Sunday, December 27, 2015

Highlights from 2015

Well I don't know about you but 2015 kind of just flew by. Like seriously, one minute it was New Years 2015 and then I blinked and now we are almost at New Year's 2016. So WTF happened in 2015, let's refresh:

Apparently I went out in public and hung around other humans for New Years 2015...that was different. Not sure I will be doing that again this year. Actually pretty sure I will stay home, curled up on my couch and end up watching some sort of movie on Netflix (only because I have marathoned all my shows already, in all fairness there wasn't that many to begin with).

Ran my first marathon in May and it was soon after that I decided to take a different approach to my running. Yes, now I'm trying this whole balance thing. That is listening to my body (not my run coach) and taking rest when I need it, not pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion just so I can say I completed such and such race. So, yes, now that I've ditched my coach and listen to myself I don't get sick nearly as often as I did before when I listened to other people tell me how I should be feeling...sounds ridiculously obvious when i write that out here.

on route to marathon land selfie
My dad had cancer and underwent chemotherapy over the summer this year. Not the most enjoyable experience (obvs). Interestingly enough, me having a meltdown in the hospital over this, brought about an event that totally changed my perspective on Christianity/Jesus/God stuff. Up until that point I never understood the whole Jesus as a positive influence in any one's life, mostly because of my past Church trauma and the whole media focus on crazy Christian fundamentalists as opposed to regular Christians who are just really sweet people. This goes for all religions BTW. The media just likes to focus on the crazies.

Anyways, back to me, way more interesting than religious fundamentalists of any kind. So I'm having my meltdown in the hospital and needing some privacy, so I head off to the hospital Chapel (my logic being, religion isn't cool anymore so no one will be there and if someone is there they probably are in worse shape than me). When I get to the Chapel, no one is there (as predicted) and I sit down in a pew and just surrender. I cry and cry and cry and experience such an amazing sense of relief, I all of a sudden get it: this is what religion is suppose to be for people. This surrender to Jesus and he will heal and save you, this is it. In that moment I finally got it. Took me so long to get there because everything before that moment was anything but peaceful but the good news was, I could be peaceful, as I was experiencing that peace at that moment. It gave me a bit of hope.

Apparently I took a lot of selfies, and some possibly were taken at very inappropriate times...did a lot of that in 2015.
Emergency Room selfie
I learned much in the art of patience this year...still learning but someone actually called me a "patient person" (and no it was not said ironically!), so apparently I have grown a lot as a person.

I traveled to the town known as Langford this year for Thanksgiving. I even took a bus to get out there and didn't have my head chopped off. An accomplishment indeed.

I tried going on dates again, as apparently I like to remind myself that there really are no options for me out there. Yes, talking to people for 5 minutes usually solidifies this truth for me but I was running low on blog content for a few weeks there, so I had to make some sacrifices for my art.

Rihanna came out with an offensive video this year, which is rare for her I hear, and even rarer is that I watched it and wrote a blog on it. Click here to read the masterpiece.

I went back to school this year for holistic nutrition. I guess having two degrees was just not enough for me. So I wrote a lot about kale this year. For example, my 4th most popular blog post this year was about me eating vegetables...what was number 1? Me dating and eating BBQ. Apparently food and sex go very well together.

I got some hate mail from Alaska this year.

I found out my garden patio gnomes are actually pot-smoking cannibals who kidnapped some Kazakhstanians. Thankfully, I found out before the BBQ got fired up and was able to return the Kazakhstanians unharmed and without causing another international incident (as if Alaska wasn't bad enough!).

Still from the ransom video

I pitched a romantic comedy on my blog about food and dating. I also pitched a sister bonding movie. I was very creative this year. Even wrote a poem, which depending on how literal you are, it was either the most depressing thing you had ever read or it was the most beautiful. I like to go with the latter.

Looking back on it, it was a pretty busy wonder I haven't left my couch since Christmas Day. Hoping next year is not nearly as exhausting... :)

Christmas morning selfie...I've changed my clothes since then.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Why so serious? A meditation on cannibalism.

I’m ¾ of the way through season 3 of my marathon of Hannibal and I’m feeling kind of peckish. Actually to be more specific, I’m craving meat, the type of meat so rare that when you bite into it you can taste the blood flow between your molars. I pause briefly to contemplate my recent culinary craving.

