Random Thoughts for the Day

I have writers block lately. I want to write but can’t seem to get the words to be the way I want them to be. So instead, here are some random thoughts I have had going through my head today:

  • The pumpkin cheesecake in the fridge. It’s a special cheesecake that I make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The crust is made with ginger snap cookies and caramel sauce is drizzled on top. I want it so bad but instead I ate dry, bland broccoli at lunch. 

  • I am going into my third of week of Weight Watchers. My goal is to be stronger by next September to hike Mantario trail. I theroetically could hike it now but I know it would not be as enjoyable. I want to spend 4 – 5 nights camping on a hiking trail and for it to be a reward and not a punishment. 
  • You catch more bees with honey. Control is an all or nothing situation. Influence is what makes people rise up. People will begrudgingly follow with control if they need to. Choose wisely. 
  • I run Manitoba Muddy Girls on Facebook, a local group that gets women together to share in their love of outdoor pursuits. This weekend we are teaming up with  Backcountry Women for a day hike. I am super pumped to get on the trail this weekend and meet new people. Check out Backcountry Women on Instagram. 
  • Update on cheesecake: I ate 1.5 pieces out of the fridge when I got home. It was worth every point. 
  • I saw the word “pinot” on a sign while driving. I completely forgot how to pronouce it I sounded like a weirdo and my husband and I had a good laugh over my babbling of how to pronounce it.  I praised myself that I don’t think about alcohol that often anymore. Like another life. 
  • Yoga had been really nice lately. My practice has progressed into more mindfulness and is helping with my anxiety. A good stretch after the turkey dinner yesterday did me wonders too. 

Thanks for reading my random thoughts for the day. Feels good to just write. 

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A Mind Full of Nothing and Everything 

I spent most of today dealing with anxiety. I was where I needed to be in body but in mind I was somewhere else. I wasn’t day dreaming and off in a far away paradise. I was no where but an empty place. I felt a lot of nothing and when I did feel, it was sad.

Throughout the day I had two different thought processes running through my mind. I have a job that I need to do but I couldn’t focus. Reminding myself to breathe, feeling tightness in my stomach, irritated by the noise around me, and trying to pretend that I was feeling normal has made me exhausted. I was exhausted the moment I opened my eyes this morning and realized today would be hard. 

I listened to My Church by Maren Morris on repeat countless times during the day. It was the only thing that made me feel any different.  I lip-synced along with the lyrics and imagined singing really loudly. I felt like yelling, needing to be loud, and needing to move. Instead, I sat all day long with my thoughts swirling around like a hurricane. I can’t move anywhere now and my head rests on the back of the couch. 

I am spiritual but grounded in science and evidence. Even though I don’t identify with any one religion or set of beliefs, I really enjoy a lot of country music that talks about god and jesus. The music is comforting and I change the meaning of god and jesus into what works for me.

I’ve cussed on a Sunday
I’ve cheated and I’ve lied
I’ve fallen down from grace
A few too many times
But I find holy redemption
When I put this car in drive
Roll the windows down and turn up the dial

Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church

When Hank brings the sermon
And Cash leads the choir
It gets my cold cold heart burning
Hotter than a ring of fire
When this wonderful world gets heavy
And I need to find my escape
I just keep the wheels rolling, radio scrolling
‘Til my sins wash away

Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church

Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church

Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church
Yeah I guess that’s my church
Yeah I guess that’s my church

Hipster Shiba Inu tax

Hooray for my Fitbit Goal

I was slipping with wearing my Fitbit. It simply did not cross my mind to put it on in the morning lately, not even for my hike on the weekend. I gave myself heck for forgetting it because it would have been neat to see how many steps I did on the trail and walking around Wasagaming to get cinnamon buns. 

I sometimes sleep with it but I don’t use it to track my heart rate and sleep patterns, as cool at that feature is. I bought the Fitbit to encourage me to be accountable for physical activity.

