Saturday, July 7, 2012


Tomorrow, I head into my first triathlon race... ever. My feelings are a collaboration of excitement, anxiety and wonder... As in, I wonder if I'll be able to swim that far without needing a rescue?

Papa Bean tells me the wetsuit will help me float, so I can rest if need be. Perhaps it would have been better to test out said wetsuit to know that A) it'll help me float, and B) I'll be able to swim in it. Hmmm... it's a bit late to test it now. I think the knowledge that it'll work is not as important as having a dry wetsuit come time to approach the start line.

Other than the wetsuit ordeal, I haven't trained at all in three weeks since I was traveling and otherwise occupied. Some people call it 'tapering'. I call it a mix between procrastination and forgetfulness. Regardless, I think my lack of dedication to training might cause my lungs to explode prematurely. And if that isn't enough, in the wee bits of training I managed to squeeze in, none of it included a full-on attempt at swimming, biking and then running. Only twice do I ever remember biking and then running for a small spell.

So, am I doomed? I think there may be a base layer of training that will keep my head afloat (no pun intended). It's like a base layer of fat to keep you warm in the winter, but it also helps you float in the lake. I do carry around a 25 pound child all day long. That's gotta count for something, right? And even if I go as slow as a snail, at least I'll still have my lungs (typo: lunch) and my lunch! at the end.

My dear friend wrote me an email describing her experience with her first triathlon:

Try not to worry about your race on the weekend.  It's your first so it will be your personal best!  Just think of my half ironman experience if you need a pick me up:  [Papa Bean] did the swim and was out of the lake pretty fast.  Caught me off guard as I was waiting by my bike.  Off I go wearing one of those clear rain jackets because it had been raining and it looked like more was coming (no rain came--so I think the jacket just ended up eliminating any aerodynamic properties I might have had on my ride, plus lots of sweating was going on).  I was always really bad about not taking a drink on my bike--so I set my watch to beep every 20 minutes to remind me--I think after my first drink, I accidentally dropped my water bottle in the ditch.  Somewhere along the way, I bumped the bicycle computer magnet on my pedal so I had no cadence or speed or distance (I can't even remember if I had a stop watch working).  Also because [Papa Bean] was out of the lake so early this meant there were a lot of racers behind me (probably wondering how the hell I was ahead of them).  I ended up being passed by at least 500 people (and some were yelling at me to move the f#ck over!  Somewhere along the course I could hear someone yelling at me (encouragement?).  It was [Papa Bean] yelling "work harder" in his very best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.

That was my first (and last) team half ironman.  I rode my personal best.
Reading this passage makes me happy because no matter what happens I'll have fun, and there might just be a fantastic story to tell afterward.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Natural Healing and Motivation

I love my Osteopath. She's intuitive and fun. And she helps my body heal itself. What more could I ask for?

Well, it appears she's also good at motivating me to write.

After a short email exchange where I described some changes happening in my body and how I sometimes write about things like that on my blog, she wrote back to me, "It is essential for your health, and that of your readers, that you continue to write from your heart. It is the deepest truth that we all long for, but unfortunately, have lost touch with."

I feel so fortunate and grateful to have her in my life, gently guiding me along in the direction I am already going.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Squeezing out the not-so-good to make room for the good


I have a photographic memory, and as such have vivid images rummaging through my mind quite a bit during my waking, and dreaming hours.

Of late, I've noticed images from movies I've seen come up in my awareness. Not of a movie that I watched last week, but one I watched 15 years ago or more (e.g. Pulp Fiction). It seems that some of the violence and negative scenes are etched in my existence forever, and remain quite clear and intact. This is rather incredible to me. I wonder why I watched those movies in the first place, and had I known I'd be so tied to their images years later, would I have been so nonchalant about the violence I was watching?

Instead of questioning my past, I'm moving forward with intention. I've not watched violence or extreme drama (is that a category?) on television (not having a t.v. helps a lot) or in movies, and I find this intention streaming into my book selections.

What do I want to be putting into my mind? How does it affect me? Is it going to support me in my life?

When I look at those three questions, it's easy to say, "No thanks" when faced with two hours of violent 'fiction'. I realize that violence is violence; whether it's fiction or not, my body can't tell the difference.

