I’ve fallen and I can’t get up?

Healing is not linear.

Repeat after me: healing is not linear.

Then try not to cry because out of the blue you have new pain in new places, you can’t sit up again, and you feel like a deflated balloon (except with energy sucked out of you instead of air….. looks pretty much exactly the same though)

“Okay. Okay I’ll rest for a bit” you tell yourself, as you trudge/shuffle towards the bedroom to lay down.

F*CK. I can’t reach the covers. I pretty much can’t move. I have fallen and I can’t get up.

“Is this being old?” You ask yourself.

You were always wondering when you’d feel like an adult, so is it this? Is this my NOW MOMENT OF ADULTHOOD?

“Wow” you think to yourself, “this sucks”.

Post-surgery reflections.

No matter how prepared you think you are….. you are not prepared for everything.

No one can explain to you that several days later you will be exhausted from the act of folding two pairs of pants and hanging up two t shirts, to the point where you need to lay down before you fall down.

No one mentions that the general anaesthetic is designed to literally freeze your bowels on the operating table, and that combined with the power of the pain meds to do the exact same thing, everything is working against your bodies natural elimination process. And hooeee that hurts. It hurts your stomach, your stitches, your arms and legs ache and your back feels like you suddenly aged 67 years overnight. (and spent each one of those years stooped over in a coal mine chipping away at a bloody rock)

So you’re stooped over, but trying to keep moving, one hand on your back, the other on your abdomen (gotta protect those stitches!) shuffling round the house, feeling older than your days, monitoring the pain, making sure you keep on top of the timing of the meds/ keeping the pain at 1-3/10, battling the breakthrough pain that you know will make you cry like a baby, slowly rifling through every pair of casual pants you own, assessing their waist height and the strength of the elastic to try and predict the potential level of torture, debating over the nana slippers versus the funky sneakers (because how far are you willing to lower your standard of dress…?) and despite this, despite ALL this, all you can think is: soon, I can get my life back.

I won’t be in agony every single month for 10-15 days, I won’t have to cancel social events and struggle at work, I won’t lose so much blood my haemoglobin will drop to critical levels and require a life saving transfusion or two, I won’t have cervical shock and my body begin to shut down, I can function like a normal person again.

I will be able to walk 100 metres without palpitations and the threat of passing out. I’ll be able to go to meetings without needing to rush to the bathroom. I’ll be able to wear the clothes I want. Go out to dinner with my partner. Have weekends where I can safely and comfortably leave the house.

The hardest thing about chronic illness is that you’re forced to make it look like everything is fine.

I’m officially a week into a minimum four week recovery period. Today was a bad day for pain and discomfort. But tomorrow may be a good day. We’ll see. ….just for now, I will maintain my mantra: “I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay”……….

 

http://www.bodyimagemovement.com

#ihaveembraced

So this morning, through the wonders of social media, I was introduced to a project called ‘the body image movement’ – an inspiring and challenging look at the way women really feel about their bodies.

This is a topic that is dear to my heart, and resonates LOUDLY for me. Whilst I am a pretty well adjusted functioning human being… it’s been a journey to get to this place. And I had to do it for myself, and largely by myself.

There is a HUGE stigma associated with body image, conflicting messages, and an advertising/ marketing industry that plays on these insecurities because the body industry is BIG BUCKS.

I want to see more people being honest. See people waking up to the realities of a manufactured ‘standard of beauty’ that is NOT BEAUTIFUL. To realise that the things that allow us to TRUELY see our own beauty are the actions we take, how we give of ourselves, the decisions we make, and the kind of person that we strive to be.

If you’re interested in contributing to the kickstarter fund to make this doco a reality, please click here to find out more.

Finishing this with a quote from one of my favourite movies (Pulp Fiction) “It’s unfortunate what we find pleasing to the touch and pleasing to the eye is seldom the same..”

Sometimes the biggest shifts are the most simple of all..

As I sat here feeling rested, alert, healthy and alive, not remotely hungover, exhausted or grumpy that I was already awake again so early on a Saturday morning, it prompted me to reflect the shifts that have occurred for me thus far in 2014.