Yesterday and today I have been back on track with wearing it. I hit my goal today of 8,000 steps. It’s recommended that I have 10,000 steps but I am realistic in my day to day activity. Sometimes I am lucky if I hit 4,000 because I have been at my desk all day and sink into the couch when I get home.

I harnessed Asha up for her final walk of the day and knowing I was close to my goal, we went for a longer walk than usual. Her last walk of the day is for her to do her business and if she does that as soon as we cross the street than back we go. She has two good walks a day, in the morning and afternoon so I don’t feel bad about cutting the third one really short. But today I wanted to go longer.

I reached my 8,000 steps! Asha impressed me with her impeccable leash manners too. I asked her to sit while there was a large flock of geese on the side of the pond. She sat and stared at them, not moving, not pulling, not trying to see if she could get a second dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast in one bite. She just sat.

The night sky was clear and I could see stars when I looked up and into the distance. Geese were settling in for the night along the shoreline. Silence in the air. A perfect way to end my day.

8,000 steps for the win!

Sharing my Passion for Hiking and Camping

My family and I have hiked and cycled to Lake Kinosao in Riding Mountain National Park countless times. We usually spend a few hours at the lake and have a meal. Last year after a stop for lunch, we carried on to Cowan Lake for our first overnight hike as a family.

The most important part about Lake Kinosao for me is this is where Darcy proposed to me. Among countless other things, I found someone to share my love of hiking and camping with!

October 2009 on Lake Kinosao trail. We’re engaged!!

On September 25th Darcy and I will celebrate seven years if wedded bliss. My family hiked to Lake Kinosao on Sunday to reminisce a happy memory. Our daughter loves coming to the spot where daddy asked mommy to marry him. She is giddy and overjoyed and loves to hear the story.

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Almost eight years to the day after we got engaged

I take a lot of pride in passing down my fondness of the outdoors to Calista and watching her bloom with each new experience we have together. She knows the team work needed to set up a campsite, wants to carry her own pack (often with a fishing rod), can hike a good distance with ease, and loves to talk about what she sees around us and asks a lot of questions.

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Hiking when she was a year old on the cold Canadian prairies

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More cold Canadian Prairie hiking. Two year old legs get tired easily

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Pitching our tent 

 

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Hiking in the Whiteshell. We clearly love winter.

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Camping in Lake Louise, Alberta 

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Our first family back country trip to Cowan Lake in Riding Mountain National Park when she was six years old

Hiking at Pine Point Rapids in the Whiteshell this summer

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Hiking on Brule Trail in Riding Mountain National Park on Sunday 

I very much enjoy being on the trail by myself but there is something really special about sharing my passion with people who want to come along, especially my family and friends. I will soon begin volunteering as a Girl Guides Unit Assistant and naturally my hiking and camping skills are a perfect fit. I am looking forward to having a larger and eager audience to teach skills to.

I run a Facebook group called Manitoba Muddy Girls: for the Love of the Outdoors that has connected people who share an interest in the outdoors. I have attended Becoming an Outdoors Woman retreats and workshops, which is where the idea for my Facebook page came from. The support of being around woman who all have different skill levels and wanting to teach and learn is really empowering. I created Muddy Girls with empowerment and support in mind.

Thank you to the readers of this blog. This is not only an avenue for me to advocate for mental health, it gives me a spot to talk about the outdoors too. The outdoors is a place that heals, lifts me up, challenges me, and where I feel at home.

Yoga for Inner Peace 

I laid in child’s pose with tears dripping from my eyes on to my yoga mat. I repeated silently in my mind, “I forgive. I forgive myself for the poison. I forgive myself for the damage. I forgive myself for all the times I was too hard on myself. I forgive.”

I was learning the staples of self-love at Prarie Love Yoga Festival. The instructor, Alex Mazerolle guided me through a life changing experience. She spoke about acceptance and love and how we need to first love ourselves fully and completely in order to make the changes we want to see. 