What am I doing with my spare time, if I'm not watching t.v. or movies, or reading the third installment of Stieg Larsson's "The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo" series? I'm reading about adventure travel. I'm reading about yoga and psychology. And better yet, I'm making my own plans for adventure travel with my family, and I'm practicing yoga and making plans to set up my yoga therapy practice. I'm squeezing out the not-so-good of brief 'entertainment', be it violent or not, and making plenty of space for the great things that support me and my interests.

My mind is thankful for the peace and inspiration.

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's all in the mind

I rode my bike to the aquatic center to go lane swimming this afternoon. The ride is less than five kilometres, and there is ONE BIG HILL. The whole ride, I was wondering if I should scoot down this road or go down that trail to attempt to bypass the ONE BIG HILL. I spent a lot of time and mental energy pondering my route all associated with the assumption that the ONE BIG HILL would be, well, just awful to ride up. In the end, I took the shortest route (which is typically the best route, in a cyclist's mind) and came up to the ONE BIG HILL, and rode up with a teensie bit more effort exerted than going up a regular sized hill. At the top, I wasn't even breathing hard. All that mental energy spent for what? one big hill, that in the end, wasn't THAT BIG.

This lesson could be extended to other situations in my life where my mind spends a lot of time thinking some goal is going to be really difficult to pursue or complete, in terms of time, energy, money, whatever... And in the end, it's usually way less of a big deal than I made it out to be. I keep learning this lesson and then letting it slip by the wayside when thoughts of difficulties with the next goal come barreling in.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

To Be Happy


I recently read about 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy.

It is a succinct and wonderful list. My top five are to give up the need to always be right, to give up my need for control, to give up on my resistance to change, to give up attachment, and to give up my living my life to other people's expectations.

What kind of a person would I be if I tried to let go of these things? Happier, yes, but I also see a softer, more peaceful version of myself with patience and wisdom and lightness. It's all there inside me, waiting for me to open to it all in my own time.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Today's bike rides filled me full of fun, of light, and of energy.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Let's Dance!

Check out this fabulous video. It is all-inspiring for me. I love to dance, and I love to walk. Heck, why not do both! I think I've actually been caught doing this before, but it was on the outside deck of the ferry from Vancouver.

Get your groove on, baby! Let's dance!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Begin it now

I'm reading "Bringing Yoga to Life" by Donna Farhi. I'm inspired. And I have a few quotes to share:

"Regardless of the specific form of meditation we choose or the specific style or tradition of Yoga we practice, we can begin to channel our energy by asking the questions, 'Are my choices supporting what is deeply satisfying in my life?' And, 'Are my choices leading to long-term freedom or short-lived pleasure?' If we went through an average day asking these questions, our day might look quite different. These kinds of questions lead us to evaluate what is important to us and to choose to what purpose we will devote our time and energy."

And, an introductory quote from a chapter called 'The Freedom of Discipline':

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now." 
-- Goethe

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Dolphin's Tooth

I achieved something spectacular: I finished a novel. This is wonderful news.

The Dolphin's Tooth, written by Bruce Kirkby, a Canadian, only eight years my senior, is about the fine tuning of listening to that inner voice telling you there is more to life than sitting at a desk, about taking leaps of faith, and ending up on a path to endless adventures and a life worth living. It's a miraculous life story, and the guy is still in his forties.

I couldn't help but notice a little envy creeping around my head as I read his novel. But I also noticed myself turning that envy into inspiration: motivation to create my own reality, to plan adventures with my family and to take opportunities that may at first seem risky or illogical. For adventures like these are the salt of life.

The headings of Bruce's chapters are quotations regarding adventure. Two, in particular, resonated within me.

"The cure for anything is salt water; sweat, tears, or the sea."
- Isak Dinesen


"Of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure on a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off, with one mighty effort, the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares, and the slavery of Home, one feels once more happy. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood.... A journey, in fact, appeals to Imagination, to Memory, to Hope - the three sister graces of our moral being."

- Sir Richard Francis Burton, ZANZIBAR

I'm inspired.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pop Culture

Do I know the latest fun songs on the radio? What movies are in the theatre? Uh, no. But, I find myself reciting the following in my mind as I sit in the bath:

Ben's band. Bim's band. Big bands. Pig bands.
Bim and Ben lead bands with brooms.
Ben's band bangs and Bim's band booms.

Dr. Seuss is pop culture, right? Well, from many, many moons ago.

