Meditation

Yesterday morning I got to try something new. I was skeptical, to say the least. While I fully understand the importance, and the benefits of meditation, I had never been able to successfully calm my mind myself, and for a long time, simply chalked it up to not being able to… Almost along the same lines of hypnosis.

Megan came over the night before, and watched the gang play dodgeball. We drove home, and hour later than expected, and got ready for our 3:45 wake up call. Due to the fact that most activities offered by the 21DED crew are in Vancouver, and I being in Langley, we needed to get up a little earlier, to ensure we made it to Gastown in time. Our alarms went off, and we slowly, and groggily made it of the couch and bed, questioning the point of doing this. It was such a nice drive in, even though we were both clearly not stoked about the fact that not even 4 days prior we were just getting to sleep at this time. I had to laugh, as we stopped at the Tim Hortons for a quick coffee on the way. I HATE Tim Hortons, but it’s the only stop on the way to town. Megan got a bagel that looked like they stomped it on the ground. Knowing my position on Them, I couldn’t help but laugh and say, “SEE?!”

With the traffic count essentially at zero, we made great time getting in to Vancouver. We pulled up to Moment Meditation and said good morning to the other couple of people already waiting. Within 10 minutes there was a group of 20, chipper, but clearly tired, early risers. It was nice seeing who else was running this challenge with you. People all with a very common goal, but from many walks of life.

As we made our way up to the space, I couldn’t help but appreciate the architecture of a building that I have walked by hundreds of times. While the layout on the inside was clearly inefficient, it was beautiful and timeless. We all quietly took our shoes off and gathered in a large, white, open room, filled with comfortable chairs, pillows, and blankets (thank god, the single paned windows made it incredibly cold). Our instructor went over a few ground rules, and explained how things would work, and we dove right in. It took a while for me to focus, but a few minutes in, I was able to slow down, control my breathing, and all of a sudden, boom. I felt my mind just… let go. And time flew. I was bathed in this calm, relaxing state. I listened to her voice, and embraced the music that was softly playing, and it was amazing. What felt like five minutes turned in to 45 in a blink of an eye.

The class ended, and we mingled in the front room, drinking tea and talking about our experiences. It was interesting to see the different levels, and different views, and how meditation, and mindfullness helped peoples day-to-day. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to trying this again at home, or maybe even taking a class or two.

After a quick stop over for breakfast, I dropped Meg at work, and I hustled to my office to start the day, feeling energetic and revived. I mostly blame the early wake up time, but I like to think that slowing my brain down and relaxin also led to my body telling me that I needed to seriously chill out at night and go to bed. I drove home, ate dinner and got ready for an early night. I was in bed for the first time before 10:00 PM, and now here I am, Wide awake and ready for the day! Late night tonight, as I’m going to a movie premier, but hey… Can’t wait!

 

-m

 

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Time Flies

Oh man. You take one weekend off, and all of a sudden you haven’t updated in a week. Rough. As soon as I left work I wanted nothing to do with a computer. I went home Friday night and had a super chill night alone. No one was home so it was nice to just relax and not have to worry about anything.  Julian posted a great article about how not skipping days would be better than forgoing and having a rough start on Monday. I had every intention to do so, but the week caught up to me and I ended up sleeping for a solid 10 hours. Saturday was a whirlwind start to the day: I planned on going for a walk or a hike with Jessica, and Josh as well. We met up in Fort Langley, and made it for maybe five minutes before deciding that the Houston Trail was simply too icy and unsafe. We settled on option two: Beer. Langley finally got its fir craft brewery and they’ve been making some excellent beers. After a couple, we decided on hosting a games night ay my place. I put the call out, and got Alex and Darby in as well, on the condition that I pick Darby up on the way home. No problem: It gave me an excuse to swing by New West and grab another beer at S&O, who so conveniently was pouring Josh’s and I’s favourite four winds brew on their guest tap!

Games night was a success. Good laughs, Chinese food, delicious drinks and great friends. It ended rather early, as again, I had committed to be up extra early for a little fun. Rising at 4:30 (again, ugh) I made my way through Langley and headed up to Seymour mountain with Andy to meet up with a group of other DED’ers to hike dog mountain to watch the sunrise. About 50 of us total made it the trek and it was great to meet other folks doing the same thing that I was. We ended the trek with a stop over at Craft for coffee and brunch. Megan met up with me there, getting to meet the crew. She was a late entry in to the group but I really love how much she’s contributing and getting to know an amazing community.