Forgiving myself for the relationship I had with alcohol was a hurdle that I didn’t know I needed to cross. Or if I somehow did know in the back of my mind, I had no idea how to forgive myself. I lacked the tools. I now know that forgiveness begins with love. 

I stood up and moved my body into warrior pose, my eyes blurry from the tears. I bent my back and lifted my arm and hand into reverse warrior, and looked high above me and felt completely different than when I was crying into my yoga mat. Alex assured us that it is OK to cry during yoga and it is one of the most powerful ways to honor ourselves. I was clearly not the only one moved by her words. 

After a good cry in The Staples of Self-love

The five sessions that I attended Saturday at the festival were all unique and unlike any experience I have had before. 

My first session of the day was instructed by Marisa Krol who coincidentally was the same instructor I had when I dropped into a yoga class a couple months ago during a dark time with depression. I remember walking into the studio and thinking, “I belong here.”  She led me through my practice when I needed to be gentle and kind to my body. With my practice on Saturday, I felt strong and courageous. 

I attended another session where we grooved to slow, mellow beats. I practiced in the sunshine and swayed between poses to the sound of the music. As a beginner, the instructor saw me struggling to get comfortable in pigeon pose and graciously helped me find a position I could work with. I was around a lot of advanced yogi’s at the festival but I never once felt out of place. 

I brought along a peice of my journey

The last two sessions I attended did not include a lot of physical yoga and instead I learned about yoga philosophy, breathing exercises, meditation, visualization, and journaling. I feel as if a whole world has appeared right in front of me and I feel accepted for who I am and how I want yoga to work for me. I feel truly amazing after giving myself the gift of attending the festival. It is a gift that will continue to grow. 

The beautiful blanket I purchased at the Mindful Market to add to my practice. Made in Mexico using recycled clothing, made by women to help provide for their families

Depression Will Not Win

This summer I visited two places that brought back a flood of memories from my youth, Ominik Marsh in Riding Mountain National Park and Epinette Creek Trials in Spruce Woods Provincial Park.

The heart wants what the heart needs

I was fourteen years old when hiked Epinette and spent the night in the backcountry with Sea Cadets. I learned a lot of things while I was a Sea Cadet including how to survive in the outdoors. I remember making traps for squirrels and rabbits, learning how to make fires and shelters, and how to conquor the seven enemies of survival. 

I went to Epinette by myself today with my dog Asha for an afternoon hike. I spent about two hours on the trail and read a book for a half an hour. The trail had a few people hiking and mountain biking. It was nice to be alone but not completely alone. 

I listened to the silence. I did not have a lot of thoughts running through my mind. My anxiety seems to cease to exist when I am hiking. I look at my surroundings and think of beauty and not what waits for me off the trail. 

Book I am reading: Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog

The leaves are starting to change colour as summer winds down. I commented loudly to Asha that my heart was full after seeing a breathtaking section that looked like heaven on earth. It was as if Mother Nature took her paint brush and swirled in shades of yellow, red, and orange. The gorgeous creation from nature made me call out to the sky with gratitude and I gave thanks for everything I have. 

Yesterday was a tough day for me. I didn’t get off to the greatest start mentally and I struggled to keep going. It’s weird how today I popped right out of bed and met the morning with open arms. Yesterday was sunny, today was overcast. The prarie sun came out while I was hiking and beat down on us. 

My mental health is in a good spot right now. Yes, sometimes I feel helpless and like I am struggling to come up for air but when I look at the big picture, I am good. I recognize when times get tough and I am vocal with my loved ones that my day or days are dark. Depression used to be a really lonely spot for me but now it’s slightly better knowing that I have the support from some pretty incredible people.

Depression will not win

Grizzly Does Hot Yoga

Yoga is a good place for me to be. “It is not about touching your toes, it is about what you learn on the way down.”  I don’t know who to credit that quote too but it is one that I have built my practice around.  

I have a dedicated quiet space in my home where I practice. My home practice provides me solitude and accessibility on my own time around daily life. 

