Let’s get physical

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I huffed, and I puffed, and I almost fell to the floor when I heard the words “alright guys, now that the warm up’s doneโ€ฆ”

I used to be outrageously motivated in the workout department. Six days a week, I would make sure I was either in a spin class, running outside, or crying in my basement while Jillian Michaels yelled at me from my computer screen (I should note, she yelled at anyone that bought the DVD, and it was mighty effective).

Somewhere along the path of destruction that was 2016, my motivation gave way to more sedentary activities, like seeing how many Real Housewives of Mars I could watch before my I.Q. fell to the same equivalent as the 4 day old leftover Chinese food in the fridge.

It is due to the New Year, and to the fact that I can no longer sit comfortably in most of my pants, that I decided while I’m working on getting my head into a better place, I may as well let my body hitch a ride on that train.

Besides getting out the old DVD’s, I figured it would also be beneficial to dust off that gym membership I’ve had for the past 4 months and actually make it past the front desk.

So, on January second (and not a damn day sooner), I will venture into the gym with the awareness of a frightened meerkat, and pray the people who actually know what they’re doing have mercy on me. For the last time I actually broke a sweat, I was running after an ice cream truck.

Peace,

D

 

Does this spot look normal to you?

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Somewhere along the road in my childhood, filled with Girl Scout meetings and discovering my parents were the ones responsible for all those presents under the tree on Christmas morning, I developed a medical phobia. Now when I say medical phobia, I mean full blown, faint-at-the-slighest-thing-you-could-imagine, phobia.

It all started when I was the ripe old age of seven. My parents had taken me to a movie theatre, and it was that night they discovered they wouldn’t be raising a medical doctor. After a close-up of a woman with a hole in her trachea was flashed on the screen, it took me about five seconds to completely pass out, and awake in a cold sweat, fairly unsure of what had just taken place.

Fast forward a couple years, and I was less than delighted to discover this instant fainting reaction that my body had blessed me with applied to almost all things medical. Surgery on T.V.? Pass out. Needle in my arm? Pass out. Mention of stitches bursting during a ninth grade history class? Pass out and awake to discover the principle and most of the janitorial staff, staring down at you.

Now normally this would be pretty standard stuff, albeit a little extreme, but as most of my friends know, I don’t like to do things half-assed. So, as my mind searched for new ways to torment me, it was during my teen years that I also launched into a full blown hypochondriac. A hypochondriac with a medical phobia? I wish I could describe the look on the doctors faces when I would rush in with a minimal problem, sure that I was near death’s door, only to race out of the office the second I heard the word “blood test”. I remember feeling a sense of helplessness, that the very thing I seemed to be afraid of, was the only thing that could calm my enormous anxiety.

One of the reasons I felt relieved when mindfulness came into my life was that it has greatly reduced both the phobia and the tendency to think I am permanently ill. I had previously been to therapy to try to deal with both problems, but I found that while it helped with the phobia, the anxiety from thinking I was sick hadn’t really budged at all. It was only after I had completed my therapy with meditation that I was able to live a mostly blissful period in which I could more easily simply “let it go”.

Now, with the stress of 2016 *almost* behind me, I am going to do what I should have done months ago, and dive deeper into practices that allow me to stay present and reduce my anxiety.

It would also be nice to watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy without passing out ๐Ÿ˜‰

Peace,

D

 

A bump, followed by a little kindness

I have been consciously trying to act with kindness in my everyday life, particularly when interacting with strangers. All too often I’ll encounter a grumpy salesperson, or someone who couldn’t seem to muster a smile, and I never wanted to be on the giving end of that equation.

I was lucky enough to encounter kindness above and beyond what was expected today, after experiencing a not so pleasant accident on the way to run some errands. While waiting at a red light, I was rear ended. To add to this, one of my errands involved returning a present for a boyfriend I had recently broken up with, so I was already not in the most festive of moods.

Upon arriving to the store, the salesperson asked me my reason for the return. Due to my total lack of a filter, and perhaps wondering what the point of hiding it was anyway, I blurted out that it was a return because I had broken up with my boyfriend on Christmas. The man looked up from his computer, walked around the counter, and gave me a hug.