With my belly full and my legs still burning, I headed home to get ready to go on my next adventure: Island Time. Kris had messaged me saying he really missed hanging out and if I had Monday off to come over. I agreed on the condition that we spend time with Jessica, and that we wake up at 4:30. One of those things happened. I didn’t wake up at 4:30. We hardly even got home then. But that’s ok. It was well needed and we all had an amazing night, drinking, laughing, poorly dancing, and drunkenly eating chicken nuggets.

 

Needless to say, the ferry home was rough the next morning. Not good, as I had Dodgeball that evening. Luckily it was an easy going night. I am volunteering with the league to help organize nights, and it went off without a hitch. A lot of new players got to experience the league and Josh and Sarine who’re new to my team this year got to experience the game, and loved it! After the whirlwind weekend, I took Tuesday off to recover. I’m now sitting her typing, feeling great and looking forward to getting off work, so I can finally get to bed early and get back in to my routine!

 

A Look Back at the First Week

Whoooooo… .made it. Barely! What a way to end a week of insanity. While I’m loving the early mornings, today really took a tole on me physically and mentally. If you’re coinciding blog posts, to calendar dates: The lower mainland has experienced the most snow they’ve ever received in 8 years. The amount of snow is negligible, but it’s still causing issues everywhere as when it fell over the weekend, it was extremely wet and it turned to compacted ice within hours. While main arterial roads and priority routes were maintained, most residential streets where not, which is the case with any major snow fall. I guess in this day and age: being connected 24/7 and having unlimited ways to voice opinions, read news, and interact with people on a social level: things have gotten out of hand.

I work in municipal government, so I’m on the receiving end of most of the flak. People think that we should have every road spotless before rush hour, that the city runs on an endless supply of labour, road salt, trucks and time. The amount of times I have been yelled at, scolded, berated, etc this week has been unfathomable. It’s really making me wonder where peoples sense of community has gone. I grew up in a rural part of Langley. My parents paid taxes, but not once did we call the City demanding they come and shovel or plow our road. Why? Because we are not priority. There’s thousands of kilometers of busy roadways that need to be kept in immaculate condition to allow for safe access of commuters and commercial trucks.What did I do this winter? I got out there myself, with my sister and salted our own road, with our own salt.

Anyways – Microrant. I don’t want to blog about the negative parts of my life. I’ve powered through the week with early wake ups and the result has been quite positive. The amount of time I’ve had to reflect on the new year has been good. I’m looking forward to the next three weeks, as I’m hoping a better work routine will result in more getting done. As much as I love overtime, because I can bank that for more days off (bring on the adventure!) I really enjoyed the days this week where I was able to just be with myself.

I have the next 4 days off, and weather pending, I’m hoping to get a lot of me time in, and get some more use out of my new Fitbit! Next weeks posts should come with a little more content: Dodgeball is starting up and I’m excited to meet some new people and get back in to a sport that I really love.

Cheers!

 

-M

 

 

How to Not Suck at Building Habits.

I really don’t know how or what to write about this morning, and have shamelessly stolen this title from Julians post this morning. It was an interesting blog about how and why habits are so hard to form, even though we’re aware internally about how important they are. The link for the post can be found here: https://www.damnearlydays.com/daily-dose/how-not-to-suck-at-building-habits

There was a few points that really spoke to me. First was in regards to habit forming around friends. It made me smile when I read the line that “They don’t want to drink, but their friends drink, so they end up having a few,” because not even 9 hours ago, I told Josh and Jessica “No you know what I’ve got an early morning, I’ll catch you in the morning!” We weren’t planning on drinking but the concept is very much the same.