At the end of last year, I made the decision that I had become stagnant. I realised that I wasn’t learning, my work was not challenging me, I didn’t feel fulfilled and I just generally felt a little flat. Like the tyres on a cool red bicycle, that had streamers, spokie-dokies, a basket for goodies and a really really cool horn, but that had been left propped against the side of a garage… so the streamers weren’t as shiny, there was a little bit of rust on the basket, the red paint was dull, and worst of all, there was no air in the tyres.. how can you ride a bike with no air in the tyres? Well, you can try but it’s just way harder than it needs to be, and you find you need to put in 3x the effort to get anywhere.

Where was the fun in that?

So I began to think about what it was in life that filled me up, the things that I did, experienced, learned etc that put air in my tyres and made me feel like I was moving forward, not only with momentum, but with awesome streamers waving in the wind, tooting my horn, laughing my a*s off and making a generally loud, hilarious and fun racket as I cruised about my day…

Here’s what I did: I made a list of all of the things I love, that give me energy and make me feel connected, and that give me a sense of self.

Bringing this stuff back into your life is a bit of a process, and when you’re not naturally a super patient person (people think I am, but I have to work really really hard at this!) you have to be sensible about what you can do, how soon you can do it, and make a plan about how you are going to get there. (All the stuff I teach and have taught through coaching, so just tapping into that toolkit again basically)

The three main things I put into play were this:

Nutritional Healthcare: I found a course that I could do, that was reasonably priced, had good timeframes and could give me some solid grounding in this subject which I am incredibly passionate about.

NLP: I had enjoyed learning about this as part of my coaching, but had stepped away from it for the past few years. I wanted to learn more, do a practitioners course and use this fabulous communication tool.

Reiki: this was something that I had been thinking about for years (we’re talking 10+ years here!) But I was a little scared to get this ball rolling, because I knew that when I did, I would bring my spiritual and emotional sides to the fore again, and that meant being honest with myself, and really getting my sh*t together once and for all.

So I am 75% of the way through the Nutritional Healthcare course, enjoying working my way through the NLP Course, and I have completed Reiki First Degree, and am set to complete Reiki Second Degree on Tuesday. (After which time I can practice Reiki)

The Reiki is the part that has bought this all together.. I’ve realised how much I segmented my life over the past 20 years. I wanted to ‘stand on my own two feet’ and ‘not have to rely on anyone’ (I had three part time jobs at the age of 12) I wanted to be taken seriously, and even though I have always been an intensely spiritual person, highly attuned to energy, I was so scared that people wouldn’t take me seriously if they knew this part of me, that I first hid that side, and then almost shut it off completely.

So what made me a highly effective and efficient recruiter and coach – logic, humour, attention to detail, an analytical and logical mind etc – didn’t necessarily make me ME.

I was taught through my coach training that in order to be an effective coach, you must first be coachable yourself. Ie you need to be ready, willing and able to evolve and to grow. Because of the things I am learning, and the changes that I have already put into play, I’m excited again about life. I have a new perspective. A new energy. Air in my tyres. A new shiny paint job coming along nicely, not to mention some sparkly streamers that will soon be attached to my bike….

You are not what you do.

You are not the clothes that you wear, the car you drive, the degree (or lack there of) that you have, how much money you have, or how rich your parents are. 

You are defined by the choices you make, HOW you live your life, your ability to grow, to move past and through the tough bits, and more than anything, your ability to find joy and celebrate it in every way that you can.

 

The things we humans obsess over (Part 2)

So I’ve done 22 days no alcohol now, and I’m feeling pretty good. Previously I’d done 5 weeks in 2013 and that was a monumental exercise in fabulousness. But with this new-ish clarity of thought comes the inevitable reflection on just how utterly obsessed we are with the ‘demon-drink’ …..and I’ve realised how much alcohol is a knee-jerk reaction in modern western society.

 

Had a bad day? A glass of wine will sort that.
Nailed that project at work? You deserve a drink!
Survived the working week with all your limbs intact? Time for a beverage!

