Category Archives: Challenges

Wasn’t Expecting So Much Awesome!

NASA , ESA and H.Richer(UBC)
NASA , ESA and H.Richer(UBC)

When I woke up this morning I was more than a little annoyed at myself for setting up this movement meditation challenge.

All I wanted to do was settle into my normal day off routine of drinking jasmine green tea and eating breakfast while catching up on whatever happened online while I was sleeping.

As I was turning on the music (Bass Yoga vol. 1 -by HumenNature) to start my half hour practice, I actually said to my husband “I think I’m gonna hate this!”

I was stiff, sore and wanted nothing more than to stay in bed and be lazy. It’s C-41 outside, and I could feel the cold seeping in from the windows. The living room was chilling and seemed unwelcoming.

I stood barefoot in the center of the room, bundled up in sweats and a bunny hug, hood up- shielding me from the sun and the cold. I didn’t feel like moving at all, so  I closed my eyes and listened to the music, which opened with a soft and droning synth, and the sound of the ocean. It drew me into myself, and my breath deepened. The first long notes of the flute touched me  and I felt a deep yearning… A desire for comfort and connection. The melody lifted me away, out of that feeling and into something more like curiosity. I began to move, almost imperceptibly at first.

My attention was drawn to the cold stiffness in my hips, and I rocked them, swaying in a figure 8 pattern, holding my hands to my heart. The movements were smaller than I have ever made, it almost felt like I was merely imagining the movement, but heat started to gather in my muscles and they began to relax. The figure 8 my hips were drawing with their movement grew larger and my hands began to float upwards, rolling and twisting, gathering energy and bringing it back down to my core.

Everything felt deep, slow and easy. I had dreaded moving vigorously so early in my day and a flood of relief washed over me when I realized I didn’t have to. I could spend the whole time rocking gently side to side if I wanted. My movement meditation had no rules and once I surrendered my expectations of dancing and stretching, I could simply be present in my body and see how it guided me.

I spent quite a bit of time with these quiet, small movements; rolling my shoulders and chest with my feet planted firmly to the ground. As I warmed up, I moved more freely and played close to the ground as well as up on my toes, reaching for the sky.  I moved and swayed, stretched and dance. The pace of movement was languid and relaxed.  When I looked up at the time, I was amazed half an hour had already passed.  I considered continuing on but chose hop in the shower and reflect on the experience. Not to mention, I was getting hungry.

When I stopped I felt energized, grounded and at peace- completely ready to face my day. I was also incredibly excited to try it again tomorrow, because not only did it feel fantastic, but because I had so many flashes of insight-  Ideas that are going to guide this project and create new ones as well. The whole thing was inspiring, fun, joyful, uplifting and made my body feel amazing. I felt more present and aware than I ever do that early in the day. Those 30 minutes exceeded my expectations in every way and I’m so grateful and happy it actually brought a tear to my eye.

I’ve spent so much time knowing how important movement is to me personally, and years ago  I vowed to cultivate a daily practice, but hadn’t had the courage or discipline to start (or perhaps I just wasn’t ready). I knew intuitively it would be a powerful tool, but I was blown away by its potential today. This is a game changer.

It’s going to change me.

I’m not exactly sure how, but I can feel it coming.

I feel open and ready to receive all the wisdom and gifts this practice is going to bring, and I’m so excited. I never thought I’d be jazzed about getting up early, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow already. Just thinking about it has all the cells in my body literally radiating with joyful excitement. It’s a crazy buzz and this is going to be a crazy ride.

Love falling for the Sky by Ventry cc by 3.0
Love falling for the Sky by Ventry cc by 3.0

New Challenge- 30 Mins of Morning Movement

Since No Junk Week went so well, I thought I would challenge myself to another experiment.

I want to spend a half hour at the beginning of each day doing some movement meditation. I love to dance/stretch to music… It’s  my own intuitive mash-up  blend of yoga and dance together. It basically involves putting on some tunes and moving my body to them in whatever way it wants. It usually results in some dancing, some swaying and some stretching at various intervals. It also tends to be a fusion of belly dance with some weird modern lyrical thrown in. I keep a rhythmic movement going, even when I’m holding a stretch. It’s fun,  random, satisfying and I always feel amazing when I spend some time like that.  I don’t normally do it often enough! Usually when I’m at home, I’ll hoop dance as opposed to any other physical activity and while that’s great for my hoop skills, it leaves my body wanting more.