With my Damn Early Days, I’ve progresses a little bit. baby steps. I’ve started a routine of making breakfast again. More than one food group, and coffee to pair. Seems trivial, but I usually skip breakfast or drive through Tim’s on the way to work, so it’s a nice change for me. As Julians article states: Start small. Start small! That’s the last thing I like to do! I’m BIG! And I like doing BIG things. And that’s effected me for good and bad. I need to hold myself back. Looking back, when I was learning to run distance, I was the same way. I was sure you could just RUN, and you just keep going as hard as you can, until you can’t run any more, and eventually you got better. It took 2 classes to be broken and humbled. I had to restart, and start sloooooow. I hated it at first, but the slow steady interval training showed insane results that I never thought I’d see, slowly, but steadily! I think I really need to do that with other parts of my life.

Part of this 21 day commitment is a great social group of people all doing the same thing as me. It’s a little daunting because everyone who discusses their routines are in very different parts of their life than me. People speak of struggling to set fitness challenges, work challenges and so on and so forth for the next four weeks that I couldn’t even imagine hitting in a year, two years, five?? But I need to focus on the fact that everyone starts small. Every one starts out different and everyone else has different skills and attributes than I do.

I was speaking to Michelle last night, a friend I met over the summer who’s an amazing artist. Every now and then she shows me something that she’s working on and it simply blows me away. I always think about how I wish I had more artistic talent. I told her that and she had a pretty blunt answer. “You’re not going to get better if you don’t practice.” I know this is so true, but I never really let that resonate. As I type this, I’m thinking that along with my writing, I’m going to try to get back in to something related to the arts. Either painting, which I have no experience in, or dive deeper and try to really evolve as a hobby photographer. I have the ability to do both, but now I just need the accountability to bring this to fruition.

So, reader, if you see me in the new future, hold me accountable. I know I’ll need it. I know that I need a support system and that it’s okay to ask for that.

Until tomorrow.15826688_10154881292144028_796670101236545602_n

 

-M

Overcoming the Challenge of Hating Your Job.

I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee. Its 5:30 AM and I have been up for an hour. I’m dressing putting on pants and getting in my icy cold car. The frigid airs out side give warning that to impending day will be similar to last night. A flurry of angry, passive-aggressive tweets, a few slurs, and copious amounts of me shrugging at my screen, wondering if anything I do is actually making a difference in this city struggling with snow.

Part of 21 DED is to reset. To create a new routine and to focus on the day. I feel like I’m behind everyone else, because I’m not lucky enough to work my own hours, or I don’t live a short walk/bike/drive to work. A lot of my day is spent commuting, and it’s 100% affecting my daily physical and mental health. I can’t wait to change this. I’m actively looking to work from home this year, and/or move closer to the office. Spending a considerable amount of your day in the car is not always a good thing.

Yesterday, day one, I had an excellent morning. I picked Josh up in the morning and we headed in to town together. He started work at 9, and I at noon. Arriving at his office 45 minutes early, we stopped in at one of Vancouver’s many independent coffee shops. Treating ourselves to Josh’s first pour-over, we enjoyed a morning discussing the day and talking about whatever came to mind. It felt nice; something we do all the time, but never in the morning. After Josh left for work, I did what I had committed to do in yesterdays post: I went to the book store and bought my first book of the year (I hope not the last). I settled in to a different shop, closure to work, and dove in. It felt amazing to disconnect and immerse my self in a paperback of fiction; forgetting everything else running through my mind for almost three hours. My alarm buzzed and I headed in to punch in.

The day blurred by. I wish I could talk more about it, but it’s so stressful that even thinking about putting a paragraph down on here makes me anxious. I think in reflection of how negative this blog is, I’m going to make a valiant effort to be as positive to ever single person that I interact with today. It’s an extremely tall order, but rather than allow people to bring me down, I am going to build up this wall of positivity and attempt to keep people from bringing my attitude down to their levels.

I’ve gotten really in to Dodgeball (more and that later) and as a volunteer for the new Langley League, I’m excited to meet up with the other volunteers for dinner tonight. I’m excited to meet new people and really start to expand my social circle over the next couple of months.

Anyways – Not a lot of depth today, sorry. But I promise that I’ll think of some good topics in the coming week to really produce some great content in the coming month!

Until tomorrow.

-M

 

22 Damn Early Days.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m starting 21 Damn Early Days with Chasing Sunrise this month. I started off with updating my blog for the first time in a year. With all my excitement, it turns out that I was a day early, and it started this morning. Fine by me, I got a head start on every body. And with day one officially here, I’m already off to a good start. I’m coffee’d, dressed, kitchen’s cleaned, and I’m sitting at my desk listening to tunes and doing this.