 

It’s like drinking is so ingrained into what we do literally day to day that it takes a concerted effort to minimise the ingrained knee-jerk reaction to relax with a drink…..

Think about it:
Oh it’s a beautiful sunny summers night, I’d better make the most of this and go out and have a beer in the sun!
Oh it’s a rainy winters night, freezing out there! I should tuck up with a yummy glass of red wine in front of the fire…

It’s the elixr for the masses, comes in all shapes and sizes, flavours and strengths, colours and packages, it picks you up when you’re down, transforms your face to a smile from a frown, helps lubricate communication all over town, makes you think you can dance and ‘get down’ – it’s what?! ALCOHOL! Yay! *cue mexican wave*

Now I don’t propose to have all the answers to this (or anything for that matter) what I want you to do is simply stop and think for yourself.

To start asking yourself how you feel about drinking…. to see if you resonate with anything I’ve mentioned, and to see if you too could start to challenge the assumptions modern society has placed upon you about drinking. *glug glug*

Could you go a week without drinking? A month? What changes in your social habits would you need to make in order to do this? How would your friends and workmates react?

After almost 10 years in Recruitment (an industry body known for enjoying the ‘odd tipple‘ *cough*) I can hand on heart say that I still enjoy a deep spicy glass of Shiraz, and smooth and velvety Central Otago Pinot Noir, and love the giggly brain-fuzz and silliness from a ridiculously over-priced glass of Champagne…. but my attitude to drinking is slowly changing.

With glorified boozing in adverts tempting me… And bars full of laughing, smiling, beautiful people – waving about their bottles of beer and oh-so-tempting glasses of chilled Pinot Gris as I wander past …I almost feel like I’m ‘sticking it to the man’ some days…. so yeah, fight the power and whatnot, I’m off to pour myself a stiff tea.

 

What Is In That White Flour….?

There’s so much about what we eat that we just don’t know/ think about,,. As I move through my nutrition course I’m learning a lot about how our commercial food is processed, and it’s a bit of an eye opener….. for example: the lovely white flour I’ve been cooking/baking with since forever is actually bleached to get that wonderful white colour and to preserve it for transport and extended use…. stripping the natural nutrients out so that they then have to be chemically put back in. Ooooo yummy!

My goal with all this study I’m currently undertaking is to find a way to balance nutrition, realistic lifestyle choices, absolutely delicious cooking that will make your mouth water & bring you joy when you prepare it – with educated food choices and fun

I don’t think we need to be militant about what we eat (and it’s hard to be perfect all the time!) but we make a lot of uninformed choices subconsciously that have a huge impact on our day to day health and well being.

For now I’m going to look into the food I currently eat, and try making these same things with whole flour… granted we can’t control the food people make for us or that we purchase, but an informed choice 95% of the time will have a profound effect on our lives.

Growing your own veg….?

So as a result of being stuck in bed for the better part of a week, in between a persistent consistent and insistent headache (!!) I’ve been unable to do much more than sleep & think…. One of the main things I’ve been contemplating is food, and it’s relation to health…. Segué into thinking about what I’ve enjoyed the most at friends places and favourite restaurants – and it’s always been the dishes made with home-grown and/or locally grown veg.

Now being mildly OCD about how things look (read: matchy matchy) M & I have been bandying about on the whole ‘grow your own veg’ thing, wanting fabulous (expensive) planters and the like. What I’ve realised is that we’ve been making this WAAAAAY harder than it needs to be, and therefore created barriers to getting amoungst this goodness.