And the OTT conversation with myself goes something like this:

OMG! All my joking about cannibalism isn’t a joke after all, I really do want to eat people!! This is all because when I was 13 I wasn’t allowed to watch Silence of the Lambs, so I read the book instead and Hannibal Lector was so fucking cool to my naïve child brain, so naturally I became infatuated with him and now I want to be him!

I feel like I probably hyperventilate for a bit at this point, then calmed myself down enough to rationalize:

Ok, obviously you are calorie deprived because that last thought made little sense, I mean you are like 95% vegan and the only time you ate red meat in the last 10 years was when you were training for a marathon and that was because you were iron deficient. Right now you are bleeding (read: haemorrhaging), you are low iron and so obviously you are going to crave red meat. You are not craving meat because you are want to be Hannibal Lector and eat people!

So I go into the kitchen, listen to some Ellie Goulding (read: sing some Ellie Goulding off key) and make some food. I sit down to eat my creation on my living room couch and I stare off to the left, where there is a window, leading to the outside world, with real people in it.

And I wonder, did I leave the house today? Maybe I need to go for a walk or something and interact with real live humans. Perhaps if I do this more often it will prevent me from thinking such strange thoughts like I’m a closet cannibal.

I laugh, because how could me interacting with humans actually benefit me in any serious way. No, what I really need to do is just set up a reminder on my iPhone so I will remember to eat because apparently I can’t do that on my own and I read somewhere that ingesting food at regular intervals helps with cognition.

As I set up the reminders on my iPhone, I think to the last session I had with my meditation coach where she told me she wanted me to lighten up.

At first, when she made this suggestion to me, I was offended…naturally. I mean, I’m so easy going, how could I possibly get any more laid back over here?! But I know better, if I’m getting all offended by the mere suggestion of lightening up, chances are, I do need to lighten up. Yes, apparently I take myself way too seriously, which is not really surprising given the nature of this blog post…

But alas, I write to tell you these stories where my uptight, anal retentive qualities get the better of me to make us laugh. After all, would a serious person be able to laugh at themselves?!

It is also possible I totally misunderstood what my meditation coach was trying to tell me…the good news is, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to eat people…unless it was a zombie apocalypse and there was no other food source…#justsaying 

hiding out at home #selfie

Sunday, December 13, 2015

4 easy ways to combat exhaustion

I don't know about you but I'm exhausted! It's the time of year for sure, we are almost at the shortest day of the year (December 22nd for us Northern folk) and my energy is pretty much at an all time low.

Just to be clear, not depressed, just tired...

So when times like this are upon me I must remember self care is my number one priority! Without self-care, depression is sure to follow.

So here are my fav go-to self-care techniques:

Sleep! You're tired, do not have another coffee, just go back to bed. Sure this is hard when we all have stuff to do but if your sleep is being sacrificed because you have too many commitments this is a good time to find out what is necessary to your survival and what is nice to have. Take a break from the nice to haves and go back to bed already! Trust me, unless someone is going to die because you didn't keep your commitment, just go back to bed. Or you can keep doing things because you said so and be crabby while you do it, because everyone loves spending time with assholes!

Food! when I say food I mean the good nourishing types of food not the garbage McDonald's sells. It is tempting to want to cut corners on food when you are tired, so I encourage you to instead find yourself a Be Love and have someone else make your yummy nourishing food for you if you are too tired to do it yourself. If you are not fortunate enough to have access to restaurants that don't serve sludge disguised as food you need to make extra food when you aren't tired and freeze it to be used when you are too tired to make food.

Be Active! I know it feels impossible to move when you are tired, so don't go for a 10k run like you normally do but instead get up and walk across the street to grab a coffee at your fav local cafe. It's really not much but when it comes to exercise one step is really better than nothing. And steps are always better taken when they end with coffee :)

Get Inspired! Now I know you are thinking, wtf!? if i'm too tired i'm sleeping all the time how the fuck am I supposed to have energy to get inspired?! I'm now of the opinion that the best forms of inspiration come to us when we are most open, which means when we are tired and our defences are weakened. So all you need is someone else to bring you the message of inspiration....and this is why we surround ourselves with awesome friends who send us links to stuff.

