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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Stress-addiction

When do you experience these?

  • high heart rate
  • thinking about the next thing to do
  • frenzied rushing
  • furrowed brow
  • night sweats
  • “stuck” breathing
  • overwhelm
  • frequent peeing
  • immobilization, feeling like you’re moving through a barricade of peanut butter
  • indigestion
  • picking your nails, skin, scalp, toes, body
  • indecision

I feel these things daily.  I have become normalized to them.  Habituated to the extent that I seek them out, and feel very uncomfortable if I am comfortable.

This brings comfortably numb to a whole new level.

I honestly believe that along the lines of survival coping through trauma, my mind has created and implemented ways to disconnect from presence (from myself) so that I could continue surviving.  Past-trauma-shit.

These states listed above serve to disconnect me further, keep me numb.  When last week my body said “NO” in halting me with an ingrown toenail so painful that I had been taking advil nightly and resorted to antibiotics due to infection after a month of sleepless cold-sweats and throbbing, I was so full of feelings that I didn’t know what to do.  I still don’t know what to do, and so I am still waking up to do a bike ride then a hike after breakfast every single day.

I further it with now for the past 3 Squamish Chief hikes, timing myself from the start of the stairs to the metal staircase before the summit (34mins/ 31:45/ 30:34 <– #hadmelike holy fuck.).  It’s a catch-22 because there’s ying and yang to it; after the yang of the hike, I can exhale at the top of the Chief and cry a little as I observe, just observe the world up there.

orendawellness May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.
– Edward Abbey

And so, it’s tough because I haven’t had my period due to Hypothalamic Amenorrhea for 12 years.  Because my body is protecting itself for life because my stress and cortisol level allostatically is too high such that it attempts to preserve physiological functions to minimize peripheral energy, and the risk of bringing a child into an unsafe and subjectively perceived, threatening environment.

Fuck.

Also fuck: gut-brain connection is reflected in me being 3-days off the high dose of antibiotics now for my toe, and I’m pooping like 10x a day…this is bullshit.  Literally and figuratively.  I’m taking a high dose of probiotics now, but feel the effects of a sad gut microbiome as it depletedly, defeatedly attempts to digest food.   Maybe my life brought me to this to learn to adapt and listen to what my body is actually craving in terms of nourishment; maybe Ho can’t do all those Brussels sprouts anymore….time for Sattvic dal? But aha, the stress addiction cycles because again, part of me doesn’t want calm-inducing foods – it craves the coffee, the acidic, the olives salsa wasabi Sriracha etc.  Whoa.

Where to go from here?
I feel like I’ve been aware for so long, but theory only takes a body so far.  Then to feel, holy shit, to feel, that’s a whole new kind of Next Level Shit.

Anyone feel me?

Why even Relax, Though?

S’Ho moved to Squamish.  I feel much better here than on the island.  It’s a different vibe here.  It was a really easy transition minus the actual move: I just truly put the intention out there, and a lovely little suite of my own surfaced.  It was right.

I’m in a space of working with compassion. Compassion for parts of me that trauma has led to feel really unsafe.  Somatic Experiencing is the therapy I’m doing which is basically a way for me to slowly reconnect with the parts of myself that I basically unplugged from the umbilical cord of my own prana, my own life force energy.

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You know when you’re in just like, a haze of feels, and can’t find a release? Man it’s tough; the face of the Human Condition.  Somatic Experiencing is a therapy modality that recognizes that through trauma, the young parts of ourselves that experienced the pain that was too much for our current coping abilities at that time in our lives, those parts learn to cope through fight, freeze or flight, so that they are able to survive.  They cannot handle the stimulation because it feels like a threat to survival, so they build an armour around those parts to shield, to blunt the blow.

I realized that the state of utter terror that I felt growing up, I still feel that during everyday life.  It was a big realization, not one for words.  It’s been a journey with the therapy, to experience a state of functioning that wasn’t the modality of terror; and in that space I could come outside of my habitual state of functioning to see just how frightened and threatened those parts of me still feel.  They still feel very threatened, and haven’t been taught how to feel safe and nurtured in the world.  The somatic, the bodily feeling that I was able to see outside of myself was a feeling like I was going to be beaten, physically, it was terrifying and terribly insightful.  WHOA.