Since I’m not a morning person typically, this will be a challenge in and of itself. I would say that I could do it anytime of day, but I recently read a blog post on Elephant Journal (which I can’t seem to find now that I’m searching for it) that made some fantastic points about practicing in the morning rather than in the evening. While an evening practice is fantastic to unwind from the stress of the day, a morning practice is a way to prepare for it. The premise is that if you start your day with some exercise, centering and grounding your day will have the foundation in place to handle anything that life throws your way. It makes sense to me, but as someone who has always thought getting up any earlier than I had to was a waste of precious sleep time it’s going to be a big leap of faith.

A half hour at home seems far more do-able than getting up 2 hours early for a yoga class anyway, not to mention I can groove as well and just hop in the shower. It might be a great way to wake up… We’ll see how it goes.

No Junk Week In Review

Well,

I did it. I went a week without any real junk food. No candy, chocolate, ice cream, cookies… I actually at about 90% whole foods. It was a great clean eating week for the most part. I did eat more granola with dried fruit than I normally would, but it was healthy granola. Amazing that when you’re not eating much sugar dried fruit tastes like candy! Even the bit of no sugar added jam on my peanut butter in the morning tasted incredibly sweet.

This is the update I wrote on Thursday:

At Midweek, I’m feeling fine. Great actually! More than fine… It hasn’t been excessively hard, even when buying treats like a giant bag of Peanut Butter M & M’s for my husband and watching him and a friend demolish it over the course of an hour. Actually, that kind of grossed me out, hehe. It was a huge bag and both of them stated they just couldn’t stop. It was kind of empowering to not be right in there with them, stuffing candy in my mouth, feeling slightly ill and regretting it.

Resisting candy hasn’t ever really been an issue for me though. I’ve never really been a candy person. Sweet things always do make me feel ill pretty much immediately. I feel nauseous and thirsty, and basically feel like I’m getting diabetes.   To avoid any cravings for the junk I do love, I’ve been trying to eat more real food so I just don’t have room. It’s usually when I’m hungry but don’t feel like eating a real meal that I reach for cookies or ice cream. The last couple nights, I’ve had a bowl with some milk, granola, nuts and dried fruit instead. Probably not the greatest choice in the entire world, but definitely better than others.

The only downside is, I didn’t really notice anything about how I felt other than I didn’t have any moments of feeling slightly ill because of eating sugar. I mean, I felt great, but was it worth it? I think so, but it’s not going to turn into a NO JUNK month. I know that if I deny myself things I start to fetishize them and then stuff gets weird. I might find myself zoning out, going into a trance, and devouring a whole bag of chips or something. What I was really hoping to accomplish was two-fold:

1- See if I could do it… How much willpower do I actually have, and how hard will it be? 2- Break my habit of eating a treat (or two) every day.

It really wasn’t that bad, and they say it takes 7 days to make a habit, so I think the challenge was a resounding success. Considering it’s already past noon (1:32pm) and I haven’t had any junk yet, even though it’s legal now, I’m feeling pretty good!

You can read about my next challenge here: http://wp.me/p32wA4-3p

This week’s challenge: NO JUNK FOOD

I’ve been doing pretty well in the 3 weeks since I officially began ‘The Project’, even with the biological clock drama (you can read more about that craziness here: http://wp.me/p32wA4-1C) . I’ve been eating fairly well, getting enough sleep, talking to my body every day and trying to do something creative daily as well. It’s been easy enough thus far, so I thought I should challenge myself.

This week, the goal is to eat really well and by that I mean NO JUNK FOOD! At all. Not even dark chocolate.

I’m not a junk food junkie, I don’t even like most candy or sweets, but I definitely love chocolate, ice cream and lately I’ve been indulging in quite a few gluten-free cookies. I wasn’t a cookie person at all back in the day, but I guess not eating them for years and then finding seriously delicious gluten-free ones unleashed the cookie monster in me.

I’ll tell you which ones, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. They are spectacular:

http://www.wendelstruefoods.com/products/almond-butter-cookies-gluten-free/

almond butter cookie 10 pack.jpg

Also, they’re chocolate chip cookies are pretty darn good, but when it comes to chocolate chip, I love Udi’s:

http://udisglutenfree.com/products/chocolate-chip-cookies/

Oh, man,

I’m making this harder on myself. Now I want cookies. I was doing so well today too.

Anyway. NO COOKIES for Kacie. I just need a little break. It’s not you cookies, it’s me. I just need a little time to get my head together, you know? We’re not breaking up, I just need a little space. (You do look so lovely tonight though, I must say).

I am planning on gorging myself on whole, clean foods to fill the cookie shaped hole in my soul. I’m going to stay as far away from refined sugar as I can get, and really limit processed foods.

When I’m snacky, I’ll just have to survive with my Sea Snax.

They are strangely addictive, and a fantastic chip replacement. I used to be a potato chip fiend, and I find I can’t enjoy them in moderation, I just have to stay away. One handful leads to a whole bag in a day or two so I can’t buy them and keep them at home. These Sea snacks taste exactly like the Nori on sushi, yet have a very satisfying salty crispness to them.