When I hike and camp, I like to remove my shoes and connect with nature through my feet. It is a heavenly experience standing on a rock or a patch of dirt in my bare feet while the wind whispers by me. I feel most grounded and relaxed when I practice yoga outside. 

For extra motivation when I am feeling in a slump, I like to attend classes. I have yet to find a studio that I really connect with, one that calls me home to return more often. I wonder if it exists?

The options for yoga classes in my new area are quite low with two HOT YOGA studios. I am happy with a community center based class or an actual studio but hot yoga is something that I have avoided, for good reason. If you will recall in my last post, I live for fall and winter because of the cooler weather. The heat and I don’t really jive but in an effort to be the best possible version of myself, I decided to give hot yoga a try tonight. 

Heading into my first hot yoga class

I read that temperatures are about 40.5 celsius, which meant that I had to wear as little clothing as possible in an attempt to be more comfortable. I usually wear yoga pants but opted for shorts tonight. On most days my leg hair resembles that of a grizzly bear.  I promptly dry shaved my legs for the class when I got home from work. 

Not an actual photo of me from class

I am a majestic grizzly bear, with patches of hair that I missed on my legs, ready to take on hot yoga. The class and studio has a body-positive vibe and what I look like doesn’t phase me. I enter the dragon room and lay on my mat and as the class progresses, I now know why grizzly bears do not live on tropical islands…

Call me when it is winter and I will gladly do cold yoga on a frozen lake, as snow falls on me like specs of glitter. As I stood in tree pose, I dripped sweat like I was a tree after a rain storm and I felt like I had just jumped into a lake. I was not comfortable. 

The instructor had a soft, rhythmic, and encouraging voice. One that drew me in to mindfulness and kept me centered. I will return to his class again as I have a one month unlimted pass to try out the studio. I wish it wasn’t hot yoga and perhaps he teaches a different class in regular temperatures elsewhere. Something for me to look into. 

The heat wore me out and I don’t feel relaxed like I usually do after a practice. I drank a ton of water but still have a headache and I feel done. Maybe I over extended myself in the class and should have rested more than I did.  I will try resting more frequently next week when I go back. I beleive in trying something at least three times before completely writing it off. 

Trying to decide on my way out if I was going to go back

Be well. 

Winter is Coming

My mind drifts towards winter today. On the weekend I noticed that some of the leaves have changed colours, a yellow that was once green. Winter is coming. Fall and winter are my favourite seasons because of cooler weather but the lack of sunshine doesn’t do me any favours.

The sun will rise and set in the same spot that it does each day but later and earlier. I feel like I need to formulate some kind of a plan to help ensure I don’t slip or if I do slip, I have options for self-care to keep me above the avalanche.

  • Lift the blinds in the morning and let the natural light flow in.
  • Prep the coffee the night before and set the timer.
  • Kick sled with Asha around the lake in our new neighborhood. I can’t wait for the neighbors to see us. I get a rise out of the expression on peoples faces when they see Asha propelling me faster as I kick along.
  • My winter reading list, in no particular order, with more to be added:
    • Only Pack What You Can Carry: My Path to Inner Strength, Confidence, and True Self-Knowledge by Janice Holly Booth
    • What Happened by Hillary Clinton
    • The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey
  • Pre-plan an ice fishing trip in addition to attending the KidFish Ice Derby. Go ice fishing at a minimum of twice this winter.
  • Continue with Instagram Yoga Challenges and find another when the Big Gal Yoga Challenge ends. Just keep going with yoga as often as I can make the time.
  • Motivational music. I made my daughter a playlist of empowering music that I often listen to as well. The music is mostly country and pop and is a lot of fun to rock out too. Here are a couple of my favorites from the list:
    • Firework by Katy Perry
    • Nobody Ever Told You by Carrie Underwood
    • Beautiful: Christina Aguilera
    • This One’s for the Girls by Martina McBride
    • How Far I’ll Go by Auli’i Cravalho (Moana)
  • Winter hiking in the mini mountains of the Whiteshell area. The cold doesn’t really phase me. I love being surrounded by the frosted trees after freshly fallen snow. I have been thinking about getting a pair of snow shoes. Maybe this will be the year.

