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?

How Nature Heals

Brene Brown explains in her book Rising Strong, that our brains like to find certainty in things over correct facts.  This is big.  This is why we easily fall back onto our default stories when we face conflict, or our default coping mechanisms when we face things we are not expecting.

We don’t like uncertainty.

So, I had a great interview for a beautiful retreat centre in Tofino this morning.  The Homestead has wicked values, holistic views of health, and after chatting with Cheryl, one of the owners who has phenomenal values as a nurse embodying easter and western philosophies of healing– I learned about a concept called Blue Mind.

Blue Mind: A mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peace, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. 

[https://experiencelife.com/article/blue-mind/]

It’s a concept about how the mind is effortlessly calmed when attention is engaged around water.  It’s not too dissimilar from the concept Shinrin Yoku (“forest bathing”/nature therapy) that I am head over heels in love and living.

The basics of this concept that The Homestead integrates into their program design, is that as the mind gets engaged in observing the flux of nature, it doesn’t draw on the grasping definity that often is initiated in busy city life (that Brene describes).  In the city, there’s maximum unpredictability; traffic, loud unnatural sounds, things we can’t control.  Although nature is similarly untamed, it has a certain level of ebb and flow that rubs on our psyche with predictability.

Waves come crashing and flow into flat water.
Clouds billow with the wind, patterning a sky with pillows for birds.

In a natural environment on or near water, there’s a high degree of predictability — unlike a busy street, a body of water is largely the same from moment to moment. The background we see is fairly controlled, which allows part of the brain to relax.

Against that consistent background, the brain continues to search for something that wasn’t there before, since the essence of survival is the correct interpretation of things that don’t fit in the landscape. When the brain notices a disturbance on the surface (like a wave or a water bird), there’s a sense of surprise and novelty, which is accompanied by a pleasurable hit of dopamine.

Because bodies of water change and stay the same simultaneously, we experience both soothing familiarity and stimulating novelty when we look at them. This is regularity without monotony, the perfect recipe for triggering a state of involuntary attention in which the brain’s default network — essential to creativity and problem solving — gets triggered. This dreamy state of involuntary attention is a key characteristic of Blue Mind.

[https://experiencelife.com/article/blue-mind/]

This is so cool.  This is why our bodies need nature, this is why I’d sit by a lake (most) any day over watching (even) Mitch Hedberg on youtube as relaxation.  I mean, there’s place and purpose for all things in life, so not to discount The Man by any means, but hey – if we’re at least 60+% water, why not sit by it and breathe for a bit instead of busying ourselves to over-engaging!

(and wish me luck for the job – oh it feels right)

Camping Solo 

Rest day today, camping tomorrow. 

I ground my coffee #thanksReunionIsland 

I cooked my cabbage, and made a slaw #thanksBerryFreshFarms (started working there today!)



I prepped some things and froze others:


I learned fire building tips from a pro, thanks Cris!

I’m going to be ight, and am looking forward to being in nature, the constant noise here is getting to me. My body wants a break from training, but mind is racing. Bringing yoga mat, hiking shoes and kayak. Trying to match mind level w body needs, slow things down.

Music is made in the silence between the notes.