So, good luck to me! This will definitely be one of the harder things I’ve put myself up to. The no-drinking thing is going surprisingly well. I think having food poisoning and puking up the last glass of wine I had made it oh so much easier to go without.

I’m off to have some Sea Snax while I watch Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflick and doodle. A wild Monday, for sure!

I’ll leave you with a dance…. This is how I spent part of this afternoon, just rocking out in my living room, with a hoop.

 

Tick Tock….

A few days ago, I was suddenly sideswiped by a giant ticking biological clock. It knocked me right on my ass,  sat squarely on my chest, crushing me… I could barely breathe! It  looked me straight in the eye and said “Tick Tock, motherfucker. Tick fucking tock.”

cco

It wasn’t the first time I had heard that phrase. Suddenly this feeling felt incredibly familiar and I flashed back to January 2011, when my body was sending me the same urgent message: HAVE A BABY! GET KNOCKED UP! DO IT, DO IT NOW!!!!!! Of course, it wasn’t a good time. My husband and I were getting married that summer, and we had a few things we wanted to do before starting a family, but mostly neither of us felt ready at all. Fortunately there was a timely article on Offbeat Families, one of my favorite blogs called “Babycrack: When wanting a baby gets weird”. http://offbeatfamilies.com/2011/01/babycrack  that helped me deal with the emotions then.

I still find in extremely comforting to read about the experiences other people are having with the same situation, so I went back to read all the comments on the article and noticed the menacing sentence uttered by my bio-clock was posted by another women trying to ignore her bio-clock too. I also noticed my own comments on the article.

Well, I was having a baby crack free day until I read this post. Now my eyes are welling up cause the desire to have a baby is sometimes like a physical ache.

I didn’t understand the whole biological clock thing at all until about two years ago. I was on the fence about having kids, until one day I was laying in bed with my fiance and I heard my DNA speaking to me. “Have his baby!” cried my genes.

Sometimes my rational mind can shut them up for a bit, but it’s getting harder. My rational mind knows that we have a plan and the plan is to start trying next spring… First we want to get married, go have a rocking time on our honeymoon, move to a bigger place so it’s not all stressful moving while I’m preggers… But it’s hard. Especially when my mom reminds me you can’t plan everything (I was an accident, as was my sister).

Just gotta keep popping my anti-baby pills. I now get my fiance to remind me via text half an hour after I’m supposed to take them, just in case I miss my phone alarm. I’m so paranoid I’ll miss a pill after somehow missing one last week.

Just keep breathing… One more year…

Note: This is from January 14, 2011. It was exactly 2 years, less 2 days ago from when this crazy feeling reared it’s head again.

Our plans had changed, and our window for when we wanted to start trying keeps being pushed back by the both of us… I started dancing so much more, and wanted to really put some time in taking classes, performing and teaching before taking time off to have a child. Also, the feeling of MUST PROCREATE NOW! had faded away so it was easy to just imagine having a child as something we would do later. Neither one of us wants to disrupt our very comfortable and happy lives with a little one at the moment.

Except, apparently, I do.

Or at least, my body does.

I’m still not fully ready. I have tons of travel plans over the next year. My husband is switching fields and going back to school. We’d like to save up more money. We both want more time with each other. The list goes on…

But, my body was literally screaming at me. I felt consumed by confusing and conflicting emotions. I’ve made a commitment  with this project to listen to my body, so I was afraid for a few days to actually have a dialogue with it. I was terrified my body would just lay it out for me. Because of the intensity of the feelings I was having, I expected my body so say This is it, the time is now. Let’s do this!

When I felt ready, I initiated a conversation with my body, and it turns out that the most important thing it wanted was to be heard. It wasn’t unilaterally deciding that this was happening now. It wasn’t going to circumvent my birth control and just make it happen (I really thought this might happen). Biologically, now is the time, but having a baby isn’t a purely biological process. It’s also a mental and spiritual process, for me and my husband. We still need a bit of time, but my body wanted to make me aware that this is fast becoming a priority so I’d better start getting used to the idea of sooner rather than later.

Because of my vow to listen to my body’s messages, I was able to take this startlingly violent message for what it was. An invitation to listen to my body’s biological clock and innate rhythms. Well, more of an insistence than an invitation, but that’s just because it’s an old message I had been ignoring for quite some time. It’s reminding me of what I am evolutionarily programmed to do. Simple acknowledgement was enough for the moment, but it’s also an opportunity to really put the effort in to prepare myself for something I’ll be doing soon enough.

lawrence Jesterson- CC by SA 2.0
lawrence Jesterson- CC by SA 2.0