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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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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A Case Against Positivity

life sucks

Hear me out.

I overheard a girl talking to her two friends on the way down from the Chief a couple of days ago saying:

“I’m really trying to be more positive in life and look at the bright side of things.”

There were excited mini-cheers of endearment and support following from her buds.
Which is cool n stuff…truly, if you’re at a place in your life where equanimity floods your daily conduct, and Muggle things like getting eggshells out of your scramble leaves you unphased, or running through the pissing rain has you all “extra shower”, or your roommate’s bass from their music upstairs (why is it ever OK to listen to Pit Bull okhmmm?) then (*cough cough Buddha) you’ve past some lifetimes and #jahbless.  But this is a case for being Human and understanding that the only way out is through.

Enter the concept: spiritual bypassing.  Basically, this is when we try to act as if we’re already where we want to be in life, without taking the truck through shit to get there.

This is not a negative striving though, truly, it’s actually pretty damn (not darn, never darn, sweet Jesus) beautiful.  The fact that we really genuinely want to be the best people we can be as quickly as possible is lovely.  The problem is that the very experience of human states and accepting our annoying complaints without superimposing rainbows and butterflies into our life is what leads eventually to that learned lesson in life.  When we go through the acceptance, the ability to let go of Life’s little annoyances I think eventually lets go of us.  Because the thing is, maybe we can teach ourselves to plaster a smile on our faces whenever we feel a frown, and conditionally impose the stimulus-response Pavlovian science on our human habits, but for how long? How long before we see a puppy shit on our newly planted vegetable garden and just lose it? Before Pit Pull comes on in the checkout line when we’re hangry and our blood curls and we take it out on a loved one when we get home after seeing that dinner’s not prepared as was promised?

My point is that I believe if we are on the path to self-betterment, then naturally we will want to achieve what we aspire towards.  Of course, ideally, I really wish that I wouldn’t get to frustrated when my gut is fucked up (STILL) from antibiotics and I’m shitting like 10x/day.  Of course maybe you don’t want to feel anger running through you when you hear yet another vegan rave about cashew cheese or zoodles (is that just me?), or when your latte tastes burnt, or your yoga class is cancelled, or or or or…but fuck, we feel those things though, don’t we?  Is it really our faults we came to this earth, learned our behaviours, got shit passed down from neurological pathways and evolutionary tendencies for survival of the fittest such that our minds are wired to be little pieces of shit?

Nope.

So, I stopped the group of friends on they way down and 1.5x podcast speeded through the above to them (thanks for not telling me to fuck-off), and they were like “Whoa, true, hey?”

I honestly trust that there’s a process we go through to get to where we want to be, how we want to feel.

I don’t let go of my thoughts.  I meet them with understanding, and then my thoughts let go of me.

–  Byron Katie

So, I’m choosing to acknowledge the suck.  I choose to accept that I feel pissed right the fuck off sometimes, and others, maybe pissed a little the merde ouf.  Either way, I feel it, name it (powerful practice to name the emotion–creates a distance from living it, and observing it.  With this space, we can see it pass through us and not embody us), accept it.  That’s step one.

I think if I tried to just press fast-forward, I would end up exploding and throughout the process, most likely indulge in more coping mechanisms to dissipate the excess “scabbing” that takes place to bottle-neck the emotions.

e-motion: energy in motion.

A.K.A. that shit has gotta move.  Somewhere.  So avoiding it just traps it.  Facing it is bloody bold and courageous.  Feeling the feeling, and acknowledging it is both empowering and admirable.  If we simply express the anger without acknowledging it, then we are no more awake that were we to superimpose happiness on shitty situation.  So the golden formula is:

Feeling + Acknowledging = Growth

The whole point of spirituality is connecting more deeply with ourselves.  And what better way than to let ourselves feel.  After all, truly, our soul genuinely is love, and with compassionate understanding, the shit will eventually brush off of us, and with gentle insight and inquiry into our feelings, we’ll uncover what’s beneath them.

Something like that.

Namaste, mother lovers.

Ps. If you haven’t yet listened to Iliza Shlesinger saythatfivetimesfast then you have so much room for activities!

Stress Addiction

This term has been around my body and percolating for the 12 years whereby I have had no period.  Hypothalamic Amenorrhea: a state I’ve talked about in previous posts is when the body perceives external threats to be such that it preserves life by shutting down peripheral processes.

I believe that parts of me survived by fight/flight/freeze in response to past trauma.  Now, their habitual tendencies latch on whenever they perceive outside experiences as outside their realm of coping.

Bring in addiction.  Addiction to this state of stimulation is what I feel.  And as I’m becoming more aware of this state in my life, I am speaking more about it.  I have come across people on the Squamish Chief, in cafe’s around Cumberland and now Squamish, in the therapy room for sure, in the library.  After chatting, they can relate to the feeling of ease and comfort with being “turned on”.

I believe that addiction is a universal term.  I believe that my own path is this:  the more I live out of automation, haste, anxiety, the more I feel the need to detach myself from the actions and ensuing choices that just don’t seem to align with my subconscious virtues.

Do you understand or relate to this?   I know the “that’s not my hand!” feeling when it’s almost as if you’re watching someone that isn’t you, do things?

night eating

 

This is the act of living outside of the present moment and being disconnected from yourself.  I believe that the more I feel threatened, the more I am living numbed.  The more I live numbed, the more I make choices that don’t make me feel aligned and the more I want to numb.

Vicious cycle.

It’s in details like:

  • when an injury/pain arises (I wasn’t listening to my body, I wasn’t in-tune)
  • when I crave an ice-cold shower (repenting, compensating, punishment)
  • when I CRAVE.  Straight up, just crave.  It could be anything, but it is noticeably charged
  • when I get a migraine (probably from undernourishment)
  • when I feel lonely or a sense of “ennui” (I didn’t seek out the support I needed because I was preoccupied with the insanely energy-consuming task of tending to my anxieties, my anxiety experience in general, busying myself and exhausting myself subconsciously as a way to escape and run away from the pain)
  • Bloat, gas, discomfort in digestion, GERD, IBS: food choices as a source of coping vs intuitive nourishment.
  • Excessive and obsessive skin picking in the bathroom mirror. (hot/cold flashes, sometimes self-inflicted, leaving my insides seeking a release)

This is a big realization for me.  That the remedy as the yogis have always said, the very definition of Yo-Ga (oneness, mind-body, connection), is to tune into myself.

I actually want to have a harmonious relationship with myself, my body-mind.

I want to feel my body.

I’m actually fully writing this in the library bathroom right now because I am having some gut-issues (lingering antibiotics “hangover” of diminished gut flora).  I feel that when my digestion is off, I run around in a hurried state because of the utter confusion that ensues and the choices that I make after it: food choices that make me body more confused, energy fluxes, emotional upheaval.

That’s it: confusion.

Confusion from the disconnect from my body, mind and soul.  Uncertainty is a state that can be peaceful if I am present with it, present fully in my body with it.  But the honest and imperative remedy is to be connected with myself.

(Breath is huge in this journey.  HUGE)

Namaste. Or something.

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?