard (but am still injured)
  • I still have some of my habits going – and if I am gaining weight, then I should instantly let go of them and have an untethered life (meal stringency, control over all things – I feel like now my whole concept that I condone of “living intuitively” should happen instantaneously)
  • When will it stop?  What am I going to become?  What will I feel like when I no longer have my life preoccupied over my habits, routines?
  • If I have more free space, what the hell do I do?

I want to continue observing these thoughts and choosing to heal anyways.

I want to trust that things take time, I ran for the first time in a month this past Saturday, 3.75km, 17 mins, and I stopped before I felt that I wanted to.  I did my walking loop, and it felt empowering to stop before my mind wanted to.  I am going to be getting back slowly.  Slower than comfortable.  I want to work on strength, my one-legged squats, “one-legged lateral BOSU ball hops”, ankle mobility, etc.  I need to get my body ready for trails.  And the fact that I’ve gained weight doesn’t mean that I’m like 100% able to go on long-ass trail runs now.  My fascia and tendons will need time to become adjusted, to feel recovery.

I’m sitting at a cafe now and so glad I bumped into a friend of mine who has also battled.  She told me that she still has these thoughts, but she trusts that they’re fleeting, that this too shall pass.

I am looking forward to being capable:

healthy enough to doallthethings

Clare Gallagher, wicked cool trail runner, refer to pic below for clarification of status: Bae

I have to remind myself that if I am so present with myself in the moments of my life, then I trust that I will listen to my needs, and deny the hurt from myself.  I don’t feel like my soul will lead me astray.

I won’t become a “whale”.

I know that to do what I want to do, to live the life I want to live, the body I’ve sculpted as a byproduct of my coping mechanisms won’t be able to handle it. I know that my muscles, fascia, bones and blood won’t be able to traverse all the rugged terrain, all the fallen logs, all the boulders that I want to catapult myself over.  In the state that I’ve been in, if I tripped, I could easily and instantly break a hip.  My soft tissue wouldn’t be supple enough to allow my limbs to soar, they’d taught and tight and constrict.  I’m sick of foam rolling (PVC pipe) for an hour a day only to not be in pain.  And my training load doesn’t merit the amount of strain my body feels.  Food is wicked recovery.  I want to remember this when the shit voice comes in.

I want my mind to have the fuel for my being not to be in a fight or flight mode which restriction ensues.  I had a private swim coaching client this AM, and I actually had the mind stamina to be able to use my wicked skills that I innately have, to analyse her stroke and tell her how to improve. These analytical tools are lost when I’m undernourished.  There’s straight up no fuel for the synapse of neurons to THINK.

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Women like this make me feel hopeful, alive, like, damn straight – focus less on food, more on life, food is great, and awareness is key – healthy is a universal term for honouring all of ourselves.

I have to be aware of my stress load for this shit.  I have been tracking my stress via Logit AI Logit AI from a good friend of mine.  I highly recommend you check it out.  It’s an app that quantifies stress.

Stress is pretty much an invisible illness – and the notion of Allostatic load (I talk about this in my upcoming e-booklet Fuck Diets- 10 ways to Stress Less, and Weigh Healthy”).

Allostatic Load of Stress: the body doesn’t differentiate between different stressors. Be it the load of an ill family member, the physical load of athletic training, or the fact that you’re anxious over what to eat for dinner; the body only registers this as threat, and engages in the fight or flight reaction.

Basically, the Logit App prompts a questionnaire daily that with time, you can grasp a relative gage of your stress levels.  I’m bringing this up now, because despite being sick with a gnarly cold, and getting shit sleeps because I’m moving to British Columbia in 24 days (without a job or home yet), and a loud grenouille living above me…. my state of mind has been spot on sweet like gravy.  It’s actually surprising me.  I feel much less stressed, and the numbers show it, the “proof is in the pudding”.  (my logit scores are in a pic below).

Even my shits are better #jahbless

It’s actually kinda blowing my mind, first: how useful this app has been, and I’m not even one to log shit. I don’t really love data, online apps for things the body is innately born to calibrate….but the accountability, and the ability to consistently track how I feel, it’s helped me see the benefits of lowering my stress, and I definitely need this to get my period back and beat Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.  It keeps me in line, motivated, true to the ultimate goal.  The fact that the data is relative based on my previous logs (after about a week, you get the hang of it, and get more accurate data – the more you log, the more accurate your outcomes are) is a good feedback loop for motivation.  If it was based on other people’s cues, I would truly be less inclined to log. But it’s basically a relative reflection based on my own feelings, my own stress, my own perceived cortisol load.

SO, in spite of being sick and tired, my spirits are great.  I am so grateful for this feedback while I observe myself “getting stronger” (gaining weight), and am wondering if the fact that my cortisol is lower (be it from my mindset of “fuck this shit”, like, letting go of control) is a reason for my coping mechanisms (Anorexia, restriction) to lessen their stronghold because I am no longer putting myself in the line of fire for needing to be in a “survival mode” state, or a state of desperation.

Here are my numbers:

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My Logit Scores for the past month

Some of the daily questions include my perceived ability to:

  1. Get annoyed
  2. Find things overwhelming
  3. Feel capable to completing tasks
  4. Feel under pressure
  5. Laugh/have fun with friends (like when my swim student swam backstroke into an old Portuguese man this AM…and like, stroked his [hairy…very hairy] back hahahh…poor woman).

My answers have surprised me in being on the healthy side of life, less suffering, more feeling good.  I feel good in spite of gaining weight (HA, my mind wants not to feel good, even while typing this, but physiologically, this is a really influential marker for recovery – mental, spiritual, physical, emotional).

Fuck the struggle

On this note, that’s my update, I’ll continue getting STRONGER, fuck diets, and listen to my own tips from my e-book.  I actually am loving referring back to them when I feel stuck in life, they’re damn good.  Stay tuned for the launch!

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