So today, as M squirrelled away in his office, and I lay in bed, I decided to take matters into my own hands and get this ball rolling… I realised through a bit more research that you can actually grow most veg in planter bags – a very cheap and effective way of getting your garden growing! (Duh, I know right?) so I let my fingers do the walking/index finger do the clicking, and have ordered some essentials to get underway:

 

  • Seedling trays
  • Yates black magic seed raising mix (love that name!)
  • Gardening gloves
  • Potato bags x4 (can grow potatoes, onions, beets, carrot etc)
  • Wide/long planter bags x2 (primarily for tomato, lettuce, carrot etc)

For starters I checked online to see what I should be seeding for planting now, what plants grow best together (companion planting reduces the need for chemical bug sprays – WIN!) and got the following seeds:

  • Chives
  • Cocktail tomatoes (multi coloured goodness)
  • Mesclun lettuce
  • Cut & come again mixed lettuce
  • Marigolds
  • Beetroot
  • Red onion

(Still to get carrot seeds but couldn’t find a good one online)

So these should arrive in the next few days, and I’m going to put my love, energy and time into seeing what I can grow… we have a fabulous deck that’s large & gets all day sun, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I know that apartment living is about as far away from Mother Nature as you can get, and I’m an earth-baby at heart, so hopefully this will have far reaching positive effects on M & I….

And if you don’t try, you’ll never know…… I can’t wait to be making beautiful meals for my friends & family from home grown veggies.

 

Video: How We Perceive Stress

Another piece of Upworthy gold. If you haven’t checked out this website, you should. Rather than waste time reading about spoon-fed ‘news’ items, and subscribing to the cult of celebrity… why not instead watch a couple of truly inspiring short videos that could quite literally open your eyes and show you the goodness in the world?

This little video explains how we perceive stress, what happens in the body under stress, and how the physical and chemical reaction can be changed completely – just by the way we choose to perceive stress. Powerful stuff.

VIDEO HERE.

 

Lifestyle changes/ eating for health..

Reading through this list of heathy eating cafès published in the Herald today (not an exhaustive list by any means but still good selection) it does truly seem like Auckland is cottoning on to healthy, tasty eating…. There does seem to be a bit of a movement of this lately, and it’s been one of my (slow burning) passions for many years so it’s great to see some dialogue and energy behind this. (Am I just noticing this because I’m getting back into it, or is it truly changing?)

Since my health issues in 2012, and subsequent changes in my body since then (read: weight gain due to heavy doses of hormones, ongoing issues with my body dealing with a temp “fix” device pumping yet more hormones into my body each day) I’ve been trying to find the right balance to get myself back to optimum health…

Through the changes in my diet and lifestyle I’ve noticed that I’m not as susceptible to colds/viruses as I once was… or if I start to get sick I can generally knock it before it takes hold. This in itself would be reason enough to make the simple changes I have… but as I’m on a bit of a journey at present, there’s more to come!

Through my years of coaching and working in the recruitment industry I’ve noticed the common theme that everyone is looking for in their life is balance. (namely a career that provides challenge and opportunity to grow, whilst supporting you financially and allowing adequate leisure time and the ability to enjoy new experiences..) this is the holy grail right?

But it all begins with balance.

We can’t expect that our lives will change if we keep doing the same things that we have always done. It’s not rocket science – it’s logic. You need to change the ingredients or the inputs, to achieve a different result.

One if the easiest ways to change your life is to adjust your lifestyle – make some very real decisions about your inputs and ingredients. It can be the food you eat, the alcohol you imbibe, the fresh air and exercise you experience from day to day – or the people you spend your time and energy with/on.

You can’t make massive changes overnight, there’s always a period of adjustment, and that’s OK. Some of the things that have worked for me, which I will keep doing and refining are:
– Cutting down/ cutting out alcohol (seems a no brainer, right?)
– Cutting down/cutting out sugar/ refined and processed food (amazing how your body responds after the initial detox period)
– Increasing exercise (a lot of this is just finding out what works for you, for example gyms are not for me, but for some that’s perfect)
– Increasing organic/ wholefoods and vegetables in my day to day diet (had a huge impact for me personally)

The Herald article talked about healthy eating cafés really working because they haven’t compromised on taste, and this resonates with me… no one in their right mind (??) wants to eat dry, tasteless bird seed.. and you don’t have to. Cooking can be an absolute joy – with inspiring ingredients and unreal flavour and taste experiences.. food that nourishes you. <3

 

Buddha Bowl