Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Watcha Thinking About? - Part Two

Being aware of the thoughts that pass through our minds on a consistent basis is extremely important.  Positive thoughts have positive effects on our health and vice versa.  However, there is another component to detoxifying our thoughts that we must not forget...When I received the notice that I was in the 'clear' cancer free and didn't need any further treatment, I thought everything was fine and over.  What I didn't realize was I actually hadn't processed what had happened to me.  I had disconnected myself from my experience.  One year later the emotions of darkness, sadness and fear all came flooding through and hit me like a freight train.  This happened to me when I was in a situation thinking I was ready to help others with cancer.  I came to understand that yes I was cancer free but wasn't necessarily completely 'healthy' again.  I hadn't truly accepted what had happened to me.  It IS so important to focus on the positive I truly believe this but it is also crucial to process the adversities in our lives as well.  I can honestly admit I didn't know how to do this and was genuinely afraid of the hurt.  However, I also knew I would never be truly clear of my experience if I didn't take the time to acknowledge what really happened.  Practicing yoga, meditation, writing and talking about my cancer experience were extremely helpful.  This was tough but became less and less challenging each time I expressed my anger and fears.  Then I met Jasna the owner of Sun Yoga Studio in Oakville.  She said to me "with a traumatic experience you have to accept, observe and let it go".  Jasna explained further that once you learn to "let it go" you must fill that space with a positive affirmation.  So I began with acceptance.  To me accepting meant acknowledging that this really did happen and admitting to myself the actual impact that it had.  Jasna clarified that the observation component of this process is understanding the lesson you learned from your experience.  The lesson learning part does not necessarily become apparent right away.  But for me I definitely have taken away a much deeper and greater appreciation for my life.  Finally, by letting go we release the hold this experience may be having over us.  Then we must choose to fill the empty space, which was holding the negative emotions, with gratitude, compassion or whatever may be appropriate for us.  I chose to fill my space with gratitude.  I feel so fortunate that my cancer was found when it was.  Yes, I had to have major surgery which did interrupt our lives for a period of time and was really scary.  But I didn't have to face some of the treatments that many courageous cancer victims have to and I am still alive to hold my children and my husband everyday!  Jasna helped me to simplify my emotional healing process.  She used language that made sense to me and gave me the ability to feel truly in the 'clear', mind, body and spirit.  I am definitely less toxic because of this process.  Honestly, acceptance hurt, observation was confusing and conflicting, but letting it go and enjoying the gratitude was and still is so worth it!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

"The balance IS in the Chaos"

I recently read an article about Brooke Burke, who was on Dancing with the Stars.  During the interview she was asked how does she balance kids, family and her very busy career.  Her response was "the balance is in the chaos".  After reading this I swear angels started singing and I had a massive "aha" moment. I find myself constantly seeking out this thing called "balance" (hence the name of my blog) but never seem to figure it out.  Or when I think I have this equilibrium, everything shifts and life feels really chaotic again.  To me balance started to feel like this unattainable phenomenon that just wasn't in my life plan.  However, once I gave myself the permission for chaos this overwhelming sense of peace came over me.  I began to understand that through the storm comes the calm.  I realized that constant "perfection" ( whatever that means?) doesn't necessarily represent evolution and we survive because of evolution. Therefore, change needs to happen in order for balance to exist and this can feel chaotic.  So thank you Ms. Burke for opening my eyes. If I don't accept constant change, which is inevitable, I will be completely out of sorts. But instead, if I just embrace the chaos, somewhere inside of that is this beautiful ever changing existence of balance.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Watcha Thinking About? - Part One