I secretly feel kind of privileged not to be a part of the mainstream coolness factor. It's so much easier not knowing about all that stuff, and therefore not caring about it or spending time trying to be immersed in it all.

Plus, my memorization of Dr. Seuss literature probably makes for a much better party discussions, should I ever find myself at a party these days. Ha! Yeah, right.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Glue them shut

It is kind of interesting, this whole tired mama thing. It makes everything slow down and simmer a bit longer. I will be totally fine, and I know this too shall pass, but in the immediate moment, I wish my eyelids were glued shut.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cracks Let the Light In

I've had a rough couple of days. I actually broke down crying twice in the past 24 hours. The Little Bean is not sleeping well, and so neither am I. I think my body is just tired of not sleeping well for the past year. My tears felt like grief for lost sleep, time by myself, and whatever else I've pushed aside to be his mom. I'm normally okay with all this, but it's been coming to a head, and when I'm tired and then more tired, I just feel like I can't keep it together.

In the middle of my leaky breakdown, wrapped in my hand-knit blanket, laying huddled on the floor, I remembered Leonard Cohen's lyric: "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." I think I just let more light in.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

If I change my posture, will it change my life?

My body tells me I've been slouching too much lately: aching thoracic back, tension where my neck joins my head, compression in my belly, rapid and shallow breath, tightness in my buttocks and hamstrings. It's a slippery slope, this slouching thing. It starts out slow, and then suddenly I'm scooped down looking like the 'Before' picture below.

During my yoga practices of late, I've contemplated attempting the anti-slouch. Basically, every time I notice that I'm slouching (while standing, sitting, walking, breastfeeding, etc.), I will rise up to the occasion and grow long. That's it. I just raise everything a little bit like an imaginary string from the top of my head is being pulled taught. It's amazing how quickly that shift makes me feel better.

So, I'm wondering if I change my posture, will it change my life? Will I guard my heart less, be open to new adventures, breath more deeply, reach into the depths of my being and come out with confidence, openness, and lightness? Will I release some of my grip on fear and move ahead with some of my ideas and ventures? Will I let go of the slouch and allow my body to relax into the balanced, strong, flexible being that I naturally want to be? Ooooh, it sounds so juicy, I am eager to give this a try!

This reminds me of a wonderful catch phrase in yoga, "Get grounded, grow long." Thanks Brahmani and Jashoda!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fill 'er up!

This is the quinoa plant... Yum.

For a little guy who decided he would like to wait until nearly one full year before transitioning from all-milk-all-the-time to a bit of solid food here and there, he's sure picking up the brownie points from us in the department known as "What He Will Eat".

Little Bean's a big fan of the homemade apple sauce (our main go-to for the quick and dirty meal). He'll also down bananas and apples and the odd Nutrio (a cheerio without all the salt and sugar = tastes like cardboard) and some other random veggies and fruits.

Here's the exciting part: Now we can add quinoa to the list! He's currently gobbling it up with his own fingers. I thought it would be too much like rice (which he won't currently eat), but I guess it's that nutty flavour that he can't resist!

But can he use chopsticks to eat this quinoa? This has yet to be determined. I'm guessing he'll inherit his mama's ambidextrous and super-dexterous appendages and he'll win the state champs one day. (Note: If there isn't a state championship on chopstick quinoa eating, there should be).

On the food front, he's also a fan of black beans (whole), garbanzo beans (whole), and lentils. He's beefin' up on the protein in anticipation of walking soon.

Using the words of Little Bean, "Boom!"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Song For You

A warm and generous 'thank you' to Alexi Murdoch for so eloquently putting into words how I feel sometimes. The lyrics to "Song For You" swirl within me and relate in many ways to this past year.

So today I wrote a song for you
Cause a day can get so long
And I know its hard to make it through
When you say there's something wrong

So I'm trying to put it right

Cause I want to love you with my heart
All this trying has made me tight
And I don't know even where to start

Maybe that's a start

Cause you know its a simple
That you play filling up your head with rain
And you know you are hiding from your pain
In the way, in the way you say your name

And I see you

Hiding your face in your hands
Flying so you won't land
You think no one understands
No one understands

So you hunch your shoulders and you shake your head

And your throat is aching but you swear
No one hurts you, nothing could be sad
Anyway you're not here enough to care

And you're so tired you don't sleep at night

As your heart is trying to mend
You keep it quiet but you think you might
Disappear before the end

And it's strange that you cannot find

Any strength to even try
To find a voice to speak your mind
When you do, all you wanna do is cry

Well maybe you should cry

And I see you hiding your face in your hands

Talking bout far-away lands
You think no one understands
Listen to my hands

And all of this
Moves around you
For all that you claim
You're standing still
You are moving too
You are moving too
You are moving too
I will move you

Friday, February 17, 2012

Time for Celebration, or Release?