They have begun to relearn how to feel safe in the world, this is what I’m teaching them, teaching parts of myself.  It doesn’t work to “suck it up” and “just do the things” that terrify me, and to name a few;

  • abiding by authority
  • rules
  • restrictions
  • control
  • time constraints

The way my little soldiers fight back when threatened show in the following fight/flight/flee ways;

  • skin picking
  • terrible gut pains and digestion
  • exercise
  • restriction of food
  • restriction of nurturing (in all senses of the world)
  • somatically by thumping heart
  • migraine
  • depression
  • indecision
  • mean self-talk
  • rushing like a chicken without a head

So this therapy is to begin by identifying when these soldiers are mobilizing; basically anytime the above presents itself.  Those are survival-mode soldiers.  The process is slow AF. And it’s supposed to be.  Because the moment I go too fast for my parts to feel safe, they latch onto a coping strategy.  This is where a quote sums this shit up eloquently:

I don’t “let go” of my thoughts.  I meet them with understanding, and then my thoughts “let go” of me. – Byron Katie

Beautiful description.  An explanation of why “ripping the bandaid off” won’t work.

I often forget why I’m changing, though, because this way of life has become so normal and change is fucking hard.  And parodies have showed up to reinforce the need for this shift; the need to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system– the relaxation response (that sweet spot that basically initiates our own knowledge of how to heal ourselves);

(in jot dots because Ho’s tired):

  • in physio for alignment while running; tight hip, tight glute, literally stemming from tension and stress where I am not belly-breathing, such that a rib isn’t aligned in my thoracic/lumbar spine area.  why breathe deep?  whoa this is why…body is so wise.
  • gut health: shits on run, shits all damn day, gut = second brain = depression and incomplete poops. worst. feeling. ever #amirighttho?  Relax, tune into my soul; make different food choices, or at least begin by watching and observing my choices and how they’re affecting my body.  Further than that- when eating in a relaxed state, food can actually digest better.
  • Cramp on run: alltheabove

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So the body is telling me and I’m actually beginning to watch myself, and am slowly actually becoming open and even able to feel that I want to relax.  This is so new.  Some things I’m doing:

  • child’s pose
  • letting my belly go out to breathe
  • unstructured meditation nightly
  • legs up the wall (did this once, forces body to belly breathe literally because the chest and shoulder muscles aren’t physically able to fire)
  • physio to flex at hip while breathing with full belly breaths, which actually disinhibits the response of my hip flexor firing in place of my glute

Ok, that’s it.

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5 Reasons Why to see a Holistic Nutritionist

Holistic Nutrition is a way to look at the term “nourishment” and relate it to the way we fuel our bodies. I have been in a place of body dishonour and it sucks.  I’m rekindling through compassion, my relationship with my own nourishment needs.  Here are 5 reasons why you might want to see a Holistic Nutritionist.

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  1. Diets don’t work:. I have tried them, a shitload of them.  They don’t work.  For a myriad of reasons, they mess with your metabolism and your insulin levels, and only draw you further away from finding your inner knowledge of how to eat for your best health.  A Holistic Nutritionist is a great resource to use when you want a lifestyle change that will heal your nutritional disconnect and help you feel healthier.
  2. “Holistic” means more than just food: the “why” around eating is equally as important if not more important that the “what”.  Humans are emotional beings, and food is a coping mechanism.  When we are able to ask ourselves “why” we are eating then we can start to learn about how we cope, and learn what our beings need; because if you use food to satisfy a craving for loneliness, then once the food is gone, we will still be left with loneliness.  Tuning in to this awareness is so empowering.
  3. Stress kills: The way we eat, how we eat, and the way we run our lives all play a direct role with how we honour our own needs.  And when we are stressed, we will digest foods completely differently than when we are calm and relaxed.  Stress puts our bodies out of touch with their abilities to use nutrients properly.  Instead, we are in fight-or-flight mode, because the body thinks it’s mobilizing itself for battle.  We will have gut unrest, poor bowel movements, brain fog, and overall poor state of wellbeing.
  4. The gut is the seat of health:  when we are in harmony with our bodies and our senses of nourishment, we will be calmly in tune with our needs for nutrients.  The thing about supplements, is that while there’s a time and place for them, if we are truly aware of our nutrition needs and how to feed ourselves, we will naturally eat the foods that will help us feel balanced and eat a range of foods that will ensure we get all the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need.  This means we may intuitively know that the McDonald’s burger should be sidelined in favour of a T-bone steak, or that maybe we actually would best be suited with the slice of dark chocolate cherry cake.  The key to life is balance, and being aware of what our body needs.
  5. Eating is an emotional experience:  often, Holistic Nutrition is able to target issues around body image and self-care which are rooted in the way, and what we choose to put into our bodies.  “Holistic” encompasses body image, physical movement, mindfulness and self-care.  This may mean examining hidden beliefs of unworthiness, past habit formation, coping mechanisms, physical activity, meditation and yoga.  Nothing is isolatable in terms of focusing on treating symptoms, we look at the big picture of the root cause and incorporate multifaceted healing prescriptions for a lifestyle change.