How often do we say to ourselves "if-only"?  Or do you replay I can't, I'm not good enough in your head?  I know I have.  However, what I have also done is stopped myself mid thought and come back to the exact moment I was in... such as loving my Starbucks.  These repetitive thought patterns that continuously relive the past or limit your possibilities in the future are toxic thoughts.  According to Dr. Caroline Leaf creator of Switch on your Brain, world renowned author and educator. " 87% - 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life.  What we think about affects us physically and emotionally".  This is a serious problem because many still perceive the mind and body as two separate entities.  When in fact, the mind and body are totally connected one cannot function without the other.  Working in the health industry you meet a lot of people seeking a healthier lifestyle  (yes I realise I am stating the obvious),  Most are solely focused on the body, they want to eat a cleaner diet maybe do a cleanse.  Many start to practice yoga (which I think is fab) and detox flow is becoming a very popular style of class.  (I teach this style myself).  In yoga participants are encouraged to shut off their mind and be present but many feel incapable of doing this.  What seems to be getting lost in the mix is we truly need to "detox" our thoughts in order to truly be moving towards a healthier self.  We need to be transferring our energy from complaining about the weather, to blaming other people for ruining our day.  Yes those things  can have a negative effect on you in MOMENTS in time.  However,  moving forward you can replace those thoughts with a positive thought.  This change in thought pattern can make you less toxic.  For example, someone in a car in front of you cuts you off, you feel angry.  However, at the same time a great song you love is on the radio.  Which will make you feel better to focus your thoughts on?  It is literally the same moment.  Now I realize there are those few individuals who like to dwell on the toxic thoughts and negativity.  They require a WHOLE other blog.  But if you are someone who wants to move in a healthier direction, eat a cleaner diet and get some toxins out of the body, that is amazing.  Just don't forget you aren't going to get the maximum health benefits if you don't check into what's going on upstairs.  Regulate your thoughts just as seriously as your diet and workout.  So, the next time someone asks you what your thinking about hopefully, you can tell them just how healthy and great you 'really' feel.

Be Happy, Be Healthy or at least keep trying ;)

Reference. Dr. Caroline Leaf

Monday, 24 October 2011

Taking the time out to take care of ourselves.....

As a fitness professional and someone who has always exercised, I never realized how difficult it would be to find the time to take care of myself once I had children. What I also never anticipated, was the little pangs of guilt I would experience from taking time away from my children to do something just for me. I have studied health and fitness and I know how extremely important it is, so how did making time for it become a challenge? I have worked with many Moms and they all seem to experience this struggle to find a healthy balance in their life. At least I knew it wasn't just me. Then last summer I received the ultimate motivation factor and wake up call as to how important taking time out for ourselves really is. I had an acute attack of appenticitis and had to go in for emergency surgery to have my appendix removed. When the biopsy report came back they had found a caricinoid tumor, the slowest growing form of malignant cancer. I was told I had to go in for further surgery to have a portion of my large intestine removed as well as, the surrounding lymph nodes to see if the cancer had spread any further, (you can imagine how well that conversation went over). When I was given the initial news I wanted to curl up in a corner and colapse into myself. I experienced every emotion in the book and all I could think about was my husband, my two little boys and the rest of my family and friends. I had my moment and then that day I made a choice. I was going to do everything in my power to go into my surgery as strong and as healthy as I possibly could. I wanted to make sure my body was prepared for whatever journey may be to follow. I took my own advice and exercised on a regular basis, did yoga to keep my stress and fears at bay and completely changed my diet. I took the time to stop and apreciate the things in life I was taking for granted such as all the amazing people I love. The surgeon said I would be in the hospital for 6-7 days and would have a minimum eight week recovery with absolutely no lifting (including my kids). The nurse who registered me for my surgery told me I was going to feel like a transport truck had hit me and then ran me over again. The day of surgery came and I was so scared but felt I had done everything in my control to promote a positive outcome. The surgery ended up going faster than the surgeon anticipated and that seemed to set the tone for the rest of my recovery. I was discharged from the hospital in 3 days instead of 6, didn't have to take any pain medication from the day I left the hospital, not even Tylenol I felt fine. I was allowed to lift my youngest son after six weeks instead of eight weeks, I had to wait the full eight weeks for my 3 year old. Ten days post surgery I received the best news in the world, all the tissues that were biopsied from the second surgery came back healthy. It was an interesting experience with the surgeon on our final follow up appointment as he said to me he was speechless over the outcome of my recovery , that I must have taken care of myself and how happy he was to tell me I was in the clear. This is part of where the name Clear Studio came from and why I want help educate and motivate mothers to take care of themselves. I reflect on this experience everytime I am having a moment when I just don't feel like exercising or I think I should really switch over the laundry, fold clothes or clean the bathroom instead. I never thought it would be me getting that diagnosis. I know my situation would look a lot different right now if I didn't make the time to take care of myself, and my husband and kids are grateful I did. Remembering the cliche that we have nothing if we don't have our health is crucial, not to mention the truth. It gives us the permission to take that much deserved time for ourselves and exercise without any guilt and provides us with the motivation when we just don't feel like it.
Be Happy, Be Healthy or at least keep trying ;)