A dear friend of mine asked me if the coming of Little Bean's birthday has brought on any memories or feelings about how he came into this world one year ago.

At first, I thought, "Nah, it's not really on my mind." And then a few days later, I thought, "Well, that was a pretty intense time. There must be some kind of release that has happened over the past year. It's not like I can forget what happened, even though sometimes I wish I could."

It's not like my body has forgotten, that's for sure, with some lingering issues in the downstairs department. Like, for instance, today I purchased the equivalent of "Tucks Medicated Pads". If you don't know what that's for, then you should celebrate your naivety.

My experience of Little Bean's week-long entrance to this world is remembered differently by body part.

My mind remembers in vivid images, going through contractions in our temporary suite, taking walks in the rain, watching my poor puppy look at me with helpless eyes, and seeing my hospital room at night with scenes like the one where I look around and see Papa Bean, my doula, and my mom all sleeping in chairs or on the floor. Then some scenes pop to mind regarding the intensity and ridiculous duration of the situation I was in and the level of exhaustion I experienced. It felt a little bit unreal. A little bit like my mind was watching all this happen from outside my body. Like it needed to be outside of it all to be able to survive.

If you were to ask my abdomen about that time, it would say: "I remember the tightness coming and going. The ritual and rhythm of it all. The building of intensity. Squeezing and relaxing. I felt like a basketball when tense, and like a bowl full of jello when relaxed... And then eventually a bit empty."

As you may expect, my vagina has a few pointed things to say: "I remember feeling violated when the midwife first checked the dilation. Why couldn't her fingers be longer to reach the cervix more easily? Long fingers should be a requirement to become a midwife: Name. Address. Finger length...." The rest of my vaginal involvement in birthing was definitely intense, but only truly experienced as an after effect because of the epidural. I am glad my mind didn't have to feel that too, with the whole experience being so long and intense already. "Tell that anesthesiologist he done good."

Pelvis says: "Next time you want to have a baby, try to manifest a smaller head. Not so long and narrow. Please."

The space where I had an episiotomy remembers the sound of the snip, and all the people in the room yelling and hollaring and tooting up their voices to try to cover up the distinctive sound. Episiotomy also wants to add: "I'm still tight. There's a lot of scar tissue. It's going to take some time. Don't worry, though. We're in this together. And thanks for the 'Tucks' - it'll help me too."

Bladder wants to add: "Remember when you couldn't pee? That was really painful. I wish someone had given us a catheter much sooner than they did. Over one litre of pee came out. Remember? That's insane. Just sayin'. The good news is I think I've shrunk back to a normal size. "

My Spirit remembers being there too, in the background, silently whispering support to us all with a gentle glow. Knowing that everything was going to go as it should, and it would all be okay, even if it took a very long time.


Then my whole body and mind and spirit felt like the worst was over. Relief. Such relief. Time to heal now. This small being is outside my body now. He is with us. Here. Now. He is awesome. So lovely. He is nothing like my experience of the entrance he made through me. He is light. He is soft. He is beautiful and warm. He is content and peaceful.

And now, today, our Little Bean is one year old. The space between then and now seems so distant. I've heard that it can take a full year to recover from giving birth. I'd say that I agree with that statement, on both a physical and an emotional level.

In this moment, as I watch him sleep beside me, I can't help but think, "I'm so grateful for everything this boy has brought me."

I love you Little Bean.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Take it all in

I'm eating a bowl of peaches that were canned with fresh basil, a gift from a dear friend. Delicious. The sweet break reminds me of small moments that are so luxurious that time nearly stops. I typically tend to let these moments come and go as if they will always reappear, but today is different.

We've been on the road for over three weeks, and this small moment of loveliness is being held quite dear. It's a sign of friends. A sign of love. Warmth. Kindness. Comfort. And a sure sign that home can be wherever you are in the moment.