I spoke about getting more fit, and being more accountable for myself. On the first I picked up a Fitbit Surge, and I was excited to take it out for a test drive. I met up with my friend Lindsay, and went up to Mount Seymour (arguably my favourite mountain for hiking due to the view to hardness ratio) and trekked out for a couple hours on our snow shoes. I’ve known Lindsey for a number of years, and we’d gotten quite close in the past: She was one my best friends wife’s best friend, and we worked in the same office together for a while back in 2015. Two years ago, she and her roommate were the catalysts to get me in to running, and they were at the finish line when I finished my first 5K. When I went back to 3-1-1 we did start to drift. Not for any reason, really. We both have busy lives and it’s a challenge to balance everything. The thing I love about her: as soon as we get in the car together, it’s like I saw her an hour ago. All in all: GREAT times. Ended the day well above my required steps on my Fitbit, and ran an awesome caloric deficit.

I’m looking forward to getting a few words everyday. I’ve been thinking about my routine, about how I leave everything to the last possible minute, and worry about it then. Reading about what others do, especially in the morning, is making me realize how important it is to prioritize, set goals and to schedule a little better. I always consider big picture things, but never break things down to daily successes. I think a large part of my anxiety, and my stress comes from the fact that I focus so hard on one big item, that all the little stuff that gets in the way of that builds up. I need to slow down in a sense, and I need to realize that it’s easier to take steps one at a time.

I’m going to pick up Josh to go for a walk before work this morning. Veiled to him as Pokehunting (Yeah we got HARD addicted to Pokemon go) I’m excited to get a good healthy walk in, and to have a partner to talk to in the car on the commute in to Vancouver. The best part? Josh starts work at 9:00, and I don’t start until noon. Rather than go to work early and go online, like I typically would, I’m bringing gym clothes, and a book. Depending on how much walking we get in, I’m going to crash in a comfy chair in a coffee shop, and I’m going to start reading again. I used to read every day, and looking back, I don’t think I’ve read an actual book, made of paper, in years.

So short and sweet, like I promised. 500 words, or so, a day. Julian: Thanks for helping kick off 2017. I hope I can stay accountable.

 

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The rise and fall of 2016.

 

In typical “New Year, New Me,” fashion, I was making my annual look back on 2016, reminiscing on all the amazing things I accomplished, experienced, and failed at. Blogging was certainly something I can throw in the fail bucket. As you can tell from the archive link: I made it somewhat constantly for… one third the year. Post Thailand I kinda got in to the swing of having too much fun.

So what’s happened? I guess that depends on how you look at it? My year was amazing, and shitty. Memorable and unmemorable. There was peaks and valleys. But overall: I think it was very positive. I got home and settled back home after Thailand, and Spring quickly turned to Summer, and with ‘Festival Season’ in full swing this year, I was lucky to meet some amazing, beautiful new humans; strengthen friendships, and grow as a person.

The downside of things, would be along with this blog, I stopped exercising. My jump on the year diminished, and I fell in a rut of staying out late, socializing, eating and drinking. Without getting in to it too much right now, I think this has led to a serious down swing in my emotional well being. The last couple of months I have been looking for anything other than myself to blame my depression and mental health on, other than myself. The last couple weeks I’ve really started to turn myself around. I need to hold myself accountable for my own actions. I need to focus on me, and I need to make a real effort to be the person I want to be.

I sat down to type up a year-in-review style blog, but I think I really need to spread some things out. I have started up with 21 Damn Early Days, which I blogged about last year in Feb/March. I think that rather than focusing on longer, more detailed blogs, I am going to use my mornings to wake up, reflect, and write. Julian offered an amazing goal, in which his cell phone goes on Airplane Mode, and he writes for at least an hour, or until he gets out 500 words. Along with getting back on the fitness train, I really feel I need to do that, too. I LIKE writing! This right now is incredibly therapeutic. Even though nobody reads this (trust me, I can see the page views!) it’s nice being able to write my thoughts and feelings out.

So yeah. Short and sweet. I fell off. I got derailed. And I am going to try again.

  • M