It took me by surprise, and, as someone who is normally not in favour of hugs from a stranger, I found I genuinely needed it.

That small gesture of kindness changed my whole demeanour. There, in the bustle of a hectic mall, with people on missions for boxing week savings, a stranger took five seconds to display a symbol of humanity that is more rare than it should be.

Thank you, kind stranger, for letting me know that in a world full of people that appear to be too busy, too unconcerned, or too self-involved, that there are still people that care, simply for the sake of caring.

Peace,

D

Goodbye, junk-food social media

Years ago, six to be exact, I said goodbye to Facebook. After becoming numb to the constant updates involving everything from what my friends had for lunch to just how exciting their Friday night was, I decided that particular social media platform wasn’t for me anymore.

While many people argue that social media brings us closer together, I felt a disconnect from those that I had once been closest with. Gone were the days of picking up a phone and calling a friend with good news, now all I had to do was type it out and wait for the “likes” to roll in. People that I would normally have no contact with were available to reach by instant messenger, and it created an eerie online community of people talking – without really communicating at all.

Perhaps what is still most surprising is the reaction I get from people when they ask to add me on Facebook. “I don’t have Facebook”, invokes wide eyes, followed by jokes about being too old, or living under a rock (I’m 29, FYI). This was most noticeable when I decided to go back to university this past fall, where I experienced these reactions from the fresh out of high school crowd. I normally followed it up with “but I have Instagram!” Or at least I did, until a month ago, when I realized I was staring at my phone for up to 2 hours on that app.

I differentiate this blog (or blogging in general) from the other types of social media by classifying the likes of Facebook and Instagram as “junk-food social media”, in which there is a constant feed of minimal content to feed you. Writing this, and reading the musings of others, is enriching. It’s content that goes from the eyes to the brain, instead of the mindless content of junk-food social media that goes through the mouth to the stomach.

What was left? Snapchat. Surely this was a little different. This was meant to take pictures or videos and send to people, which seemed a lot less neurotic than the earlier social media sites. But I soon fell into the same habit. Why exactly did I care how many people viewed my “story”? Did I truly gain anything from knowing people where looking at a picture, or watching a 30 second clip of myself?

So goodbye to Snapchat, as I begin to clean up the clutter in my life. In an effort to stare at screens less (although of course I’m staring at one right now, aren’t I?) I’ve eliminated all social media. Since I have already gone without Facebook, followed much later by Instagram, I know that the people who want to keep in touch will keep in touch, and I’m looking forward to conversations that are enriched with the long lost art of truly connecting with someone, speaking and all.

Peace,

D

2016

I’ll keep the teacup of raspberries, as it’s going to be a little sunnier than this post.

2016 proved to be a trying year. After a breakup (of 6 years), quitting my job, moving back to my hometown, and deciding to finish my degree, I’m looking forward to greeting 2017 with optimism.

Even after these major changes, I found myself still wondering what happy meant. I thought starting fresh would lead to more smiles, or a clearer mind, but when I really thought about it, I took all my worries and heartache with me during the move. There were days when I thought I was taking all the right steps to achieve some sort of stress free state, but all I was doing was replacing old mind clutter with new ones. Instead of watching television for hours on end, I would now just stare at my phone. Planning my new life went from exciting to depressing, as I became obsessive with the potential outcomes of my decision.

I had read about mindfulness in the past. In fact, about a year and a half ago, a good friend told me to read The Power of Now, and it was that book that peaked my curiosity into living in the present and the power of meditation. Combine that with learning about minimalism, and I realized I still had some major changes I needed to make, but perhaps in a much different way than I previously thought.

So here begins my journey. I am going to clean up my life, starting with all my “things”. The clutter laying around, the unnecessary things sitting in my closet or under my bed that I don’t really need, and the things I’m holding onto simply for the act of holding on need to go. I will donate these items in an attempt to clean up my physical space before welcoming 2017, when the real work begins ๐Ÿ˜‰

Peace,

D