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?).

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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.

What is “Strength”?

strength.jpgPhysically:

  • 33:35s Grind Time
  • 60 pushups
  • Trail racing
  • A 5km swim
  • Riding the IM Whistler Bike course
  • Holding plank for 8 mins

Mental:

  • Finding beauty in process
  • Sitting with discomfort, mental, physical
  • Trusting the process
  • Having faith that this too shall pass
  • Meditation
  • Observing thoughts
  • Non-distraction and being present
  • Self-care
  • Standing up for yourself
  • Letting go (of ego, of beliefs that don’t serve, of control)
  • Viewing the bigger picture, instead of getting caught up in the microcosms of mind-games
  • Doing less
  • Being more

Fuck

I don’t feel physically strong atm, in fact I feel vulnerable, fragile, injured, weak, permeable, loose.  I am observing my association with the concept of strength and its manifestation in the physical sense.  In my injury rehab for my rib right now, which is leaving me very vulnerable and forcing me to rest, do things slowly etc…I am re-evaluating the term strong because I want to feel strong.

It’s a perspective shift, it’s all in my mind, and by practicing firing these neural pathways, it’s a universal strength.

OM.

Body Language

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Listen to the whispers, or you’ll be forced to abide by the screams.

I (brilliantly 😉 ) came up with this quote one day while hiking Quarry Rock in Vancouver with a friend who’d had a stress fracture and was contemplating running a 50km race on it…It came from a deep place inside of myself of experience.  It’s a lesson I’m still learning:  that of doing less, and stopping when we hear niggles of intuition.  

I’m realizing that “pushing through” doesn’t work: it catches up with us.  I pushed through a lot in the past little while, under the desperation of intending to train and maintain fitness through my body fighting to overcome Hypothalamic Amenorrhea .

I’ve biked though pain, woken up through hunger,
pushed,
endured,
“sucked-it-up”
HTFU (Rule #5)

and my body has been like,

bitch please

With personality types that crave engagement, feeling, intensity: the fine line between pushing though laziness, or actual pain, is pretty distinct.  My mind tries to fool me into saying “you’re lazy” but my body definitely speaks loudly, and I often ignore it.

Well, there’s no ignoring a (most likely) fractured rib (turned down the x-ray to save myself the radiation exposure, from Physician who said it would’t do much for treatment protocol).  Yesterday, after trying to “rest” by speed walking (because it’s the only exercise I was able to do without extreme pain) 12kms a day….my rib had enough and I waved the white flag to go to the Emergency room in the hospital.  Rib treatments are always the same regardless of sprain, strain, fracture, break: rest.  But my intent was to get drugs, something I never do – I didn’t even take Gravol when I had food poisoning and felt like I was being beaten up while on the Cyclone…(fun ride tho, hey?).

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So this pain had me in fetal, cringing, unable to breathe without excruciating pain, and wanting relief.

I ended up taking a CBD tincture which was more ideal than an NSAID anti-inflammatory med, and it helped heaps.   I could actually breathe and crack (no pun intended…) a few jokes to the nurses.

I’m so grateful for my good friend, Corinne who picked me up, and stood by me along with my Dad the whole time in the hospital.  She’s truly a gift, as is my Dad. (thanks for introducing me to Snapchat, so fun!).

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So I am in a state of non-doing (like, literally house-ridden…maybe cafe bc #coffee).  I really want to learn from this, and understand that:

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

Because honestly, you really can’t “trick” your body, “fool” yourself into thinking everything is “fine” (such a bullshit word), that we can “get away” with ___________ this time.  It comes back and bites us in the ass, no?

I want to learn to catch myself in the amber zone before it turns flaming red, and I want to help other do the same by living it.  Because “pushing though” helps no one, and only harms myself, and those who I could potentially help in my life’s purpose.

Feel me?  Let’s tune in, hey?