Here is my latest inspirational find, Marianne Williamson, a spiritual adviser the whole world seems to know (except the people who live under giving an inspiring talk on the spiritual purpose of relationships. Enjoy, maybe after watching you will feel inspired to have a shower and start your day :)

A selfie to help inspire you :)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Another year behind me and another year ahead

This past Friday was my birthday and my latest and greatest tradition for this day (courtesy of my lovely friend Anna) is to reflect on my past year and plan for the future and of course to also fill the day with things I love. After all, it is a day to celebrate me, it should be filled with love.

So how did this all go down this year? Here is a handy list of what I did on my birthday and how that will reflect my plans for the upcoming year:

1. Running

Well it really should come as no surprise that I started my day with a run. A run with lots of hills. I still love running but now the love has transformed into something more nurturing rather than what it previously was for me, obsessive. Plan on continuing this balanced approach to running for the coming year. So unlikely to be doing any training for myself but may end up helping some other people with their training.

Post b-day-run with @TheCesspit

2. Food

This previous year I went back to school to learn more about holistic nutrition. This will continue on into next year with me taking more courses. I've already signed up for Introduction to Herbal Medicine. For my birthday I celebrated my love of good food by going to my favourite eateries that specialize in local, organic, vegan and vegetarian foods: which were Picnic Too, Be Love and Rebar.

Since I will not be training for any marathons this coming year, I can return more fully to my vegetarian diet. Looking forward to having a more happy digestive system.

3. People

I'm feeling very thankful for the people I have in my life at this present moment. The last few months have been pretty trying for me, and my friends and family have been incredibly supportive, loving and kind. Every opportunity I get I thank them for being in my life. I do not want to wait until it's too late to tell people how much they mean to me. So this birthday I got the chance to spend some time with some of my nearest and dearest over food, the phone, text or email. It is nice to be surrounded in the warmth of love and not have to get drunk or high to achieve that feeling. For the upcoming year, I plan on continuing this trend.

4. Knowledge

Everyone knows my favourite activity is curling up with a good book or blog! There is nothing I enjoy more than the pursuit of knowledge and lifelong learning and growth. This past year, I've been involved in learning more about a variety of topics, everything from pattern making, holistic nutrition, health care systems, health policy, primary care, patient portals, meditation, Buddhism, Yoga and Traditional Chinese Medicine. I visited my favourite bookstore on my birthday (Russell's used books) and surprisingly showed restraint by only spending 30$ on three books! What did I get:

1. The End of Your World - a book on what comes next after a spiritual awakening (basically some advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of having your ego cooping your spiritual awakening by making you become some self-righteous asshole with a superiority complex)

2. The art of forgiveness, lovingkindness, and peace - meditations and wise words to help me on my journey of becoming a more compassionate and loving human being.

3. Adapt: why success always starts in failure - hoping this will give me some good ammo for promoting the model of the adaptable organization

I always find it kind of fascinating where I'm drawn to in a particular moment. And these books seem to reflect my current state of mind and where I'm hoping 2016 will go.

5. Creativity

Designing clothes and jewelry, wearing make-up, styling my hair and my clothing, coloring and writing. These are just some of the things I've been using as a creative outlet. Most of you are aware of the writing (hello, best blog ever!) but there are so many things that can be used to express creativity. Personally one of my favourites is my style, nothing says Andrea is feeling creative when she gets the make up and the curling wand out! Top that off with the cute and adorable punk rock look I got going sometimes...sigh, it just feels good to express myself.  This birthday I went to my favourite store that specializes in gemstones and jewelry making, and designed myself a piece, which they constructed for me on the spot. Love those ladies at Skanda :)

Not sure what will be the focus for next year; however, I do know that I have to have my creativity time.

the latest creation

6. Hope

My day ended with dinner with a new friend of mine, whom I will refer to as Buffy (after our favourite strong kick ass female tv character). Buffy and I ate yummy food and had an inspiring discussion about plans for the future. I shared with her my desire to create a more compassionate, supportive environment around me that will touch all my spheres of existence. How I want to help others see their full potential and support them on that path. I want to create and promote a culture of collaboration and put an end to our hateful competition with each other. I want to love, when it feels like everything around us is full of hate. I want to give others hope. Buffy shares these same goals and nothing says happy birthday than talking with a like minded individual.  So the plan is to find more Buffys and to keep fostering a compassionate and collaborative environment around me for the coming year.

Overall probably one of the best birthdays I've ever had. Thank you everyone :)