It feels good to write out a few plans. Winter is long and doesn’t seem to end where I live. I like the cold. I just wish the days were not so short and the sun stuck around a little longer. I know it is a tough time for a lot of people and thankfully I like the idea of being outside so that gives me a lot of hope that this winter will come with more motivation to rise and shine and make the most out of my days.

Ice fishing with a thermos of tea and a book sounds really delightful.

Releasing the Chaos

Since making my mental health a top priority, I have become more open to creating the life that I want instead of just floating through the life that was around me. The chaos that once was has dissipated and I no longer need to live with it.

Chaos is horrible. It sent me spinning in constant circles unable to find a way out. At one time I believed that I had to embrace the chaos but it only hindered me. The mindset of embracing the chaos did not work for me. I look back and see who I was and who I am now and the calm energy instead of chaos is far more beneficial.

How I have released the chaos:

  1. Opting for tea instead of alcohol. I am at peace and confident now with my decision to not drink alcohol.
  2. Medication for depression and talk therapy. It took me a long time to find the right medication and dose. I accept that I may have to change medication again over time and I pay very close attention to my thoughts and actions and am honest with myself. Therapy with the right therapist has done wonders for me.
  3. Camping, hiking, nature, and the outdoors. I am a weekend warrior that is outdoors at every opportunity. I take a lot of pride in passing my love of hiking and camping down to my daughter (stay tuned for a post about this past weekend).
  4. Reading. In January my goal for 2017 was to read twelve books. I passed that goal in June. With the move to our new house, reading took a backseat and I have slowed considerably, trying to make my way through one book for the last two months. Last night I cracked open my Kindle and read until my eyes became droopy.
  5. Moving to an area of the city that has a quiet energy. My new home has an abundance of sunshine flowing through the windows, green space and a pond, and bike and walking trails. It is paradise.
  6. Yoga. I practice daily whether it is a 45 minute session in the “quiet room” or a few minutes at work for a good stretch. Yes, I may look like a weirdo at my desk in Warrior pose but I am content and releasing the chaos. I am also making an effort to do an Instagram challenge to keep me motivated @backpackchronicles

It is inevitable that there will always be chaos around me and I am one who can roll with the punches and change. I choose calm energy instead with situations that I can influence in my day to day life. Release the chaos and embrace the calm energy.

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Courage to Change 

I decided to no longer drink alcohol on February 14, 2016 and this past weekend I can comfortably say that I am secure in who I am and my decisions. Being sober has changed an exorbitant amount of my mind, body, and spirit. It may sound cliché but it is incredible what the universe gives when you are willing to put your foot down, dig in, and commit to change. 

I enjoyed the weekend with my family and friends staying present in the moment, silently expressing gratitude for what I have. My mind was in the here and now during an evening bike ride and playground expedition, splashing in the lake, and waking up early to stand on the dock and cast my line out into the water. 

Spending time by myself in the silence of the morning on the dock was my meditation. Fishing is incredibly therapeutic. I don’t need to catch anything, I’m not after that thrill. In fact, it is almost the opposite. Two small fish came up around the dock and I tried to entice them but they darted away. It’s all good, I got exactly what I came for. 

My daughter and I watched Soul Surfer this weekend, the story of Bethany Hamilton who is a pro-surfer and lost her arm in a shark attack. Inspiration peaks when I least expect it and one of the neatest things about having a clearer mind now is I am much more intune and aware of how to take someone’s experience and place it in my own life to continue moving forward. Connections either faint or bold are incredible to have when wanting to better yourself. 

I leave you with this quote from Bethany Hamilton that may inspire you, “Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.”